Macbeth Lesson Plans

Yes, Macbeth is dark and gruesome and not the easiest Shakespeare story to relate to. The Scottish thane Macbeth listens to witches who clearly should not be trusted and nothing good comes of it – listening to them, in fact, poisons his mind and damns him on earth to a life without sleep and without remorse. Blood will have blood, and by the time the end of the play rolls around, everyone cheers for Macduff’s final blow that strikes the … Read More

Elementary Lessons Plans 2017-2018 – in Evernote

Elementary Lessons is the name of our mini co-op that I teach twice weekly at my house with 2 of my kids, 2 of my friend’s kids, and 1 child of another friend. My younger-than-elementary (now only 1 of those!) kids go down the street to my friend Kirsti’s while hers walk over to mine. It’s an ideal set-up, and not entirely unintentional or accidental. During our twice-weekly 2-hour lesson chunk, we do writing (with only the 9-11 crowd), history … Read More

Merchant of Venice Lesson Plans

Merchant of Venice might be a politically incorrect play, but it is too good for us to ignore. While it makes moderns uncomfortable because the Jew is made to forcibly convert in the end, it is – particularly for its time – an anti-anti-Semitic play. The plot, the speeches, and the themes all deserve attention and affection – and this simple set of homeschool lesson plans will help you build just that. Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice for Kids Merchant of … Read More

Why I Love Math-U-See

I am not a math person. Math has been the subject that daunts me most when I think about the big picture of homeschooling. Or, at least, it did. Now that I’m 9 years into this gig (if you start counting with Kindergarten) and I have an 8th grader who is about to finish Algebra, I’m neither daunted nor worried. I am so glad that when my oldest was 4 or 5, I had two real-life friends rave about Math-U-See. Not … Read More

5 Tips for Tutoring Writing

Fourteen years ago, a fresh English major graduate, I was hired by a group of homeschool moms to teach their middle schoolers how to write and tutor writing with them one-on-one. They gave me the original IEW teacher-training VHS tapes and 3-ring binder, and I gave it a shot. A couple weeks later I had a stack of student paragraphs, which I stared at blankly. Sure, they had their adverb openers and they had retold the fable, but was that … Read More

Lesson Plans for Much Ado About Nothing

Shakespeare doesn’t have to be scary or intense to incorporate into your homeschool. The stories are timeless, the language is beautiful, and they are chock full of ridiculous characters and jokes that are sure to make everyone laugh. Yet, they also demonstrate an understanding of the human condition and human relationships that make them a keystone in the English literary tradition. We do Shakespeare in about 10-15 minutes a chunk, twice a week, and in this way we read and … Read More

Lesson Plans for Shakespeare’s The Tempest

The Tempest is a story with betrayal, revenge, reconciliation, and devotion. It has something for everyone: slap-stick humor, violent men & monsters, friendly sprites, and a fairy-tale island setting where forgiveness and keeping one’s word wins out in the end despite long odds. Whether you introduce this story by picture book, movie, or reading the real deal – or all three – it is a story worth enjoying together with your children. Shakespeare’s The Tempest for Kids 1. Introduce The … Read More

Our 3 Year History Cycle & the books that make it work – Simply Convivial

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History should never be boring. History is the study of people – and people always have stories. Stories of individuals, stories of battles, stories of cultures, stories of legends – history is inherently fascinating and relevant. Dates are secondary to people. Dates are useful insofar as they help us place people in the right place within the flow of the story of history. So, of course history should be told as a narrative, for that’s what it is. History is … Read More

How We Homeschool Grammar

At long last, here is the post I promised back when I wrote about how I teach writing on how I teach grammar. Grammar and diagramming is not something that has always come easily for me. I remember 7th or 8th grade when diagramming was introduced in my Bob Jones Language Arts workbook. My mom and I both gave up because we didn’t get it. Fast forward a few years and I was an English major at the University of … Read More

Latin is Brain Exercise – Isocrates on what is actually practical

The Great Tradition: Classical Readings on What It Means to Be an Educated Human Being is a collection of the writings about education from Plato to the modern era, the writings that have informed the development of western civilization and classical education. I’m spending rather a long time with Isocrates, but he has so many nuggets! Next week we’ll be on to Socrates, though, I promise. I couldn’t pass up today’s selection, though, because I thought it directly applied to … Read More

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