Homeschooling in Community

Being a part of a homeschool co-op has created some of our best homeschool memories, and it offered some amazing benefits for our family. In this post I share some of my experiences with you.

I’ve been creating my own homeschool co-op experience for many years. When my oldest five children were very young, we were members of an early American history co-op, and I can vividly recall the picture of my very young son galloping around the corner of our friend’s house on his stick horse singing, “ And The Shot Heard Round The World, Was the Start of The Revolution’ which he had memorized from Schoolhouse Rock.

That group of families were to be my co-op buddies for several years, during which time we dressed up as Vikings and pretended we were on a longship, made soap, dipped candles, built tipis and ground acorns, and did many amazing projects that made history come alive for our children.


Being a part of a homeschool co-op has created some of our best homeschool memories, and it  offered some amazing benefits for our family.

Co-ops help us create community.

John Eldridge in the book, Waking The Dead says this about community, ”Small core fellowship is the essential ingredient for the Christian life. Jesus modeled it for us for a reason. Sure, he spoke to the masses, But he lived in a little platoon, a small fellowship of friends and allies. His followers took his example and live this way too. “They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.”(Acts 2:46)

If community is an essential ingredient for the Christian life, it is even more desperate for the homeschool life.

Our needs for community as families can change throughout the years, and one of the beauties of homeschooling is that it creates strong family bonds, simply because we are always together. It can be a lonely road though if we don’t take the time to create community. 

Peaceful Press Homeschool Coop


When we gather with a few other families each week or month to learn together, we get the sweet experience of developing deeper relationships. The best way to create authentic relationships is to do real stuff together, it’s really hard to keep up a perfect mom mirage when we are trying to figure out with our kids how to make soap for the first time or how to dissect a frog.

We need people, homeschooling can be a lonely journey, and we and our children need the encouragement and the friendship that comes when we get together on a regular basis with other families.


Another reason to start a homeschool co-op is so that our children can learn things that we know nothing about.

When our kids are little, they just need some other kids to play with who they can get along with, but as they grow, distinct interests start to emerge, which it is important to cultivate. Starting a homeschool co-op is an amazing way to meet specific needs. 

One of my sons started expressing an interest in movie making, and so my daughter pulled together a class of teenagers for a literature and film class. They read British classics by authors  such as George Orwell and GK Chesterton and then made a short film based on some of the philosophy that they learned.

High school science has never been my strong suit, and so for my children’s high school science requirements I joined with some other families for a multi age co-op. I taught about birds to the elementary students while another mom taught biology to the high school students.

Co-ops provide accountability.

It’s easy as homeschool moms to vacillate between feeling completely inadequate while at other times feeling over confident. We so often are wondering if we are doing enough with our kids and a homeschool co-op can be a great way to evaluate where we are as teachers.

When we gather with other moms, we are able to evaluate where our children are in relation to other kids. We don’t want to fall into the public school mentality of measuring kids worth by their test scores, but as teachers, we are constantly judging ourselves to see if we are on track.  A co-op can highlight areas to improve, and help us see the ways that we are doing better than we think.


A homeschool co-op can also help us to keep homeschooling even when we don’t feel like it. When we know that our children have a book report due to present to our co-op we will put in the effort even if we’d rather stay in bed all day watching I Love Lucy. On the other hand, if we have a crisis and can’t homeschool for a few weeks, we have our co-op to help keep our kids learning even when we are MIA.


With a homeschool co-op, we have the accountability for ourselves and our children that comes when we get together with people.

How to get started with your homeschool co-op?

The first step is to pick a focus. Your focus could be a certain curriculum you are studying from, or a certain subject. It could be many subjects in one day, or you could focus on only history or science.

 What is an area that you struggle with teaching and need more accountability? What is an area that you are great at and want your children to love?

Next, pick some friends to invite. Write down 5-10 names of friends that you would enjoy meeting with regularly or whose kids your kids click with. If you don’t have 5 homeschool friends, check the location threads in The Peaceful Press FB groups, or look for a local homeschool group through Free Forest Schools or Wild and Free. 

Once you have gathered a group of friends, you will want to meet to discuss some details for the group. 

You can either plan this ahead of time, and present it to your friends, or have a moms night out to make your plans together.

Download our free co-op guides!


Create a Schedule

The next step is to create a schedule of how often to meet. One of our favorite co-ops only met once a month. We’ve also had co-ops that met every other week which was the perfect spacing to cover a whole module of high school science, and we’ve had once a week co-ops which are great for developing close relationships.

You also need to decide what to study. We had several years of co-ops focused especially around history, and then another several years that were focused especially around science. Our Peaceful Press co-op guides include a little bit of science and history, and you could even add in some math facts and presentation skills.


You also need to decide where to meet. We rotated the host, and usually had whoever was hosting for the week provide a snack. At other co-ops, every person brought a food item to contribute to a period themed lunch. By rotating homes, no family was overly burdened. If you need to rent space, you will also need to charge a fee to cover the rent as well as any insurance costs.

Make some rules.

 It is important to also have some ground rules. For most of my co-op experiences, I had already spent quite a bit of time with these families and I knew their children. We strove to be accepting of the fact that children are all different, and yet also had some rules for behavior such as not talking while a parent or other student is giving a presentation, as well as not running around the house with melted beeswax.

Week Ten The Peaceful Press


Delegate duties.

The last step is to delegate duties. In most of our co-ops we simply rotated who was in charge of which activity, with the exception of co-ops such as the British Literature one that my daughter taught where we all contributed to pay her for teaching, or a co-op such our science ones where each mom chose the activity they were most interested in.

Homeschooling in community provided many of our best memories from our school years, and we hope that you can develop this community as well.


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Peaceful Press Coop

A Morning Time Plan

I began homeschooling after experiencing public school, my decision to homeschool was in part motivated by fear of my children experiencing the same thing. I remember after we decided to start, peeking in on a homeschool family that was looking so idyllic and I wish my first day had looked like that. It was a train wreck, there was yelling (me and the kids), crying in the bathroom (me), but we pushed through!


I began homeschooling after experiencing public school, my decision to homeschool was in part motivated by fear of my children experiencing the same thing. I remember after we decided to start, peeking in on a homeschool family that was looking so idyllic and I wish my first day had looked like that. It was a train wreck, there was yelling (me and the kids), crying in the bathroom (me), but we pushed through!

One consistent piece of wisdom from seasoned homeschool moms was, “Read to your kids....a lot”. So I did. right from the beginning. I believed them and held on to their advice.

Evolving Philosophy

I had a traditional beginning, clinging to my teacher appointed checklist and the Classical Conversations framework that I found soon after, but I felt that something was missing. (More about CC here)

I later discovered Waldorf and found the beauty I was craving, through the emphasis on quality materials, handcrafts, recipes, and a beautiful home life. (Read this for more insight on Waldorf in the early years)

When I finally started diving into Charlotte Mason philosophy, I found a framework that encompassed all of the best of the methods I’d been exploring, not as absolutes, but as tools for laying the feast. (This book gives a great overview of Charlotte Mason philosophy)

One of the parts of Charlotte Mason homeschooling that appealed the most to me was morning time, otherwise known as morning basket, circle time, and even morning collective. It is a gathering time of family worship, learning, and talking that creates a culture in our home.

It began as just a read-aloud time, but after a year I realized that we were missing Bible (and most spiritual training) so we added that in as well and it expanded from there.

A morning time plan The Peaceful Press

Here is an example of our current rhythm.

We begin with a hymn

“A great hymn embodies the purest concentrated thoughts of some lofty saint who may have long ago gone from the earth and left little or nothing behind him except that hymn.
To read or sing a true hymn is to join in the act of worship with a great and gifted soul in his moments of intimate devotion.
It is to hear a lover of Christ explaining to his Saviour why he loves Him; it is to listen in without embarrassment on the softest whisperings of undying love between the bride and the heavenly Bridegroom.” – AW Tozer


We spend about a month per hymn and find them through Happy Hymnody or similar resources (The Kind KIngdom includes a monthly hymn). We memorize one stanza a week and then review it as we go.
Starting with hymns is a nice transition into the school day and often helps with crummy moods. It’s hard to hold onto frustration after singing “Be Thou My Vision” or “Battle Hymn of the Republic” .

Prayer Time

We ask for prayer requests and talk about needs around us using a variety of resources to stay aware of needs.

The Joshua Project, and Pray for the World by Open Doors USA are resources we use that also include geography lessons, and we broaden the prayers of our children, as we pray for brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. We also let the children pray for what moves their hearts.

Read the Word

I ask my children about their personal Bible reading time and then read small sections of scripture. We also read a Proverb of the day and then I ask for thoughts or what stood out to them.
Charlotte Mason encourages us to simply read the Word and let them wrestle with it, not to do much teaching and so I try to keep it at just reading and asking.

Character Studies

24 Family Ways by Clay and Sally Clarkson is our current read and I love the conversations that stem from it.

Memory Work

We learn larger sections of scripture that I choose through my own reading, and sometimes we work on poems or other writings. Recitation nights once per month encourage kids to work hard on memory work. If you can find a couple of families to do this with it creates such a sweet time. (Download free Bible memory cards to correspond with our resources here)

Catechism Question

To catechize a child is to “to teach orally or instruct by word of mouth” reciting “Doctrinal Standards of many churches in the world”. It’s a way of passing on our faith to our children.

I use New City Catechism by Tim Keller (52 questions and answers) and we repeat it until we know it. (The Ology is another great catechism resource)

A morning time plan The Peaceful Press Baking

Artist Study

We study one artist per 12-week term, and I begin with reading the artist bio. Then I show the print for (2-3 min), study it, hide it, and have the children tell me what they remember about it. The next time we do artist study, I have them study the photo and then rough sketch it from memory. You could also print an extra copy of the art, and make it into a puzzle for them to recreate. (Each 30 week Peaceful Press Elementary Guide includes art prints to correspond with the reading).


Handcraft

We do one handcraft per term and do focused teaching until they are confident. My children usually work on the handcraft while I am reading aloud. We do knitting, weaving, paper airplanes and origami, and a weekly cooking lesson.

History

We read from our history texts twice each week, and my children narrate back what they have heard. Know and Tell by Karen Glass is a great narration resource for parents.

Science

We read twice weekly from science-related books, such as those by Holling C. Holling, Christian Liberty Nature Readers, or suggested reading from Exploring Nature With Children.

At this point, I might send older children to work independently and then read from fairy tales, historical fiction, fables, and poetry to my younger children. We might also read from a geography text, look at our Pin It Maps, or listen to classical music and talk about the composer.

All of this is done in about 1 1/2 hours, and we stick to a four-day morning time plan. I use Fridays as a catch up for anything unfinished and review old memory work on Friday. I keep a list of past scriptures, songs, and poems so that we can continue to review them.

Preparation

I keep all of my morning time books in a crate and I take a look at my big plan on Sunday and pull every book I will need for the week. I place bookmarks where appropriate, and label them according to the day I will read, or the subject.

There are seasons when morning time looks different, maybe you will have morning time in the afternoon during babies nap time, or look at morning time as a training time with toddlers. You can even do a special summer morning time to catch up on subjects you couldn’t fit into the school year.

Action Step

Brainstorm a list of subjects you would like to study with your children, and write them down for future morning time studies, i.e foreign language, logic, grammar, apologetics, holiday themes, etc.

Final Thoughts

As you build your morning time, pray and ask the Lord what he wants you to be reading to your children? Children learn best from passionate teachers, and what is on one mama’s must-read list, might not be on yours. Consider what lights you up, and what you are interested in studying with your children as you form a plan.
Build slowly. Start with just a few things, but keep a list of things you’d like to add. Don’t be afraid to remove things that aren’t working. There’s always something to take its spot.

Have Fun! Laugh with your kids, keep them on their toes.

And when you are in a season of struggling with babies, or toddler or teens and asking, “Where’s the fruit?” Remember this, God Himself sowed seeds that laid dormant for a time. We need to trust that the seeds we are sowing will spring to life when he sends living water. I’m trusting Him that HE will do something with all of that work.

Gen 2:5 Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth, and there was no one to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground.

Stephanie Frediani is the mother of four children, an avid gardener, expert baker, and student of missional living. You can find her on Instagram at @stephfrediani

A morning time plan The Peaceful Press Globe

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The Playful Pioneers

A Kindergarten Plan

A Peaceful Planner

A Playful Pioneers Planning Sheets

A Kindergarten Plan

Many families are using our one month nature guides as a transition from   The Peaceful Preschool   to   The Playful Pioneers,     The KInd KIngdom  , or   The Precious People   for 4-6 year old children, and we wanted to give you a few tips for making a transitional kindergarten plan that is sustainable and developmentally appropriate.

Many families are using our one month nature guides as a transition from The Peaceful Preschool to The Playful Pioneers, The KInd KIngdom, or The Precious People for 4-6 year old children, and we wanted to give you a few tips for making a transitional kindergarten plan that is sustainable and developmentally appropriate.

“In this time of extraordinary pressure, educational and social, perhaps a mother’s first duty to her children is to secure for them a quiet and growing time, a full six years of passive receptive life, the waking part of it for the most part spent out in the fresh air.”

Charlotte Mason

The Nature Guides all include a read aloud selection, phonics and counting skills activities, fine and large motor skills, art and practical skills centered around nature themes. To create a complete kindergarten year, you could just use a different guide for each month, and if your child was getting through the activities and needed more learning opportunities, you could add in extra math or phonics, and a read aloud selection.

Peaceful Press Mountain Guide Picture in A Kindergarten Plan post

Simply start your day with a morning time rhythm that includes your read alouds for the day, and then move on to the activities, alternating seat work with more active tasks so that young children can stay engaged. In a Charlotte Mason homeschool, the formal learning would be done by noon, leaving plenty of time in the day for imaginative play, naps, and some alone time so that mama can regroup.

Chapter Book Suggestions

Ocean Guide-Pagoo by Holling C. Holling

Garden Guide-A Beatrix Potter Treasury by Beatrix Potter

Freshwater Guide-Paddle to the Sea by Holling C. Holling

Tree Guide-Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne

Christmas Guide-The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

Sky Guide-The Drinking Gourd by F.N. Monjo

Farm Guide- Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Mountain Guide-Heidi by Johanna Spyri

The early childhood years should be delight led, and as you center your learning around great books, fun activities, and togetherness, you are laying a foundation for learning that will infuse your child with the confidence to pursue their dreams and the skills to learn.

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TREE GUIDE: A Tree Begins

Fall is coming, and we are excited about the opportunity to explore the changing face of the forests around us.  We wanted to share with you a few fun ideas for exploring the world of trees. You can purchase our Tree Guide for a whole month of literature and project based activities for learning with your preschool and kindergarten students. These units can even be adapted to older children by simply omitting the counting or phonics activities.

Fall is coming, and we are excited about the opportunity to explore the changing face of the forests around us. We wanted to share with you a few fun ideas for exploring the world of trees. You can purchase our Tree Guide for a whole month of literature and project based activities for learning with your preschool and kindergarten students. These units can even be adapted to older children by simply omitting the counting or phonics activities.

Read 
The Tree Lady by Joseph H. Sessions. Talk about what kinds of trees grow in your region. Could you plant more trees where you live?

Phonics 
Talk about simple words that begin with the letter “T.”

Fine Motor Skills
Transfer acorns from one bowl to another using tongs. Point out to your child that acorns are oak tree seeds.

Large Motor Skills
Hide acorns all around your home (or a specific room) and look for them together. Talk about how animals will be storing away the nuts for the winter. 

Art Skills
Make a tree collage. You can draw pictures, cut pictures from magazines, or use pictures from a nature walk to add layers and interest to your collage. Just like Kate added more trees to San Diego, add more trees and plants to your collage.

Practical Life Skills
Make a bird feeder to hang in a tree in your yard out of pinecones, peanut butter, and birdseed.

Supply List

  • The Tree Lady by Joseph H. Sessions.

  • Acorns

  • Birdseed

  • 2 Bowls

  • Materials for making a tree collage

  • Pinecones

  • Peanut Butter

  • Tongs

Peaceful Press Treeguide

A Day in the Life of The Kind Kingdom

We are so excited to have just released our newest curriculum     The Kind Kingdom.   This is meant to be a guide for parents geared towards elementary students.   The Chronicles of Narnia   is used as a spine, along with amazing stories of famous people of Europe, Grimm's fairy tales, Shakespeare, art, poetry, geography, nature studies, copy work, recipes, and more.

We are so excited to have just released our newest curriculum The Kind Kingdom. This is meant to be a guide for parents geared towards elementary students. The Chronicles of Narnia is used as a spine, along with amazing stories of famous people of Europe, Grimm's fairy tales, Shakespeare, art, poetry, geography, nature studies, copy work, recipes, and more. 

All you need to add for a year long curriculum with your elementary students is an age appropriate math, phonics, or spelling resource.

We've even included a monthly hymn, and an extended book list so that older children and parents can read more deeply into the time period.

Homeschooling with The Peaceful Press is meant to be life giving for parents and children. We offer lesson plans that provide a framework, but that don’t overburden families, so that you and your children can chase the spark of ideas and imagination together.

Take a break from your regular homeschool program to observe your children as you provide a framework of literature based activities, while also offering some free time for them to develop interest led learning. There are so many beautiful resources available, and it’s important to know whether something works for your family before you commit to a whole year. Below you will find one day of lessons from our sample week of The Kind Kingdom, and you can download a full week sample below. We hope you love it.

Morning Time:

Bible Time:

Sing the hymn of the month and other favorite hymns or songs.

Read John 3. Ask your children to tell you a favorite verse from the chapter or to retell the chapter in their own words.

Pray. Take time to ask God to show you something you can be thankful for.

Read Aloud

Read The Magician’s Nephew, Chapter 3. Tell, write, or draw a narration.

 

Language Arts

Copy “Kings and Queens of England” mnemonic.


Science/History

Review the book, Kings and Queens of England and Scotland, and choose a monarch to create a presentation on.

Write a few notes about the monarch to use as an outline.

Find a picture online to copy or use as a visual aid.

You can work on the presentation throughout the first month and present at a family gathering or co-op meeting.

A day in the life of the kind kingdom king alfred


 Break/Active Play


Math:

One math lesson of your family’s math curriculum choice. Review math facts.


Phonics/Spelling/Handwriting:

Do a grammar or writing lesson. We recommend Junior Analytical Grammar and Institute for Excellence in Writing for children who are fluent readers.

If your child is still developing fine motor skills or reading skills, stick to oral or written narration, copy work, and daily reading until they are ready. Grammar and writing skills can be learned quickly by a child who has a strong foundation of stories.


Free Reading:

Read 15-30 minutes from the included independent reading list.

Practical Skills/Art

Polish silver.


A day in the life of the kind kingdom parent guide
thekindkingdom.jpg

When you have finished with a simple day of lessons with The Peaceful Press, take a few minutes to observe your children, and take note of the ways that they continue engaging with the content in their free time. Learning to observe your child can help you see how much they have actually absorbed.

Try a free week of

The Kind Kingdom!

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World History For Elementary Students-A Guest Post

We were so excited to begin our year with  “The Precious People”  after a year of gleaning from  “The Playful Pioneers.”  I have to admit that we were sad to end our adventures with the Ingalls and Wilder families as our year came to a close. You can tell from our collection of   Little House   books how well loved they are.

We were so excited to begin our year with “The Precious People” after a year of gleaning from “The Playful Pioneers.” I have to admit that we were sad to end our adventures with the Ingalls and Wilder families as our year came to a close. You can tell from our collection of Little House books how well loved they are. 

One of my favorite parts of The Peaceful Press curriculums is the amazing living books that bring our studies to life and that take us to far away lands. The Precious People does just that.

Our church has a group that meets for Bible study during the school year. The moms meet together while the homeschooled children meet together to study God’s Word. We all study the same book of the Bible and this year we studied the book of Exodus! Our studies lined up so beautifully with our studies of Jewish culture, holidays, and traditions, as well as ancient Egypt. 

World History For Elementary Students - A Guest Post The peaceful press

“The Gospel Story Bible” was such a gem for our Bible time each day. It was a wonderful addition to our “New City Catechism” weekly questions and our @happyhymnody hymn of the month studies. My children enjoyed the questions at the end of each Gospel Bible story which lead us to wonderful conversations about God’s Word during this time. It was such a great way to begin our days.

As we traveled the world, book by book, we became the travelers of far off places from our very own living room. It was such a joy to hear my children talk about countries, once foreign to them, as if they had visited there themselves through the characters they met in each book. 

One of my favorite parts about these curriculums is how they incorporate so many learning opportunities over so many subjects. Through living books, Bible stories and verses, poetry, fine art studies, practical skills, recipes, fables, time-line cards, narration, copy work, and more filled our days with such joy.

World History for elementary students The Peaceful Press

I asked my children what they enjoyed most this year about “The Precious People” and this is what they had to say…

“It is so cool that we can come together and learn as a family even though we are different ages and in different grades.”  -Olivia, age 12

“ I felt like we learned more even though we did shorter lessons.”  -Emilee, age 12

“I really enjoyed reading “All of a Kind Family” and “More All of a Kind Family!” (Emilee and Olivia both borrowed the rest of the series from the library because they enjoyed them so much.)

-Emilee, age 12 

“I really enjoyed the lessons from the fables that we read each week.”

“I also really enjoyed following Jotham on his journey too!” 

-Owen, age 10

“I enjoyed the time line cards, painting, and the adventures of Rani and Teri in “It’s a Jungle Out There!” 

-Evan, age 8

They also agreed that they really enjoyed seeing how the history of the Bible fits into the timeline of world history and said that it gave them a better understanding of how the events of the Bible fit into the history of the world. They said that it makes it even more realistic to them. Besides just believing it in their hearts and hearing it in Bible stories they were able to see its place in time.  

World History for elementary students The Peaceful Press

This year we welcomed another babe into our family right before the beginning of the school year. We took some time off to settle into a new routine after her arrival, per usual. On top of that we had an unusually rough winter battling colds and the flu that ran their course through the whole family the first few months of the new year. Again we were delayed.               

I am so grateful that this curriculum was flexible so that we could pick up where we left off when we needed to. We were able to snuggle up on the couch and read and discuss wonderful living stories as I nursed and snuggled the babe who often wanted to be in mama’s arms.

We also have a four year old daughter who has come alongside of her older siblings, as well as gleaned from her own lessons with The Peaceful Preschool this year. 

Once she completes her lessons we plan to lead right into The Peaceful Press’s unit studies. She has learned so much from “The Peaceful Preschool” as well as listening alongside her siblings with “The Precious People.” She is already narrating with the big kids! 

We have been so blessed by all of these beautiful curriculums and I cannot recommend them enough!

As my husband says, “You can tell when you throw dinner together and when you make it intentionally with love.”

Jennifer Pepito has put these beautiful curriculums together with intention and with so much love.

I am so grateful for these years learning alongside of my children and I know that we will look back fondly on these years with so much joy.


Kristin Dahman is a wife and homeschooling mother to six at @thequietwayhome and is the creator of the @livinghomeschool community.


We have many free items for your family. Parent guides, children’s activities, printable and book lists to give you a taste of The Peaceful Press Curriculum. Click the button below for access.

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Homeschool Organization

Many times we start out the school year with perfectly ordered bookshelves and a shiny fresh start with our homeschool organization. By the time we are on the home stretch looking at spring, that order is a distant memory. The schoolroom slowly gets more and more disorganized.

Many times we start out the school year with perfectly ordered bookshelves and a shiny fresh start with our homeschool organization. By the time we are on the home stretch looking at spring, that order is a distant memory. The schoolroom slowly gets more and more disorganized.

School must go on though, but it goes so much smoother when I am organized. I’m making it a priority over the next few weeks to declutter, and organize our learning spaces. It’s important to me to have a variety of resources available for my children, and to have a lovely learning environment, so I’m excited about getting it whipped back into shape.

Our shelves are organized by subject, one for arts and crafts, another one for history resources, and another for science. I also have a shelf of our Peaceful Press teacher books and resources. Towards the end of a school year, I will cull the shelves for unwanted titles, and switch out our display books for new selections that correspond with our upcoming studies (this year it will be choices from The Kind Kingdom book list).

In addition to all the books, I like to have easy access for my children to markers, colored pencils and stick glue. In this way they can put together creative notebook pages, or quickly make a greeting card without having to ask me for supplies. I keep most of these supplies in a caddy in the middle of our school table, but several times a year I sort through each jar full of pencils, brushes, and pens to toss broken bits and resharpen pencils.

While there are tons of books to reshelve and organize, and pencils to sharpen, we can also get inundated by all the papers. Throughout the school year, I simply place finished work in a folder in each child’s school file. Then, at the end of the year, I will save a couple for their books, and toss the rest. Many homeschool cover schools require a few work samples per semester, and we try to keep at least that many in a file.

School at home can be so much fun, but one important aspect is taking the time to prepare your home to be a place where children can focus on their work, find supplies, and do the research they need to do, in order to be well prepared young people. Organization isn't just about having a nice looking room, it is also teaching our children good mental sequencing skills and making our homes more functional places to learn.

Homeschool Organization Girl Writing on paper

A few favorite tools for organizing-

Book Buddy-an inexpensive app for cataloguing your home library

Brother Label Maker-label your shelves and supply boxes to streamline clean up.

Wide Mouth Mason Jars- cheaper at a local hardware store, but great for organizing paint brushes, pencils, and markers. We use the shorter ones for crayons.

Silverware Caddy-we keep a caddy similar to this one for storing all writing/painting/drawing implements.

Bookcase-our hall closet contains an 8 cube bookshelf for storing and organizing books by subject. A former home had multiple built in bookshelves, a home educators dream, but we make do now.

What are your best tips for organizing your homeschool area?

Click here for a favorite blog and A view of a well organized school room.

For one weekend in May, you can get a whole bundle of home organization and decluttering resources at a steep discount. Click here to learn more.

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The Kind Kingdom

We are excited to introduce the book list for our newest resource, The Kind Kingdom, which will be available in May.  This resource will provide a 30 week overview of European history, using the Narnia books, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and Beautiful Stories From Shakespeare as a spine. The Kind Kingdom could be used along with Classical Conversations Cycle 2, or as a stand alone Charlotte Mason inspired resource.

We are excited to introduce the book list for our newest resource, The Kind Kingdom, which will be available in May. This resource will provide a 30 week overview of European history, using the Narnia books, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and Beautiful Stories From Shakespeare as a spine. The Kind Kingdom could be used along with Classical Conversations Cycle 2, or as a stand alone Charlotte Mason inspired resource.

As with our other resources, The Playful Pioneers and The Precious People, The Kind KIngdom includes Bible, language arts, science, history, art, practical skills, and cooking. We also include a monthly hymn, and bi-weekly poetry selection. The student sheets include mapwork, and copy work corresponding with our Bible or poetry reading, along with quotes from inspiring people in history.

Some have suggested that we assign the Narnia readings in the order in which they were originally published, and while we researched the question, and its appropriate answer, we eventually came to this quote by C.S. Lewis,

“I think I agree with your order for reading the books more than with your mother’s. The series was not planned beforehand as she thinks. When I wrote The Lion I did not know I was going to write any more. Then I wrote P. Caspian as a sequel and still didn’t think there would be any more, and when I had done The Voyage I felt quite sure it would be the last. But I found as I was wrong. So perhaps it does not matter very much in which order anyone read them.”

If you disagree with the order, and prefer to read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe first, feel free to do so. The Narnia readings can stand alone without affecting the flow of the curriculum.

As you read through the book list, you will see that each month has a theme. This is to allow you to approach it as a block study, and to give you a framework for extra reading over the time period. You can easily find all of the books on Amazon (links are included) but we hope that families will borrow books from their local library, and you are free to substitute any of the science and history books for another book on the same subject. For instance, if the subject is Gutenberg and the printing press, you can find a different book about it, or even search a Youtube video for kids about it.

While we aim to make reading the larger part of our homeschool routine, one of the benefits of living in modern times is the ability to not just read about a subject, but to actually see the workings of machines, and nature, through the many amazing educational videos available. We recommend limiting screen time to allow for reading and imagination to develop, but interjecting a few minutes a day for educational videos is a fantastic use of technology in our opinion.

Weeks 1-4

Middle Ages, Botany, Harvest, Bees

The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis Box set-29.99

The Holy Bible This link has a $10 version, but you probably have one at home..

Kings and Queens of England and Scotland by Pamela Egan Prime for 9.99, used for $5.

A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston Amazon Prime for 7..99, used for $3.50

A Favourite Collection of Grimm’s Fairy Tales Illustrated by Anastasiya Archipova 14.25, used 8.68

Farm Anatomy by Julia Rothman 10..50

St. George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges, Illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman 8.00, 1.50 used

What Will The Weather Be by Linda DeWitt 8.27, 5.20 used

Draw Europe by Kristin Drager 15.64

The Kitchen Knight: A Tale of King Arthur by Margaret Hodges, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman  8.58, 2.95 used

Anywhere Farm by Phyllis Root, illustrated by G. Brian Karas 7.40, 2.40 used

Our Island Story by H.E. Marshall 15.83 Prime, .99 cents on Kindle, also available free online.

King Alfred by Christina Dugan 11.53, you could also read about King Alfred from Our Island Story

Explore My World:Honey Bees by Jill Esbaum 4.99, 2.50 used

A Medieval Feast by Aliki 7.48, 2.30 used

Robin Hood and the Golden Arrow retold by Robert D. San Souci.  from 1..90 used


Weeks 5-8

Kings and Queens of England, Homes, Seasons

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

The Holy Bible

Our Island Story by H.E. Marshall (also available free online)

A Year in a Castle by Rachel Coombs 7.50, used 2.50

Castle by David Macaulay 9.19, 1.28 used

How a House is Built by Gail Gibbons  7.99, 1.84 used

A Favourite Collection of Grimm’s Fairy Tales Illustrated by Anastasiya Archipova

The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane by C.M. Millen  14.99, 8.00 used

Joan of Arc by Diane Stanley 8.45, 2.41 used

Brother William’s Year by Jan Pancheri (Jan is a gardener at Westminster Abbey and is getting the book reprinted now, so hopefully it will be more affordable. You can choose an alternate season book until it is available). 22.95 now

Around the Year by Elsa Beskow 8.26, 4.28 used

You Wouldn’t Want To Work on a Medieval Cathedral by Fiona MacDonald 9.93, 6.85 used

The Kind Kingdom Booklist fruits


Week 9-12

Renaissance, Solar System, Gravity

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis

Holy Bible

Our Island Story by H.E. Marshall (also available free online)

Leonardo da Vinci by Diane Stanley 7.48, 86 cents used

A Favourite Collection of Grimm’s Fairy Tales Illustrated by Anastasiya Archipova

Michelangelo by Diane Stanley 7.48, used from 1.48

Starry Messenger by Peter Sis 8.99, 1.49 used

A Child’s Introduction to the Night Sky by Michael Driscoll 16.31, 2.01 used

William Blake’s Inn by Nancy Willard 7.00, 1.12 used

World History Biographies: Isaac Newton by Phillip Steele 7.81, 3.46 used

The Moon Seems to Change by Dr. Franklyn M. Branley 6.99, 2.05

The Kind Kingdom Booklist cookies and astronomy


Weeks 13-15

Reformation, Printing Press, Christmas

Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis

The Holy Bible

Fine Print by Joan Johansen Burch  9.99, 1.25 used, this is a short chapter book about Gutenberg. I also loved this picture book version if you can find it.

Johann Gutenberg and the Amazing Printing Press by Bruce Koscielniak

Marguerite Makes a Book by Bruce Robertson  16.49, 9.47 used

The Life of Martin Luther by Agostino Traini 13.50, 4.87 used

The Legend of St. Nicholas by Dandi Daley Mackall 11.30, 1.20 used

The Clown of God by Tomie de Paola 6.21, 5.21 used

Good King Wenceslas by John M. Neale used from 3.64

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens 5.99, free online


Weeks 16-19

Exploration, Ships, Antarctica

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis
The Holy Bible

The Endurance by Alfred Lansing 11.55, 3.60 used. Families with younger children can choose a simpler version such as the two mentioned here-

Shackleton’s Journey by William Gill 17.54, 3.50 used

Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World by Jennifer Armstrong 9.09, 42 cents used

DK Eyewitness Books:Explorer by Rupert Matthews 13.59, 3.00 used

Beautiful Stories From Shakespeare for Children by E. Nesbit  10.52, 1.99 Kindle, free online here

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1430


Week 20-23

Revolution, Flight, Nursing, World War I

The Silver Chair

The Holy Bible

Stone Soup by Marcia Brown 7.99, 1.65 used

The Glorious Flight by Alice and Martin Provenson 14.99, 1.99 used

National Geographic Readers: Planes by Amy Shields 3.99, 10 cents used

or- The Story of Flight by John Holcraft

A Picture Book of Florence Nightingale by David A. Adler 6.21, 3.00 used

You Wouldn’t Want To Live Without Nurses by Fiona MacDonald 9.95, 7.00 used

War Game by Michael Foreman 14.95, from 1 cent used

Where the Poppies Now Grow by Hilary Ann Robinson 12.51, 3.00 used

Beautiful Stories From Shakespeare for Children by E. Nesbit 

Christian Liberty Nature Reader Book Four edited by Edward J. Shewa 17.89, 2.45 used, available free online here


The Kind Kingdom Booklist Coffee and Books and Cookies

Weeks 24-27

World War II, The Holocaust, Invention

The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis

The Holy Bible

Always Remember Me: How One Family Survived World War II by Marisabina Russo 10.49, 1.99 used

Star of Fear, Star of Hope by Jo Hoestlandt 8.99, 1.99 used

Diana’s White House Garden by Elisa Carbone 11.97, 4.38 used

Burn by Darcy Pattison 9.99, 4.53 used

The Little Ships by Louise Borden 4.39, 1.99 used

War Boy by Michael Foreman 13.40, 5.51 used

Beautiful Stories From Shakespeare for Children by E. Nesbit 

DK Eyewitness Book: Invention by Lionel Bender 9.82, 2.30 used

Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot by Margot Theis Raven 14.86, 2.47 used

Boxes for Katje by Candace Fleming 17.09, 5.13 used


Weeks 28-30

The Cold War and Communism, Spring, Baby Animals

Animal Farm by George Orwell 12.50, Kindle 1.37

Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne 12.19, 1.36 used

The Holy Bible

From Tadpole to Frog by Wendy Pfeffer 6..99, 2.93 used

How a Seed Grows by Helene Jordan 6.98, 2.92 used

Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman 14.00, 8.48 used

Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner 10.98, 3.98 used

The Passover Lamb by Linda Elovitz Marshall KIndle, 5.99

Spring, An Alphabet Acrostic by Steven Schnur 40.00, 12.85 used

Where Do Chicks Come From by Amy E. Sklansky 5.99, 1.94 used

So how much does the curriculum cost? Well, if you were able to find none of the books at the library, and no substitutes, you could still purchase all the books for around $300 for used copies, and build an impressive home library in the process. That, in addition to the $49 for the parent guide, student sheets, art, and recipes, plus whatever resource you are using for math or phonics would make a complete homeschool plan for the year.

However, we’ve organized the curriculum in such a way that you can easily do it with a very slim book budget. Each month has a theme and so if you are on a super tight budget, you can borrow the Narnia books from the library, read the free online version of Our Island Story, and even find free online versions of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales and Beautiful Stories From Shakespeare. Then, you just borrow books from the library that fit the theme for the month. If we are studying the Queens and Kings of England, ask your librarian for a stack of books on the subject, read those books that engage you, do the projects in the parent guide that correspond with the theme, and enjoy diving into history with your children.

Our resources are meant to bring families closer together, to spark new areas of interest, and to spread a feast of learning before your children that inspires them to dream big about how they too can impact the world for good.

Please e-mail us with questions as you get started, hello@thepeacefulpress.com.

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You may also enjoy:

ABC Books

A Day in the Life of the Kind Kingdom

The Kind Kingdom

The Sky Guide