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We are a few weeks into the new homeschool year and I thought it would be a good time to step back and re-evaluate what is (and isn’t) working.
This stepping back was very helpful for me and I hope to continue to do it on a monthly-ish basis, hopefully I’ll see some growth from month to month. I did monthly reviews for the first half of the first year we homeschooled and this would be pretty much the same idea.
This is our third year homeschooling and our style has definitely changed since the beginning of the first year. This year I decided to try a little bit more of a schedule and we are also trying to (mostly) follow the Charlotte Mason method. If you are curious you can check out more details on what the Charlotte Mason method is and why we are following it this year and our CM schedule.
This is the first year I am officially homeschooling two kids. My son has been right beside us for almost everything we’ve done for the past few years so it’s not that big of an adjustment, the only real change is that I need to make sure I am spending some intentional time homeschooling him as well.
So, let’s dive in and I’ll share what has (and hasn’t) been working so far . . .
WHAT’S BEEN WORKING WELL
One of the reasons I love the CM method is because it involves reading so many good books. That really speaks to my book loving heart. I get the feeling my kids could listen to me read all day and not do any other part of school. I get the feeling I would be okay with that . . .
There are a few books we are currently reading that the kids are loving; first of all is Little Pilgrim’s Progress. I’ve been trying to read one chapter a day and they are constantly asking for at least one more chapter. They also seem to be enjoying Tales from Shakespeare, we’ve only read The Tempest so far and while I feel like they didn’t really understand all of it they did enjoy it. Another book I am reading to them is Shiloh, I don’t think I’ve even ever read the book, I’m pretty sure I’ve only watched the movie, but the book is very good so far. And then our nature study book we are reading through right now is The Burgess Bird Book for Children, it’s cute and informative. Our lunch time read aloud (audiobook) is David Livingstone from the Christian Heroes series, I’m really enjoying it as well and plan on reading his journals myself one day in the near-ish future. And lastly, on the weekends we are listening to the first Harry Potter book. I’ve been wanting to listen to it forever with the kids, I only read it this winter for the first time and I knew that my daughter would love it, she loves everything fantasy and I was right.
So, obviously we are loving the books.
Just like the last couple of years we are continuing with a weekly poetry tea time, I’m pretty sure it’s because they usually get hot chocolate and some kind of snack but the kids are still stoked about this each week, whatever works!
In addition to poetry tea time we are studying one poet a month this year, well, we will, we are only in the first month. I plan on using the Poetry For Young People series for this for the year, right now we are reading through Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I’ve been reading the kids a poem or two a day and then at our poetry tea time they pick one (or more) of their favorites so far for us to read again.
Plus, we just bought a couple of new poetry books, those will be fun to add into our next tea time!
This goes hand in hand with poetry because the kids are working on memorizing poems this year. So far Raeca has memorized one from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Fairy Poems, and one of Shel Silverstein’s and is on her second one from Fairy Poems. Ephraim has spent all his time so far working on Brother and Sister from Lewis Carrol and is almost done, I’ve been pleasantly surprised first of all that he chose a fairly long poem for his first one and secondly how well he has been doing on it.
We aren’t very far into learning French yet (to be honest, I still miss Spanish, that language is so much easier to learn) but the kids are still really excited about it and I found a couple of good apps for them to use. I have plans to do a lot more with French yet but I’m not feeling immediately discouraged like I was afraid I was going to so that’s a positive!
In the past, every time I asked Raeca what she wanted to learn she always said cooking or baking and I never really followed through. I love my kids but cooking and baking are not enjoyable tasks for me to begin with and adding in all their talking and questions is just not something I have the patience for on a regular basis. But so far this school year we’ve done some cooking or baking together at least once a week. Progress!
WHAT HASN’T BEEN WORKING WELL
ANY KIND OF ART
I have plans for us to study different artists throughout the year and do our own art as well and we haven’t done anything so far . . . I’m just feeling uninspired when it comes to art right now.
My family loves music but it’s not as big of a deal for me as it is for them, so this is something I need to work on. We haven’t done anything for music so far this year but we did just get one of the Classical Kids CD’s (Mr. Bach Comes to Call) from the library so hopefully this will be the start of something.
I also realized last week that this is probably a good age for Raeca to take piano lessons so I’m trying to see if we can get her in somewhere, I thought of this really late so we’ll see if I can find a spot for her somewhere.
Winter came early here to the Canadian prairies. We had snow while it was technically still summer, not cool. Actually, very cool, cold even. So, fall came early and winter came early and I’m not the kind of person that really enjoys cold weather so I’m just ready to hibernate and not leave my house until it’s warm and sunny again. Because that’s my natural tendency I have a hard time convincing my kids to go outside, well to be honest, I don’t often try. I know I should but maybe I can move somewhere warmer first?
I think that sums things up! There are some things that are going quite well, some things that are fairly neutral and a few things I would say we are failing at, there’s room for improvement!