Maybe she will be embarrassed by what I'm about to say, but I'm going to go ahead and say it because every mom needs to hear what they're good at from someone other than their husband and kids: when I want advice or guidance or encouragement in opening up the world of literature or art or history to my children, she is the first person I think of. Her personal knowledge of these things, as if they're woven into her very being, is beyond anything I'm going to able to accomplish in myself. AND her willingness and ability to allow that to blossom naturally in her kids is so admirable. I tend to still cling too much to "what the grade level expectations are" in a lot of things and in so doing have in the past stifled what could have been a truly organic learning adventure, the kind that actually brings them joy sticks with them throughout their lives.
So she's started a weekly Learning Notes post, and the way she writes hers is by day, which I don't think I can manage right now. But I would like to put down some thoughts about how our school year has started so I (and maybe you?) can figure out what is useful and what is not and what we should keep and what we should scrap and all those lovely things that make homeschooling good for my kids and our family.
Edited to add: even if you are not formally schooling at home, you are invited and encouraged to post your own learning notes. As Melanie points out in her comment down below, every mother teaches her children things!
-For history, my big girls are reading The Story of the World and A Little History of the World as I mentioned a few weeks ago. Instead of answering the comprehension questions from the SOTW activity book (vol 1, vol 2) though (boring), they are each choosing one corresponding project per week to complete, also from the activity book. So far we're up to two projects each and it's great because we are getting that "homeschool experience" that I like to imagine without the added hassle of ME having to come up with the projects. Because I'm really not very imaginative and my idea of a project is "let's learn about history by scrubbing the floor the old fashioned way!!!"
|Lizzy made this and took the photo AND wrote a blog post. Wanna read it? Yes.|
-We've only had one week of our co-op classes so far (2nd class is tomorrow) but I think that the Classically Catholic Memory is going to be GREAT for Paul. He is a young 2nd grader and the tiny doses of lots of related things that he is already somewhat familiar with gives him a lot of learning confidence. We actually used the CD in the house and the car yesterday and complemented this week's lessons with geography and math songs from Audio Memory. I love me some learnin' songs!
-I am SO GLAD we included public speaking and poetry memorization in our schooling over the last few years. So, so, so glad. Katy and Lizzy have each been cast in different stage productions this semester with the performing arts organization for western Michigan and we're pretty sure that wouldn't have happened if we hadn't practiced enunciation and poise and projection and all those good things over the past three years. And memorizing their lines? No prob, bob. I'm just so proud of them! Important life skills that also result in fun opportunities F. T. W.
-Last thing- we are beginning to sort of find a rhythm, an order to the days that are actually spent at home. Right now it's something like this:
K&L morning animal chores
Get dressed and do bathroomish things
(at this point it's usually almost 11 a.m. No one is a morning person around here. It works)
School work for an hour
Kids outside for some fresh air while I put lunch together.
School/play time (depending on how old you are)
Mary down for afternoon nap
School work or video or ?
4 p.m. - daily specific chores for big people
4:45 - I start making dinner
Pretty good? Pretty good.
Thanks for the push to do this, Melanie! Loves ya.