So the first couple weeks of homeschool have come and gone, and like most years I had to do some re-evaluating and some paring down. It really doesn't look like too much when it's all on paper, but making it all fit in the day without tears is another story.
What got cut:
I can't believe I am doing this since I was so excited about using the program I had picked out, but I decided that it just wasn't necessary. Our Latin studies are very rigorous and equivalent to a high school level course. I read this article recently and I am going to go with the author's assertion that "Latin is the most efficient way to learn English grammar."
English grammar is very analytical and does not always follow the rules, which is not so great for my children in the classical grammar stage to whom analyzation does not come easy. Latin, on the other hand, always follows the rules, and when you figure out the code it's just a matter of applying that code to the new words that you learn. It's good tough mental exercise, and it may not be their favorite subject, but they do enjoy it.
Every year I am tempted to buy workbooks to go along with the kids' books because I want that piece of paper to prove that we did something. However, I have a 9 year old boy who really agonizes over writing, and getting his thoughts on paper is very difficult. So I decided to scrap a number of the workbooks/comprehension questions and just have them do a good "Charlotte Mason" style narration after their readings.
What I added:
We always did a form of this in the past, but I am making more of an effort this year to place a priority on this. This is the kids' favorite part of school and the part I think they will remember most. Like Cindy Rollins said, "morning time is not for now, not for tomorrow, but for the future." And like Mary Burt said, "It is for wonder and delight".
When Aiden wins the heart of his lady, he can happily whistle "Gypsy Rover." When Grace is enjoying daffodils in the spring, she can recite Wordsworth and they will be all the more beautiful. If Asher is acting tired or bored we can tease him with "Poor Tired Tim". If they ever go to France (and they do want to very badly) and visit Monet's garden, it will be a magical place of wonder. They can think about Debussy's La Mer when they are at the sea, and when they are old they can muse on all the verses to "Blessed Assurance."
By the way, I do not do everything on that list in one day. If we end up spending a lot of time talking about a poem, a musical piece, or about a painting and we only get to a couple of things, then so be it. For example, just this morning Naomi commented on how she liked the line in Tennyson's Ulysses, "I will drink life to the lees". I asked her why she liked it and she said she had no idea, but it just sounded good. When I explained it to her, she liked it all the more, and we had a good talk about living life to the fullest.
"How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!"
They may not understand it all. A lot of it may be too lofty and too far over their heads, but it is their favorite time of the day if that says anything. And knowing that rich thoughts and ideas are being sunk into their hearts for the future is what we want most for our children anyway. Not that we finished lots of workbooks that end up in the burn pile.