Bonnie Landry, a Canadian homeschooling mother of seven, has written a series of books which aim to simplify homeschooling. These books are short, but packed with useful information. Each one can be read in an hour or two which is perfect for busy moms.
Homeschooling, Simplified: Chocolate Chip Math shows you how to teach math in just a few minutes a day to children from Kindergarten to Grade 3. Landry emphasizes that much of early math education happens in the course of everyday life, but some formal instruction is helpful. By using chocolate chips, or some other small manipulative, many basic math concepts can be taught without the use of a workbook. Using short lessons helps reduce the stress that so often accompanies math lessons, while chocolate chips provide an added incentive: when the lessons are done, the chips can be eaten!
Homeschooling, simplified: Dictation offers a blueprint for teaching language arts. Dictation is “the act of saying or reading something aloud to someone while it is written down by the listener.” For early learners, this may mean spelling and writing out one word one letter at a time. As they progress, this moves to sentences and paragraphs. Spelling and grammar is taught at the same time. The lesson is tailored to the child’s abilities and need for instruction. Landry emphasizes that only a few minutes a day of focused instruction with each child is necessary in this area up to age twelve or thirteen.
In Homeschooling, simplified: Writing with Children, Landry states “in order to write well, a person needs to have ideas and the skill to present them effectively. Ideas come from our experiences, analysis, and inspiration. The skills required to write effectively are sometimes natural ability, and sometimes learned application, but usually some of these two things combined.” Landry discusses both the reading of literature and the process of learning to write well. She utilizes the model approach to writing also used by the Institute for Excellence in Writing.
Interested in using literature as the basis for your homeschool? Homeschooling, simplified: How to Read a Book So it Becomes the Curriculum describes how to use a book, any book, as a starting point for additional learning. Landry discusses how to use this method to teach to various age levels and things to think about when reading aloud.