talk about inspiration to action!
we just got back from a walk…a spontaneous walk…I read your post Gem, looked outside (pause in rain), supper just finished…I jumped up, asked my dh if he wanted to go…and we all abandoned the supper dishes and chores and raced out the door…saw a woman in her yard w/ some wormy apples…we got some to cut up tomorrow to see if we can find the worms, saw a sunset and rain in the distance, and got sprinkled on…it was great!
children on way to bed HAPPY!
What??? There is someplace in the world that is getting rain right now? I must confess that I’ve read this thread with much chagrin….we are not going outside AT ALL. It is searingly hot right now and you drip sweat the second you step outside. It’s miserable. Nothing is growing – it’s all been burnt to a crisp. We’ve found baby birds literally fried in their nests. All the fish in the lake have died. There isn’t much nature to view and golly, did I mention it’s HOT?
During the fall/winter/spring we are outside all the time, but during the summer in West Texas, well, I’m not that strong. I think you do the best you can based on where you live, what you’re capable of and such. Or maybe that’s just me justifying.
Wonderful, Joanna! Memories are made on evenings like this one.
Heather – I am feeling the same way right now. Southwest Arkansas is in a terrible state – drought, trees and plants dying, literally dangerous heat. I have lost 5 hens in this heat wave. I feel like summer here is like winter in Fargo, North Dakota LOL – if you go outside without proper precautions you might die. Seriously. Plus earlier in the summer we had such a bad tick infestation I didn’t even want the kids to go out. We have really got cabin fever. My house is never clean for more than 10 mins. We are watching way too much tv and playing way too many video games. But I keep reminding myself that this is seasonal, and not the way we want to be. I don’t think it is justifying, I think it is coping.
We need a “Brutal Summer of 2011 Support Group.” It has been truly demoralizing.
I am glad you had a nice walk, Joanna. We just got back from a long evening walk under the full moon. It was cool, and we saw two owls fly just over our heads. The children were reliving one of our favorite books, Owl Moon.
Gem that is an amazing book. It changed my view on so many things and really cemented my love of outdoors and children growing up outside. I grew up on a big farm and it was wonderful. I’m so happy we are out in the country with plenty of room to roam and explore. In all sorts of weather too!
Did Charlotte really say no lessons outdoors? Ut oh! I’m in violation.
No one responded on my earlier post about teaching across subjects. One living book that you can pull multiple subject lessons from? Does anyone find that a helpful way to “fit it all in” because it works nicely for us sometimes. I so wanted to know if anyone else did that. And to ask if you felt it accomplished enough, deeply enough? What books you especially liked, etc.?
Janell, none of us should ever feel bad about posting! This is loving environment of support for a wonderful method of educating. My CM looks absolutely nothing like yours and yet there is room for us both is this delightful philosophy. I do want a nice lake nearby now though … that sounds fantastic!
Claire, what kinds of books do you use for multiple subjects? I guess I could see some literature/science, or literature/geography, or something like that… But if they’re reading a geography book as literature, they miss out on something like Charlotte’s Web or what have you. Don’t they? Or maybe I am misunderstanding you?
PS. I want a lake now, too! LOL
Sara, I hesitate to post this because it might seem so out of the CM box but in truth, from my readings, this does not seem so far off just perhaps a little different in technique. The philosophy is still very much there. As Janell pointed out in another post – I am deeply committed to the Charlotte Mason philosophy. I am not looking to do something else and call it CM.
Here’s something that works for me – I work across multiple subjects using one (or more) living book and a few/lot other resources. For example we are reading Rascal right now (author not in front of me, sorry) and there are issues in the book regarding WWII which leads nicely into lessons in History (even though we’re on American History we can draw the threads together thinking on how this war effected America at the time, previous History lessons about wars that we’ve covered, etc.) which leads nicely into Geography lesson where we grab maps and the globe and look up exactly where we are talking about in the story itself or the previous mentioned History lesson which leads nicely into some spelling lessons (we use a list we create as we go, study and quiz on orally or wrtten) which leads nicely into a lesson in Science on the raccoon where we look up information on them taking turns to read aloud the information we find, and discuss our raccoon/trash problem which leads nicely into going outside for Nature Study to look for raccoon poo or tracks. All started from a reading of one book. We read, paused, persued other topics with laptop and materials around us, paused and answered the phone/folded the laundry/got a glass of water, I was able to point out/review recent grammar lessons in the various readings. We all made pictures of raccoons using various medium and labeling the parts of the animal or adding things we learned in our explorations to our pictures.
Was that a CM hour or two? I think so. I used short lessons. I had the children narrate readings. I covered History, Science, Spelling, Read out Loud, practice reading for each child, Nature Study, Grammar, Art medium/exploration (I think I made this subject up so I could have fun with art supplies) and P.E. (searching for tracks and poo took us all over!). I was at my best for them. I had moments in the presence of God’s creations to point out His love for us and talk with my children about Him.
I don’t know if that’s on target exactly but in terms of how the material is presented, what types of materials, the form of evaluation of material covered and the essence she advocated for children to aquire in their studies – well, it seems to be a nice way to do it. It works for us. Not all days look like that for sure. I probably/might round out the day’s lessons with Math and some writing. I don’t have to get “tuesday’s” lessons done on that day if this kind of thing happens. I can easily keep track in my pencil and paper planner of what we did and note (I love the sticky note) what we still need to do to round out things for the week.
I hope that explains it a little. Ask me more questions if you like because I found it a kind of hard thing to put on a post. There seem to be lots of details left out …
I really appreciated your post. I love the relatedness of your raccoon lessons, that seems so natural and healthy. You were basically letting the kids follow their connections for a day. If our “perfect CM schedule” gets in the way of allowing these natural rabbit trails it seems like we are missing out on a lot of the beauty of CM and homeschooling in general.
I know CMers sometimes react negatively to “unit studies” and I understand that they can be too canned and forced in their connections BUT I think the unit study concept of interrelatedness can be very compatible and complimentary to what was at the heart of CM’s ideology (at least as far as I understand CM from what I have read of her writings). In her schools, however good they were, she was limited by the fact that the kids were broken up by age into groups with definite time constraints and limits to the school day.
Anyway…I enjoyed your post, thanks for sharing!
In re-reading my post above I may have sounded negative about CM, I’m not! I love how her teaching has given my homeschooling focus and direction and is pushing me to truly educate vs get through. Just wanted to clarify :o)
I might have made that stream sound a little more … pop, pop, pop … than it really is done. I do take the time the night/days before to see what areas are ripe for exploring so that I have the right living/first hand materials strewn aboout for us. I don’t like to waste time finding everything I’ll need. I know my children so I know what things they’ll pick up on and then I know areas of study we are working on that I want to reinforce and study too.
It’s interesting to me sometimes reading posts here because I feel like in the urgency to schedule and to make sure we cover all subjects often enough etc. we miss that we are to inspire in the child a curiosity and love of learning in a real context that they will keep burning in them for their whole lives.
For me personally, I can’t do that entirely from someone else’s curriculum be it the best out there (and there are great ones) so to pull spelling words myself, trusting that I know what they can and cannot spell, seems better than to turn to page 3 in their appropriate grade level (whatever that is) and begin the studying that list. It’s so out of context to the rich living books that we are immersed in at the time. I find the same true for so many subjects. I came home to school them but I’m terribly against bringing a replica (however new and different) of school home.
Please don’t take this is any negative way. I just wanted to offer my opinions and methods here.
Claire, I love the way you are able to do this. Sometimes I manage to do it this way and other days we stick closer to the schedule that I have, since I am trying to do lots of kids and other things – depends on my day. =) LOVE to be able to do these things. In the end, it should be about the kids making a more and more connections in their lives…I think it is awesome to do that anyway it works. =)
Claire, I was the one who posted that I thought CM said to not combine reading/learning things with being outside. It really struck me as strange and I tried to imagine why she would say that. Anyway, I’ll need to look up where it is in the book (Vol 1, I know that much from memory ). Give me a couple of days…
I’ve REALLY enjoyed reading your take on CM. I’m new to CM and more familiar with Thomas Jefferson Education/Leadership Education. There’s still a bit about CM that scares me, the intense following of a schedule being one thing, so I really appreciate reading how you do things. I’m lucky in that my homeschooled kids are only 5yo so I have lots of time to experiment and find my way, though I have been reading about homeschooling and education of children intensely since my oldest (now 14) was a wee one. (But I didn’t get to homeschool him/them…sniff sniff.)
You all will really get a laugh out of this post ….
I was going along in the above thread feeling really great about how I did CM in my somewhat unique way when all of the sudden I had a total panic attack/crisis of educational philosophy! This happens to me from time to time. When I read too much. But it hit with such a vengence! All of the sudden I thought everyone else with their lovely schedules was right on top of CM and I was a blustering fool, failing my children, living an undisciplined life, …. you get the point.
I’m calming back down but I’ve had a seriously rough few weeks trying to figure this out. At first I couldn’t see why things weren’t going along as they had but then BAM I realized I had tried to adopt the methods of a few schedulers who I had read on here because I thought they had to be doing it right (there were so many of the same mind) Geez Louise! All I can say is I’ve learned a few things about myself. And I’ve learned scheduling and over planning ruin my CM expreience and put my home school in direct conflict with her strong sense of atmopshere, life and discipline.
I appreciate your honesty here. It is inspiring to know that it is okay to follow the rabbit trails. This is how children learn best and make the connections. However, I need a schedule so that something gets done. If we are inspired to follow a rabbit trail, and real learning is happening, then we should set the schedule aside. I still change my schedule, sometimes weekly, trying to get just the right schedule to work for us. But without any schedule, we would not be disciplined enough to open those great books which sometimes leads to those great rabbit trail adventures in learning. We are all different and must find what works best for our own families. Thank you for sharing.
Claire- After reading this long topic, I can say we’re definitely of the same ilk as you! We anticipate rabbit trails every day and “plan” for them. We’re not nearly as organized about it as you are, but we have many days that are just following our interests (with my guidance and some prompting so we cover at least the 4 Rs). I really feel that inspires a love of learning in my girls.
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