I noticed that I have made several post in a row about homeschool and none about needlework. I have not picked up a needle in weeks, well, I have picked up needles: off of the floor, sticking out of the carpet, still stuck in the right shoulder of my shirts...
We have gotten quite a bit done this week. I am exploring several Charlotte Mason methods I am learning about from Ambleside Online, Simply Charlotte Mason, and most importantly the 4Real Forums. I have been skipping around through Charlotte Mason' original series, and like many others, I am discovering her writings are quite different from what I had thought about "The Charlotte Mason Method." There are several blog posts around the 'net challenging the common assumptions about "gentle education." I find it very interesting, although I still find The Well-Trained Mind methods most appealing.
The most intriguing CM method is "slow reading." "Slow reading" or "savoring" appeals to me because I like to start many books, but it also goes against everything I have read or heard about reading! I always thought it was better to experience a book in as few sittings as possible.
This "slow reading" or "savoring" has given me new ways to incorporate extra books into our schedule. The emphasis is on the child having time to really consider what he has read as well as make connections on his own. I have spent much of my planning time going through all my resources on a topic, and noting all the page numbers of related topics. Now I am considering that finding the relations is the student's job, not the teacher's. In addition to our science studies, Nutmeg is independently reading and narrating other books twice weekly. Right now she is working her way through How and Why Wonder Book of Chemistry. Next I plan for her to read through The Mystery of the Periodic Table and It's Elementary:How Chemistry Rocks Our World. These books, I hope, will make a pleasant change from the 2-3 days a week we use God's Design Science: Properties of Matter and Properties of Atoms and Molecules.
I also feel much freer in our history studies. We use Story of the World vol 3 as a spine, and K12 Human Odyssey vol 2 for Nutmeg to outline and go a bit deeper. I worked hard over the summer to build a novel into almost every week; now I see the extra readings do not have to match exactly the readings from the history spine. If the children read or listen carefully, and narrate they should be able to connect information over time. This is the theory, and I am intrigued.
"Slow reading" has not worked in every subject. One recommendation I see often is for students to encounter a small section of Plutarch once a week. This appeals to me since we are preparing to study the American Revolution and the Founding Fathers who themselves studied and were influenced by Plutarch. A bit of Plutarch a week is plenty for Nutmeg and for me! But Shakespeare? Sometime soon I do want to read through some of Shakespeare's plays with Nutmeg, but for now we are going through the retellings by Charles and Mary Lamb. I found a recommendation to read 3 pages twice a week. This week Nutmeg obediently read 3 pages of the 12th Night retelling on Tuesday and Thursday. I later discovered that she had gone on to read the Othello retelling on Tuesday and another retelling on Thursday! 3 pages was just not satisfying to her! :)
Buttercup has been working hard this week as well. We finished reading Not Just for Ducks:the Story of Rain, and she continues to read aloud in her Christian Liberty Nature Readers. She enjoys reading her Seton Religion for Young Catholics 2, and this week we added a daily reading from Seton's Reading Comprehension 3 which contains bible stories. She is very pleased to read aloud from a "third grader book!"
Buttercup was less than pleased about our Nature Studies this week: Mushrooms. She is horrified by mushrooms! She wants them all out of our yard NOW! Nutmeg, who usually must be dragged outside, is enchanted by 3 mushroom growing in a triangle and wants to keep an eye on them. Something tells me Buttercup is going to destroy it if I am not vigilant! ;)
We did so many other things as well: studied drawings by Rubens and drew faces using pastel chalks, worked our way through a fascinating book about the adventures of John Smith, piano, violin, the art detective book, played with the boys next door...
Today we plan to make a model of the fort at Jamestown, make some autumn nature plans, and maybe sneak in a video about fungus. Who knows? maybe I will be able to coax the girls outside for some more fun with fungus! ;)