back to the books.

It’s about that time again…

Time for school!

This year we are easing back into things a little early. We’ve been spending this week reviewing some of the things we were working on before summer break arrived.

Katie will be in the 2nd grade this year. She is ahead in math, doing 3rd grade work. But I feel like she is behind in reading. Joshua, who only just turned four, is quickly catching up to her (Yikes!). While I want to respect the fact that everyone is different and learns at a different pace, I do want to be sure this year that I’m challenging Katie as well. I don’t want to be so understanding that I “fall off the horse” on the other side, if you know what I mean. I want to do my best for her!

As I was looking over my lesson plans for the rest of this week, I looked at the notes I had made. I had “Reading” and “Math” notes jotted down (those two are easy to work in to our schedule), but a big empty space for “Other” (I’m actually kinda laughing at myself for writing “Other” there in the first place).

I’m just starting to wake up to the fact that I have a 2nd grader now. It was fine to let some things like History and Science, slip when Katie was younger—but not anymore! It’s time.

There’s a curriculum that I’ve been wanting for years that I think will finally be in our budget this year. It’s called Tapestry of Grace and it’s based on the Classical model of education (which I originally heard of when I borrowed The Well Trained Mind from the library years ago). The best thing about Tapestry is that it fills in a big gap in my homespun curriculum plan—it’s rich with History. But… I don’t have this great material yet. And that doesn’t mean that I get to ignore that big, empty spot on my schedule, either!

Today I must have been feeling very creative. When I looked at the empty spot, I thought about the timeline project I’ve always dreamed of making. One day I want to make timeline that will stretch around the room! Picture large pieces of blank paper lining the walls with notes, stickers, drawings and magazine clippings all over it… a visual representative of history, so that it’s easy to remember what happened when. So, I thought “Well, why not start on a mini book version of that?” That was an exciting idea! We could get all crafty with some construction paper and make an expanding book that gave Katie a great overview of history. I love it!

And then I thought “What about science? What about making mini books on birds, then dolphins, then snakes?” How fun! So, after school I got on-line to look for some resources to get me going in the right direction. I thought maybe I’d start printing some photographs of birds for Katie to cut and paste next to facts about them.

But then the first search result knocked my socks off! I found a Waldorf-inspired site that had me wondering why on earth I was thinking of hunting up photographs of animals to use for this project!

I’ve always had a love for some of the creative ideas from Waldorf schools (and also Charlotte Mason. If we’re going to read books in this house, they are going to be “Living Books” and not text books!) Over and over again, I’ve heard of the idea of having your child keep a journal/notebook for drawing about the world around them. But I was truly inspired when I saw the work shared here on the Christopherus Homeschool site. Take a look at some of these (the images are linked):

A sixth grader’s page about the Romans:

A page about the Vikings:

And a page about Geometry:

Holy cow! I am in love! I would have loved to have learned geometry like that, wouldn’t you?! Instead, geometry was stuffed into a month and a half of Summer School for me. Yeah… I don’t remember a darn thing about it.

So, I’m totally inspired. Just thought I’d share a little bit about it here today. 🙂

(Now, back to hunting up more inspiration and planning tips. Yay! I love the internet!)

2 Responses to “back to the books.”

  1. Kelleigh @ Kelleigh Ratzlaff Designs Says:

    Since you are already thinking in terms of timelines, maybe you should do a timeline of your family, too! My dad always wanted to do something like this, and for a while we had one for our family. It was a huge piece of butcher paper all rolled up like a scroll. We recorded family events on it. Very cool. I kinda wish we still had it, but it burned up when our family had a house fire. Anyway, as a scrapbooker, you probably already do something like this, but I thought I would mention it!

  2. Erika Martin Says:

    Oh my word…..I can’t believe how grown Katie has become! She’s turning into a beautiful little lady!