Wednesday, August 05, 2015

School Daze

We started school a week ago today. Our first day was held at Chick-fil-a, which actually worked really well as it let us use the play place for Mason (and Laina when she wasn't working). Plus it was a fun way to start things off--a new tradition to be sure. We've had some bumpy days since, and today was the first day that I feel like things were actually working and coming together, and, like I read on one mom's homeschool blog, we're making this pig fly.

This year, I'm schooling a fourth-grader, a second-grader, and a kindergartener, all while trying to entertain/fend off/discipline/train a two-year-old ACTIVE boy and carry/nurse/care for a seven-month-old baby girl. It's quite a year around these parts, friends. And we're only a week in.

We decided not to do Classical Conversations this year. It wasn't a good fit for us, but we are so very sad to be leaving the community of friends we made. It was hard to decide what to do. I wanted to do Sonlight again, but not necessarily for the content of the curriculum as much as for the ease of using a boxed curriculum that's ready-made and, if we were to stick with it, would provide a good education for my kids without a lot of gaps. But. Sonlight is very expensive.

I have been gathering my own curriculum for the past three years and been liking it fine. Last year was the easiest to put together because I had CC as an organizing spine. This year, I'd be on my own. I thought, too, that we'd be pretty much a Classical education family, but this year, I realized we're more of a mix between Classical and Charlotte Mason. Believe it or not, it was a helpful realization to make. I started listening to some podcasts from the Circe Institute, and I found a website that was instructive, inspirational, and down-to-earth (the Schole Sisters). This! This is what I'm looking for! These resources and others like them cast a vision for an education steeped in truth, goodness, and beauty, with Christ at the center. They call for hard work and academic excellence, along with character development. They focus on literature and use read-alouds freely and often (our favorite thing!) and they present a well-rounded, liberal arts education that I just might be able to provide for my kids. Even more helpful, they repeatedly remind parent-teachers to simplify, that less is more, and that a deep education doesn't mean one that is stuffed full of subjects and never-ending quests for the best, but that it is one with margin, time to think, reflect and pray, time to create, time to read, and with carefully chosen subjects and books, not every one there is. Charlotte Mason's ideas and schedules helped a lot with this, too.

This is what I've been trying to do. And I found others doing it too. It was freeing and encouraging and helpful. And I've found ideas and resources and practical help.

And so, with a lot of hard work and thought, it came together. This year, we will be studying the Medieval time period, and using read-alouds that reflect that and some other good ones I found (starting with The Green Ember, which we are loving so far!). We're doing math and language arts, poetry, a lot of reading, memorization, history, science, world view, nature study, art, and Latin roots--but not all of that every day. We're using a loop schedule for some things and making others into habits. It's too early yet to see if this pig will fly, but we're gluing some wings on and hoping for the best.

In another post, I'll lay out the specifics (more for my records than because I think anyone will want to read book lists!) and also our traditional first day of school pics. But for today, I'm enjoying our first successful quiet time break of the 2015 school year and then it'll be on to science!

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