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S/o minimalism and hsing..using fewer resources


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As i work towards simplifying our homeschool physically, I have begun to realize this goes hand in hand with simplifying our hs academically: using fewer resources, focusing on excellent ones, but not worrying that I am "missing out" or that my children will be terribly lacking if i don't have x resource, or y book, or z curriculum.

 

 

Has anyone radically simplified their approach to hsing? What does this look like in your home?

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I found that the more resources I have collected, the less happy I am with what gets done. Consequently, we are streamlining:

I start from one good textbook per course (except English; there only real books). I add original literature and some good TC lectures for history,  a lab for core science, TC lecture series for science elective. ONE foreign language curiculum with book, workbook, audio CDs.

 

I stay away from the multitude of websites I have collected that have "projects", summaries, study guides, animations, lecture notes, collections of links, podcasts, video clips, "enrichment" activities, the dozen websites with snippets for enhancing foreign language learning I only feel guilty of not using effectively... Less is more.

 

I stay away from busywork. Math work is done in a notebook. Kids take notes for history and science books, work out assigned problems on science. We do the exercises in foreign language book/workbook. I assign few, longer writing assignments. No worksheets, fill-in-the-blanks, comprehension questions (I know whther my kid reads and understands the book, I am not a clasroom teacher having to check up on 30 students), weekly quizzes (except for Italian where I have no epertise to judge mastery myself)

 

We do no "projects": dioramas, greek temples from tooth picks. We create nothing that can not be stored in a folder.

 

I no longer research curriculum. I know what I will use and stick to it as long as it works. I no longer buy cheap textbooks because I *might* use them someday and it was such a good deal.

 

 

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The Internet can be a big source for sabotaging simple plans. There really is so much out there now, it's easy to overwhelm yourself. 

 

I used to live near a great thrift store. I would pick up books cheap. It got to the point, I'd check here for titles and authors, so I became more selective. At this point I have about 5 different chemistry books, which I paid no more than 15.00 for all. They've been great to research. I plan to choose one to teach from and use the rest for reference, then they'll go away after we're done with chemistry. The thing about collecting is you have to know when to decide and get rid of the rest. I'm still working on that. 

 

Sometimes it pays off. I bought this years Algebra II books about 3 years ago. I found a Lial's TE and Solutions Guide for .49 each. I bought the student book for 6.00. It's been worth it to hang onto them. 

 

Yes, it's easy to get spread out. This year I designed a few custom classes. I stayed simple. Choose a main text, break up the readings, decide what to grade, that's it. If we want/need to add to it we will.  I feel more peace about this year than I have in previous ones. 

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No printing. I did fine without a printer, when people didn't have printers, and being printer free now, helps keep things more simple.

 

I worked on my handwriting so I can quickly and confidently write up a handwritten worksheet or a couple flash cards as needed.

 

I do a lot more reading aloud, retelling, and preparing outlines for students to copy. Often students are not seeing books at all.

 

We do more drawing and cursive practice.

 

I no longer hang anything up on the walls. Not even maps.

 

I'm quicker to spend more money on what I really want, and less likely to buy bargains.

 

I like Yesterday's Classics, Heritage HIstory Young Readers, and Amazon whispersync ebooks.

 

I started using the BIble as my primary literature book again. Literature is just Bible and the above ebooks. Literature is an art, and I teach it like an art. If it's not soothing and healing and touching hearts, I skip it.

 

Science is about basic literacy. I only spend as much time training students to be scientists, as I spend training them to be firefighters.

 

History is a STORY. I don't care if it's "right".

 

I stopped worrying so much about literature and history being PC. I do NOT condone it, but I don't censor it like I did. I'm too tired and too little to take on something so big and out of control.

 

I use narrow math texts, and only teach a wider scope with picture books IF there is time and interest.

 

Art is nothing but pens, pencils and 24 packs of Crayola regular and twistable crayons.

 

I stopped teaching classical languages.

 

I stopped teaching musical instruments and teach music similar to literature. We mostly just listen, do a tiny amount of analysis, and aim for a well rounded introduction to as many genres as possible.

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The older my kids get and the more I feel like I know what I'm doing here, the less stuff I want on my shelves. On a recent thread, I shared that I need to significantly cull my book collection because of an upcoming move. I have been working on that and it is unbelievably empowering. My criteria for what to keep and what to get rid of is whether or not I would replace each item if my house burned down. When I look at my bookshelves now, I see only what I truly love. It is freeing, quite the opposite of how I used to feel when looking at my shelves--overwhelmed and guilty, mainly.

 

I also recently looked at pictures of my old house while it was staged for sale. It was just gorgeous--not so empty as to be impersonal, just enough "white space" maybe? Every room made me feel light. Whittling down my book collection was first, and it has energized me for the rest of the house. I want to live in a staged home permanently. :lol:

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Art is nothing but pens, pencils and 24 packs of Crayola regular and twistable crayons.

 

I stopped teaching musical instruments and teach music similar to literature. We mostly just listen, do a tiny amount of analysis, and aim for a well rounded introduction to as many genres as possible.

If you want to minimize more, Art can be done with just pencils. Black and white drawings already require a lot of skill for "perfection". The human voice is a strong "musical instrument".

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Example: If I have a workbook I have to make them do it and do it completely. It's best for everyone to just not have the workbook.

Projects or labs for every chapter in history or science is exhausting and I think it can easily be a not necessary unproductive rabbit trail.

 

I have started buying nicer, straight to the point, complete stuff that I will keep when they are gone. I like teaching from living books for this reason.

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Guest inoubliable

I found that the more resources I have collected, the less happy I am with what gets done. Consequently, we are streamlining:

I start from one good textbook per course (except English; there only real books). I add original literature and some good TC lectures for history,  a lab for core science, TC lecture series for science elective. ONE foreign language curiculum with book, workbook, audio CDs.

 

I stay away from the multitude of websites I have collected that have "projects", summaries, study guides, animations, lecture notes, collections of links, podcasts, video clips, "enrichment" activities, the dozen websites with snippets for enhancing foreign language learning I only feel guilty of not using effectively... Less is more.

 

I stay away from busywork. Math work is done in a notebook. Kids take notes for history and science books, work out assigned problems on science. We do the exercises in foreign language book/workbook. I assign few, longer writing assignments. No worksheets, fill-in-the-blanks, comprehension questions (I know whther my kid reads and understands the book, I am not a clasroom teacher having to check up on 30 students), weekly quizzes (except for Italian where I have no epertise to judge mastery myself)

 

We do no "projects": dioramas, greek temples from tooth picks. We create nothing that can not be stored in a folder.

 

I no longer research curriculum. I know what I will use and stick to it as long as it works. I no longer buy cheap textbooks because I *might* use them someday and it was such a good deal.

 

All of this. Also, ereaders are your friends and stay away from Pinterest. 

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We are considering voice lessons instead of continuing with an instrument.

 

 

Ohhhhh,  I NEVER considered this.  I have always wanted my children to learn an instrument but neither have shown an interest and, well, buying or renting a piano is such an investment in time and space.  And a violin, hmmmm, not our style.  You have solved my dilemma!  

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So, I have been eyeing TOPS Science units. But I want to simplify my homeschool life. Do I buy them? In the past, I would have. And I may or may not have gotten to them. 

 

Right now, I am going to peruse my science shelf to see if I already own something that might fulfill this same need.

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I consider TOPS a wonderful resource for its hands on approach and the ability to use simple things to study science. However, I wouldn't buy TOPS if I wanted to simplify. You end up creating a lot of models/ things/ projects (I guess it depends on the titles you have in mind though) and might need more space to store them. Unless you can be brutal and throw each one away after it is made.

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What is working for me...six weeks on, one week off.

 

This doesn't just apply to school, but to everything.

 

For school...I plan for six weeks, shop for six weeks (projects, because my son loves them), library holds we need for six weeks, books i need to buy for six weeks. only six weeks. If something looks great it will be around later if it really was great. if it wasnt great i wont be able to find it because, well, it probably wasnt that great! I've already got the basics - math and language arts - they work excellent for us so stopped shopping and just buy what I need next when I need it. My plans include art projects, any history or science we want to study, things to do just for with my toddler, field trips I'd like to take, etc.

 

For household...I stock up at Target for six weeks, scrub the house really good, shop for any needs like clothing or shoes or whatever, shop for any random stuff I've been adding to my list the past six weeks, catch up on blogs and Internet sites I enjoy without guilt.

 

Then I tune out the noise (read - I stop going on the computer) for six weeks. I focus on my kids, schooling my kids, enjoying my kids, books I want to read, projects I want to do, tv/movies I want to watch, field trips I planned, etc. But, most importantly, I put myself on a spending freeze for all things that aren't emergencies. Do I get on the computer - of course, I just limit it to my personal time in the evenings.

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What is working for me...six weeks on, one week off.

 

This doesn't just apply to school, but to everything.

 

For school...I plan for six weeks, shop for six weeks (projects, because my son loves them), library holds we need for six weeks, books i need to buy for six weeks. only six weeks. If something looks great it will be around later if it really was great. if it wasnt great i wont be able to find it because, well, it probably wasnt that great! I've already got the basics - math and language arts - they work excellent for us so stopped shopping and just buy what I need next when I need it. My plans include art projects, any history or science we want to study, things to do just for with my toddler, field trips I'd like to take, etc.

 

For household...I stock up at Target for six weeks, scrub the house really good, shop for any needs like clothing or shoes or whatever, shop for any random stuff I've been adding to my list the past six weeks, catch up on blogs and Internet sites I enjoy without guilt.

 

Then I tune out the noise (read - I stop going on the computer) for six weeks. I focus on my kids, schooling my kids, enjoying my kids, books I want to read, projects I want to do, tv/movies I want to watch, field trips I planned, etc. But, most importantly, I put myself on a spending freeze for all things that aren't emergencies. Do I get on the computer - of course, I just limit it to my personal time in the evenings.

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What is working for me...six weeks on, one week off.

 

This doesn't just apply to school, but to everything.

 

For school...I plan for six weeks, shop for six weeks (projects, because my son loves them), library holds we need for six weeks, books i need to buy for six weeks. only six weeks. If something looks great it will be around later if it really was great. if it wasnt great i wont be able to find it because, well, it probably wasnt that great! I've already got the basics - math and language arts - they work excellent for us so stopped shopping and just buy what I need next when I need it. My plans include art projects, any history or science we want to study, things to do just for with my toddler, field trips I'd like to take, etc.

 

For household...I stock up at Target for six weeks, scrub the house really good, shop for any needs like clothing or shoes or whatever, shop for any random stuff I've been adding to my list the past six weeks, catch up on blogs and Internet sites I enjoy without guilt.

 

Then I tune out the noise (read - I stop going on the computer) for six weeks. I focus on my kids, schooling my kids, enjoying my kids, books I want to read, projects I want to do, tv/movies I want to watch, field trips I planned, etc. But, most importantly, I put myself on a spending freeze for all things that aren't emergencies. Do I get on the computer - of course, I just limit it to my personal time in the evenings.

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Trying to do with less by:

- using whiteboard for math in the younger years instead of tons of workbooks

- not using science curriculum in the elementary/middle school levels, instead we read lots of living books and discussed orally and/or watched a documentary for added learning

- trying to avoid anything with a teacher manual except this year we are going to try MCT and it's been ages since I did 4-level analysis so I bought one TM

- using lots of living books/ classics for language arts instead of a separate vocab, spelling, grammar program (works much better than I expected!)

- always buying quality materials so there's good resale value when we are done

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Having a baby forces a HS momma to simplify.  I thought I kept things simple before... :lol:

 

I'm a CM educator at heart and to the core.  "Does this bring Truth and Beauty to our lives?" is the question as I cull things from our days.  We will do picture study and composer study, folk songs and poetry, but we will do them organically as a part of our family culture or not at all. 

 

 

I am a former math junkie.  I wish I could just pick one and get rid of the rest.  sigh... I'm working on it.  Today, I didn't use any "curric" and my 2nd/3rd dc had great math lessons just flying off the cuff.  I wish I could teach like that everyday.

 

 

 

 

We are considering voice lessons instead of continuing with an instrument.

 

 

Ohhhhh,  I NEVER considered this.  I have always wanted my children to learn an instrument but neither have shown an interest and, well, buying or renting a piano is such an investment in time and space.  And a violin, hmmmm, not our style.  You have solved my dilemma!  

 

Voice requires a minimal amount of piano if seriously studying the voice.  Just an FYI.  In fact, when people ask about voice lessons I often suggest piano lessons instead.  

 

That said, singing - REAL singing - is a dying art.  It's a thrilling art, but rare these days.

 

 

 

So, I have been eyeing TOPS Science units. But I want to simplify my homeschool life. Do I buy them? In the past, I would have. And I may or may not have gotten to them. 

 

Right now, I am going to peruse my science shelf to see if I already own something that might fulfill this same need.

 

No no no.  

 

Delta Science in a Nutshell kits.  There is no additional shopping, no gathering paperclips or straws or batteries, and everything is presented in a clear, clean format.  And, it all comes in a little tote that can be closed and tucked away in the closet.  I will be using these until we've collected them all.

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I'm trying to reconcile a simpler, streamlined school with the concept of living books. I have found, as my oldest student grows, that the need for increased content means more and more and more books to cover the material. It was one big reason why I left my living-book-based curriculum a year ago. I was getting overwhelmed. I love living books, but I also love simplicity. Using the library or a Kindle would solve some issues, but not all. I'm beginning to gravitate toward a textbook/living books hybrid.

 

Another way I am simplifying is cutting down the number of subjects we are covering in a given year. We are focusing on the basics now, not an elaborate history program replete with extra projects.

 

I avoid programs that need supplementing.

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I consider TOPS a wonderful resource for its hands on approach and the ability to use simple things to study science. However, I wouldn't buy TOPS if I wanted to simplify. You end up creating a lot of models/ things/ projects (I guess it depends on the titles you have in mind though) and might need more space to store them. Unless you can be brutal and throw each one away after it is made.

Well, lucky for me, I have a book on my shelf that I got at a curriculum sale for 50 cents called 100 Science Fair Experiments that looks like it will fit the bill for life science experiments this year. I don't need to buy anything after all. :)

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I'm not sure I entirely agree.  Yes, it helps to be able to read music to sing by sight, but I did real singing before I could read music.  I did a lot of singing as a kid (shows, lessons, etc.) and in all those years I could not read music.  I even sang in languages about stuff I had no clue what it was about. 

 

Fast forward to now I have learned how to read music because I'm learning how to play the violin.  I can definitely see where knowing how to read music would be helpful, but I still think singing is doable without being able to read music. 

 

 

My experience in voice lessons, both receiving and giving, is sending home sheet music and coming to lessons prepared to work on the technique, not the notes.  Even before college, just taking private lessons, a piece was *not* worked in lessons if I didn't work out the basics at home.  As far as college goes, I would have been asked to find another major.

 

While you can learn some technique without ever learning to read, I would only recommend that in very rare cases of prodigious talent mixed with severe dyslexia.  

 

 

There is more to it than just sight reading though.  So much ear training happens at the piano, and the voice is interdependent upon the ear.  

 

 

 

I guess it depends upon what you want out of voice lessons though.

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We have a keyboard.  I bought a very basic intro to keyboarding book and I have been able to at least play some basic stuff (and go through the whole do re mi).  I bet you could find some stuff on-line too.

 

This sounds like what we've done in the past.  I had considered formal voice lessons, but after this thread we might just continue on our current path.

 

We left our piano at the last house, so we're trying to decide where to go from here. Thanks for your thoughts!

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This sounds like what we've done in the past.  I had considered formal voice lessons, but after this thread we might just continue on our current path.

 

We left our piano at the last house, so we're trying to decide where to go from here. Thanks for your thoughts!

 

 

An inexpensive keyboard and the basic ability to "pluck" will do for a person wanting to start out in voice.  Don't throw the baby out with the bath water!  

 

 

If there is interest in voice, it's worth pursuing.  If a passion develops, the desire to play piano for piano's sake may never emerge, but the desire to use it as a tool will.  

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An inexpensive keyboard and the basic ability to "pluck" will do for a person wanting to start out in voice.  Don't throw the baby out with the bath water!  

 

 

If there is interest in voice, it's worth pursuing.  If a passion develops, the desire to play piano for piano's sake may never emerge, but the desire to use it as a tool will.  

 

Thanks, this is helpful. When we had the piano, she would sometimes play for fun outside of practice time, but it wasn't a passion in the least. We would also occasionally work out the tune of old songs we had come across so we could sing them. 

 

Hmm....would a used piano be best? Would a keyboard/electronic piano suffice? I do miss having something available to help with tunes.

 

This is such a tough one for me!  How much payoff does something require for it to be worth the time and money?

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Thanks, this is helpful. When we had the piano, she would sometimes play for fun outside of practice time, but it wasn't a passion in the least. We would also occasionally work out the tune of old songs we had come across so we could sing them. 

 

Hmm....would a used piano be best? Would a keyboard/electronic piano suffice? I do miss having something available to help with tunes.

 

This is such a tough one for me!  How much payoff does something require for it to be worth the time and money?

 

 

With the intention of voice lessons?  I'd go with a keyboard b/c they don't go out of tune. 

 

 

How much payoff something requires is completely subjective.  You (and she) may never see any quantifiable benefits to music lessons.  Joy, fulfillment, understanding, the ability to listen, to join in a chorale and feel the music that is greater than oneself, etc...these things cannot be measured.

 

You never know what will click with kids though.  We expose them to art, The Arts, math, science, sports, etc etc etc  so that they find that something that clicks.

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With the intention of voice lessons?  I'd go with a keyboard b/c they don't go out of tune. 

 

 

How much payoff something requires is completely subjective.  You (and she) may never see any quantifiable benefits to music lessons.  Joy, fulfillment, understanding, the ability to listen, to join in a chorale and feel the music that is greater than oneself, etc...these things cannot be measured.

 

You never know what will click with kids though.  We expose them to art, The Arts, math, science, sports, etc etc etc  so that they find that something that clicks.

 

Well said! One payoff we didn't foresee with piano lessons was that when kiddo joined a band program last summer through his piano school, we discovered he can sing too! He was chosen to be lead vocal for one of the songs, played the keyboard while singing and pulled it off quite well for a 9 year old in a predominantly teen band. More than anything it helped with self confidence. I don't like that he sometimes defines himself solely by math or bookish ability. It's nice to discover that working hard at something other than your comfort zone can be extremely fulfilling too.

 

I guess you just never know when an opportunity will present itself.

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With the intention of voice lessons?  I'd go with a keyboard b/c they don't go out of tune. 

 

 

How much payoff something requires is completely subjective.  You (and she) may never see any quantifiable benefits to music lessons.  Joy, fulfillment, understanding, the ability to listen, to join in a chorale and feel the music that is greater than oneself, etc...these things cannot be measured.

 

You never know what will click with kids though.  We expose them to art, The Arts, math, science, sports, etc etc etc  so that they find that something that clicks.

 

That's the rub--you never know. As much as it would be nice to think otherwise, in reality we can never expose children to everything to the point we can be absolutely certain what will click and what won't.

 

Good point about pianos going out of tune. Thanks!

 

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That's sort of a problem, isn't it?

 

There will always be missed opportunities. ALWAYS.

 

I would argue that opportunities are a big reason we have so much clutter in our lives. Making wise use of opportunities can be a challenge.

 

Aaah yes. Certainly. I also missed the part where you mention it wasn't a passion for your DD. We go ahead with piano because despite ups and downs with practicing and life, only being able to afford an old piano and not being able to tune it often enough and so on, there's still a lot of interest. Kiddo doesn't want to give it up although he does grouch on occasion about practice. If there's no passion and only vague interest I would choose something else too.

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Thank you for the extended discussion about voice vs. piano, etc.  I am going to talk to my neighbor about this.  She was/is a professional opera singer and she may have some good thoughts on this.  I do want my children to have some exposure to music but I am just unsure how to go about it.  A lot of Waldorf families I know just groan about the music lessons (all students are required at a certain age) because it is ONE MORE thing.  So I have always been hesitant to go in that direction and commit to the lessons and the instruments.

 

I think that this discussion brings up a very good point about the minimalist approach to homeschooling--not only to keep it simple in terms of the schooling itself, but with the "afterschool" activities.  I find more and more the fewer "organized" activities we do, the happier we are.  This doesn't mean that my children don't do fun things but I do not have "scheduled" things for them.  In our town this is NOT the way to do things and it has taken a long time for me to come to terms with it because it is not what I see around me.  The only thing scheduled this fall is First Lego League for my son.  Other than that, we're on our own. But I'm no longer panicked by it.  AND I'm not complaining about all the driving I'm doing and the fact that no one is ever home for dinner at the same time.  

 

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With regard to music... I think there's a difference between serious voice or instrument study (like, thinking of a college major) or participating in music. DS isn't interested enough to commit to true voice lessons, nor to piano. But he likes music well enough, so we are doing appreciation, and enrolling in a youth choir this fall. He'll learn a lot about voice techniques as well s general music theory, but it takes getting up to much higher levels before such serious commitments are expected.

 

As for curricula... Ugh. I'm in the midst of that right now. I feel like we have too much and would really like to simplify, but I can't decide what can go. Reading through all the good ideas here.

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The Mennonites seriously teach music without instruments of any kind. They teach Solfa. I recently read that CM taught solfa. There are reformed churches in Scotland and other areas of the world that still only sing psalms acappella without instruments, that provide free and low cost materials. I think there are some Baptist churches that teach it too.

 

When I taught acappella, we used a harmonica to hear the notes.

 

I just don't teach this skill anymore. Skills take steady effort to make progress, and I needed to drop things to do better with others. Music SKILLS got dropped, and I'm content to teach it as a content subject.

 

Halcyon, if I want something I think I won't use, I look at something expensive that I think I WILL use, and start a saving up for it. Same thing for something messy or complicated or otherwise not part of my current minimalist agenda. I save up for something even nicer.

 

Minimal is about having less in volume, but not less in quality.

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Halcyon, if I want something I think I won't use, I look at something expensive that I think I WILL use, and start a saving up for it. Same thing for something messy or complicated or otherwise not part of my current minimalist agenda. I save up for something even nicer.

 

Minimal is about having less in volume, but not less in quality.

 

:001_wub:   The like button wasn't good enough.

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Thank you for the extended discussion about voice vs. piano, etc.  I am going to talk to my neighbor about this.  She was/is a professional opera singer and she may have some good thoughts on this.  

 

Great idea!  She might have some resources handy, be willing to spend some time with your dc, etc...  Using the people resources close to us makes sense.  It would be fun to hear her explain an opera, and then go see it.  

 

 

 

Hunter, I'm a fan of solfa.  Mine learn to sing nursery tunes in solfa as they learn to talk, but it takes Mom knowing solfa to make it a natural process...and Mom has to have a great ear or it's a bad idea to begin with. 

 

 

 

 

I'm really struggling with math.  I want simple.  There is just too much going on in this house to do multiple math currics with all 3 students.  

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I sooo enjoyed this!  I need to totally change my approach to school or quit homeschooling.  This gave me some great ideas. I have no money for curriculum this year so we will be working off what I have already.  Problem is what I have already is too complicated.  I'm really trying to go through and let things go that I know I won't do.  If they can read and comprehend, write well, speak well, and do math I'm happy.  Gotta keep it simple this year.  

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4blessingmom, I found it helpful as a mom without a good ear and no training, to FEEL the notes in my mouth while blowing through a harmonica, and encouraged my children to do the same thing. They preferred clay ocarinas as they were Legend of Zelda fans, but that is a whole other story. :lol: Do you think using a small mouth instrument that vibrates is helpful in general for an untrained mom?

 

Kaleidoscope, I've been trying to minimalize for a year, and am lucky I started that while I still had some funds, but I'm having to finish up my minimalization with no funds. Recently I came across the Ambliside geography and nature study plans. I think they are good and use free vintage books. Instead of using the resources over 5 or 6 years you could condense them as your main curricula for a year. I'm also picking up a lot of other free ideas over there.

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Great idea!  She might have some resources handy, be willing to spend some time with your dc, etc...  Using the people resources close to us makes sense.  It would be fun to hear her explain an opera, and then go see it.  

 

 

 

Actually we did get to see an opera last year--one geared towards children.  The production company is soooo wonderful about creating a matinee just for children.  And it is not expensive either!

 

I will talk with her but right now she is in the midst of her busy season so I hate to bother her.  I am very interested in what she has to say.  I don't know why I didn't think of asking her before!  I will definitely report back. . .

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I am greatly enjoying this discussion! :)

 

I by nature am not a minimalist, but I love and agree with the idea that quality over quantity is better in a homeschool setting. I am one of those unfortunate people who is always questioning if we should add something else..."I wonder if we're missing something? Should I add this and this? Do we need to do this too?" And pretty soon we're trying to do 12 hours of school every day. *rolls eyes*

 

Thanks for all the great ideas!

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4blessingmom, I found it helpful as a mom without a good ear and no training, to FEEL the notes in my mouth while blowing through a harmonica, and encouraged my children to do the same thing. They preferred clay ocarinas as they were Legend of Zelda fans, but that is a whole other story. :lol: Do you think using a small mouth instrument that vibrates is helpful in general for an untrained mom?

 

Kaleidoscope, I've been trying to minimalize for a year, and am lucky I started that while I still had some funds, but I'm having to finish up my minimalization with no funds. Recently I came across the Ambliside geography and nature study plans. I think they are good and use free vintage books. Instead of using the resources over 5 or 6 years you could condense them as your main curricula for a year. I'm also picking up a lot of other free ideas over there.

 

 

Yes.  Sound is vibrations. Feeling the vibrations is foundational. Have you ever seen a toddler feel a piano while someone was playing, or touch momma's throat while she sings?  (Try laying underneath a grand piano while someone else plays sometime.  Ethereal experience.  So is singing in a large choir or playing in an orchestra.  It's the vibrations through the whole body in harmony with the sounds in the ear.)  So...yes...you were on the right track.

 

 

Ambleside is a rich resource.  The geography schedule is new.  The more I get into AO, the more I see that it's exactly the perfect balance between simple and rich.  That is, if you don't make the composer/picture/nature studies into ps-style lesson plans.  AO has to be married to CM's philosophy...Education is a life.  My big 3 dc are so close in age and at such mommy-intensive stages that I have to combine for the sake of survival, messing up AO year plans.  (Plus, we love with pink-squishy-hearts SOTW by SWB so we mess up the history.)  My long-term goal is to prepare each of my dc to do HOE though.  I am ever building my home library with AO and HOE in mind.

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4blessing mom, thanks for the explanation about vibration.

 

I'm trying to figure out what parts of AO will work for ME and what parts will not. I'm realizing that I have to figure out a lot of that by myself, instead of trying to engage in group brainstorming. I can be interpreted as being negative and uninformed and rude, if I'm not careful.

 

My iPad mini works so well with vintage texts, which were printed in hardcopy texts that were just about the same size. And the pinch open and scroll feature allows me to effortlessly enlarge pictures, pronunciation marks and anything else that needs to be enlarged.

 

I had NO idea how much I was going to like this iPad mini! It's going to have a major impact on all future homeschool purchases. I've been reading the Handbook of Nature Study on it, and it's so nice not to have to hold that big book. I'm really looking forward to the upcoming Yesterday's Classics version that is coming out soon. On the iPad mini, even just a regular pdf works great, though.

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Yes, I think my ipad has influenced the way i school as well, hunter. Fr one thing, I have all my answer keys on it, which is helpful.

 

Anyway, all this thought of minimalism has impacted the rest of my home, too. I am clearing things away to create more empty space in my home, and my kitchen. I am clearing away duplicates of things, things we don't use. Our house is so peaceful.

 

Now if I can just get dh to part withh his older books that ou can now get on kindle for free. And organize the garage.....

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What is working for me...six weeks on, one week off.

 

This doesn't just apply to school, but to everything.

 

For school...I plan for six weeks, shop for six weeks (projects, because my son loves them), library holds we need for six weeks, books i need to buy for six weeks. only six weeks. If something looks great it will be around later if it really was great. if it wasnt great i wont be able to find it because, well, it probably wasnt that great! I've already got the basics - math and language arts - they work excellent for us so stopped shopping and just buy what I need next when I need it. My plans include art projects, any history or science we want to study, things to do just for with my toddler, field trips I'd like to take, etc.

 

For household...I stock up at Target for six weeks, scrub the house really good, shop for any needs like clothing or shoes or whatever, shop for any random stuff I've been adding to my list the past six weeks, catch up on blogs and Internet sites I enjoy without guilt.

 

Then I tune out the noise (read - I stop going on the computer) for six weeks. I focus on my kids, schooling my kids, enjoying my kids, books I want to read, projects I want to do, tv/movies I want to watch, field trips I planned, etc. But, most importantly, I put myself on a spending freeze for all things that aren't emergencies. Do I get on the computer - of course, I just limit it to my personal time in the evenings.

 

 

I think this is genious, and am considering giving it a try. I'm getting totally addicted to the obsessive curriculum shopping/buying over here. I love this idea, six weeks, then evaluate and prepare for the next six weeks. so simple!

question...do you break from lessons during your week off?

 

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Thursday, I'll have a reasonable flat monthly fee to ride the trains again. Yeah! I can get back to decluttering without having to carry it all on foot the 1 1/2 miles to the post office I prefer to use. I have gotten some exercise the past couple weeks! And stinky sweaty laundry is costing me a fortune.

 

I'm so anxious to declutter more and more. I've just had it with stuff. I feel like it owns me, instead of me owning it.

 

When I actually use the youtube Waldorf planner method, I trust myself to wait to buy purchases. I write them in the box, or just a basic outline of the topics I want to cover and then can rest in waiting till I get closer. I don't have to break. It just helps to plan not to plan until it's time to plan. :lol:

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