Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Charlotte Mason, Term One (Almost Done)

Six or so weeks ago, I reviewed our first month homeschooling Charlotte Mason style, and you saw how that went.

(This is how it went.)

Now we are in our twelfth week, or finishing our first term, and it gets better.

My son improving in his handwriting.
He now leaves spaces between his words.

The first week of October, my husband came home one afternoon early from work and said, "I no longer have a job. They let me go."

My husband has worked with this company for seventeen years. Six years ago they were acquired by another company, which was a scary time; he fought for his job, and it made a difference. He so impressed the new leadership that he was asked to take the general manager position. It was both a blessing and a curse.

Nature study

Fast forward to 2018, and his company was sold again; though this did not have the same ending. He was under the impression that he would have a job after the acquisition. Regardless, my husband has been meticulous about preparing us for this day, just in case all the upper management was wiped out; and since it was now a reality, his diligence paid off. It is because of his hard work that we hardly felt the lay off. We could see ourselves floating for a good six months or more, if it took that long to find a new job.

Nonetheless, the reality of being out of work was devastating for him because he takes his obligation to provide for his family severely. Two mornings after his layoff, he lie awake, distraught. I finally got the courage to tell him: you need to make a habit of praying and reading your Bible every morning, and drawing strength from Him.


Do you know, he got up, went to our school room, where his desk is, and read from 1 Peter. When I came out later to see how he was, he told me what he read and pointed out where it suggested that husbands should pray with their wives, which is what I've been praying for for a long time. I have always wanted my husband to make time for God, reading His word and praying daily, but his job as GM took up his waking hours and energy. He never had time for God, except Sundays.

So right there we prayed for the first time as husband and wife, and there were a lot of tears, too. Each morning, he wakes up at 6 am, reads his Bible, and then after I read and pray privately, I go to him and we discuss what we read; then we pray together. Each morning, we've been doing this for a month.

Art illustration

Meanwhile, every day he would take care of business, while seeking work and submitting applications and resumes, up to 15 a day, sometimes.

Finally, he found a something (a customer of his previous employer), and it was a perfect match. He knew the industry, it was in the salary range he was looking, pursuing them assertively. He immediately got an interview, and a second interview, and finally an offer. He starts next week. He is super happy.

Picture Study/Illustration
So that's our story of being unemployed for five weeks. Yes, it affected our daily homeschool. We had to sacrifice our schoolroom so my husband could use his desk all morning, which he did all the way through to the afternoon. We returned to the dining room table and did our best under the circumstances.

Also, mornings always got off to a late start because I would spend a good hour talking, praying, and discussing life with my husband until we had to get started on the day. By then it was 830, and the kids still weren't up.

But this is life. We managed.

Here are our accomplishments for Term One:

  • Read Macbeth in its original language, and watched three different film editions of the play. 
  • Studied Lewis and Clark, Napoleon's Empire, the War of 1812, and miscellaneous other events that took place between 1800 and 1830.
  • Covered maps of US western expansion, Lewis and Clark's expedition, Napoleon in Europe and Russia, Native American Tribes, and battles of the War of 1812.
  • Read numerous stories from Plutarch.
  • Read Rip Van Winkle, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and a couple stories from Tanglewood Tales
  • Learned six poems from Alfred Lloyd Tennyson.
  • Listened to six compositions from Mendelssohn.
  • Studied six works by Jacques Louis David.
  • Learned numerous American folksongs and folklore, like "Cumberland Gap," "Ol Dan Tucker," and "The Birth of Davy Crockett."
  • Thoroughly enjoyed reading a little bit at a time from Ourselves, by Charlotte Mason. (Great life lessons!)
  • Covered Old and New Testament.
  • And of course, math and grammar.
  • Girls are doing French, and son is doing Spanish and Latin, like nobody's business.
  • Read nature parables to the younger students.
  • Older one studied biology, while the younger two studied meteorology.
  • Older one studied carnivorous plants and nocturnal animals, while the younger two studied wildflowers and spiders, against my youngest daughter's wishes. 
  • Furthermore, my older one read and narrated: Mere Christianity, The History of Painting, How to Read a Book, and Whatever Happened to Justice. All of these studies will take 2-3 years to finish reading.

Picture Study/Illustration

One thing I dislike is The Young Citizen Reader, which I removed a few weeks ago because it is outdated and not easily read aloud. I need something else for our citizenship study. My kids are completely disinterested in this version, and so am I. We tried.

Some things did suffer because of the changes, such as art illustration and nature study, which is usually what happens when you slip up. I tried to incorporate it here or there, and we managed to do some art in nature study and picture study, but not as often as I imagined. 

Next week is Exam Week. Being my first time, I want to keep it fun and interesting. Praying for good attitudes. After that, we take a week off for Thanksgiving, which will be a great time to redo our schedule, prepare for the next term, and organize the school room, now that Dad returns to work and we will have it to ourselves again.

Mom's contribution to art study

We survived a term of interruptions and life changes. We adapted. We still learned. 
Now on to Term Two. 


Carol said...

Great to read this, Ruth. The prayer experience is so encouraging! Looks like you had a wonderful term. CM used Plutarch for Citizenship from about age 10yrs. I haven't heard of that reader - sounds American? We used the Ian McKellen & Judi Dench version of Macbeth which was well done. We just finished Richard III & it was the hardest play we've done so far. We'd read Daughter of Time before reading it & that just turned us right off Shakespeare's version!

Ruth said...

Thanks, Carol. We're enjoying Plutarch and Ourselves for citizenship, so I think I'm going to leave out the The Young Citizen for awhile or maybe find something else later. We watched the Judi Dench Macbeth, too. I'm looking forward to a lighter there be such a thing. Next term we are beginning Twelfth Night.