This is Part 3 in an impromptu series I'm doing in response to a readers question about our schedule.
Here is her question:
I know this was a while back, but I really love the simplicity of that schedule you shared (the picture in the other post of your school schedule). I'm curious what resources you're using for things like math and dictation (are you using Spelling Wisdom or just choosing something each week, etc.). Anything in particular for Bible, memory, poetry, etc or just choosing as you go? What about geography and science? And, written narrations ... are you just letting Ella choose what she will write from? Thanks so much! You really know how to simplify and make it feel calm (or at least appear that way). :)Here is what we've covered so far:
Part 1: our resources for math
Part 2: what we do for dictation.
And in this post we'll cover Bible, memory work and poetry.
For Bible time: Every morning over breakfast we read from Hurlbut's Story of the Bible. [Another favorite is Catherine Vos' The Child's Story Bible]. About 80% of the time we follow our reading up with a narration: the kids tell it back to me, or I have them draw a picture, or we'll make lists on the dry erase board (observational- listing characteristics of someone, or of God, or of what this or that king did in comparison to another). Every once in long while I'll have them act a story out, which they love, but which takes a really, really long time.
Mark also reads from the Bible (NIV) in the evenings before bed, before or after our read-aloud. He started this habit years ago when we only had Ella and Isaac. Sometimes he only reads a few verses and we talk about it, sometimes he reads a whole chapter.
For memory work, this year I transitioned from our memory work box, which we'd used for years, to binders (shown in this post) for each child containing all of our memory work. Honestly, I sort of miss our memory work box and I still can't decide which we'll do this coming year. The box is more portable and practical, and we could easily do it at the table, and it held an all-togetherness factor that I like.
The binders made for more copying and more papers. And while I liked that the kids got to have their very OWN, I think we did it less because we had to move from the table to the living room for memory work. (Because five open binders at our table, usually with breakfast (or the remains) on our table, is impossible.)
What we did for memory work this year: our Family Ways. Mark and I used this as a springboard to make our own family ways. We used many of theirs but tweaked it a bit- adding some different verses, omitting a few and adding some of our own. So we introduced them week by week and discussed them, and then memorized verses to go with them. We also memorized Psalm 19. And we reviewed our previous memory work, listed below:
-ABC Bible verses
-OT books of the Bible
-NT books of the Bible
-the Ten Commandments
-assorted Bible verses/passages we've memorized over the years
-a couple of poems
For poetry, what I did last year was to choose one to three poems for each month- specific to the month or season, and tried to read through them at least once each week. My plan* was that the kids would then choose one poem per quarter that they would then memorize and recite.
*I am really quite good at making plans and systems and thinking they're going to go along swimmingly, right up until they don't. So while that was my poetry plan, what really happened is that we read the September, October and November poems, and the [3 older] kids each chose a selection from them and memorized them (roughly), and kept asking, "When are we going to recite our poems, mommy?" And I said, "I don't know. Let's ask daddy sometime." Repeat about 20 times over the course of a couple of months. One day I did, finally, ask them to recite them to me. And they did.
We don't school for the month of December, so no poems. I also miscarried that month, and we were very sick. While we began school up again sometime in January, I don't think we ever read the January poems I'd selected. I read February's poems at least twice, March's poems once or twice, April's poems once, May's poems once, and June's poems never.
I was bemoaning to Mark the other night that we would have gotten far more poetry done if I would have just chosen a book, set it somewhere close to our kitchen table, and picked it up and read from it each day.
Next up: Part 4: Geography, Science and Written Narrations. Then I'm going to write a few posts on how I plan for our upcoming school year, since that's what I'm doing these days.