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What Our Homeschool Looks Like this Year

What Our Homeschool Looks Like this Year

This year we have taken on a Charlotte Mason flavour to our home school. I have always looked on with admiration at the method, but never knew quite how to go about the method with children of multiple ages. One friend who I look up to as a Charlotte Mason devote told me that they introduced things bit by bit over the years, not trying to do everything at once. With this knowledge I have moved in that direction. We do not rigorously follow a Charlotte Mason curriculum but have taken little steps in that direction.

Introducing Charlotte Mason for the boys

I have used the book list found on Linda Fay’s excellent website Charlotte Mason help. I find her curriculum less daunting than the one found on Ambleside Online, although this is still an excellent resource and I use it frequently. For the boys I am starting them all, regardless of age, on the history books listed for Year 1. The reading list here, even for my nearly 10 year old has something for each boy to take something away from. We read the material and then do dictation based on the material read. This is adapted for the different boys.

The younger boys use the year 1 material for general literature reading and poetry. Whereas for Noah I have used some of the material from the year 3 schedule. This seemed a good place for him to begin, however I do not use the history books for him here. He is also doing Apologia Science this year, he chose to study Astronomy, and he is enjoying it.

The boys also do copy work year day, Noah from the Bible, and Jude from a free printable booklet off of Simply Charlotte Mason.

For maths the two older boys are using Galore Park maths books, and Thomas who is just starting this year is doing the Maths Enhancement Program, this is a free curriculum devised by the University of Plymouth.

I still do a little text book work for the boys. Thomas is doing the Jolly Phonics program, and Jude Jolly Grammar. Noah is using Galore Park Junior English books- I have not been brave enough to leave the text books totally behind.

The younger boys are also doing Mystery Science, a free online science program.

Starting Secondary “School”

Rebekah who is now of an age for secondary school, has started using Omnibus books. These are a very comprehensive series of books which teach history and literature from source texts. The books are written from a classical perspective. She is also doing a little Galore Park for English as well. For maths she too is using Galore Park (it is really the best maths program I have come across, and I have tried a lot!). As we have one eye on future exams she is using Activate Science, by Oxford Press, as a science text book. Galore Park have also come to the rescue for French and Latin. Their books provide a good foundation, not only in vocabulary, but also grammar. Geography has been a subject that has failed to take off this year- I secretly think the girl is less interested!

Whereas Charlotte Mason would want children to go out every day to do nature study I am aiming once a week. We are also trying to listen more intentionally to classical music. I have found the best time for this is over dinner. It creates a soothing atmosphere that everyone in the family enjoys.

The two older children are continuing to explore computer programming through various books. I was pleasantly surprised to find some books in our local library on programming.

The main area where more work is needed is Art, things I have tried have not worked. I am trying to begin the study of pieces of great art in the home. I have purchased a couple of books of paintings, for us to look t and discuss. But as far as creating good art, well let’s just say it’s a work in progress :).

Over the summer I read the excellent “Teaching From Rest” by Sarah MacKenzie. One piece of advice that I have incorporated is to teach by way of lists. Instead of having Monday- history, Tuesday- French, Wednesday-geography…. and so on; have a list of the material you want to go through and go through it. So if on Tuesday you have an unexpected doctor’s appointment, or if this week is a homeschool group meet up “the thing” that was meant for that day does not get missed off. You then don’t end up with three weeks going past and the things you do on Tuesday’s not having been done for three weeks, if you have three weeks where Tuesday doesn’t go to plan (which let’s admit happens!). This has been very liberating and so simple to enforce. It was also encouraging to read that a woman with 6 children can homeschool, and maintain her high ideals, and remain sane. I would highly recommend the book to any home educator.

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