- Most lessons are 15 minutes to align with CM's ideas that lessons for younger children should be short. Lessons are also varied; I tried to alternate between seat work and activities we could do on the floor or snuggled on the couch allowing him to switch between lessons that require pen and paper with ones that would not. He tires easily when a lot of writing is required and this way I feel I can still require excellence in all his penmanship since we will be doing only short bursts of writing at any given time. See my last post (10th paragraph) for a quote from Vol. 1, Home Education on the subjects of short and varied lessons. Below is a quote from Miss Mason about requiring excellence of our children.
A child should not be assigned work that he isn't capable of doing perfectly, and perfect work should be expected as a matter of course. For example, if he is supposed to write a series of of strokes and is allowed to turn in a page of sloppy stroke-marks unevenly spaced and sloping irregularly, then his moral integrity is compromised from getting by on less than his best. Instead, just assign him six strokes to copy instead of a full page. Require that they be six perfect strokes, evenly spaced with uniform slant. If one isn't right, have him show you what's wrong with it and let him re-do it. If he can't do six perfect ones today, let him try again tomorrow, and again the next day. When he finally writes six perfect strokes, celebrate the occasion! Let him feel a sense of triumph...Let everything that he does be done well.- Charlotte Mason
Volume 1, Home Education - modern English translation
- I did not schedule an official morning break into our day. Thatch does better with several five to ten minute breathers rather than one 30 minute break. A longer time allows him time to get engaged in an activity that will then necessitate me pulling him from it causing sadness and frustration on his part (and sometimes mine too after dealing with the drama ;). Short breaks give just enough time to go to the restroom, grab a drink and visit a little before jumping right back into the next lesson. Breaks should naturally occur at the end of the lessons I scheduled for a full 30 minutes like reading, history and science. I also allotted extra time in these lessons to build in buffer zones since we have lots of distractions from little brothers.
- Prior to adopting a CM inspired schedule we were covering only six subjects per day: math (an hour or more due mostly to dawdling - although I have learned that as a right-brained learner he does take longer to process), grammar, spelling, handwriting, reading and Spanish. Yes, I confess, we have not done any real science in an entire year and only enough history to fill a tiny cup. :( With this schedule we are intentionally covering sixteen subjects in the course of a week's time: Scripture Memory, Bible, Character Training (Virtue of the Week), Math, Reading (T to me), Handwriting, History, Art Appreciation (Picture Study). Geography, Science, Spanish, Spelling, Poetry, Music Appreciation (Classical Music Listening), Literature (me reading to him) and PE! While some of these subjects are not recognized as such in a traditional school setting, they are very much in a CM style education and one of the things I love most about it.
- Fridays are still mostly empty because I will need to develop a workable plan for those days. One of the things I hope to include is a weekly art lesson. We will still be using Draw Squad but possibly switching to online lessons available for a very low price right now through The Homeschool Buyers Co-op Group Buys only until Jan. 15th. Online lessons are probably not in step with the true heart behind Miss Mason's ideals but right now if it gets done and my boys are learning, I am happy being that I am completely art-phobic. I also hope to include weekly nature walks and two field trips a month - one to the zoo and one to a museum.
I'll post my first "Weekly Report" at the end of this week to share how it's going. Today was our first day and things could not have gone any better! I am so very excited. :)