Monday, September 15, 2014


We are a couple of weeks into this school year. I hadn't meant to keep track; I thought it would be inconsistent of me, since my philosophy is 'education is a life.' However, school start times, subjects, and finished accomplishments are so important to Kevin that I find myself noticing the days.
It's okay; they've been good days.
We practice reading, which is, at this juncture, practicing letter sounds. We try to put them together, but K just can't, yet. It will come.
Piano lessons are not going very well. Part of the problem is K's age, I suspect. The other part is K's mom. She hasn't figured out how to mix having authority and being exciting as she teaches. K is going to have to learn how to sit and work at it for at least 10 minutes, and how will she learn if I don't teach that? I've been focused on keeping her attention and enjoying the process, but am going to have to insist on obedience. K does like the music, and being able to play, but doesn't like the work it takes to get there.
We started our sketch books last week. I'm so pumped about those! I have to admit, this is more about me than the girls. Though, I think Charlotte Mason would approve of the drawing, because she's all about appreciating beauty, and drawing helps draw the attention to the beautiful.
I've been worrying myself about nature study, since I didn't have anything planned other than lots of time outside. However, I had a nice talk with Nelleke, who pointed out that K is only 4, after all, and perhaps, being outside is enough. She suggested starting with what I know myself (the plant and bird names, etc). Later on, I can add to that. It makes sense. And it's easy, which is what I need right now.
Why? Because Nanny is coming home today.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Starting school

Our morning paper was full of back-to-school sales flyers, so I really should get ready! Must buy my girls some leggings and tunics; they seem to be all the rage. And, I must stop at target for their 10 cent lined-paper deal; surely I will need a package or two.
Actually, not. Getting ready, for me, is mainly about taking about 20 minutes to reevaluate what we are doing now. So, let me see...
We already have a plan for our weeks that I have been loosely following. Maybe I could complicate things a little.
Drawing on Mondays. We could get some sketch books! The kind with black covers and thick white pages! That would be fun. I already have lots of step-by-step tutorials on my Pinterest to try with K.
Music on Tuesdays. Piano lessons for K and E; this is so enjoyable for me, and they love it. I'll just continue on with my Piano Adventures Series Primary lesson book, skipping when needed.  I had thought this book had too much busywork, but it is working well for us.i especially love hype pecking chicken song. Awesome.
Numbers on Wednesdays. Maybe I should get serious about this. I bet K would love a little bit of math. But first, we'll keep on learning to write the numbers. Every time she writes numbers, K ends up doing lots and lots of 10s, "because I like them. And they're easy." Yes, they are. But 5s are useful, too!
Letters on Thursdays. We've already learned all the letters, and most of the letter sounds, so we can go right into officially learning to read. My mom lent me her blue-backed speller, so I'll use that as a guide.  I really should add in a library visit, too. Maybe once a month? Once every 6 weeks might be better.
Baking on Fridays. For K, this is mostly about doing stuff with mom, and therefor enjoyable. E, on the other hand, has a passion for the dough; for tasting, rolling and squishing. For smelling the cinnamon before it goes in; for watching it disappear and make all the flour brown.
Nature study on Saturdays. I haven't done anything with this, yet, though I want to. Mainly because Nelleke is so inspiring, over at Education is a Life.  We do play outside, and that has been enough for now. I suppose planting and harvesting the garden, discussing and moving the worms, and the drainage project have been fairly educational.
Every day we read books and scripture, and sing, and memorize.  I have begun a binder of songs I want to sing in harmony with the girls, when they are old enough. Soon, I plan to start a binder to keep track of our memory work, both for review, and to give us direction.

And for keeping up appearance: I should make up a schedule and post it somewhere. Also, alphabets and number cards. I suggested that this would be a good time to get a printer; not because I need to print out curricula, but because I will be able to print out decorative stuff to make our house look really educational.
As if education was a place, rather than a life.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

On not 'doing school'

I just realized that this is the year that K will be 5. And, while that doesn't matter a bit to me, it matters tremendously to Kevin. He's a first generation homeschool dad, you see, and, while he is always respectful, he does worry that we 'won't cover all the bases' with our kids as we homeschool.
That just makes me grin.

Which doesn't help.

I've almost decided that it is all a matter of presentation. I could say, for example, that we are doing 'music appreciation', when what I really think we are doing is listening to classical music. If the kids ask about it, I'll tell them who wrote it and what it's called. But is it 'doing school?'
Or I could say we're doing 'language arts', when what I really think we're doing is writing cards for people we love. Once again, I wouldn't think of it as 'schooling,' but I could present it that way.

The only area in which I really suspect that we will need to 'do school' would be math. I can see myself buying workbooks, and sitting down to supervise. Perhaps I should do that part of life when Kevin is around to observe and be reassured.

I have Charlotte Mason leanings, you see. And, while I don't even know all that will entail, I do know that I want to see my kids learn most or all of their history lessons from interesting books, rather than workbook-style compendiums of facts. I want their nature study to be done outside; their social and economic ideas to be informed by the bible, newspaper, history, and daddy; and their language arts to be the furthest thing from lists of prepositions ever.

I may someday turn to textbooks (rather than what C Mason calls 'living books')  in order to 'fit in' in a school setting. I can see this being useful as my kids prepare for university, or if one of them wants to teach for a living or a mission.
I may also use them as supplements, if I notice a gap in someone's knowledge of writing, say, or for phonics.

Well, there it is. The beginning. My thoughts on what we will be.
Writing it out here is a sort of insurance for me; it will help me resist the keeping-up-with-the-Joneses thoughts that I know will come. The Joneses toddlers have art appreciation mixed into their spelling workbooks, you know. It's hard to keep myself from feeling that I'm withholding something the kids really need.
I'll have to read lots of Mason, to be continually inspired and challenged in the right direction; away from busywork, towards a life that helps us all develop in healthy ways, mentally, physically, and spiritually.
Ultimately, I want my kids to enjoy learning and ideas, but not to just stop there... I want their ideas and increasing knowledge to expand their capacity to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

I expect to change.  Let's see what happens!

Monkey See...

Because nelleke has so much fun blogging about her life, and because 'Little House on Lewis Mountain' has become a misnomer, I present these Blythwood Chronicles.