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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Our Days - What and When

"Mom, I really wish you'd teach me different things like how to sew and knit." -Camille, in a bookstore holding up a knitting kit
The idea really started when I witnessed the kids having a ton of fun at a friend's house having a tea party. Her children do not watch tv except for the occasional DVD and although mine don't watch a LOT of tv, the way her kids fill their time is very different from how mine do. I'm not comparing her life/children to mine, that's not what I'm trying to say here- between my friend and Charlotte Mason, I feel inspired to do more with my children in the afternoon.

This also has a lot to do with tomato-staking Danny. So what is the idea? I want to structured our afternoon time more, starting with tea time. My current aim is to have our lessons done by lunchtime and only have school 4 days a week. This might not be 100% possible anymore and the 4 days can turn into 5 days because one of the main reasons I switched to a 4 day week was to accommodate driving Camille to her dad on Fridays and not losing a school day.

I also think Danny (4 this week) needs a little more structure than I've been providing. I started thinking about the differences between how his days are vs. what his sister's days were at his age. She was in daycare and had structure, our days were so busy, structure was the only thing that got us through them. Just because I don't have others dictating what to do and where to be at a certain time, does not mean that my little one doesn't still need the structure...from me.

This means that I need to come up with something that is agreeable for all of us. First, let me talk about WHAT to fill our time with...

I made this chart for myself to quickly identify what subjects are of importance and how much time they need during the week.

Our time before lunch could be more concentrated on our more important subjects and our moderate subjects could be given more time if we moved our non-important subjects to the afternoon and maybe dedicated an afternoon to each subject...thinking aloud.

I put this together and believe me I know that life is much different than what we put on paper. Danny's preschool time is intertwined in there even though I didn't write it in, we are looking to put him in preschool 2 days a week and Camille will have a weekly piano lesson to add.

The items with * are to be done no matter what, the rest is gravy. Errands, piano lesson, preschool all need to be considered but I can't do that yet. I'd like the kids to have from 3:00-5:00 as free time to play outside or visit with friends. We need to walk Jack on a regular basis, he gets very restless if we don't.

Afternoon Tea- My idea is that Camille will pick a poem to read from any of our poetry books, Danny can share his current nursery rhyme/song and I can read from The Book of Virtues, The Moral Compass, Fairy tales, etc. so that we all bring something to the table. Camille and I can bake the goodies weekly to enjoy with our decaf tea. Having tea everyday is something we'll have to consider as we make this a part of our week, starting off 2 days a week is enough.

Field Trip or Nature Study on Friday- There are so many free places to go and explore and I've left this for Friday, to go and explore State Parks or find a topic related place to visit on a field trip. Either way, we're getting out of the house on Friday afternoons after lunch.

At any time we can drop the unimportant subjects, which is why I put the most important subjects first in the day.

Handicrafts- We will be using Keepers at Home as a guide for this but I hope both the kids are able to get involved, if not Danny will be given something similar like lacing cards or beads to do. A project started will be a project finished but handicrafts will take on different forms throughout the year in areas of needlework, cooking, gardening, laundry, etc. Handicrafts are skills for life not just crafts to do, we have crafts in science and history.

Fun Read Alouds: This includes titles that are outside the scope of our curricula or just books we want to read, my list right now is:
  • Geography: The Seven Little Sisters Who Live on the Round Ball that Floats in the Air by Jane Andrews
  • The Story of Doctor Doolittle
  • The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles
  • Mary Poppins, series
  • The Family Under the Bridge
  • The Tale of Despereaux
  • Little House on the Prairie
  • Five Little Peppers and How They Grew
  • The Secret Garden
  • The Jungle Book
  • Misunderstood Betsy
There are a few titles that our history program uses like Little House on the Prairie and The Secret Garden. This year I will be working on getting Danny to sit and listen for 15 minutes.

Lunch with Composer: We will listen to our composer of the quarter (Vivaldi, Bach, Handel and Haydn) and I will be reading a biography during lunch. As a treat, I will be renting the composer DVDs after the end of our biography reads which are mostly by Opal Wheeler (see The Book Peddler for titles) and by Madeleine Goss. I put Independent Reading after lunch so I have time to eat lunch myself. :)

Okay, I've emptied all my thoughts out...I know it's not perfect and probably idealistic but it does look like a very charming week with the kids. I'm looking at our move next month as a way to start fresh with new routines and habits.



Anonymous said...

Like the idea of assigning importance. I need to do that too. There are way to much stuff that sounds great to teach your kids, but do you really need to teach all of it?!?

Trivium Academy said...

Is that a question to me? "do you really need to teach all of it?!?"

I really dislike anonymous comments, albeit any comments online is like talking to a ghost.

All of these subjects are not formal, it is what we'd LIKE to do and things we'd enjoy doing. It's not forced. If we don't do handicrafts for a while, it won't matter but it does matter to make time for the things we want to do.


Amy said...

It looks wonderful on "paper" and seems quite doable. I know you are a realistic girl so you make changes when things don't work. My only thoughts were that although the subjects are short in length it still seems like a lot to get through on a daily basis. I think there is benefit in not doing every subject every day (such as history and science). Charlotte herself alternated subjects even through high school. Knowing how ambitious and dedicated you are, your schedule should be no sweat for you... but if you ever wanted a little nudge to allow yourself more breathing room, well here it is. :) I hope you move goes well & miss chatting with you! God bless!

Amy Jo

mom24 said...

Starting with a plan is a great way to go! Especially if you know the 'importance level' of each thing. I have found that we don't stick to our plan like glue but it becomes flexible BECAUSE we planned. Not everything has to get covered or taught but I ahve also found that if it ISN'T planned, it will most likely NOT get taught!
We put our dd in pre-k this year also. It was time consuming to have to drive her there but if she had been home at those times, I not have done enough with her as I hadn't planned enough! I am trying to figure out how to structure our school time with 2 next year also and would like to be finished each day by 3. We stick to a 4-day schedule because it allows me to breathe a little in the middle and allows for field trips or hs co-op (which they LOVE).
Your plan looks great! Keep up the good work - YOU know your kids and what they need. And when you don't, your Maker does! :-)
Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!

my5wolfcubs said...

It does look like a charming week! I want one. Okay, I know I have to create my own, combining my own strengths and my own children...but to say at the end of the week "That was a charming week!" Ahh, that sounds just delightful. :)

One combining idea (if you need it) would be to do Nature Study/Walk Jack on M & W, and Tea Time on T & Th. The Tuesday Tea Time could be for sharing poetry and the Thursday for looking back at the week & ahead to special plans for Friday.

Like Andrea, I did not do enough w/ my K'er because I didn't plan enough. Better to have a plan and change it then to not have a plan and do nothing... Keep up the planning!!!


PS I'm going to go through my list of subjects and assign importance...I think that will relieve some of the pressure I feel.

Michele said...

That schedule looks great. Dd7 learned to knit this year and so did I! She was in a colonial girls club, and one of ten-year olds showed me how to knit. We both had fun making scarves. Check it out under my needlework label.


Kaber said...

I LOVE LOVE making charts and schedules!

I found you while searching for some homeschool blogs to read. I had a puter glitch and lost all my favorites and decided it was time to find some new homeschool blogs to read and hopefully find my old blog friends.

we are on our 8th yr of homeschooling. come by and visit us sometimes at our blog.

have fun with your schedule!

Swylv said...

Would you like to submit this for the next edition of the Charlotte Mason blog carnival?

Heather said...

It's funny how our paths are similar...I am in the process of making our schedules for next year and am going more the route of CM as well.
We have daily tea time scheduled into our day...just a time to relax, connect, and do a little reading aloud. I think this is a holdover from our time living in Ireland, and we don't want to give it up! :)
We'll also be more focused about working on our handcrafts. Elyse (dd6) has started crocheting using the round plastic holders, and she loves it!
We'll be incorporating the artist and composer studies from AO, and trying to keep up with Barb and the Green Hour's all flexible, but we're all excited about the changes! Good luck!

christinemm said...

I love that you are so open in sharing this with your blog readers. Brave.

I am curious as to why you are thinking of putting Danny into preschool? What is the goal? What type of preschool and how does that preschool time mesh with Miss Mason's ideas on what a child should be doing in his 4 year old year? What I'm wondering mainly is if in preschool they will do things very much against Miss Mason's methods, it depends on what that specific preschool does.

If you are looking to send him out so you can have more alone time with your daughter to crunch lessons I would only ask you to consider the necessity of that versus having a more laid back family-time harmony thing. I am thinking of the great job that Karen Andreola does at describing the atmosphere of home using CM methods.

I have been so busy with life that I have not read every single one of your posts lately so if you already shared that I apologize.

Have a nice evening! I will check back to see if you reply. :)

Jamie - RoseCottage said...

Love the idea of tea time with poetry & such, and including a bit of composer study at lunch. I may incorporate those ideas into our days as well, which really won't add anything, but just rearrange it a bit.
thanks for sharing!

Belinda Letchford said...

I too have come to this point this last week. Things just have to slow down. Our goal now is to finish our formal studies by lunch time (4 1/2 hours x4 days a week) after lunch and chores the younger two have 1 hour in their rooms (reading / activities) and the rest of the afternoon is "Productive Free Time". I have seen the fruit of a slower pace, relationship focus already - after just one week!

I encourage you to tweak it till it is working for you!