Friday, September 19, 2008

A Charlotte Mason Day

For my new readers:

A Typical School Day in One Charlotte Mason Home

I wake up. Get coffee and sit down to read my Bible. The children are working on their permanent regular morning routines, hopefully to music from our current composer and not Third Day or something horrid like that.

Make bed/clean room
Read Bible
Eat breakfast
Brush teeth
Do after meal job. (Permanent after meal assignments. For instance, Benjamin sweeps after every meal everyday.)
Start math.

After I finish reading my Bible and perhaps a bit ( & I mean a bit) of a book like Dante's Divine Comedy, I yell out to the kids, "10 minutes until morning meeting," and mosey over to the computer where, hopefully, I will have a draft to post on my blog. I check my email, check a couple of blogs, the news, the weather and then head out to the living room for morning meeting.
Ok, that took more than 10 minutes but the children have learned the complicated algebraic formulas for interpreting what I mean when I say 10 minutes and the completely different thing my dh means. 10m= M+20=P-3

With much ado we meet and spend several minutes getting settled down. The talkers talk until silenced. The goofers-off goof off until threatened. Benjamin discusses the weather. We only have one girl. She sits quietly awaiting my every word ;)

We begin the meeting by discussing our daily agendas or anything else I think of.
I ask a few pertinent questions:
Raise your hand if you did not brush your teeth? All hands go up.
Did you read your Bible?
Is your bed made?
Sometimes I preach a little sermon on the meaning of handwashing or my personal favorite, the proper use of the toilet seat, or perhaps does anyone know what that bad smell is.
Benjamin interrupts to discuss the weather.

Then we begin either by singing our 2 songs of the day or praying and then visa-versa. Usually I read a Proverb for the day or a passage that I find compelling. We discuss the passage. I read a Valley of Vision prayer.
I preach another sermon. :doze:

The older boys depart unless we are reading Shakespeare next.

I then make my way through one of my lists. I read the Bible passage we are memorizing, and review the one we are reviewing. I read a couple of pages of The Book of Life (very old version) which is just a King James Version Bible story book with photographs of the Middle East and archaeological info. Sometimes we work on Bible drills for church.

We then move into poetry and miscellaneous memory work which is generally either church documents or speeches. We work on the same memory passage for many weeks.

Sometimes at this point we discuss our artist or composer.

Then I begin to work through the reading aloud. I pick up Plutarch. We read and discuss about 1 1/2 pages. Discussion is helpful but we try to keep moving. Plutarch is not easy reading and yet over the years I have come to appreciate his narratives. Ambleside Online has study notes for several of the lives. I don't usually use them because of time constraints but I think they are a valuable resource. If Plutarch is too hard make sure you slow down and just read a paragraph a day and don't forget the oral narrations.

I then read another book like English Lit for Boys and Girls. I read 2 chapters in The Story of the Romans, and move on to our fiction book which at this time is Hostage to Alexander. I will read 1 or 2 chps depending on the time. Sometimes we will clip through 4 or 5 books, sometimes only 2. Sometimes I stop and ask for narrations. Benjamin narrates about the weather.

This all takes about 2 hours. If I am pressed for time we just sing and pray or add in memory work without reading aloud but I like to get in as many full Morning Times as I can.

After Morning Time the children finish their math if they need to or move on to Latin drills. Most of the children are working from lists or doing the same thing every day with only their reading lists changing. The 3 middles do a written narration everyday. Spelling is on the computer using Dr. Aardsma or Ray's Spelling. They also do math drills and Spanish (Rosetta Stone) on the computer. I use Homeschool Tracker to make up the lists that they work from.

Sometimes after lunch we take a short nature walk. If the children have gotten up early they can be done early but sometimes, if we get off to a late start, it takes all day. The children work for 30 minutes a day in the yard for my dh usually after lunch. They also play a tennis ball game after lunch.

They read and play.

The 2 younger children play most of the day although the 7 yo has math, phonics, reading, writing, spelling and math drills.

The children have 30 minutes to play computer games over the whole weekend. Sometimes I will give them extra computer game time for jobs well done, but I am getting away from that.

This schedule was born out of my personal reading of Charlotte Mason's writings. I started it when Timothy (21) was 5 and have refined and added to it over the years. This is just how I have made the things I consider important work in our family. It is not complicated or ideal, it is just what works in one family.

When I was a young homeschooling mom, I longed for someone to tell me what they DID.
No one ever wanted to tell me.
Most mothers said, "You just have to do what is right for your family."
Yes, but a few concrete ideas would have helped. So now that my bones creak and my baby is almost 5, I try to be concrete about what we do.
Please don't mistake that for thinking this is the only way.
It is not that by a long shot.
It is just my collection of Little Grains of Sand.


Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

This is so, So, SO helpful. I've been flailing about unhappily with the way we're homeschooling, and this sounds like something that might actually work for us. Off to read some more from your archives. Thank you!

Samuel and Melissa Aina said...

Thank you for your experience and wisdom! We are about to make the transition from PS to HS on account of me feeling like I don't see enough of my kids (I have 6 and the older 3 are in school). It's SOOOOO nice to have some sort of framework for what a typical HS day (especially with Charlotte Mason) is like. Thank you for being an answer to my prayers!!!