We have 5 more weeks of our spring term before finishing our educational year… so naturally, it seemed like perfect timing to review our winter term. We have three terms per year: fall, winter & spring. Each term lasts eleven weeks. We have a break week in-between each term. Next year, I’m hoping to incorporate exams into that break week.. Winter term contains a short 3 week holiday term in between Thanksgiving & Christmas so you’ll see two sets of Circle Time plans below with an Advent focus.
Term two (“winter term”) is always harder than term one. I was glad when it was over & we could push on to (hopefully) finish strong!
Please Note: you’ll notice I adapt a lot of our lessons from the generous & FREE site, Ambleside Online. I do so because we are a large family & I have many students (6 this year + 1 full time dual enrollment student + 3 toddlers). Our family is so grateful for the wisdom of the ladies who began & sustain AO. There’s no better place, in my opinion, to learn & implement Charlotte Mason. So, GO CHECK IT OUT & find an encouraging community feasting on ideas!
Holiday Circle Time for ALL:
Hymns: See, Amid the Winter’s Snow
Read Alouds: A Christmas Carol (audiobook this year- yipee!)
Composer: Handel’s Messiah using Cindy Rollin’s Hallelujah as a guide
Winter Circle Time for ALL:
Poems: The Village Blacksmith (Patricia, Benjamin & Matthias); The Swan & the Goose (Jonathan & Elizabeth); My Shadow (Abigail); Singing Time & The Yak (Emily); After The Party (Katherine); Ooey Gooey (Josiah).
Shakespeare: King Lear (memorizing lines & listening to it while we read along)
Folk Song: Walk That Lonesome Valley
Latin: reviewing old vocabulary
History & Geography: memorized Introduction of the Declaration of Independence + we listened to several episodes of the 5 Minutes in Church History podcast.
Plutarch: Titus Flaminius using The Plutarch Project, Volume One
Read Alouds: Little Pilgrim’s Progress; The Classic Hundred Poems; Poetry for Young People: Rudyard Kipling; George Washington’s World; Tanglewood Tales; Trial & Triumph: Stories from Church History; Among the Meadow People; North or Be Eaten
Spanish: TalkBox snacks & kitchen box
Mama's Assessment of Circle Time: this was our second year of Advent Circle plans & it’s such a lovely time! I highly recommend Cindy Rollin’s book - she even has a YouTube channel with all the music listed by day. During Winter Term, we did not study a composer or artist. And I think our souls missed it. We also need to be more consistent with Spanish! Our second box came but we will restart the snacks & kitchen box again in Term 3.
FINISHED Reading Aloud for ALL:
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (audiobook)
King Lear by William Shakespeare (audiobook but we also read along)
Poetry for Young People: Rudyard Kipling edited by Eileen Gillooly
Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Cat of Bubastes by G.A. Henty (audiobook)
Snowflake Bentley by Jackqueline Briggs Martin
Afternoons for ALL: Music lessons fill two afternoons a week- not for every child but it does mean mama is gone & that lack of oversight leads to a bit of aimlessness in the house. Who knew? We continue to relish our time twice a month nature walk with our Wonder Group! The accountability of meeting a group is good for this mama, who does not like being cold & would therefore often put off nature walks.
Mama's Assessment of Afternoons: everyone besides Elizabeth still needs to build the habit of handicrafts. A milder winter meant we got outside a lot (which is AWESOME!)… when it wasn’t raining too hard.
Little's Hour: (Katherine, age 5; Josiah, age 3; Timothy, age 1) I continued my focus of reading aloud each afternoon. Timothy often spent time with a big sibling because sitting still isn’t much fun when you’re one. I LOVE that my big kids help mama by caring for a younger sibling (or two)! It not only blesses me, it blesses their relationships. I’m also grateful that Timothy still takes two naps- it makes it much easier to meet with other children for lessons. Beyond meeting with mama & joining us all for Circle Time, these three spend a lot of time outside. It’s the best place for little people!
Young Ones Lessons: (Abigail, age 9 & Emily, age 7) the girls began my modified version of Ambleside Online year 3… but we only got through 6 of the 11 weeks I had planned. No worries- we will just keep pluggin’ along. Both girls listen to the Bible in the morning before breakfast, finishing Mark during this term. Our loop of lessons consist of Bible memory, phonics (Primary Language Arts for Emily & reading aloud for Abigail), copywork, & math (we use Singapore Standards but also add enrichment activities). Our second loop consists of reading aloud for literature, science & history. All readings are followed by narration. We often do some kind of keeping- adding to our wall timeline, mapwork or written narration. They both do their music (Abigail: piano; Emily: violin) in the afternoons. The girls were especially excited to begin a music class at our co-op. It’s the highlight of their week! Each day they listen to several pieces by a composer, as well as sing a jingle about the song/composer. It’s delightful!
Here's a list of what they read during our Winter Term (remember, most of our readings are spread out over a LONG period of time so often we do not finish a book in one term):
Through the Looking Glass (audiobook w/ Elizabeth)— FINISHED!
Mama's Assessment of Young Ones Lessons: We continued with oral narrations & I especially saw an improvement in Emily. She still needs shorter passages than Abigail but I have to remind myself that there’s a 2-year age difference… and each child is a person. Abigail began reading aloud the McGuffey’s First Reader & her fluency is just soaring! I’m still uncertain about what to use for spelling so we continued to focus on copywork. The girls love having an audiobook with Elizabeth!
Middlings Lessons: (Elizabeth, age 11 & Jonathan, age 13) this year, they are working through my modified version of Ambleside Online year 6. Our loop together consists of Bible memory, math (Singapore Standards), dictation & reading aloud to mama, as well as going over any Latin from their co-op class. This term I also added in The Nose Tree once a week to help them polish up on their grammar. Both children have independent work: copywork, 1 written narration per day, Latin for co-op, mapwork from various readings + learning to draw Europe (Draw Europe), science readings, history readings, music (violin for Jonathan & piano for Elizabeth; both have lessons once a week), literature readings, & free readings. ALL readings except free ones are narrated orally. Once a week they make an entry in their Book of Centuries. Here's a list of what they read during Fall Term:
Archimedes and the Door of Science— FINISHED!
The Holy War (Jonathan only; read aloud with Mama)
Free Reads (which means they do not have to narrate to me me nor are the assigned what to read when): The Hobbit (finished!); Calico Captive (Elizabeth only; finished!); The Sign of the Beaver (Jonathan only; finished!); Ben Hur (audiobook); Through the Looking Glass (audiobook for Elizabeth; finished!)
Mama's Assessment of Middlings Lessons: Jonathan’s written narrations improved by leaps & bounds! Why? He cares more. There was nothing I could do to make him care so I consistently held the line on what was required of him, clearly communicating it to him. And I waited, though not often very patiently. Mama is learning during this educational process! Elizabeth loves science- it’s her favorite readings. We still need to consistently do science experiments. The hardest piece of this puzzle is WHEN?
Upper Lessons: (Matthias, age 14 & Benjamin, age 16) using Dr. Grant’s American Culture humanities course as our framework, I combine it with several of the upper years of Ambleside Online & co-op lessons. While most of their readings are narrated throughout the day, they write one narration each day. In addition, they often add to their commonplace journal as well as write once a week about current events. Eric meets with both boys for math when needed, as well as Bible study on Sundays. I try to meet up with them at least once a week- we discuss written narrations or other keeping pursuits. Their studies include personal Bible reading & journaling + an Old Testament Bible study from co-op with Elder Horton, math (ChalkDust - Algebra for Benjamin & Pre-Algebra for Matthais), history (co-op with Daddy as teacher: American Culture), current event study, science readings & experiments, Spanish (co-op), writing,mapwork from various readings + learning to draw Europe (Draw Europe), music (Matthias: piano with lessons each week), literature readings & free reading (at bedtime).
Here's a list of what BOTH boys read during Fall Term:
The Last of the Mohicans— FINISHED!
Hero Tales from American History— FINISHED!
Confidence Man; His Masquerade— FINISHED!
Undaunted Courage— FINISHED!
The Talisman (book discussion with Patricia)
Here's a list of what MATTHIAS only read during Fall Term:
Grammar of Poetry (book & dvds)
FREE READS: That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles
Here's a list of what BENJAMIN only read during Fall Term:
Attributes of God— FINISHED!
Economics in One Lesson— FINISHED!
Mama's Assessment of Upper Lessons: math was the focus this term. I’d like to flesh out their written narrations into essays.
Patricia: (age 18) I shared here about Patricia’s awards from Scholastic Art & Writing for her writing portfolio. So proud of her!!! For dual enrolling, she enjoyed a break during most of the winter term & then took American Literature II. In addition to college classes, Patricia studied music (piano lessons & mandolin at home), art & reading. She joined us each morning for Circle Time… and I tried not to weep thinking about how those days were numbered. I’m so grateful to have walked alongside this girl in her educational pursuits. The end of my teaching came too fast!