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Friday, March 14, 2008

What We're Not Doing

I told a friend that I have to write this post, so I'm writing it. It's about what we're not doing because I have tons of posts which are really just brainstorms and mini-projects but they can be misleading.

We're not memorizing scriptures.
I'm a first generation Christian, I understand the precept behind memorizing scripture but I just can't do it. The documentary Jesus Camp really opened my eyes to how far some go with indoctrinating their children and I cried for the children in the documentary. I realized right then and there that if I push too hard, too fast it could be dangerous for my kids in the long run. I am very careful not to use products that go too far and I believe (for us, not saying anything about what others do) our kids will memorize scriptures that are important to them when they get older, with the path of faith formation we have, I do not feel like we need to memorize scriptures to have hearts that depend on the Lord. I may be wrong but it's how we feel. The rote memorization of scriptures is like brainwashing to us, we want our children to have relationships with God and fall back on scripture and precepts because they understand and embrace them.

We're not memorizing anything at this time but poetry.
It just sort of happened. The memory cds were great, they are a great idea but in the end I want the kids to remember their experiences and what they learned because they truly learned/mastered something other than by memorizing it. Poetry is different, we really enjoy it and it's not a chore. We're focusing more on narrations and internalizing what we are learning. (See Charlotte Mason/Classical article)

This is what we are doing in each subject.

Bible: Camille reads the Bible story aloud to me, we discuss anything she doesn't understand. I verbally ask her the comprehension questions and we end in prayer.

Math: 1 math fact copywork page, 1 Horizons wkst with excessive problems marked out so she doesn't have to do them. If there are 10 addition problems, she does 5. If she gets those 5 correct she doesn't have to do the other 5 problems.

Reading: She reads to me for 15 minutes and narrates what she read (5 min).

Poetry: Illustrate the poem, copy the poem, memorize the poem (daily recitation 3x). We also talk about the poem, why the author wrote the poem, what the imagery in the poem means, etc.

History: Read TOG suggested books, narrate, map work, literature worksheet and maybe an art project. I do want to add in notebooking again.

Grammar: We call language arts grammar because Camille prefers to, we do whatever the lesson in Primary Language Lessons is but we do not memorize anything from PLL or any grammar terms like we were.

Phonics: I use the Teacher's Manual for Explode the Code and we have a teaching session 2x a week and she does 2 exercises a day so she's completing 1 lesson per week. No tests.

French: Listening to the CD daily for 2 weeks and then 1 week of written work based on the oral lessons. This may change so that the written work is integrated in with the oral.

Piano: Lesson 1x a week for 30 min. with private tutor, 15 minutes of practice each day independently.

Reading Aloud: I read aloud history, science and another book at night, in all I probably read for 1.5-2 hours a day. History averages 20-30 minutes, science 20-30 minutes and our read aloud is a chapter at a time or until the children tire of it. We are reading engaging books that the kids wants to narrate. Even Danny will retell the story when he really gets enthralled.

Nature Study: Informally every day, 1x a week we go out to do our Green Hour assignment.

Science: Reading, experiment and notebooking. Camille wants to do a "planet book" so we're notebooking this, she thinks it's an art project, not writing. I'm not following my own science lessons I wrote, we're just reading The Space Book and going from there. We do watch an occasional science video or Discovery Education but it's not on a regular basis.

Music: We play our Themes to Remember cd when the kids are playing, they both sing along.

Art: We're using Artistic Pursuits as TOG schedules it.

Exercise: We love our exercise videos but they eat up time in the morning, I haven't figured out how to incorporate them into our day seamlessly yet, but I will. Maybe after lessons?

TV: The kids watch Liberty Kids on History Channel probably 1x every two days, otherwise I try not to have the tv on during the day after breakfast until dinner time.

This blog contains ideas I've had, things we've tried- but we're not doing it all. I'm concerned that some may read this blog for the first time and feel like we're super homeschoolers or we're doing unattainable things. We're not. We are normal. We have problems, we change gears and we are very real.

I will be adding a few things into our days in 3rd grade. I want to learn about 1 poet for two quarters, learn about 1 composer each quarter and a few other small things. We are forever changing, just in small ways. Hopefully, good ways.



Penny said...

Jessica - your blog is such an honest chronicle of your journey as a homeschool parent - thank you for sharing and inspiring - your descriptions of your daughter's work and mood are so joyful! You are obviously headed down the right road for your family - and in an environment where there are soooo many curricula temptations, that is truly admirable!

Be well and enjoy the sunshine :) Penny

barrellfullofmonkeys said...

Those sound like great days to me. Glad to see your family is thriving with the new and improved Trivium Academy :)

Kathy D.

G said...

To me, one of the beauty's of homeschooling is the ability to keep changing, to keep expanding and going indifferent directions. I know that we have changed directions a number of times! A path through homeschooling is never set in stone.

Lorna said...

My parents-in-law grew up in the twenties and thirties and the thing they most appreciate of their education is the poetry they memorised. It has stayed with them and still gives them pleasure in old age.

Anonymous said...

Your blog is a always an inspiration and a blessing. Clearly, you think very deeply about what you want for your children and hear God's voice and direction for their hearts. I could not agree more with what you wrote about "what we are NOT doing". Your kids are very lucky to have a mother who is so connected with the heart of God.

Jana in AZ

Tracy said...

Wow . I remember that documentary . Though I didn't get to see it . I remember seeing parts of it on the news . I think that was the extreme for sure . I remember my daughter's saying to me " mom , what are those kids doing ? " .