Summer School

Summer School

Summer SchoolOur family homeschools year round and we will be finishing up our Ancient Greek studies over the summer.  We have been using Simply Charlotte Mason: Joshua Through Malachi and Ancient Greece. We will finish up by reading about Alexander the Great and we will read a great book about the constellations entitled Glow In The Dark Constellations.

I created Constellation Notebooking Pages to go along with our book and my daughter helped out with the layouts (she loves working on the computer). I am looking forward to using these starting next week.

I know lots of families who take the summer off. Our family has taken many summers off to go out of state on vacations and do other fun activities.  I am always shocked at how much the kids forget over the summer if we take too many weeks off in a row.  I decided that some subjects had to be continued over the summer, not daily, but at least once or twice a week.  Other subjects could be abandoned until next year leaving room to play catch up or try fun activities we haven’t had time for.

Subjects I continue throughout the summer:

  • Math- this MUST be continued for us.  We review twice a week with problems on the white board
  • Independent Reading– the kids are required to read almost daily, it keeps every ones mind fresh.
  • Memory Work- our kids memorize many bible scriptures and poems throughout the year.  We review various passages or poems once a week.  Additionally we review our map.  This year the kids memorized all the countries of Africa.  We review this just once a week to keep all those countries fresh in our mind.
  • Copywork- My 10 year old son really struggles with his handwriting so we will work on copywork twice a week just to keep him flowing in this area.

Our family will be playing ‘catch up’ this summer. We fell behind in our bible studies this year along with our studies of the geography of Israel. We will be reading the bible and A Child’s Geography Vol. II Explore the Holy Land.

We will be keeping our summer school days short, only a couple of hours every morning.

What about you?  Are you planning on having Summer School, or are you taking a nice long break this year?

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Charlotte Mason All The Way: Part 2

My Father's World I have been homeschooling for 5 years now. Unknowingly, I have been using some CM methods, most of which I found out about from using My Father’s World curriculum when my son was in kindergarten.  The curriculum had the kids doing things like scripture memorization, notebooking pages, copywork and reading from living books. At this time in my homeschool journey I had never even heard of Charlotte Mason, all I knew was that  these things were definitely working with my kids.

Notebooking pages were a big success in our family.  Having the kids write and illustrate what they just read about helped my daughter blossom into a good writer.  I had no idea at the time that my kids were in essence doing written narration. I started this very young with my kids, first grade actually, just having them write one to two sentences about what they read.  Sometimes I would even have them dictate to me and I would write it out for them.

So, we have actually been a CM type of family all along,  just without knowing it.

I used My Father’s World curriculum for three years.  We did enjoy it very much, and I highly recommend their curriculum for first grade.  It gave my kids such a foundation in the bible and I feel blessed to have found it.

However, in November of 2009 things in our family took a turn for the BUSY and OUT OF ORDER!

My husband started up a new business and our family was having to relocate because of the business,  so this meant finding a new house and selling ours.  On top of this my father in law was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  WOW!  It all hit us almost  at once, and it was overwhelming.  I was able to keep up with  school work for the most part… for a while, but once the entire house was packed and ready to go, and then our new house fell through right at the closing date, I LOST IT!

Here we were completely ready to move, EVERYTHING packed, and now our house wasn’t closing.  Right after this my father in law passed away.  It’s hard to really express in words just how much stress I was under.  The kids were out of their routine,  and I was lucky to get even a little school work finished in a day.  I finally said, “Look, I can’t take it anymore!  I am not going to do school work right now.  We are taking our summer break NOW and we will resume once we are moved somewhere and settled in.”

homeschool booksI was instantly relieved once I had excused myself from the burden of trying to keep to a school schedule that I was failing at.  I went to the library and checked out a stack of books and had the kids reading something everyday.  Other than that,  it was officially summer at our house.

To make a really long story a little  shorter, with much prayer and faith our family found a beautiful house that we absolutely loved even more than the house that didn’t close,  and within 1 month of starting our summer break we were moving in.

Upon finally getting settled into our new home, I knew it was time resume our homeschool life.   But, I knew I didn’t want to go back to our old school routine.  Even though I had loved using MFW curriculum, I felt I needed to find a new path for our family.  I was confused at where my homeschool was heading in the years to come.  I wanted my kids to become more independent learners, and I wanted to be able to have them together for as many subjects as possible. Something in my spirit said it was time for something new.

I have always been one to listen to my inner voice…that is how I operate.  I said a prayer and offered my needs up to the Lord.  This is really how it all began, my CM homeschool.  I found some great websites that I mentioned in my last post and from there found some great books, and just like that, something new was in the air.  Everything I read about CM made sense and my spirit instantly said, “This is it.  This is what you’ve been looking for!”

In a nutshell this is how I found out about CM.

In my next post I want to tell you about our CM days. What does our schedule look like?  What are we studying?  What CM subjects have I incorporated?  Can’t wait to share it all.

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Charlotte Mason All The Way: Part 1

Planning Your Charlotte Mason Education

I am happy to announce that we are now officially going full time with Charlotte Mason methods, and it really is GREAT!  Like I have said before, we have always leaned toward a CM style of learning without even knowing it, but now we have gone all in.  I purchased planning your Charlotte Mason Education over at simply Charlotte and I sat down and planned out my entire new school year in two days!! I highly recommend it to anyone who wants some help planning their year.

I have devoted the past couple months to reorganizing my homeschool from the inside out.  I knew some changes had to be made before our new school year began and I decided to put all of my time and energy into making it happen. I started by reading some books.

I had mentioned before that I was reading For the Children’s Sake. This is the book that changed everything for me.  After reading this book, I knew that I wanted to give my children a CM education.  If you are interested in CM and want to learn more, this is a great book to get you started.

Then I read A Charlotte Mason Education. This book went into details about the basic subjects that Charlotte Mason taught, such as, narration, copywork, dictation, Book of Centuries, etc.   The author, a homeschooling mom, shows you how to teach these subjects to your own kids.  This book paved the way for me to SEE that the CM way of teaching would work in MY homeschool.  I remember reading this book in bed at night, and every other page stopping just to tell my husband what I had read.  It was that good.

In addition to reading For the Children’s Sake, I have also read The Well Trained Mind. Now, I know what you are thinking…”Why did you read The Well Trained Mind if you are going all in with a CM education style?  Well, the truth is that I have always wanted to read the book, and before I planned out my new year I figured now was the time to read it.    I wanted to know the specifics of a classical education and make sure I was making the right choices in my kids education.  I have to say that there are several aspects of classical education that I like,  and some of them I will incorporate into our studies.  I really enjoyed reading this book even though it was a bit intimidating at times.  I actually had to read parts of the book two and three times, over the course of several weeks, just to digest everything.  However, having read the book, I am convinced that CM is the way to go for our family, with a little bit of classical education added in here and there.  I will go into the specifics of that in a later post:)

Did I say I’ve been a little busy lately?

This year is really a turning point in my homeschool.  I have a much clearer picture of where my kids are headed for the first time since I started homeschooling (5 years ago).  Here are a few places I have found that helped me out…

I am totally addicted to the Simply Charlotte Mason website/blog/forum.  I just LOVE the ladies over there!  I have learned sooo much from them.  They are ALWAYS there to help with any and all questions I have.

Another blog that I have enjoyed reading and learned so much from is Higher Up and Further In.  I spent hours reading this beautiful blog, and it answered a lot of questions I had about how to incorporate CM methods.  This blog has been invaluable to me.

It’s getting late around here…so I will continue with all my CM talk in my next post.  I will list all of the CM subjects we are covering and our weekly schedule.

I have so much more free time now that my entire school year is planned out, so there will much more time for me to blog again!


All Good Things Come…In Due Time

I have had so many new and wonderful things happen to me over the past few months. We moved into a wonderful new house with lots and lots of yard, my shepherd had eleven puppies…yes I said eleven, and I have completely dived into Charlotte Mason methods in our homeschool. While some of it has been frustrating like the moving and oh my, the puppies, Charlotte Mason has refreshed and revived me and my homeschool.

I have been so inspired that I have started creating several new notebooking sets including one for famous artists.

I will posting this week about all of the changes we have made in our efforts to implement CM’s approach in our studies. The first post coming up will be about me, and how CM has changed the way I think about homeschooling my kids.

Can’t wait to talk about it all….

Anyone want an adorable pup? Free shipping! (just kidding 🙂

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Calculator Math

I didn’t come up with this idea…it was my 8 year old son.  He started using our calculator to quiz himself on multiplication facts he has learned.  He started using it everyday, two or three times a day, for about 5 minutes.  Within just a few days I noticed he was so much quicker with his answers while we played our math card game.

So, I gave the calculator to my 10 year old daughter, and she started doing the same.  Withing a couple days she too was much quicker while doing multiplication drills.

This method could be use for any math facts: addition, subtraction, and also division.  The great thing about it is that the kids can do this on their own.  Give all the kids a calculator and now you can have 5 full minutes all to yourself! (hey, some days just 5 minutes of free time makes all the difference).

If it worked so well in our family I am sure it can do the same for yours.

I never would have thought of this idea on my own and I’ve never read about anyone else using it.  It is such a simple concept that has yielded great results for us.

Have you ever used this idea in your homeschool?


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Simply Charlotte Mason I review for BookSneeze