Art Study

Mother of Divine Grace includes Art Study as part of their Kindergarten program.  We do it about two times per week and it generally takes 2 – 10 minutes.  The syllabus includes all sorts of ideas for how to “study” the art pieces–matching, describing in many ways, telling a story about the piece, etc.  Occasionally, observation skills are built by having the student copy the piece.

Here is “George Washington on a White Charger.”

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Here is Rachel’s rendition.  She worked on this for 25 minutes straight!

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On a side note, I find it galling (to put it mildly) that Donald Trump is now in the same lineup of Presidents that includes George Washington and Abraham Lincoln and FDR.  How is it that Republican Party has gone from Abraham Lincoln to Trump in 150 years, anyway??? Every morning during our intercessory prayer time, Rachel prays that God changes Donald Trump’s heart so that he is nice to people.

 

Switching Horses Midstream

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MODG Kindergarten plus a few extras 🙂

 

Well, I dithered and prayed and researched and finally selected the loosely-guided curriculum that we started back in September.

And it was fine; we read lots of books and it was Catholic and the FB support group was basically awesome and I discovered many new “living” Charlotte Mason resources through those wonderful ladies.

But it wasn’t a match made in Heaven.  It was a great place to start, and a great way to see which way we needed to go from there.  Sometimes, you can’t find the answer till you start.

For me, Mater Amabilis was a mix of too much to do, and not structured enough.  There was literature, 2 history books, 2 geography books, 3 religion books, poetry, music, Nature Study, phonics, handwriting, optional foreign language, and math to be juggled and metered out each week/day.  For Kindergarten.  There was no suggested daily break down of tasks, and a few of the books we just plain didn’t like.  At all.  And it seemed, poking around on the FB group, that that was  a recurring theme throughout the grade levels.

So we indeed “switched horses midstream” and started Week 1 of Mother of Divine Grace’s Kindergarten program after the New Year.  At this point, my plan is to just keep at it, taking a break for moving this summer, and transition to First Grade sometime in the fall.  And it is great.  For me, it has the perfect amount of structure, but is easy to switch out resources or change the pace in a particular resource if I feel that fits our needs better.

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This is a blank book for Rachel’s Bible illustrations and narrations; she will add to this for years!

 

For instance, I spent 45 minutes one night at the end of November perusing the Internet for the lyrics to a Christmas song for us to learn and a simple Christmas poem for Rachel to memorize.  With MODG, Catholic hymns and classic poems are provided and integrated.  In the syllabus it says “Have your child memorize the title and author of ‘Rain.'”  Well, it took her a few days to get that down straight, but now, 10 days later, she has the entire little verse memorized.  We may not complete the memory work perfectly, but we do work on it everyday.  The syllabus is nicely structured but is easily deviated from if that’s more your style.

For MODG, our day generally includes
Morning Time
Daily Prayers: Morning Offering, intercessory prayer, 1 decade of the Rosary (we just say 5 Hail Marys not 10)
Poetry;
Hymn;
Classic Picture Book;
and every other day or so we do Art Study)
Math (finishing MEP Reception level then will move to Abeka Kindergarten Math); Handwriting (we are continuing on with Memoria Press’s New American Cursive versus MODG’s recommendation of Writing our Catholic Faith since cursive is very important to me, plus we had already started it and have had great success with it)
Religion (Reading, alternated with illustrating and narrating Old Testament Stories from Golden Children’s Bible)
Phonics (I am shocked, but we are really enjoying Teach your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and we do this after our chapter book read aloud time every night right before Rachel goes to bed)

We are also going to do Memoria Press’s Kindergarten Crafts book, which corresponds with different classic picture books, and I will read out loud Nature Study books and we will take once Nature Walk per week–this will all hopefully occur on Fridays, since MODG is set up on a Mon-Thurs schedule.

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At this level, Rachel illustrates the particular Bible Story, and then dictates her narration which I write down on the opposite page.  I write almost exclusively in cursive, which is one of the reasons I adamant about teaching cursive to all my kids.

We didn’t do school today

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Rachel took the white board and dry erase markers and carefully copied out the print and cursive letters from her alphabet chart that hangs next to her seat at the little table.  I am actually really impressed both at the initiative and legibility!

We didn’t do school today.  Or yesterday.  Or Monday.  I generally aim for 4 days per week of “school” but sometimes…recovery from a long trip, snow, or a sick sister get precedence.  I took these pictures of Rachel’s projects today, though, to remind myself that learning is happening, even when I’m not directing it.

 

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This “snow castle” is from Tuesday, but Rachel built a structure similar to it today on her own in the yard

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Rachel dressed herself and then Patrick up as elves and Steve was King Gnome and I was the Elf Queen. Even better, she put her “fancy” shoes back on the shelf when she was done without being prompted!

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Rachel invited me to create this scene with her on Allison’s dresser

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I asked her to make a card for her friend’s upcoming birthday, and she did…with sparkle.

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Unprompted, Rachel unpacked her crayons and watercolors and painted the mountain we see from our dining room window, half covered in snow with the “glow of the sunset on top, see, Mommy?”

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We read 4 chapters from our latest Read Aloud book. I love this one as much as she does!

Lunchboxes

 

Every night as I am cleaning up from dinner (or after if I forget!) I pack the girls’ lunches.

Yes, we homeschool, and my kids use lunchboxes every day.

This has been a lifesaver.  We often go out in the mornings after Patrick’s brief micro nap, and invariably the laundry needs moved along, Patrick needs to nurse, and dozen other things need doing, too, as soon as we remove our multiple layers and sodden boots.  So now, lunch preparation is one less thing in that rush.

Basically, the girls now eat the lunch, and I generally pick it.  I will ask them if they would like this kind of sandwich or that kind of sandwich, or do they want this stew for leftovers or not, or do they want carrots or peas for a vegetable, etc.  And sometimes, it’s a complete surprise when they open their lunchboxes!  I even include the necessary silverware.

Because we DO homeschool, and we DO eat at home, I DO make allowances.  As in, I will, upon polite request, dump out the noodles and cheese and heat those up.

This has been a game changer for us!

Now the hardest part is finding space in the fridge for two lunch boxes amidst the cauliflowers, yogurts, and leftover stew, which is what Patrick and I will have for lunch.  The girls elected to have cheese slices and pretzels tomorrow.  And I snuck in some carrot sticks.

First Day

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Today was out first official day of homeschooling.  R had her first day of Kindergarten!  It was, surprisingly, an absolutely delightful day.  Picture perfect.  I couldn’t have scripted it better myself.

We are following the Mater Amabilis program, which is a free online week-by-week plan for a Catholic Charlotte Mason education.  It looked so incredibly overwhelming, but everyone said “just do it and see” and so far, it looks perfect for us.

Today’s schedule consisted of Morning Time, Handwriting (cursive), Math (connect the dots and write out dates 1 – 7 in our blank September calendar), Nature Walk/Recess (where we serendipitously met up with another homeschooling family in our neighborhood), picnic lunch on the porch, Phonics (sing ABC song, identify magnet letters, clap syllables), Spanish (pick out a few pictures from the Spanish word book for Mommy to stumble over the pronunciation of), Rest Time, Literature (Peter Rabbit), and Glow (an extracurricular Praise and Worship chorus run by another homeschooling mom at a church in town).  All interspersed with coloring, playing, picking sugar snap peas, laughing at Patrick, negotiating with Allison, and just generally having a wonderful day.  It was idyllic.  And I’m putting it all up here because of that–because I know there will be many, many days that are far, far from idyllic, and I will need to remember this golden day and how amazing this homeschooling life can be.

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