Home Education

Laying Down Our Rails

After sitting down and finishing all 200 pages of Charlotte Mason’s “Home Education Series” Volume 1, I got a better semblance of what I want to do. We are combining a whole bunch of stuff into one comprehensive preschool experience. I say experience because young children shouldn’t be bogged down with formal academics at this point. In addition to the fun that is Wee Folk Art we will be introducing letters from the Complete Flower Fairy Book but also using beginning D’Nealian handwriting once a week. We have moved beyond forming letters in salt or sand on a cookie sheet and she writes quite well and draws detailed images with a crayon, which demonstrates emerging fine motor skills. She is also able to use a tweezers which tells me we are farther than what Charlotte suggests in the beginning for letter formation. Babycakes also has a big artistic and musical aptitude, just like her mother. 😉 I don’t want to admit it, as the life of an artist’s brain is often a complicated one, but it is where a big amount of her skills are. So in addition to the picture study put forth by Wee Folk Art we will be using the Artistic Pursuits curriculum. We had considered paying for drawing classes but then I looked at art programs for pre-k and kindergarten online and realized that many of these programs follow the same format that I received in my art training. Since it is so familiar to me this is something I feel comfortable enough training her in at home with a curriculum to guide me as to the order. I need the order as a reminder because moms all need a little help in accomplishing what they want to do. She also has big interest in violin. That hasn’t wavered since she first heard one at age 2. I hope to find a friend who plays to gently introduce her to the instrument up close so she can really decide if she wants to pursue this before age 5. We will be signing her up for Kindermusik this fall and she will be learning beginning music reading that way. They don’t actually teach 4 year olds to read music but introduce the concepts. I also have purchased beginning piano books and have dabbled in that this summer with her but she really isn’t interested that much and is still stuck on the violin which is fine by me! More power to her! This school year is proving to be very musical coming up. I am practicing my flute in hopes to get an irish slow session jam together with some friends as I am feeling enough zest to dive back into old interests that “feed the mind and the soul”. (searching for a percussionist and guitar player in Wichita. Ha!) and I will be in the Wichita Symphony Chorus with a long time friend preparing for Handel’s “Messiah” in December. This in addition to continuing to clean out the massive amount of stuff we seem to have accumulated over 6 years and getting through my mountain of sewing for other people. We are also working on the yard and trying to get it to not look like a naturalized prairie but something suburban so we can use the darn thing. I am also deconstructing and redoing my business website all during this process.

I have also started putting together a liturgical curriculum for this year. I decided not to do the Catholic Icing alphabet BUT will be using some of the activities as they correspond to the liturgical feast and holidays and will be using the book list and others from “Catholic Mosaic” as part of our morning religious studies. I came up with a list of prayers and parts of mass I want her to know by heart by the end of the school year. Hymns I am not so sure about because I am a convert to Catholicism and am so tempted to stick with the Lutheran hymns I know. Still rooting around the internet for guidance on that.

Instead of buying a new math curriculum the husband looked at the old school Ray’s Arithmetic from 1890. Yes 1890! and decided that he will help me create a math curriculum. Many of the programs out there, we have found, have gaps in them that either, leave the parent hanging, or expect the student to make a big jump in concept learning that doesn’t make linear sense. So instead of having lessons laid out for me from a bought curriculum, my husband will be doing that from his own mind for elementary school. I trust him. He is a rocket scientist after all. I think he can handle it. 🙂

Habits, chores, and character study go in here somewhere. I have yet to find a Catholic friendly character study (not protestant fundie) that isn’t too in your face “Oh my Lord you horrible person” which I don’t want for the children. Once again I may have to make my own, which is another challenge.

I am still not totally clear how to schedule it all with Charlotte Mason, Do we go over hymns once a week? Poetry twice a week? I am starting to get an inkling but haven’t found a scheduler I like yet for pre-k. Most people out there schedule ambleside year 1 and nothing before which is kind of frustrating for the Anxiety Girl driven mom like me.

I am thinking I am going to create my own sheet and schedule based on what opportunities we have around town for nature study, story times, music and hands on science. ( our local Great Plains Nature Center and Botanica classes and story times for example)

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