I posted this at the WTM Curriculum board after I asked about recommended Charlotte Mason resources. It is the cusp of what is going on with me and our homeschooling journey right now and since I already poured my heart out once, I figured I'd just paste it here. I think this is actually going to be a turning point in our overall journey, we'll see where God leads us.
I found my A Charlotte Mason Education by Levison copy. I have More Charlotte Mason, The Charlotte Mason Study Guide and a few volumes of the Original coming from the library, YAY! I want to get Real Learning too, I have to check if it's at the library.
I just want more of a natural learning environment, I want to stop pushing my children to learn things they might not be ready for just because (just an example!) WTM says to do xyz in year #.
What has been bothering me about our path (using WTM):
I don't understand why we're learning spelling at this stage when it seems having a better grasp on phonics would be more beneficial. I don't understand why there is ANY focus whatsoever on anything but gaining reading fluency and getting better at handwriting through copywork.
I spent most of first grade (our first year of hsling) pushing my dd through subjects, feeling confident because I was following what someone else said was important to do. I don't have the confidence anymore that I was doing "right" by my dd. I don't think we should have started Spelling Workout at all, we should have focused on reading more and memorized phonics rules instead of FLL grammar terms. If we had done that, we could have spent this year (2nd) learning the basics of grammar (nouns, verbs, pronouns) with a much stronger foundation in reading skills. THAT would have been the natural progression but I didn't have the confidence/knowledge last year to realize that.
Now I'm just figuring out how to fix it without hurting dd by pushing too many things on her AND provide her with what she needs at this stage to be successful in the next couple of years when writing comes into play more. It's been a hard road letting go of "public school" mentality and I still struggle with it, now it seems I have to let go of "WTM" mentality just enough to provide what I think is best for my dd.
What appeals to me about CM is the focus on keeping a child a child but still demanding excellence in the tasks at hand. I'm not confident that the progression is enough- at Ambleside under Language Arts, it has a child doing copywork until 4th grade without dictation or written narration. It is the same at Simply Charlotte. I'm not comfortable with that yet. Even the products we're changing to Primary Language Lessons and Language Lessons for the Very Young have dictation and written reproductions (I consider these written narrations).
I need a middle ground somehow and I'm still figuring that out. Tapestry of Grace has been such a God-send because it really opened my eyes to the proper level of books I should be exposing dd7 to at this point and it keeps me in check each week so that I don't use older material just because *I* like it. I'm really weighing what we're using and how, what books are beneficial to read aloud for a variety of reasons (what is good for dd's heart? what is good for dd's soul? what is good for dd's mind?).
I feel like a mess but I'm feeling better about giving my children what THEY need rather than what others say they need and when. Now, I still have this little monkey on my back saying, "what about standardized testing?", "will dh think I'm not being effective if dd doesn't pass her 3rd grade test?", and things like that.
Comparisons about other homeschools aren't bothering me as much but it still gets to me at times. Especially when a child who is the same age as dd7 is reading Harry Potter books and writing paragraphs already or has their own creative journal in which they write a full page. God is helping me with that aspect. Lol.
I am going to read CM's Original Series and spend some time in prayer really thinking about this and what would be best for our kids. Hopefully the smaller questions like (when and how with spelling) will work themselves out.
We're not looking for an overhaul in our curriculum per se, perhaps a refocus on how we approach and possibly when we start doing certain subjects. Language Arts will be the most effected by this but that has already started to happen. It'll be interesting to reread this in a few years.