Category Archives: Lessons

High School Health the Classic Way

I wanted to approach health, which is a half-credit requirement for high school graduation under normal school standards, in a more classical or Charlotte-Mason style.

And so it began …

Grade Level 9-12      

½ Credit = 60 hours

Target Content Areas

  • Personal Health & Wellness
  • Anatomy
  • Nutritional Choices
  • Mental Health
  • Injury and Harm
  • Family Living and Healthy Sexuality
  • Alcohol, Tobacco, and other Drugs Continue reading

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Filed under Health & PE, Lessons

Do You Need A Report Card?

I love the format of the Report Card in HST+; however, it is not available without adding grades.  What if you evaluate portfolios?  You would have to add this to HST in order to grade it.  I use a rating system with a list of required items.  Once I check the list, I mark a letter grade.  I want to assign that letter grade without fuss or adding “test” items to HST.

As a consequence, I do not have a report card! Continue reading

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Filed under General, Lessons

Let’s Study Poetry

April is National Poetry Month


While visiting their site, I found quite a few ingenious ways to begin incorporating poetry into our lives!  Look here.

Oh dear, there are quite a number of ways to study poetry.  I have decided that I will not “teach” poetry.  I feel that there is a very distinct difference from studying or experiencing poetry versus teaching poetry.

I want to develop a love and appreciation for this type of writing, and not just the elements and semantics.  Come with me and see what I have been considering and investigating!

How can I do this?

Maybe …

  1. Pick a favorite poet.
  2. Read this poet’s works for several weeks.
  3. Copy the poems into a notebook.  I prefer copywork myself; however, you could choose select passages or sentences for dictation.
  4. Read a biography about the poet and summarize in the poetry journal.
  5. Practice reading the poem aloud and recite formally.
  6. Narrate or summarize the poem.

This is a straightforward approach that is very simple.

I like that this is a read-and-enjoy method.

Poetry | Simply Charlotte Mason

The Charlotte Mason Approach to Poetry | Homeschool World

And perhaps…

I could use a more formal resource like Simply Poetry.    The selections are made.  It is in a format that can be downloaded and/or printed.  I like the new vocabulary defined and discussion questions.  There are actual “things” to do with the poem.  It is still very friendly, but extends to cover more of the things that you would expect from studying poetry, such as looking at the elements and content in association with their meaning or intent.  On the surface, it has been designed and influenced by Charlotte Mason, but with the classical expectations incorporated.

The selections are age appropriate.  This is a great first step.  Perhaps the most important step.  The careful selection of poetry that could be beyond my student would be a daunting task.  The discussion questions would help to create an element of comfort when reading and discussing the selection.

I do not think that too many of us would be able to sit with a poem and be able to expound on the content, style, meaning, beauty, passion, and intent with ease.  This is not something that was taught in a mainstream education.  Most of my own poetry exposure was not much more than the briefest glimpse of this form of writing coupled with rote memorization for a quiz or test.  I did not enjoy the poetry for what it was either.  Being the avid blog reader that I am, I was reading on The Charlotte Mason Girl many of the same sentiments.  I cannot admonish this type of learning, but I do not think that I need to implement it just because it was how I was taught – and “being taught” is what I am trying to avoid, or feel that I should avoid.

And, just in case…

I debate with myself constantly on whether or not an informal approach, such as that proposed by Charlotte Mason, would serve in our best interests.  Undoubtedly, the freedom is what is worth the consideration.  However, how do I present rhythm, assonance, alliteration, or any of the other numerous elements and styles without instruction?

Simply Poetry does provide this type of instruction in a very informal manner.  Can I be secure in this fact?  I really need to see these books!

Recently, I looked at the Poetics Program that was created by Michael Clay Thompson.  It appears very structured, but worth my interest.  I can see where it could serve me well in the later years.  I wish to be much more relaxed at this point.  This just seems so ….” textie bookie” for me.  However, that is exactly where I will be going with the educational adventure come the high school years.  I suppose that this type of guided approach is not so bad.  It can’t be bad and loved by many.

I just really like the freedom to learn over the confines of being taught.

As well, The Art of Poetry at Classical Academic Express seems to be a guided approach to the study of poetry, but it would fit well into my endeavor to explore and learn about poetry versus being taught about poetry.  The blurb does suggest middle through high school for the primal range of use.  I think this book coupled with the more CM-styled approach first mentioned would accent each other well.

However, with poetry not being a focus other than for historical reading, i.e. The Star-Spangled Banner, we would more than likely drown with such a focus or study of a selection.  So, I have noted this wonderful resource, and I will wait patiently for the time in which it can serve its purpose well.

Finally …

I believe that the informal approach with the aid of Simply Poetry will work well at this time.  I plan to review the books and their contents and decide on a starting level soon.  Until then, I will begin by going to the library and asking “little fish” to choose an anthology and begin building her poetry journal.

I have been looking at some additional resources too.  I love the “Best” books, Best Poems.

Daily Warm-ups, which are reproducible, are great little books packed with a punch.  I could not believe it when I found the Poetry book.  If you want to keep things short and sweet, the Daily Warm-up with 180 pages should provide you with enough writing prompts, instruction, and exposure to make sure that poetry is covered significantly without eating away at your instructional time.  On average, the lessons usually take about 10 to 15 minutes.

Let me know what you find!

I would be most appreciative if you would, in fact, share your own resources.



Free Poetry Unit

Grammar of Poetry

Classical Writing, Poetry for Beginners

Excellence in Writing

Progeny Press, Introduction to Poetry

Poetry For Children Lapbook  | Homeschool Helper(free)

And, of course, visit CurrClick.  Type “poetry” into the search bar to be overwhelmed with resources!

While poetic narration is not directly applicable, you should read this article:

Poetic Narration Demystified | Charlotte Mason Help

Update:  I found a delightful book that is very similar to Simply Poetry.  While I plan to use Simply Poetry for the remainder of this year and our sixth year, I believe that I will incorporate Jabberwocky: Poetry studies for Junior High.  I had to share this with you.  You can find it at the popular sites such as Living Books Curriculum and Rainbow Resource.


Filed under Language Arts, Lessons, Resources

Copywork Links, Notes, and Resources

I am an advocate for copywork.

We use it for history to include eyewitness and nonfiction writing selections in our notebooks. We use it in science to remember facts, processes, and terminology. We use it to record literary elements.  We use it to practice math facts and memorize skip counting.  We use it in our notebook studies, journals, and smashes.

I still do not believe that I use it well or provide enough opportunity for it to serve academically.

Here are some links, comments and notes, as well as some of my creations!

These are three persuasive sites to encourage you to use copywork:

What is copywork? | Trivium Academy

Benefits of Copywork

Copywork in Our Home | Charlotte Mason Help

Why Do Copywork and Dictation? | The Well-Trained Mind

How should you start copywork?

Copywork and Dictation |

Our Approach to Copywork | Homegrown Learners (with great link to a free worksheet generator)

Copywork could be more of a chore than an aid or enhancement. 

I use StartWrite.  This is a program well suited for copywork.  You type in your copywork or copy and paste from another resource, i.e. the internet, a document, or PDF. If you visit their site, you will know what is available to you.  I use and teach Modern Cursive.  All of my files are ball-and-stick manuscript or modern cursive.

However, with a few clicks you can change the writing font, as well as the size.  You can add graphics and illustrations easily.  The cost is low if you consider how much you would spend in copybooks.  As well, you would not be able to tailor the copywork specifically to the student’s study content.

Download Multiplication Copywork (pdf) Zip File

Ancient History Copywork

Where do you find copywork books?

Queens Homeschool (Sandi Queen)

Memoria Press

Ambleside Copywork Project

Bravewriter (Arrow or Boomerang)

Memory Gems and Copywork

Homeschool Notebooking

The History Scribe

You can visit these copywork resource links too.

Copywork | Practical Pages

Copywork and Handwriting Practice for Homeschoolers | That Resource Site

Booklet for GW’s Rules of Civility |

Honestly, I pulled many of the above items and links from my digital notes and folders.  With the recent endeavor to find a way to approach spelling that is more visual, I found myself digging through these jots and links.  I wanted to share them with you!


Filed under General, Handwriting, Lessons, Resources