Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My Bohemian Spin on Year One

One of the things that I've been working on since our first term began in late September, is fitting in everything I want to fit in every week. Charlotte Mason's methods, as you know, call for many subjects. It helps me to take a look at the breakdown for one of Miss Mason's PNEU schools, Year One. From there, I can work out our own little plan. Here's what a week's work looked like for a PNEU child roughly between the ages of 6 and 7:

Old Testament - 2x a week (about 20 minutes w/ narration)
New Testament - 2x a week (about 20 minutes w/ narration)
Printing - 2x a week (about 10-20 minutes)
Writing - 2x a week (pretty certain this is cursive - about 10-20 minutes)
Drawing - 1x a week (about 20 minutes)
Repetition - 3x a week (poem,parable,or hymn - this is memorizing - about 10 mins.)
French - 3x a week (about 10 minutes)
Number - 6x a week (CM schools met on Saturday - this is math - about 20 mins.)
Reading - 6x a week (instruction - 30 minutes)
Natural History - 3x a week (10 minutes)
Picture Talk - 1x a week (10 minutes)
Geography - 2x a week (10 minutes)
Drill/Dancing - 3x a week (this is calisthenics or dancing - about 30 minutes)
Sol-fa - 2x a week (see AO's explanation - about 15 minutes)
French song - 1x a week (15 minutes)
Handicrafts - 4x a week (20 minutes)
Brushdrawing - 2x a week (this is drawing with a paint brush - about 20 minutes)

I'm in the process of adapting and flexing the PNEU schedule to fit our lives. For one thing, I should make it clear that when I need to deviate from Miss Mason's nitty gritty details in order to be able to accomplish the bigger picture, I do. For instance, Miss Mason recommended that children finish lessons before noon, that way they could have the entire afternoon to enjoy outdoors or do handicrafts or pursue other interests. Great. That makes sense. Children are bright and fresh in the morning, it's a great time for lessons.

BUT, in the afternoon, Punkin and Little Dude nap for 2 and 1/2 hours. That means morning would be school and afternoon would be nap and when do I get to be with my sweet babies? My time with the younger two is seriously hampered by a morning school schedule. We can do it, but it is not my first choice. I have four children, not just two. I need to work out a way to take all four into consideration without *homeschooling* running the show. As the school age children get older, they will be able to do more of their schoolwork independently - and in the morning. For now, though, we flex.

So, I'm a teensy bit deviant. I do some lessons in the morning, usually Bible, handwriting, and reading instruction. These subjects really are best done in the morning when the children are fresh. Math often happens before lunch, too. The rest I save for naptime. Yes, that's right dear bloggy friends, it's not uncommon for us to be finishing up the day's reading at 4:30pm or later. In fact, on days that My Sam does history tales with the children, those readings are after dinner and more like 7pm or later. For our family, it seems to be working best to let school kind of weave through the other parts of the day. It isn't really segregated into its own room or its own time slot. Lessons happen in short segments throughout the day. This helps me get the children all outside together for longer periods of time. It helps me get housework done. And, believe it or not, it helps me get school work done. If brushwork has to happen at 10:15am, it probably won't get done. If it can happen at the kitchen table and it's almost 5:30pm and I'm in the kitchen getting dinner anyway, that's more doable for me.

The children are being presented with new ideas daily in a home where interests are fostered and encouraged. That's part of the big picture. Sure, that means that drawing may come at dusk on some days, but that's better than not at all, and better than losing my head over trying to fit everything into a morning block of time just because Charlotte says morning is best.

Cindy at Dominion Family has a great post discussing the importance of an atmosphere of learning instead of just a good schedule. I think you'd enjoy reading what she has to say.

That's where I got the bohemian phrase ;)