Monday, August 13, 2018

Homeschool Plan: Second Grade Charlotte Mason (2018-2019)

When Sophie, my oldest, was four years old, I became acquainted with the Charlotte Mason method. I hadn't planned to homeschool, but when I found this method, I knew it was for me... for us. Last year was our first year of fully implementing the method, as formal lessons start at age six, and it was so perfect for us. The school days weren't always perfect, but the method always felt right, and I never wavered in my certainty that this was the way I was to be educating my girls.


Last year, Sophie was in Form 1b which is the equivalent of first grade. Second and third grade are form 1a, so we will do Form 1a this year. The purpose of the forms is basically to provide fluidity and overlap so that subjects can be combined for children. When my second daughter, Brielle, enters Form 1b next year, Sophie will still be in Form 1a, and therefore, they can share quite a few subjects (which will be wonderful). We break our school year into terms, so we will have three terms that are 12 weeks each.

These are the subjects Sophie will study this year:
Bible
Poetry
Math
Reading
Copywork
History
Geography
Natural History
Literature
Physical Education
Music Appreciation
Art Appreciation
Spanish
Singing
Recitation
Drawing
Handcraifts/work

These subjects are spread out throughout the week, some being every day and others being just once a week. Our days are, at longest, two and a half hours. We always finish subjects by lunch time.

The Schedule:
We use these $5 scheduling cards to schedule our days: Schedule Cards. (They are amazing!). We have 11-12 subjects a day. I switched my schedule up some this year but kept much of it the same. I'm going to try doing math earlier in the day and hope to have success with that, and I'm putting more literature and reading toward the end of the day as Sophie always loves to sit and listen to books.

Here is a breakdown of the books and materials I plan to use this school year:

Bible: We will study through Exodus and Mark this year. We simply read straight from the Bible text (the other books pictured are just commentaries for me to read before doing the lesson). We mostly read from ESV, though I do occasionally read from KJV for our Old Testament readings.


Poetry: We study one poet a term and read a lot of her works as well as using this poet for some of our recitation pieces. We will study Christina Rossetti during first term. We will also read from our favorite poetry anthologies some days.



Copywork: This subject is really simple. I give Sophie a few lines from poetry or a Bible verse (or she chooses), and she copies them down. The ideal is for her to picture the words in her head before writing them, so that she learns proper spelling and grammar through the use of picturing and copying.

Math: I absolutely love the Charlotte Mason math program we use. It's very gentle and appropriate for young kids. The Mathematics book is somewhat like a teacher's guide for K-12 with a full scope and sequence and examples for teaching math with this approach. Richele Baburina (who is now a personal friend and one of the most brilliant and sweetest people I have ever met) is working on creating a curriculum. The first book is out already, and we used it last year with Sophie for 1st grade. We will do some review in that to start our year. The second book is at the publisher but may not be ready for us when we need it, so I will just use the Mathematics book (and accompanying DVD) to help me do lessons with Sophie. Last year I learned to take it easy in math with Sophie and to find ways to help her enjoy it, while also challenging her.


Art Appreciation: We study one artist a term, studying a different picture each week (up to 8, typically) and reading a short biography on the artist as well. This year, I plan for us to study Rubens, Whistler, and Giotto. I order our Picture Study Portfolios from Simply Charlotte Mason, and they are well worth the cost! They include information on the artist and on each print, and the prints are high quality.


Music Appreciation: In similar fashion to Art Appreciation, we study one composer a term and listen to a different song each week as well as read a book about the composer. We will study Franz Schubert during first term. I'd also like to study Handel this year (probably during second term), and I haven't decided yet on a third. I knew nothing about composers, and it was really fun last year to start becoming familiar with composers with Sophie and to be able to recognize their music.


Spanish: We do a mixture of things for Spanish. I forgot to include a picture of our main text, which is Cherrydale Press's Volume 1. We began using the book last year, and it will probably take us through next year before we finish it. The book is excellent, though I always wish I was fluent in Spanish (I just studied it in high school). We also read poems in Spanish and read children's books, and do flash cards and TPR (total physical response) activities. 


Singing: For singing class, we have a rotation of songs that we learn each term. We learn a patriotic song, a hymn, folksongs, and Spanish songs. This year we will also begin Solfa lessons through Miss Mason's Music. For first term, I plan for us to learn The Star-Spangled Banner (patriotic), I Need Thee Every Hour (hymn), Do You Know the Muffin Man (folksong), Hugh A Bye Baby (folksong), Los Pollitos (Spanish), Dios Bueno Es (Spanish), and Chocolate (Spanish). (We love Jose Luis Orozco for Spanish songs.) I print everything off and put it in a folder in protector sheets, and we just grab the folder during singing class.

Recitation: For recitation, we also have a rotation of works that we go through. We have hymns (that we recite rather than sing), Bible verses, and poems. This term, we will recite two Charles Wesley hymns, a verse from Exodus and from Mark (these are the books we will be reading through), and two Christina Rossetti poems (our term poet). The purpose of recitation is not memorization, though this does often happen. The purpose is to be able to read the work beautifully. We do each piece once a week, and by the end of the twelve weeks, the works have each become a part of our hearts.


Play/Drill/P.E.: This is a class in the middle of our school day. Sometimes it is simply free play. Sometimes it is Swedish Drill (Sophie loves this, and we use Dawn Duran's videos for this). Sometimes it is singing games or dancing. And this year I intend to add jump rope.


Literature: I'm so excited for our literature class! We will begin reading through Pilgrim's Progress (I highly recommend this Yesterday's Classic version) by John Bunyan and A Wonder Book by Nathaniel Hawthorne. 


Geography: We will continue reading through Elementary Geography by Charlotte Mason, which gives a great amount of knowledge about things like weather, the shape of the earth, the equator, direction, and mapping out a room. We will also begin using Charlotte Mason's Geographical Readers. These books were written for students born and living in England, but there are many parts applicable to my own American students, so we will start with the first chapter on the oceans and then move to the chapters on North and South America. I also plan to use The Big Rivers book (pictured) to learn about the rivers surrounding our midwest location and to learn about rivers. 


History: Last year, for first grade (Form 1b), we studied early American history, the explorer age up until Jamestown. This year, we will begin with Jamestown and basically study 1600-1700 American history. We loved history last year, and I'm excited for another year of continuing our studies. Honestly, I'm not 100% prepared for this subject. I plan to use Land of the Free by Meadowcroft (this book is out of print, but I'm borrowing from the library) as our spine. And then I will use quite a few biographies, like d'Aulaire's Pocahontas. (Buffalo Bill is pictured below, but we won't study him yet this year as he comes at a later timeframe.)


Drawing: Sophie enjoys drawing class, although it wasn't my strong point last year, so I'm so excited for this new resource to help me this year: Brush Drawing by Richele Baburina (the same lady that wrote our math program- I told you she was brilliant and amazing!) Throughout a term, Sophie draws objects from nature (that are placed in front of her), animals from memory, and characters in her imagination from stories we have read. 

Natural History: We have three days of Natural History class. On the first day, we will read through Arabella Buckley's Eyes and No Eyes (we will read Birds of the Air chapters this term). For the second day, we will read A Bunch of Wild Flowers for the Children by Ida Prentice Whitcomb. And for our final day, we will read books based on our special studies topics. We will be studying reptiles and wildflowers, so I plan to read Strange Lizards (by Earle), Frogs and Toads (by Zim), Amazing Dandelion (by Selsam), and First Look at Snakes, Lizards, and Other Reptiles (by Selsam).


Handicrafts: Sophie (and I!) began learning to embroider this summer, so my plan is to continue learning and working on this craft this term. Although, Sophie's been bugging me to work with clay. That may be our term two handicraft. I'd also like for us to learn knitting this year. We also will spend some days doing paper modeling, which is one of Sophie's favorite things. And some days we will do baking, cooking, or household work. 



Reading: Sophie will practice her reading still as she is still learning confidence in this area. Brielle (age 5) is anxious and asking to learn to read, so I am going to begin gently teaching her, using Discover Reading! as my guide. This will be new for me as I used Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons with Sophie. I wanted something different this time though. We will see how it goes! I love the approach, but it is more teacher intensive. 


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Homeschool: Grade 1, Term 3 (2017-2018)


As mentioned in this post, these are the subjects we cover in a term:

Bible
Poetry
Math 
Reading
Copywork
History
Geography
Natural History
Literature
Physical Education
Music Appreciation
Art Appreciation
Spanish
Singing
Recitation
Drawing
Handicrafts/work

We use the scheduling cards from A Delectable Education to schedule each of these subjects into our week, some being just once a week, and some being every day, some being 10 minutes, and some being 20.

Here are my other 1st Grade Posts:


Here is what we feasted on in Term 3:

Bible: We read from the actual Bible text, and we are reading through Genesis and Matthew in Grade 1 (Form 1B). We covered Genesis 31-50 and Matthew 13-21. We read roughly 10-20 verses a day, seeking to cover one whole "episode" but not an entire chapter in a day. We alternate days between Genesis and Matthew. 

Poetry: We choose one poet to focus on each term, and for term three, we focused on Eugene Field. We used Poems of Childhood, which is an excellent collection of his works. I chose him because Sophie already really loved several of his poems that we had read in Fujikawa's anthology (she loves The DuelWynken Blynken and Nod, and The Sugar Plum Tree). We read poetry every day, so we read poems by Eugene Field 2-3 times a week, and on the other days, we read from A Child’s Book of Poems by Gyo Fujikawa.

Math: We used Charlotte Mason Elementary Arithmetic to cover numbers 60-100. This is a new math book that will be part of a series with plans for the rest to come out in the next couple years. The second book should be out anytime now. I am so excited about this math series! It is completely based off of Charlotte Mason’s method, and it is different from other programs available (mainly, that problems are mostly done orally which is so gentle for these young ones!). It goes along with the bundle that I used first term (the bundle is more like a teacher’s guide and includes the entire scope & sequence for 1-12 grade).                

Reading: We just use this time for Sophie to get more practice with reading – 10 minutes a day. We read some of Treadwell’s First Reader as well as different readers like Frog and Toad and other short books I find that are well written and that I think she will enjoy. 

Copywork: For copywork, Sophie typically copies a line or two of poetry. Occasionally we do a verse instead or a line from a hymn. The goal is to visualize each word before writing it so that she can write the whole word from memory. This helps her learn to not only be a good writer but also a good speller!

History: This year, we studied the early exploration period of American history. For term three, we returned to our spine of Alice Dalgliesh's American Begins, which we finished by the end of the term. This book is so, so perfect for first grade, but if you click on the link to amazon, you'll have a heart attack at the price. Yes, sadly, it is out of print and hard to find. Thankfully, our library carries it. If you don't have this option, I would recommend Evan's America First. We supplemented by reading biographies of a few of the explorers and explorations, such as Ponce de Leon by Blassingame and The Carving on the Tree by Campbell. I'd recommend both of these books.

Geography: We have two days that we do geography. One day is more for learning about physical geography and the general workings of the world (this is like "pre-map" work, because a child needs to understand these things before grasping a map or globe). The other day is for reading and learning about children of other cultures and countries. Here is what we used:
Day 1 BookElementary Geography by Charlotte Mason
Day 2 BookThe Little Indian Weaver by Madeline Brandeis (Charlotte Mason actually used this slot to help her children learn about children from other cultures - roughly 5-6 a term, so just a brief overview. This helped children to understand that there was a bigger world out there in the best way they could grasp- through the lives of other children, who were like them, yet different. In the future, we will use something more like this- perhaps the I See the Sun books, though I am not certain. Sophie did love this book though.)

*Note: We do still pull a map out during subjects like history and Bible and even sometimes geography, so Sophie does have experience with them; they simply aren't our main focus in geography for this year.

Natural History: For Natural History, I choose two books that we will spend the whole term using, and then we have a special studies topic for the term (and sometimes two special studies), and I choose several books to cover that topic.
Book 1: By Pond and River by Arabella Buckley
Book 2: African Critters by Robert Haas (*SO good!)
Special Studies Books: First Look at Insects by Millicent Selsam (*these First Look books are out of print but are excellent. Check your library for availability)
Backyard Insects by Millicent Selsam
Birds Make Nests by Michael Garland

Literature: We spend most of our literature time this year reading fairy tales and fables. Here are stories we covered this first term:
Aesop’s FablesThe Old Lion and the Fox
Aesop’s FablesThe Shepherd Boy and the Wolf
Aesop’s FablesThe Lion and the Mouse
Aesop’s FablesThe Wolf in Sheep's Clothing 
Red Fairy BookThe Good Little Mouse
Red Fairy BookJack and the Beanstalk
The Complete Hans Christian Andersen Fairy TalesLittle Mermaid
The Complete Hans Christian Andersen Fairy TalesThe Ugly Duckling
The Complete Hans Christian Andersen Fairy TalesThe Nightingale
Blue Fairy BookJack, the Giant Killer

Physical Education (Drill/Dance/Play): This time should be used twice a week for actual free play. No rules, just let the child play. Other possibilities for the way we use this time (on the other days) are to learn jumping rope, fun dances together, and Swedish Drill. In this first term, we reviewed Swedish Drill movements and learned a fun drums song dance. We also skipped and marched to songs.
My two favorite resources for Charlotte Mason dance and drill: Swedish Drill and Dance/Moving to Songs

Music Appreciation: We studied Ludwig Beethoven this term. We covered Moonlight Sonatra5th SymphonyPathetiqueFur Elise, First Symphonyand Turkish MarchWe simply listened to the songs. We also read Ludwig Beethoven and the Chiming Tower Bells by Opal Wheeler.

Art Appreciation: We studied Sandro Botticelli. This term I decided to take the plunge and buy the artist packets from Simply Charlotte Mason... I definitely don't regret! I spent a little more than I did by printing on my own, but the picture quality is much superior, and I love that they come with information on the artist and each picture. We studied La PrimaveraMadonna of the Magnificat, Adoration of the Magi, Venus and Mars, Calumny, The Mystic Nativity, The Annunciationand Portrait of a Young Man. I read a little biography on him, but mostly, we just studied the pictures, and Sophie narrated what she saw.

Spanish: We use Cherrydale Press's Spanish Book (volume 1) as our spine for this subject. We use it 1-2 times a week. It is based on of Francois Gouin's research that showed it is easier to learn a language when you learn the action verbs (rather than just a noun). So, we learn a set of activities in English (acting them out); then once we have the English memorized, we learn the same set of activities in Spanish. We did Cherrydale lessons 9-12 this term. We also had flash cards and learned new words from those, and we used real objects, such as clothing, to learn new words. We also read Pio Peep poems.

Singing: We learned and sang the following songs over the term:
- Patriot Song: "This Land is Your Land"
- Folksongs/Nursery Rhymes: "O Where O Where Has My Doggy Gone," "Pease Porridge Hot"
- Hymns: "How Great Thou Art," "God is So Good"
- Spanish Songs: We started learning Jose-Luis Orozco's Spanish songs this term, and we love his stuff! We have his De Colores CD, but you can look up a lot of his songs on Youtube! We learned "Buenas Dias," "Diez Deditos," "Al Tambor," "Elephantes"

Recitation: We split our recitation time into three different days (we have a five day rotation for our subjects). The first day, we recite a hymn (rather than sing). The second day we recite a Bible verse. The third day we recite a poem. In a term, for the first grade year, the preference is to learn two hymns, two verses, and two poems. The purpose of recitation is not memorization (though, that often happens over the term!); the purpose is to be able to read something beautifully. Because Sophie is still a newer reader, she repeated lines after me rather than reading herself. This term, we did the following:
- Hymns: "Great is Thy Faithfulness"
- Verses: Matthew 13:44-46, Psalm 121
- Poems: Eugene's Fields "The Duel", "The Sugar Plum Tree"

Drawing: We used this time to do drawings from nature (we bring the object inside and she brush draws it – with a paint brush), from her imagination of stories we have read, and from her memory of animals she has seen. This is an area I am still learning to improve in.

Handicrafts/Work: We did origami (Sophie learned to make a bird and has probably made at least 200 origami birds since), sewing, cooking scrambled eggs. I definitely slacked in this subject this term and want to do better next school year, as Sophie truly loves handicrafts. 

Monday, June 25, 2018

Read Alouds: 2017-2018


Along with our regular school readings, we always have read alouds going on. Read alouds are getting so fun now that my children are getting older! There are so many great books I missed out on as a kid because I just didn't know good literature, so it's just as exciting for me to read them as it is for my oldest daughter to listen! (The other girls come and go while I read for now, and that's okay. I intentionally choose pictures books for them as they still are all more on that level.)

This year we read so many great books. I don't have much of a rhyme or reason for how I pick the books other than choosing books that I think we will like and trying to vary the books to explore a variety of styles and stories.


This year the books we covered as read alouds from August-May were:

Three Tales of My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Lucky Orphan by Ida Cecil Moore
Heidi by Johanna Spyri
Macaroon by Julia Cunningham
Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
A Tree for Peter by Kate Seredy
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie


For sure, my favorite was Heidi. I never read this book before, and it is such a well-written story as well as completely captivating and beautiful. A Little Princess and A Tree for Peter would be my next favorites. I had never read the complete Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and it was definitely a very interesting story and not my favorite type of book, but I am so glad I finally read the story in its entirety as it truly is a classic, and so many references are made to it! 

My Father's Dragon really grabbed the girls' interest. Brielle sat for the entire book, which is rare for her with books of this length. She loved it! Sophie enjoyed it so much that she went off and read the whole first story on her own, which is quite a bit of reading for her still, as she usually reads smaller stories.

I asked Sophie which book was her favorite, and she said Lucky Orphan was her favorite, and My Father's Dragon was her second favorite. I was actually surprised, because she loved Heidi so much while we were reading it that I assumed it would be her favorite. She loves books, though, so she begs every night (and sometimes afternoon) to read more of our read alouds!

Though I certainly liked some of these stories more than others, I would recommend all of them as read alouds (or just to read on your own or as recommendations for your children). They are all wonderful books, each in their own way. So thankful these books all rest on the shelves in my mind now, and it really is a treasure to share in the enjoyment of these books with my daughter. We love talking about them afterwards, as they are a part of both of us now!


A few side notes:
- If you follow this blog because you love yearly updates on the girls, I have moved those updates back to an old blog that I used to use just for updates on them. With this blog gaining popularity, I wanted to provide more privacy for my girls as well as to keep this blog more focused on homeschooling, homesteading, and renovations. Email me if you'd like the web address for the updates on the girls. You can find my email icon on the main page (if you're on an iPhone, you'll have to scroll to the bottom and change to "view web version" to see the email icon).
- I will still do house and renovation updates on here... I just haven't had any big ones to share since the kitchen :) We have lately been doing a lot of work outside- planting grass for a field, planting a garden, taking down limbs as well as some trees. Our farm has a lot of upkeep, and some that had been neglected for several years, so we are happily playing catch up :) 
- I do many more updates on Instagram, if you don't already follow me there. You can find me @littlewomenfarmhouse.

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Friday, June 15, 2018

Word of the Year: Release

Normal people do Word of the Year posts in January. But, hello, here I am doing mine in June.

I did one of these posts in 2016 and in 2017, so I wanted to do one again this year as well. But there was just no word on my heart in January. Or February, March, or April. Then, last month, in May, I finally felt a word being put on my heart. The word release.


I make plans. A lot. I'm not always great at planning my weeks and months... I like to have a level of spontaneity in my life that makes it hard for me to make concrete plans. But I am the queen of planning the future, in my head. I think for the first 25 years of my life, my plans in my head pretty much went exactly how I dreamed. And then I've spent the last five years building dreams that continually fall apart. Honestly, so many dreams of mine have fallen apart in these last five years, that sometimes I sit and wonder if I am in tune with God at all. 


I felt the weight of crashed dreams recently when we learned our neighbors were moving. We live in a farmhouse surrounded by cornfields, so we don't have many neighbors. These neighbors lived across the cornfield, and we were delighted when we found out, shortly after moving here last year, that they had three kids the ages of our kids. We got together a number of times so that our kids could play together, and we had them over for dinner. One of the greatest blessings was that they had a daughter Sophie's age, and Sophie is our extremely social child. I was so thankful to have them as neighbors. We lived in a cul-de-sac before with tons of neighbors, and literally none of them had kids! So I mentioned to several friends how much of a blessing this was, and I had so many dreams in my head about our future with them as our neighbors. I imagined our kids playing together every summer until they turned 18. So when we learned they were moving, I felt devastated. Really, I was shocked how devastated I felt, but I think it just felt like another crashed dream on top of so much other rubble from these last few years.


And then, just a few weeks later, I received an incredibly shocking job offer - an amazing job offer. After writing just one article for Wild + Free, a non-traditional homeschool community, and a few short correspondences, I was asked if I would consider editing for their magazine. The story is quite bigger than that. I deactivated my instagram account last fall and winter, as I felt overwhelmed and anxious by it. I just needed to get away. I actually thought I would never come back to it. I continually received requests for more updates on homeschooling and house renovations, though, and so in January, I hesitantly rejoined. I really wasn't at all sure if I wanted to. If I hadn't rejoined, I never would have approached Wild + Free about writing an article for them (as they are heavily an instagram community), and I never would have been offered this job. I have thought numerous times over the years about how I could look for editing jobs. But I never have. And I am just completely amazed that I didn't even have to seek this job out, it came to me. And it's not just any type of editing, it's editing in the field of work that I am passionate about (homeschooling and motherhood). The hours are perfect, my boss is incredible, and I get to do it all from home. And I just really love the people I get to know because of it.



So, in one month's time, the future of my life looked so different, both in a hard way and in a beautiful way. And the Lord pressed on my heart the word release.

Alisha, release the idea of what you think your life should look like.

Goodness, when will I ever learn this lesson. I don't think dreaming is bad. But I hold so tightly to dreams that I feel deep devastation when they crumble. So I want to focus this year on learning to release my ideas of what my life should look like. To release what I think God will do and won't do. To release what I think I deserve and don't deserve. To release the thought that I know what's best. I want to rest more in an uncertain future



Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Homeschool: Grade 1, Term 2 (2017-2018)


As mentioned in this post, these are the subjects we cover in a term:

Bible
Poetry
Math 
Reading
Copywork
History
Geography
Natural History
Literature
Physical Education
Music Appreciation
Art Appreciation
Spanish
Singing
Recitation
Drawing
Handicrafts/work

We use the scheduling cards from A Delectable Education to schedule each of these subjects into our week, some being just once a week, and some being every day, some being 10 minutes, and some being 20.



Here is what we feasted on in Term 2:

Bible: We read from the actual Bible text, and we are reading through Genesis and Matthew in Grade 1 (Form 1B). We covered Genesis 18-30 and Matthew 8-12. We read roughly 10-20 verses a day, seeking to cover one whole "episode" but not an entire chapter in a day. We alternate days between Genesis and Matthew.

Poetry: We choose one poet to focus on each term, and for term two, we focused on Elizabeth Coatsworth. I found most of her poems online, but we enjoyed Song of the Camels in book form. We read poetry every day, so we read Elizabeth Coatsworth’s poems 2-3 times a week, and on the other days, we read from A Child’s Book of Poems by Gyo Fujikawa.

Math: We used Charlotte Mason Elementary Arithmetic to cover numbers 20-50. This is a new math book that will be part of a series with plans for the rest to come out in the next couple years. I am so excited about this math series! It is completely based off of Charlotte Mason’s method, and it is different from other programs available (mainly, that problems are mostly done orally which is so gentle for these young ones!). It goes along with the bundle that I used last term (the bundle is more like a teacher’s guide and includes the entire scope & sequence for 1-12 grade).                

Reading: We just use this time for Sophie to get more practice with reading – 10 minutes a day. We read some of Treadwell’s First Reader as well as different readers like Frog and Toad and her American Girl Samantha book.

Copywork: For copywork, Sophie typically copies a line or two of poetry. Occasionally we do a verse instead or a line from a hymn. The goal is to visualize each word before writing it so that she can write the whole word from memory.

History: In our continuation of studying early American History, I wanted to take this term to focus on Native Americans. We used Meet the North American Indians by Payne as our spine, and we read Children of the Longhouse by Joseph Bruchac to go along with it. We actually didn’t finish Children of the Longhouse, but we enjoyed both books. Joseph Bruchac is a great author to check out for Native American writings. We also read Whispers of the Wolf by Pauline Ts'o.

Geography: We have two days that we do geography. One day is more for learning about physical geography and the general workings of the world (this is like "pre-map" work, because a child needs to understand these things before grasping a map or globe). The other day is for reading and learning about children of other cultures and countries. Here is what we used:
Day 1 Book: The Little Mexican Donkey Boy by Madeline Brandeis (Charlotte Mason actually used this slot to help her children learn about children from other cultures - roughly 5-6 a term, so just a brief overview. This helped children to understand that there was a bigger world out there in the best way they could grasp- through the lives of other children, who were like them, yet different. In the future, we will use something more like this- perhaps the I Can See the Sun books, though I am not certain. Sophie did love this book though, and we learned a little about Mexico through it.)
Day 2 Books: The Big Storm by Bruce Hiscock
Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
(While we did love these books, I will probably use them as free reads in the future and just use Charlotte Mason's Elementary Geography book for our actual school time. I was intimidated and unsure of this book at first, but now I see it is very thorough and I prefer it as our actual school spine.)

*Note: We do still pull a map out during subjects like history and Bible and even sometimes geography, so Sophie does have experience with them; they simply aren't our main focus in geography for this year.

Natural History: For Natural History, I choose two books that we will spend the whole term using, and then we have a special studies topic for the term (and sometimes two special studies), and I choose several books to cover that topic.
Book 1: Wild Life in Woods and Fields by Arabella Buckley
Special Studies Books: Winter Trees by Gerber and Evans

Literature: We spend most of our literature time this year reading fairy tales and fables. Here are stories we covered this first term:
Aesop’s Fables: The Dog, The Cock, and the Fox
Aesop’s Fables: The Lion and the Mouse
Aesop’s Fables: Belling the Cat
Blue Fairy Book: Little Red Riding Hood
Blue Fairy Book: The White Cat
Blue Fairy Book: The Wonderful Sheep
Blue Fairy Book: Felicia and the Pinks
Blue Fairy Book: Diamonds and Toads

Physical Education (Drill/Dance/Play): This time should be used twice a week for actual free play. No rules, just let the child play. Other possibilities for the way we use this time (on the other days) are to learn jumping rope, fun dances together, and Swedish Drill. In this first term, we reviewed Swedish Drill movements and learned a fun drums song dance. We also skipped and marched to songs.
My two favorite resources for Charlotte Mason dance and drill: Swedish Drill and Dance/Moving to Songs

Music Appreciation: We studied Peter Tchaikovsky this term. We covered Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy, Piano Concerto No. 1, 1812 Overture, Violin Concerto in D Major, Quartet No. 1 in D Major. We simply listened to the songs. We also read The Story of Peter Tchaikovsky by Opal Wheeler.

Art Appreciation: We studied Winslow Homer. We studied The Milkmaid, The Country School, Snap the Whip, Fog Warning, The Turtle Pond, The Fox Hunt, and Deer in the Adirondacks, . I read a little biography on him, but mostly, we just studied the pictures, and Sophie narrated what she saw.

Spanish: We use Cherrydale Press's Spanish Book (volume 1) as our spine for this subject. We use it 1-2 times a week. It is based on of Francois Gouin's research that showed it is easier to learn a language when you learn the action verbs (rather than just a noun). So, we learn a set of activities in English (acting them out); then once we have the English memorized, we learn the same set of activities in Spanish. We did Cherrydale lessons 5-8 this term. We also had flash cards and learned new words from those, and we used real objects, such as clothing, to learn new words. We also Pio Peep poems.

Singing: We learned and sang the following songs over the term:
- Patriot Song: America the Beautiful
- Folksongs/Nursery Rhymes: Will Ye Go Lassie, Hot Cross Buns, Doggie Doggie Where’s Your Bone, The Boatman
- Hymns: O Come O Come Emmanuel, I’ll Fly Away, Oh How I Love Jesus
- Spanish Songs: Noche de Paz, Cabeza Hombros Rodillas y Pies
We learned the difference between the beat and the rhythm.

Recitation: We split our recitation time into three different days (we have a five day rotation for our subjects). The first day, we recite a hymn (rather than sing). The second day we recite a Bible verse. The third day we recite a poem. In a term, for the first grade year, the preference is to learn two hymns, two verses, and two poems. The purpose of recitation is not memorization (though, that often happens over the term!); the purpose is to be able to read something beautifully. Because Sophie is still a newer reader, she repeated lines after me rather than reading herself. This term, we did the following:
- Hymns: Fanny Crosby: To God be the Glory
- Verses: Luke 2:1-20 (Christmas Story) and Luke 10:25-37 (The Good Samaritan)
- Poems: Elizabeth Coatsworth: “The Mouse”

Drawing: We used this time to do drawings from nature (we bring the object inside and she brush draws it – with a paint brush), from her imagination of stories we have read, and from her memory of animals she has seen. This is an area I am still learning to improve in.


Handicrafts/Work: Sophie learned how to sew on a sewing machine. Her grandma taught her, and she has done a few projects since then. She’s made four pillowcases! She continued to do some hand sewing, and she also did some origami projects. We also did lots of baking for Christmas goodies!