Sunday, August 26, 2007

Homeschool Progress

We will be going into our fourth week of homeschool tomorrow and so far so good (-ish). I seeing some improvement so that's at least good. I decided on AmblesideOnline (a la Charlotte Mason [CM]) after much reading and determining that it's at least as good as everything else out there and it's FREE! I'm also adding some of the books from Old Fashioned Education (OFE, another great site, also free!). Charlotte Mason was a strong believer in "Living Books" (engaging and interesting books on a wide variety of subjects written by one author who is passionate about their subject and draws the reader in as opposed to a committee of writers as for a dryly written textbook) and "Narration" (telling back what the student heard or read), in addition to Nature Study (another huge component and beginning science in the early grades), Bible, Art, Music, Copywork (handwriting), Dictation for grammar and spelling in middle grades, Poetry, History, Foreign Language, Geography, Literature, Handicrafts (learning to make useful things, things with a purpose or beautiful things to be given as gifts as opposed to useless arts and crafts that just sit around collecting dust). Classes are kept short so as to not bore the student causing them to "check out" and stop paying attention. School is usually wrapped up by early afternoon leaving the afternoon for free play, chores, free reading, child-led learning if they want, art, music, ...

My schedule as it currently stands:

Bible/Character Training: MW we read an OT story, TTh an NT one, and Friday we review both stories. Will start adding in memorizing family rules, Sabbath School memory verses and discussing the importance of developing a good character and manners, etc.
Nature Study: MTW Nature walk, Observation, Nature Journal (when I can get one put together for Geo), and read about Mammals. Thursday, read from one of the Among the (Forest, Meadow, Farmyard, Night...) People books. Friday, either a science DVD from the library or a science experiment from a book we have.
Math: We are doing the Math Enhancement Programme from the UK, Year 1, but I'd like to get caught up to Year 2 so will probably go a little faster than the plan laid out at OFE, or at least we'll go year round and eventually get caught up that way.
Drawing (Drawing with Children by Mona Brooke, we'll also be watching some of Jan Brett's drawing videos)/Artist (Leonardo da Vinci) /Composer (Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov) /Folk Song (Go Get the Ax) /Hymn (Children of the Heavenly Father) /Handicraft things (for this term we're going to be working on/perfecting knitting. Right now Geo is getting pretty adept at finger knitting) will be scattered throughout the week.
Literature: Scheduled reading from assigned books MWF with Free Reading (from grade appropriate living books not assigned for this year's reading) on TTh
Phonics: M-Th (McGuffey's Reader & Speller, & Word Mastery per OFE schedule)
Sign Language: M-Th, Friday we review all known signs or at least quite a few.
World History: M
American History: TW
Book of Centuries: TF Collect entries from week's readings, compile with pics and blurbs from the web, print out and glue in Book of Centuries.
Geography/Social Studies: TTh Paddle-to-the-Sea (a story about a little model canoe that makes a journey through the great lakes region from just north of Lake Superior all the way to the Atlantic Ocean), F Seven Little Sisters... from OFE schedule (I'm guessing it features little "sisters" from each of the seven continents)
Mapping: We map things on Google Maps whenever we read of a notable place.
Copywork & Memory work: M-F

I'm very excited about the coming year. I'm scouring every CM resource I can find on the net so I can fully grasp her philosophy of education. I need some help getting Geo to pay attention and narrate back to me what he heard (if he even listened). I may play around with shortening lesson times and bringing back the lesson later in the morning if needed. I think I will be adding lapbooking to our narrating in that I want to turn each narration into a little book to go into a larger lapbook (maybe 1 a month or 1 a quarter?). Need to save my pennies so I can get a little recorder so that Geo can narrate into it and I can type it out later (or use DH's laptop for dictating narrations).

I have been able to get 85% of the books required free from the net as most of them are now in the public domain. The rest of them I plan to get from the library or substitute with a suitable free alternative (Project Gutenberg and Baldwin Online are my friends :). I've put the free books I can get onto my Palm Pilot so I can just pretty much pick up and go and I think that's pretty neat.

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