Weekend Links

“Much education today is monumentally ineffective. All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants.” ~ John W. Gardner

Low-Maintenance Curriculum for a High-Maintenance Family (2011 Curriculum Fair)

Written by contributor Lora Lynn Fanning of Vitafamiliae

Ages of my children: 7, 7, 5, 4, 2, 1
Educational Philosophy Influences: Classical, Literature-based

With six kids ages seven and under, it was important to me that the curriculum I chose did the heavy-lifting, and not the other way around. We’re mostly Classical style homeschoolers with a dash of Charlotte Mason, just for spice.

Here is what works for our gang (currently schooling twins going into 2nd grade and a rising 1st grader, plus doing preschool as the mood strikes).

Core Curriculum

Tapestry of Grace (TOG) – Despite the density of the curriculum, once you get the hang of it, planning is a breeze. I plan by the week, so that if one day goes awry (as they tend to do with my crew), it doesn’t put us behind. We just fit it in somewhere else.

I like that as we add in more school-age children, we can all stay on the same subject and adapt it for everyone’s learning level. TOG mixes the classical concepts with learning through literature, which is especially helpful at this young stage.  No dry history textbooks for us! (My review)
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Interest-Driven Curricula and an Open Mind (2011 Curriculum Fair)

Written by contributor Hillary Boucher of Infinitely Learning

Children’s ages: 6, 3, and 10 months
Educational Philosophy Influences: Unschooling, Enki, Eclectic

Our children are quite young and so far interest-driven learning has been all we’ve needed. Philosophically, we are what is described as “unschooling.”

I am not particularly attached to unschooling as a rule-set as much as I am dedicated to individualized, case-by-case, interest-driven learning.

If there is anything I’ve learned in life and parenting it’s to keep an open mind and heart. You never know what might be around corner, how life will unfold or how someone’s needs may change.

I’m open to using any tool that helps facilitate growth and learning and I acknowledge that at some point it could include a specific curriculum.
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A Day in the Life of a Once a Month Cleaner

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom

Today I’m finishing up all this cleaning talk with a post over at Steady Mom. (Somehow posting before & after photos of my toilet doesn’t seem appropriate in this venue!)

If you’ve missed any posts in this series, be sure to check out Part One and Part Two.

From my post:

“If the shelves are dusty and the pots don’t shine,
it’s because I have better things to do with my time.”
~ Author unknown

Diary of a once a month cleaning day in action:

The night before: The kids are taking a bath, so I’m able to change a few sets of sheets on beds upstairs. I put other sheets in the wash so they’ll be ready in the morning. (Doing this makes me feel like I have a headstart on the day’s work tomorrow!)

6:45 am, Cleaning Day – I wake up with purpose and get busy. Seems like the perfect time to declare a “hat day” instead of fixing hair. By the time the kids are ready for breakfast, I’ve finished changing the rest of the sheets and have dusted a few rooms upstairs too.
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How to Clean Your House Once a Month

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom

I was completely floored by the response to last month’s post about once a month cleaning. Many of you shared your enthusiasm and also asked specific questions about how to clean your house just once a month. Today I’m back with more details, and if you missed the first post head here to catch up.

I recently completed my fourth cycle of once a month cleaning, and every time I do it I discover new ways to make this system work better for our family.

Here are a few tips and specific how-to’s you may find helpful.
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