We finished the first term of our first Charlotte Mason homeschool year, and we’re taking a much-needed break this week. Over the next few days, I’ll be printing out our Alveary curriculum for Term 2 and making sure I have all the books I need. As I review our progress, I’m assessing how the term went and considering areas we may need to modify.
A Term Review
Overall, we had a good term. Starting something new is never easy. And starting something new with a six-year-old who has never been to school or even preschool is interesting. Some days we had lots of grumbling about not wanting to do school. This provided a chance to talk about responsibility and the reality that sometimes we have to do things that aren’t “fun.”
Furthermore, since we’re starting out with a Charlotte Mason method, I’m insisting on good habits. We need to pay attention and listen closely the first time because we’re not going to be reading it again. When we recite a selection we’ve memorized, we stand up straight and speak clearly. And we should always do our best work. We haven’t mastered these things by any stretch of the imagination, but we press on.
In addition to our school time, we have tried to encourage learning and practice in other areas of our life. That way it doesn’t feel like a review. When we play games in the evenings, our son does the math (and even enjoys it). When we’re making something in the kitchen, I let him read the directions. Cooking instructions are their own genre. We encourage him to write stories, and we get page after page of amusing tales.
Our Favorite Things in Review
If I had to make a list of subjects we both enjoyed, it would probably be literature and music. The kids and I all enjoyed the Grimm Fairytales and the American Tall Tales. The stories we read were engaging, and we had some good conversations about them.
Music was also a popular subject for all of us. Both kids have learned a lot of songs, and we have been talking
about various instruments. Sometimes I make them listen to classical music in the car, and I help them identify different instruments. We also supplemented our music with a local community children’s choir.
Handicrafts continue to be a challenge. I didn’t realize how limited my son’s scissor skills were until we tried to do paper Sloyd. This makes sense–he didn’t attend preschool or Kindergarten where they’re always cutting out some art project. His inability to cut along a straight line made Sloyd frustrating for him and me. I’m brainstorming options to replace Sloyd.
Our other handicraft was sewing, and we plodded along, completing a few projects. I think we will continue with this one since he did enjoy it. There is definitely room for growth in this area (for both of us), but it is a useful life skill.
Another subject he really enjoyed was painting. We did artist study, painting, and chalk drawing as our art curriculum, but painting was his favorite. I can paint a little bit. But I’m not particularly artistic beyond painting leaves, so I may look for some YouTube videos to help supplement this subject.
One of the areas where we are lacking is nature walks for natural history. I think seeing the things we’re learning about would make it seem more interesting. And while we spend time outside when the weather permits, it is challenging for me to do nature walks. Our lessons take up the morning hours, and I’m hesitant to take a whole morning for nature walks regularly because I don’t want to get behind in our curriculum. I also have one child who really should be napping in the afternoon (even though she is NEVER tired) so afternoon hikes are less than ideal.
We also need to be spending time walking around our neighborhood to supplement our geography study. Unfortunately, we don’t have sidewalks, and I’m not that excited about walking in the street with two young children. Although we don’t get out and wander around our neighborhood, both kids are familiar with many of the roads we drive regularly. In fact, my son often comments–that’s the way we go to the doctor, the airport, or Grammy’s house.
I think it’s common for homeschool moms to feel like they’re not doing enough. Sometimes I have that fear. But when I stop and review what we’re doing, I realize how much our son is learning. He’s making connections between various subjects, and I try to ask natural questions that will help him integrate the subjects we study with daily life. What I want to model is a desire to be a lifelong learner.
How is your homeschool year going? Have you done a review of your progress? I would love to hear. Be sure to sign up for the Ambleside Tales community. I’ll send printables and encouragement right to your inbox. And follow me on Instagram to see what our school days look like.