(Lily and her stack of library selections. She LOVES to read!)
I posted before about how we have changed how we “do school.” We moved to a more relaxed approach, a lot like the Charlotte Mason method. More nature-focused in our area of science (LOTS of hikes and nature walks in the past few weeks…love it!), more relaxed with worksheets (almost none now), and more group reading.
I am enjoying it so much . There is still the need to plan things out, even more than before because things are based around literature and nature quite a bit more…so I can’t just wing it with a book off the shelf. I have to find the classic literature at the library. I do a lot of researching at home on the computer to see if our library carries certain books (and at which location – our library has two locations, one is a few minutes away and the other is several minutes more away) and then plan a trip to get them, usually with all the children….which isn’t that exciting, when I really want to take my time in the adult section and the kids are speaking rather loudly about boogers or having to go potty. 🙂 BUT, I like that they go into the adult section with me and see that there are books for them there, and they don’t have to be confined to the “little kid” section of books. I am pretty impressed with our library, as I have only come across one or two books they did not have (and probably because they were more curriculum-type books).
We finished reading Five Little Peppers and How They Grew last week, finally. I took several days off from it, as we were hiking quite a bit and being away from the house for half a day made me behind on housework. But, we have finished it now and are excited to find our next group read. Lily finished Trumpet of the Swan, and Iris finished Swiss Family Robinson. They both enjoyed their books, so I want to make sure I keep choosing interesting and exciting stories for them to read. I think for our next group read I will choose Mr. Popper’s Penguins. We started it once, a couple of years ago, but never finished.
Right now, Iris and Lily are both reading Mary Pope Osborne’s Tales from the Odyssey Book One: The One-Eyed Giant. Mary Pope Osborne is the author of the Magic Tree House series, that my girls love, so I hope they enjoy her easier-to-read version of Odyssey. I have come to the understanding that if children read simpler versions of the more difficult classics, they will be more likely to attempt reading the originals when they are older. I never read Homer’s Odyssey (well, not the whole thing. I started it in high school but then quit because it was over my head.), but I do wish I had read more meaty books and stories when I was younger. I was/am a good reader, but I wish I had more literature knowledge. I plan to read the Tales from the Odyssey books with the girls (not aloud, just read the books on my own as they are reading them), so we can discuss them together.
Iris, Lily and I also just finished A Midsummer Night’s Dream (from the Tales from Shakespeare books). I actually really enjoy Shakespeare, and I did read a lot of his works when I was younger. I am happy to have found this Tales from Shakespeare series because the stories are true to the originals, but they are written in modern-day English for children. The characters are all the same and the plot is the same. I read it aloud to Iris and Lily, and we all really got into it. I would read an Act, then they would ask me to keep going. We finished it in three days, even though I had planned to stretch it out over a week or two. Haha! It really caught their attention, and they loved the fairy magic and the silliness of the spell/curse. Lily has asked that we read Macbeth next, and Iris would like Romeo and Juliet. I think our library has both in that series, so we will probably read them both. 🙂
I really love that my girls like to read…a lot. Lily will check out 3 novels at a time and read them in a week or two. She reads fast and really gets into her stories. I can call her name a dozen times, and she is so engrossed in the book she doesn’t hear me…at all. Every time I turn around she is reading. And I love it!
Iris has really blossomed into a great reader. She still rushed through her writing and spelling….misspelling common words, but she reads perfectly and well beyond her grade level. My focus on her now is the writing and spelling portion. She doesn’t want to slow down and take her time spelling things or writing neatly. She would rather rush through it to go play or read.
Addy has recently shown a huge interest in reading, too. I am hoping it is because we are reading more as a group, but regardless of why I am happy to see her learning. She read a few beginner reader books to me this morning, and we discussed some phonics rules (not in great detail, more like “see when the ‘o’ is followed by a consonant and then an ‘e’? it makes the ‘o’ say its name and we don’t hear the ‘e’.” we’ll get to the meat of the rules down the road; I just want her to recognize the long vowels when they appear a certain way in words.)
I just finished reading The Well-Trained Mind….again. I think I have read it 3 or 4 times since we started homeschooling. The first time or two I read it was when we first started homeschooling, and I just brushed off the ideas presented in it. It is all about the Classical Education method. While I love the ideas, I never really applied any of them because I thought you HAD to be a part of a classical education co-op in order to really do it. I love the Classical Conversations curriculum that I have looked over, but we have never been able to afford up front all the costs for sending our girls (and then soon, our boys would be old enough for it, too). So, I would read the book and just put the ideas on the back burner.
When I finally decided to go the Charlotte Mason route, I decided to read The Well-Trained Mind again. No, they are not the same education method. They are, in fact, pretty different. BUT, I love the steps and ideas from both methods. While I love getting back to classic literature for learning a lot of the reading, writing and spelling…I also love the repetition of the Classical method. Every four years you revisit the same things, just more in-depth as you move from early elementary into the middle grades and then even more in-depth the final time you visit the ideas and information in high school. The one thing they do have very much in common is the classical literature idea. They believe in reading (and having children read) classical literature, rather than a lot of the literature that is out there today. Yes, my girls still love to read the Dork Diaries series (not my favorite, but they whiz through them), but I love that they are also reading the classics. There is so much more to the classic literature – the way they are written, the words they use, and the morals of the stories. The “easier” versions we read of Shakespeare and Homer still have ‘big’ words and still have the same plot. They still also teach the same moral, often a more mature moral than what books and movies of today teach our kids. And I love that the kids are being introduced to difficult words and tough-to-pronounce names. 🙂
Time to wrap this up and go do our group reading time! Next time, I will post about how we are doing our spelling and grammar and writing. I am not 100% following the Charlotte Mason approach in those areas. I follow more of the Classical approach. But, it is still more relaxed than it used to be. We just have a ton more notebooks to keep track of our progress and assignments.
Do any of you follow the Charlotte Mason or Classical Education approaches/methods?? Are you loving the reading as much as we are?? Any suggestions for an AWESOME group reading selection (we have quite a range in ages, with my boys being only 2 and 3 years old….so the Five Little Peppers was a good pick for us. would love to have another book like that to captivate all the kids!)?