"This book is funnier than I thought." -while reading Pilgrim's Progress
"My hand is just itching to do some 'M's" -beginning copywork
God doth Instruct...
Let this be the mother's key to the whole of the education of each boy and each girl...
We do not sufficiently rejoice in the wealth that the infinite nature of our God brings to each of us.
And what subjects are under the direction of this Divine Teacher? The child's faith and hope and charity––that we already knew; his temperance, justice, prudence and fortitude––that we might have guessed; his grammar, rhetoric, logic, music, astronomy, geometry, arithmetic––this we might have forgotten...
...his practical skill in the use of tools and instruments, from a knife and fork to a microscope, and in the sensible management of all the affairs of life––these also come from the Lord,
which is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working. His God doth instruct him and doth teach him.
Let the mother visualise the thought as an illuminated scroll about her newborn child, and let her never contemplate any kind of instruction for her child, except under the sense of the divine co-operation.
-Charlotte Mason 2.273
Divine co-operation. I like to contemplate the meaning of that. It seems easy enough to agree with.
But I find I must, at times, intentionally let go in trusting my own teacher-planning/preparedness in favor of a trust in the Holy Spirit as my son's main educator. It's not that I don't plan anything. It's not leaving it to my child to choose to learn whatever whenever. My role is now to be one who stands alongside with open hands to give to my son while I receive from above exactly what we both need for this journey.
I am not a teacher but an awakener. -Robert Frost
Normally doubts flicker before they fade, but sometimes they disintegrate
when we're given the gift of a situation that undergirds all our efforts.
It is just up to us to notice it and be the catalyst.
It's not often earth shattering; I usually see it in small daily things, like when we narrated this [below] 2 weeks ago,
and then this happened! Yep, didn't plan that one.
We've been having such fun with the term 1 book Tree In The Trail !
* Revisiting photos from a visit to a Native American historical site where we packed our own real/reproduction travois. (...thought about making a toy one too)
* Adding a cottonwood leaf to our book of pressed leaves and flowers and remembering how the fluffy seeds covered and stuck to our car this past spring
* Comparing wood grain with rings in wood 'cookies' (Make your own with instructions here)
* And of course mapping out the Santa Fe trail/map as we read through the chapters
It's not an all-out unit study.
It's just what happens because a living book comes alive when you read it.
Sometimes it makes you want to do things1
We made a cool nature discovery, and just had to share. Little eagle eyes first discovered it tucked into a crevice of his volunteer sunflower. And one of our first observations of it was the gigantic leaps it made when we disturbed its sun bathing. Then in a blink it was back up to where it used to be. I read later that it leaves guide lines to get back. It's hard to see in the photos but it was very hairy and had a colorful mandible!
The website said, "These spiders move quickly in a jerky, irregular gait and can run sideways and backward. The two middle eyes of jumping spiders are particularly large and jumping spiders have the best vision of spiders, seeing objects up to eight inches away." It is pretty remarkable for being only 1/4 inch long.
It has been extra adventurous to transition this family from end of summer to new school year rhythms, because smack dab in the middle, we moved houses. Lessons in a new environment still under construction and in boxes with a busy non-napping 2yo in the mix, are new to me. Despite the looming feeling of beginning late, once the first day ended I remembered, "Oh that's right, this is a living education that fills, instead of exhausts, the teacher!" Why did I forget that part? It often surprises me when my former ingrained notions of education come creeping back in.
We're loving these free printable phonogram cards as a new addition to our reading lessons.
They are at the end pages of the spelling journal printable. F.Y.I.
With a closet shelved with his own special 'school' toys, I was prepared to meet the little one's needs and hold the older one's attention, but the 2yo reminded me the first week that being just like big brother is way cooler. So now when we use the tally sticks, abacus, pennies and clock he gets his own little items to explore. I always think those Pintrest boards with toddler activities look so exciting, but lets get real; free play with rainbow pudding paint or a tub full of dry beans to scatter while we're trying to read and narrate is just not realistic for us. Snacks, on the other hand, are super! Remaining in an attitude of intentionally listening to and learning my children's needs/personalities smoothes out the tweaking process that comes at the start of a new year.
Happily will I report that year 2 is a nice gentle increase from year 1 academics. Longer and slightly more challenging texts but- not too much. Ambleside Online is so very wonderful to have as a resource. I was able to re-use my same weekly schedule format from last year with a few shifts in the order of the day. We're also hoping to add a music listening notebook to our composer time as described in this lovely blog post.
We do about 2 1/2 hours of learning each morning with a few subjects saved for leisure time and follow a 'first, next, then' rhythm rather than rigid minute-by-minute schedule. We do use a timer for a few subjects.
Bible/prayer/worship 15 min
Hymn/folksong 1x thru/ea.
Memory verse 2x thru
Poetry- 1 poem/ review of our poet/
History/Literature Reading #1- 1 chapter from various texts
Number- 15-20 min
Copywork/Handwriting- 7 min- copying a passage of his choice from beautiful literature we've read
Phonics/Reading- 15-20 min
History/Literature Reading #2- 1 ch. from another book
Drawing/Audio book- Hamlet this term!
Random Weekly subjects- Map drill, Outdoor Geography, Timeline, Handcraft, Nature study, PE etc.
And the perks of a new school year beginning are lovely!
Library. sales. Oh, ya.
How is your year turning out so far?
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things
Every other Friday for 2 terms a year my son and I experience the joy of being together with friends to share our teaching and learning. 10 subjects ; 4 1/2 hours; 1 snack; 14 kids; 6 moms. It's a refreshing, invigorating addition to our regular at home days. Here's is a taste of our morning.
* Snack *
Learning alongside these older kids and their mothers who have gone before me has been the most valuable thing to the practicality of my teaching at home. Seeing narration in action with all ages, hearing the moms' choice of wording presented in different subject areas, the level of expectation, the atmosphere, the little ways each one is treated as a person, the flow of the morning, the simplicity yet variety in the lessons, and mostly being able to see where I am headed in this journey being fleshed out in front of me, are some of the most amazing things I have been blessed with from these times together. I don't really know who's learning more, my son or I? I know for a fact that our school times at home would look much different if it was not for this group.
If you're interested, you can read more about our Truth Beauty Goodness group's latest adventures via another one of the moms from over here.
It is a great thing to be a parent: there is no promotion, no dignity, to compare with it.
Inspiration from last week's book study:
Mothers owe a 'thinking love' to their Children.––"The mother is qualified," says Pestalozzi, "and qualified by the Creator Himself, to become the principal agent in the development of her child; ... and what is demanded of her is––a thinking love ... God has given to the child all the faculties of our nature, but the grand point remains undecided––how shall this heart, this head, these hands be employed? to whose service shall they be dedicated? A question the answer to which involves a futurity of happiness or misery to a life so dear to thee. Maternal love is the first agent in education." -CM Vol 1
“When is a child so happy as when he is doing-- or undoing—something with his hands?”
If you've never heard about sloyd, you're not alone. I hadn't either, but I was inspired to dive in and learn more about this fascinating and nearly-lost-art of hand work. Now that we've spent an entire term working on sloyd at home and in our little homeschool community, I'm happy to share the treasure trove of learning we have encountered!
The root of the word sloyd (or slojd- in Swedish) can imply ‘artfully wrought’ and ‘wisdom and forethought.’ The basic definition is: a slow steady progression of working with ones hands to develop manual and mental skills and to develop character. It can be applied in metal, wood, paper, cardboard or other materials. We used cardstock and bristol board.
There's so much history and theory behind sloyd.
"it aims to make them [children] more fit to cope with the difficulties of life, and thus to make them useful and honorable members of the community."
It "...gives practical direction to mental activity. Man is not only born to think, but also to do. He is creative and must embody his ideas in form."
Charlotte Mason’s PNEU school program shows sloyd or carton work mainly from ages 6-12 during the handcraft period about 1 ½ - 3 hours per week. But sloyd had value also as an important addition to students' mathematical learning. At the same time children were doing sloyd, they were also learning elementary arithmetic, practical geometry and outdoor geography. Imagine the mental connections!
You can find a great book titled
Paper Sloyd: A Handbook for Primary Grades by Ednah Ann Erdich free online
which has instructions, ideas and models to take you through your first years with sloyd.
Our group did this handcraft with 6 year olds on up. As in the PNEU, when students finished making a model, they were encouraged to use their creativity to make up their own creations using the skills they learned and embellishing the models in some way.
You can also search AO and find some interesting Parent's Review articles
that discuss sloyd.
Sloyd is still being taught all over the globe, but particularly in the US at
North Bennet Street School in Boston,.
Click the link to see a short video on the benefits of sloyd and the value of hand skills training for today's society from the school's president.
We must “give children a respect and love for all honest hand-work and hand-workers and so save them from that blight of shame which still fastens on many a human being at the thought of working with their hands.” -Mason
"Let the youth once learn to take a straight shaving off a plank, or draw a fine curve without faltering, or lay a brick level in its mortar, and he has learned a multitude of other matters which no lips of man could ever teach him" --John Ruskin, "Time and Tide", 1883.
The Parent's Midwest Educational Union, PMEU, aka. our local parents homeschool book study had it's kick off event for the school year this week with books, treats, discussion and reminders on walking forth in a posture of humility. Like the image in our minds of 'the flowering rush that bends to the waves of life but does not break,' I too hope to move into this school year' carrying the breath of life to God's children' that I teach.
“If mothers could learn to do for themselves what they do for their children when these are overdone, we should have happier households. Let the mother go out to play!”
...the woods are lovely dark and deep
but I have promises to keep
and miles to go before I sleep
and miles to go before I sleep