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10 November 2017

Odd Bits: Free Homeschooling Resources


I've been enjoying listening to a number of podcasts lately. They're great for while I'm working on laundry, dishes, or other similar tasks where my hands are busy but my mind is not. And they're free. Gotta love when some of the great minds in Classical Education will share their wisdom and learning for free!


There's actually a lot of Charlotte Mason/Classical Homeschooling how-tos available for free. Ambleside Online (which I love) has a whole free curricula for K-12 education, and there is so much of the Good, the Beautiful, and the True in what they're suggesting. So many good books. The more that I use from their recommendations, the more I am grateful for their generosity. Plus, they have Miss Mason's volumes online for searching, reading, and studying, and a host of other articles and resources. You could get lost in there. If you want to give your children something different, then you have to spend time educating yourself, too. AO does a great job of supporting that process. I use a lot of their stuff.


But if you want something that's taking a specifically LDS approach to a Classical Education, then you might have a look at By Study and Faith: A Modern Charlotte Mason. They have a hymn rotation that focuses on both LDS hymns and also includes some less familiar ones from the larger Christian tradition; that are so many beautiful hymns out there to choose from. Each month, about mid-month, they post an article giving some of the background and history of the current hymn. Oh Say What is Truth was the hymn for October. The next thing they're working on is a scripture reading rotation that takes in, not only the Bible, but the full LDS canon, which will be pretty excited when it's ready to share! In the mean time, there's a number of other resources for how to implement Miss Mason's suggestions for gospel study within the LDS understanding of Christian theology. They've also got a growing collection of materials for studying various languages -- including some of the more obscure languages that our returned missionaries sometimes know, to assist in teaching those languages to our children, which is pretty cool. And that's all free, too.


Our main math spine is MEP (Mathematics Enhancement Programe), which is a full math curricula developed in the UK, also available for free. We started using it because it's free, but I'm really liking it (except that it's complected to switch into from Mequon, since the scope and sequence are very different). But it's really very good at teaching real mathematical thinking: in addition to helping kids get competent at working problems, it also trains them to think like mathematicians. Our first activity in MEP is a great example of some of the fun stuff, and the way that they emphasize patterns throughout. It remains my favorite thing we've done with MEP so far.


Librivox is a treasure trove of classic literature: free audio books, read by volunteers. And nearly all of the recordings we've listened to have been very nice. I love the variety of exotic accents that you hear, listening to different titles! We've listened to Pollyanna, Just David, a couple of Shakespeare plays, The Burgess Bird Book for Children, Children of Odin, By Pike and Dyke, quite a few retellings of Greek and Roman myths, the Declaration of Independence, Bastiat's essays, Pride and Prejudice... I don't even remember them all. The kids routinely ask me if they can use my old phone (Librivox has a mobile app) so they can re-listen to some of the great literature while they play. Uh... YES! Use my phone!


These are my favorite free resources, but they're hardly the only free things out there. You can click the button for more of the Homeschool Review Crew's favorite free links:

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