As we entered our Christmas Break a couple of weeks ago, I knew it was time to plan for the upcoming Term. As usual, I've been feeling uneasy recently - wondering if my decision to follow a Charlotte Mason style was still a good decision. "Feelings aren't easily trusted," a wise friend has told me repeatedly.
So I decided to pray, and ask God to show me in some way if I should stay the course or if I should make some adjustments. I wasn't expecting such a clear-cut answer.
1. On the way home from getting the ham and turkey for Christmas, we were leaving the shopping center and it was paved with bricks. Austin said, "This is a lot like Ancient Rome, and how the roads were paved."
2. On Christmas Eve, we did our traditional Waffle House meal. Reece wanted to sit up at the counter with Riley in the "high chairs." She ate all of her food quickly, and asked for more hash browns (as did Austin). The restaurant had become very busy, and we had to wait quite awhile to get the extra orders. Everyone else had finished eating and was getting anxious to leave. Austin said we could go ahead and go home. I told Reece it was going to be a little bit longer. She replied, "I'm OK. I'm having patience - waiting with a happy spirit!" (That's one of our Character Traits we've been studying that she seems oblivious to!)
3. Later on Christmas Eve, Reece came to my mom and asked, "Cual es tu color favorito?" which just happens to be one of the questions from our recent Spanish lessons, which she usually cries about when I turn on the DVD. I helped Nana figure out how to reply, and then I helped her ask Reece, who then replied.
4. A couple of days after Christmas, we were all watching Indiana Jones 4, and we were near the end when Mac betrays Indy for the 3rd time. Out of nowhere, Austin remarked, "I bet he feels like Julius Caesar. Et tu, Mac?" We all laughed at his cleverness.
5. And just today, Reece asked me, "What is miercoles?" I replied, "That's Wednesday in Spanish." She walked away humming the Days of the Week song in Spanish (from the DVDs she doesn't like!). Then she came back and said, "Today is sabado, right?"
I think it's safe to say that I got my answers loud and clear. The kids aren't just learning facts and dates. They are making connections and they are thinking about what they have learned, and applying it in new situations!
Reece is trying to sound out new words, and she's usually unsuccessful. She'll tell me, "I'm the worst ever." but then she grins at me slyly, and I tickle her. She knows I don't like it when she says that. And I know that she doesn't really believe what she's saying! She's not feeling like a failure because I'm keeping her in the Zone.
I haven't commented much about Riley here, and I don't mean to slight her, but I know that she will be successful no matter what style of homeschooling we use. What convinced me of Charlotte Mason with her back in November was reading her NaNoWriMo novel. She has never had a lesson in writing. She's never had anything except exposure to lots of great literature, copywork, dictation, narration, and some beginning grammar. Yet, her novel was full of dialogue that she punctuated correctly, interesting and varied vocabulary, and a wonderful style! Austin's novel was very good, too, don't get me wrong! He surprised me by adding more description that I would have expected! But through Riley it's easier to see what is supposed to flow naturally from a CM education!
So, we're staying the course! And I'm thankful for the glimpses of the results of all of the hard work we've put in!