Our Classical Education/Charlotte Mason Homeschool with Weekly Wrap Up: Homeschool Preschool Week of Sept 25 2013

This past week was fun (I always say that, don’t I?!)

We worked on fine motor skills a lot, writing her name, and our memory work.  We also spent a LOT of time outside, and cooking in the kitchen.


first she traced it, then she wrote her name.  the bottom is her dictation of what happened in the story “Play with Me.”

Again, we got our printables from
Homeschool Creations.  We caught up on some printables that went with Play With Me, from the week before.  And we started our apples study! (but I don’t have any pictures!!!)

beginning letter sounds and writing

We haven’t really done a lot with apples yet …  We have read lots of books we got from the library, and we made fresh apple sauce (baked apples, really).  Which Lexie didn’t like because they were mushy, but Max LOVES them.

And we did some fun printables that went with the apple theme.  Somehow I did not get pictures like I meant to of everything we did …  =/  But I have a few.

swinging in her boots

We played outside a lot because of this wonderful fall weather.  Lexie got some new “galoshes” (a word from several Lexie’s favorite books- the Little Grey Rabbit series, Beatrix Potter collection, and A.A. Milne’s Pooh series..) from her Sue Sue, so we had to break those in!  =)  She looves rainboots!

She has been doing great writing letters, and that along with her name is basically her “copywork.”

We are leaning more towards a classical/Charlotte Mason style homeschool.  It is more “old world” to me, and less “froo froo-ie.”  It is slow, gentle, developmentally appropriate, and yet has a great structure and depth.  I am still learning about it, but so far it fits our family perfectly.

Plus, it is how Lexie learns.  

Here is an excerpt (a rather long one) explaining classical education from The Well Trained Mind (an amazing book that I highly suggest reading.  it is so much more than a book).

The first years of schooling are called the “grammar stage” — not because you spend four years doing English, but because these are the years in which the building blocks for all other learning are laid, just as grammar is the foundation for language. In the elementary school years — what we commonly think of as grades one through four — the mind is ready to absorb information. Children at this age actually find memorization fun. So during this period, education involves not self-expression and self-discovery, but rather the learning of facts. Rules of phonics and spelling, rules of grammar, poems, the vocabulary of foreign languages, the stories of history and literature, descriptions of plants and animals and the human body, the facts of mathematics — the list goes on. This information makes up the “grammar,” or the basic building blocks, for the second stage of education.

By fifth grade, a child’s mind begins to think more analytically…. the “Logic Stage,” is a time when the child begins to pay attention to cause and effect, to the relationships between different fields of knowledge relate, to the way facts fit together into a logical framework. A student is ready for the Logic Stage when the capacity for abstract thought begins to mature.

The final phase of a classical education, the “Rhetoric Stage,” builds on the first two. At this point, the high school student learns to write and speak with force and originality. The student of rhetoric applies the rules of logic learned in middle school to the foundational information learned in the early grades and expresses his conclusions in clear, forceful, elegant language.

A classical education is more than simply a pattern of learning, though. Classical education is language-focused; learning is accomplished through words, written and spoken, rather than through images (pictures, videos, and television).”

That last paragraph is one more reason I LOVE classical education.

I had been praying and praying over what “style” of homeschool we would (loosely) use, what would fit us best, what curricula to try, and how to prevent the dreaded burn out.  

I mean, praying for like 2 years!  

Then one day a few months ago, as Lexie asked me for the BAZILLIONTH time to re-tell her a story, so that she could in turn re-tell it to me including the details I forgot, I was reminded of a method I had read about several times.

Classical education- memory work, copywork, and dictation.  It is how she has learned since she was a baby, and how I have taught her everything from simple everyday objects to the days of the week and spelling.  

It’s just how we naturally do things here.  

I have done the same thing with Max, unknowingly.  There is wiggle room in all styles of homeschool, of course.  The best part about any homeschool is going at your child’s pace.  If they don’t get something, you stay there and focus on it, or come back to it, or whatever your family needs to do.

{Of course our family’s main reason for loving homeschool is the time JTom and I have raising our children ourselves- what we can offer then every day in God’s classroom- the world!}

OK, sorry- back to classical education.  It isn’t as stick-in-the-mud as that excerpt makes it sound.  It is so gentle, yet so deep.  It is thorough and is not full of junk.  Just because she is 3 doesn’t mean Lexie can’t learn about the globe.  Just because she is 3 doesn’t mean she can’t learn about how leaves change color.  It certainly doesn’t mean she should be watching elmo all day and learning how to make snakes out of playdough.

Don’t get me wrong, there is value in playing with playdough, and yes, even in elmo to some extent.  But her world can be made up of much, much more than that.  It can be deep and fun at 3 years old.  So when I say we are reading the same story for the second week in a row, it’s because we are taking it easy, but what we are learning is meaningful.  And it works for us.

Will this style work for us forever?  I have no idea.  You may be here, reading our blog in 4 years and we are un-schooling.  Who knows?! (well, God knows, but I don’t know …)  So we will see.  But for now this works for us.

Here is a quote from a wonderful blogger, Edie from Life in Grace, on classical education:

It requires that you and your children read the great classic works of literature, math and science and then discuss these works together. It assumes that when children are inspired by parents or teachers or mentors, they will want to learn and will do the work necessary to gain the knowledge they seek. The end result is a student who is a self-learner, who is motivated by the love of knowledge itself—not for some secondary gain of grades, treats or approval.

…….For days, weeks, and months, there seems to be very little to ‘show’ for all your labor. You’ve read all kinds of books, you’ve fallen in love with stories, authors and characters. The books you’ve read have changed you; the stories have become part of the fabric of who you are, you dream of the characters, you call them to mind in certain situations and you feel like you know them . You are becoming part of the ‘great conversation’. You are starting to realize how you ‘fit’ into this big wonderful world and its’ story.

But that rich inner life that is developing cannot be measured or tested. It’s like a fire that needs careful feeding, lest it be quenched. And that fire is what will motivate students to educate themselves—to be lifelong learners. Learning is hard work and if you push too hard and demand ‘work’ for the sake of work—they learn to do the least amount that’s necessary to avoid conflict. But if you inspire, nourish– ‘feed’ the fire, if you will—they will be driven by something strong and unquenchable inside themselves and there are no limits to what they will do to learn. I wish there were an easier way; but this form of teaching succeeds most assuredly when you lead by example.”

So beautifully and well written!  Thank you, Edie!

Another reason homeschool is amazing.  When we need a break- we hit the great outdoors and take one!  (oh, and we wear nightgowns all morning on cool blustery fall days!)

Just needed a rest
Our delicious apples!


writing on the dry erase board


we decorated for fall


Lexie loading up the truck with our buckets of rocks.


playing outside


we played with bubbles and playdo- Max LOVES bubbles and that is now his favorite word!


we watched a storm roll in (believe those are called morning glory clouds?)


we harvested tomoatoes

We love homeschooling.  Every Sunday night I put together our activities for the week, print off things for the coming weeks, work on memory verses and character traits we need to focus on.  And EVERY morning Lexie says at breakfast, “I want to do activities!  What learning do we do today?!  Can I cut?  Can I glue? …” and then starts reciting memory verses we have learned.  It is wonderful for us.

Something I have come to learn is that some people will never approve of how you raise your family, unless it is on their terms.  But we all need to know, that the only One whose terms matter is God’s.  He isn’t going to give you all the tools you need (or lead you to them), and watch as you live life to His glory, only to say “Oh, never mind!  This was a bad idea!”
I have complete faith in what He has laid on mine and my husband’s hearts for our family.  You should feel the same about what He has laid on your’s, no matter how differently it may look from ours or anyone else’s family.

What did you do this week with your littles?  What will you be doing in the coming weeks?

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  1. Jenn O says:

    Great post! This is our first year homeschooling and we are doing a Classical/Charlotte Mason approach as well! I wrestled with it for a couple of years too and it was so nice to finally have that peace to know it was right *for us* Like you said though… it can always change! ; ) Keep up the good work! 🙂
    Jenn@ Teaching2Stinkers.blogspot.com

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