Inspiring curriculum - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 10-08-2012, 10:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi everyone,


I have a burning question for you:

What curriculum, books, resources, models etc. have you come across in your homeschooling experience that really, deeply inspired you? Like, you got butterflies in your stomach when you read it and couldn't wait to get with your kids and share the magic?


I'm kind of just picking & choosing as we go along here; making up creative learning dramas when I don't have something better and using published stuff when it looks good. My girls are 4 1/2 and 7, and we're all big into arts, nature, history, and muticultural studies. Could use inspiring suggestions for all of that in general, and also creative math, science, writing. And maybe conflict resolution?


We found Enki and I like a lot of it-- we use it on and off. Some fabulous seasonal stories and poetry and songs, for anyone who hasn't seen it. However, it's not everything.


What makes you and your kids excited to learn?


thanks for sharing any wisdom that occurs to you.

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#2 of 6 Old 10-09-2012, 10:14 AM
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the two I've really liked in recent times have been "I wanna take me a picture" by wendy ewart-a literacy through photography workbook- and playful learning . Both are into social diversity and multiculturalism and ways to give kids a voice through art.

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#3 of 6 Old 10-09-2012, 01:38 PM
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I love Playful Learning too- I bought the book shortly after we began using Enki with my oldest, who was starting grade 2 at the time.

I pull inspiration from Waldorf Ed homeschooling materials mostly, and now that my son is in 3rd we are using Live Ed. We are continuing to use Enki for Kindy with my youngest. I love the cultural stories in the Enki G2 curriculum. My son LOVED learning about other cultures in such a meaningful way.

As for crafts, I use Pinterest for a lot of inspiring craft ideas. For support and inspiration for me, I usually turn to natural learning blogs, magazines (like Life Learning), and John Holt, as well as articles put out by AWSNA (Waldorf) and other Waldorf schools and organizations.

I also try to make time for the most inspiring activities, and for us, this includes: crafts, handwork, seasonal songs and stories, baking, watercoloring, music lessons, and Spanish. My oldest loves pottery classes and my youngest is really into drawing and photography. I try to make time for those things in our schedule, even if it means letting go of some of the more general homeschooling activities we enjoy.
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#4 of 6 Old 10-13-2012, 01:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the great suggestions!

I will be checking them out.

I only have Enki K and 1, so the multicultural angle of grade 2 will be new treasure for us.

And I have the Playful Learning book, but had no idea about the extensive website. It's wonderful.


I just thought of some more I loved using when I was still teaching in a classroom setting-


1.  Spinning Inward, a collection of lovely visualizations and insight on how to use guided imagery to enhance learning.

Using the book as a starting place, you can really get inspiration on how to use the practice in just about any subject area or learning activity.

Kids I have done this with, including mine, really loved it. Great way to access that quiet, reflective space inside them.


2.  Also I enjoyed 'What do You Stand for"- non-preachy character building book- about different ways of being your best self, principles to live by, and true stories of kids staying true to these principles in real life situations (caring, cooperation, fairness, respect)

Meaningful and accessible to kids, encourages them to think about their choices deeply. The version for high school has even more traits.

The author Barbara Lewis also wrote The Kid's Guide To Social Action, another good one.


3.  Oh, and if you have middle or high school age kids, check out Ken Burns' THE WEST documentary-- I've even used parts of it successfully with upper elementary aged kids. It's a moving, multi-faceted story from both Native American, immigrant and pioneer settler points of view, using photos, letters, journals, and stirring narrative from one of the best in the business.

Use with your own imagination or with the teacher's guides that are now available.

Anyone else have favorite resources to share?

This is fun!

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#5 of 6 Old 10-13-2012, 03:33 PM
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Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm have some great books for young kids about how the earth and living things get energy from sunlight: My Light, Living Sunlight, and Ocean Sunlight.  They present some really important concepts in a clear, interesting way, with nice illustrations.  They're simple enough for young kids to understand, but interesting even for adults (and I bet most adults would learn things from them that they didn't already know.) 


For older kids, check out Vi Hart's funny, fascinating math videos. My 9 year old recently watched some of them and fell in love with Mobius strips and hexaflexagons.


Oh, and Scratch is a fun way to introduce kids to programming.

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#6 of 6 Old 10-13-2012, 10:11 PM
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New City Arts blog

Key to Geometry (because it was my favorite math book growing up, and I was ecstatic to find it again)

Historical Connections in Mathematics

Jim Weiss history stories

ballet stories 

so many library books

Christopherus book on how to do Waldorf at home

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