Monday, January 25, 2016

Charlotte Mason 2016 Winter Term Updates

The more I work with our Catholic Charlotte Mason homeschooling loop schedule, the better I am able to refine our curriculum and to see how we can best proceed on the journey. Last week lessons were put on hold while Beezy was sick, so today it was great to get back into the groove of our routine.

Beezy finished reading The Courage of Sarah Noble, the true story of a young girl living among American Indians. Native American studies are integral to U.S. history, but also to the history of the entire New World, so we learn about these First Peoples of North and South America every year. We are also reading Saint Isaac and the Indians, about the French Jesuits and their work converting the Huron Indians of Canada to Christianity. 

Another Canadian connection is our reading of the Anne of Green Gables series, set on Prince Edward Island. These are the types of "natural correspondences" that Charlotte Mason wrote about. There will be an organic overlapping of subjects in a CM education, but this is distinguished from unit studies, which Charlotte did not advocate. Children should be allowed to make their own connections in this living education, rather than having the adult tie every subject to a central theme. 

We finally finished Leif Erikson the Lucky, but we are not done with Viking history. This week we will begin a read aloud of D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths, and Beezy will be reading to herself and narrating Rover by Jackie French, a historical fiction novel set in Viking days and connecting to Leif Erikson. I think it's important for children to know how the Old World connects with the New World in history. 

Because St. Brigid's Day and Candlemas are coming up early in February, and St. Patrick's Day is in March, I'm adding some books about the beloved patron saints of Ireland. I think it's important to follow the liturgical year in our lessons and how it ties to Church history. And as a natural correspondence, we are reading prayers from Celtic Vision by Esther de Waal, an anthology taken from the Carmina Gaedelica.

I've included my updated loop schedule. Please take a look, and if you have any questions about it's contents or how it works, I'd love to discuss it in the comments section. Keep in mind that a Charlotte Mason education is not about following the curriculum guidelines and lesson plans of someone else, though you may find that helpful. The journey is really about providing your children with a guided self-education, connecting them mind-to-mind with the great thinkers, through living books, the fine arts, and exploration of the natural world. The method flows from a philosophy built upon natural law, the child's innate curiosity, and one's intimacies, and its desired end is that education be the "handmaid of Religion".

Daily Core:

Living Faith devotional with daily Mass readings and Celtic Vision prayers
Reading: Rover by Jackie French (Viking historical fiction) w/ oral narration
Math lesson
Piano practice
Literature read aloud: D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths (for lesson time, with oral narration and/or discussion); Anne of the Island (Montgomery, bedtime)

Writing loop:
copy work
grammar workbook
written narration or spelling workbook
cursive writing (Seton Handwriting 3)

Extended Loops:

Religion loop:
The Baltimore Catechism or other catechetical/liturgical book
The Rosary in Art (picture studies, Seton)
New Testament Bible reading (Rosary mysteries and decade prayers)
Saints:  Saint Isaac and the Indians by Milton Lomask; The Saint Book (Newland);   Journeys with Mary (De Santis); The Story of Saint Brigid (Caitriona Clarke)

Humanities Loop:
Nature Studies: The Story Book of Science, Winter EcoJournal, or nature walk
A Child’s Geography of the World and/or map work or visual enrichment
Memory work/recitation
The Care & Keeping of You (American Girl, health)

Tea Time Fridays:  French, poetry (Christian Rossetti), music, baking, correspondence, handicrafts

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

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