Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Winter Semester Loop Schedule Updates

Not too much has changed in my Catholic Charlotte Mason loop schedule since the last time I posted about it. But I've been thinking a lot lately about the challenge of striking a balance between simplicity and "spreading the feast" of a liberal curriculum. I finally pulled off the shelf the book of Christina Rossetti's poetry that I've had checked out from the library for a long time and introduced it into our homeschooling lessons. I added the poetry subject to my Humanities Loop, and I also have not given up on Spanish.

I have been reading CM's Vol. 1, Home Education, in which Charlotte says that "all educated persons should be able to speak French." Part of my hesitation to get into a foreign language is the indecision about which one. French would be great, but I have no background, whereas I do in Spanish. Even with Spanish, however, I have to build my confidence back up where the pronunciations are concerned, and I never could trill my Rs! Happily, I found a woman on youtube who I believe can help me. Then there is Latin, which especially as a Catholic I would love to learn. If I were Charlotte Mason, maybe I'd just do all three! But I am not. So for now I'm choosing Spanish and have put that in the loop to alternate with poetry. It may very well be that all educated persons in America should be able to speak Spanish!

What encourages me in CM's writing about French is the method of teaching only orally in the beginning, with no written language, adding six new words per day. When I consider the idea of tackling only six words at a time, it seems perfectly doable.

The thing to keep in mind is to add a little at a time by way of subjects. Do not expect to start the six-year-old off with 20 subjects, and do beware of having unrealistic expectations for both yourself and your children starting out.

I added a spelling book to the writing loop, to replace the Montessori Movable Alphabet. Workbooks are not "banned" in a CM education, but they should not be relied upon heavily or take the place of the traditional CM methods. I added dancing to our Tea Time activities. I am hoping to get myself back into shape as an Oriental dance artist and teach my daughter some basics.

I am sorry to report that The Guiding Light vintage Catholic picture Bible I was using to have Beezy read the Old Testament stories from is not serving my purposes. It is a beautiful book, but so many details are taken out of the stories that they lose both literary value and clarity. As such, we will be returning to Hurlbut's Story of the Bible. The only issue I've had with this at all is the need to explain the Catholic interpretation of Jesus' brothers and sisters. That is done easily enough, and otherwise it's a wonderful living book, very well written.

As I've often done, I again want to encourage readers to design your own CM curriculum. The guides at Mater Amabilis, Ambleside Online, and Simply Charlotte Mason are a great help when you need ideas, but I've read accounts of many mothers feeling overwhelmed and "behind" when they try to keep up with the schedules. I get the most use out of Elizabeth Foss' cycles in Real Learning, but I never try to complete every book suggested for a particular month. I browse among all the cycles for a particular age group and put things together in my own way.

I'd love to hear how your current term is going, so please share in the comments! And now here is my updated loop schedule for the current winter term.

Daily Core:
American Cardinal Reader or chapter book (The Courage of Sarah Noble)
Math lesson
Piano practice
Literature read aloud: Leif Erickson the Lucky (for lesson time, with oral narration and/or discussion); Anne of the Island (bedtime)
Writing loop:
copy work
grammar workbook
written narration or spelling workbook

Extended Loops:

Religion loop:
The Baltimore Catechism or other religious lesson book
The Rosary in Art (picture studies)
New Testament Bible reading (Rosary mysteries and decade prayers)
Hurlbut’s Story of the Bible (Old Testament stories)
Saint Isaac and the Indians by Milton Lomask

Humanities Loop:
The Story Book of Science, One Small Square or Edible Chemistry Kit
A Child’s Geography of the World, map work or visual enrichment
Poetry or Spanish
Memory work/recitation
The Care & Keeping of You

Tea Time:  music, baking, correspondence, handicrafts, dance

Religious Ed. Class at parish church on Wednesdays
Gym and art classes at Catholic school & piano lessons on Thursdays
Art, lunch and recess at Catholic school on Fridays