Monday, April 25, 2016

Spring CM Curriculum Updates

Spring did finally arrive after an unwelcome return to winter, and Beezy and I have experienced some enjoyable days doing our homeschooling lessons on the porch. Tulips are in full array in our yard right now, and the crab apple tree will soon be in fragrant bloom, as will the honeysuckle bush. I'm going to go out to the backyard today and visit my favorite, the lilacs, to see how they are coming along. I look forward to the sweetness of pears from the tree now flowering. These signs of life do cheer me so!

Another event that always delights my spirit is Beezy's annual spring piano recital, which we attended yesterday. She was one of three homeschoolers among the 14 performing students. All of these young people give me hope for our society's future, as they display the dedication necessary for learning to play a musical instrument. They must have a strong sense of commitment, self-discipline, patience, creativity, and humility, all qualities of character that will serve them well--that will indeed be necessary--in adult life. Beezy and her dad and I were privileged to share the special day with great-grandparents, grandparents who traveled from Cleveland, and a cousin with whom Beezy is very close. 

Today I made adjustments to our Catholic Charlotte Mason loop schedule. To keep it simple, I have designed it to fit everything on one printed page. Sometimes we get through all of the extended loop items in one week, but if it takes two, that is fine. It's more important to take our time to enjoy and assimilate each subject rather than rushing to fit it all in. The writing loop is easily accomplished in a week, often being done in only four days.

A Book of Gratitude is a reprint of a vintage Catholic reader from the Faith and Freedom series and is available from Seton Home Study's 5th grade book list. This contains a nice selection of saint stories and classic literature and poetry. We finished reading Saint Isaac and the Indians (Lomask), which I highly recommend, especially in connection with Canadian history. I didn't want to begin another historical novel for read aloud literature this late in the year. So we will be using Fifty Stories from Ohio History, a vintage book found at our own library, until school finishes at the end of May. We will then pick up where we left off in the fall. Reading one Psalm to close our homeschooling lessons each day has been a wonderful addition to the curriculum.

I removed Tea Time Fridays from the schedule, simply because it wasn't often happening. Instead I put Spanish into the Humanities Loop. Poetry and hymns are worked into copy work and dictation lessons, and I added letter writing (correspondence) to the writing loop. This way all of the previous Tea Time items are still a part of the curriculum, and if we go on a field trip or have some other activity planned for Fridays, those subjects are not left undone. The only thing I still need to incorporate is a handicraft. We have a needlepoint project begun long ago that still needs to be finished, so I think I'll bring that out on rainy afternoons and evenings when we have nothing going on and want to stave off boredom.

I am considering switching to Saxon Math for next year and was excited to find that I could order it through the library system! If I like it, I will just use a library copy rather than buying the textbook. With my special teacher library card, I can keep items out for an extended period and renew several times. I will occasionally have to send it back and reorder it, so we can use our Total Math workbook in between, which we will not finish this year.

Except for the Seton workbook for 6th grade that goes along with the Baltimore Catechism, which we may use to focus on particular tenets of the Faith next year, I don't think I'm going to need to purchase a single book! Most of what we will need to continue with our studies we already have, and the rest is available through the library. How amazing is that?!  As always, please feel free to ask questions or share your impressions in the comments at the bottom. Here is the updated schedule:

Daily Core (beginning each day with prayer):
- Reading: A Book of Gratitude or Rover by Jackie French (Viking historical fiction) 
- Math lesson
- Piano practice
- Literature read aloud: Fifty Stories from Ohio History (for lesson time, with oral narration and/or discussion); Anne of Windy Poplars (bedtime)
- Old Testament Bible: Psalms (closing reading)

Writing loop (using poems, hymns, prayers, Bible verses, and passages from reading  books for copy work and dictation):
- copy work
- dictation
- grammar workbook
- written narration or correspondence
- cursive writing (Seton Handwriting 3)

Extended Loops:
Religion loop:
- The Baltimore Catechism
- The Rosary in Art (picture studies, Seton)
- New Testament Bible: Rosary mysteries (and prayers); the Acts of the Apostles  
- Saints: The Saint Book (Newland) or Journeys with Mary (De Santis)

Humanities Loop:
- Natural science: nature walks and notebook; zoological cards; The Story Book of Science
- A Child’s Geography of the World and/or map work or visual enrichment
- Memory work/recitation
- The Care & Keeping of You or The Feelings Book (American Girl, health)
- Spanish

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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