I chose to do the Charlotte Mason method of education, because it seemed like the best to me. This, I think, made it a little harder, because we didn't use a lot of workbooks etc. and the girls were just coming out of public school. I still think this is one of the richer methods of educating, so this year we are doing a combination of that plus some workbooks.
Truthfully there were many days that involved tears and me wanting to give up. But overall, as in 85-90% of the time it went well and was actually enjoyable. I have lovely memories of some of the things we did. So, the good thing now is that I have some EXPERIENCE and have a better idea as to how the girls each learn and what works best for them. YAY!
They will all be going to a Christian school next school year, 2014-2015, so I am preparing them for that. The wonderful thing about the school is they hone in on reasoning and thinking through things-there is NO multiple choice, fill in the blank anything...ANYTHING! They also, teach the children the Christian view of man, and how God's providence is all through history, and of course, America's Christian Heritage and all about that. In highschool we spent months on the the Mayflower compact in original language (f's are pronounced as an 's') and the constitution including memorizing it, and all the other events that happened along with it. They tend to take a more,uh, conservative approach to math in the lower grades, concentrating on them getting the basics down really well, similar to what children learned back in the 1800s. (3Rs)
This year we are doing preschool for our almost 4 year old, 2nd grade and 4th grade.
So, I am planning a more language rich and 'arts' curriculum this year. First up, History:
Last year I did a combo of Christian Liberty Press Pioneers and Patriots book, and Simply Charlotte Mason's early modern history. The focus was mainly on the explorers that discovered America, the Pilgrims, life in the beginnings of the country and on up to Benjamin Franklin. I talked to the girls about our options and we chose do something different this year, which I think is really important because they will learn a lot about these topics in the coming years.
We chose to do SCM's Middles Ages, Renaissance, Reformation and Epistles
This guide includes history, geography and bible study. This book doesn't have the lessons, it's just your guidebook. You purchase living books for the actual study. There are many, and we buy them each term. The book is broken up into 3 terms that are 12 weeks each. It is also for the entire family, and for older children, they get additional books to read on their own that they will write narrations from. I'm excited because I think it will be a fun study. Some of the books are for the first term are:
So also in this book there is geography, which I think is the early explorers such as Magellan. I have to buy a map software to get the blank maps, although there may be some free ones I haven't found yet.
If I buy it, it will be Uncle Josh's Outline maps
For Bible, we will study the epistles, starting with James, then Galatians and so forth. I am looking into getting this Bible study book from SCM (Simply Charlotte Mason) because you use an actual Bible to read from :)
I will be picking from a few recommended Charlotte Mason reading lists for both grade levels. I found a set of unit studies on classic literature books that I plan to use with some of the books to make it more interesting. The books in the list are:
- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
- Black Beauty
- Charlotte's Web
- The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle
- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
- Little House in the Big Woods
- Mr. Popper's Penguins
- Stuart Little
- Treasure Island
- Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
I also bought some second grade readers from Pathway Readers and the Christian Liberty Press nature readers books 1-4 used locally.
Maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe I will get an audio version of the Pilgrim's Progress. I see much about it on Ambleside Online, and as far as the book goes, I just don't think they can do the original. There are some versions for children that look better, but I don't know. I know the rich language is important, so we may do the cd version. That book along with the stories from Shakespeare seem to be more at the 5th-6th grade level to me.
2nd Grade For Sarah, all from Christian Liberty Press
Modern Curriculum Press
4th Grade for Alexa, Christian Liberty Press
Modern Curriculum Press Math
For spelling, we are going to do dictation using a book from the SCM website.
For science we will use the Christian Liberty Press Nature readers and the Zoology 3 Course from Apologia. I am undecided as the whether I want to by the notebooks that go along with it yet, but I'm pretty sure that's what we're going to do. This will work with all grades too, yippee!
We may add in some fun science kits called The Young Scientist Club kits. As in, like one per term.
Last year we didn't do much with art, music or foreign language. For art and music, I plan to use:
World's Greatest Artists- because we like unit studies and it is currently free right now!
and, World's Greatest Composers
These are done like once or twice a week, very doable and adds interest to the day.
If we do a foreign language, I am looking at the Muzzy website, because they have an online program you can use for a little over $10 a month, rather than $200 for the dvds. (they chose French)
AND, I need to start teaching them piano. Gotta find some books to teach them to read music....
So add in daily chores, dance classes, church, probably swimming since it'll be summer here for a few more months and general play with each other, two swingsets and a trampoline (PE) going to the library, free reading...they will have a lot to do, and so will I! That doesn't include you know, groceries, cooking, laundry, cleaning, home projects, fall garden....aahhh!!!
Then that leaves the about to be 4 year old, Samantha. She is really really smart, as in she asked me to print her a page of letters to trace and she did and then starting writing letters by herself just from looking at her name. I'm not sure if I should start with basics and just teach letters, numbers (she counts past 20), shapes, colors or just jump into a reading program. I'm still thinking on it. I may buy her some of those workbooks at walmart and see how she does first.
And I think that wraps it up. Of course I also plan to do seasonal crafts, and will pick one handicraft per term.Not sure on those yet, but am thinking of doing more needle work/embroidery and simple sewing, maybe some jewelry making, wool crafts like felting etc.Paper crafts and painting for sure!
Phew, now I need to go buy new supplies for a home management binder and make a schedule!