We did it! We survived our first full term of a Charlotte Mason education. Whew! We are currently finishing up a week long break with Dad.
Such a great term. We learned SO MUCH good stuff.
Stuff we would have missed out on if not for a friend posting about her favorite CM podcasts last December. I can’t believe the richness of our mornings. It wasn’t all perfect, but I learned what works, what doesn’t, what needs work, and what needs more of my attention.
So here is the truth, the goodness, and the beauty of our first term.
All the field trips! My goal this year was the same as last….go on as many field trips as possible. Educational field trips. Fun field trips. Messy field trips. Loud field trips. Friend field trips. A few of our faves in no particular order:
We went to a free performance by a local orchestra. The boys always say they won’t like it, but end up loving it.
Our local Charlotte Mason group took a road trip to a Cherokee event in Oklahoma. The boys visited a small village, heard a Native American story, and tried their hand (and foot) at a few Cherokee games, crafts, and activities. At the end of the day, they each earned an arrowhead by completing several of those tasks. The favorites of the day were learning how to use blowguns and all of the games. And as many wild and free kiddos, ours found a small stream to stomp in and explore.
One of best things to come from starting a Charlotte Mason group in my area is all of the moms coming together to share their ideas for our group. One amazing mama suggested (and organized) a literary club for our group. We read one book each quarter as a family and then meet up as a group for an activity and group discussion. Charlotte’s Web was the fall selection and we had such a great time with this book! The boys LOVED the book and the movie. Then we met with our friends at the local state fair to check out all of the farm animals, eat fair food, and of course ride the fair rides!
We met up with our Charlotte Mason group at a local state park for the solar eclipse. The park rangers put together an informative event for all ages. We watched the eclipse through our glasses as well as the homemade viewers provided by the park. While waiting for the full eclipse (or as full as it was going to get in our area), we of course went down to the little creek and splashed around. After the eclipse event, we went on a small nature walk to the dam. The kids had so much fun climbing around on the rocks and on top of the dam. I’ll admit….I wasn’t entirely comfortable with it but I did let the older boys roam around for a bit. Ha!
Of course we had to visit a local pumpkin patch! We met up with another local homeschool group for some fall fun….hayride, lunch under the trees, corn maze, and a lot of fun activities on the farm. Each of the boys brought home a small pumpkin that they carved as soon as we finished up our pumpkin unit.
Aaaand that isn’t even all of our field trips. Ha! We averaged about one a week! So many fun memories! We have several more coming up that I know the boys are going to love. Maybe I’ll get my act together and post more regularly so we can share all of our fun with you all.
Fall means football and soccer around here. One of our boys played football this year. This is Gabriel’s last year of Little League so I’m interested to see if he plays with the school next year. He enjoyed his team and of course had a lot of fun. He said he made more tackles this year than last…improvement! He thought it was fun to be in the local high school homecoming parade with his team AND his team place 2nd in the league. Now that the season has ended, we will celebrate next week at their party!
Two of our boys played soccer this year. Drake has played before and loves soccer, but this was Joshua’s first year to play. Both did well with their teams. Poor Drake’s team was always short-handed due to illness, family vacations, and other issues but they played their hearts out. Soccer is definitely Drake’s favorite sport and it shows! Joshua enjoyed his team. He ended up being the only boy on the team but he didn’t mind! They had so much fun and his coaches were the sweetest mamas who loved on all the kids.
We also participated in a local homeschool’s 8 week co-op. We don’t use co-op for educational purposes but they always do learn so much. Mostly, though, co-op is a social outlet for us, an additional opportunity for the boys to spend time with their friends. The boys had some great classes!
Kaleb took a class on criticism and propaganda, a games class, and a puppet ministry class. I think his favorite was the puppet ministry class! He found a love of puppeteering in that class and has even been offered an opportunity to share his skill with our church in the kids’ ministry! The class performed a hilarious skit at our presentation night.
Gabriel took a fine arts class and found a love of drawing. He also took a diy class along with Drake and made some pretty amazing things including a few gifts for their mama!
Along with the diy class, Drake took one of my classes on odd creatures. We had SO much fun in that class! He declared my class his fave! He also took a games class.
This was Joshua’s first year to move out of the preschool block and into the “big kid” classes. He took a games class and has fallen in love with Uno! He also took a class on rabbits and learned SO much. Then his 3rd class was with me in a younger odd creatures class.
The other class I taught was a Story + Art class. I have five little ones and had so much fun with them. My other two classes were fairly large so it was nice to have such a small group in between the two big classes.
So in the middle of co-op, sports, and all the field trips…..we did get some schooling done! Ha! It wasn’t as full as I would have liked but it was good. I am SO looking forward to term two with fewer interruptions and slower days.
What did we love?
- All the read alouds! I am reading almost all of our morning time books out loud and we just love it. The boys are doing SO well with narrations. Even my boy who was struggling to narrate even a sentence at the beginning of the year is easily and confidently narrating chapter after chapter AND recalling the previous days’ reading. That in itself makes my heart smile SO big that my eyes leak every time I think about it. Narrating has been such a blessing to this guy who struggles with any kind of reading.
- History! Again all those read alouds. Real books! We aren’t tied to a textbook but enjoying personal stories of famous people from the past, digging deeper into events that interest us, and linking all of that with geography. So fun.
- Bible study. The boys remind me every morning that we must begin with our devotional reading and Bible story.
- And, surprisingly, our memory work. We’ve memorized so many things this term! Poems, songs, Bible passages, and so much more.
What didn’t go well?
- Science, although it’s all my fault. I just failed. Didn’t have the materials needed. Forgot about it, even though it’s on my schedule! This is an area that will definitely improve in our 2nd term.
- Handicrafts. I think only because we were so busy with other activities that we just didn’t get to the handicrafts I had planned. However, I must remind myself that all four boys took handicraft classes in co-op! Even though my plan didn’t happen, they still succeeded with handicrafts. Most of term two will consist of many Christmas gifts being made by the boys so we’ll certainly get our fill soon.
- Art and composer study. Again, I think just the lack of time. This is another area I will work to improve in the next term.
- Nature Study. Same as above. Just not enough time but will improve next term.
Our greatest success? I am thrilled to pieces that Drake’s phonics program is working brilliantly for him. We’re using All About Reading….and the kid is READING! He was diagnosed with dyslexia this past May and we immediately switched to AAR. It’s worked wonders. His confidence has soared! We’re working hard on fluency right now. I see him just continuing to improve and grow his love of books. I have to credit this amazing Charlotte Mason education. Our short lessons, read alouds, and hands-on time have absolutely contributed to his success.
Whew! If you stuck with me through all of that, give yourself a high five! This is why I need to update more often. Ha!
All in all, we have had the most amazing start to our school year. I see where we need improvement. I see what we’ve done well. And I see all of the learning that has taken place. It’s been fun and real and exhausting….and I’ve loved every single second. So thankful for our Charlotte Mason education. Looking forward to term two and all the good stuff to come.
I am off to enjoy the last few days of our “staycation” with the hubs. I will miss having all this free time when we start back to school and work next week. Mostly, I’ll miss hanging out with this guy.
Please comment with a link to your blog. I would love to read about your Charlotte Mason home! Also please join me on Instagram. I post waaaay too many pictures over there about our school and daily life.