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Homeschooling

Vintage Penmanship Chart

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Vintage Penmanship Chart The Prudent Homemaker

Note: This post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure policy here.

I love penmanship. 

It's important to me that my children learn to write beautifully.

When I was first learning penmanship, I remember being frustrated that we could not choose alternative ways to write letters, even though I knew at the time that there was more than one way to correctly write several letters (for example, the way I learned to write an uppercase cursive "I" in school was completely different than I had seen other adults write it).)  My teacher was pretty strict about us following the rules that year, but after that, I was free (for the most part; I had another difficulty with a teacher in 9th grade when I tried those non-crossed lower-cased "t"s from the photo below) to write a different style of cursive.

Vintage School Book The Prudent Homemaker 

When I was starting 7th grade, I came across this beautiful student workbook at a flea market with my grandparents. Here was a young girl with exquisite penmanship. I started copying her letters and incorporating them into my own penmanship.

Eventually, I ordered some books on different styles (Copperplate being the easiest to find)  and learned more. My favorite styles are Copperplate, Roundhand, and Spencerian.

Penmanship 1 The Prudent Homemaker

I was delighted to find, several years ago,  that the Spencerian books are still being published. My children are using these for our penmanship studies.

I always wanted a wall chart to hang that would show what we are learning. Several years ago, Karen at The Graphics Fairy shared a penmanship page that I loved and wanted to hang.

Penmanship Chart The Prudent Homemaker

I made some changes to it to make it wider and longer to fit in a standard sized frame (I copied the edges and pasted them next to the eisting edges). I also cleaned up some bits of it, and then I made some more changes to it. My original plan was to make it chalkboard style, but by a happy accident, it became blue first, so I ended up with a blueprint style. If you want to do the same, I used "invert" in Photoshop to change it. If you want a black and white chalkboard looking choice, choose "invert" in layers and then do a black and white layer. The current versions of Photoshop and Elements may do this differently; I have a super old version of Photoshop that I am using. A free site like PicMonkey probably has a similar option. I moved the contrast to 100%.

Then I ordered a print from Sam's Club ($4.28 with tax)  and framed it in a frame I already had (one that used to hang above the table).

(Even though I set the image to 11 x 14 in Photoshop, the program still wanted me to crop the image. I had to make sure it didn't cut off the bottom of the letters.)

This will now hang by our dining table where we have school.

When my children have finished all 5 Spencerian books, I reward them with an inexpensive fountain pen and ink cartridges. In the U.S., most people don't use fountain pens, so these are quite unusual. Fountain pens can be rather expensive in the U.S., since they're not used as school pens, like they are in other places (such as France). These are some of the very inexpensive options I've found on Amazon. I have all of these and like them:

Fountain Pens The Prudent Homemaker

From top to bottom:

Parker Vector colored pen (comes in red, blue, black and gold; I used to buy these at the university bookstore when I was a student)

Rosewood fountain pen (price is often changing; we got this one for $3.65)

Parker Vector Stainless steel pen  

Knox Avicenna

Stainless steel and gold pen  (the least-expensive of the group) 

 Calligraphy Books The Prudent Homemaker

It takes them several years to finish the books. My two oldest children both finished them in 7th grade.  After they've finished them, I've handed them a few other books that I've owned for years to let them learn more on their own (including alternative capitals), but it is no longer a required subject for them to work on each day. These books are (clockwise from upper left): 

Ornate Pictorial Calligraphy

The Art of Calligraphy

The Technique of Copperplate Calligraphy

Learning to Write Spencerian Script

 

Winter tells me often that she receives compliments on her penmanship from other people her age. They are also amazed by her pen. I always smile when she tells me, because I used to receive the same comments as well.

We start the workbooks when they are ready (usually in second grade). I know in other countries cursive is all that is taught from the very beginning. I have the children first learn to print before they move on to cursive, so that they learn both.

Do you enjoy beautiful penmanship?

 

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The Bouquet of Talent PartySilver Pennies SundaysInspiration Monday 

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Our Homeschool Schedule

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A Life Well Spent by Charles West Cope in 1862

 

Note: This post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure policy here.

I have finally completed the long overdue update to my homeschool pages, and you can now find grades K-10 in the drop down menu under the Homeschool tab.

I've made a few changes to some of the other grades as well.

The biggest change is that we will be studying modern foreign languages instead of Latin. My four oldest have each decided on a language (Dutch, German, Italian, and French) and we are using Duolingo.com for their study. In addition, we are seeking out other websites and YouTube pages that have free learning programs in each language. Winter is using LearnDutch.org in addition to Duolingo. We may decide to purchase their paid content later, but for now, she's just using the free program. She's currently spending an hour a day on Dutch using both websites. We're also using WordReference.com as our foreign language dictionary. I love that there are so many great free foreign language options available now. 

My 4 younger girls (all of the girls except for Winter) are watching some YouTube videos for French; right now we are using the free videos from Learn French With Alexa. They may end up choosing a different language later, but right now they are learning a bit of French this way, and Liberty (who is almost 10) is also using Duolingo. We watch the YouTube videos through the television. 

I did buy one thing for them to use with these free programs, which is a pair of earbuds with a microphone built in, to make it easier for the computer to hear them when they are speaking. With our large family, it's not always easy for the computer to hear them saying words over the background noise.

My 5 oldest are also using the computer for typing, using the free program on Typing.com.

We'll have to do some tweaking to the schedule to allow everyone to use the computer for these subjects (plus using the Saxon Math Teacher cds for my two oldest) until we get another computer, but in general, this is our school schedule:

 


8:00 Math

9:00 English

10:00 Spelling/Typing

10:15 Penmanship/Typing

10:30 History

10:45 Geography/Typing

11:00 Before Lunch Chores

11:30 Lunch

12:00 After lunch chores

12:30 Science/Art

1:00 Foreign Language

1:30 Quiet reading time/naptime

 

 

Reading HP The Prudent Homemaker

Reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child the day it arrived.

 

Quiet reading time (aka nap time) is when they read the books I've assigned them, as well as books for fun. They also play in their rooms during this time.

Piano practice is done both in the morning once chores are done and before school starts, and after 3:30 when naptime; i.e quiet time ends. (I should note that it is often my two teenagers who take naps; all of the children know that if they're tired they are welcome to sleep during that time).

Physical education comes in the form of outside playing (swings, merry-go-round, trampoline, scooters, running, outside games including races and badminton, and bike riding.) They play outside every day; in the morning before school, a bit after lunch (more so in the winter than in the summer when it is too hot to go out mid-day), and after naptime.

All but the baby have school. Ivory as been doing schoolwork since she was 3, as she wanted to be just like her older siblings. She will diligently accomplish her work right away almost every morning before she runs off to play.

Our evenings are free to spend as a family, except for the activities that the children attend: the boys have Scouts once a week (plus campouts), Winter has a youth group once a week, Liberty and Wren have a church activity every other week, and Winter occasionally attends the church youth dances in town.

In addition to these, Winter attends a seminary class every weekday. It's an hour-long religious class for high school students that our church does. This year they are studying the New Testament. There are 375 students who meet in the same building each morning at 6 a.m. (the local high school here starts at 7, and seminary is before school). 

I do a lot of printing. We use a laser printer that prints in black only and toner cartridges that print 8000+ pages (I can usually get it to last another month by giving it a good shake when I get the message that the toner is low). This cartridge lasts me around ten months. 

We have school at the table, except for time on the computer. 

And that's our day!

 180

 

Tagged in: Homeschooling
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Our Favorite Art Books and Art Supplies

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Art Books The Prudent Homemaker

I love art. 

As a child, I remember spending time outside with finger paints. I remember my fourth grade teacher teaching the class how to draw a tree without leaves by taking us outside to draw. When I was a little older, I took oil painting classes and painted waterfalls.

I took high school art classes and painted mountains and meadows. 

I took a watercolor class in college and painted the student across from me (a fun challenge, to paint someone who is also painting you at the same time!)

I think the key to successfully learning to produce art is having good instruction.

After that, of course, it is practice, practice, and more practice.

Over the years, I have been slowly adding art books and supplies to our home. I check out books at the library first whenever possible (usually I have to request them from other libraries in the district). I have purchased those that we think are the best ones (often buying a used copy of the book for pennies, plus shipping, when that is an option).

I recently purchased a new art book on sculpting faces from clay. I knew it would be challenging, but also fun for my children. I especially knew that Ezrom would be interested. 

Here is his first sculpture as he made it, following the instructions in the book:

 

Ezrom Sculpture 1 The Prudent Homemaker

 

Ezrom Sculpture 2 The Prudent Homemaker

 

Ezrom Scultpure 3 The Prudent Homemaker

 

Ezrom Sculpture 4 The Prudent Homemaker

 

Ezrom Scultpure 5 The Prudent Homemaker

Scultpure and Modeling:

Crayola Modeling Clay  

Modeling Clay Animals: Easy-to-Follow Projects in Simple Steps

Van Aaken Modeling Clay 1Lb Flesh (I purchased 4 of these so that Ezrom could start making solid heads, like the one below)

Sculpt Pro 11 Piece Pottery and Sculpting Art Tool Set

Ceramic Sculpture: Making Faces: A Guide to Modeling the Head and Face with Clay

 

Kreacher by Ezrom The Prudent Homemaker

Kreacher, by Ezrom, age 10 (his third sculpture)

 

Hot Air Balloon

Hot Air Balloon by Ezrom, age 10

 

Drawing:

Good drawing books make all the difference between feeling like you can't draw and realizing that you can, indeed, draw.

 

Beginning:

 

I Can Draw Animals

I Can Draw People

Dover's How to Draw Series is fantastic. If you think you can't draw, these books will change your mind.

How to Draw People (Dover How to Draw)

How to Draw Flowers (Dover How to Draw)

You Can Draw Animals (Dover How to Draw)

How to Draw Birds (Dover How to Draw) The cardinal in the picture below is from this book.

Oodles of Doodles

 

Ezrom drawing

 

Middle:

Drawing Horses: (That Look Real!) (Quick Starts for Kids!)

Ralph Masiello's Dragon Drawing Book

Ralph Masiello's Ancient Egypt Drawing Book

 

Cyrus Artwork The Prudent Homework

Owl and cardinal by Cyrus, age 11

Advanced:

Lee Ame's Draw 50 series is fabulous. We have been able to request these from the library and we have bought a few favorites. There is a long list of titles in this series.

Draw 50 Animals: The Step-by-Step Way to Draw Elephants, Tigers, Dogs, Fish, Birds, and Many More...

Draw 50 Birds: The Step-by-Step Way to Draw Chickadees, Peacocks, Toucans, Mallards, and Many More of Our Feathered Friends The owl in the picture above is from this book.

Draw 50 Buildings and Other Structures: The Step-by-Step Way to Draw Castles and Cathedrals, Skyscrapers and Bridges, and So Much More...

Draw 50 Flowers, Trees, and Other Plants: The Step-by-Step Way to Draw Orchids, Weeping Willows, Prickly Pears, Pineapples, and Many More...

Funky Things to Draw

 

Watercolor:

Most of the time, we use Crayola washable watercolors on regular computer paper to keep costs low. As my children get older, they use watercolor paper (bought 50% off at Michael's) for special projects. As they have gotten older, we have found some individual sets for them to use at yard sales. I have also bought a decent watercolor palette and used that with tubes of watercolors for my oldest. 

For watercolor instruction for younger ages, see the books in the Mixed Media section below. 

Crayola Washable Watercolors, 24 count

Derwent Academy Watercolor Pencils

Loew-Cornell Brush Set Value Pack

US Art Supply® 12ml Watercolor Tube Artist Paint Set (24-Tubes)

Terry Harrison's Complete Guide to Watercolour Landscapes

Painting Water in Watercolour

The Watercolor Flower Painter's A to Z: An Illustrated Directory of Techniques for Painting 50 Popular Flowers

 

Watercolor Mermaid The Prudent Homemaker

 Mermaid: Drawn by Winter, age 13; crayon and watercolor by Wren, age 7

Mixed Media:

These are beginning to middle level projects. Most use drawing, crayon, and watercolor, but some use other items, including cardboard.

50 Things to Draw and Paint

Art Skills

 

Stories about artists:

The Boy Who Loved to Draw: Benjamin West

The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon

Mike Venzia's entire series of Getting to Know The World's Greatest Artists is fantastic. I recommend checking these out from your library. I picked up several recently at the library and my 4 oldest (ages 13 to 8) hurried to read all of them as soon as I brought them in the door.

 

If I cannot get a book from the local library, I use the "search inside this book" feature on Amazon to preview books. I look for books that give step by step tutorials.

I also have found some great online tutorials via Pinterest. You can find my art board on Pinterest here.

 

What are your favorite art books?

 

 

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Keeping Homeschool Costs Down

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The lava lamp experiment is from the chemistry set I have listed on my 5th grade page from Home Science Tools. I combined a 10% off sale with a $40 credit that they offered during a bonus Christmas sale on a microscope. My grandmother paid for the children's microscope as a Christmas gift and had me order it; I used the credit later to order the chemistry kit.


Homeschooling, by its very nature, has some costs savings. By teaching children at home, I don't spend money on:

Gas (and wear and tear on the car) to drive the children to school and back (it also makes it easier to be a one-car family!)

Backpacks

School lunches, including lunch boxes, sandwich bags, individually packaged treats, or the high cost of purchasing lunch at school. (Our meals at home are usually soup and homemade bread, or leftovers, but sometimes sandwiches, salad from the garden, or bean burritos. Lunch for the family usually costs me $.50 to $1.00 for all seven of the children and myself.)

Classroom supplies

School fundraisers

School uniforms (many of the public schools in my area require uniforms)

Tuition

The latest fashion trends (my children don't know what those are, so there are no requests for a "certain" pair of shoes or a "certain" pair of jeans).

I do, however, buy curriculum.

When people find out I homeschool, the first question they always ask is, "What curriculum do you use?"

I don't believe in buying a "boxed" curriculum for many reasons. One, you're paying for someone else to pick your books, when you can just as easily pick them yourself. Two, you're paying full price for every book. Three, the boxed purchase means that you are buying some books again and again, each time another child in your family reaches that grade. I don't need a new math book, a new English book, a new science book, new reading books,  etc. for every child for every grade; I can pass books down, and they only have to be purchased once. This is a huge cost savings.

 

Some ways that I have saved money in purchasing our curriculum:

1. Buy used

 There are many ways to do this. Homeschool forums usually have a place where people can buy and sell their used books. Amazon sells used copies of many of the books that we use; I can usually buy a used hardcover or library binding copy of a book for less than a new paperback edition of a book. The hardcover book will last longer, which is better for passing down to the subsequent children. Alibris  is another source for used books. You can sometimes pick up books at garage sales and thrift stores as well.



2. Buy on sale

Most homeschool suppliers have regular sales on certain products throughout the year, but especially in spring (when many people are looking to purchase for the following year) and again in August. Some retailers always have certain books at discounted prices throughout the year. In addition, many retailers offer free shipping or additional discounts (usually these come in their catalogs, but some will also let you know of a deal if you receive their emails).

Amazon's regular prices for many books are a lot lower than full price, which saves me a lot. They often have a buy 4 for the price of 3 deal going on paperback literature, on top of their lower prices, and when you are spending $25 or more, you can get free shipping on most items. In addition, you can use Swagbucks and Recyclebank to earn Amazon gift cards to help pay for your purchases.

Some regular sales that I have seen: Christian Book usually has sales on different publishers on a regular basis (they also have Black Friday sales). Home Science Tools has sales on a regular basis, on top of their low prices. Their service has been phenomenal and they have flat rate shipping of $6.95. They have great sales at Christmas time, too. Scholastic's Teacher Express site has a $1 sale a few times a year, where a large portion of their downloadable books are $1 each (this is when I purchased my activity books from them that you see listed on my fourth grade page, as well as the geography books from them for several grades). Because they are printable, once you download them, you can use them for every child quite easily.

This is Liberty two years ago doing her kindergarten math, which I printed from The Math Worksheet Site.


3. Don't buy it at all

The library may have many of the books you need, especially literature and science books. You may find the exact books you want, or you may be able to find others that will work just fine (our library has a lot of science books that include experiments). If your library doesn't have the books you want, you may be able to request them through interlibrary loan.

Hand-me-downs can work for books as well as clothing! If you have friends who are teaching children older than yours at home, they might offer you their old books. We have received several books this way.

Swapping books that you no longer need is another way to get books. You can do it locally, or online (in which case you would need to pay book rate shipping).

There are also vast resources for school that you can access online for free. I mentioned recently that we found a free online typing class. I have a list of several free sources for all sorts of subjects (including math, English, science, spelling, art, penmanship, music and more) on my website's Homeschool Sources page. Some sites are always free. For some, you will need to print pages for your child. Some sites have a limited number of free pages, but have more available for a subscription fee (which can be month or a year, so you can try it out for a month to see if it is worth it or not to you).

A note on printing: I print quite a few pages each day. My printer is a laser printer, and it only prints black. Using a laser printer instead of an ink jet printer saves me a lot, as does using a black and white printer over a color printer. The cartridges that I buy are labeled for 7000 sheets per cartridge, and I usually can get 10,000 sheets per cartridge by cleaning the wire, shaking the cartridge, and covering the reader hole on the cartridge with masking tape. I watch for sales on Amazon to replace my cartridge when it starts to get low. I have been using my printer for many years; they have newer models now that also take the same cartridge.

Paper sales are best at back to school time. This week Office Max has a box of 10 reams (500 sheets each) of paper on sale for $25. (Regular price is $35). We use computer paper for painting, drawing, and origami,  as well as for printing.



This week I updated our curriculum lists to reflect what we are using for each grade. You can find those on my website. For simplicity's sake I am listing the links to each grade here:

Kindergarten

First Grade

Second Grade

Third Grade

Fourth Grade

Fifth Grade

Sixth Grade

Seventh Grade

Homeschool Resources

A little homeschool encouragement

We homeschool year-round. If you don't homeschool year-round, when do you start school?



This post contains affiliate links. A big thank you to those of you who have made purchases through my links; the credit I earn helps me to pay for schoolbooks!

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