In between visits to the pool, late afternoon bike rides, and short travels, time is laid aside for planning for the next school year. This will be our fifth year homeschooling. We began when our oldest was in Pre-K with Classical Conversations, which is a community that we are still a part of. Our Mondays are spent with our CC family, learning together and encouraging one another as we seek to understand how all the subjects are ordered by God unto His glory. The rest of our week has a definite rhythm, scheduled enough but not over-scheduled, so that we can fill our days with nature, good books, music, play, skills, chores, church, and dinner around the table as a family.
This is the feast- the table filled with wonderful ideas, truth, goodness, and beauty. For the table to be filled, however, the feast must be prepared. After we completed last year’s formal academics I then began to prepare for the next year in between the cracks of our summer adventures.
How I prepare the Feast
- Prayer. This is where I begin before one lesson is written or one plan is laid. I ask, “Lord, what would you have us do in the upcoming year?” “What needs to change in my heart and mind? In my childrens’? How will you have us grow?” I ask for wisdom before, during, and following the school year. I know that without God’s strength and wisdom I will be ineffective and self-driven instead of Spirit-led in both teaching and parenting.
- Assess. I reflect on what benefited learning and what hindered learning. I take mental notes on what was life-giving and what was life-draining- physically, mentally, and emotionally. I talk with trusted homeschooling friends and educators for counsel and ideas. My kids also help me assess what went well and what needs improvement.
- Gather. After I ask the Lord what He would have us do and assess what we have done, then I begin to gather our materials and plans for the upcoming year. Some things from previous years will remain a part of our school day, and new things are always added as new skills emerge.
Our Feast for 2018-2019
This has been a part of the rhythm of our day since the beginning. I remember nursing Judson while Analise played with play-doh and Kara practiced her handwriting at our dining room table while I read from the Bible, a poem, or read-aloud. We sang hymns, recited the alphabet, said the Pledge of Allegiance, and looked over our calendar board. Our morning time looks a little bit different these days, but not all that much. We still begin with Scripture and prayer, followed by our hymn of the month, and verse of the week. What has changed is that sometimes our morning time is moved to afternoon tea time, because some mornings will have certain obligations (usually Mondays and Wednesdays).
Here is what our Morning or Tea Time typically consists of:
Prayer (recite Lord’s Prayer or we take turns praying)
Bible (selections from The Child’s Story Bible)
Catechism (Training Hearts Teaching Minds, by Starr Meade)
Devotion (Indescribable: 100 Devotions About God and Science, by Louie Giglio)
Hymn study (one hymn per month; short bio of hymn writer @ beginning of month)
Poetry (Robert Louis Stevenson and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow this fall)
Recitation (1st grade and 3rd grade memory work one at a time- builds each week)
Shakespeare (select plays from Charles and Mary Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare)
Read Aloud (this year we will read several short books as well as novels including Winnie the Pooh, Mary Poppins, The Indian in the Cupboard, The Saturdays, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, The Borrowers, and The Secret Garden)
Classical Conversations Memory Work
Geography (Draw the World, Draw Africa, CC Maps)
Composer Study (fall composers are Bach and Handel)
Art Study (Tuesdays)- fall artist is Giotto di Bondone with a focus on Medieval art.
Nature Study (Thursdays)- trees, shrubs and vines. Monthly nature walks as well!
History (Tuesdays and Thursdays)- The Story of the World, Volume 1: Ancient Times
*Oral narration for Bible, Poetry, Shakespeare and History
Judson will spend Tuesdays and Thursdays at our church’s PDO, and on Mondays he will be at CC with kids his age while his sisters are in class. He is learning to sit longer with us at the table or on the sofa, and having snacks around always helps keep him close to us. 🙂 I have some sensory bins, lapbooks, dry erase handwriting printables, play doh, blocks, coloring pages, and puzzles to keep him busy. He loves to be outside with his sisters too!
Analise is reading now, and so we will continue to work on phonics and move towards reading chapter books independently. She will begin learning cursive this year, and will use New American Cursive Penmanship as her workbook as well as write daily in her copybook. She will begin a formal spelling program this year too that Memoria Press publishes. For math, we will continue to use Rod & Staff as well as Singapore Math, which Analise and Kara both call the “fun” math book. 🙂
Kara will begin a formal grammar program published by Memoria Press and Institute for Excellence in Writing. She will also begin her second year in Latin, which will help her grammar study as well. She will read several novels with comprehension guides and tests. For Classical Studies, she will read D’Aulaires’ Greek Myths with comprehension guide as well as memorize parts of the timeline. She will also memorize the books of the Old Testament. Really, there will be several grammar items (facts) that she will memorize from various subjects. We have a “review box” where she pulls out cards with vocabulary, Latin, History, Poetry, and Christian studies. For math, we will continue to use Rod & Staff and Singapore (the “fun” math) 🙂
The girls will continue with their piano lessons. They will play a sport in the late winter/spring. They are also joining American Heritage Girls, which we are looking forward to. We want to get Judson into tee ball and possibly soccer in the spring. We will continue with church activities as well. We have several field trips planned for the fall with our friends including monthly home school zoo days.
The table is full, but it is rich.
We spread an abundant and delicate feast… and each small guest assimilates what he can.” – Charlotte Mason
My prayer and hope for this next year concerns the hearts of my children- that they will be teachable and responsive, forming good habits and Christian character. I want them to remember the gospel every day and see the world through its lens. My prayer for myself is the same as it has been every year since from when I was a classroom teacher before I had children of my own. It is that I would open my mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness would be on my tongue (Proverbs 31:26). I want my children and the students I tutor to see Jesus and to know Him as they marvel at and explore His wonders and His Word. The table is ready, the feast is laid, and we gather to receive the full life set before us.
A peek around our schoolroom/office.