Rosemary: Secular Homeschool Magazine

“Rosemary” is a secular homeschool magazine produced out of the U.S.A.

It comes out three times a year – Spring, Autumn and Winter.  I joined their Patreon page for the Digital edition and duly received my copy of the current issue – Spring – which is themed around History.

How could I have resisted?  It’s history!

Here is a quick look at the inside of this particular issue, from their Patreon page.

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As you can see from the video, the magazine is advert free while the art is beautiful throughout.  There are articles by folk you may have come across in your home education journey, such as Julie Bogart and Peter Gray.

In total there are eight articles over the 60 pages, an obligatory book section and a lovely essay.

The entire magazine was light and easy to read, as well as beautiful to look at.

It is, as you would expect, focused on topics in American history but the ideas and questions raised by James W. Loewen in his article, “Should We Lie About Columbus?”, certainly resonates in other countries with a colonial history.

The articles are a good length, with just enough detail and ideas to digest.  More than one of them addressed the topics of bias and pre-conceived ideas, as well as exhortations to question them.

I don’t know if there is enough in each issue to keep me as a long term subscriber but it might make a nice addition to a support group library where the cost is spread out amongst many families and there is a gap for a secular homeschool magazine.

I’d love to hear your opinion if you have already read an issue.  Let’s chat.

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2019 Homeschool Curricula

What does 2019 hold in store for us here at the Patch?

As we have done over the past two years, we will be having a mix and match of curricula so that we touch on all of the core basic learning areas with the kids and that’s what I’ll detail for you today.  We may add in extras throughout the year, depending on how we’re doing with the workload of this central core.  As most of the work can be accomplished during the morning, that leaves the afternoons for the kids’ own interests or general play / downtime.

Note: rather than do one level of learning for each child we go for the middle ground, with the exception of maths, and we adjust expectations for each child based on their skill set.

The Curricula

Build Your Library (BYL) : Grade 4 – The Modern World
It covers history, literature, poetry, science and art.

Bravewriter: Arrow
We are currently mid-stream with this.  It’s an annual subscription that runs with the US school year.  It covers the mechanics of writing as studied from good works of children’s literature.  There’s A LOT of crossover between the books used in the 2019 Bravewriter Arrow and those recommended in BYL.

Your Pals Are Here! Maths
This is a Singaporean maths series.  It is supposedly used in many of their schools and I’ve found it to be pretty solid and not excessive in the amount of work required of the kids.  This year they will be doing 3A & B, and 5A & B.

RSO Earth & Space – Level 1
This is a secular* science curriculum out of the US.  It covers the earth sciences and astronomy.  We may add in “The Stargazers Notebook”, which is a year long study of the sky.  It depends on how our time and energy goes.

Extras

We may also look at doing “Bravewriter Jot It Down” for creative writing since  I’d really like to encourage Master Oh’s creativity to come out in some form of writing and this may be the best way to get him moving on it.

There will also be the ongoing tutoring to assist with Master Oh’s probable dyslexia.  Perhaps some use of Nessy and other apps that can reinforce the learning we will be working through.
And for variety we will probably dip in and out of Khan Academy as we need a break from our regular programme.
There may be extracurricular items as well, but they will probably come later in the year and I’ll post about any changes as we go.

As always, we try to be flexible and adapt to changing needs.  What seems like a good idea today may turn out to be a horrible idea in a month or two.  Watch this space for any updates.

I will be writing another post with a full listing of the books we will be using this year, along with an approximate cost for all of the year’s core curricula and resources.

Here’s to a fantastic range of learning happening in 2019 !


* I note this as secular as it’s a bit of an issue when you use curricula out of the USA.

As I’ve learned from their online secular community, a lot of the curricula available are considered “neutral” so they can be sold to people whose faith does not agree with the concept of evolution. So they skirt the subject, ignore the subject or explain it as “one theory” while giving a faith based “theory” the same platform.  That, obviously, wouldn’t suit us.

Shaking up our New Year

This year I wanted to try something a little different with the Oh Waily kids.  I gave the idea of letting them loose a go and taking a more unschooling route at the end of last year.  Unfortunately I’ve found that doesn’t fit me, or produce engaged and curious kids – for my kids – over the time we relaxed our approach.  There was just a bit too much screen time and a bit too much single focus on one interest (but not in a creative way) for me to let it go on through this year.  In fairness, I still think following your passions is a great thing and I will definitely be encouraging them to do so, but as a part of their home ed journey – not their only part.  As it turned out in Master Oh’s case it was clear that screen time was not an ideal match for his personality, so “Hell-lo, Eclectic Home Ed. We’re baaaaack!”

In addition to returning to our eclectic ways, I’ve also decided to shake up what and how often we spend on different learning areas.  We’re going to be mixing and matching things, but essentially I’m going to see if a Charlotte Mason (secular version) approach is a good fit for all of us.  With that in mind, I’ve decided to try out the Build Your Library curriculum and see how it goes.

I’ve chosen Grade 1; it’ll be just about right for Master Oh and a bit simple for Miss Oh, but I wanted to give a single grade a trial first to see if we liked it.  I will probably weave in our existing History Odyssey and RSO curriculums too as the year goes on.  One note though… it is likely to leave quite the dent in the bank balance with book buying, although with my love for Book Depository that should be more pleasure than pain.

As of today, my goal for our home ed, and family life in general, is pretty simple: it’s all about re-establishing some basic routines.
The relocation to our new home is quite a big upheaval for the Oh Waily kids.  Master Oh has only known living in Wellington as we moved there when he was a one year old, and of course they’ve left behind good friends.  Miss Oh seems to be coping pretty well with it, but the young man is less enamoured with our move, so I want to get some rhythm to our days to help with settling in.

So that’s where we are at just now.  I will try to start posting a bit more frequently, in between the last of the box clearing and reshuffling that will probably continue for the next month!

In the meantime let me leave you with a website recommendation – and the accompanying Facebook group.

If you are a secular home educator then you might want to check out the SEA Homeschoolers website.  It’s been a wealth of information and interesting reading in the short time that I’ve been aware of it.  The accompanying Facebook group has also been an eye-opener for what it must be like to be secular in many parts of the USA, as well as a great source of ideas and resource suggestions.  I hope you find something useful and/or interesting there to help you along your home ed journey!

Secular Homeschool Awareness Month

February SHS Awareness MonthWhen this post crossed my Google Plus path a little earlier this month I just had to smile.

As a relatively recent arrival in the world of home educating I’ve always been on the lookout for blogs that I could relate to. Finding local blogs or specific groups has been a hard row to hoe, so I’ve often turned my attention overseas.

When we do head offshore to the wonders of a multiplicity of blogs and groups there is a very high percentage chance that the blogger will not be secular.  Often this makes very little difference to me with regards to enjoying reading the blog or idea gathering, but sometimes it does.  Sometimes this aspect of a person’s life informs absolutely everything about their writing, recommendations and ideas; and that’s when I feel the quietness of the Secular Home Ed bloggers.

I’m joining the link up because I’d like to find other sources of information and resources from people who are similar in outlook to ourselves.  I’d also like to promote the idea that home educators are a diverse bunch, including those who identify as secular.  It’d be nice if we were a bit more visible on the interwebs for those newcomers to find.

So yeah, anyway… let’s celebrate “Secular Homeschool Awareness Month” !

And to my secular home ed friends… don’t forget to join in too.

#shsawareness