Friday, November 20, 2020

Homeschool: Grade 4, Term 1 (2020-2021)

 It's hard to believe I have a 4th grader, but I also LOVE having a 4th grader! We have so many great conversations, and I love seeing her become such a deep and individual thinker.


This year, Sophie began Form 2, which basically just means we lengthened time in some subjects, she has become a bit more independent in some subjects, and we've added a few new subjects. Here are the subjects we cover in a term:

Bible
Poetry
Math 
Reading
Copywork
Dictation
Grammar
American History
British History
Citizenship
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 30.


Here is what we feasted on in Term 3:

Bible: We read from the actual Bible text, and we are read through Genesis and Acts this term. We read Genesis 1-13 and Acts 1-4. We read roughly 10-20 verses a day, seeking to cover one whole "episode" but not (typically) an entire chapter in a day. 

Poetry: We choose one poet to focus on each term, and for term one, we focused on Effie Lee Newsome. We used the book Wonders which is a compilation of her poetry for children. We read poetry every day, so we also read from A Child’s Book of Poems and Mother Goose by Gyo Fujikawa. 

MathWe love Charlotte Mason Elementary Arithmetic. Book 3 is finally out, and it does not disappoint! Because we beta tested it, we already had a good head start on it before it was published, and we were able to finish it this term.We covered measurement of length, liquid measurement, and ended with multiplication and division review. I'm really impressed how much her knowledge of factors has grown, and she has committed multiplication facts to memory without it ever being forced!

ReadingWe no longer have a specific time for this in our school day. She reads on her own time, though. 

CopyworkFor copywork, Sophie typically copies two lines of poetry or from a book. 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!

Dictation: Sophie also has started dictation- where she looks at a short passage for a few minutes, to make sure she knows all of the words, and then I read it and she writes it out, ensuring to have correct spelling and punctuation. 

Grammar: We started formal grammar this year! We are using First Grammar Lessons by Charlotte Mason which are free through Charlotte Mason Poetry.

American History: This year, we are covering American history from 1800-1900. I am using A Young People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn as our spine for the term. We are using Heart and Soul alongside it. For biography and fiction supplements, we used the following books:
Sisters Against Slavery by Stephanie Sammartino McPherson
My Name is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth by Ann Turner
- Trail of Tears by Joseph Bruchac
- Soft Rain by Cornelia Cornellisen
Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War by Helen Frost 

British History: We started British History this year and are really enjoying it! We are using The Story of Britain as our spine, and we also read The Story of Napoleon for a biography.

Citizenship: We will mostly use Stories from the History of Rome as our spine this year for this subject, but with the presidential election, I also wanted to spend time on it, so we read Electing our Presidents.

GeographyWe are studying South America this year. We used In the Land of the Jaguar: South America and its People by Gena Gorrell, and I really like this book. We learned about (and identified on a map) Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, as well as the Panama Canal. Along with this, we read The Great Snake by Sean Taylor and Fernando Vilela, which is a story of fun folk stories from the Amazon River.

Natural History: 
Book 1: We now have one day where we use Sabbath Mood Homeschool's science curriculum. This term, we used her Astonomy guide. This curriculum is excellent and really got us interested in the night sky! It was a bonus that Mars was so close to earth.
Book 2: We read about marshes and valleys in Madam How and Lady Why. My girls didn't love this book.
Special Studies Books: 
Our special study was tiny creatures, and we did something different and used technology. They watched Netflix's Tiny Creatures series, virtually visiting a different animal each week.
We also read Buster Bear for fun.

Literature: This term we read In The Days of Giants (Norse mythology). We also read fairy tales, which we always love to revisit. And we always have nightly read alouds. 

Physical Education (Drill/Dance/Play): We didn't do anything formal this term- just outside stuff like riding bikes, running around, and trail walks. 

Music AppreciationWe switched it up this term and studied The Beatles. We read a fun book about them called Fab Four Friends. We listened to "I Want to Hold your Hand," "The Yellow Submarine," "Great Balls of Fire," "Here Comes the Sun," and "Twist and Shout."

Art AppreciationWe studied Pablita Velarde. We printed the paintings off on a friend's industrial printer so that my kids each have their own set. We studied "The Adoration," "Winter Hunt," "First Twins," "Old Father Storyteller," "Deer Dancer," "The Turtle Dance," and an untitled piece.

Spanish: We did not excel in Spanish this term, but we did get a little in. We worked on introductions and greetings (as we've added in some younger kiddos), we watched a few Spanish videos, and we read Mis Cinco Sentidos and Abuela.If I've failed my kids in every other way with teaching them Spanish, they can at least say Hola Abuela, as they do often while playing.

SingingWe learned and sang the following songs over the term:
- "Get on Board: The Gospel Train"
- "Polly Wolly Doodle"

RecitationWe do recitation three times a week. The purpose of recitation is not memorization (though, that often happens over the term!); the purpose is to be able to read something beautifully. Sometimes we each read a line and share the recitation, and sometimes Sophie does it all on her own. This term, we did the following: 
- Benediction: May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you...
- Verses: Luke 1:47-55; Psalm 145:8-9; Isaiah 61:1-3
- Poems: Effie Lee Newsome's "The Golden Garden Spider" and "Young Birds' Mouths" (Brielle, grade 2, learned "Strange," and "Flakes and Drops.")

Drawing: We didn't do a lot of drawing this term, but when we did, we didn't follow a particular curriculum.

Handicrafts/WorkWe didn't learn any new handcrafts but did visit a few old handcrafts.


Brielle is in 2nd grade, and pictured below are the books we used with her. If you want more details of what we did in 2nd grade (with Sophie), you can go to my Homeschooling tab.






Sunday, July 26, 2020

2020-2021 School Year Plans

I never do a big write-up about our school year at the beginning of the school year because it's just not my style. Some people love to plan every minute of their year ahead of time- I am not that homeschool mama. 

Instead, I prefer to have a rough outline plan- I've wrote in depth about how I plan my school year on this post.

We plan to start our school year in two weeks, and I'm finishing up preparing. I wanted to share with you a few of the books and resources I have planned for this year. 


These are the books I have planned for my fourth grader for this year. My second grader will also go through many of these with us, though a few of her literature and geography books are different. My third daughter turned 6 this summer, and she will also begin to join in on some things with us. The books below include poetry, natural history, citizenship, literature, history, Spanish, and geography. We will also begin British history this year- that book isn't pictured, but we plan to use The Story of Britain by Patrick Dillon.


For math, we will continue to use Simply Charlotte Mason's Elementary Arithmetic series. My 2nd grader will finish up book 1 and move to book 2 this year. I will start doing book 1 with my 6 year old. And thankfully we got to be beta testers for the 3rd book, and I will finish that up this year with my 4th grader (the 3rd book is set to come out by the end of this year).


I got our artist prints for the year printed off last week. I am so excited about who we will be studying - Pablita Velarde, Horace Pippin, and Jean-Francois Millet.


I'm doing something a little different this year, and I ordered Handwriting Without Tears books for writing. In the past I have always just used blank lined paper, appropriately sized for their ages, and then have given them lines to copy from poems and books. I wanted to intentionally teach cursive this year and felt better equipped with a book, and I ordered Printing Power for my 6 year old. We never do workbooks, so they're excited about these books, haha!


I wanted to give you a bit of a look inside my brain. The sheet of paper on the left has my ideas for artists, poets, and composers for the year. I always like to have an idea ahead of time of who we will study each term. Occasionally I this changes, but usually I stick to the plan.

The second sheet of paper will show you my history planning process. I always take the book I plan to use as a spine for the year (this year it is A People's History of the United States for Young People by Zinn)- and I comb through it, figuring out where I want to have biographies (or historical fiction) placed and which ones I want to use. This gives me a rough outline for the year that we will follow. I don't plan ahead to cover a certain book on a certain day or a certain amount of pages a day- I just have our plan of what books and in what order I want to cover.


For geography we plan to cover South America this year and do a deep dive into that continent with books, maps, and youtube videos.

I still have a few things left to figure out and organize for the school year, but as someone who never has an exact plan, I am feeling almost ready! I love our summer break so much but find that when it's time to start the new school year, we are all ready and excited!

Friday, June 12, 2020

Homeschool: Grade 3, Term 3 (2019-2020)

In the Charlotte Mason world, I call the "grade" Sophie is in "Form 1A." But in trusty American talk, she is in third grade. This was our second term for third grade.

  
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 3:

Bible: We read from the actual Bible text, and we are reading through Joshua/Judges and Luke this year. We finished our Judges reading and read Luke 13-18. We read roughly 10-20 verses a day, seeking to cover one whole "episode" but not (typically) an entire chapter in a day. 

Poetry: We choose one poet to focus on each term, and for term three, we focused on Langston Hughes. We read A.A. Milne's The Complete Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh. We read poetry every day, so we also read from A Child’s Book of Poems and Mother Goose by Gyo Fujikawa. I hadn't planned to read from A.A. Milne this term (we covered him two years ago with Sophie), but the girls pulled it out one day and loved it, and as a rule in our house, we roll with things we love!

Math: We love Charlotte Mason Elementary Arithmetic. Unfortunately, book 3 is not out yet, but we were given the opportunity to beta test book 3. It is wonderful and I hope will be available to everyone soon. We covered short division and began small long division problems. We continued practice with multiplication. And we covered time and the clock as well as months and days of the year.

Reading: We no longer have a specific time for this in our school day. She reads on her own time, though. 

Copywork: For copywork, Sophie typically copies two lines of poetry or from a book. 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! Sophie also has started dictation- where she looks at a short passage for a few minutes, to make sure she knows all of the words, and then I read it and she writes it out, ensuring to have correct spelling and punctuation. 

History: This year, we are covering American history from 1700-1800. I used A New Nation by Betsy Maestro as our spine for the term. For biography supplements, we used the following books:
- Many Thousand Gone by Virginia Hamilton
- Mumbet's Declaration of Independence by Gretchen Woelfle
- Paul Revere's Midnight Ride by Stephen Krensky 
For historical fiction, we read Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare

Geography: We studied Canada this term. We used an old 1961 textbook called The American Continents. Old textbooks aren't typically great for geography, but I simply cannot find any great new books for children. Older books discussed more than just the land- they also talk about resources and the people and jobs. So I just updated where I needed to, such as population counts or new industrialization. We looked at the map and took time pointing out different locations. Along with studying Canada, we read and learned about Niagara Falls. We read Crossing Niagara by Matt Tavares.

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: A Day and Night in a Forest by Mary Adrian 
Book 2: A Walk in the Tundra by Rebecca Johnson
Special Studies Books: 
Our special study was dinosaurs! I wanted to use a book that Sophie could read herself as next year she will start doing more studies on her own, so we used Finding the First T. Rex by Kathleen Weidler Zoehfeld 

Literature: We have two days of literature.
Day 1: We read Legends of the Iroquois by Tehanetorens. We love this book!
Day 2: Mythology- We finished Tales of Troy and Greece by Andrew Lang. This is a retelling of The Odyssey. We loved this book. Upon completion, Sophie joined in with Brielle's literature time where we read fairy tales.

Physical Education (Drill/Dance/Play): We did some swedish drill, some exercises, some Cosmic Kids yoga, and a lot of free play.

Music Appreciation: We studied Hildegard de Bingen this term. Sophie wanted to study a woman composer. We read Hildegard of Bingen by Demi. We listened to Ordo Virtutum, O dulcis Divinitis, De Spiritu Sancto, O pastor Animarum, O virtis sapientie, and Ava Maria.

Art Appreciation: We studied Jan Vermeer. We again used the artist packets from Simply Charlotte Mason... they are great! The picture quality is incredible, and I love that they come with information on the artist and each picture. We studied The Geographer, The Art of Painting, View of Delft, Young Woman with a Water Pitcher, View of Houses on Delft, A Woman Holding a Balance, Girl with a Pearl Earring, and The Milkmaid.

Spanish: We mostly used Little Pim this term. You can find their videos for free on Youtube.

Singing: We learned and sang the following songs over the term:
- "We are the World" (with motions)
- "Swing Low Sweet Chariot

Recitation: We do recitation three times a week. The purpose of recitation is not memorization (though, that often happens over the term!); the purpose is to be able to read something beautifully. Sometimes we each read a line and share the recitation, and sometimes Sophie does it all on her own. This term, we did the following:
- The Declaration of Independence 
- Verses: Numbers 6:24-26, Luke 11:33-36, Luke 12:22-34
- Poems: Oliver Herford's "The Elf and the Dormouse," "Foreign Kittens," and "The Milk Jug" (Brielle, grade 1, learned "A Thought," "Song," and "I Heard a Bird Sing.")

Drawing: This term, we mostly veered away from using this time as Charlotte Mason would have. I was influenced by Waldorf pedagogy this year and began keeping a book for each of them where they can color and paint the things they are learning in literature. Sophie has one for Tales of Troy and Greece and Narnia and Brielle has one for fables and fairy tales. We loved ending the year with these treasures!

Handicrafts/Work: We didn't learn any new handcrafts but worked on some we had already learned, such as embroidery, sewing, hand-sewing, paper folding, and baking. They also learned string art.





Brielle is in first grade this year. While we didn't do everything the same as we did with big sister Sophie, we have a general same outline. As I learn and grow as both a person and as an educator, I find better books or different ways of teaching things... sometimes because of a better grasp on the way Charlotte Mason actually taught the subject and sometimes because I'm dipping into other pedagogies that have beautiful insight as well. Brielle is a different person than her big sister too, and I keep that in mind. However, I'm not going to write out all that we did since I have already blogged before about year 1. You can look at the pictures below to see what books we used (sometimes only parts of the books... it looks like a huge stack, I know!). And you can click on this link to read the full posts of what I have done in past years/terms with Sophie: Homeschool Archives.






Wednesday, May 13, 2020

An Inclusive American History Curriculum

When I began homeschooling, I was starstruck by all the classic children's books. I grew up in the public school system with parents who weren't readers themselves. I continued on to college to get a degree in English, mostly because I loved grammar... but of course, soon I found myself reading many classics. So I learned the classic adult books. But I had never been welcomed into the world of classic children's literature. Until I started homeschooling.



I hopped full on the train. Found all the best book lists. Borrowed them all from the library. Bought even more of them. And I started Sophie's first year of homeschool, checking off every single book on the list of classics for kindergarteners.

But I never really stop researching. And as I continued to research, I would see snippets here and there of people pointing out issues with classics. "This book is so good, but you have to edit while you read because it calls Native Americans 'savages.'" Or, "This book talks about Christopher Columbus like he's a hero and doesn't give an accurate portrayal of the way he treated Natives." 


I was not educated enough. So I had to read all the comments, click on the links, read the articles. I followed every rabbit trail laid out before me, and soon I found myself in a heap of wreckage. I wouldn't say my history education was very strong, but I certainly thought I knew my stuff. But enough rabbit trails, enough listening, enough reading made me realize that I was given a biased history education. My history was from a white westerner's point of view, and it left out the side of the Native American and people of color. 

So I left the classics' train. And I jumped on the enlightenment train. Sometimes it still includes classics. But it's a train that is inclusive and seeks to give a full picture of history. Sometimes the train charges full force ahead, and sometimes it has to stop, refuel, backtrack, and correct its path. But I am fully on this train, committed to giving my children an education that is not white-washed or westernized but rather inclusive, diverse, and honest.

I am constantly learning and constantly updating my shelves, but I wanted to share my favorite books. At the end of this post, I will share my favorite sources. Don't miss that part! I am only relaying information to you that I got from others, whom I'm so thankful for. If we want to include indigenous people and black people in our history curriculum, we must listen to them. Most of my book ideas were a direct result of listening to them and their recommendations.


These are three incredible spines. They are so important. Each book comes in an adult format if you'd like to read those for yourself, but honestly, you could start with these young people versions and learn a shocking amount. All of these focus on different matters and are all important in their own way. If I had to recommend one to start with, though, I'd go with Zinn's.


I'm really big on having a spine for history, and then supplementing with biographies and historical fiction. It's hard to find a history spine for young children that isn't white-washed. Betsy Maestro's books are my favorite I have found, though. The spines mentioned above (Zinn, Dunbar-Ortiz, and Takaki) are better to start around 4th grade, I think, so Maestro's books would be good for before that.


These books are all just so excellent for learning about the Native Americans before contact. For most of us, and for many curriculums today, America starts when the white settlers came. But that's a false narrative. This land has been here for an incredibly long time with people walking it. And those people (Native Americans) are still amongst us today! The top two books are good for a parent/teacher's own education, and the bottom three books are good to use for a curriculum with children.


Picture books are a lovely way to learn about Native Americans - both historical figures as well as legends. Below are some of our favorites. These are a great supplement to a curriculum. Biographies and legends make a curriculum come to life!


It's fun and important to know how people live. We not only are better able to understand the people but also the land we live on, if we live in the Americas. These are some of my favorite books for learning about the types of homes Native Americans lived in. We personally don't live far from mounds, and it's a really neat place to visit.
Bobbie Kalman - Native Homes
Bobbie Kalman - Life in a Longhouse Village
Bobbie Kalman - Native Nations of the Western Great Lakes


A few more books about Native American historical figures and legends that we love, and a book to understand that Native people still live amongst us today!
Tehanetorens - Legends of the Iroquois (this is a really fun one!)


Basically anything by Joseph Bruchac is wonderful. He's a good name to know. Both of these books are good ones. Once your children are older, continuing to read biographies and historical fiction is important, but the books will get longer.


Historical fiction is one of our very favorites in our house. Louise Erdrich and Joseph Bruchac are simply the best when it comes to historical fiction about Native Americans. The Birchbark House series is a great series if you're looking for one with a Little House on the Prairie feel but that covers the Native's perspective.


I consider all of these good spines to cover black history. James Haskins is an author I like, and his books are the top four, but he has many more as well. These books all cover a time period or different slave accounts rather than one person.
Doreen Rappaport is an author I really love, and she has some books not pictured that I would also recommend:


There are a lot of great picture books about different movements of black history, from slavery to emancipation to the civil rights movement. Here are some we love.


Picture book biographies are simply one of our favorite!


I truly find that there's nothing like historical fiction to make history come to life! (Thank you Amber from Heritage Mom for so many of these recommendations!)


Don't forget to introduce your children to other voices in other subject areas as well!
Poetry - Consider Phyllis Wheatley, Langston Hughes, Joseph Bruchac, Louise Erdrich, and Effie Lee Newsome
Artists - Consider Jacob Lawrence, Horace Pippin, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Helen Hardin, and Pablita Velarde
Music - Consider Scott Joplin, Elizabeth Cotten, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Duke Ellington, and Robbie Robertson

Some of my favorite sources:

* Heritage Mom - Amber is simply amazing. As a black mama raising black children, she provides a world of wisdom on giving children a black perspective in history as well as other subjects (composers, artists, fiction, field trips).
* The Parallel Narrative - I've gotten a lot of book ideas from this site. She breaks it down by time period and subject area.
* Living Books of all People Facebook group - If you're on Facebook, be sure to join this group. People are continually posting new books and resources, and the search bar is great when you need to find information on a specific area.
* Oyate - This site has been really informative about Native Americans. They review books and also have a shop with books they recommend broken into different categories.
* American Indians in Children's Literature - So many great reviews on this site!
* Woke Homeschooling - This is a curriculum thoughtfully put together by homeschooling mama Delina Prcye McPhaull.
* A Broken Flute- This is a pricey book. I borrowed a copy from the library, but I will say it's worth every penny should you choose to buy. Doris Seale and her companions go through hundreds of books on Native Americans, reviewing them thoroughly. It gave me a lot of ideas for books to buy but also after reading through it, I began to have a clearer idea of what to look for and what to avoid when looking for books on indigenous people.