more school talk

Hey Brenda, it’s November! How is school going?

Well, thanks for asking! How sweet of you. Yes, it’s had a few delays this fall but we have been clipping right along despite that…

What do you think of your curriculum so far?

Oh you know us homeschool Moms love to talk books! Here ya go:

–I am thrilled with My Fathers World (and friends know that my giving up Sonlight wasn’t easy!) it’s meaty in content, but simple in application. It has been the hinge of our day that everything else hangs on!

–MFW schedules in Art and Classical music study, two things I have longed to do but never added. Hadyn wasn’t embraced but they are 14, 12 and 10-they didn’t HATE it, so that’s a victory. Art was a big surprise-they really enjoy it, and Caleb begs for it. Every lesson has them drawing for hours, and Caleb throwing his arms around me in grateful joy.

–After two years of debating whether or not to buy it-Josiah is learning tons with Apologia Science, and doing both that and his Saxon Algebra independently (you know I love that!)

Teaching Textbooks is on its way via UPS and I think it is going to be a great fit. I am expecting a breakthrough Math year for Sam and Caleb.

–We’ve only done one lesson so far in Institute for Excellence in Writing (started last week) but-oh! what a great lesson it was-all three boys got the concepts quickly, were happily scribbling away and produced excellent paragraphs. This might even help my writing (we can only hope, right?!)

–3 years I have had English From The Roots Up. Three years and we never did it-until
now. MFW schedules it into the week, and so we are learning Latin! Years of putting it off because it seemed so complicated, only to find out it takes 15 minutes, three times a week. well, better late than never!

Bible Study Fellowship is on the book of John this year. On Monday nights the boys race out to the car. I know they are excited to go see their many friends in class but it’s gratifying when Sam says “My favorite part is homiletics, Mom” and I know that a strong Scripture foundation is being laid into his life, line upon line, precept upon precept.

Now. With all that excitement over our school year, can you believe that one of the simplest additions is one that I am so excited about? After two failed attempts, this year we are adding Nature Study.

This is Sam and Caleb, last Friday:

If you are unsure what Nature study is, here is an informative link:

http://simplycharlottemason.com/2007/07/25/8-reasons-to-do-nature-study/

but this is basically what it is-you go outside. You look at what God made. When you find something interesting or new or strange or wonderful? You draw it in your sketchbook and/or look it up in a field guide.
You get outdoors and open your eyes and practice being a Naturalist.

You combine learning with wonder.
and that is how learning sticks, you know. We are body-mind-spirit. All three need to be engaged in order for learning to be genuine. Otherwise it’s just dry dusty facts some teacher told us was important. Wrap that subject in story-in relationship-in personal experience, and you will know that subject matter–whatever it is–for life.
It’s true and I can prove this premise. Think about your favorite teacher. I bet I can tell you WHY they stand out among the dozens you experienced. They either taught in an unorthodox way that was hands-on and personal, OR they told incredible stories that made the subject come alive OR they really, genuinely cared about you as a person, right?

ok–little rabbit trail there–sorry–

I was starting to say that I like how Nature Study naturally engages the body, mind and spirit. Your body is outside, not sitting in a hard seat breathing stale air. Your mind is alert, curious, engaged-looking at everything with keen observation. Your spirit is awake, alive-recognizing God’s hand and sharing with those around you what you see. It’s like the perfect recipe for brain stimulus!

Here is Caleb’s first page:


I just noticed how he wrote the date totally backwards. Don’t look at that, haha! Notice instead how he drew the leaf and wrote “a bit charred and spotted” next to it…or how he noted that the cloud was Cirrus in formation…even better yet, see the pink berry? He squeezed the actual blackberry onto the page to get that stain, then drew it in. Pretty cool, I think!

On the sofa table in the living room we’ve dedicated a little space to gather our finds. I was so inspired by this family’s Nature Table:
http://www.aholyexperience.com/2008/10/wonders-nature-table-gathering.html

but we don’t have room for a whole table. That’s okay! With a $3 beadboard tray from the Goodwill, a 1932 bug book and an old custard cup for the little acorns and small rocks? We are ready for whatever the year brings…

Keeping the field guides and magnifying glass close by, for exploring on a whim. Creation draws us like a magnet towards the Creator…

(1st and last photo taken by dear friend, F. thanks!)

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About sparrowjourney

Christian homeschooling mom to three boys, married to my best friend, John, for over 20 years. I love gardening without gloves, learning history with my kids, cooking with lots of butter, serving others, great books, rich coffee, studying the Bible, camping outdoors, scrapbooking, vintage home decor, the smell of rain and cut grass, authentic people, poetry, laughing until your sides hurt, and babies. oh and black licorice is pretty awesome.
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3 Responses to more school talk

  1. Susan says:

    I'm so glad you like MFW. Be watchful of the acorns, we ended up with maggots or something really gross like it in my little tray. Eeeewwww. How are you finding the science? I'm not real happy with the Body book (the one with all the photocopies) I like the photocopies but am finding that I need other resources for the learning part.

  2. Susan says:

    PS–I really want to do IEW too. I borrowed some tapes to watch. I really need to watch them so I can do it too. I'm glad you liked it.

  3. Dianne Phillips says:

    Beautiful post – one of my favorites from your blog – and I enjoy them all!

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