I have been asked now so many times, to PLEASE finally post what the rest of our plans look like for the year. And so I shall. Kind of. This has been a really strange post for me to write, to be honest, because while I am excited about the rest of this school year and what we’ve got planned – already since this post has been in draft I have added and tweaked and changed things. So instead of giving the minutiae of what our plans look like, I want to discuss HOW I came to where we are now, and why we’ve decided to go the route that we have. Be forewarned, this may be the longest post I’ve ever written, or will write again. But stick with me, friends.
I Do Not Follow Directions Well:
I’ve said this before, in this blog and on Periscope. And anyone who knows me for a half a minute will know this to be true: I do not like to follow other people’s plans. I really don’t. I admire curricula outlines, and I long for a day when I can just follow the plan like so many others and just do the school. Nope. That’s just not how I roll. It’s taken me some time this past couple of months to really come to an understanding with myself that I will not, probably ever, truly follow one curriculum to its end.
That said, guess who found a pre-made CM curriculum to use for the rest of this year? THIS GIRL! I know, I know. Here’s the thing though – my 2017 is looking to be pretty full, with things I am SO EXCITED about, and with my anxiety in pretty high gear (it’s winter, and it’s hard to cope this time of year), I really needed something that I wouldn’t have to tweak to death and could just use (mostly) as-written. For me, right now, that curriculum is Mater Amibilis. It’s a program written for Catholic homeschoolers following the Charlotte Mason philosophy, but they’ve got their religious faith lessons as a separate lesson and separate resources altogether. And that means, dear reader, that it needs minimal changing or substituting on my end. The non-faith lessons and resources are really great suggestions, many of which I already had (which helped the mid-year school budget a little).
Making It All Come Together:
So, I used the set of scheduling cards I purchased from A Delectable Education, and the syllabus from Mater Amibilis, and used those in tandem to put together a plan for our weeks. I did one for each child, and then made each a page in my homeschool bullet journal laying out their weekly plan. Then, each week they each get a page with daily boxes in which I put specifically WHAT lessons they need to finish that day. Super easy to schedule. (I fully intend a full post VERY soon on what that process looked like in more detail).
Sounds perfect, right? Wellllllll…. About that. So, my kids both like their new curriculum. They do, and my oldest is working in “Level2A Year 1” and is even doing quite a few of his lesson readings independently. My daughter is in “Level 1A Year 1” and also loving her newfound independence from big brother. She gets a different plan, and a different set of resources, and a bit of a lighter workload. I was really finding that while they’ve done all the same learning together up until this year, that they both needed to do their OWN things. So, this curriculum allows us that.
But – I REALLY don’t like to follow other people’s rules or plans.
So. Here we are, on Day 4 of our new curriculum, and I might be about to blow it out of the water. My son mentioned yesterday “Mom. Seriously, I like what we’re doing right now, I do. But are we EVER going to make it past ancient history? Just a question.”
And I realized that he’s right. At the start of this year, we were going to do our OWN thing. We were going to truly craft our own curriculum. But then, life happened and here we are using Mater Amibilis. My son’s level includes British history, Ancient History, and Canadian History (we’re Canadian). Before we decided to try Mater Amibilis, we were intending to do pre-First Contact Canadian history and early Canadian settlement. And here we are, back in Ancient Greece. My poor son, patient and diligent, hasn’t complained yet until yesterday.
Don’t Throw The Baby Out With The Bathwater:
So what’s my first reaction? Well, naturally the internal dialogue went like this: “Oh no! He hates our schoolwork! I have totally messed this up, but this is the time period we should be learning and I can’t just change the history cycle can I? No I can’t, the curriculum says THIS and we shall do THIS and oh my word, I’m just going to scrap this curriculum because I’ve messed up again and my kids will never receive a full education if I keep this up and oh……”
And then I stopped myself. I took a deep breath, poured a cup of tea, and asked my son “I know you want to learn about what happened after the medieval period. I hear you. Would you be happy to read that history period in your own time? You have the ENTIRE set of Horrible Histories – you could really just start with those, see what triggers your interest and we can head to the library…” And he stopped me mid sentence and said “I love what we’re doing but I don’t want to learn about history on my own, I like it when we learn together”.
Well, fig. Now what? I eventually just told him I’d sleep on it and we can talk about it again.
This Is MY Homeschool:
I woke up this morning, read an email from a dear friend and mentor in this Charlotte Mason community and was revived. Just today, I told my son “Look, let’s just find a great Renaissance book to use, and we’ll add one history lesson in and we’ll study what happened post-medieval times! Easy peasy! We don’t have to do what someone else says to do, do we?”. So the decision we came to, is to just add in an extra history lesson in a week. And keep doing what we were otherwise doing, no total dismantling of our current curriculum needed. I am not tied to a particular history cycle or plan, regardless of what anyone else tells me.
Did you hear that? The collective gasp of half the CM community as soon as I said that. But it’s TRUE. I am passionate about the philosophy and the method. I believe Mason had a beautiful approach to children and to how they should be educated. BUT – I don’t think we should treat her words as ‘gospel’ nor should we make her some deity, to worship at her feet.
No Schedule Or Resource Lists Here:
If you’ve read this far, I love you. And I apologize if you have read this far hoping that you’d find a schedule or a list of resources. I know that is what we ALL want when we’re feeling conflicted or unsure where to go. And I know it feels like you read this far just to hear/see the inner workings of my jumbled brain as I try to make my way through this homeschool path.
But THAT is homeschooling. This is what it is – trying things, and connecting with our kids, and finding out TOGETHER if we’re on a path that works for all of us. It’s fluid and it changes and that is OKAY. Creating a sense of partnership with my children, creating a warm home environment with SPACE for them to learn and discover and be excited about things. That is my goal as a home educator.
So, I won’t tell you WHAT to do or which resources to buy or any of that – at least not today – but from here forward, what I will do is show you what the ins and outs of our homeschool look like. How we, in a secular home, implement Charlotte Mason’s philosophy and methods.