Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Fall 2015 Charlotte Mason Weekly Schedule

Being that we are halfway through our fall term, I thought it would be a good time to give a review of our weekly Charlotte Mason homeschooling schedule. The soccer season has ended, and Beezy has resumed piano lessons, so practice is now being incorporated into the daily routine. What I have found with the schedule I have set up is that it can be used very flexibly. I don't think I would do it at all if I felt compelled to adhere to it strictly! One conclusion I have come to is that I was trying to fit too many subjects into one term. I think I have found a reasonable balance between variety and simplicity...

Every day, Monday through Thursday, we do reading, writing, and math. I have considered making religion the 4th "R", but as the Catholic Faith permeates the curriculum, religion doesn't have to be its own subject. We start each lesson time with a prayer, often using Prayers for Young Catholics from the Daughters of St. Paul. This book is often used for copy work.

Currently we are using an American Cardinal Reader, a vintage reprint from Neumann Press. Each day there is some type of writing. It may be a prepared dictation lesson from the reader; copy work; word making (using the Montessori Movable Alphabet) and sentence writing using those words; cursive writing; or a grammar workbook lesson. We use a Total Math workbook from American Education Publishing, along with manipulatives for introducing new concepts, board games, and life learning that incorporates math skills, such as baking. Piano practice occurs about 4 days a week.

On most days, for history, I am reading aloud from Leif Erikson the Lucky by Frederic A. Kummer. Leif Erikson is the first biographical character for American history, as it was he who discovered America, before Christopher Columbus, and brought the Christian Faith (which was Catholicism) to its shores. Beezy narrates passages from the book. With this one source, we are covering history, geography, literature, and religion! This is a grand example of a living book. If it is a saint's feast day, we read The Saint Book by Mary Reed Newland instead. Most evenings we have a bedtime read aloud of the literary classic, Anne of Green Gables.

Monday:  This is Rosary day. We are using The Rosary in Art from Seton, a beautiful book from the 5th grade curriculum. On Mondays I read the story, directly from the New Testament (1952 Confraternity Bible), for one of the Rosary mysteries. We pray the mystery on the beads, and Beezy does copy work from a key verse. Then she does a picture study of one of the corresponding classical works of art from the book. The only problem I have come across is that, because there are about 5 pictures for each mystery, this has become picture study overload. As a result, I am spreading the picture studies out some, so we are not covering one mystery per week as I had planned. As such, the introduction of a new mystery sometimes does not occur on Monday. I have found it very easy to move subjects around as needed!

Tuesday:  Beezy reads an Old Testament story from The Guiding Light: The Catholic Bible in Pictures (an amazing 1955 edition found on Ebay) to herself and then does an oral narration. We do a spelling/word making lesson using the Montessori Movable Alphabet, and Beezy writes a couple of sentences using some of the words. For health, and particularly relevant for this current season of puberty, we are using The Care and Keeping of You from American Girl. Beezy reads the selection, and then we discuss it.

Wednesday:  We do a lesson from The Baltimore Catechism. We go over the vocabulary at the beginning of the lesson. I read the questions, Beezy reads the answers, and we discuss the topic. She has religious education class at our parish church in the evenings. Her class is working on memorizing the Apostles' Creed, so I regularly have Beezy read this over and give a recitation of it. This is also science day. Science may be anything from a nature walk or working on the nature notebook to a chemistry experiment or a chapter of The Story Book of Science by Jean-Henri Fabre. Occasionally the choice may be a documentary film. We do a lesson from the grammar workbook.

Thursday:  On Thursdays Beezy has "a la carte" art and gym classes at a Catholic school. We come home and have lunch and then do our CM lessons in the afternoons. I read a chapter from Hillyer's A Child's Geography of the World. Beezy does narrations, and we often locate places on a map or globe and look at monuments, buildings, bridges, etc., online. Sometimes we find an online documentary on the subject. There is a lot of American history included in this book, so there is a nice natural correspondence, as Charlotte Mason would say. Currently Beezy is learning the first verse of "My Country Tis of Thee". Cursive writing is also done on this day, and Beezy has her piano lessons.

Friday:  Fridays are light. Beezy has art, lunch, and recess at the Catholic school. Except for piano practice and a Spanish lesson (we are using flash cards from eeBoo), this day is otherwise reserved for a field trip, sleepover with a friend, or to catch up on lessons from the week if needed. We occasionally do music appreciation. We have read two picture books about early medieval composer (among many other talents!) St. Hildegard of Bingen, Doctor of the Church. We have listened to her music on youtube and on CD, and Beezy did a drawing narration.

I am planning to work in poetry and a needlepoint craft for the winter term! I hope this has helped you to form a picture of how the bountiful feast of a broad, self-designed CM curriculum can be spread. Let me repeat that my schedule is very flexible. I keep it handy to make sure that I cover all of our subjects each week. It's a general guideline, but by no means are we slaves to it. It has helped me enormously to put together this weekly plan, so I do highly encourage you to do something similar!