Friday, July 24, 2009

New Master Plan 2009

After having spent quite a bit of time on the Simply Charlotte Mason site last night, I have come up with a new Master Plan for 2009. It implements the Circle Time concept I talked about earlier plus the CM classes that are encouraged. And, in a first for me, I've attached times to each subject. I typically do not do this, but I wanted to be sure that we could cover what I'd like. I think we can. If you'd like to check it out, I turned my table in to a Google Document.

Tell me what you think? Did I bite off too much to chew?

I want to do the four day schedule in order to leave Friday open for other pursuits. I have been asked by a friend to teach a photography class for her son. I'll be including at least Lego-Man if not Conductor & I'm not sure who else will join us. That class will only be twice a month.

I'm also going to attempt to teach the boys piano this year thus the 90 minutes music lessons on Fridays. I only have a keyboard currently but I played growing up & I think I can at least get them started. That is one thing that has been lacking in our homeschool that I really want to remedy. I would love to see the boys graduate knowing at least how to play the piano if not the violin as well.

I'm getting excited for the start of our school year & that is also something that has been lacking lately. I still have a long to-do list of things I want to accomplish before we start. Time to get busy!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Making More Plans

I've been hanging out at Simply Charlotte Mason today & I've found a treasure trove of good ideas to try out this year. I've also been drawn to the CM learning style from the very beginning. One of my favorite sites to visit for ideas is Ambleside Online. If you have never been, check it out. It's a completely free CM style curriculum.

So here is what I've been looking at so far....

  • A list of handicraft & life skills to teach your children. Ms. Mason believe all children should be taught these skills. It's nice to have a list like this to refer to.
  • Copywork is also important to the CM learning style. I need to start teaching Happy how to write neatly and how to form his letter. On the SCM website there is a spot to download pdf files to practice copywork with hymns, poetry, and scripture. Since I'm planning to implement circle time & have hymn, poetry, & scripture time, I think this will be a great site to use.
  • I'm also thrilled to see a booklist for the early years (ages 3, 4, & 5). One thing that has been sorely lacking here is more read aloud time, especially for Happy.
  • There are three freebies on the site & I've downloaded them all. I also printed Education Is which seems to be right what I needed right now. It discusses Ms. Mason's philosophy that "Education is a atmosphere, a disciple, a life." I've started reading it. It's excellent. And free.
  • The second freebie is called Masterly Inactivity. This discusses disciple & consistency - something I think all mothers struggle with - at least I do. I have this one downloaded & will print it out to read once I get more ink for my printer.
  • The last freebie I actually downloaded and printed a while ago. It's called The Swedish Drill Teacher & is the physical education program that Ms. Mason used in her own school.
I may have mentioned here or on my family blog that I will be using SCM science curriculum this year called 106 Days of Creation. It's an inexpensive program & it's designed to be used with a multi-level of students which is perfect for me. It does add in Considering God's Creation for older students so Lego-Man will at least be using that & possibly Conductor as well.

On my wish list from SCM are a few things:
  • All-Day Charlotte Mason Seminar ($54.95) which is a 3-DVD set explaining how the CM method works, a 4th DVD called Laying Down the Rails which discusses good habit training, and a seminar notebook.
  • Laying Down the Rails Package which is a DVD, CD, and book ($37.95) that goes over how to instill good habits. If I buy the first one, I wouldn't get this one since it's included.
  • Planning Your Charlotte Mason Education that includes a DVD & book. The DVD is a recorded workshop that goes over the book.
I really enjoy the SCM site. There are tons of ideas on there for planning. If you are at all interested in the CM style of teaching, you should go check it out.

Circle Time

One thing I have discovered this year is that I really want learning to be the focus of our school day. This has been my fault in the past & I really want to change it. Typically I'm all about "Hurry & let's finish this so we can go do our own thing." I don't like the tone that sets to our day. I know this is going to be a big change for my boys (one of many but I'll share those later), but one I think will make things actually easier around here. One can hope anyway.

I also love the Charlotte Mason/Classical type of homeschooling. However, I am not organized to pull it off. I'm working on that too - I'm currently reading The Organized Homeschooler by Vicki Carunana. I want to implement hymn study, nature study, composers, folk song, art, etc. Adding all that in to an already full schedule with teaching three boys (and a toddler & infant as well) makes for really long days!

So all that to say, I think I'm going to try "circle time." I already try to teach the boys together for a lot of the subjects - just at their level. I've spent some time this afternoon doing some research. Here is what I have come up with for a plan**:

  • Prayer - each taking a turn
  • Talk about the day of the week, month, year, season & weather
  • Hymn - learn one new one a week
  • Folk Song - learn one a week (things like America the Beautiful & the like)
  • Read Aloud - Regular books, Aseop Fables, Book of Virtue, etc.
  • Learn a children's song & sign language to go with it
  • Poetry- read & memorize one (weekly depending on length)
  • AWANA verses

I'm aiming for this to take about 30 minutes at the most. Then the boys would go to their rooms to read/look at their Bibles (starting to work on a daily devotional time) for 10-15 minutes. This will give me a chance to do something specific with Miss H or change diapers or whatever needs to happen with her & Mr. H.

Then we will start on the rest of our day. I posted our schedule the other day but I saw something at Simply Charlotte Mason today that has me rethinking that as well. I may go to a four day week with Fridays reserved for things like nature study, music, art, etc. I'm also looking at starting a homeschool group locally that would meet twice a month on Fridays so this schedule may work better.

Still planning it all out.

**Ideas taken from these sites:
Classical Homeschooling Newsletter (scroll down to the bottom)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Master Daily Plan

Subjects we’ll cover every day:

  • Bible
  • Math/Drill (Calculadder)
  • Phonics/Spelling
  • Writing
  • Independent Reading (Literature)
  • PE

Subjects done on Monday, Wednesday, & Friday

  • History
  • Science
  • PC

Subjects done on Tuesday & Thursdays:

  • Art/Music
  • Sign Language (& Monday)

Subjects done once a week:

  • Music Lessons
  • Photography

PC = Typing & Educational games

PE = 30 minutes of active playing (bike riding, walking, running, games, tag, soccer practice, kick ball, etc.)


***This is my IDEAL daily schedule. It never every happens that I hit every subject when it's listed, but this is what I aim for.***

I am still trying to add in Nature study, Hymn Study, Folk Songs/other songs (such as America the Beautiful) & memorization as I can. I am contemplating a "Circle Time" to start out day where some of this will be done including read alouds.

What's All This?

Well, "this" is where I'm planning to document our school year. I saw the idea over at Oh, Shoot a Monkey! this afternoon & it immediately started me thinking. My goal here is to have a spot where I can log books we read, field trips we go on, things we do. I'll include links whenever possible. I'm hoping it helps those just starting out or those looking for new ideas. Enjoy!