Charlotte Mason for a struggling child?

Recently a reader asked me ~  

“I am just learning about CM.  I am wondering if her methods would work well for a child that is 12 yrs old but academically functioning around 7 yrs of age?”

I felt an immediate “YES!” in my heart and here are some of the reasons I wrote to her:

As a veteran homeschooler with a homeschool graduate,  I want to assure you that Charlotte Mason’s methods work with any person at any age.  More importantly, it is a wonderful approach which will encourage any student who may not cope in the traditional schooling systems and academic approaches, or who is “behind”.Paper Sloyd1

Firstly, homeschooling allows you to tailor everything to suit your child. Your approach, timing, physical space and especially the actual learning content can be perfectly chosen to match your child’s learning style and ability. Many children who “failed” grades or simply “fell through the cracks” in public schools need to rediscover their love to learn.

  • Charlotte Mason’s principles of short lessons, reading living books, going on daily nature walks and providing a rich immersion in fine arts provides a despondent student (and parent) daily opportunities to rediscover the joy of learning.
  • Select a really fabulous read aloud and just begin with a story that captivates your child’s interest.  In Charlotte Mason’s words, use living books.  Instead of relying on tedious textbooks, read a good book. Listening to a read aloud is a marvelous relief to a child who struggles academically.  Living books stimulate previously bored and uninspired children.  Start this miracle transformation by reading aloud chapters of a carefully selected living book, and watch as your child, gripped by the story, asks you to “please keep on reading!”
  • Then gently ask them to narrate / tell back what they heard and develop careful and attentive listening.  Narrations are brilliant!  They are more effective than any worksheet, test or exam.  A child can only tell back what they understand.  The child should aim to restate the reading in accurate detail.  Gently encourage the child who battles.  Some struggle to start their narration, others battle to recall enough facts.  If so, call for narrations after reading a paragraph rather than a chapter.  Be firm about narrations after a single reading.  Also, mom, try not to interrupt, correct, prompt or question.
  • More importantly, narrations help develop a child’s vocabulary and improve the child’s writing skills.  They ‘borrow’ the author’s style! Encourage your child to present their own ideas in clear and descriptive ways.  Start with quick, simple oral narrations.  Gradually aim towards dictated, then typed or written narrations.  Very young children can simply illustrate their narrations.
  • As Ms Mason encouraged, keep all your maths, spelling, language art lessons and handwriting lessons short and sweet, but encourage your child to work at his/ her very best.
  • Gradually add other subjects, lessons, ideas to eventually create a rich and wonderful education.
  • Because Charlotte Mason focused on building good habits and developing character in the child, her principles work with children of every age and stage.  Some of her principles I only implemented years later in our homeschool journey; things that I should have done from the start, but which I only found the courage to do as I continued to read her advice. Even when we started “late” Charlotte Mason’s habit training approach produced excellent qualities in my children’s character.

I suggest you continue to read books and blogs and my CM page to discover where to start and how to gently phase in the skills, habits and principles.

Personally, my youngest child would most probably have struggled at public school. Here are home, using Charlotte Mason’s principles, she has thrived and blossomed at her own pace and in her own unique way.  I am so grateful to Charlotte Mason’s “gentle education“.

All the very best as you also learn and grow with Charlotte Mason!

With blessings,

 

Sketch Tuesday ~ Picasso Profiles

Summer Art

instead of Sketch Tuesday.

Barb of Harmony Fine Arts has launched a July study of Pablo Picasso with “Summer Art – Picasso Profile”. Pop over to her website to follow all her links and instructions.

We watched the video lesson and viewed some of Picasso’s portraits, looking especially for his profiles placed in full face portraits.

For our art assignment, we drew a life-sized oval and drew around each other’s profiles on the paper, which did tickle!  We took out our paints and went all-out colorful!  Such fun!

Here are our Picasso Profile Portraits ~

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There’s still time to do art this weekend and send it in for the slide show … or just for fun!

See you at the slide show!

Blessings,

More Art Fun!

This past week we have thoroughly enjoyed more art fun with our

Usborne Activities 365 Things to Draw and Paint by Fiona Watt.

The art ideas in this book are pretty fool-proof, so diverting slightly from the lesson is not that risky.  I tell my children to feel free to tweak the ideas in each activity.

Last week we all did “Decorated Elephants“.  Each of us produced a slight variation on the art activity in the book.  I love this kind of originality!

Art elephants

My 14-year-old daughter did “Mixing Paints” lessons with her water colors and enjoyed the art activity so much that she prepared some planks of wood and created 2 versions with acrylic paints.  They came out so well!  Such happy-looking poppies!  She hammered picture hanging hooks to the back of each plank and has dedicated the one as a wonderful gift!

Art fun poppies

Mid-week, my youngest and I did “Patterned Park” with pastel pencils on colored sugar paper.  When one works with patterns, it becomes such a relaxing, right-brain activity.  I also was determined to stay away from real, representational colors and enjoyed playing with colors that ‘pop’ and contrast.  Fun and simple!

Art pattern park

This weekend my 12-year-old and I had fun working through the “Simple Faces” lesson.  Here is Miss. L12′s painting.  She is happy with her painting and I love the bright clear colors!

Art simple faces

Waking from an inspirational dream, I wanted to work with masking fluid and represent one of my favorite photos in this simplified, stylized manner.

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Here’s a simple tutorial:

  1. I used water-color paper, art masking fluid and on old, but very thin paintbrush.  Masking fluid can ruin paintbrushes if it dries in the bristles, so wash the brush in warm soapy water as soon as you are done.
  2. After I penciled in the outlines, I painted the designs in masking fluid.  This stuff is creamy white and dries to become fairly transparent and yellowish.
  3. With fairly wet paints I washed my background with a broad brush. The paint will not penetrate the masking design and those areas will remain white.
  4. Next I painted in the details and left the page to dry well.
  5. The next stage was such fun!  I gently pulled off the masking fluid which pulls off easily in long sticky strings.  You can rub it off too,  It rolls into balls which you can pull off and throw away.
  6. Finally I added silver and black outlines.  Lovely finished product and such an enjoyable activity.

Go ahead and have some art fun this week!

Blessings,

Sketch Tuesday ~ Something Hot

This past week’s Sketch Tuesday theme ~

Something Hot!

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Here, during our chilly South African winters, we enjoy all the heat and warmth we can find … hot chocolate, warm, fluffy slippers and cuddly blankets … and a fire burning in the living room.

And in my farm kitchen, I love my AGA stove which burns day and night, always ready,  with its ovens cooking slow soups and stews, its heat generating hot water in our geyser, and we keep the kettle just off simmer, ready for some hot tea!

Strangely, there has been no snow on our mountains yet, despite several bitter cold fronts.  Gale force winds have blown for days and our sheds and our roofs have taken a pounding.

It is good to sit indoors and keep ourselves warm.  And we do our art together. Lovely!

See you at the slide show!

Blessings,

New Fun Art!

For a while my 12-year-old has avoided been reluctant about her art.  So sad. Somehow, her perfectionism got in the way of her creativity.  And, perhaps I focused too seriously on Charlotte Mason art appreciation lessons rather than presenting her simple art fun.

I was delighted when I came across this book at our local library ~

A Usborne Activities 365 Things to Draw and Paint  by Fiona Watt

(ISBN 978-1-86806-319-2)

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According to the title, this book offers amazing art activities for every day for a whole year!  Actually, each double page layout presents several interconnected ideas, and so you have about 126 lessons here instead of 365.

Much to my delight, Miss.L12 immediately tagged about 30 pages and we decided to try to do one a day!

Here is how fabulous Miss.L12 felt about her first art lesson!

Art fun

And I’m smiling too!

What I like about these art activities is the simplicity of the lesson combined with an exploration of different creative techniques such as printing, rubbings, splatters, cutting out, doodles … superb creative fun!

Here is our “Laboratory Experiments” activity with blowing, splatter and print art elements ~

Art fun1

And here is our “Printed Fruit & Vegetables” with finger painting, print techniques and rubbings for the fruit crates.  Again, huge success!

Art fun2

I’m doing these art activities along with my daughter and we are having such a lovely creative time!

I guess that I am going to renew this library book several times! [smiles]

Blessings,

 

Zoology 3 Land Animals

We have completed our Exploring Creation with Zoology 3  Land Animals Apologia Science book.

Science

We took our time, and spent about 18 months enjoying our reading, researching and discoveries.  I LOVE to take things slowly.  In all our years of homeschooling, I must endorse this – take your time with the things your kids enjoy!

Flesh it out, savor it.

Delve deeper, dig out more.

Delight yourselves in discovery!

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All the way through our studies, my daughter pasted the images of each animal mentioned in each chapter onto continent maps.

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For this activity ~

  1. Download and print out your free pictures ~ Land Animal Pictures and classification table ~ Table Classification of land animals
  2. Print out maps for each continent – Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America, Oceania. (Our Middle East map was still empty at the end of our study.)

We have enjoyed our Land Animal mobile hanging over our study table for the past year … P1160088-002

Pop over to the original blog post and here is your free download ~ Classification Table+cards.  This is a simplified version of Animal Classification.

But now it is time to take it down to make way for our next Science book … Astronomy!

Blessings,

K5 Review

About 6 weeks ago, we started our free trial of K5 Learning.  

Butterfly girl FT

My daughter loved to work on all the programs and especially enjoyed the creative activities.  She (recently turned-12-years old) said this,

“I enjoyed the options the program provided and the fun activities.  The lessons were very helpful and gave me a boost in Maths.”

Let me start from the beginning ~

Their initial assessment was excellent. The results were detailed and clear, and for the first time in our homeschooling career, I had an accurate breakdown in my child’s Maths and Reading skill levels and abilities.

My daughter loved the Maths Facts section – mental maths “designed to help kids develop instant recall of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts”. She worked positively to maintain high scores and loved to see her mastery results on the K5 Math Fact Matrix display. What impressed me was that the program constantly adapted to reinforce specific maths facts which she missed or took too long to recall.  

The Maths program has excellent explanations of new maths concepts with good, clear examples of the work, followed by the exercises.  Without too much fuss, K5 gave a quick sound effect to indicate success or mistake.  After the exercise series, my child was given time to play on an “arcade game” which gave her a few minutes of  fun as a refreshing break.

The Reading and comprehension was thorough and very comprehensive. I was impressed with the comprehension questions and the vocabulary extension.

We struggled with the Spelling program because there was no “teaching” or pre-learning component on the spelling lessons presented.  The program presented the vocabulary test and practice almost blind.  Despite trying to change the grade levels, we didn’t seem to find our level and so we did not enjoy the spelling program. 

My only regret was that we didn’t have reliable, speedy Internet service during our free trial period and so we missed several days each week of online learning.  But I highly recommend this program to any homeschooler!  It is excellent and very effective! From an educational perspective, it is outstanding and their methodology is excellent.  From a parent’s perspective it is very easy to use, log in to assess and keep in touch with the child’s progress.  For the child, it is simple to log in and work on his or her own.

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K5 Learning has a referral program, which pays participants $25 for each new subscriber that clicks over to K5, so my daughter and I will be very grateful if you click here to go start your free trial!

Blessings,