I've been using a curriculum outline from Elizabeth Foss's Serendipity website called, Literature for Young Ladies for my twelve year old daughter this year. It's a two year, literature based approach, integrating several subjects, focusing around the Victorian period. It's divided into "flower baskets", lasting approximately two months each. We're finishing up the first one, called the Sunflower basket, and I thought I'd share a little about how it's going. The program, as is, is wonderful, but the beauty of it, is how easy it is to tailor the curriculum to suit individual needs. Here's how it worked in our home:
*Picures included in this post are from Pinterest. We intergrated the ideas they inspired into Botany/Art
Books read: The Story Girl by LM Montgomery- the original schedule called for Anne of Green Gables, but Grace had recently read it, so we replaced it with Story Girl, by the same author. We both enjoyed it. Writing Component....character synopsis of all main characters
Louisa May Alcott- I gave Grace a complete treasury and let her choose the stories. She had already read the originally scheduled, Little Women. She chose The Mysterious Key and What it Opened, Marjorie and the Three Gifts, Roses and Forget-Me-Nots, Candy Country, and Eight Cousins. Writing.....brief synopsis on each story in her literature journal.
In the Days of Queen Victoria, by Eva March Tappen- we both liked this book and found it interesting-though not altogether trustworthy. The author seemed to have a view that the Queen could do no wrong, romanticizing extensively and moralizing upon the life of Victoria. We compared this style to another book written around the same period, Little Lord Fauntleroy. Writing.....using the book and additional research, Grace made a timeline covering the reign of Victoria.
Bonus- Watched these movies: Young Victoria, Little Women, Manor House, and Mrs. Brown. I also added the Jump In writing workbook about halfway through because I didn't feel like she was getting enough writing instruction. She does one exercise a day, for about 15 minutes.
The original curriculum is Catholic and has some lovely books. But I decided to use this time for Grace to learn about our own church doctrine. Grace watched the Doctrine series from the Mars Hill website. She also read Beautiful Girlhood.
Monday- The Botany Coloring Book, Tuesday- copy work or dictation (using seasonal poetry) into her nature journal and sketching, as inspired by The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady, Wednesday- nature walk/ write observations in nature notebook, look up any unknown plants/animals in field guide, Thursday- Botany in a Day, Friday- read from The Edwardian Lady: The Story of Edith Holden.
Bonus- Watched Botany of Desire
Books: Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer (not a favorite for Grace), The Family Manager Takes Charge by Kathy Peel (she loved this), and Home Comforts(used as a reference).
Practice: -Once a week Grace picks a recipe, writes down the ingredients to buy and cooks it the next day...this is usually a dessert because her ballet schedule prevents her from being home at dinner.
-She has arranged flowers, started a Pinterest board for home ideas and recipes, and has carried out some of the cleaning/organization tips she read about.
Subjects below are not part of the Sunflower basket
Grace is using Khan Academyfor her math work. The format of this program, showing a map to more advance levels of math, has been highly motivating for my daughter. This is completely free, and I am still amazed at how good it is.
Grace uses Byki Academy, videos, and a monthy, local French Club. Byki Academy has been very good but she gets bored with it on it's own, so we switch back and forth every other day between videos and Byki. Byki says that it is free on the website, and it is...to a point. We had to upgrade the program so that we could import more word lists. I thought it was worth the price, but I also would have appreciated knowing, before we committed to it, that the "free" part doesn't last long.
Ballet is a big part of the reason that Grace is home schooled this year. She goes to class five days a week, for three+ hours a day. Rehearsals for Nutcracker are in addition to her classes. With this kind of schedule, we rarely saw her last year when she was in public school, and her time at home was spent doing homework. We are thankful that we get to see her more often now.
The Sunflower basket, as outlined on Serendipity, has many more great suggestions that we omitted from our plans because of the time required for ballet. I'm looking forward to starting the next, "Ivy Basket" and am grateful for the generosity that Elizabeth Foss has shown in sharing these resources on her website. I posted my own plans here as a way to share some resources that I love and as a way to show how I customized them to suit us. I hope it's helpful.
Aren't these desserts beautiful? They were made by a couple of talented friends, in celebration of another friend's marriage. I didn't have to just admire them from afar either. I got to eat them, gluten and all....and they were so very delicious. My thirty day gluten free trial ended this weekend with a trip to the bagel shop for breakfast. I was feeling good and was ready to test it out. Happily, nothing happened! So I'm back to eating foods with gluten, in moderation.
I did learn to cook some new recipes through the process of going gluten free, ones I will be keeping in my rotation from now on. It was a good way to stretch my skills in the kitchen. I'll be sharing some of my favorite new recipes here in the next few weeks.
Life has been full, happy, and busy, though not as busy as my absence here lately might suggest. I just haven't had much access to my computer. As my kids get older, they need to use the computer more often, yet our family of four has been sharing one laptop. We finally went ahead and ordered another one- and it should be arriving tomorrow!
Last night, we were at a BBQ/wedding reception. Trent learned that he loves to play pool, and I learned to cook something that I thought I would never like- and ended up loving it. Baked beans were what I was assigned to bring to this party. A friend shared her grandma's recipe with me since I had never cooked or enjoyed eating baked beans before. That has all changed after eating these. I liked them so much that I'll share the recipe with you. Trust me, they're amazing!
1 LARGE can of bushes baked beans (not drained)
1 can of white or dark red kidney beans (drained)
1 can of butter beans (drained)
1/2 lb bacon crumbled
1/2 lb fried hamburger
1 medium onion
1/4 C ketchup (or more)
1/2 C brown sugar
Bake at 350 for 1 hour
My son received a letter this weekend from his old school in Wenatchee that contained a Flat Stacey. She is based on the Flat Stanley book series. The school has a website that shows the travels of Stacey and Stanley. It's a fun project and we were happy to show Flat Stacey around Seattle before sending her back to Wenatchee. We needed to take my daughter to a ballet rehearsal downtown and had some time to kill while we waited. This is what we did......
I was sitting in a group meeting the other night, and we started out with a "ice-breaker" question. We had to go around the room and name some person that we'd like to switch places with for a day. I was at the beginning, so I had very little time to think about my answer. I said, "Rachel Zoe, the celebrity stylist, because she gets to play with beautiful clothes all day". I also said this because I was thinking about the above quote, which I had read earlier, and how foreign that idea was to the way I actually lived my life. I didn't want it to be. Nevertheless, I was immediately horrified about the answer I gave, because I didn't want people to judge me as shallow or frivolous. See what I mean? The truth is, I'm not shallow or frivolous and I love beautiful clothes and glamour. I'm unapologetic for that.
That question, and the group's response to it, was interesting. I don't think I'm the only one who struggles with the need to cover up or apologize for who I am. Here's what I observed: many people turned red in the face and/or apologized for their answers, and the farther around the circle we got (meaning these people had more time to think of a "good" answer) the more noble the answers became.
I've put together a mood board with some favorite images I've collected from pinterest. I'm calling this one, Glamour.