Thursday, August 06, 2009

It's begun

I'll actually start teaching next Monday, but really, the school year has begun. Matt's back to work, I'm planning and brainstorming for Dana's 1st grade curriculum, and we're back to our normal daily routines, minus a formal teaching time (we're always learning). It's a good feeling over all, but still a bit hard to say goodbye to our fun summer. The kids are sad that Daddy's gone all day again, but life is simpler and Matt's got a clear daily purpose again.

And while I'm feeling inspired and energetic, I'll put in a little plug for our curriculum. So far we have used My Father's World for Kindergarten and we're about to use it for 1st grade as well. It's been a perfect fit for us, because it's very hands-on Charlotte Mason approach to education, and yet it's planned out for me, with careful lesson plans for each day of the year. Kindergarten took us about an hour or more to complete each day, with a lot of our play and outings focused on the same weekly themes. Dana seemed to catch concepts instead of me having to drill it into him. On the whole, it was very natural and it suited Dana's personal learning style so well. The fact that he still loves learning is testimony to that. The next best thing about it, though was that it was so inexpensive, literally less than half the price of other comprehensive curriculums. This year, I'm really excited about his 1st grade curr. It's very hands-on again, and the theme for the year is Bible History. Everything he will study falls under that umbrella, which reminds me of something I forgot to mention. I have really appreciated the way MFW teaches from a biblical world view without being isolationist. MFW does a great job of insulating children from the secular world around them, not isolating them from it. Children study the world that they're actually in, and they engage their culture, while at the same time understanding that God is sovereign over it. MFW isn't the only curriculum like this, but I'm thankful that it's so well-done. I'm too mentally scattered to pull something like this off on my own, and that's the truth.

So, even if you're not clicking over to their website to order their stuff :), I have to put in another plug for the art program we're starting this year. This book is amazing.

The cover illustration was drawn by a 5 year old after taking an art class with the monart method. The monart method teaches children (or adults) to recognize basic line shapes (squiggly, curly, angled, etc.) in what they see and to use that art alphabet and their imagination to draw (or paint) a creative and more skilled picture. Before I teach it, I'm supposed to go through the exercises myself, which may take a few days. In the meantime, I'm really excited to see how Dana does. He's already showing so much natural artistic talent that I know he'll love this.

What about you? Anything you're excited about teaching this year?


Alli said...

I really enjoyed the MFW session we went to at the homeschool fair. It looks like a great cirriculum.

We are cobbling ours together this year, doing Pre-K. I started organizing last night and want to officially start on the 17th.

Michelle Thomas Wiegers said...

Karen that book looks great! Would you suggest it for kindergarten too? I've wanted to do something for art, but really am clueless. Is this a good starter for the clueless art teaching mom?

We started homeschooling this week and are having a great time of it. The enthusiasm both of the kids have is contagious and makes me excited for each day in what they'll be learning. I'm thinking about joining the lookout mt homeschoolers group (one betsy S, Heather C, and others are in) have you visited that group? Want to with me?

Karen said...


I would love to visit the Lookout group and we're planning to go to the pool party next week. Did Heather email you about that?

The art program is for preschool to adult, so if you like it maybe you and Linda and Dana and I (and anyone else for that matter) could bring our kiddies together once a week or once every two weeks to do a group lesson and we could take turns organizing the art project for that day. I know Dana was interested and Linda is too... but honestly, if it's just Clara, Jane and Dana it's fine with me.

katiek said...

I do love the DWC book. I have never tried it with kids as young as 5 or 6. But after reading the approach and now that I'm on year 3, it's old hat! It's so great to have a system to go through. I also love Children and Painting, I use that for 2nd semester!
I'm so proud of you mama's! Homeschooling is a major full time job and I love educating homeschoolers! Have a great year!

Wendy said...

Today was our first official day of school for this year. Now that I have 2 in school it's going to be more challenging, but hopefully still fun. I may actually check out the art book from My Father's World. The curriculum we normally use doesn't have art for 2nd grade.

Rick Herder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rick Herder said...

This sounds like the kids' version of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.

How wonderful that someone has adapted this important material for a younger age group! There is good data showing that training in the arts has tangible benefits for core academics, but the public schools continue to sell it short. How sad. Learning to advance beyond the drawing of "stick people" will help children to become more literate in all areas.
Keep up the great work, Karen.

5:36 AM