June 25, 2012

Parents & Children

What is the duty of a parent?  Wow, where to even start with this topic!  Some good recommended reading would be Charlotte Mason's second volume of Home Education, available free online.  Now, I have not read the whole thing yet myself, but having just returned from our state homeschooling conference, I can talk a bit about what I learned there.

One of the conference speaker's was Israel Wayne, author of Homeschooling with a Biblical Worldview, which I purchased, and Full-time Parenting.  He firmly believes that it is our duty as parents to educate our children.  There are multiple verses supporting his belief, and non which support institutionalized learning, even through a church.  I don't take quite as firm a line on this, because the Bible does not anywhere prohibit institutionalized schooling, but I do believe that letting someone else take on the bulk of your child's education is a mistake, because their moral development should be part of every moment of their day, not just before and after the school day.  This is why I began our homeschooling journey a year ago, and you can see my take on it at Why I Home School, as well as our goals.
Over at Simply Charlotte Mason, there is a series about "weed-pulling" which speaks about how it takes constant vigilance to keep our garden (children) weeded (free of bad habits).  This is one of the hardest duties a parent has, in my opinion.  Its constant, tiring, exasperating work and the pay-off is often not seen for at least a month, sometimes years!  To be a consistent parent is the most important part of "discipling" and disciplining your child.  In CM's own words, "It is hardly too much to say that most of the failures in life or character made by man or woman are due to the happy-go-lucky philosophy of the parents." Vol 2, pg 87.  We must get this right!

At the conference, this was underscored and emphasized in various ways by multiple speakers.  It is our duty to raise up Godly warriors, to defend the faith and honor our Lord (Rick Green of Wall Builders, paraphrased).  It is our duty to live by example, which is, in fact, the most difficult thing of all (Malia Russell of Homemaking 911).

How do we become everything that God wants us to be as parents?  It doesn't come naturally to us, and is made more difficult if the children aren't with you much of the time.  You can say, "Well, they will surely learn this in class at some point, so why try to deal with it now?" instead of realizing that its an issue now and if not dealt with, that weed will continue to grow and take deeper roots in your child.

Israel Wayne said something that has stuck with me, about how homeschooling is the perfect pressure cooker, with all the ingredients necessary to burn away our self and mold us into the image of God.  Think about that.  Only under heavy pressure and the right temperature can a rock become a diamond.  Only with the heavy pressure and responsibility of preparing our children for a future of serving God can our own issues (impatience, selfishness, laziness) be brought to the forefront of our minds.  We see our own flaws glaring back at us in our children and are forced to stop and say "Whoa!  Is that really what I look like to them?".  Once this is revealed (and trust me, it doesn't take long if you are homeschooling or trying to habit-train more than one child), you have two choices.  Pretend you are fine and have it under control, and tell your children to do as you say, not as you do.  Or beg God for forgiveness, mercy, and lots of help so you can change and be the person they can follow and trust.  Which will you choose?
So what are a parents duties?
  • to love and care for
  • to provide for physical and emotional needs
  • to disciple and pass on our own beliefs
  • to prepare them to live on their own
  • to educate 
We need to ask ourselves what the purpose of education is for a child, and for ourselves.  Without a goal, and without knowing what your own worldview is, you risk missing the mark completely.

Know what you know and why you know it, and purposefully pass that on to your children.

This post is linked to the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival, hosted this week by Piney Woods.

June 15, 2012

Updated Schoolroom

As soon as the 2011-12 school year ended, I started reorganizing our dining area for the next school year.  More has been done since this pictures were taken, but nothing too significant.
Before.  Yuck.
I have also purchased this Bible timeline, and am trying to figure out where to hang it.  I have a large electoral map of the United States hanging by the coat closet, so I guess it will have to go on the wall behind the couch, right by the front door.  There is no doubt when someone walks into our house that learning happens here! LOL!  I love the open floor plan of our house, but it sure makes wall space scarce.

Putting new shelves together

Organized books by AO years, labeled folders

After!  Current years books, nature study bag, games and supplies, plus keyboard.

June 6, 2012

Yahoo! Groups Galore

Since I have trouble remembering all the Yahoo! groups associated with Ambleside Online, and others seem to have the same problem, I am going to list them all here.  Hopefully, this will help others who are new to Charlotte Mason styled education to find the community resources they need.  (The descriptions are copied straight from the home pages.). The official AO, HEO, & AmbleRamble Yahoo groups are all closed to new members and posts, and it is recommended you join the AO forum for up-to-date information.

Also, I want to put a plug in for my Pinterest boards.  I've gotten some great feedback on them, and they are a great resource, with boards for each AO year (0-7 so far), as well as each subject and homeschool planning.  There is also a board for general Charlotte Mason information.

Charlotte Mason

Early Years
The goal of this group is to allow parents to discuss the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling as it related to children, ages birth through 6 years. Charlotte Mason was NOT an advocate of "formal" schooling for these years, instead, she stressed the formation of habits, exploring, and playing.
A group for Charlotte Mason Mom's using the curriculum outline suggested in Karen Andreola's summer of 93 Parent's Review titled, "A Formidable List of Attainments for a Child of Six", and also trying to complete the Kindergarten Skills list as described in Catherine Levison's book, A Literary Education. 
Primary Years 
To discuss the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling elementary age children, and to share the joys and concerns of everyday life.

CM Series   A focused list for those wishing to learn more about the Charlotte Mason method of education by reading her own books and Parents Review articles, and engaging in discussions of a philosophical nature.
CMason  The original CM study loop.  For those using or interested in using the Charlotte Mason Philosophy for education (including homeschooling), or to enrich their own lives. 
Curricula  For buying and selling of living books.

CM for 1  For support from other families who homeschool an only child

Ambleside Online
Disclaimer:  Only a few of these groups are officially affiliated with AO.  The majority are started by AO users when they saw a need.

Year 0  Discussion board
Year 0 Picture Study  Artists' works chosen for the sensibilities of the very young.
Year 0.5  An unofficial AO year, for those who have read many Year 0 books but need to give their child another year before beginning Year 1. 

Year 1 Discussion board
Year 1 Resources
Home to all those little "extra resources" for Year 1 that have grown out of the Ambleside Online list. Here you will find the book lists, formatted e-texts, schedules, copywork, and exams for Year 1 in both PDF and Word docs.
Year 1 Notebook
Home to all of the Year 1 public domain curriculum divided into weekly readings. These files are designed to be placed in a binder for easy organization.
Year 1 Books
For the purpose of sharing reformatted year 1 books. These books should be formatted so as to facilitate easy printing. In the files section you will find a list of books that are needed.

Ambleside Online - CLOSED
A support group for families using the Ambleside Online Curriculum, which is designed to be as close as possible to the curriculum that Charlotte Mason used in her own PNEU schools.  Restricted to parents and to discussion of AO curriculum as written.
AmbleRamble - CLOSED
A private group for AmblesideOnline homeschoolers who would like a list for the purpose of suggesting CM compatible alternatives to AO books, discussion of any and all CM compatible resources, and more general CM discussion and help. 

Member Schedules  For storing and discussing daily and weekly schedules
Schedules  For sharing various formats of schedules made for using the Charlotte Mason curricula Ambleside Online and House of Education.
Lesson Plans

Book Lists  For sharing various formats of booklists made for the books used in the AO and HEO.
NOTE: An up-to-date Google document of the booklists are now available on the AO website.

Curricula  Book buying and selling list for users of Ambleside Online and House of Education.
NOTE: There is now a buy/sell area on the AO Forum.

Picture Study - 1A, 1B, 2, 3 & 4   Each of these groups takes the current terms artist's prints and takes them down to a different printable size.  I use the 8.5x11" prints in sheet protectors, printed on card stock and tacked to the wall.  (Created by mtpine4me2)

1A - beginning with Term 1 of 1999-2000 thru Term 3 of 2007-2008. PDF's sized to fit nicely on 8.5"x11" paper.

1B - continued from 1A; contains 8.5x11" PDF prints from Term 1 (2008-2009) - current term*

2 - current term's artist selections in 4" x 6" PDF (1999 thru current*). Nice size for each student to have for their own personal prints or to place in an album.

3 - 2.5" x 2.5" PDFs; a nice size to use for a matching or memory game

4 - current term's artist selections* plus a selection of additional pictures for further study and enjoyment. These PDFs are 3.5" high by 2.25" wide and are a nice size for card games (Old Maid template included; Go Fish; etc.).

*Excluding Norman Rockwell (2011-12, term 3) because of copyright.

AO Art Prints  For the purpose of storing and downloading pdf files of the art prints that are scheduled. More options but slightly less organized than the groups above. Most are PDFs of single prints, some are all artist's selected prints in one file.  (Created by fr8capt and other AO members.)

Cheat Sheet Project   Will contain information that parents would want to present to their students before a reading.  (This is for collaboration, and once the files are completed, they will be posted to the main AO group's files.)
Copywork Project Dedicated to creating copywork samples for each AO year.
Narration  Share and compile ideas for different ways of narrating the books from AO and HEO.
Exam Project  Share your exam questions and see what others have done.

Cohort Groups, for those wishing to have companions throughout the years.

AO 2011 Cohort - for those who began AO year one in 2011-12
AO 2010 Cohort - for those who began AO in 2010-11
AO 2009 Cohort - for those who began year one in 2009-10

Charlotte Mason Friends in Kentucky  There are groups like this for most other states, too.

Updated 3/5/17