Other things floating around in my brain
After I finished that last post about the different curricula I checked out (I really don’t like that word “curricula”, but “curriculums” just sounds wrong, so I’ll stick with it for now), I realized I’d left out a whole other side of my thought process in landing where we are. I was all prepared to start describing what we’re currently doing, but the picture would be incomplete if I didn’t share some of the other ideas floating around in my brain. Hence the title of this post.
I guess I can really boil the rest of it all down to this: Charlotte Mason. How I ever got through a Master of Education program and a teaching credential without hearing her name, I just can’t understand. Charlotte Mason is pretty much a hero in the homeschool world, but since she actually taught in schools, it seems to me like “traditional” schoolteachers could learn a lot from her writings as well. If you want to find out more about her, here is a good place to start.
There is so much I like about Charlotte Mason’s methods. I love the idea of including artist and composer studies in our school work. Nature study seems like such a wonderful thing to include as well, especially with boys. (I’m very prone to just wanting to stay inside and do desk work.) I’ve never been much on poetry, but reading Charlotte Mason’s books encouraged me to give it a try, and Ian LOVES reading poems together. I’ve also started thinking about how to incorporate foreign language study into our preschool learning time. Finally, Iknow I did my best learning growing up through the many “living books” I found at the library, and this is one of the key parts of a Charlotte Mason education.
I have a feeling that when Ian’s ready to start first grade, I’ll probably be using Ambleside Online, a Charlotte Mason based curriculum, as my main source for inspiration, much like I’m using ABC Jesus Loves Me for preschool. I looked through their booklists for the first few years and fell in LOVE. So many of my old favorites were on there, and I love the idea that those can BE our schoolwork, rather than trying to squeeze them in on top of schoolwork! But as I’ve said before, I’m a tweaker, and I doubt I’ll do everything quite as laid out.
The one thing I did do was compile a massive list of books I want to be sure to read with my children while they’re young. I took all the books used in Five in a Row (including B4FIAR and volumes 1-4), the Ambleside Year 0/Kindergarten list, the Simply Charlotte Mason Early Years Booklist, and the Kindergarten list from An Old Fashioned Education and looked to see which books were on more than one of these lists. Those were the books I decided I really wanted to make sure we got to. Then I picked the ones that seemed best for younger kids and pencilled them onto our school calendar for the next year. I’m not going to share that list, because to be honest, it’s just too much evidence of how obsessive I am about books. (As if describing the process I went through didn’t already reveal that!)
Can you see how I’m having a hard time not centering our school around books? That’s why I’m so thankful for ABC Jesus Loves Me . I make the Bible story the first thing I plan, the first thing I teach, and the center of all we do throughout the week. Then instead of using the “book of the week” in the curriculum, I take one from my own list (many of them are actually on both). That way I’m still touching on the literature I want to share, but I don’t spend a lot of time each week thinking about it.
Okay, so I think that’s all the background stuff. Next time I’ll start sharing a little about what we are actually doing.