Wednesday, July 3, 2013

full circle...

i love life...

i love how things are constantly changing.  i love how there is always so much more to learn/do/create/explore.  i love how things can come to us unexpectedly.  and i *love* how it feel when we are on the right track.

the wave of peace & warmth that washes over us when we are on a road that is true to both us & those we love...

right now i am referring to homeschooling.

i have a friend who is pregnant with her 3rd child & due to start homeschooling her eldest this fall  ask me, a "veteran homeschooler" with *7* years under my belt for advice.  she is where i was when we began our journey...;)

in writing her back about various methods that we used/explored so long ago in our early years, i rediscovered 2 lovely approaches that we used with our eldest.

this was key, because when she asked me for advice, i was contemplating our own upcoming year.

our history??  we began with"school @ home", like so many other moms who want to homeschool, but weren't homeschooled themselves & have no idea where to begin.

i quickly learned that this would not work!

so, then we began neighbor turned me onto Charlotte Mason, which felt good for us & then told me about five in a row, which was perfect for us.

later on, i fell in love with waldorf.  the waldorf approach felt so very right for me.  as the mother of a newborn, with 2 young children, i was looking to honor this new life, while enjoying freedom to be & do with our other 2 children.

and then, just a year & a half into this new life, i was pregnant with our fourth child...a sweet girl.

waldorf guided us through these early years, but later on when homeschooling the two eldest with the two littles in tow, it became too much.

this gentle approach no longer felt right for was way too stressful & i was spent.  the boys, then 11 & 8 were tired of waiting for their "turn" with mama & just wanted to be done!

i, too, felt that our day was a struggle.  lessons dragged on because our two youngers were still very much in the thick of needing mama.

after the great coup of 2010, our same amazingly wise neighbor told me about what her daughter had been doing.  superb child-led book via christian light education.  affordable, thorough & just what the boys were looking for...

and we remained with this approach last year as well.

it really is a great curriculum, and our now 13 year old wants to continue with it this fall.  *but* things have changed so that i have both more time & energy.  our littles are now 4 & 6 & this is huge!

and so, we begin anew this fall, with things having come full circle...

our 6 year old will use five in a row & our 4 year old (who very much wants to be in on the lessons) will sit in when she wants to & play on her own when she feels so moved.

five in a row has enough structure for me to feel that we are forming a good foundation, but it is in no way intense.  we read *one* book every day for a week.  then your lessons, math, literature, art, science come form the books.

for example, the first book is the story of ping, a duck.  each morning we will read the book & then:

Monday: (social studies, geography) we'll find china on a map & read a second book about china.

Tuesday: (math) we'll use manipulatives (buttons, clothespins, or perhaps even pictures of ducks) to count out ping's family.  we'll do some basic addition & subtracting as well.

Wednesday (this is when our homeschool co-op meets)

Thursday (science, animal kingdom) we'll learn about ducks.  we'll read a couple of books about ducks & observe them @ our neighbor's pond.  perhaps we'll even bring our notebooks & sketch them.

Friday: (art, drawing water)  we'll look back through the book, noting the different ways that water is drawn...puddles, ripples for motion, etc.  and then we'll try our hand @ drawing water in our lesson books.

as our week's are only 4 days, because of co-op & because some books are more inspiring that others, we will cut some down to 4 lessons & extend some to included 8 lessons.

@ any rate, i have been having so much fun planning out our year!

i bought a super simple, but *perfect* planner for $10 @ target.  it is awesome & has *everything* i need & none of the extra stuff i never use.  basic outlines will go in here.

i also have a spiral notebook where i keep more detailed notes about each lesson, including addition thoughts, ideas & resources.

i have missed all of this!! i have missed planning & being more involved in our children's lessons.  i have missed picking out experiments & projects that i know they'll love...

this is where i'll leave time, charlotte mason & our 10 year old. :)

~love & peace to each of you on your journey~


  1. your learning together as a family has sown seeds of thought and inspiration into our own learning. We are grateful for your blog. We have really been enjoying your form drawing experiences with your older children from some time ago. So even though this is old for you, it is new to us and continues to bless, so yes the wheel continues to turn, thank you x

  2. love your spirit of growth and togetherness...sophie will be attending public school this fall, but i love hearing about your and other moms' homeschooling journeys...

    ruth ann

  3. iris, i *love* that you are getting good use out of our posts. i began the blog as a way for me to be more present, but it actually has served me well as a reference for recipes, lessons, etc...glad to hear others are benefiting as well. <3

    ruth ann, you are too sweet! i do love homeschooling & feel as though i have found myself through guiding our children. i am so thankful that life has let us hold onto this path...<3