Topic | Simplifying for a season. Suggestions, please.

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  • my3boys

    If you had to simplify to the degree that you needed to have family subjects built in, but still wanted your dc to have some picture, poetry…what would you use?

    I’m thinking I need some “built in” programs for my 9th, 6th and 3rd grade dc.  I say that, but then I think about all of the supplies we have and that we should be able to use them when we are able, but it’s just not happening at this time.  My health is keeping me from being the one to present the material or even remember to have my older two do it for the family.  Yes, I could put it on their schedules but I’m afraid that is not going to happen if I still have to be the one to search out supplies, schedule them, etc. I have had my dc read from the SCM portfolios for picture, read Shakespeare outloud to me (one ds does this), and I simplified composer.  I can still use some of the supplies and put on their schedules for next year and use what we have, but I think I’m looking for some more ideas.

    Maybe I’m looking for encouragement/permission to not worry about those extras right now and focus on the basics?  I’m not really sure at this point.  Maybe one of you will have had to do the same thing for awhile and have some advice to offer.

    I thank you in advance.


    For the past two years or more all I did/do for picture study was hang an old calendar of paintings from one specific artist on the wall. I turn it to a new month every Monday so one calendar lasts 12 weeks or one term. I would pull up something about the artist from the internet and read it to the kids. I got year old calendars for $3-$4 from A friend has lent me the SCM portfolio of Velasquez so I am using that now but that’s all I could manage for a time. They are still seeing paintings of famous artists but it is no work for me and it was still more then I ever remember learning in school. Hth


    Another thought for Art would be to use the “Come, Look with Me” books.  It’s been a bit since I’ve looked closely at them, but IIRC, it could be used similarly to what pp mentioned w/ the calendars. 


    I guess, I’m giving you permission to do what would work for you, your family, and your situation.  I think that’s half the battle.  Something done in a way that works is much better than the something you want to do that doesn’t get done at all.  Also, depending on the situation, keeping it simple could be the only way it gets done.  Sometimes it’s a season, sometimes it’s what it is.  That’s the beauty of homeschooling and the options in approaches.



    After having purchased and planned my 2013-2014 calendar year, unforeseen events took place that I couldn’t do the loaded schedule. Many months later, this is what our happy “medium” was. My oldest, at 8, is a very advanced reader, so I knew she could continue to have a spread, but the desire to present, discuss, and narrate was not always feasible for me. She wasn’t quite mature enough to follow my rotation of subjects and some of the subjects were still very new to her. Everyday she would do math, copy work, typing, exercise, and she would chose two of her “subject” books ( we called them unit study books this year ). For at least 15 minutes, she would read and sometimes be inspired to do projects from them, She also had free reading time at night. She has read a bit more history and not as much of science and geography this year. As she became good at this, on her own she added spelling wisdom and poetry back to her daily routine. She also decided to start writing stories and has decided to spend some of her free time learning to draw and wants to start her nature journal again. She has decided we need to do picture study, but forgets some weeks and composers will need to be added back next year. I found that after the shock and stress of the situation settled, she has started to gravitate back to all of the habits we had tried to develop over the past few years. The younger children have spent more time listening to audio books of some of the things I want them to hear and follow the lead of their big sister. Good luck! I am amazed at how the children seem to gravitate towards yummy “learning” even when we can’t always present it in a beautiful manner. At first it might not be as consistent as you would like, but I think schedule training is important.


    Good advice here. On the topic of Picture/artist study a great app for an iPad or similar device is Art Database. It is awesome. You get a number of free artists and their works and for any others it is $2. We did Mary Cassatt, just at night after a bedtime story we swiped through the pictures. The detail and quality was amazing. The children thoroughly enjoyed her work as did I. There are then links already added for anything you might want to know about the artist and the work.

    As for a simplified spell I had advice to use ACe Paces but I cannot bring myself. It just goes against every CM grain in me but the temptation to have an “out” from lesson planning at a difficult time is so strong! Let us know what you decide 🙂


    Don’t worry about the extras right now and focus on the basics.  Smile 

    One thing that has helped me is to have an assignment sheet (grid) for each child (grade 4 and up) that I print at the beginning of the week.  My girls know that school isn’t done until they’ve finished their assignments.  This makes them accountable to finish and not me.  I often don’t need to change much on it but use the phrases, “Do next lesson” or “Read next chapter.”  Some boxes simply say “with mom.”  You could add the extras to this sheet.  For art:  make a line that says, “Post new picture on the wall and read SCM portfolio book to siblings.”  It would only be once a week and the line would never change.  For history:  “Read next chapter to siblings.”    

    And remember, you don’t have to do every subject every year.  And every subject does not need to last all year.  Last year, we read a Shakespeare play from “Tales from Shakespeare” and the next afternoon we went to the play at the local school.  That was it for the year for Shakespeare.  We never did get around to studying a composer.  That sounds like a good summer activity.  Wink


    This is a light schedule from the website.  We are currently using it (I just had a baby in February).  It might give you some ideas.  We have our literature books on CD (Chron. of Narnia) so that is a help.  For music, we listen to our classical composer as we pick up the house.  Our hymns are also on CD.  For math, we use MUS and I have them watch the lessons on the computer.  We haven’t done some of the extras in months…character development, poetry, picture study.  I am hoping to get to these soon.


    If you would like to include Picture Study, Composer Study, and Poetry, this is a site that would help you with those very simply:

    She has one artist, one composer, and one poet for twelve weeks. Each week she posts one(sometimes two) painting, one link to YouTube music, and one poem. You can subscribe to her blog and receive the weekly post in your email. If you have access to a computer or iPad type device, it would be easy to pull the kids around and look at the featured picture, read aloud the poem (or have a child read it aloud), and listen to the music. I have used her resources for about two years now, and am pleasantly surprised at my children’s recognition of various music and art.

    (I apologize that I do not remember the name of the sweet lady who hosts the blog. It is called “All Things Bright and Beautiful”)


    Thank you all so much!!

    Each child does have a grid-type schedule for the week and I just need to hand even more over to them than I already have.  I would not make it difficult for them, just allow them the responsibility and freedom to do it in their own way. 

    And, I need to be okay with the way that it is.  I have to re-read these posts and make some decisions and I’ll let you all know how it is coming along.

    If anyone has more ideas, workbook-style even, would be helpful for a season.

    Thank you.


    Jennifer, that is a great link!  Thank you so much.

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