Loving School (and some great freebies for art study, math, writing, and studies on John Cabot and Leonardo da Vinci too!)

iloveSchoolladiestshirtI may not be  posting as regularly as I had the luxury of doing during the summer.  School is upon us, and this year we are not doing “school in a box” as before.  We have adopted a more Charlotte Mason (click the link for Ambleside.com–free curriculum) direction this year, and, although much more labor intensive, we are finally beginning to love learning together.

Charlotte Mason was a proponent of using “living books” as a very large part of her curriculum, and I have found that in our time, more than ever before, it is so easy to make education come alive.  Not only do we have access (and freely, many times through the web) to wonderful and inspiring classic literature, but there is so much more available to us today.  And, I have found that with resources on the web, and selecting great historical fiction and biographies, history is now compelling  for our kids as never before–not just a list of names and dates to memorize.

Just last night I found a web site featuring a re-creation of John Cabot’s ship, The Matthew, with great video footage.  Also, as we study Leonardo da  Vinci, I learned we can peruse one of his codices (which was purchased for $31 million by Bill Gates and put into electronic format) online.  Wow.  Also, an interactive website which allows you to learn about Renaissance art in Leonardo’s “studio,”  and another from a museum that is devoted to his works, building scale models of many of his inventions from his notebooks.

Found a web site that offers coloring pages for famous works of art, and my daughter had a great time doing her own rendition of the famous portrait of Henry VIII by Holbein.

Currently, we are reading exciting literature like The Jungle Book and The Princess and the Goblin.  The kids are loving it.  We are learning Blake’s “The Lamb” and memorizing from Proverbs.  The kids just got done reading some tall tales about Paul Bunyan and are about to write their own.  Also for writing, I found a really slick website at Storybird, where kids (and adults) can write their own books.  Simply enter title, text, select from an array of fun illustrations, and there it is.  Click here for a Flash intro.  Really fun.

I found a terrific online math program for free at Mindsprint.com .  There is a pre-test to ensure accurate placement.  Each printable lesson has an overview, problems to work, as well as optional homework.  Scores are recorded prior to advancing to the next lesson.  There is even free tutoring, if you need it.

We are on a strict budget this year, and I can say that by visiting our used book store, using the computer, and taking advantage of back to school sales, we have spent maybe $25 altogether this year.  What a blessing.  I also believe in being forced out of the pricey packaged curriculum arena, we have finally found our niche.

A breath of fresh air.

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