The 2015-2016 school year is finished. It was our first year of trying a full Charlotte Mason education and our first year of writing a mother/daughter blog. We have learned quite a bit. The 2016-2017 school year has now begun and I am excited to implement all that I have learned.
Lessons about a Charlotte Mason Education
There is no need to reinvent the wheel.
When we started school last August, I thought I had a firm grasp as to what a CM education entailed. Now I know that I had only a pre-school knowledge. The biggest change I will make between last year and this is my curriculum. When I started homeschooling my sons in 2001, I used “Lori’s eclectic curriculum” which means I picked and chose and put together my own curriculum. After one year, I realized that others had taken time to figure out good curriculum and I could make life easier on myself by using a curriculum someone else had already worked to put together. Schooling was easier after that. Roll tape forward to 2015. If we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it. As we started our school year, I was taking that curriculum I had used for so many years and trying to retro fit it into the Charlotte Mason style. I learned my old curriculum did not exactly mesh with the new style. We spread a great feast. We used living books. I still felt like I was wading upstream. For this coming year, I am very excited to begin using the curriculum designed by Ambleside Online. I almost started it midyear, when I found it, but now I am prepared to begin. I am very excited about this new school year.
A CM Education has short lessons. Guard that time.
Last year we were still part of a Classical Conversations Community one day per week. We didn’t use CC at home, so that meant we spent a day out for the community. I was a tutor, so I had to spend time on lesson plans for something in which I wasn’t really invested. I am taking the Charlotte Mason point of a large and varied feast in short lessons to heart. We need to be home during school hours. When we are home, I need to be completely present. I am now working very hard not to schedule anything until the afternoon when we are finished with our school day. I don’t do chores or anything else during our school time. The time passes so quickly. We have only been back to school for a week, but I was amazed how much we accomplished each morning. I have already seen growth in HR having her afternoons to read, play, and create. This week she converted one of her bookshelves to a doll apartment house and then figured out how to make an elevator to bring the dolls up and down. I learned that a CM education does include STEAM subjects – I just needed to give her the time to be creative.
Community is important
We still need community, but we need community that supports us rather than distracts us. Last February I posted about a Charlotte Mason co-op we visited. We ended up becoming regular members of that co-op. The ladies, though younger than I, became CM mentors to me. The children became good friends for Hannah Ruth. The co-op only meets every other week with an additional week for nature study. The fun and fellowship are priceless. HR is very social and she needs people. (I do too.) I even ended up going to the Deep in the Heart of AO conference in Texas with a friend I made at the co-op. I cannot wait to see how this year turns out now that I am “all in” with our Charlotte Mason education.
There is so much to learn
I have been a homeschooling mama for more years than I care to reveal. (My oldest son is 26 years old now and I homeschooled him from 6th grade through graduation!) I do not know why I never heard of Charlotte Mason during that time because it was what I was always looking for. I have discovered so many good blogs and books to learn more about teaching this way. (I found five of the six original Charlotte Mason Homeschooling volumes for a great price this summer. I’m still looking for Volume 1.) I have also discovered the podcast. I can now walk for exercise early in the morning and listen to so much wisdom. I have my favorites. A Delectable Education and the Mason Jar are particularly helpful. If you know a Charlotte Mason podcast you especially love, please leave the name in the comments. I’m currently caught up and could use a few more.
Lessons about having a blog
It always takes longer than you think
Blogs are not terribly new to me. I had one when we adopted Hannah Ruth and another about menu creation many years back. They always take longer to write than you think. I actually started this post in June! Furthermore, something is always coming in ahead of writing. Writing this blog often seems like a luxury for me and it is not the most pressing need. There is always laundry to do or dinner to prepare or lesson plans to write. Sometimes writing seems like a guilty pleasure. I started this so Hannah Ruth could have the opportunity to express herself. She is quite the writer! I also learned that if you want readers, you must be consistent in posting. The original goal was to post once per week. We in no way lived up to that! I am hoping that with the curriculum plan and the shorter days, we will be more consistent, but I have learned to make no promises.
If you are still reading I am very grateful. I have trouble lasting to read long blogs. We are all so busy. This post should probably have been two separate posts: things I learned about a Charlotte Mason education and what I learned about having a blog. I’ve gone back and forth and have decided to keep this as one post. Your time is valuable as the reader and I want to always keep that in mind.
A picture is worth a thousand words
Blogs are more interesting with pictures. Photography is not my strength. I’m the person who enjoys a vacation but rarely remembers to take any pictures of it. I have to plan pictures for the blog. Quite frankly, I couldn’t really even think of any photos that made sense for this post. The only pictures I have taken recently is on our nature walk (or sometimes if I see something interesting on my morning walks.) I hope to improve on the picture side of our blog.
A tag means you are “it”
When I was a child, I played tag. I never really enjoyed being “it.” Tags are important when writing a blog. I am finally beginning to understand the significance of tags. If you want people to find your blog, you need to have key words that they might search. The tags help readers find your blog. My hope is that as people find this blog, it might be a help or encouragement to them as all the blogs I have read have been to me. In this case I may enjoy being “it.”
Well, that is some of what I have learned in the last year. Now that you have found us, I hope you continue to read the blog and perhaps give us the favor of following.
Hannah Ruth’s Turn
Summer is over :'(…… (cries for hours) so now school is in. We end around noon, and I wake up at 6:20 because my electronics hour is only 6:30-7:30 on a weekday, and if I practice violin 5 days a week, on Saturday I get 7:30-9:30 electronic time. On Sundays I get no electronics mostly.
What I have learned over the past week
Always wear bug spray. ALWAYS! I only went out for like, ten minutes, but it had been raining 3 times a day every day so naturally, MOSQUITO ATTACK! The bites still itch SOOOOOOOOO bad!!!!!!!!!! Also, rub basil on you if you have no bug spray. My mom googled that. Also, porci is pigs in Latin. I don’t know if it’s pronounced like Porky or Porkai but I like pronouncing it Porky.
S.T.E.A.M. stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. Some people leave out art and it becomes S.T.E.M. One day, I cleared out my bookshelf and made it an apartment for my toys. Apartments need elevators, so I duct taped a hair tie at the top of the bookshelf and put some yarn through it. Then, I put the yarn through the bucket and taped them together. Finally, I taped together the yarn above the bucket making a loop holding the bucket. (If you don’t do the loop, the bucket will NOT budge and the yarn will go straight through it without picking the bucking up)
When I showed my Mom, she yelled “Congratulations for getting in STEAM!!!”
That seemed a little random at first before she explained it. I’ve had lots of fun with the elevator, so it was worth the hour I put into it.
Until next time! 🙂
PS WEAR BUG SPRAY!!!!