Thursday, April 12, 2012

Catching up on Expedition Earth!

The last few weeks have been VERY hit and miss with our Expedition Earth travels due to sickness.  My youngest was very sick for just under 2 weeks and I spent a lot of time holding her in my arms (which meant no shower for 4 days....yikes!).  I was so incredibly blessed during that time by several of my fellow homeschool moms who offered to come pick up my older two girls and take them for a portion of the day/evening as well as to and from Friday School with our co-op!  Getting that time to rest and know my girls were in good hands was wonderful.  It's amazing how you can feel like a new woman after a 2 hour nap (when you've gone night after night without sleep).

So we recently spent 1 day each, on 3 separate countries, doing the very basic stuff and most important finding their location on the map!

Here are some highlights from Panama, Venezuela, & Peru!

 Finding the Country on the Map!



Animal Mini-Books!


Adding Country label to Continents poster



Animal Classification Chart

And you can't forget the dancing!! 

Other things we did:
  • Prayed for the people of each country
  • Read from our "Window on the World" book
  • Stamped passports with entrance/exit date
  • Read about Children in "Children Around the World"

Gracias for stopping by!  Next stop is Argentina, which is the last stop in South America.

(in the comment section below)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My plans for next year!

I can't believe the end of another "school" year is approaching.  We typically finish the end of May but I know every family is different in when they start/finish their year (if you don't homeschool year round!).  I have spent time looking over ideas for next year and have finally made up my mind.  I wanted to make sure everything I chose aligned with my overall homeschooling goals & priorities. 

Here is what I have planned to use with both my girls:

We also well continue with in-home piano lessons, swim lessons (2 weeks - 2x year), and may participate in one extracurricular activity each outside the home.  Hip Hop for my older and Basketball for my younger.  The Hip Hop would take place at Fresh Attitude, and from feedback from other parents the owner/director does a fantastic job honoring the Lord in her music choices, modest clothing requirements, and dance moves taught.  My younger would do 2 months of basketball through a local sports organization, in the slower months of January/February while we are on a break from our co-op and have very few commitments. 

We are apart of a wonderful co-op where my girls have the chance to participate in physical education, art, science, history, and musical classes to name a few.

Everything listed backs up the educational approach the Lord is calling me more and more to follow.  Please check out my "Stepping Off The Beaten Path" series to learn more about the changes I have made in our home.  Start by reading week 1 and go from there! 

So are you figuring out your plans for next school year?  I'd love to hear what you're doing!

If narration is something you'd like to incorporate more with your kids, check out, "Marvelous Are Thy Works: Exploring the ART of narration" - A 36 week, Charlotte Mason inspired,  narration & creative art tool to use alongside your read alouds, history, science, Bible readings, or even as a nature journal!!

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

"Stepping Off The Beaten Path" - Week 4

Photo courtesy of Google Image

"Education is a discipline-that is, the discipline of the good habits in which the child is trained.  Education is a life, nourished upon ideas; and education is an atmosphere-that is, the child breathes the atmosphere emanating from his parents; that of the ideas which rule their own lives"
~ Charlotte Mason

You don't have to be homeschooling for very long before you hear a certain name thrown around by other homeschoolers or come across it while researching online.  And perhaps you have heard it enough times that you want to learn a little more about this Charlotte....wait what is her last name again....oh yes, Charlotte Mason!

Charlotte Mason, a British educator, lived from 1842-1923.  She left behind an abundance of resources, writings, and information regarding children and education.  In fact, google "Charlotte Mason" and watch out, information overload!  

  I have Charlotte Mason to thank for the changes I have made in my homeschooling efforts and philosophies.  Charlotte Mason's educational approach certainly doesn't line up with traditional education as we know it today, in fact its opposite to the education I received.  Yet it has transformed how I homeschool and brought a love of learning into our home!

Even though Charlotte Mason is from a completely different era her teachings have certainly stood the test of time.  In fact, as the homeschool community continues to grow by leaps and bounds, it is her very teachings, techniques, principals, and methods that are being embraced by so many.  For me personally, the more I learned about Charlotte Mason and her educational beliefs, the more excited and passionate I became about homeschooling (yes "passionate" and "homeschooling" can be said in the same sentence!)

I truly believe that there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to education.  Therefore, I would never push the Charlotte Mason approach as the "only" way to homeschool (and I don't incorporate ALL of her methods myself).  I would, however, recommend doing your own research concerning Charlotte Mason!  Perhaps you will find a few of her techniques and practical insights to be useful and beneficial to mesh with whatever style you are currently using!

Here are just a few of Charlotte Mason's beliefs:
  • "Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life"
  • She valued children and believed they had very capable minds. 
  • The very key to education was "the love of learning".
  • Children should read whole/living books. 
  • Concentrated, short lessons.
  • Parents read aloud & the child narrates what they learned.
  • Daily contact with nature/nature study.
  • Copywork is used for handwriting practice.
  • Children should hear or read the Bible everyday.
  • Art/Music Study through regular exposure to artists/composers.
  • Formal Grammar should be introduced around age 10. 
  • Instilling good habits in our children.
"the habits of the child produce the character of the man . . .every day, every hour, the parents are either passively or actively forming those habits in their children upon which, more than upon anything else, future character and conduct depend." - Charlotte Mason

If you are intrigued with the Charlotte Mason education and want to make changes to your current curriculum, but have no idea where to start, may I recommend one resource that has been a huge blessing for us -  Queen Homeschool.  The Queen family is a homeschool family with 6 children.  They write much of their own curriculum, which they use with their own children, all with a CM flavor!   
    Let me recap a few thoughts from this series:
  • Consider your educational upbringing and its influence on how you homeschool.
  • Seek the Lord & be open to the unique educational path he has for your family.
  • Don't be afraid to "step off the beaten path" of whats familiar and comfortable.
  • Relationship with your kids is of greater significance than using the "perfect" curriculum or following a specific educational style/approach!

A few CM resources:

Thank you so much for joining me in this 4 week blog series!

Coming Soon: A 36 week, Charlotte Mason inspired,  Narration & Creative Art curriculum!!


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