We are beginning our eighth week of school and it has been a great success. It has not been easy or pretty but it has been our most vibrant start in years. Yes, I cry and struggle weekly and want to put them in school most days but I can also see that we have accomplished quite a bit in these past eight weeks and they are thriving. Here are some (very) brief notes:
My daughter is in eighth grade and is largely self paced. I set out the week's studies for her, make myself available for discussion, and test on Fridays. The rest is kind of up to her. We struggled with her time management skills for years and she is now capable of keeping herself on track.
- We are using the history outline from Mater Amabilis so she is studying the 20th century this year. We are supplementing with literature and documentaries. Daily, she watches CNN Student News and we discuss it together.
- She is reading and listening to the Faerie and Fantasy course from The Tolkien Professor, which is free online. I do screen some of these for content. This has been a fun program for her.
- She has taken enthusiastically to Logic. We are using the Memoria Press program.
My son is in 4th grade and needs more of my attention. He is progressing more smoothly with subjects like spelling and Latin. Math has always been very easy for him. He is a good reader but hasn't really taken to picking up books to read on his own just yet. I remember in the earlier years my daughter took to reading via The American Girl series. He's more of a naturalist so we've been making our way through selections from Jean Craighead George.
- Memoria Press Timeline program. I think I mentioned I had his learning style evaluated at the beginning of the year and it said he would benefit from timelines. I love this program. It's super basic, but gives you the framework for teaching history. At this point we have so many materials for further study so it keeps us active and interested.
- I am trying to hit some major literary works with him. We began with an overview of The Iliad and The Odyssey and he loved it. From Homer we moved on to Shakespeare and October has been set aside for Chesterton's Father Brown Mysteries. My daughter is studying the same works, but at a higher level.
This was kind of new for us this year. We had attempted it in the past and it was always a disaster. It has been a bit of a disaster this year as well. It's really, really hard to manage with a toddler. The only way it works is if I get up early and the older children get up early and the baby sleeps in. This sometimes happens. I honestly cannot even attempt it if she is up.
It's also been very fruitful! Together they've memorized The Magnificat and Longfellow's "The Village Blacksmith". That is when we study and discuss our literature selections. I end it with random trivia either from American History or science or geography or whatever I can find on any given day.
The cornerstone of Morning Time has been our folders. Each child has a color coded folder containing our memory work in the order we go over it. Over the past eight weeks, I've added seasonal poems to their folders or poems we've studied in the past and they have become treasures for all of us. Their folders also contain the Table of Contents from all of their textbooks to facilitate weekly lesson planning for me and give each child a clear overview of their coursework. If I were a proper blogger I would include pictures of our folders, but my sister-in-law is due any day with our newest little niece and I still have six inches to knit on a baby gift so I'm going to call this good enough for a Monday!