This is our third year homeschooling, but our first year of formal lessons. We just completed our first week of Form 1B (first grade) with my daughter. I wanted to share some of my thoughts and reflections as well as some highlights and things I want to adjust for next week. I’m not usually great with documenting because I like to live in the moment with my kids, but I did document some “firsts” here for you all to see. I can’t wait to look back on them someday when my girls are high-schoolers. Here are a few thoughts on our first week of formal lessons using a Charlotte Mason educational philosophy.
Our First Week of Formal Lessons | 2021-2022
Making an island with kinetic sand as part of our geography lesson.
Drawing Jenny Wren for her narration after reading the Burgess Book of Birds, Chapter 1.
As part of our morning time beauty loop (or as the CMEC calls it, Truth, Beauty, Goodness) we listened to our composer’s piece for the week. Three minutes of Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, and this was what she drew while she listened. I encouraged her to closer her eyes and picture what she thinks of while listening to the piece. This was after we read a short biography of Mozart.
Something I’m most excited about it how I’m approaching reading with my kids. I plan to share a whole separate blog post and video on my strategy and the wonderful resource I’m using as a guide, but for now, here are some peeks at our reading lesson for the day.
Poetry Tea Time:
Instead of tiring myself out by trying to do poetry tea time daily, we are doing it once a week. It’s much more attainable and guarantees that we won’t skip it. We read from the Favorite Poems Old and New book, as well as our Grimm’s fairy tale for the week.
Fairy Tales & Literature:
This was my form 1B student’s narration of The Frog Prince, and the corresponding picture she drew. It’s definitely an art to try and figure out when and when not to have your child give a drawn narration versus an oral narration! I’m refining this skill each day 😉
Little Kid Activities:
N (my 3-year-old) was all about the lessons the first day but by day two she needed some age-appropriate activities. I realized very quickly that I needed to pull something separate out for her while I taught G certain subjects. I would grab playdough, stamps, magnatiles, and peg dolls to keep her busy throughout the days. I slowly got better at remembering to juggle both kids at once.
Two hours of unstructured out-of-doors time per day with a longer day out-of-doors on Fridays for nature study.
A peek at our writing lesson. We are using Beautiful Italics for Children.
One of our math lessons! I’ll share a full review of our Charlotte Mason math curriculum maybe mid-way thorugh the year if not, definitely by the Spring. I am LOVING it so far.
Nature Study – Nature Walk – Home & Garden:
On our third day of homeschool, after we finished our lessons we hopped in the car to spontaneously pick apples. It turned into quite the adventure. We picked several pounds of apples, and afterward the girls played at a local farm and I got some pre-reading done. It was a glorious afternoon that lasted several hours. It also inspired my daughter to try to make an apple pie, so that’s what you see in the following photos. Home & Garden is a subject we include in homeschool so the next day we all three baked an apple pie together!
I love spontaneous adventures that turn into learning and lessons. Sometimes real life is glorious.
Some additional notes I jotted down in my logbook:
-Narration is definitely a muscle we will have to use quite a bit before it’s well-toned. I do, however, see its benefits from using it early and often.
-Sometimes G really wants to narrate and sometimes she’ll say “why are you asking me to do this?” I explained to her that it helps me know what she heard from what I read! I also found that giving her a choice, would you like to do an oral narration (tell me and I write it down), or to draw it? This seemed to motivate her a bit more, but I learned not to push it too much.
-We didn’t get to piano lessons every day like I had planned. I will work hard to make sure we hit our daily ten minutes next week!
-I found that I crave consistency, so I’ll be switching our Timetable around a bit to morning time first, then reading, writing, math, and that day’s subject reading, then handicrafts and brushdrawing. I didn’t like moving around the order of the core subjects so much in a week. Maybe I’ll try again next year but I found myself frustrated with not knowing the order for the day’s work.
-G really loved the handicraft at first, but got impatient with the wet raffia work. I may try a different project with her with dry raffia.
-I still need to watch the art instruction videos from the CMEC to help me plan our afternoon occupations to run more smoothly.
And that’s it, my friends! It was a full week, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Sometimes I’ll think about all the things I’d get done in a day if I wasn’t a full time mom and homemaker but I truly couldn’t imagine mothering any other way. I’m thankful to my Savior for leading me down this path, for entrusting me with these little souls to disciple to and bring up. I’m thankful for my husband who willingly supports our family and this lifestyle. Lastly, I’m thankful to all of the homeschooling families before us who paved the way for us to have the freedom to educate our children at home. What an absolute gift.