First day of co-op and a few pictures.
We had our first day of the Charlotte Mason homeschool co-op yesterday.
It went very well! The only downside was they actually intended for me to be the helper in the 4/5 year old class and not Ada’s 2/3 class. Ada wouldn’t stay in the 2/3 class without me. To be fair I had promised her we would stay in the same class together.
I tried leaving her in there and she just stood in the same spot and sobbed silently. So very sad!
She came in the 4/5 class with me, which was fine because she speaks in full sentences and she’s pretty big. She wears 4t and is almost fitting into 5t. The 4/5 class is doing the same activities as the 2/3 class anyway. I’m not that concerned with her being independent at this point. Rosie was the same way at age 2-3, and now she is perfectly happy to go off without me to her classes when she doesn’t even know a single person there.
Ada had a good time! We went on a nature walk with the 2/3 class and found an empty bird’s nest.
(Hesitating as to whether I should share pictures or not. Hopefully it’s ok, especially since there are no names attached!)
Their expressions are funny. Everyone is frowning because of the cold wind that started gusting, even though it was 60 degrees out.
The kids observed how the nest was built with twigs, grass, and trash then pasted together with mud.
They were disappointed that there were no eggs inside.
We also decorated Valentine’s Day hearts made out of salt dough. All the kids are gathered around picking ribbons to put through the holes to hang their hearts.
iPhone picture of Ada with her hearts:
We planted herb seeds in mini green houses made from 2 liter bottles.
We also played with play doh, had lots of free play time, read a book, ate lunch, and did some other activities.
It lasted from 10:30-2:15, but it went by quickly.
The big families in our group really impress me. Several families have four, five, or six kids. (They are normal families, they don’t dress alike in homemade clothes or anything like that. They just believe children are a blessing and love their families.) All of the kids are so sweet and well behaved! It’s nice to find a group of people that I might fit in to. I’ve never fit into any of the other homeschool co-ops we’ve tried out, for various reasons.
Rosie enjoyed her classes also. Surprisingly her favorite thing was drill. She loved doing burpies. They also got jump ropes meant for gym classes (vs. toy jump ropes) and they were personally sized to each kid. Rosie was thrilled to “learn how to jump rope for real” as she put it. They did relay races too, which she thought were so fun. She also loved water color painting in nature study. They studied pear tree clippings this week and learned why and how trees grow and then lose their leaves.
At lunch had an older kid be a lunch buddy to each younger kid so that the kids all had someone to sit with and talk to. The older kid helped the younger kid open their food and clean up. This turned out to be a great idea. Everything went so smoothly and the little kids were thrilled to have lunch buddies. I think some of the kids talked so much they forgot to eat!
After the little kids were picked up from our classroom at the end of the afternoon I went to the gym to get Rosie and she was having a blast playing with a new friend. She didn’t want to leave!
She spent all afternoon telling me the fun things they did. Both Ada and Rosie were totally worn out last night!
I don’t have any pictures of Rosie’s classes since I was in class with Ada all day.
I’m feeling really good about our decision to do Charlotte Mason homeschooling right now. I loved it before, but it was lonely figuring it out alone. Most other homeschoolers we’ve met just do curriculum workbooks. That is definitely not for us. Charlotte Mason focuses on literature, history, and growing a love for lifelong learning. Honestly I’m surprised it’s not more popular among homeschoolers.
Boxed curriculums seem so boring in comparison, at least to Rosie and me. It feels like Charlotte Mason (and the similar Classical Conversations style) is learning in 3d, where as plain old curriculum is so flat and 2d. The books we read come alive and I enjoy reading them along with Rosie! Ada enjoys them too, she is obsessed with the history books and actually remembers the thingswe read…at least a two year old version of it. You should have seen the look on my parents’ faces when Ada started describing Hammurabi and his mean code in great detail at dinner one night. Hahaha! Egypt studies have also been a big hit around here, as was Sumer and cuneiform writing.
The way the history is intended to work is the main stories from the beginning of history through the present are studied with living books (first hand accounts, biographies, first person fictional stories based on fact, museums, the Usborne Book of World History, A Child’s History of the World, and so on…) but with CM style there is no emphasis on memorizing the dates. You create a general timeline by drawing a picture and writing a sentence summary for each section you study to keep as a reminder. Once the child is older, usually starting in sixth grade, you start over again at the beginning of history, but this time you remember the dates and the greater details. It’s easier to learn the in depth details the second time since you’re already familiar the general events.
We learned none of these things in public school, at least not in elementary. We may have mentioned the Egyptians, but we never really studied them. We did one year of world history study crammed into one year somewhere in high school. I remember it involved a lot of coloring. Rosie is going to know SO MUCH MORE. It’s unbelievable.
I’m loving it too–learning all kinds of new things along with her! And it’s not hard. People seem to think you need to be a genius to homeschool or something. All you need to do is read the books, discuss, be organized enough to have school supplies and time each day to read together, and have fun learning. When Rosie gets older I plan on having her take chemistry and upper level math classes at one of our local universities–they let homeschoolers take classes there and one county even offers them for free to advanced high school students! The Kahn Academy online also has all kinds of tutorial videos on advanced subjects. The best part is my kids will have the freedom to take classes based on whatever their interests are. If Rosie is interested in being a scientist she can get started on all the advanced science classes we can find. If she’s interested in being a history professor she will be able to focus on that. Freedom to succeed!
A lot of universities now have programs to attract homeschool graduates. I think admissions officers are noticing that a lot of these students do really well. The University of Kentucky specifically recruits homeschoolers, and they are a pretty good school. They have excellent medical, dental, and teaching programs. (And you know what? I am not that concerned about my kids going to college. In today’s world a college degree does not always mean a great job, as a lot of our generation have discovered the hard way. I want them to be able to go to college and succeed if that’s what they desire, but if they want to do something else (vocational) then that would be fine with us too. I just want them to be happy.)
Now with all that being said, I’d better get up off the couch and get us dressed because we’re about to be late for Rosie’s speech therapy…at public school. Our public school system here is considerably less than excellent, but the speech therapist is pretty awesome.
Side note: 15 weeks pregnant today! I can’t believe I’ve made it this far. It still feels surreal. I feel what could be the baby fluttering around in there sometimes, especially by my left hip bone area. Always over there for some reason. I haven’t felt any real huge definite movements on a regular basis yet. I should any time now, I guess. I know I was feeling Ada and Rosie moving quite a bit by 16 weeks.
We’re going to find out if the baby is a boy or a girl soon! I don’t have a date scheduled yet, but we’ll probably find out at 16-18 weeks. Sometime in the next few weeks! Maybe that will make this seem more real. Everyone keeps saying they hope it’s a boy, and assuming we were trying for a boy because we have two girls. Honestly I would be thrilled to pieces if I had a third little girl. I love my two girls quite a bit. I’m a little afraid of having a boy–all that boy energy bouncing around! But you know either way I just want a live baby. What’s between the legs isn’t exactly a deciding factor in my level of happiness at this point, especially after experiencing a loss.