Over the years, I realized that I love literature-based homeschooling. It creates the atmosphere that I want, as I teach all 7 of my children at the same time!
If you use a Charlotte Mason approach, you probably use literature-based homeschooling with living books as a major resource more than I do. I have slowly transitioned more towards a CM style, though not completely.
We are eclectic, so I definitely use a variety of teaching styles. Textbooks are not banned and we have quite a few in our home.
Books are my favorite, whether textbooks, encyclopedias, dictionaries, living books, etc. I simply LOVE non-consumable books. But, there is also something extremely satisfying about filling up blank notebooks, journals, or even “workbooks”.
Math has been one subject that I have had a hard time finding a “literature-based” approach to, but we do use Math Lessons For A Living Education and Life of Fred that both use stories to explain math concepts. I haven’t been 100% satisfied with ANY math curriculum over the years (and we’ve tried several), but that may be just because math is not my favorite subject to teach (or learn, lol).
I would LOVE to hear which math curriculum/program you love and why you love it! I am considering switching to a more straightforward, worksheet-based, teach concepts – apply concepts – practice – review type of math. (we have tried Abeka, MUS, A+ in addition to our current)
Math Lessons for a Living Education Level 1Math Lessons for a Living Education, Level 6Life of Fred Complete 10-vol Elementary School (Apples through Jelly Beans) Homeschool Kit in a BagMathematics 1, Teacher’s Guide for 101-105Learning Wrap-ups Math Intro KitMath War Multiplication Game Cards
Phonics, spelling, reading practice, grammar, and writing lessons that require seatwork are kept short and to the point in our home. I read to my kids a lot and they read on their own a lot once they learn to read (I teach ‘reading’ through phonics/spelling/reading practice).
A lot of the language arts can be ‘caught’ rather than taught just through reading great books. The art & science of writing is incorporated into the other lessons like journaling, notebooking, copywork, and more.
In middle school, we start to get serious about grammar using Easy Grammar Plus and Fix-it! Grammar. These have worked well for us and are short-to-the-point lessons.
We will get serious about creative writing, essay writing, research papers, and all of that in high school. Up to that point, we keep writing ‘lessons’ short and let creative writing take place at the child’s discretion.
Favorite Language Arts Resources
Spell to Write And Read / Core Kit – Teacher’s EditionThe PHONICS Road to Spelling and Reading Level One Complete Curriculum SetEasy Grammar Plus RevisedFix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree [Student Book 1]Uncovering the Logic of English: A Common-Sense Approach to Reading, Spelling, and LiteracyTeaching the Classics DVD Seminar and Workbook
For science, we love using Christian Liberty Nature Readers, Thornton W. Burgess, and the Apologia Zoology series for elementary grades. I supply my children with a wide variety of science books, including textbooks through high school level and from several different companies like Bob Jones, Abeka, Apologia, Berean Builders/Jay Wile, Master Books, and Usborne Books & More.
My oldest is transitioning to more structured science lessons, including quizzes, tests, experiments, and laboratory notebooking with Apologia textbooks. Eventually, for high school, we will get more advanced in science.
Science We Love!
Christian Liberty Nature Reader Book 5 (Christian Liberty Nature Readers)Christian Liberty Nature Reader Book K (Christian Liberty Press Nature Readers)The Adventures of Reddy Fox (Dover Children’s Thrift Classics)The Burgess Bird Book for Children (Dover Children’s Classics)Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day (Young Explorer (Apologia Educational Ministries))Exploring Creation with General Science, 2nd Edition
Quick Tapestry of Grace Overview
We love Tapestry of Grace, so I thought I’d give a review of how we use it. It provides a structured guideline for history, includes geography, and teaches social studies from a Christian perspective.
Starting from creation and up til modern times, you are learning about history through living books. You do read some textbook-style books, too, like the encyclopedias from Usborne Books.
It can be used for every level so all of my kids are included. There are a lot of discussion questions and there are options for writing lessons and more in-depth studies for the upper levels. Right now we do use the discussion questions, but not the writing assignments.
History Resources We love!
Tapestry of Grace Year 1God’s Names (Making Him Known) (Children Desiring God)Walk With Y’Shua Through the Jewish YearGod King: A Story in the Days of King Hezekiah (Living History Library)Twice Freed (Freestyle Fiction 12+)Out of the Mouth of the Lion (Illustrated): Or, The Church in the Catacombs
Quality Reading Time
This has helped me to make reading aloud to my kids a top priority. I have wonderful memories of my mom reading several books to me and my little brother every night. We begged her to read more and more and she did.
I have wanted to give my kids that quality time with me, as well, but I have had the hardest time reading to my kids at bedtime. It is just a very busy time of the day for me with my kids’ medical needs, my husband getting home after a long day at work, supper clean-up, and just getting 7 young kids ready for bed, etc.
So, I have never consistently read bedtime stories to my kids. And, it really needs to be part of our “required” homeschool lessons in order for me to feel like I can sit down and read to my kids without feeling guilty that I should be doing something else (supposedly) more important. I found the “excuse” I needed with ToG.
We do our ToG reading on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. We focus mostly on the history and literature selections, along with Bible history.
Find What Works For Your Family
There are many other literature-based homeschooling curriculums out there, but ToG was what appealed to me the most for history, geography, social studies, government, and literature.
Through this literature-based homeschooling method, I am able to incorporate a lot more history and science than we had in previous years. And it provides us with quality reading time every day.
And, as always I will use the curriculum as a tool, not a dictator! I can pick & choose which (or how many) books I will read to my children each day.
Though I want to spend some time reading each day, I do not read every single book that ToG suggests for all of the levels I am teaching. It is a balancing act, my friends.
What are your favorite literature-based learning resources?