I keep all of these categories of memory work in rotation consistently.
Scripture- We are currently working on Romans 8. This will take all year, at least.
Catechism- This is ongoing and we've been at it for several years now.
Creed- We reviewed the Nicene Creed a few times this term, but we aren't currently working on anything new.
Shakespeare- We are memorizing Hamlet's "To Be or Not to Be" soliloquy and we will work on this all year.
Poetry- I forgot to choose a poem by last term's poet, so we didn't memorize one this term. Oops!
Speeches- We are 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.
Citizenship Questions- We are memorizing the answers to all questions on the US Citizenship Test.
Bible and Christian Studies
Bible and Christian Studies as a "structured loop" has worked wonderfully 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 very much enjoying 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.
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.
Our poet this term was N.M. Bodecker, and we thoroughly enjoyed him. He is a nonsense poet whose work is similar to Edward Lear, and his witty rhymes and clever illustrations were fun, with some lovely phrases and surprise wisdom mixed in.
For this term, we 1) worked on a timeline of the history of math and mathematicians,2) worked through a section about lines and angles in Elementary Geometry, and 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 Bears on Hemlock Mountain, and made progress in That Quail, Robert and Roman Diary both of which we will keep reading next term.
This term's Special Study was Endangered Animals and we used the Delightfully Feasting curriculum for this. This was one of our favorite Special Studies of all time. Everyone was entirely engaged and thoroughly interested and we all learned so much. We all care significantly more about being good stewards of the world God gave us, and we are all aware of the impact of our small actions.
For Group Grammar, this term we copied quotes from Wheeler's Graded Studies in Famous Authors and diagrammed them together, learning one part of speech at a time. This is gradual work, and it will continue to be layered through the years, particularly for my youngest.
This is another one of my "structured loops".
It includes Picture Study, Studio Art, Individual Drawing and Group Drawing. I generally try to do Picture Study on Day 1 and Studio Art on Day 2 and to work in both kinds of drawing when time allows; I aim for 3 lessons of Group Drawing and 2-3 individual drawing lessons per term.
For this term, our artist was Picasso and it was our first time studying him.
For Studio Art, we completed several lessons from the 3rd Grade year of Arttango.
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.
Unfortunately, Hymn Study slipped through the cracks this term. We will do better next term, as we really do love Hymn Study. Sometimes, a term just slips by without Mom remedying a lacking area.
Our Folk Song this term was Swing Low, Sweet Chariot and it wasn't our first time studying this song, so we all had the fun of familiarity but our study this term also included some versions we had never heard before. Folk Songs are such a small thing with such a big impact.
We still do two vocabulary words each week 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.
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 and it is new to us.
So far, I believe 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. I think this is helping.
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 American barns.
We love Architecture, but have never studied Barns, so this was a fun term.
Just like with all Architecture lessons, there is so much culture and history and art wrapped up in the structure of barns throughout time.
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 Iran using the free unit from Little World Wanderers, and also learned about the religion of Islam. This required hard conversations, but they were worthy ones. My children already know the differences between Islam and Christianity, and they will learn the apologetic nature of sharing Christ with Muslims as they continue their theological studies. So, for these lessons we focused on the importance of the Imago Dei and the significance of religious freedom for all. We talked at length about the implications of this in how we treat others that don't share our faith.
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.
For Ancient History this year, we are in Greece and Rome, and this is always a bit of a valley between our Egypt year and our Medieval year. We don't *not* enjoy Greece and Rome, but Egypt and the Middle Ages are just areas of intense interest for my boys, so Greece and Rome tend to fall a little bit flatter. This year we are stopping at points of interest and diving in a bit deeper with picture books and videos. That is helping us grow in our affection for this time period.
This term we enjoyed a bit of a deep dive into the first Olympics, Aesop, and Buddha.
For American History we are in the Westward Expansion this year, and I am seeing the evidence of the layering that comes from repeating history cycles several times. We are using the free picture book suggestions from the free program U Read Thru History, as opposed to a spine. This has benefits and drawbacks but it is working well for us this year.
Solfa is always seamless and enjoyable for us. This term we used Unit Three of Solfa Sofa and it really "clicked" for my youngest for the first time. 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 reread Bravo! Brava! A Night at the Opera. We narrated, added some events to our history charts, and I added a few videos.
Geography fell flat this term, because I dropped a reader and then never replaced it. I always reserve time to mapping related to our history and culture readings, and so we did that. I also try to read a geography reader as well, however, and this did not happen.
Our History Charts were completed about half of the weeks in this term. It is easy for me to skip past them, but I am attempting to solidify a good habit of not doing so this year.
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. This year I am using the free plan from Joy and Valor Life and adapting it largely to fit our Spanish schedule of one lesson per week.
This term we studied Bach using my Bach Composer 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. We all always find the life of the composer to be especially fascinating and although we have studied him before, we got to know Bach more than we ever have this term.
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. As I displayed in my Week of Math on social media this week, 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 mainly just loves earning coins to play games, ha, but he also gains from the lessons.
This term, he read his first book and he discovered Elephant and Piggie. He has now read a few of them and I will continue buying them for him to read for lessons. They are clever and fun while still being phonetically arranged. He loves them.
Reading his first book also gave him confidence in his Independent Silent Reading. Up to now, he has simply looked at pictures in the picture books that I choose and assign him. But lately, I have heard him sounding out words quietly and reading at least some of the story.
Coding is a highlight of the week for both boys. My 3rd grader is wrapping up Course B 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 just do a page at a time, and it is perfect for younger children who want logic activities and a mom who wants them to be quality and to not contradict the natural progression of logical acquisition.
This term he completed his Create Your Own Pizzaria book from Usborne (no longer available) and he was so delighted with the menu he created at the end. He showed everyone and we all had to order from it. :)
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 propels us forward into a rich feast despite our butting heads. ;)
This term, I allowed him to forgo typing for the time being, as his independent list is quite full and he works hard at managing it and he shows initiative in getting it done each week without me having to prompt or remind him. Typing is extremely difficult for him, and he has had weekly lessons in for several years now so he was due a break to focus on other things.
He is about to finish the free lessons from Treasure Hunt Reading, which I had him complete for review and practice. They are phonics lessons (which my youngest son also uses) so they are "young" and very remedial for him. But, as a dyslexic with no formal intervention (personal and prayerful family choice), practice has been key for him. And, it has helped. He is finally reading independently for pleasure, and he has confidence to do so even knowing that he will struggle and get fatigued quicker than he'd like, that he will need my help with occasional words, and that it will always take him much longer than he'd prefer. He started a chapter book series that he really likes and he is reading daily for pleasure. That is victory. That is huge. I am crying just typing it. Praise the Lord.
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 1) Plutarch and 2) Government.
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. This term we have read about 1/3 of the life of Brutus, so we are on track here.
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 has said more than once "That's not even how it works. Why are they freaking out?"
I love this book.
We are tracking in my Logic Plan, and this is a favorite time for both of us each week. We are finishing up the Basics of Critical Thinking from Critical Thinking Company this year, and this term we have loved The Fallacy Detective. 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
self-corrects often when he is making an illogical case for something.
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 learned decimals, and to my surprise, he understood them with no problems. They just "clicked" so that was fun because so often he has to struggle profoundly to grasp mathematical concepts. His mathematical imagination is fruit I am seeing from years of planting and that is a joy.
This term, we have used a good bit of Khan Academy, which we always include to some degree in our lessons, and he enjoys the days that we use it.
He is wrapping up Course D on code.org and moving on to the next course. 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.
This term we finally finished his Chef Academy book from last school year, and he chose it as one of his favorite items of the term. During Exam Week, he chose it as one of 5 items to show his dad to display his work from the term. These books are simple and bit easy for him, but he says he still learned from it and enjoyed it. Next term, we will pivot to something else, but I am glad that we got to use several of these books and that he liked them.
This term, he took the Spring Sampler class from Redefining School, and it was truly an 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. He displayed courage to come outside of his comfort zone to record audio answers to some group questions, and to participate in live class discussions even though it wasn't required. We will be signing up for the full year course.
I placed this course work into one (of two) of his language arts slots for the week, so with the other slot we combined lessons from the purple book of Learning Language Arts Through Literature, some lessons from Editor in Chief, and some lessons from Wordly Wise Book 3. It was a good term!
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.
Last year and this year, we have studied Birds as our "long term topic", and this term we kept it simple by reading from Birds Every Child Should Know and a collection of other books, narrating, journaling, and utilizing the Audubon app for bird calls and youtube for videos.
This term we read Norse Mythology, and although the collection we read wasn't my favorite, Norse myths were a highlight for both of my Marvel fans. :) They loved seeing the origins of Thor and Loki. They laughed at Loki's antics and Thor's attitude and talked animatedly through it all.
This term our Ballet was Swan Lake, and we used my simple Swan Lake study.
I failed at getting us to watch the performance at the end, but we still enjoyed the term.
We are working our way through the Big Fat Notebook of Computer Science and Coding, and this is a simple lesson each week. We simply read, narrate, and discuss. This term, my youngest engaged with these lessons in a way I didn't expect, and my oldest grasped the concepts well.
This term we finished Understanding Business from Usborne, and although I haven't chosen where to move on to next, I am glad that we read this simple but informative book first. We had livelier conversations this term than I expected to with this subject, especially when it came to ethics and business growth. My oldest related it to what he knows of several actual businesses (and moguls, ahem), and he had opinions. ;)
We alternate between Logic and Math games each week, and although we missed a few weeks of playing a game, it was a pretty standard term where this is concerned. I didn't add any new games that were huge hits, but we simply continued with many of our favorites.
This was a HIT this term. We used our first unit from Learning With Friends, and we LOVED it. We used the Biology unit and it is the first of MANY that we will be using.
These units are a truly wonderful resource. This was another answer to prayer.
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.
This term our Handicraft was cooking (and we are continuing this for Term 2), and we really enjoyed 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.
Both have been a great part of our homeschool this term.
This term, I didn't have a new Delighting in Scouting unit available in time to use, so while we will be using Volume 3 next term, this term we just read about medical conditions and treatment in survival situations and journaled. There wasn't much Field Work or Skill Practice this term, so I am looking forward to beginning Delighting in Scouting Volume 3 and beefing up our Scouting lessons again.
This year's Psychology studies are Personality Typing and Tests. We are using the Book of Personality Tests and Who Do You Think You Are. We are taking one typing system at a time and reading a bit of background, sometimes going beyond the book to my own knowledge (I have taught Personality Typing in Homeschooling Seminars) and other resources I own but often sticking to the books and keeping it simple. Then, we take a test and discuss. Sometimes it is more fun than accurate, but other time we are diving deep into the actual psychology of personality typing. It has been enjoyable.
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 put time and effort into some site plan drawings and other activities from the book and I love watching a wide feast come to life in so many ways.
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 do some combination of:
1. Shakespeare (using Delighting in Shakespeare)
This term we started the Hamlet study, and there's just nothing better than a group of children of all ages gathered around Shakespeare and loving it!
2. Geography and National Parks (using Delighting in the World)
This term we started Volume 2, and we do most of the supplementary activities and take our time. This is such a great thing to 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, Emotional Intelligence, and various Christian Studies- we use a variety of things for this and we implement it in different ways
5. Tea Time- we have Tea time every week with a spread of snacks and volumes of poetry.
This is our favorite day each week, and it is such a gift. This term was especially sweet and rewarding.