Topic | New to CM..starting with older children..more

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  • Hi,

    I am new to CM. I honestly don’t know where to start. I have six children w/ number seven due in Feb. My two oldest daughters 12 and 13 are my main concern. They are up to speed in Math but we have not done a lot of formal grammar or writing and they are probably close to grade level in spelling, we have not done formal spelling either but they love to read and one daughter loves to write peotry.

    I want to incorporate CM ideas but I am someone who really needs a structured way of doing so (is that totally contradictory?). I need something that I can open up and it tells me..do this, this and this today. I am not good in grammar so I would need ideas on a formal grammar (preferrably one they can do in a few years as they are 7th and 8th grade), and formal writing.

    I am pretty overwhelmed. I do not want to get stuck in a rut of just handing them books or workbooks or whatever. I have really felt drawn to the CM approach after reading a few things on the Basically Beechick yahoo group, I like Ruth Beechick also!

    I had thought about doing MFW for now just to get us going on some things, their recommendation for grammar is PLL and ILL, which does not have any kind of TE guides.

    I had thought about getting Language Lessons for the Little Ones from Queen Homeschool, I just don’t know about any of these things.

    Are you all rolling your eyes yet..ha! I am not a very creative type but do desire for my children to learn from great art, good music etc…I just did not grow up that way so don’t really know where to begin.

    Also..if you could recommend a good book to read on CM and how to incorporate her ideas, even if I do go w/ MFW just so I can have some structure, that would be great. I really want a book that kind of sums up her ideas.

    I think that is all for now…thank you in advance!

    Oh…how would I know where to put my older girls, as far as Spelling Wisdom?

    Okay..now I am done..ha!

    Kim

    Wife to Clayton for 17 years

    Mother to: dd13, dd12, ds10, dd7, dd4, ds2 and baby Josiah due in Feb.

    Sonya Shafer
    Moderator

    Welcome, Kim! I’ll be happy to try to answer some of your questions, and there are several other wonderful moms on this forum who can add to them as they have time.

    I want to incorporate CM ideas but I am someone who really needs a structured way of doing so (is that totally contradictory?).

    It’s not contradictory at all! Charlotte’s schools were very structured.

    I need something that I can open up and it tells me..do this, this and this today.

    Our Curriculum Guide might help you determine what you want to do in each subject. Then our Weekly Schedule samples and Daily Schedule samples might be a good starting place for you to plan what to do each day.

    I am not good in grammar so I would need ideas on a formal grammar (preferrably one they can do in a few years as they are 7th and 8th grade), and formal writing.

    I like Analytical Grammar, which can be done in just a few years and is written to the student.

    Are you all rolling your eyes yet..ha! I am not a very creative type but do desire for my children to learn from great art, good music etc…I just did not grow up that way so don’t really know where to begin.

    We’re all right with you, dear. I don’t think very many of us grew up that way either. You really just pick a place and jump in and learn and refine as you go along 🙂 There are descriptions of how to do picture study and music study on our CM methods page. Those might help you get started. They are really quite easy to implement and take only five or ten minutes once a week.

    Also..if you could recommend a good book to read on CM and how to incorporate her ideas, even if I do go w/ MFW just so I can have some structure, that would be great. I really want a book that kind of sums up her ideas.

    The book I always recommend for starting off is A Charlotte Mason Education by Catherine Levison. It’s short with very practical chapters that won’t overwhelm you. I highly recommend it!

    Oh…how would I know where to put my older girls, as far as Spelling Wisdom?

    I’d probably put them at the end of Book Two or beginning of Book Three. It might be best to start with Book Two for a couple of reasons. 1) If they haven’t done the dictation method of spelling before, they might be less intimidated with shorter passages and fewer new words to learn in each passage. 2) With five more blessings coming up through the ranks, you would use Book Two again soon 🙂

    I’m sure others have more suggestions and ideas to add, but I hope this helps you get started. It can seem very overwhelming at first, but we’re here to help all we can, and it will get easier as you go along.

    Feel free to ask more questions as they arise.

    Thank you so much for all the information. The Curriculum Guide is wonderful. Is there no “composition” or “formal” writing? I had planned on getting Analytical Grammar for my girls but have felt like I should get them IEW or Writing Strands or something?

    Just curious…I am going to get the Levison books recommended and start reading up.

    Another question…since I need more of a guide/structured teachers manual, can I do a program like MFW and add in as I learn more about CM or would that not be recommended?

    Thanks again so much,

    Kim

    7blessings
    Member

    Kim, Reading your post made me smile as you described me perfectly! I too like the safety net of a set curriculum and timelines etc., but then I complain because I feel enslaved to the curriculum. UGH! I don’t like being double-minded. Curious to know what MFW stands for? You might consider the book called “The Lively Art of Writing” for your older children for composition. We also used the Write@Home service and it was great for my kids. Nice to have another individual trained in writing teach and evaluate my kids’ compositions – you’ll find them on the web.

    Brooke

    MFW stands for My Father’s World. There is also a Living Books Curriculum I was wondering about.

    My Father’s World 1 is very doable as far as feeling tied down, small little chunks everyday. I tried Sonlight once and I LOVED their schedule but couldn’t follow it as I felt I could never get it all done in one day. I don’t think I can afford to do Write at Home but I will look into it. I am so bad at “grading” writing..I will look at the book “The Lively Art of Writing” but I really need something they can pretty much learn on their own as I am really weak in grammar and writing/composition.

    I feel so unorganized right now and I really, really want to give my children the kind of education that is talked about with CM I just feel really lost.

    Thanks a bunch!

    Kim

    Sonya Shafer
    Moderator

    The Living Books Curriculum might be a great help to you as you start out, Kim. I’ve spoken with the author, and she’s a sweetheart. Definitely explore all possibilities.

    RE writing/composition: Charlotte did not teach composition as a separate subject, per se. It was a natural outgrowth of narration. In the earlier grades the children narrated orally, learning how to comprehend the material read, organize it in their thoughts, and retell it in their own words. As they became “old pros” at the oral narration, they transitioned to written narration. Here are a couple of links to other threads on this forum where we talked about more details of written narration:

    http://simplycharlottemason.com/scmforum/topic/written-narration?replies=6

    http://simplycharlottemason.com/scmforum/topic/copy-work-dictation-038-written-narrations?replies=4

    Hope this helps!

    Thank you Sonya! How do I possible start this way of “learning” w/ a 7th and 8th grader. Oh…I am glad I have 5 more children..ha! I feel like my oldest have missed out.

    I have been looking at Living Books Curriculum, I am glad I have not purchased a whole lot yet..ha!

    This is soo hard..does the Levison book talk about how to do this with older children.

    I want “learning” to be a way of life, not just a “kids..time for school”. I want them to enjoy it, long for it. When I read about the few things I have it makes me want to learn this way. I grew up on t.v.! Reading junk. I still have a hard time w/ the tv thing but…I am giving myself a bit of a break until I have this baby. I am very physically uncomfortable right now, I think being 42 and pregnant w/ number 7 has definately caught up with this body! Wow! Anyway..I am preparing in my mind to start doing things differently.

    I had “quit” textbooks or pre-packaged curriculums LONG ago, like Abeka, which is what every homeschooler around here uses..almost..ha! But..since knowing that is not what I want I have sort of floundered around from here to there not really knowing how to implement what I want them to do.

    So…okay..thanks for listening…ha! I want to learn a different way of learning myself. I thought Tapestry of Grace was the answer but I don’t really care about all of the children studying history chronologically, that is not what I want. I want them to love good books, to appreciate nature and how God created it all, to love “good” music, etc…

    Anyway…I just have no clue where to start w/ a 7th and 8th grader and Living Books only goes to grade 5.

    Thanks again..I think I got to wordy..must be hormones!

    Kim

    Sonya Shafer
    Moderator

    It’s never too late to start, Kim. Don’t worry about the past; just start from here and move forward. Maybe the “baby steps” in this article will help you develop a plan for where to start.

    Kim,

    Forgive me for working backwards through your posts! You’re going to get tired of me! 🙂

    I’m 45 and had my 9th 15 months ago at 44. So, I definitely understand having babies in this season! (And would be willing for more, Lord willing!) I think as you have your dc read good books (or read to them) they will have more to write about. I have a dd who is 14 and until recently has not been a prolific write. My oldest dd who is 21 is teaching writing for me now (it’s her love, too!) and she has used Writing To God’s Glory by Jill Bond, although when she just started up this past week, she could tell the two girls (16 and 14) were not looking forward to it, so she gave them different choices they could do. They both decided to write a “newspaper” and have taken off like gangbusters! I mean, they are CONSUMED! We have had some mild flooding this past week (live in the midwest) so that is part of it, as is the presidential campaigns (they’ve looked online to see where they all stand–probably didn’t even care two weeks ago!)–neither girl is letting anyone see their paper until it’s all done! They’re even doing “letters to the editor”! They are so excited! And just think of all the writing skills they are learning just in this one project!

    My point is, if I had made them do a newspaper even a year ago, the enthusiasm just wouldn’t have been there. I have required them to journal in the past–perhaps that could be a start. When they “don’t know what to write” I ask them–wouldn’t you love to read a journal of just what we did for school and had for lunch, etc. 10 years ago? They of course say yes! I tell them sadly, we don’t have one. I was so focused on life and keeping up with what I thought a good hs mom does, that I didn’t see the value of just journaling our daily life. Even if it seems non-eventful (and how can it be in a household of many children?!), it will be fun to read someday. Don’t “grade” it–let them express it without a lot of correction.

    One other thing–when I started homeschooling 16 years ago, I used Understanding Writing. I didn’t use it lesson for lesson, but I took from it many good things, and for the most part, my two oldest girls wrote letters. That was their “curriculum”. Both can write wonderfully interesting letters (complete with neat doodles and illustrations!) today. I would just go over them when they were written and point out where commas went and why, or that gets capitalized, that doesn’t, and oh–I would read the run-on sentences out loud with exactly the punctuation they used (usually none!) and they immediately saw the need to shorten and punctuate! If they had a lot of errors, I tried to focus on just a few to not overwhelm them. The other corrections I just put in and told them we’d learn those later. All the time I would find things to praise them for or encourage the content.

    Well, I think I’ve written three “books” now! 🙂 Can you tell *I* love to write?!

    I hope something I have written sparks an idea for you. You can do this without a curriculum, but by all means, if you find something that doesn’t make you feel badly or overwhelmed, certainly use it! I got rid of stuff that made me feel “behind” especially “you have to be on day such-and-such”! Or maybe you can scale back on requirements from something you have on hand now. I found I wasn’t good at just ignoring that stuff, so that’s why I got rid of it.

    Finally, “sisteren”…;) I’ll close this “epistle”!

    Trisch

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