Sunday, September 01, 2013

Our Charlotte Mason Community As Yet Unnamed

Last year, I posted about beginning a small Charlotte Mason-inspired co-op with another family. It worked out wonderfully well, and we've now met for two sessions of our new school term. Never mind that none of my planning is done for what we need to do at home. We were all excited to begin.

Here's what we're covering:
  • Shakespeare
  • Hymns
  • Picture Study
  • Handicrafts
  • Folk Song
  • Composer Study
  • Poetry
  • Nature Study
We cover the first for items on the list, then break for lunch, and then finish up the last four things. We don't have a strictly set schedule, since it's just our two families. Since we don't always have an extra adult to watch the littlest people, we have extra interruptions sometimes, but they're getting better.

Our Shakespeare play for this term is Macbeth. There were two reasons for choosing this one: (1) my girls are studying Medieval history this year, so Macbeth fits right in, and (2) Charlotte Shakespeare was performing the play in August so we were able to go see it. I know I'm better able to understand the story, having seen it performed, and I think it gives the children a good start, too. I had to laugh at the vastly different reactions of our children to the play. Sara's boys liked it, but my girls were ready to leave at intermission and were pretty sure they'd been traumatized for life. One thing for certain: the play serves as an excellent lesson to choose your mate wisely.

Our first hymn of the term is "Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken," which just happens to have music written by this term's composer, Haydn. It's such a beautiful hymn! We will study two of Ambleside Online's suggested composers this year, Haydn and Tchaikovsky, and then branch out and take a look at John Williams.

Our artist for this term is John Singleton Copley. He was an American portrait painter around the time of the Revolutionary War. So far, we've learned that portrait painting was not considered art then, but was an occupation. There weren't any cameras yet, so if you wanted a picture of yourself, you had to sit for a portrait. His painting of Paul Revere is fascinating. We've also looked at his painting of a shark attack, and the background of that painting was interesting, too. I thought the boys would enjoy that one, with the shark and everything, but all the children seemed to find it disturbing. I suppose I should have used the alternate painting, which was Copley's family portrait. I think Sara and I both decided to display that one in our homes for the next couple of weeks. The good news is, none of his other paintings we'll study are nearly that exciting. We will look at 2 of AO's artist suggestions this year: Copley, and the Hudson River School, and then look at Giotto, to go along with the medieval studies at my house.

For poetry, we're going with Ambleside Online's Year 5 selections, because that's the year Sara's boys are studying, and our poetry studies have been so woefully neglected, we just need to read something. This term we're getting to know Rudyard Kipling. I'm looking forward to reading his poetry. The girls enjoyed reading his Just So Stories a couple of years ago, and many poems on AO's suggested list are taken from those. Our first poem was A Boy Scout's Patrol Song. That was a fun read!

Sara is in charge of handicrafts, and she found a simple pillowcase pattern from Conkerr Cancer. The kids are making pillowcases to donate to this organization, who will give each one to a child with cancer. We had a good time choosing fabrics, and we're going to make some for our cousins for Christmas, too.

Finally, Sara started off our nature study of mammals with cats! We all love cats. There are several specimens to observe at my house! This last week, we looked at wolves, and dogs. The Handbook of Nature Study didn't give us much information on wolves, and said that we'd find all we needed to know in the pages of good literature. Ms. Comstock recommended the Jungle Books as a place to find out about the habits of wolves in India, and said she would list suggestions at the end of the section, but we couldn't find them. We discussed possible books by Jim Kjelgaard we ight read to learn more. If you have any suggestions for good books on the natural history of wolves, I'd love to hear about them.

Last year, we discussed making a yearbook of our co-op activities, and we didn't get around to it. I hope we will be able to do it this year, and will have to try to remember to take pictures. We're looking forward to another fun year!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, how exciting! I am happy for you and the other family involved. It looks very rich. BTW, we always take lots of pictures and one of the students puts one of those shutterfly books, 8 x 8 together for us. Then each family can buy one if they want to.

    From joy to joy,