Before I introduce myself I would firstly like to thank Sonja for her quick and encouraging response to the email I sent her.
My name is Jo-Anne van Rensburg, and I am in South Africa. If there are any CMers in SA please would you give me a call (082 329 3399).
Well I don't know where to start, I am very excited about the CM Way, just not sure how to start.
My children are Joshua (10) and Jesse (9). I started homeschooling them last year October. They were in an Accelerated Christian Education School, and so I continued with that when I started to homeschool them. Joshua is more academically inclined and enjoys school. Jesse is the one I was struggling with. Everyday I would fight with him to do his school work and I would wake up every morning dreading the day ahead with him. He is just not interested in school. He loves to be outside looking for bugs, and frogs etc. That is all he wants to do. I asked God about it and asked Him for help. He gave me Prov 22:6. In the Amplified it says: "Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it." Bent is: Natural skill or interest. So I said "okay Lord, I am listening, please lead and I will follow." Then an old friend came to visit the other day and she told me that God had told her to start homeschooling. She shared with me about a homeschoolers information day which she attended and in it they spoke about the CM Way. So after speaking with her I decided to do some research.
The fist thing I came across of the SCM Website and as I began to read it I got so excited and felt the Lord tell me that this is what He was talking about in Prov 22. Next I downloaded the free book of Charlotte Mason in Modern Day English and started to read (it is 1142 pgs). As I have been reading it I found that there is a lot that I can improve on and do differently.
Now I don't know how to start. I like to be organized before I start something and to know about the subject first. I would like to finish reading the book first before I start with the boys. I just can't put it down.
I have read and downloaded all the sections on the SCM Website about starting etc. We are going through a tough time financially at the moment, and when I went to the bookstore to look at getting some of the material to get started, I got discouraged. With our SA Rand/Dollar exchange rate and the import taxes we just can't afford to buy anything at the moment.
I did go to our library (I live in a big city), but it is nothing what one in the states would be like. Anyway I found the following books: Napoleon by Mick Gowar, Galileo and Experimental Science by Rebecca B. Marcus, William Caxton by Harriet Castor, The Cosmic Professor: The Story of Albert Einstein by Andrew Donkin, Archimedes by Hart-Davis, Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children, Tree Frogs and then another book on Frogs. I hope these are good "living" books.
That was all I did, Joshua began reading immediately - Napoleon, and Jesse to my amazement took the book on frogs and began to read. Jesse doesn't like to read and hasn't shown any interest in reading before. So I was quite excited. I am also sorry to say that I did not read to my children because it was never enjoyable as Jesse always complained, didn't show interest & didn't listen. So I stopped. I have now started to read to them again, but only Joshua is enjoying it. Jesse doesn't show much interest and then falls asleep when we read in the evening.
Jesse is left eyed, which means that his track from right to left, therefore he is not a natural reader as apposed to Joshua who is right eyed and his eyes track from left to right, so he loves reading. I have also taken Jesse to an audiologist, occupational therapist and psychologist, as I thought he might be ADD. He does show the symptoms of ADD, but the OCC said that he has low muscle tone in his shoulders and so will quickly get tired doing his school work, and his work will be up and down as the muscles work and then get tired. She gave me a home programme to do with Jesse. Jesse also has an auditory processing weakness and I have a programme to do with him too.
After Jesse read his book on frogs I tried to get him to narrate it back to me (just tell me what he learnt in his own words). I didn't help him with this as I wanted to see what he was capable of. I did the same with Joshua. Joshua of course was keen and did a great job. Jesse wasn't interested. So I left it. This morning at the breakfast table he told me a story of a tadpole and told me how it grows and how its tell gets shorter until it disappears and then it is a frog and then grows into a mommy frog. This pleased me.
I have just basically left the boys at the moment and we aren't doing much. Just letting them read a bit when they want. Joshua came to me this morning and said that he wants to write a book (he is enjoying the book I am reading to him in the evenings: The Adventurous Four again by Enid Blyton). He is now sitting at the computer writing his book and using the dictionary for the spelling words. Is is now 10:00am and after doing nothing until now Jesse has come to me asking if he can also "write" something on the computer about frogs. He is using his book on Tree Frogs.
We are moving to a farm at the end of the month and we are all very excited about this. This is what I would actually like to do. Leave the boys to just have a break from school, especially Jesse, because it became such a negative thing for him. Then when we are on the farm to start with Nature Study, as Charlotte speaks about in her book. I want to get the boys a Nature Study Book each and then to start outside. Teaching them to be observant and to describe what they see. Jesse's vocabulary is not good for his age, in my opinion, so I would like to develop this. I will write in his book for him or I could get him a tape recorder to record himself. There is a small indigenous forest section on the farm and so I was thinking we could all learn about the different trees, plants etc. Are my boys too old to do this with them.
During this time giving Joshua books and to continue to try to encourage Jesse to read too and to continue reading to them. I was thinking of asking Jesse to read his books to me so that I can learn. This could be a gentle way to encourage him to read and I thought it would be good to share this together. I just want to really try to get Jesse to enjoy learning and working. Then I also want to do his OCC and Auditory Programmes with him. Then to start teaching the boys how to narrate. I will have to learn first:)
Is it okay that we will not be doing any Math or English. Will this be harming the boys. Joshua really loves Math though. Perhaps if he asks to do it he could continue with his Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) Math PACEs. I am also not sure if I should stop ACE altogether. I just find it very system orientated with not much life in it, even though it is christian. I spoke to someone who has been teaching ACE for 20 years and she said to me that at this level which my children are, junior, it is a bit boring for them. Do any of you know the system? It is actually very good, but after God gave me the scripture I started to realize that perhaps God was leading me to something else. Then when I read the CM Way, what I love about it is that it has so much life in it. It is such a fun way to learn. The ACE way, is reading a story and filling in the blanks, and also using choose a word to fill in the blank.
I really want to get the FirstStart Math Programme, but it is just not financially possible at the moment. CM says that Grammar lessons shouldn't start until 10 years of age, which is Joshua's age. He has learnt a lot of Grammar from ACE already so would it be alright to leave that for a while, until I get myself settled a bit with the CM Way.
Thank you so much for your listening ears, it is so wonderful to be able to share this with someone. I am so looking forward to hearing from you all.