Saturday, August 25

Thank heaven for husbands

My school planning has been extra slow this year because I never settled the basic outline for our days. There are so many subjects I want to cover and not enough time to fit them all in. I sorted through our books and came up with lesson plans for each book, but I was really just tidying up the corners and not covering the foundation of the whole thing. Each time I tried to see the big picture, it overwhelmed me and sent me on a hunt for chocolate.

I finally sat down and wrote my subjects out on cards. I'm a visual learner and I needed to see what I was doing.  I divided the different subjects by their type: Disciplinary vs. Inspirational. Charlotte Mason taught that there are different types of school subjects and that students learn to focus and learn better when these subjects are alternated.

A Charlotte Mason scholar summed up the CM thought on the matter: "Inspirational subjects touch heart and mind and are reflective of things such as art, music, literature, history, etc. Disciplinary subjects are those in which teacher-student interactions are necessary as students are unable to apprehend their concepts, content, and/or skills alone - mathematics, languages, handwriting, certain aspects of science, etc."

I'll sum it up a bit more and say that Disciplinary subjects work to develop skill and Inspirational subjects work to develop an appreciation for content. Certainly, each contains a bit of the other, but the essence of the subject is usually distinguishable.

Here they are, written down and sorted:
Step 2. Here they are, sorted with similar subjects that could flow somewhat together or alternate throughout the day:
Step 3. Here they are, sorted according to the order they would be taught throughout the day (some alternating on different days):

Well, it's nice to have it organized, but this means we have 17 subjects to teach each day. Granted, for the girls, these are 10-20 minutes subjects. But it's still too much. Especially for the boys who are spending an hour per subject. They would mutiny. But what to cull?

Step. 4 Chocolate.

I stared and stared at the cards and worked around them and hunted for chocolate all day long. I tackled them again after dinner, pausing occasionally to weep. Finally, I gave up and asked Chris for advice. 

We stared. We shuffled cards. Finally, he pulled out the imperatives and made a new list. His must-haves:
Life Skills.

Just 6 classes. I insisted we keep Logic and Latin. 8 classes.
And then, he started sliding other cards next to their similar imperatives. There are still 8 classes, but several sub-topics. For instance, 8 of the individual subjects fit into the one subject of Language Arts. They will have to alternate days or double up on some days, but we can't invest much more than an hour in the subject per day.

And if you squint just right, they almost alternate between discplines and inspirationals. Almost.

And apparently I'm not the only one struggling for a way to fit it all in. Immediately after posting this, I found an invitation email to a blog cruise about the exact same topic. On Tuesday, you'll find many more gals sharing their solutions.
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Nezzy (Cow Patty Surprise) said...

Geez Louise...all I could focus on was the chocolate! :o)

Have a great day Hon!!!

Andrea said...

I don't know how you do it! I'm so thankful for the curriculum I use that takes care of the stuff they HAVE to have, and then gives me room to put in some fun things we WANT to have. There are so many teachable moments during the day that aren't necessarily "school time". I love being with my kids so much!

Jenn said...

I completely agree about those teachable moments. I love this job. I have to have a guideline to start with, but it's really so that I have a framework to fall back on. Once the framework is there, I feel free to wander.

Jennifer aGlimpseOfOurLife said...

I read a lot of finding our children's learning style. To change that around and do something in a way that makes it more understandable for you is a smart move. And with chocolate!

LEENA7 said...

I love all the subjects you are wanting to tackle. We had a lot too and was even doing two different histories.We did as you did and broke them up more, and had several that fell into language arts.What we did and still do, is covering more of certain subjects in one day, we ave covered a lot more and in less time.For instance, many of his language arts are short lessons, so we cover one section of each every day.The same for math, we start new concept on Monday, and the other 4 days he does one lesson of problems with new concept and review of older, The other deeper subjects, history, Lit,and science..he does 2 a day and covers a whole section that day. H also retains more, and if he is really getting into something he doesn't have to stop. It seems easier to retain more when you don't have to rush to something else.Things like life skills, typing etc he covers throughout the week when he wants and on weekends too.He is now an awesome cook. smilz. I hope this helps some.

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