UPDATE: My Typical Day (of MFW and CC) for 2nd and 3rd (My Father’s World and Classical Conversations)

Sarah tracked me down for an update! YES, it’s time!…so I am sharing some of the fruit of our conversation here!

For K and 1st grade, click here:

In a CC community, they spend 30 minutes on the memory work in the morning time, and then do a few other things that take the load off at home – signs experiment, fine arts, etc.

So you get home and there is a beautiful simplicity AT FIRST to “the only thing you have to do at home is have fun learning the memory work songs,” with no pressure to memorize them, since they are going to be cycling through the material in a few years. It is wonderful and like in that way, but it does not provide any kind of daily structure at home. They leave that to the teaching styles and learning styles of all the moms and kids involved. So I find a lot of moms feel like there’s not enough direction. I love that CC leaves room for each person to build their own home style around the program, but if you were looking to CC for structure, you got the opposite.

Some people are fine with just CC, some memory work copywork, a math textbook, and they throw in story of the world, and they’re good. But for me, I loved my father’s world too much to leave it behind! I don’t follow the “My Father’s World” guide book in every way . I read through them to find out what good things she has in there, and then I take some and leave some. But for me it is still my happy place.

Ok, details.

2nd grade: In the My Fathers World program, she has them writing some summary paragraph, and my oldest, who was a very very good student, very conscientious, and had great handwriting abilities, was just absolutely not ready for that step. So when my second child came in through, I gave her some additional notebooks via Abeka and Rod and Staff (cheap!) , because she is a worker, which means she loves to tear through page after page of materials, so you’d hope they are on her level or she’ll ruin the whole notebook.  I did this for her during first grade, and she is a little more prepared for second grade, I believe.

Now, CC will say, as an encouraging blanket statement, “you don’t need a language program until fourth grade essentials.” But this is an important distinction: they are referring to when traditional early phonics language programs transition around third grade into teaching sentence structure, nouns and verbs. You can wait until 4th grade to start all that.  But phonics… the K-2nd stuff…. they’re not talking about skipping that.  Now, phonics is just one way of building the foundation of reading, writing, and spelling.  My recommendation is to pick any early language program from K-2 and stick with it, and in the case with My Father’s World, supplement at little.  {I get specific on supplementing 1st and 2nd Grade spelling and Language for My Father’s World here. Sorry to keep you jumping around… but I needed a separate post, right?}

BUT WAIT A MINUTE!?  Aren’t we supposed to just do CC and math and reading? Well, yes…. but let’s spread this out into the old adage: reading, writing, and arithmetic.  The founder wrote the book, The Core, where you can see her breakdown of things, but let’s keep it simple.  Reading and Writing are often linked together as Language Arts… you know why? Because they involve spelling, reading, composing, copywork, creative writing, letter writing, summary writing… etc.   I mean… it’s not so simple afterall.

I believe writing should include some copy work and some sentence composition. When my father’s second grade came, and my son was not ready for composing the summary paragraphs that are given as assignments,  I had to read backwards and look into some first and second grade language workbooks to see how they build them up to it.  Both Abeka second grade language does a great job of this. (My son did it in 3rd grade, a breeze, but it got him writing!)

Other than that for language arts, what I do is this:

I require my kids to read something every day, but they cycle through reading their Bible reader, some colorful abeka science book readers (because I don’t library, ok? I just DON’T!), their kid bibles, their choice, etc.

I make them do one hand writing page a day.

I make them copy their spelling words.

I make them do one or two pages page of a phonics workbook. (Because I learned they needed it.)

One page of something else that is usually copy work, scripture copy work or other copy work or CC copy work.

And when you lay all that on the table, along with CC and my father’s world, and it can be a handful. That’s where the discovery of Independent Notebooking changed my life! <see a link about that below>

As for myself, I decided I could only handle doing one thing with them per day: (and the sessions might be either 10 minutes or an hour)

-Bible study
-maps/geo (CC)
-my fathers world
-Piano lessons

That is on mouthful, and don’t let any of it feel overwhelming.

I would not be able to do it, personally, without the discovery of Independent Notebooking.  (I’m not talking about cute little lap books.) I’m talking about transferring the power of handing the work from my hands into their hands.  This is a feat of Educational Engineering, I tell ya.  But I share about that here, and suggest going there only if you don’t have a system that is already working for you.

Save this blog post for if you ever do get overwhelmed, then you can come back and read again! Or maybe it is right on point for what you need right now. Anyway, it’s how I’m doing it that works for me. And this is after two years of bumping around other things that did not work as well: (1) winging it and going with the flow didn’t work, being adaptable to the non-rhythms of the house–bad idea. (2)setting up at school room where I had all the materials in my hands where we all sat at a table–didn’t work. ( I really thought that one would.) While the kids fidget and (don’t) wait for me to find that stack…I just had it five minutes ago!…

But this two years since the notebooks has taken the heavy pressure off me and helped me breathe and we are succeeding.

I realize temperament and learning style are huge, so nothing is be-all-end-all, but I hope this encourages you to find something rock solid that won’t fall apart just because you need to go lie down on your bed for 30 minutes and have a crying-out-to-Jesus moment.  They won’t tear the living room apart.  They’ll come in and whisper. Mom, all I have to do is the top part of my math page with you, and I’m done with school.

Or on their way up to bed, they’ll be saying, as my SEVEN year old did.  “Mom, will you wake me up when you do (Um… no!); I want to finish school so I get on to playing.”

I dedicate my morning to school time with them. After lunch, I tell them they’ll have to track me down to help them at a time that is convenient for me.  (Now, this doesn’t always work perfectly, but it gives me my life back.) I sit with them paying bills, doing online grocery orders, etc while they do their work for the day.

It’s called home school. Its not called MOM school.

Not every wonderful thing comes from me. It comes from materials that are inviting and gentle.  From trusting the Lord to work all things together.

Sure, I still get on the floor with them as I do my “one” thing a day with them. CC Memory work, bible study, “My Father’s World” warm fuzzy stuff.  But ….I’m breathing and swimming, not drowning.

Ok, we both gotta go before they blow the house up.

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