Sunday, July 10, 2016
The minute I knew I was going to homeschool my kids (I think I was about two-years-old at the time), I knew I wanted to do literature-based learning and have stacks and stacks of living books everywhere and hours and hours of cuddling on the couch with all the books that my parents read aloud to me. I bought full multi-subject boxes of Sonlight and had three years straight of marvelous reading. I discovered Classical Conversations somewhere at the end of those three years and I was hooked on the whole concept of classical education and the tremendous fruit the trivium-based learning brought but it just never seemed that God opened the door for us to be a part of a CC co-op. I honestly was very bitter about it for about two years. Then God just gave me a peace that my children were not going to end up hobos just because they weren't enrolled in a CC and that His closing of that door meant that He had something better for our family. It was a big deal for me to let that one go. All my friends were in a CC and I only have cool friends and I, myself, am very cool. So, here is where you find me today. I am a combined teacher of the Charlotte Mason style of literature-based learning and a trivium, memory work supporter of classical education. I call it...
and she looks kind of like this
Now to answer my most frequently asked question-what curriculum do I use to achieve this CLASSIC CHARLOTTE education? Here's my line up for this coming year. We keep to the history cycle that CC is on because it gives us an outline to follow along with the memory work app that we do on our iPad. We've always enjoyed the Foundations memory work and we fall back to it every year. This year we are in the Middle Ages which is way more fun than Ancient history though I do enjoy Greek mythology and Roman history...okay so I like ancient history too. I've never met a history I didn't like.
This is the math the three older ones will be doing.
I like Teaching Textbooks for my kids because it is very to the point and doesn't take all day. I find they retain and understand better by doing the work with paper and pencil rather than the computer software. I have one 8 year-old math wiz, one super slow/distracted math wiz that usually makes the least mistakes, and one disliker of math that would rather go write a novel but does pretty well at math wiz. This program works for all three of them because it's done quickly and painlessly. Keep in mind that TT is generally a year behind most other curicculum and the first half of each book is usually review. That's why I can skip my kids ahead a couple of years. My second grader will be in the 4th grade book because he is incredibly observative of his older siblings and TT is very easy to follow.
Our History will include hundreds and millions of great works of fiction and non fiction. We have an audiobook on in the car every single time we are in the car. We make up errands just so we can listen to our books. "Um, yeah, I think we need some milk but let's get it three towns over from us." This audiobook is the main history source.
We'll also have a co-op class to back up and fill out our brains with this amazing time period.
My kids love coloring while I read aloud to them and I always get a couple of Dover coloring books to go along with whatever history cycle we're on. I make copies so they can color all year long. Here's the one I'm most excited about it.
And here is where history really sticks in their brains-when they rewrite it! I love IEW so much I could marry it. The history-based books make these great historical events become so much more memorable when they spend a week on their own history essay. Behold, the glory.
My daughter LOVES to write. My sons tolerate it. Anna writes novels in her spare time, armed with her IEW student handbook. My heart could burst! My ten-year-old can write some pretty entertaining works of fiction but it takes him about an hour per page because hand writing is an art form to him. My 8-year-old would rather get just the essential paragraph done in twenty minutes so he can go play with the 7-year-old. IEW has been such a blessing to both sides because they give you such a perfect structure to write with that doesn't stress anyone out. Even I have learned to become a better writer! Hey, I didn't say a better grammarian. Calm down. I am still exploring grammar options for this year. I think I found a very cheap online program that has what I'm looking for. I'll update you later. I'm not too keen on adding another workbook full of writing or the kids and I will take ten hours to do school every day and IEW and SWR cover grammar but not deep enough for me. I need to find a way to cover the grammar rules and typing class that integrates into our IEW essays. I also want them to learn how to diagram sentences but I keep moving it to the back burner. This is the year, I tell you!
I usually hand science over to a co-op class but this year I have decided to do fewer co-op classes because our new co-op is much more expensive. I love how Apologia books read like a story and integrate God's glory throughout its pages. We'll be studying physics this year and will try very hard at mastering the CC memory work for cycle 2. The kids mostly know it all but we need a refresher. Here she be.
And now for what I am the most excited about and, of course, it also comes from IEW. Just look at it!
It's so beautiful! We will take the next couple of years learning those by heart. I could pass out right now. Poems and speeches from the world's greatest thinkers and writers? I could just die. Never underestimate the power of a brain that is conditioned to memorize. The main component of classical education is that we learn by imitating the masters of thought and reasoning. It is very biblical if you think about it. We were created to imitate Christ and we were made in His image. It is a good, good thing to teach our kids how to think and communicate by looking to His Word and the great thinkers that He created in His image. I'm going to kiss this curriculum when it arrives on my doorstep. I may also high five the UPS person.
Of course, we will continue with our Spell to Write and Read program. I can't live without it. It is my saving grace.
We will also continue with our Visual Latin. The kids have a co-op class using this curriculum and I am so excited to have some accountability. I'm a bit of a Latin slacker. I don't carpe the diem as much as I know Julius Cesar would want me to.
Our Bible time mostly consists of reading separately or together and discussing the passage. I am going to plan out a memory verse outline for them this year that is centered around the gospel and why we study the Bible. I write verse-by-verse devotionals for them because there is no such thing in all the land for me to purchase and I am usually disappointed with "cartoon fluff" Bible curriculum for kids. I am editing away so that I can share them with you all. Please let me know if you are interested and here is my face for you to behold.
That right there is a face you can trust along with a couple of other faces that may give you pause.
I am so excited for this next year. It will be a very different one. I'm not directing an entire co-op, teaching four co-op classes, and teaching ballet twice a week. This is why I'm a bit stir crazy and I'm praying hard about leading a Fine Arts centered homeschool co-op. It would be so cool to have theater, dance, music, and art for almost free and all on one day. And you know me...all the world is my stage and life is better as a musical. We'll see what doors open or close. I don't want a repeat of bitter Rachel who didn't get what she wanted so come to my pity party.
So excited to be with my kids while their minds fill with knowledge or when "they can't remember what I just read" and when they discover a love of some subject in some heart-wrenching living book.
I AM FREAKING OUT-EXCITED.