I thought I better let some of you see us doing the nitty gritty academics in case you think we just live outside year round judging by the many outdoor posts I’ve been up to lately. Yes, we do “real” school too, depending on what “real” means to you.
Monday afternoons are spent collectively doing our Canadian history lesson. This year I’m reading from an old grade 8 Canadian textbook (hard to find nowadays, but I located it a number of years ago at a used book sale quite by accident), titled The Story of Canada (how very creative). In addition I alternate with a more updated book (and more down the alley of my grade 4 student), My First History of Canada by D.J. Dickie. When I can, I search the library system for some extra reads such as the Scholastic series on Canadian artists, Canadian inventors, and Canadian explorers. And some of the intended read-alouds for our year will include Madeline Takes Command by Ethel C. Brill, and Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat.
The afternoon consists of me reading aloud, their narrations (telling back to me), their answering questions aloud, and then some copywork with their own artwork, and finally drawing, or cutting out a computer image of the explorer or story being covered for that day into their time line history books (an idea from the Simply Charlotte Mason website). Sometimes I add in a blank map of Canada for them to work on labeling provinces, cities, bodies of water, or areas discovered by that particular Canadian explorer.
And just because I didn’t end up getting around to my scheduled summer read-aloud on Sir Francis Drake, I have thrown in a wonderful living history novel to read at the end of the lesson called He Went with Drake by Louise Andrews Kent. With no disrespect to the storybook type of textbooks we read on Champlain and Cartier details, this kind of historical fiction novel reading is my absolute favourite way to teach history.
Many thanks to a fellow ‘Charlotte Mason’ homeschool friend, I have now added lapbooking to the list of history/geography lessons. It took some convincing initially, especially for me to wrap my brain around cutting and taping file folders together to unfold in all sorts of directions, and then creatively and concisely filling the pages with all our knowledge. But I discovered it is a great way to pull all our learning together (and impress grandparents) in a neatly wrapped package that really is pleasing to pull out and look at again and again. I admit to being very proud of our lapbooks. Can you tell? Should I add just one more pic of them?! You don’t know what you’ve started, Jennifer, by giving me this kick start. Studying explorers this way has never been more exciting! But I do admit I’m rather a control freak over the design and layout. I’m slowly learning to let the young’uns lead the way owning it as their project more than mama’s.
And if y’all are wondering why on earth there’s a photograph of cherry picking and apple picking, and why it’s included in a history lesson post, I’ll have you know it took some convincing the girls prior to the outset of the lesson that day to erase their artwork on my whiteboard so I could write out the copywork on Champlain. How very sad for them; from eating cherries, to a narrative on Samuel de Champlain.