Reflections and Forthcomings!

 

Charlotte Mason

Charlotte Mason (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“The children’s lessons should provide material for their mental growth, should exercise the several powers of their minds, should furnish them with fruitful ideas, and should afford them knowledge, really valuable for its own sake, accurate, and interesting, of the kind that the child may recall as a man with profit and pleasure.” – Charlotte Mason

As I begin to get my thoughts finalized for this coming “school year” I tend to get overwhelmed and want to plan too much. This quote comes in handy for me to reflect on as I choose books and make an outline of subjects to cover. I find once I start to think of the year ahead I want to choose interesting, fun and engaging materials and topics, always hoping to get that spark out of my children.  My initial reaction is to browse my favorite sites and bookmark  pages and all kinds of activities to use throughout the year. However, when I go to look back I tend to confuse my self as well as become overwhelmed! I know many of us go through the same process each year. Here are my thoughts:

This is our second official year of homeschooling, we were eclectic last year as it was our first year getting our feet wet and I was honestly not sure what we were doing, only knowing a new challenge and lifestyle lie ahead of us. My oldest asked me to homeschool him and I knew in my heart I did not want to send him back to public school, it was not suiting him in the least! So, after little thought…. I said ok, let’s jump aboard and do this! I knew of a few families who homeschooled,  got some advice and so it began.

As we progressed through the year and I found out more about my teaching style, even though I had by trait been a teacher for over 15 years this was new territory and we were like most things figuring it out as we went along.  This year I knew we were going to follow the Charlotte Mason method after much reading and research during last year.  I found we all love to go to the library and left so excited with new literature in hand, which is one of the methods that stands out most in the CM method- using “living books” to teach. Instead of using dry text books with a typical Q and A, instead after a subject has been taught, you use books written by an author who has a true passion for the topic at hand told in a story form, which seems to come alive and have a deeper connection to the student. As we read, we pause and discuss through dialogue and narration for an evaluation of understanding, which requires a deeper understanding as the child process the information, re-calls facts by speaking or makes drawings of details that stand out in his/her mind.

The other method that stood out for us was the philosophy of spending time outdoors. My oldest son thrives on nature and sciences! I discovered that most topics he became excited about were related to science topics and he indeed began his own nature notebook before I was truly aware of what one was. He really became infatuated with birds by the end of winter last year and asked for some books on birds and conducted his own research and recordings! He grabbed his field guide every time he saw a “new bird” and memorized lots of the names of the birds he had spotted.

So, in short, with the quote in mind, and the philosophy of Charlotte Mason I see actually in play and working so well for my children, I am reeling my self back in for my final outline of the year ahead.  Being who I am however, I am not 100% CM, I tend to always look for balance in everything and therefore we will be tweaking things here and there as we go I’m sure, as not all of CM’s strategies work for all of us. I will use some workbooks with Q and A’s, and computer technology for some of my teachings and any other idea that surface.

Hope this was a bit helpful for some of you just starting out on your own journey- I can honestly say I LOVE homeschooling and if you would’ve told me that I’d be homeschooling years ago I would have thought you were crazy! It never even entered my mind until, like most major life changes, BAM! here’s a curve ball for you!

So, if you are thinking of homeschooling- You CAN do it! It just takes a will and some dedication, but the results and self- fulfillment are indescribable!

Bubble Mania with Recylables

           

 

I saw this neat idea on Pinterest this morning and gathered up the supplies to give it a try! So much fun! A sock, a water bottle (with bottom cut off) and a bucket of bubbles or water and dish soap.  Add some food coloring to the sock bottom itself, dip in the solution and blow!

 

This made some really great long and full bubbles!  We first just blew the bubbles into the air and then I asked the boys to try and make prints on paper for our art collection. It worked wonderfully! Super fun and super easy!

 

Fun ideas for learning!

 

 

 

 

A simple math game I made up that can be applied to any subject such as language arts, history, science etc. or even a variety of all the above ( which is how we first played the game.)  This is how we use it for math lessons when we need a break from the same old, same old!

Materials:

Gym Parachute

Dice

Flashcards- Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Money

Clock

….and what ever you choose if anything- this game really can be done on the fly! Just ask questions verbally if you’d like.

First spread the parachute on the floor. Roll the dice and walk around the parachute that number of steps. The color you land on determines the category of questions.

Orange- Addition                                      Yellow- Money

Green- Subtraction                                   Red- Time

Blue-Multiplication                                  Purple- Players Choice

Answer correctly and you can advance your next turn, answer incorrectly and you must skip your next roll and answer the next card in play before proceeding with a roll of the dice. We don’t keep score in any way, we just go around until we feel the game is over. Just a fun way of reviewing the math skills and concepts.

Enjoy trying it out and let me know what other ideas you build upon this one!

 

 

NEXT UP! MAGNETIC BOWLS!!

 

 

 

I was so excited to find these magnetic bowls at the local store.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to use them for at first, but had to grab them anyway! Having a busy toddler, I love that these bowls stick right onto a cookie tray and away we go with sorting and stacking! AND NO SPILLS ;)!

First I set out our magnetic letter blocks, then some colorful paperclips- which he discovered really took a spin of it’s own on contact! Then I gave him an assortment of things to try out, some magnetic, some not.

The possibilities are endless being that they are magnets themselves, so we will continue to explore with them and share anything that’s super fun and creative with you.  He loves to collect rocks, so I’m thinking we will glue on some magnets and play around with positive and negative poles!

Have an idea? Please share!

This is not just a hike!

Alas, the sun finally made an appearance and we were ready to hike after a long week of being stuck inside! We live in New England, so therefore, we packed both our suits and our sweatshirts- not knowing just how the weather was going to turn out as the day progressed. Gotta love it!

We meet regularly with a small group of local homeschoolers’ and hike new trails. This week we set out to Wolf Den State Park! A favorite trail of ours, that we have hiked once or twice in the past.

This week I took to noticing that the group of children~more in particularly my own, have really begun to be quite the little nature bugs! They all have so many questions about the plants and trees they are seeing, or looking for conformation on recognizing one from a previous hike. “What kind of leaf is this?” “What is this over here?” “What kind of bug is this?” “Isn’t this the same flower we saw last time?” “Did you hear that bird, what bird is it? ~They all take turns to yell out with excitement at one point or another with something they’ve spotted, and everyone else runs up eager to see!

The flowers have blossomed as well as the relationships with this group! They seemed to have quickly noted the likes and dislikes of each other, and will shout to each other when they spot something they know the other is interested in. As well as a fair warning! They check in with each other as we walk, look out for one another and encourage one another along the way as feet and spirits get tired. My youngest son riding along in the backpack get many visitors too, whether it be for a rock or stick or some other treasure found for him to hold, or more precious, another child walking beside us holding his hand and talking with him!

This week was pure conformation to me that this is not just simply a nice hike outdoors with friends, this is hands-on life learning at it’s best! So many basic skills and life long relationships are being formed! Image

ImageImageCan’t wait for next week! 🙂ImageImageImage