September 12, 2012

Week One Wrap-up

Yeah!!! Amongst all the messes and undone plans we had a terrific start to the year this week. Letting God take the lead in the schedule and the daily moment by moment decisions has led me to make two significant changes to our home education. They are to apply more of CM's education principles to our school and live by a new schedule.

What I have always loved about a CM education is all the good books. I like how she filled up young students with a rich banquet of ideas DAILY. I realized that I have been skimpy on the banquet of ideas putting in its place more hands on activities. And though my boys enjoy hands on activities some times, this year I have limited them and added many more living books rich with ideas for their minds to be filled with. I can see they are thriving already eating daily from a rich feast of ideas.

I have heard that boys need time to fidget or be active before they can settle down and do seat work. SO when we were discussing how to go about our schedule I was so happy when Max came up with the idea of doing school from 11am to 4pm with a lunch break at around 1pm right in the middle of the lessons. It has worked out beautifully!!! When the boys come to lesson time after having had time to themselves to fidget and work off excess energy they do much better in school. We do more learning and less discipline. I too am benefitting from the extra time in the morning to do my own things and get ready for the day before lesson begin. My only big adjustment is to be sure to prepare lunch before lessons at 11.

Our new schedule of lessons for this year looks like this...

We begin the lessons reading a story about someone's life who walked with God. We do this to get a glimpse of who God is, how He leads those who follow Him and to see what adventures people have do follow Him. This year we have begun with Bruchko.

After reading Bruchko we do a lesson from Minimus. In this lesson we listen to a dialogue between Minimus the mouse and each member of the family. Mininmus is asking who they are. The boys just about have the dialogue down pat and can read it all by themselves for the most part. Here is Max's work sheet on the members of the household we have met so far...

We will spend most of the year on this Latin book so I am taking my time to go through it slowly. In addition to add some background to Minimus I have been reading Douglas Bond's book Hostage Lands to the boys at bedtime. It is about a young Latin student in modern day Britain who accidentally finds a set of old Roman tablets on his father farm near Hadrian's wall. The story of Hostage Lands is the story he discovers as he translates the tablets with his eccentric Latin professor. Cool thing is that both the book and Minimus take place in Britain near Hadrian's Wall.

This summer I introduced multiplication and division to the boys via Emma Serl's wonderful turn-of-the-century math primer called Everyday Number Stories. Since they did not yet know their times tables they figured out the multiplication problems and division problems using addition. WOW they sure found that cumbersome, but they are NOW ready this fall to learn the times tables, so we are doing that. I began this week with the Original Skip Count Kid Audio songs for X2 and practicing the X2 on a multiplication table. Tomorrow for our catch-up-game-activity day we will play Loot the Pirate Ship and read about a Mathematician form Mathematicians are People Too Vol. 2. I love how fun math can be.

Loot the Pirate ship!!!

History this year will involve learning about Greece and Rome. I have collected a HUGE pile of books on this over the last few years at the Goodwill etc and will have PLENTY of material to choose from as we read the fascinating stories of these ancient peoples. We begin the year with The Story of the Greeks written primarily by H. A. Gruber, and enhanced by Christine Miller from Nothing New Press. It gives a wonderful overall feel for the story of the Greek people. This week I read aloud the stories as the boys fiddled with legos or colored their pictures of the family we met in our latin study. Once this lesson is complete we eat lunch.


Our nature study focuses on birds and insects, so I asked the boys which one they wanted to study first...they chose the birds. SO we read from The Burgess Bird book by Thornton Burgess each day. When we want to see the birds he is describing or hear the songs they sing, I pull out these books to learn more about the birds introduced in our story.

Bird:The Definitive Visual Guide, 100 Birds and How They Got Their Names, and Backyard Bird Songs. Tomorrow we will be outside for a nature hike and we will have our eyes open to see if we see fly catchers, sparrows, wrens and phoebes the birds we read about. I hope to find a nest or two.

Ahhh... Language Arts! Spilt into three parts we rotate them around to fit our schedule. The three parts include: Reading out loud from the Elson Reader book Three including narration of the story(s), Handwriting or copy work, and lessons from Primary Language Lessons. This week was wonderful! I heard classic tales read aloud to me with easily given narrations of them. The lessons in the PLL have copywork in them but if the lesson does not I assign a sentence or two from their reader. PLL has a new lesson for us DICTATION. Surprisingly the boys loved the challenge of it. we only did two lessons but I am at THEIR pace so it is enjoyable for us all.

Modern artists are on the docket for art history this year. So we began with Paul Klee. This week we played Go Fish for Modern Artists to see him amongst other modern artists and then a few days later the boys colored one of Mr. Klee's famous paintings "Head of Man"

 Last but certainly not least is composer study. We begin this year with Tchaikovsky! Since Opal Wheeler's books were such a great highlight to our composer study last year I chose to read her again. So we began with The Story of Peter Tchaikovsky. What a lovely little boy he was!

Each day we complete all the above lessons except for art and music which rotate out every other day. We are planning on doing a 6 day week with the 6th day being a catch-up-game-actvity day.

I am excited for another year of discovery with more rich ideas to think on and a new schedule to live by.


  1. Hooray for the good start! I have been reading several Thornton Burgess stories to the kids the past month and a half. Thornton Burgess Animal Stories was a big hit. Next we read At Paddy the Beaver's Pond. Oh the fun that ensued from THAT book. Dams built in the garden, mud and sticks everywhere, an episode of Wild Kratts watched on youtube that was about beavers, and finally Ian thinking he was a beaver and trying to eat wood. That didn't work out so well and we established that indeed Ian is NOT a beaver since he doesn't have orange teeth, a flat tail, webbed feet and doesn't live in the water. I'm sure you can imagine all the fun with THAT. :-) Now we are reading On The Green Meadow and the kids can't wait each day for another chapter or two. Do you have the link to the Thornton Burgess website?
    On the math...have you heard of Khan Academy? You should check it out! It's a great story of why he started it and his mission.
    Thanks for posting! I love reading your ideas and how things are going with homeschooling!

    1. Thank you for the links!!! I dod not know about the Thornton Burgess site but Many like Khan academy and like you have recommended it. I will look more at that one.

      I can see Ian doing that! Good to establish the facts though.

      Arthur Scott Bailey is another author who wrote the same kinds of stories. He lived at the same time as Burgess so they were contemporaries. Most of his books are out of print but almost all are FREE online if you google them. DO you have a kindle? That's how I am using them.

      Have great day!