Saturday, September 8, 2012

Necessary Changes to our Charlotte Mason Curriculum

This is Princess Abbey's Y7 year with Charlotte Mason.  This marks the first year of what could be considered Charlotte Mason high school.  If Abbey were in public school, she would be in 8th grade, but I would venture to say that little of her Y7 program could be found in a public schooling 8th grade program. 

This also means that the year is very challenging.  I didn't realize how challenging it would be until we got started.  Our first two weeks kind of feel like a waste right now, but we will keep moving forward, regardless.  It's good that we truly don't have any strict deadlines other than that most kids should finish high school by around age 18.  I still have a goal of graduating all of mine early, but when push comes to shove, it will depend on the individual princess and her abilities before we can truly determine when she is ready for graduation. 

With that said, I was disappointed to discover that the reading schedule for this year is simply too much.  I think that it would be too much for anybody, and I am an avid reader.  For several days, I asked Abbey about her daily work.  Her daily work for this year includes things like a current events book, a forestry and wildlife course, music/art appreciation, and quite a few other things.  I was very disappointed to find out that she was having to make choices and decisions about what work or reading was most important and what would have to slide.  Even by cutting out some things (without asking permission), she was working until well past midnight!  I would tell her that she should stop and she would tell me that she could not.  She had this schedule that I posted for her in her notebook, and she was bound and determined to do it.  Holy cow!  Suddenly, she is complaining that her eyes and head hurt badly.  She doesn't feel well.  She's too tired.  This isn't the gentle education that Charlotte Mason created. 

I took her schedules out of her notebook that I had written before the start of this school year.  Those are now in the trash.  This is one of the many benefits of homeschooling.  If it doesn't work for your family, you can trash it.  I wrote a new schedule that included all of her daily work and ONE book to read for the week rather than a chapter or two out of several different books to be read during the same term.  I don't know for sure, but I think that by reading one book at the time, we can still get all of the books read for each term, and maybe they will all make a little more sense. 

ALSO, on another note.  I am reworking the book of centuries.  The book of centuries is a very large timeline, created by entering events that happen during each century as the student runs across them in her reading.  The last time that we created one, we used a spiral notebook, with a few pages designated for each century.  By the time that the school year was over, we had many empty centuries, and others that were full and could take no more.  This time, I'm putting together a three ring binder, with a divider for each century so that we can use loose notebook paper instead of attached pages.  That way, we can have as many pages as we need for each century.  In doing so, we should be able to make this one book last for the rest of her homeschooling years.  I'm very proud of my simple idea. 

1 comment:

  1. While it may not seem like it, you had several pieces of good news in your have a child who is driven to learn, and you homeschool, meaning you are flexible enough to change when something isn't working! I applaud your change of plans when you needed to adapt for your daughter. I don't know if high school should actually start in 8th grade, though I may be facing that next year, depending on how quickly my daughter moves through her 7th grade curriculum. I've already started collecting info about homeschooling high school. I'm fortunate to have found that is a forum of parents and homeschooled high school students. Thank you so much for sharing how you adapted your curriculum to better fit your daughter, it reminds us that homeschooling is about the student. Thanks for sharing!