I keep all of these categories of memory work in rotation consistently.
Scripture- This year we are working on Romans 8, focusing on verses 1-11. They have this down pretty well, so I may add the next set of verses for Term 3.
Catechism- This is ongoing and we've been at it for several years now.
Creed- Having memorized the Nicene Creed a few years ago, we are just reviewing this a few times each term.
Shakespeare- We are memorizing Hamlet's "To Be or Not to Be" soliloquy and we will work on this all year.
Poetry- We (once again) didn't work much on poetry memorization or recitation this term. I plan to remedy that in Term 3 and have chosen a piece to work on so that it doesn't get passed over again.
Speeches- We are still working on the West Point Cadet Prayer. It's such a rich prayer!
Theology Definitions- We are working on memorizing the definitions of key theological terms, using the cards from Daily Grace Co. We will spend Term 3 finishing these up and move on to memorizing the definitions of God's attributes next year.
Citizenship Questions- We are memorizing the answers to all questions on the US Citizenship Test. They have currently mastered about 20 questions.
Bible and Christian Studies
Bible and Christian Studies as a "structured loop" has continued to work well this term.
This simply means that I have several items that we loop through but not by starting at the top and continuing through to the bottom like is typically associated with loop scheduling.
Instead, I anchor that loop by nearly always starting with our Old Testament study on Day 1 and starting with a New Testament reading on Day two. I then add to that each day with other items from the "loop" as time allows.
We are nearing the end of our study of Old Testament Law using Jashub's Journal from Simply Charlotte Mason.
For New Testament lessons, we are reading through John and narrating.
Other items in our "Loop":
Bibliology. Using Bible Breakdowns and the Books of the Old Testament cards from Daily Grace Co, we are working through a bibliology of the OT little by little, one book at a time. This term we finished the books of History and got through the books of Poetry, so we will be moving on to Prophets in Term 3.
Theology Study this term, we completed the free Best Family Ever study from Not Consumed. I wanted to try out their format (and content) to see if their studies would be a good fit for us next year. We enjoyed this and while I don't think the content was perfect, it was solid and engaging.
Character. Using the Character Cards from Our Coopers Nest, we usually discuss a character trait each week.
Persecuted Church. We read updates weekly from Voice of the Martyrs and other sources.
This term, we didn't have an individual poet, but instead read through the book Hip Hop Speaks to Children. This was fun!
For this term, we
1) read a chapter of Life of Fred Edgewood each week
2) read a section of The Book of Math each week
3) copied one math vocabulary word each week using Math Vocabulary for Elementary Students
Read Aloud Loop
In our Read Aloud loop, I keep literature, biography, nature lore, and what I call "interest reading", which is any picture books or topical readings that I have grabbed to supplement a current interest of the boys or a current event or a family experience, etc.
This term, we finished Roman Diary, and continued That Quail Robert, The Sorceror's Stone, and Tollins. We started The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, to fill our biography slot. We also read a plethora of picture books this term, and in Term 3 we will focus on wrapping up the books that we are in the middle of.
History 1 Special Studies
I moved one of our history streams into Treasure Time about halfway through this term. This is a result of tweaking my current schedule in order to build my 2023 schedule and realizing that the small tweaks I was going to make between years would actually be great to implement for the rest of this year.
This stream is Texas History (this year) is our Texas History. We are reading through The Story of Texas as our spine and adding in a variety of books such as L is for Lonestar, and Round Up: A Texas Numbers Book. I also added in some resources that we collected during our trip to San Antonio this summer, particularly pamphlets about the Alamo.
This term's Special Study was Wildflowers
and we used the Delightfully Feasting curriculum for this. Although not an all time favorite, since my boys prefer animals to plants, we all enjoyed this. We didn't finish the last few lessons, but I am okay with that as we added several supplementary books and spent more than one week on a few of the lessons that we did complete. We relished the study and dug deep, which means that I consider it a successful Special Study.
This term we started a study of Dinosaurs. I am pulling topics and Notebook pages from the program from Winter Promise. I owned this program already, but I didn't want to complete all of its material (we have completed it before), so I skipped to the dinosaurs section and used it as a spine. I have also added a variety of dinosaur guides
and books that we have to each week's lesson. We will continue this in Term 3, as convincing my boys to only study dinosaurs for 12 weeks when you can study them for 24 would be an impossible task. ;) Group Grammar
For Group Grammar, this term we completed several lessons from Simply Grammar
, doing just a couple of exercises orally each week. We did that one day each week, and on the other day the boys did a Word Ladder
. This is active practice for my youngest and it is remedial, but still good review, for my oldest. Both are dyslexic, so although they are at different reading levels, they can often benefit from the same practice work. Grammar is gradual work, and it will continue to be layered through the years, particularly for my youngest.
We are using the Elementary book of Hands on Banking (free from Wells Fargo). The videos are cheesy, but my youngest loves them. The content is helpful and everyone is gaining from these lessons, and particularly from completing them together.
We are reading Exploring the White House and we all LOVE this book. It is perfect for the exploratory, light, fun atmosphere that I desire for these group lessons, yet it still provokes conversations among us, and that is always my aim.
We still do weekly vocabulary words from Evan Moor Word a Day, and we've been doing it so long that it is an uncomplicated part of our day, yet everyone still loves learning new words and thinking about ways that familiar words can be used. This term, instead of using Word a Day twice, we have used it once added in the discussion of one word each week from Giveaways.
My youngest is in Book 3 of The Good and the Beautiful Handwriting and it still works well for him.
I skip lessons, and pick and choose the ones I'd like him to complete. He does two lessons each week, but because I skip lessons, he finishes one book each year.
My oldest is using the HEV videos and accompanying worksheets this year.
It is improving his cursive and also helping to cement the letters. As a dyslexic, I realized last year that he could copy cursive well, but that he couldn't write in it because he didn't actually know the letters. This has been extremely helpful.
We are using Swedish Drill and Sash Drill from The Schoolyard, and also Yoga for Kids from DK.
I schedule one of these each week, rotating through them every three weeks, but then aim to do some practice of what we have learned on our other school day. We enjoy Drill and our days are always better when I don't skip it.
This term's Architecture lessons covered Greek structures and artifacts.
We used the Greek set of Simply Charlotte Mason's Stuff They Left Behind Portfolios . We have used these portfolios nearly every year, and they are wonderful. We use the photos much like a picture study, and then discuss the history and culture that is brought to mind by the context of the artifact or structure.
Hand Clapping is always a favorite subject. We simply continued our lessons and practiced this term using Hand Clapping Fun. Nothing changed, but we still love it! It is so good for both of my dyslexics, but it is also a productive lesson for every brain!
This term we learned about Brazil and Peru using the free units from Little World Wanderers. These are perfect for simple, meaningful lessons that are flexible enough to keep short and sweet when needed but also to add to and supplement when time allows. I take the material and spread it out slowly, adding to it as I can with books suggested in the units, videos I find, and more.
We also have a slot for "Historical Culture", and this year we are reading about both historical Judaism in ancient Palestine and also modern Judaism. This has been short, sweet, and impactful. Both boys are remembering and bringing up aspects of these short readings outside of lessons. Both books we are reading for this are out of print, which is sad because they are both lovely treasures and I wish I could link you to them.
History 2 & 3
For Ancient History this year, we spent the first two terms in Greece and Rome. In choosing my history streams for next year, and aligning the rest of my oldest's history through high school, I decided that it would be best to do a shortened version of Middle Ages in Term 3. So, this term we went through the Fall of Rome, and then we started Middle Ages a few weeks ago in order to get a good thorough look at this, particularly for my youngest as he begins to remember and really understand how history fits together.
For American History we are in the Westward Expansion this year and going through the Civil War and Reconstruction in Term 3. In term 2, we focused on slavery a lot and the lives of the abolitionists and this led to many great discussions. We are using the free picture book suggestions from the free program U Read Thru History, as opposed to a spine and I am supplementing it with online content and other books. We won't have an American Stream in 2023, so I am turning my focus towards cemementing this rather large period of history while not losing sight of the lives within it for the remainder of this year.
Solfa is always seamless and enjoyable for us. This term we used Unit Two of Sing Solfa and it has continued to really click for my youngest and has become an enjoyable time for all of us together. My goal with solfa is always exposure, basic knowledge, and slowly built skill. I keep it simple, light, and fun and this term it was fun to see them understand more than they have before.
I usually rotate between Theory and History and am always covering at least one. This term we covered some history and theory together using the Music and Masterpieces issue of Forte! from Growing Gardenside.
I still didn't add in a Geography Reader this term, so we had strong Mapping lessons, but not any narrative geography. This will likely remain true for the remainder of this year because everything is flowing nicely and we're getting lots of geography that everyone is connecting with across all of our lessons.
For Mapping, we worked on drawing Central and South America using the Draw the World series.
Our History Charts were completed pretty regularly this term, but I am still working on building a habit of never skipping these.
Spanish for us is a matter of exposure. Raising two dyslexics means that I have no expectations of my children being fluent in a second language (and we won't even attempt a third like *real* CM'ers ;p). But, I still see the value in exposure and in a basic foundational knowledge of a language that we so often encounter. So, year after year we simply learn what we can and I don't have expectations of mastery or fluency. I finished and realised Unit 3 of Delightfully Living Spanish, so we started that and I am spreading it across two terms instead of one.
This term we studied Stravinsky using the Delightfully Feasting Stravinsky Study and we enjoyed it very much. My youngest still just mostly listens and is exposed, but my oldest is slowly but surely developing a discerning ear. Stravinksy was a hit with everyone, and his Firebird is now a favorite piece of music for both boys.
It is a sweet time with my youngest son. He is agreeable and cooperative, and he tries hard at most things that we do, despite his attention deficit and personality (and despite claiming that he hates school.) ;) He crawls in my lap for these lessons and he gets so excited when he perseveres and succeeds. He's still "little" but old enough to be cooperative and to engage in conversation with me and to reason with as we face what is difficult. It's just one of those sweet seasons of mothering and teaching when it comes to him.
Math is going well with him. I prioritize the mathematical imagination and that means that variety is my guiding practice when it comes to math. We use many resources, but his favorite is by far the (free) Anton app. He uses this one day each week, and he loves it. He is using a variety of other resources, and I focus primarily on oral math with just a few written problems.
This term, he continued reading books on his own, and he loves to read Elephant and Piggie, and also read his first story from Henry and Mudge. He is doing very well, and he has also already developed the ability to know when his mind is fatigued and he needs to ask for help. He is perserverent in reading, so I know that when he asks for help, he truly needs it. This self-awareness and advocacy took much longer for my oldest to develop, so I am pleased with this.
One day each week, we complete portions of lessons from the red book of Learning Language Arts Through Literature. This works really well, and I adapt it to his needs.
Coding is a highlight of the week for both boys. My 3rd grader wrapped up Course B and worked through a portion of Course C on Code.org and he has done well and had a lot of fun.
If you have seen my 12-Year Logic Plan or taken my Logic Workshop, then you know that Games is my priority at this point. But, my youngest requested Logic "like his brother" and I do love the Logic Workbook for Gritty Kids, so I implemented that in his lessons. We have alternated this term between that and the puzzles in Grids for Kids Level 1 from the The Math Profs. He loves both of these!
7th Grade isn't as "sweet" a time in mothering or teaching, and I won't lie about the difficulty of it. It is keeping me on my knees. Preteens parenting is difficult, but it is also rewarding. The fruit of many years of labor at a living education is just beginning to be borne. It isn't a sweet time, but it is a rich one. Our conversations are deep and meaty, and his rightful affection for all forms of truth, goodness, and beauty encourages my heart and reminds me that I am sowing seeds that will bear fruit in the long term.
He is using the purple book from Learning Language Arts Through Literature, along with some work in Wordly Wise, and a few practice pages in Editor in Chief. We are officially focusing entirely on grammar, vocabularly, and composition. He still struggles with reading, but he is reading for pleasure and he gets sufficient practice in reading throughout all of his lessons. This turning from long term phonetic practice to other language arts is a huge win for a dyslexic.
Just like always, he has been using a combination of CNN 10, BBC Newsround, and occasionally DOGO News. He examines one current event each week independently. Then, as part of Citizenship, we also examine headlines and discuss bias together using All Sides. We really enjoy this.
Also for Citizenship we do
We read one Plutarch life each year, so this means we take it very slowly. We read, narrate, discuss and along the way we learn a lot about people and have deep conversations about character and virtue and patriotism and what happens when your country and your conscience don't align. We have continued reading through the life of Brutus this term, and we enjoy these lessons.
This year for Government, we are reading A User's Guide to Democracy, and this has been a highlight of the term for me. It is a great book, and although he doesn't understand everything and will need more layering of how the US government functions (so do I!!), he is gaining a foundational understanding in a truly bipartisan way, and he already has more rationale about the things that people rant and rave about in news and on social media than the average adult, based solely on his very foundational and still limited understanding of how the government functions. He is becoming quite capable of nuance, consideration of multiple perspectives, and good conversation and I am so happy about that.
We are tracking in my Logic Plan, and this is a favorite time for both of us each week. We finished up the Basics of Critical Thinking from Critical Thinking Company this term, and we will finish up The Fallacy Detective with the remainder of our year. We both love this topic, and I love that I am intentionally building the skill of logical thinking. He can identify fallacies in the arguments of both himself and others, and he often self-corrects often when he is making an illogical case for something. We also still do occasional practice in Analogies, because we both enjoy them.
Math is difficult for him, and it's sanctifying for me to teach ;), but we still prioritize variety and his mathematical imagination, go at his pace, and work slowly but surely.
This term he continued practice with decimals and did some work with angles and started to lay the foundation for mutiplying and dividing fractions, which will be his focus in Term 3.
This term, we increased our use of Khan Academy even further, as it is his favorite.
He wrapped up Course D from code.org and moved on. He loves it and although it is more difficult than his brother's course and he sometimes needs to slow down to grasp what he is doing, he finds it enjoyable. I have stopped planning these lessons ahead of time and allow him to fill the available time and then pick up where he left off during the next lesson.
This term, he started this year's Literature Survey Course from Redefining School, and it has continued to be such a delight. Redefining School was a direct answer to prayer.
I was looking for something that I wasn't teaching that was just for him and didn't involve his brother. Yet, our plates are full and something demanding wouldn't have worked. This class was perfect! Each week's work was entirely doable, yet it was rich and meaty. He loves the more in depth study of genre and literary devices and I love the gentle, yet rich approach.
I placed this course work into one (of two) of his language arts slots for the week, so with the other slot we combined his other language resources. This is working extremely well.
Family Studies Day
On Family Studies Day, there is no individual instruction and instead we meet together for 2-3 hours for a variety of lessons that our best done communally.
Following Norse Mythology in Term 1, we are reading Greek Mythology for the remainder of our year. This has been enjoyable, particularly for my youngest as it is the first time through Greek Myths that he is really grasping what we are reading and connecting with the stories.
We alternate between Logic and Math games each week, and it was a pretty standard term. They definitely prefer Logic Games, but they somehow both have really enjoyed Real World Math this term, although it isn't the most exciting math game in my opinion.
This continues to be a hit with Learning With Friends. We are working through the Anatomy unit this term, but I am going slower than I did with the Biology unit. Anatomy will be continued and completed in Term 3. I am adding lots of supplemental books to it, and both boys enjoy it.
I fully intended for my oldest to have individual science lessons with me to prepare him for high school (and I have even discussed this online and in workshops), but his load was simply too full. We were accomplishing his individual lessons, but we were rushing and cramming. I wanted to allow space for Logic and Citizenship and the things that are prompting deep discussions, but I didn't know what to cut.
Enter Learning With Friends. I had already planned to use this with both boys, but thought it would primarily meet the needs of my youngest. Once we started using it, though, I realized that it was meeting the needs of everyone, organically. Everyone was learning, even Mom.
This allowed me to cut Science from my oldest's plate in complete peace. I have found a perfect solution for my oldest's science in 2023, but for the remainder of this year, this is absolutely enough.
This term we continued Cooking for our Handicraft, and we continued to enjoy it! We didn't get to cook every recipe I intended, but we cooked more faithfully than we have done other Handicrafts in the past. It is quite the effort to fit this in, but it is worth it. We used both the Children's World Cookbook from Usborne (which provided some cultural studies as well) and also the Through the Eyes of a Professional Chef unit from Campfire Curriculums, which is also providing us great material for Career Studies (which is why I have cut Career Studies from our schedule elsewhere).
Both have been a great part of our homeschool this term, although we didn't cook as much in Term 2 as we did in Term 1. Overall, Cooking was a successful handicraft!
This term we started Delighting in Scouting Volume 3, and we are spreading it out to last through Term 3. We enjoy Scouting, but my boys don't love every topic equally. I keep these lessons simple and often spread the Field Work out across multiple weeks.
This year's Psychology studies are Personality Typing and Tests. This term we have used the tests and background knowledge in Psychology for Kids . We discuss as much as interest allows for, sometimes going beyond the book to my own knowledge (I have taught Personality Typing in Homeschooling Seminars) and other resources I own but also often sticking to the book and keeping it simple.
Psychology and Practical Skills alternate every week, so when we aren't diving into Personality, we are looking at the skill of Architecture. We are working our way through Architecture for Kids and loving it. This term both boys continued to put time and effort into the activities from the book and I love watching a wide feast come to life in so many ways. We will finish this book early in Term 3, and will just wait until 2023 to start our new Practical Skills topic.
For this term, our artist was Degas and it was our first time studying him. We focused on his extensive Ballet works, and he wasn't an all time favorite of either boy, but they did engage wholeheartedly in these lessons, which was nice to witness.
For Group Drawing, we are using Art for Kids: Drawing and completing a page or two at a time.
For Individual Drawing, each boy has a variety of quality drawing books that they can choose from.
Our two hymns this term were Amazing Grace and O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go. For Amazing Grace, we simply followed the DF Hymn Study Schedule with a playlist of versions that I created. For O Love, we used the guide from Happy Hymnody, and it was engaging and enjoyable. This was our first time studying this hymn, and everyone enjoyed it.
This term, we didn't have a single Folk Song, but listened to the songs recommended in Sweet Tea and Cookies. We completed this wonderful study this term. It was purely "extra", added in on top of everything else, and I have zero regrets. It was rich and the books recommended were FABULOUS. We didn't make the recipes as much as I would have liked, but we loved the books and music. I got to introduce my boys to Johnny Cash and Elvis, and that was a delight. :)
School With Friends
One day each week, we spend the entire day with friends in fellowship and doing several lessons in community. On these days, we rotate between:
1. Shakespeare (using Delighting in Shakespeare)
This year we are doing the Hamlet unit, and this is truly one of my favorite parts of our homeschool. There is simply nothing better than children of all ages gathered around a table enjoying Shakespeare together!
2. Geography and National Parks (using Delighting in the World)
This term we continued Volume 2 and we do most of the supplementary activities and take our time. This is PERFECT for use in a group and we have so much fun.
My friend teaches this at lunch time and this term we had great conversations about how good manners serve others and about the art of conversation. She does such a great job at facilitating these discussions and I am so grateful for community and the freedom to include so many subjects in homeschooling.
4. Poetry, Logic and Math Games, Conversation Cards, & Glyphs.
5. Tea Time
This is our favorite day each week, and it is such a gift. This term was especially sweet and rewarding.