Seamus is my third 3rd grader! One of the things I love about being Seamus' mom is that he is very good at being good to his mommy. Even though he's getting to be a bigger boy, he's still just as sweet and lovey and caring as he was as a toddler and little boy. And he's SO smart (well, they all are, really). We have a lovely relationship that I hope will carry on into adulthood, that is my prayer.
(I do have lovely relationships with all of my children in many varied and beautiful ways, I am truly blessed by and in awe of each and every one of them daily). Allright, enough mommy gushing ;-)
One of the things that Charlotte Mason reminds us of consistently in her writings is that "Education is the science of relations." That to have relationship with ideas is knowledge, and knowledge is power. A generous curriulum of living ideas, books and things that the child discovers through nature lore, physical exercise, science and art including handicrafts, mastering numbers and much time for thought and habit formation, and plenty of time spent outdoors. These are the ideals of a liberal education. (paraphrasing from Vol. 6, pg. xxx)
Since Seamus has been a natural learner and an enthusiastic learner, his generous curriculum is easy to plan. He thrives on the concept of short lessons, unless he's deep in a book, and then we let him go.
Here are some of the special things he will engage in for this next year. (Note: Some of you may recall my weekly lesson rotation sheets. Here is a sample from Charlotte Mason's Parent's Review Dec. 1908 Weekly Schedules for 1st-3rd grades and from what we draw from for our short lessons.) Download CM Weekly Rotation 2010 (Another Note: The minor changes I made on this sample are to accomodate my boy, they are Latin instead of French, Cello in place of Sol-fa/Dancing & Singing, and since we only school five days per week I only included M-F and added our Morning prayers first thing on the schedule.)
How does this translate into a modern day 3rd grade boy in our home? Let me attempt to lay it out for you. These many and varied subjects translate into some great learning for sure. As noted, you'll see in the first time slot we gather for morning prayers, you can read about how we do this in our family here.
Next is the first subject rotation listed as Old Testament, and New Testament with a Writing tucked in mid-week. First I'll address the bible.
~ OT/NT: My 3rd grader will most likely listen in with his little brother during our Golden Children's Bible reading as we do this first thing right after morning prayers, it's rather an extension of our prayer time, so it's a nice fit in our day. He will also be able to read along in his Child's Bible History. Afterwards I'll have him narrate the story back to me so he can begin his Bible History Timeline. I did this via the CHC 1st grade lesson plans with Matthias (way back when) but in retrospect I wished we'd waited until he was older, like about 3rd grade. So we'll see how Seamus enjoys this. I'm hoping to have him use all our old copies of Magnificat magazine to illustrate his narrations if he decides he'd like to do that rather than drawing his own; we have about 8 years worth of covers and art from which to choose.
*Additionally for religion, he'll begin working through the Baltimore Catechism No.1 (New Saint Joseph), some of which will be covered during morning prayer or Repetition (see below.) I'd also like for him to create a narrated Ten Commandments book. (We'll see how the year pans out with the other elements first.)
~ Writing/Printing: This translates into Copywork for us. I don't start Dictation (my post from 2007) at this stage, but will talk about language mechanics and punctuation and spelling within the copywork piece. Penmanship is all about muscle building and pencil grip, so it does take practice. Seamus is good at copying, but like most young boys, feels the drudgery of it as his hands tire quickly. (Interesting to see if his constant cello playing with his bow hand has improved the same fine motor skills necessary for handwriting...stay tuned).
*In addition, we will take advantage of my ever-exploding pdf files of Notebooking pages copywork sheets - these are a dream to print and hand over to a budding transcriber :) There are many opportunities throughout the pages of Primary Language Lessons and his current literature selections from which to choose. Please note that the short lesson rule applies here.
~ Drawing/Brush Drawing: Have you seen Kimberlee's delightful post on Nature Sketching - it's worth every lovely image and word. Seamus loves to draw, so I am going to make a point of encouraging him in some way everyday (all of us for that matter). I plan to use The Story of Painting for Art Appreciation this year with the older three and I am hoping that this will provide a nice addition to our regular Nature drawing. We are looking forward to picking up some of the Brush Water Pens Kimberlee speaks of so highly :) I am also keeping my eye on Harmony Art-Mom as she always has lovely ideas for sketching.
~ Reading/Literature: This is where the fun begins!! Not that all the above isn't good, but for Seamus, he has taken off with his reading and can tackle just about anything now, woohoo!! There is such freedom in being able to read well, and he loves it :) He's read through just about all of the Beverly Cleary's and is half-way through his first Narnia, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe! He's definately ready for some meatier reads this next year :)
*In addition to reading aloud to me (and anyone else who might be listening) and his listening to our family read alouds, his literature will come mainly from his joint Greek and Roman history studies this year with Matthias. They are both really excited about this and I will be using heavy Narration after our readings! Here's an example of how we approach Narration as a group. He will also read through some classics, like Charlotte's Web, Winnie-the-Pooh, Just So Stories, The James Herriot's Treasury and Book of Dragons. These are just a start...
~ Repetition: This will include Poetry, Bible verses, Parables and some Catechism. Here Seamus will have a chance to recite back some of the great poetry he has memorized or heard throughout the week along with the other subjects. His bible verses might be something he has used for copywork and the parables he will hear during our bible reading time, same with the catechism. This is pretty straight forward and will take just minutes each time it comes up in the schedule. Our favorite resource for poetry across the ages is Favorite Poems Old and New as well as the aforementioned Harp and Laurel Wreath (see Kindergarten post here).
~ Latin: Towards the end of last year Seamus and I began Prima Latina together. He did superb with this program and we accomplished the first five lessons before year's end. We'll take it up again and work through the lessons casually and mostly orally. He enjoys the challenge of going through all our latin vocab flashcards to see how many he can get correct :)
~ Number: I think it's interesting that in Charlotte Mason's day there was very little mention of Arithmetic. I did find this article from the Parent's Review quite interesting and follows much of the way Seamus learned his early math through Montessori. Hence, we will continue on that vein as he is already well past this stage and tackling the later pages of Saxon 5/4 heavily mixed with Mammoth Math worksheets and games. He'll most likely be moving on to Saxon 6/5 (or something else) before years end. We do math everyday at our house or it becomes a burden usually for about 20-30 minutes (although, he might do it all morning on some days :)
~ Drill/Cello Practice: We will use this time segment for recess, a good run around outside and for Seamus' cello practice. During Drill (Swedish) times in Charlotte Mason's day, they also included Sol-fa play and Dancing and Singing. Tonic Sol-fa is referred to as ear training with music and hand signs and my boy having a natural ear like his older brother has tons of ear training through his cello instruction. We will mainly use this time for his practice while I work with Sean-Paul or the other children.
~ Natural History: One of my favorite subjects! I love how Nature Study and Science are all wrapped up into one package. Being able to study and discover all of God's creations is a joy within the home educating realm cause it gives us an excuse to go outside or take delightful fieldtrips and it's all part of the educational relationship. Good Stuff. Seamus will have a new blank Sketchbook for the year and he can continue to add to his Nature Notebook that he began sometime around 1st grade or so. We will make good use of our Nature Notebooking Pages here as well as the ideas for Drawing listed above.
Wow! Are you still with me, lol! I know it seems like alot here, but do keep in mind that we are applying short lessons to all he accomplishes throughout the day/week and that each of these subjects are not repeated everyday. Only Math is something I am adamant about daily (or close to).
~ Picture Talk: This is essentially Art Appreciation at our house. As I mentioned above, we will begin working through some of The Story of Painting and I am including here a link to the DVD series by Sister Wendy as they really are good. I am a bit shocked at the used prices on amazon and only linked as a reference for you. We will check ours out at the library for the time being :) I love this Picture Talks article and quote:
"We want to open their eyes and minds to appreciate the masterpieces of pictorial art, to lead them from mere fondness for a pretty picture which pleases the senses up to honest love and discriminating admiration for what is truly beautiful-- a love and admiration which are the response of heart and intellect to the appeal addressed to them through the senses by all great works of art." (from a speech given at the P.N.E.U. 5th Annual Conference, held May 14-17, 1901)
And so we will look at beautiful art and talk about it. Maybe some personal artwork will be created, but not expected.
~ Handicrafts: Seamus enjoys working with his hands, so I will attempt to keep them busy doing some woodworking (he has a birdhouse to finish with his dad) and maybe some other small building projects. We will also include in this area our myriad of Liturgical year crafts and activities. He really likes to knit too, which is truly swooney for this mama ;-)
~ Geography: This is another subject area that has a life of it's own in our home. We have been so fortunate to have our Geography Center for some great hands-on learning. My kids all love the puzzle maps and have taught themselves the continents and countries at their own pace. (Seamus and Sean-Paul are still in the learning phase). Last year we focused mainly on US Geography and will probably continue on this year as well. He will also delve lightly in to Ancient Greek and Roman geography as we study that for history with Matthias.
Oh my goodness, I think we have come to the end of our subjects rotation, whew!! If you stuck with me thus far, God Bless You. I'd love to hear if you have a 3rd grader at home this year and what you plan to do :) See you soon...