Progress Report

I thought I would give a little school update for Charlotte, now that we have five weeks under our belt.

As most of you know, we are doing Classical Conversations this year. I was a little intimidated by the volume of memory work when we first started, but Charlotte is sailing through each week and showing me that she is much more capable than I gave her credit for.

If you are curious about memory work and why I am a believer, this article is a great resource (it’s also great if you’re just wondering what Charlotte and I are doing each day): Memory Work: A Personal Journey.

Just for a little sampling, here are some of the facts that Charlotte has memorized in five weeks:

  • History events from Creation to Alexander the Great

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{This is the stack of History Timeline cards she has memorized.}

  • The continents and oceans
  • Western European countries
  • Latin conjugations
  • English grammar facts
  • Counting by 1s, 2s, 3s, 4s…and so on through 10s.
  • Seven biomes
  • Types of consumers (herbivores, carnivores, omnivores)…

And she knows these history sentences that totally crack me up. Her favorite one is about The Crusades, “Eleanor of Aquitaine and her son, Richard the Lionhearted, fought the Turks for Jerusalem during the time of the Crusades, which occurred from 1095 to 1291.” She has little hand motions and everything.

So how does she know all of this? Well, most of it is set to music (I bet you can sing all of We Didn’t Start the Fire if you had to!) which helps both of us. And we practice it once or twice a day depending on time.  And we listen to the Timeline CD every time we are in the car.

Why does she know this? Well, the above article explains this so well. So you should really read it! The short answer is that the memory work now lays the foundation for more learning later.  When she’s in middle school and learning about the Crusades, she will already have names and dates firmly lodged into that pretty little head of hers. So she can focus on learning more about the context, the reasons and the consequences without getting all stressed out about memorizing the names and dates for tests. (But seriously, read the article.)

And just to be clear, Charlotte has memorized and can recite simple facts. She can tell you who signed the Magna Carta, but she can’t tell you what it is, much less why it matters. So please don’t be too impressed with my teaching!

I think I mentioned before that Charlotte also presents a little talk each week in class. I haven’t taken a video because I don’t want her to be distracted, but trust me when I say she is a little pro. She and I come up with a topic each week, and then Tim will illustrate some note cards for her to use as talking points. So far she has talked about camping, her trip to Florida, going to an Orioles game and our new house.

In addition to CC, we also do math, writing and reading each day. I am using Horizons Math, Handwriting Without Tears and the BOB books for her reading.

I know it sounds like a lot, but it really only takes us an hour to an hour and a half each day. Thanks to some very wise advice from veteran homeschooling moms, I am not trying to take on too much or add to the curriculum. We’re not doing crafts, and I would be ashamed to say that we have yet to set foot inside of the library if we were not so well-stocked at home with books (thanks to Regular Nana!). I really had this idea that I would need to do crafts for every lesson and be “that mom” who checks out all of the season books at the library at one time (you know who you are! Ha!), but I have freed myself from those expectations, and as a result we are having a great time learning without adding unnecessary stress.

Our new neighborhood is great for walking, and we are just a short walk to the park, so we have been taking regular nature walks for “recess,” which has been a treat for both of us.

I think this post is long enough, but please feel free to ask any questions or share any homeschooling tips you have.
And here is a little video of C practicing her timeline. She seemed to do better before the camera came on, but her little voice is too cute not to share!

Growin’-Up Girl

The girl started kindergarten this week. We had our first day on Tuesday, after we dropped Sam off at school.

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I offered to take her out for breakfast to kick off the new school year, but she wanted to wait.

“Let’s just go home, do my school, and then you can take me to get a donut when I am finished with my work. Like a treat!”

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Okay, Baby Girl.

We have been keeping our work time at about an hour each day this week with math, writing and alphabet review. And we have been doing lots of reading together on the couch. Charlotte was a little bummed the first day when she realized that her “shows” aren’t part of the learning day, but she seems to be surviving without the TV!

Charlotte has her first class day (we call it co-op) for Classical Conversations (CC) on Friday, so next week we will be adding more time on to focus on our memorization work.  Please click on the link if you’re interested in knowing more about CC. I was familiar with the Classical model before we even had kids, but the more Tim and I looked into it, the more we were convinced that CC was the right program for us.  The mission of CC is Knowing God and Making Him Known. What could be better than that?

We’re only three days in, so I won’t pretend like we have it all down yet, but I am keeping in mind all the wonderful advice and wisdom I have received from my fellow homeschooling moms who are a little further down the road. We are keeping it light, and I am not stressing out about everything being perfect. We start each day with a Bible story and a prayer, that we will be good stewards of our “class” time, and that we will honor God with our work.

I’ll be writing more as the year progresses. I would love your prayers as I endeavor to teach Charlotte this year!