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<p>For those that embrace Charlotte Mason's teachings or philosophy and practice them in their homeschool journeys.</p>

  1. What's new in this club
  2. I tend to see handcraft in terms of developing respect for the physical world, and competence. Part of that is about things like manual dexterity. I think there are a lot of things that could be included, but I would put some boundaries around them. I likely would not include things that are actually useless, I think it's important that they ultimately have a sense of being a thing that would be used - not some sort of make-work craft destined for the bin. (Now, it might not turn out at first, that is a different story.) I'd also not include things that are too abstracted from the physical, as I would consider those to be more like academic work. For teenagers, in some way that is maybe an ideal time to do some of these things, as they are much more able to deal with manual dexterity or reading directions or pay attention to detail. There are a lot of options - jewellery making, carving, carpentry, building stone walls, gardening, rug hooking, engine and motor related things, soap-making, cooking. I'd also include lots off home repair type stuff, how to repair things around the house, regular maintenance like calking, electrical work. I'd also suggest that these kinds of skills aren pretty integrated with many of the academic subjects really. People are always talking about getting kids into things like engineering, but at this level I think learning how to repair a pump is a heck of a lot more revealing than some kind of academic course for high school students.
  3. Mimm

    Hello!!

    I'm sorry that does seem to limit your options quite a bit.
  4. Æthelthryth the Texan

    CM High School Science

    Personally, if you do anytime soon, I’d think to post it on the General Ed board. Some of the btdt people who are done launching, but that still hang around here and have valuable experience, don’t seem to go on the HS or College board much if at all. I think it would have more visibility on General and not get buried as fast among questions.
  5. I see handicrafts as having two functions: strengthening fine motor skills and building life skills. Sometimes an activity fulfills both functions (ie sewing on buttons), but often I choose and teach "handicrafts" that primarily apply to one or the other. I teach my boys braiding, not because I think they will necessarily use it a lot in their daily lives, but because it requires fine motor coordination between their hands. I teach finger knitting because it is a great fine motor exercise and it keeps idle hands busy without requiring tools that can easily get lost or dropped. My oldest has gotten very interested in making paracord bracelets, and I greatly encourage that activity not because I think it is a life skill, but because it requires dexterity, planning, and perseverance. I even think of playing with Lego or playdough as "handicrafts" in the sense that they are mentally stimulating activities that also strengthen fine motor control. As for activities that teach valuable/marketable life skills, I am willing to stretch the definition of "handicraft" pretty liberally. I think of coding as a modern day "handicraft". I would also put photography into that category - cooking, painting (both the fine arts kind and the paint a room kind), graphic design, making stop-motion movies, child care skills, playing a musical instrument, wilderness survival - pretty much any skill that requires long term practice to develop and perfect and which could, hypothetically, be valuable professionally or in daily life in the future. Wendy
  6. I think a lot of the handicrafts are still worth it. My oldest boy is still glad he learned to sew and knit and has definitely used that in his adult life, but I'm also glad we put an emphasis on other skills each year as well: knot-tying, mosaics, pottery, weaving...I don't want to focus on handicrafts as vocational skills, exactly, but I do want them to be things that round out life, you know? I have paper sloyd scheduled for next year's first semester, mostly to give a hands on application to geometry, strengthen attention to detail, and create all sorts of fun projects he can use in real life. I don't expect it to be vocational/life skills at his age, but to develop the path toward that by giving him the underlying skills he will eventually need.
  7. So what are your thoughts about handicrafts as updated to 2019? Yes, we should get really good at sewing? Or, no, it was a vocational/life skills focus and we should update it to ___ (insert your favorite life skills list here)?
  8. Bocky

    CM in High school

    Yes - where I fear most is where I trust God least. The further we deviate from the expected college prep path the harder it gets. I am very grateful for resources like Ambleside Online, that show a strong and also CM high school plan. It gives me a place to start from, as I talk to dd and put together courses for her. OP, regarding CM elements to keep and to abandon: Elements to embrace: Spreading things over four years, so working on health and exercise, for example, through all the four years and not just as a one year class. Reading excellent literature, several works concurrently. So dd reads a Shakespeare play, a poetry book, and her assigned literature book most days. The first semester was ancient epic lit., and now she's reading modern world lit. We discuss her reading extensively and she writes short papers (my interpretation of narration in high school). In history she also has several threads going at once - at the moment an ancient history overview, an Egypt study, and the history of science. Similarly in Bible studies she reads the OT, the NT and Psalms as well as a commentary every week. Nature studies - I think this is a vital part of high school for dd. I don't have it figured out yet - any ideas to share? Elements to abandon: I am trying to figure out integrated science, but it is looking like we will have to go a more traditional route with one lab science course a year. I am a CM newbie, so I am still working it all out. I haven't thought through the citizenship track - I know Mason had a book she wrote that the students read, as well as lots of British history. I'd like to have a US focused version, not just one year of government and economics. And I am wondering about handicrafts - in fact, I think I'll start a new thread about it.
  9. Help me, Aethelthryth the Texan, you're my only hope! I am caught up a tree freaking out! Just kidding (grin) Should I seize my courage in both hands and post a question like this - either my original question above or your what-was-your-experience question - on the high school or college board?
  10. Good point about the utility of focusing on one topic in high school, when depth of study is becoming important. And I would double-like "make it good is the most important thing" if I could (grin). I'd love to hear any recommendations you have for curricula/courses, and for significant books and nature study. I loved your comments on the philosophical/spiritual underpinnings of nature study in the other thread. I will sneak Law's Guide to Nature Drawing back into dd14's reading pile, but are there any other resources you've liked?
  11. This is encouraging - thank you! Do you have recommendations about high school science curricula that you think could work for a CM-approach inclined student?
  12. Æthelthryth the Texan

    CM High School Science

    Without getting too specific, I'll just say I think sometimes on the bolded you have to take those things with a grain of salt on the HS boards here. The wants and desires of where children go to college, what they major in and everything else varies an insane amount- as does how much of it rides on the parent vs the student....... I also think there is a difference in general outlook between people who are seeing college acceptance as the end game and it a personal culmination of success, versus people who think where their dc go to college only plays a minor role in a life. That's about all I'm going to say to not stick my foot in it since this is an open club! What I wish more people did was come back after full launch- like after college and after the kid is out on their own, and share how it all turned out, what they're glad they did, what mattered/didn't and what they wished they'd done differently, because I doubt it ever turns out as planned, and I also doubt that it all ended up being as big of a deal. I say that now, but then periodically I get caught up in a tree freaking out and needing to be talked down, LOL. It usually happens after I've spent to much time on the High School boards here. 😂
  13. Æthelthryth the Texan

    CM in High school

    ITA.
  14. Well, CM does often have students working on more than one topic at a time. But I'd not have said it was strictly necessary, at all levels at all times. Sometimes there is a need for more concentration one thing for a tim, especially for older students.. There isn't anything in her principles that suggests this is a fundamental. I actually find the idea of doing only one science a year odd, and for the matter the way American high schools seem to divide up math with one major things a year - geometry say. When I was in school, math was a lot more mixed together, and people did one to three science courses, depending on their interests. In grade 10 I did integrated science and biology, in 11 I did chemistry and oceanography, and in 12 I did another of biology. But for CM, I'd look at doing whatever makes sense for coursework over the three o four years, be it a canned program or outside class, being good is really the most important thing. And I'd make sure there was reading significant books and nature study as well.
  15. Bluegoat

    CM in High school

    I think the trust stuff is a huge part of this educational philosophy, and it really does relate very directly to the idea that children are persons, who by nature seek truth and love. Fo parents, this can end up being almost a test of faith.
  16. OKBud

    Hello!!

    The last of the other local homeschoolers just started public school! There is the possibility of an influx of them every summer, though 🙂 Relatively isolated military base.
  17. With all apologies to everyone who knows more than I do, average freshman courses aren't overly onerous. [I want to say they ain't sh^t, but I won't because you're all so nice 😄]. Appropriately difficult, yes, but that's not the same thing. I do not understand why people write as if you have to be doing college work at 16 or else you won't be ready for college at 18. It's true that a lot of incoming freshmen aren't ready for average university work, but I don't think they come from diligently working UP through a well-suited course of study. Truly learning- internalizing- the material in such a way that they won't easily forget it, nor fail to integrate it when they learn something new, as they go. There a lot of ways to begin college unprepared, but I don't think not doing college work in high school is one of them by default.
  18. OKBud

    CM in High school

    I wonder if there is ANY path anyone could ever take that wouldn't require compromise one way or the other. I know people who have rigidly stuck to their ideals and plans, straight through. Rigidity gets a bad rap, imo. These people's kids were fine. I'm thinking here of people we know whose kids went to boarding school, but it applies to any academic conviction. They BELIEVED it was the absolute best, so they made it happen for their kids. The "compromise" of that choice comes on the back end. A young adult who has been in boarding school for 4+ years has had a unique experience. Not *everything in the whole world* is open to them. It's exactly the same if you prioritize a goal over a process. In that case, though, the compromise comes on the front end. I'm a sojourner, I think. Chance that no one could have orchestrated has played a huge part in my life, to extremely positive effect. Concentrating on the goal over the process, for me, is just as likely to end in some sort of failure as some sort of success. And in the meantime, I will have compromised what I felt was important in that moment, and the gamble isn't worth it to me. Other people are very, very goal-oriented. Of course, it's not all or nothing. Having **no goals whatsoever** isn't healthy. But imo it's ok for goals to be both more vague and held more loosely than some people are willing to concede, if you choose to prioritize the process. Goal-orientation sounds more percipient, because there is a concrete subject to discuss. Process-orientation is a long slog. There isn't all that much to discuss. "I'm doing this, for now..." lol. But compromise between what we want and what we are able to get is inherent in all of it.
  19. OKBud

    CM in High school

    Since we're not close to high school, I was just going to read along here. But this quote reminded me of something. Last year, I decided that I am not educating my kids for anything in particular. Previously I had been trying to educate them such that they could go to nearly any university. But that's not on me. Not really. I'm not some awful person actively holding her children back. Re-reading some of CM, particularly the "children are people" bits, Hunter!, and a consecution of personal events led me to internalize the answers to these questions: Am I doing my best at providing the education my kids need right now? Am I maintaining a healthful balance between the various aspects of our lives, given our circumstances? Do I TRUST that my kids will grow up to be people who will, with more or less sound judgement, be able to find their own way in the world (as we all must, regardless)? Am I doing what I can, while I can, to help shape their judgement? .... In that case, then, why am I so stressed out about their futures? Their futures don't belong to me. I still look to the future. How can we not? And I have the vague hope that by the time they are in 11th grade, they will be well-prepared to start making their own determinations about what they need to do next, as Bluegoat says here. And I figure, if they aren't ready at that point, we can just keep going down a pre-planned road... the same one most high school kids in America go down. Really, almost everyone is at least fine almost all the time. But, again, I don't know mothering teens from getting slapped in the face. So these thoughts are totally irrelevant musings! It was just a load off, for me personally, to think them. And I am operating under the impression that CM wouldn't really encourage "trying to predict the future" as a wise strategy when approaching adulthood.
  20. I want to be clear that they prattle on in my face all day about what they think lol. Don't want to give the wrong impression. 🤣😑🤣 I meant that now that they have their little social lives, and have to take turns speaking out in the world, they tend to talk about what they see.
  21. Plus, nature study places the child in the context of the world. Rather than the context of his own self, or family, or small community. He doesn't theorize that he's a part of something larger and more nuanced than all that. He KNOWS it for sure! From experience.
  22. What it's NOT, in a CM context, is going outside with kids and canned activities. She wrote that we should have young kids outside for hours and hours whenever it's possible. And that their unencumbered (by us) communion with the natural world should take precedence over almost everything else in the beginning. Likewise, it's not just sending kids outside to get away from them and saying "see ya later!" ... You're expected to be on hand, and to offer up little observations of your own (look at this neat mushroom! 😎) , to occasionally name a flower or a cloud formation. Somewhat recently, I had an experience...I was looking through pictures of when my two oldest (Irish twins) were little boys. We lived in Washington at the time. My memories of that time tend to have the feel of "ugh" around them. Because it was HARD for me, see. My husband was mostly gone, we were so far from everyone I knew, I was desperately lonely, and two little kids at home every single second of every single day (plus ADD lol)... HARD is the word. Looking through at all our adventures, though, I did a good job. The fact that it was difficult didn't keep us inside, brooding, watching teevee and waiting for things to get easier. So, that's sort of a self-forgiveness thing. But my point is that I can tell you with some certainty that we wouldn't have been going outside all the time in all that rain, catching little snakes and reassembling raven skeletons (hahaha they actually did that. If our neighbors thought we were weirdos before, me allowing them to do that definitely clinched it. The bones were well-bleached!), taking apart pine cones, picking wild berries, finding tracks, climbing rocks, so on and so forth, if I had not found CM very early on! Everyone in our neighborhood put their kids in "preschool" when they were 2.5 years old. The pressure, when you're already vulnerable, to conform that way can be a real trial. CM is so internally coherent. It is applicable across time and space. I, like most (all?) people, don't do everything exactly like she wrote we should do, but it is possible to do it. I like to just get a move on, tbh. Academics aren't everything. But it's really, really, good to know what a real expert had to say. Discard it at will, but know what she said! And the foundational layer of CM's coherency, so to speak, is nature study. Interaction with the actual things of life. Narrations and short lessons and a dozen other things about CM get more press time, but even as you start to ease slowly out of the "roaming outdoors for hours" phase of early life, you can take that principle with you. We've lived in a lot of places, and being outside a lot has been difficult to facilitate sometimes. But now that the boys are of an age and in a situation to roam around with packs of neighborhood kids, I find that my concern with real things continues to pay off. Other children are forever talking about what they THINK. But my kids, different from one another as they are, both tend to more often talk about what they SEE. And that includes the possibilities inherent in situations, which is a real boon for being able to play without screens. IOW, that communion with nature is beneficial to the imagination as well as to the intellect. And those two work together long after the long days of poking sticks into mud. I suspect, in fact, that this key to CM kids succeeding in the sciences. Even the "science that didn't exist" in Mason's time (which I think overstates the case a bit, but that's neither here nor there). Both seeing (and naming) what is there, and being able imagine what might be there, what it might mean. Coupled with the patience (a habit!) to figure it out. Additionally, when we're reading more difficult material now, the boys can tell me what they "see" characters doing.... perhaps one is being evasive and we don't know why yet. Perhaps another character is lying to himself. They don't merely say, "Johnny did X." they say, "Johnny feels Y because when Darlene mentioned the river, he remembered Pauline, so he's trying to forget..." or whatever, yanno? I firmly believe that's another fruit of the nature study tree. I've never had to tell them what "inferences" are. Or any such thing. Granted, this particular aspect is surely strongly influenced by my own conversations with them, but we built our common language outside!
  23. I am struggling with this too. Right now DD is very into creative writing, art and crafting, and shows cautious interest in creative writing/digital art/comics programs for college, but she also says she might be interested in something like chemistry. (She is really enjoying Guesthollow's Kitchen Chemistry, which I added as an elective to breathe some life into her science year.) But folks on the high school board are very clear that programs like Guesthollow are not college prep, so I feel I need to have DD do college prep science as well as the more interesting programs that she actually enjoys...which I guess provides multiple strands of science (lol) but is time intensive. So second guessing here too, and wondering what other options/approaches there might be.
  24. Multi-strand: not single-focusing on one branch of science exclusively each year, eg 9th grade = Biology, 10th grade = Chemistry 11th grade = Physics, but studying science in a more integrated way, highlighting and exploring connections between the disciplines rather than studying them in isolation. Ursa Minor Learning seems to do this by having multiple areas of science focus happening together. For example, in 9th grade, they schedule Biology and Nature Study all three terms, and one term each of Chemistry, Medicine, and Engineering. I have tried to do this for dd14 (at her request) this year by using Trefil and Hazen's textbook The Sciences: An Integrated Approach (the one on which the Great Courses Joy of Science lectures are based). The Sciences has a "big ideas" focus, and works to make cross-disciplinary connections within the various branches of science. (Unfortunately, the textbook is proving a bit too dense for us at this point, and I think she will switch to Derek Owen's Physical Science curriculum.) Seeing it as CM: I am very far from an expert, but reading about and working on more than one topic in every subject (by subject I mean history, science, English et c.) at the same time seems very characteristic of the CM approach. Am I misunderstanding the approach?
  25. I like this idea. DD has a birthday in late Spring, and might like a camera.
  26.  
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