We just finished our first day of school for the girls (and AG, by surprise) in our updated homeschool space. I know it is Labor Day. But Labor Day means Daddy is home and I have help for the day. We also have our first community day with Classical Conversations tomorrow. I am trying to alleviate the busyness of the morning tomorrow whilst establishing an understanding that we do school AT home. I had to explain this to the girls a few times because excitement has an affect on their ears!
This past year our girls learned the Preamble to the US Constitution. Well, I should say, we ALL learned it. Previously, I didn’t know it past “We the people!” This homeschooling thing is good for all of us!
Anyway, as we were working on memorizing the Preamble, I had an idea for a simple craft for the girls to do in order to help them spend some time with the words. It is a sort of puzzle to make the American flag. I spent a long time creating it and when I printed it out for G to work on, she informed me I had gotten it wrong. I guess it took me so long to do the craft, she memorized the Preamble in the interim.
In fact, the Preamble states, “We the People of the United States in order to form a…” I was leaving out “of the United States.” Nothing like having a 6 year-old correct you.
We are unabashed book lovers. This home is FILLED with books of every sort. And we are approaching our homeschooling situation with a sort of mash-up of literature-based, classical, and Charlotte Mason learning. (I love a good homeschool book list!) That means we
While I will never leave my first love (in regards to reading): physical books; I have discovered a secret book weapon. And it is ROCKING my world lately.
You see, with 4 kids in our house (all under the age of 7), I read a lot of books. Check out some of our favorite books here. The books we read just aren’t always books for me. I read picture books, chapter books, living books.
This book may have taken us over a year to get through. I can’t even remember when we started it. Our slow progress through this book is not due to boredom or disinterest. Rather it seems life got in the way even as it was becoming a part of our lives. Through this book we, together, have learned beautiful words, interesting conversations, and simple morals. We have delighted in language for its structure and its beauty. And we have gained confidence in public and private speaking.
All that in one little book!!
We just completed Level One of First Language Lessons by Jessie Wise. It is part of a series published by Well-Trained Mind Press. And it is WONDERFUL for kids in early elementary! Approaching instruction classically, it is full of simple lessons for parents and children to work through in just minutes a day. But it is so rich with language, that it can be enjoyed long after the book is closed.
The concept of the one-room schoolhouse must, as a necessity, be a reality in our home. This year we are homeschooling a 1st grader and a pre-k kid, while trying to keep a busy and quick learning almost 2-year-old. Well, we are homeschooling in between nursing the baby and dealing with tantrums and naps and meals (and, and, and). And there are days that go incredibly well and days where nothing happens of seeming importance.
These are the days when I have to take the long view of the education of our children.
I take a deep breath (or a fresh cup of coffee) and remind myself we have a LOT of days in which to educate and train our little ones. I also remind myself that the older two, for better or worse, are test cases. Hopefully, I have much more figured out once the younger two are walking through the stages we are going through today with the older. I think: “We can make mistakes. We can take breaks. We will have another chance to do these things.”
When we started homeschooling at the beginning of this school year, I had no idea what lay ahead of us. I had plans, yes. But there was no way to see what lay ahead. I compared it to looking out over an abyss and trying to determine what would happen.
But one day, we just began. We jumped into the homeschool thing. And we have had a BLAST!
My inadequacies with teaching are still abundantly clear, but we have discovered ways to get knowledge into our 5-year-old’s brain in vast quantities through memorization while still having lots of fun. We work our homeschool program around the Classical Conversations curriculum and it has been such a wonderful fit for her.3
One of the most interesting things CC teaches kids is memorization of basic math facts. A typical Classical Conversations year includes learning new information about history, science, English, and Latin. But every year, no matter what else is on the agenda, the math facts kids are exposed to are the same.