This marks our third year homeschooling. It’s a learning process each year as I try to find what works best in our current season, but I continue to be drawn to both the Charlotte Mason and Classical approaches because of my love of good literature and the variety of subjects presented to the children.
I’ll share what curriculum we’re using for 2nd grade, Kindergarten, & Preschool later in the week. For today, I want to share what we’ll be doing 4 days a week with all 3 learners.
This year we will primarily be using Ambleside Online’s free online curriculum, which is “designed to be as close as possible to the curriculum that Charlotte Mason used in her own schools” with some Classical elements added in. Last year we went through Year 1 in first grade, and this year we’ll be starting Year 2 since Kate will be starting second grade.
While we school year round, I have broken our academic year into 4 terms, by season: August-October (Fall), November-January (Winter), February-May (Spring), and our Summer term from June-August. We take a week off between terms to rest, play, clean house, go for appointments, and to plan for the next school term.
I have divided our curriculum into 2 categories: (1) the subjects we do together and (2) those subjects we do separately. I’ll share with you the curriculum we’ll be using for independent subjects later this week or next.
These are the subjects and lessons we do as a group with all of the children (except the baby of course) participating. I’ll refer to these as our content-rich subjects because they provide the bulk of the content we’re learning. These subjects include Bible, Morning Time, Latin, Read-Aloud Time, and our Afternoon Learning Loop.
Bible – Daily
Every morning before we start school we begin with Bible. All of my children sit on the couch (except the baby) where we sing hymns, pray, recite memory verses, and read our Bible story. This year we’ll continue using Bible Road Trip. We were in the book of 1 Samuel when we last stopped, and I’m eager to get started with this program again. (To find out what Bible Road Trip is and how we use it with our little people, read this post and this one.)
On Wednesdays, we participate in Community Bible Study where my children attend Bible classes, and I facilitate a small group of ladies. This year we’ll be studying Isaiah.
Morning Time – 4x/week
Just after Bible we move into Morning Time. The two could be combined, but I really think it’s important for the children to see the significance of daily worship. Morning time this year consists of:
- Memory Work
- Subject on the loop (History, Geography, Science)
Morning Time generally lasts 45 minutes to an hour. During this time, we discuss the days of the week, weather, upcoming holidays, and anything else pertinent. We read one poem from this book. Then, we work on memorizing and reciting the poem we’re learning for the month as well as any history facts. Next, we read a few pages from our Shakespeare book. Finally, we spend the last 30 minutes on the subjects on the loop: History, Geography, and/or Science.
The goal of the loop isn’t to do all three subjects every day — I doubt that would even be feasible — but to move from one subject to the next each day. For example, if we do History one day, then the next day, we’ll move on to Geography, and the next day, we’ll do Science. Then, we’ll start our loop back over again with History. In the past I have assigned specific days of the week to History and Science, and for some reason, we never got to Science. Putting the subjects on a loop ensures that doesn’t happen. We just keep moving forward regardless the day of the week. Does that make sense?
For History this year, instead of Story of the World, we’re using the books recommended by AO. I do really like SOTW, but I want to be consistent and use exactly what AO suggests — at least for this term. We’ll see how it goes.
Here are the books for History we’re using:
- Our Island Story
- This Country of Ours: The Story of the U.S.
- A Child’s History of the World
- Trial & Triumph: Stories from Church History
- The Little Duke
For Geography, we’ll be reading:
- Holling C. Holling’s Tree in the Trail
- parts of Long’s Home Geography
- parts of Charlotte Mason’s Elementary Geography
What I like about AO’s book recommendations is that they’re living books, meaning they aren’t dry old text books but real works of literature.
Latin – 4x/week
Another subject that’s new to us this year is Latin. This would be the Classical side coming out. Although most “people” don’t recommend starting Latin until 3rd or 4th grade, I had a bazillion years of Latin and LOVE it. Plus, we’re going to use a really FUN curriculum with music and a DVD and games that I know the girls will enjoy. It is a gentle introduction to the language.
We’ll be using Song School Latin 1. I’ll let you know how we like it.
Read-Aloud Time – Daily
Every afternoon before naps and quiet time have a 30-minute read-aloud time. This year we have a list of books to read each term. I’ll be sharing those soon. I’ve found that having assigned books to read helps us avoid some of the junk my kids pick up at the library on their own. They can read that stuff during other times of the day but not during RA time.
Afternoon Learning Loop – 3x/week
After naps and quiet time, we have a snack and work on subjects in our Afternoon Learning Loop, namely Art, Music, Folk Song, Spanish, Nature Study, and our Timeline. Just like with our Morning Time Loop, we work for 10-15 minutes on a subject, then move on to the next one on our list. The next day we start with the very next subject so that we go through the entire loop at least one time per week.
The Afternoon Learning Loop is shorter, at 30 minutes, because I want the afternoons to be free for the children to play.
- ARTistic Pursuits volume 2 (see my review for more info)
- Picture studies of Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, Jacques-Louis David, and Hans Holbein the Younger, AO’s recommended artists for the year
- Learn about the parts of the orchestra using this book as well as visiting our local orchestra for real-life experience
- Studying AO’s recommended composers, their music & lives: Johannes Brahms, Franz Schubert, and Giovanni Pierluigi de Palestrina
We will be listening to and learning the AO recommended Folk Songs. This may sound hokey but it’s really fun. Last year we learned “Barbara Allen” and my kids still ask for the Art Garfunkel version. You can find all these songs easily on YouTube.
Eventually, I want to invest in Rosetta Stone, but for now, we’re going to start learning vocabulary words using this book.
Nature Study & Timeline – 1x/week
We will do both Nature Study and Timeline on Fridays. Fridays are my days for catching up on assignments we didn’t get to during the week, but primarily, they’re more restful, relaxing days. We like to have tea parties, go on nature walks, read good books, and just slow down on Fridays, so Nature Study and Timeline work will fit nicely.
- We’re going through Handbook of Nature Study‘s 10 Outdoor Challenges. We’ll be making Nature Notebooks, using Comstock’s book as our primary text.
- This year we’re starting our first Timeline. I want the children to have a cohesive understanding of the world, and a timeline will help them visualize what happened when. I’ve modeled ours after Celeste’s from Joyous Lessons. It’s a Binder Timeline. Very simple and inexpensive to make and a great way to record the important events and people we learn about throughout the week.
Whew! That seems like a lot — and it is! As with everything, we will commit each day to the Lord and be obedient to His will. If we are doing too much, then we will cut something out. If we need rest, then we will spend the day reading good books. Learning goes on daily, whether I am providing instruction or not, because God has created our children to be learners, giving them a natural curiosity and a desire to know and understand more. So I will rest in that.
In the coming weeks, I will share our homeschool curriculum for each of my students.
Additional Curriculum by Grade Level
(to be posted in the coming weeks)
What does YOUR school year look like?