Winter Term 2015 Books & Curriculum {Charlotte Mason}

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I posted our 2015-2016 curriculum back in August, and since then, we have {of course} made some changes. I simply cannot continue using books, materials, or curricula that don’t work for us although I have gotten much better. Thanks to the advice of some very wise homeschool moms, I now force myself to stick it out for at least 6 weeks — the length of our terms.

Our books & curriculum for the holiday term

Now that we are about to enter into our third term of the school year, I have decided we need to make a few changes in order to stay focused on our work but also so we can enjoy the holiday season. Our Bible, music, read-alouds, history, and science will all coincide with this Thanksgiving and Advent/Christmas holiday season.

Why the change?

This time of year I don’t want to get hung up on math facts and grammar rules. This is the season of giving thanks and sharing glad tidings of great joy, and I want my children to participate in both. Life is more than academics; our children need time and opportunities to share the joy of Christ and to give out of their abundance, which is why Term 3 for us will be focused more on service than studying.

Here’s a glimpse at what we’ll be doing these next 6 weeks:

Bible

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Truth in the Tinsel is what we have done for the past 3 years, and while my girls and I LOVE the curriculum, this year I want to do something a little different. We are going to go through Ann Voskamp’s  Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas  during our regular Bible time in the mornings. There is a daily reading plus activities for the children to participate in each day.

Music

I have fond memories of my brother singing selections from Handel’s Messiah when he was in the Chattanooga Boys Choir, so for our composer study, we are going to listen to Handel’s Messiah and go through Cindy Rollins’ Advent Devotional. The devotional is free on her website. We will read the passage from scripture, then listen to the musical selection, and discuss.

Read-Aloud

We have probably 35-40 Christmas books that we only break out during the holiday season. In addition to these books, though, I want to read through at least one longer chapter book. While I’d love to read through Dickens’ The Christmas Carol, I don’t think our girls are quite old enough for the language, the ghosts, etc. So, this year we will read either Valentine Davies’ Miracle on 34th Street or J.R.R. Tolkien’s Letters from Father Christmas. Or maybe we’ll do both.

History

At the outset of the school year, we were reading through H.E. Marshall’s Our Island Story, which is the “story” of Britain’s history leading up to Queen Victoria’s death. My girls (and I) have LOVED this book. Marshall wrote it to teach her children about their country’s history so it is well-suited to children.

However, after much soul searching, I felt led to take a break from the book to teach our children about our nation’s history. So we have been following the Truthquest History Guide: American History for Young Students and reading living books to discuss early American history. The guide provides an overview of each historical event and includes numerous living books you can read with your children. Last week we read through Jamestown, and this Thanksgiving week we’re going to read a few books pertaining to the Pilgrims. Most of our books are from the library, so that keeps costs down. We may go back to Marshall’s book later, but for now, we’re journeying through early American history using some really good literature as our guide.

Science

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For the past 4 months, we have been reading Thornton Burgess’s Animal Book for Children, and while it’s FULL of facts about animals, it is not the most interesting read. Only one of my children requests it during Morning Time, and personally, I’m not too keen on it. Recently, I found NaturExplorer books produced by Shining Dawn Books. They are simple, easy-to-follow guides for you to use with your children that bring nature study to life and teach from a Creationist perspective. There are guides on animals, trees, seasons, clouds, butterflies, erosion, and so much more. We will be going through “Nature Study through the Holidays: A Mini Book of Nature Studies for Advent.” I love that it’s only $5! I hope to post a review after we used it for a while.

More

We will continue with our Math, Reading, and Handwriting. (You can find out what we’re using for Kindergarten and 2nd Grade if you’re interested.) But my plan is to just keep it simple and slow down as much as possible.

That’s our Winter Term in a nutshell. I’m looking for good service opportunities for our children to round out the weeks ahead. My thoughts are making cookies or fruit baskets for the elderly at our church and having them Christmas cards to send to loved ones instead of me creating one. Do you have any thoughts?

Does your homeschool look different during the holidays, or do you just plug through taking breaks as needed? I’m curious 🙂

Keri.Signature

 

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