Thursday, May 31, 2012

Kids are People Too

"These persons have wishes for their children in Balaam's fashion - they would like them to die the death of a righteous man, but they do nothing to make them live his life." 
                                                      ~ from "The Duties of Parents" by Rev. John C Ryle


Have you ever demeaned children in your mind?  You might think,

"They're just kids, they don't care if 
                           .... their toys are broken 
                                                  .... their food is cold 
                                                                  .... their gifts are trinkets and twaddle
                                                                                               ....I forget my promise to them."  

And sometimes children don't seem to care.  They don't want their hair combed or their clothes to match, and they do want that candy and Sponge Bob book.  Sometimes they don't know what is good for them as a person.  But they notice when we treat them as less of a person because they are not an adult, and they know that it makes us small in character though they may not say a word about it.

Children as persons deserve to have a full life.  They are worthy of that life now as a child and don't need to wait to enjoy and experience life once they're older.  I used to have a hard time with this concept.  I didn't want to spend the money and time on activities like gymnastics or ballet if my child wasn't going to be a star gymnast or ballerina.  Practicality stood in my way.  I shared my opinion with a friend who told me she absolutely thought children could do these activities simply for the joy of them ~ not just as a means to an end.  She told of a family she knew who did spend their life and money on their children's gymnastics so that they could be star gymnasts, and it was very much a chore for the family.

Those fun experiences are a part of the child and will often be used to some degree throughout their life.  I was in children's choirs as a kid.  I'm not a great singer or actor; I do not like being on stage.  But I loved children's choir.  There are so many good memories and friendships from that experience.  And now as an adult I have some memorable songs to sing to my children at night.  There are also a couple of trite songs that have a good tune, but I can't bear to sing them because they are so unworthy of my children.  The quality of your children's full life is also important.

 To respect your child as person ~

                 ~Do not speak down to them or demean them.  Do not ignore them. 
                 ~Converse with them and respect their thoughts.  They often are very insightful.
                 ~Give them real tools and things to work and play with.  Kids prefer a real broom to a
                    toy one.
                 ~Read intelligent literature to them, not twaddle.
                 ~Use your normal vocabulary and explain big words when asked.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Teaching Reading: Conclusion


Since I've spent so much time telling about Phoebe's reading progress, I thought I'd report on my older two also.


Elizabeth is heading into 5th grade.  We don't do reading instruction anymore, but I do have her read out loud to me from different school books or the Bible each day.  There are a number of hard words that she mispronounces because so much of her reading is done silently to herself.  So I'm able to help her with correct pronunciation.  (And many times I have to look up a word to figure it out myself!)  She's able to practice clear, distinct reading also when reading aloud.

Jonathan finished Delightful Reading last year; so this first grade year has been about lots of reading practice.  He read "The Primer" by Harriette Treadwell (free to read online).  He is working his way through the extra sentences in the "Delightful Reader" ( we didn't do all the extra sentences last year).  And he is reading "Frog and Toad Together."  I alternate readers at the end of each chapter.  He also reads his copywork each day; he's working through "Hymns in Prose" right now.  And my plan is to use the "Hymns in Prose" reader with him next year.  It has great uplifting content with challenging words.


Jonathan is really catching on to the various phonics rules as he reads.  He simply picks up on them as I explain the way a certain sound works.  His personality doesn't like any exceptions or rules that don't make sense to him.  (Why does kn say n?  Why couldn't they just put an n?!)  I know he'll enjoy etymology when he gets older ~ I was thrilled to have an etymology course in high school because it explained so much about the history of words.

All the kids are progressing in reading.  Not all at the same rate.  And it sometimes feels slow to me.  But they learn a little each day and it all builds up to make a nice visible foundation when we look back on the year.



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival ~ Education is a Life!

"Our brains are sustained upon ideas just like our bodies are sustained by food," says Charlotte Mason (she says it so much better than my simplistic construction, of course.  Read more here ~ especially page 109).  Miss Mason talks about how ideas strike you just as if they are truly a living, active being.  I see this in my children often.  Elizabeth, our oldest, read Robinson Crusoe last year (she didn't love it, I hate to admit).  Recently she and the other kids watched a Myth Busters episode in which the two main guys "survived" on a deserted island using mainly duct tape.  The kids were so taken with this thought of surviving on a deserted island.  Armed with knowledge from Robinson Crusoe (and a little bit from "Island of the Blue Dolphins") and Myth Busters, they cannot wait each day to bravely trek down to our neighborhood pond to "survive".  They make bedding and shelters and traps for minnows, spears and staffs.  They've discovered which wild plants are edible and make salads (for mom to eat ~ for some reason they won't eat their own cooking).  They're working together (for now) and getting out in nature and creating memories.  And I'm loving it!




Welcome to the "Education is a Life" edition of the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival!  Enjoy the variety of unique perspectives from our Charlotte Mason journeys.  Reading different perspectives helps me clarify, so I'm so happy to be involved with this blog carnival.  Take your time reading and feel free to interact in the comment sections of each post ~

Dwane from Visual Latin allowed me to share his post on Why Latin?  I love his answer: "Why anything?" It's a great example of how even a dead language can feed your child's mind.

The Tiger Chronicle shares an art study: Lines and Space.

Epi Kardia gives a good synopsis of How to do Music Study: "Beginning with a short video showing the dramatic effect of music on an elderly man, this practical how-to post provides ideas and resources for incorporating music study into your Charlotte Mason homeschool."

Under An English Sky posts some gorgeous pictures from English history (it's so neat that they get to see what they read about in Island Story!): History: A Storehouse of Ideas.

Dewey's Treehouse reminds us that balance is important in education: Charlotte Mason and the Three Faces of Education.

Harmony Art Mom shares a short and sweet (and very useful!) tip: Seasoned Mom Tip #3 - Keeping in Touch with Independent Learners.

And the same author also shares at Handbook of Nature Study: Newsletter Challenge: Extraordinary in the Ordinary.

Homegrown Learners shows how connections can be made when an idea is stirred up in a child and further exploration ensues: A "Delightful Double Existence".

More from the Pre-reading Lessons Series is posted here at Delightful Education: Part 3 and Part 4.

Sage Parnassus shares a simple (but hard to implement!) truth about slow yet steady progress in education:   This Fetish of Progress.

Home Grown Babies gives you refreshing reasons why you can breathe and enjoy life as a mother: Soul Time -- Part 1; and also gives us a peek into their Charlotte Mason environment: Simple Charlotte Mason.

Our Journey Westward posted easy instructions and pictures for doing a simple art project: Paper Quilling.



Upcoming carnival: @ Holistic Homeschooler on 5/29
Topic for discussion (optional): Start to Summer edition!  Summer Holidays edition!
Submit posts here: charlottemasonblogs (at) gmail (dot) com
To find out more about upcoming and past CM blog carnival posts, see the schedule here!


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Teaching Reading to Our Third: Part 4

I thought it might be helpful to break it down a little more if you are interested in using these simple plans.  You'll work on the sentence exercises for several weeks, so the sounds and words are not all to be learned in one day.  These are not broken down into daily lessons, but rather into sentence "chunks".  I'll give the sounds and words focused on for each of the 6 sentences from the previous post:

For the first sentence: Pam is tan.


1. Learn and/or review sounds p, a, m, i, s, t, and n. 
2. Learn and/or review words am, Sam, Pam, spam, is, an, man, pan, span, and tan.
3. Make old (if practice is needed) or new words using alphabet letters.
4. Show the word card and let your child copy it into word notebook.
5. Do a word or sound activity.
6. Once words are well-known, make a sentence with word cards.


For the second sentence: Tim spit in a pit.

1. Learn and/or review sounds s, i, t, p, m, n, and long a.
2. Learn and/or review words it, spit, pit, sit, Tim, in, sin, tin, pin, spin, and a.
3. Make old (if practice is needed) or new words using alphabet letters.
4. Show the word card and let your child copy it into word notebook.
5. Do a word or sound activity.
6. Once words are well-known, make a sentence with word cards.

For the third sentence: Sam is a man.

1. Learn and/or review sounds s, a, m, i, long a, and n.
2. Learn and/ or review words sap, map, nap, tap, apt, and imp. (These words aren't used in any of the sentences, and since the child has learned all words related to Sam, is, a, man, this is a good place to learn these words.)
3. Make old (if practice is needed) or new words using alphabet letters.
4. Show the word card and let your child copy it into word notebook.
5. Do a word or sound activity.
6. Once words are well-known, make a sentence with word cards.

For the fourth sentence: Sit on the mat.

1. Learn and/or review sounds s, i, t, n, a, m, and introduce short o.
2. Learn and/or review words on, at, pat, sat, mat, spat.
3. Make old (if practice is needed) or new words using alphabet letters.
4. Show the word card and let your child copy it into word notebook.
5. Do a word or sound activity.
6. Once words are well-known, make a sentence with word cards.

For the fifth sentence: An ant sat in a pan.

1. Learn and/or review sounds a, n, t, s, i, and p.
2. Learn and/or review the word ant and at and an words if needed.
3. Make old (if practice is needed) or new words using alphabet letters.
4. Show the word card and let your child copy it into word notebook.
5. Do a word or sound activity.
6. Once words are well-known, make a sentence with word cards.

For the sixth sentence: Tim sips tea.

1. Learn and/or review sounds t, i, m, s, p and introduce ea as having a long e sound.
2. Learn and/or review words sip, tip, tea, sips.
3. Make old (if practice is needed) or new words using alphabet letters.
4. Show the word card and let your child copy it into word notebook.
5. Do a word or sound activity.
6. Once words are well-known, make a sentence with word cards.

                               Our Third

See Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Conclusion

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Teaching Reading to Our Third: Part 3

Now that we have some simple word-building under our belt, I plan to add several steps: writing words in her word notebook, sound/word activities, and, once she is very familiar with some words, sentence-making.

I've selected 20 words from the list in the previous post and written them on cards. After Phoebe makes a word with letters, I show her the card and she copies the word into her word notebook. The Delightful Reading kit includes a word notebook, but any blank notebook will do.




Activities can include reading a word card while jumping up or down stairs with each word. I have her go back a step if she gets the word wrong; we go through the small pile of words over again until she gets to the bottom of the stairs. You can read a word aloud and let your child find the word among a couple of other word cards. You can hide the familiar letters around the room and let your child find them to put them together to make words. Are there other activities your child enjoys during pre-reading lessons? I'd love to hear more ideas to keep my active girl on task. The movement really does help her concentrate.

Once she is very familiar with a few chosen words, I'll have her pick up the words I tell her and lay them in a row so that she may then read a sentence.



The sentences I chose are:
~ Pam is tan.
~ Tim spit in a pit.
~ Sam is a man.
~ Sit on a mat.
~ An ant sat in a pan.
~ Tim sips tea.

(A couple new words are added to help make cogent sentences.)

So a day's lesson might look like:

1. Review sounds from chalk board.
2. Review words from previous lesson using word notebook or word cards.
3. Make old (if practice is needed) or new words using alphabet letters.
4. Show the word card and let your child copy it into word notebook.
5. Do a word or sound activity.
6. Once words are well-known, make a sentence with word cards.

This will be great practice for continued word-building with Delightful Reading next year. And then we'll be heading into "real" reading lessons!

Next post will show lessons broken down even more.

See Part 1,  Part 2,  Part 4, and Conclusion