JD has been helping me with the links list. I wanted to comment on a couple of them. I am painfully aware of homeschooling mother overload syndrome! So I want to give this disclaimer. I DO NOT do everything suggested on any homeschooling site I read. I do try and glean from their ideas and wisdom and translate it into my and my family's goals, lifestyle, and interests.
That being said, about three years ago God lead me to Lindafay's Higher Up and Further in blog. She and her family were still in Turkey at the time, but they have since returned to the U.S. I had just finished reading the "Charlotte Mason Companion" by Karen Andreola for the second time. I was looking for a way to DO both Karen's and Charlotte Mason's ideas in my home. I needed a road map that would organize my large family's program without overloading me and that would help me feel better about our home education. See after fifteen years of homeschooling I was so burnt out. I was miserable. In my heart the longings for what I wanted to achieve in the relationships with my children and in their educations were FAR from what I felt we were doing. It was not that I had failed in every way, it was just trying to walk towards that which I knew intuitively God wanted for me and the family. But I had fear of leaving familiar paths and starting to walk in less charted territory.
Then I found Lindafay. I remember the first night I started reading what she had to say. I sat and wept that I had missed out on so much more joy with my children and family. She wrote in such clear terms with such great ideas and outlined how she implemented her version of Miss Mason's ideas. I planned right away to start having a Literary Society night once a month. I planned more feasts and less dry crumbs for my family. It really helped that she showed me a way to keep track of what each child would be doing. I needed some way for me to give each child accountability as we tried to instill new habits and learn new things. Check out her daily checklist chart under her organization tips. It would be fabulous for whatever you are doing! Give yourself time to absorb her many creative ideas. It will be well worth your time. The last three years of our homeschooling has been transformed and I and the children are happier and more at peace. I actually like what we do now instead of trying to get through it each day so we can do something else.
The Classical Homeschoolers site has my favorite book lists. They have a 1,000 Good Books list that we have used for 10 years. My oldest child started rating each book and now I use her ratings for choosing what the other children might pick off the list. Not EVERY book on the list would be considered reading material by EVERY family. The site also has a list of the books of the western tradition. Also some very intellectual recommendations for readings for each level of student.
And lastly, but NOT least is Elizabeth Foss. About the same time I started reading Lindafay's blog, I found Elizabeth's book "Real Learning: Education in the Heart of the Home". I love her writing, her encouragement, her pointing the way to knowing your children's hearts. Knowing their hearts is so much more important that any academic program. She tells mothers to "abandon the system" and bring a lifestyle of learning into your home. I know that my Protestant friends will be a little disturbed that Mrs. Foss is Catholic, but from her writing you can tell her heart is to live Christ in daily devotional living. So I hope that Protestant mothers will try and glean from her wisdom and her love for God.
After 18 years of home education these are three top favorites. I have a huge list of others I use for different reasons, but these I have gained the most from.
---posted by Queen Lucy