Saturday, September 30, 2017

2017-2018 Reflections - Week Four...

At Home

Last school year, I wrote 2016-2017 Weekly Reflections, reflecting once a week on our academics, as well as various happenings at home and linking articles around the web. Since these were popular posts, this year, I hope to continue in that same vein. However, the posts may or may not be weekly, depending. I'm undecided at this point. I'm actually hoping to spend less time on the computer and more time with my nose in a book this school year, so we'll see how it goes.

For now, I want to report that we are four weeks into the 2017-2018 school year. Riley has begun in earnest. You can find her Year 8 books here. She's enjoying most of her studies, particularly her science selections. She's made some great notebooking pages based on her readings. She also likes that her online math class is two days per week this year, versus one day last year. She said it's good to be able to touch base more frequently with the teacher, particularly if you have questions.

Riley's also loving her Beautiful Feet Medieval History study. She drew by hand, this beautiful world map on tag board over the first couple weeks of school...

I have been reading the following titles along with her as part of my Mother Culture. Also, in order to be able to understand her narrations and have more meaningful discussions...

The History of English Literature for Boys and Girls by H. E. Marshall - AO Year 7
The Once and Future King by T. H. White -  AO Year 7
Watership Down by Richard Adams -  AO Year 7
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott -  AO Year 7

This week, Riley and I have jointly decided to drop The Once and Future King. We had just finished chapter six in week three, when she came to me and wondered how it was going. Truth be told, my enthusiasm started strong, but quickly dissipated after week two. I was disappointed when they turned into sea creatures. At this same time, Riley was also reading King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table by Roger Lancelyn Green for her BF study. She decided to continue one more week of The Once and Future King, reading chapters 7 and 8, at which time, we talked again and decided to drop it. My thought is, there are too many great books to read a just so, so book that's not sparking ideas. To some, The Once and Future King is excellent. To us, it is not. I believe we gave it a fair shot and who knows, maybe down the road, we will revisit it. For now, the BF King Arthur book is satisfactory.

Ruben is also reading Ivanhoe and Watership Down along with us via audio. Ivanhoe is going just OK, but I feel it's too important to give up. I want us all to have a Sir Walter Scott experience and so we shall keep plugging on with this book. We are all loving Watership Down! Ruben actually got way ahead of Riley and I, which was OK since we had to return the audio to the library and wait our turn to get it back again. I may just break down and use my Audible credits for it.

Ruben and I are also reading Beowulf by Michael Morpurgo as part of his IEW Medieval History Themed Based Writing Lessons. Riley already read this same version of Beowulf through Beautiful Feet. Ruben's written two papers so far with IEW and he's doing a great job! I'm really glad I chose this program for him. It seems to be a good fit. Here are Ruben's paragraphs....

Week 2

 Life in the Middle Ages
          In the Middle Ages, knights and kings were thought to have lived in massive castles. It was not a glorious time for Europe. In the 400s the Western Roman Empire was crumbling. Sadly, warriors stormed and seized parts of it. They were not interested in arts or learning so it was called the Dark Ages. Knights and castles did not appear until the late 900s. Peasants worked from sunup to sun down for the noblemen. There were many hardships. Education and the glorious Roman culture were forgotten.

Week 3

The Anglo-Saxons
When the Western Roman Empire fell, the Anglo-Saxons crossed the North Sea. They invaded Britain. Angles settled the southern part of the island. They called it Angleland, which is modern day England. The Angles gave us the English language. Anglo-Saxons brought pagan gods. Woden, who was an Anglo-Saxon god, gave us our word Wednesday. In 598 AD, a monk named Augustine intrepidly came and enthusiastically preached to the Angles. He converted many of them to Christianity. The Anglo-Saxons proudly ruled England until 1066 AD.    

I have not officially started math with Ruben yet. I've been so busy working on the Journey: An Education for Life retreat among other things that I didn't have time to get organized. However, we will begin soon. His Year 7 book list is here

In regard to Morning Time, I need to do some reassessing. You can see our original 2017-2018 plan here. I'm really on the fence about How to Be Your Own Selfish Pig by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay. We're three chapters in and I don't really feel it's applicable at this point. I think I may wait until Riley and Ruben are older and revisit it. I also dropped Idylls of the King by Tennyson this past week, which makes me a little sad. I couldn't find the beat and we were all suffering. However, I may bring this one back when life slows a bit. I think it's an important read and I want my kids to experience it, but with the busyness of life, now may not be the time. 

All things considering, we are off to a good start. I really do look forward to some down time over the next couple of weeks to focus more on our studies. We have also opted to take a semester off from participating in our local homeschool choir. This is bittersweet as it's such a great opportunity. Yet, as mentioned, we really need some down time right now. Riley actually thanked me when I shared our decision to wait until spring. This solidified that it was the right decision for now.

Around the Web

I hadn't been reading blogs or listening to podcasts for about 4-6 weeks prior to the Journey retreat because I didn't want my talks to be skewed by someone else's thinking. However, today, I broke my fast and read a few articles that I really enjoyed....

Will This Curriculum Prepare My Student for College Level Writing? by Lisa Kelly is a commonly asked question. As a matter of fact, I was asked it last Saturday after one of my talks. So many mamas want to know if a CM education really will prepare their kids for the modern world. My answer is there is no better time than the present for a Classical Christian Charlotte Mason education!

I really liked Karen Glass's post on The Perfect Charlotte Mason Curriculum. Again, this was right in line with my first talk last weekend, in which I outlined 5 key ideas of Charlotte's philosophy on education. Personally, Vol. 6, A Philosophy of Education, is my favorite so far, but our CM Study Group is currently reading Vol. 1, Home Educationand it's a close second. 

Have you seen Celeste's Reading Journal? It's beautiful!...and something I've been desiring to begin this year as I read along Riley and Ruben. I actually did something similar for a bible study a couple of years ago, but it became too time consuming so I gave it up. However, I'd like to get back at it this winter. I'll keep you posted on my progress. 

Lastly, I'm working through Richele Baburina's 3-part Physics series at Sabbath Mood Homeschool. I look forward to hearing Richele's ideas. I greatly appreciated her Mathematics guide published by Simply Charlotte Mason


  1. I'm sorry I'm getting to this post late even though you posted a few weeks back. Am I the only one who didn't actually love Karen Glass's post? I agree that a lot of curriculum difficulties come from mothers who don't understand CM's philosophy, however, the post really came off as blame to me. Blame for the teachers who promoted too soon or blame for the moms who haven't read the volumes. It strikes me as harsh to leave unrecognized the myriad of things that can go wrong in our CM homeschools that do not necessarily reflect a lack of understanding of the philosophy. I'm sure this wasn't her intention, rather I see that she wanted to encourage us all to dive deep and read the volumes in a smaller way that is more likely to be accomplished (and make an impact). However, it comes off to me like the people on AO who insist people should persist with a bad book choice simply because the Advisory is so wise and has so much cumulative knowledge. I'm sure you've seen some of those discussions on the forums there. They know the philosophy and yet we don't have agency when things go wrong. The teachers in schools that Karen references couldn't have all been uneducated in the principles to a person, there could have been life or social or economic things affecting their students, just as they do ours today.

    I'm looking forward to the Physics series as well. I love the science and math work Richele has been doing.

  2. Bev, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I love the interaction! I also greatly appreciate the work done by the ladies at AO. I don't always love all their book choices. As a matter of fact, we've ceased reading two AO Year 7 recommendations this year. With that said, I still love the framework and I have a great respect for the time and energy those mamas have put into AO.

    There is no one size fits all. I have children with learning differences so I'm accustomed to adapting any recommended curricula or book lists. If something's not working, I simply move onto to the next best thing. There are so many great books out there, I don't feel it necessary to struggle through one that's really not working for our family.

    On the other hand, there still must be an understanding of the overall philosophy if one is going to implement Charlotte's methods in an attempt to reproduce a CM education at home....or at least if one hopes to achieve the results of a CM education. For years, I considered myself a CM educator, though I never read a volume of Charlotte's writings, but rather only second hand accounts. I am forever grateful for those second hand accounts to develop my base. However, I didn't really have a paradigm shift in my thinking until I read Charlotte's work for myself. I then realized, methods don't hold weight without philosophy. I hate to put words in Karen's mouth, but I think this is the message she meant to give and that she was hoping to encourage mom's to study Charlotte Mason's philosophy or whatever philosophy they hope to replicate. If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend a slow read through Vol. 6, A Philosophy of Education. It's good stuff!

    May you be blessed,