Scholé at home this week went a little something like this. In keeping with Charlotte Mason’s method, I’ll “tell it back,” as best as I can remember.
Each day this week we started with a short nature walk and the children made quick sketches of their nature findings in their journals. We followed nature walks with Gospel readings for the day. We used the Orthodox Study Bible and the Church Calendar for our reading assignments. We got into a pattern of my oldest son reading the passage aloud for us. We coupled copywork with this lesson, by having the children each select a sentence to copy from the reading. I learned a little more about copywork later in the week that the goal is two perfectly formed lines without looking up and down every word or phrase, but trying to hold the whole sentence in your mind before copying it out. I began instructing the children in this practice after learning about this lesson procedure.
After copywork we moved right into our Orthodox Christian studies. We rotated through five different faith building subjects: Catechism, Saints Lives, Writings of Church Fathers, God/Self/Others, and Church History. The books we are using are: Law of God, Saints of North America, Our Island Saints, and Lives of the Apostles, The Hexaemeron, Who is God? Who am I? Who are You?, and Heroes of Truth. We read from one section of each on their given scheduled days, and the children narrated back what they could remember. As the week went on I contemplated something I heard about “scaffolding” a lesson. Though I don’t have that down yet, just thinking about it and starting a reading with a tiny background and review helped the children to tell back in more detail. I’m going to read and listen to more about scaffolding when I get time so I can put that into practice more moving forward.
After Orthodox Christian studies we worked on Latin 3x and Greek 1x this week. In Latin we wrote and memorized noun declensions, new vocabulary, and translated short sentences from Latin to English and English to Latin. In Greek we worked on the alphabet and the sounds of the alphabet.
Our history studies consisted of Roman, British, and American History. Roman History was a struggle this week and last week. The book I tried in week 1 wasn’t reading smoothly as a read aloud and neither was the book I tried this week. The narrations I got sounded something like, “There was a dude, and yeah, that’s all I can remember.” I wanted to use a book I already had because I bought so many books and I already had several Roman History books, but after two weeks of very awkward Roman History lessons I decided I should buy the book which was recommended to me by the ladies at A Delectable Education, Dorothy Mills’ The Book of the Ancient Romans with the Memoria Press study guide so I can do scaffolding. I’ll implement this in week 4 after everything arrives.
We covered two time periods of British History: ancient and 19th century. We learned about ancient Alba and Brutus naming the place Britain and about Richard Arkwright and how through much toil and hardship, especially when his own wife smashed his work to pieces, he went from a hairdresser to a wig maker to an inventor of a cloth weaving machine.
In Citizenship we considered the role of the President, how it has changed through the years and how technology and inventions have contributed to the changes in job description that the President executes on a daily basis.
We got a taste for Tennyson’s poetry and noticed that he enjoys themes of fantasy creatures and dark ideas like murder. I thought there might be some historical connection to his poem about a murder but I couldn’t connect the dots, not having recognized the story.
We listened to Schumann’s piano pieces and noticed the fanciful style. Some of his music seemed familiar, like perhaps it was used in old Disney movies or it’s played at Disneyland over the speaker.
We enjoyed a picture by Mary Cassatt. This one had a woman sitting in a chair with a child around the age of two or three hanging on her lap. The woman was working on a cloth, sewing I think. The colors were light and cheerful. The woman’s dress was striped and pretty but not too fancy. Her hair was in a loose bun. She had solid and soft facial features and the child was very healthy looking. They seemed peaceful.
For Literature I read a chapter in Peter and Wendy. In this chapter, if I’m remembering correctly, Wendy’s mom notices leaves and footsteps in the nursery and she has a hard time believing Peter came in. But when she fell asleep in the room and woke up she saw him there with Tinkerbell.
I also read Chapter 1 from a fairy tale book called The King of the Golden River. In the story there were three brothers. The two older brothers were wicked and the youngest brother sweet, generous, and kind. The older brothers abused him with insults and hard work, while the youngest brother’s attitude remained positive. They owned a farm which was very prosperous but they never shared and they sold their goods for high prices. They were very rich and wicked with their riches. One day a strange man came to the door while the two wicked brothers were away, drinking at the bar I think. The youngest brother didn’t want to let the man in, but he kept begging to come in because he was cold and wet. The boy finally let him in but he said that he couldn’t stay long or his brothers would kill him. The strange man convinced him to give him some food and he stayed so long that the brothers came home to find him there. They were extremely rude to him. The strange man finally left but with a message that he would never come back because they were so ugly to him. He left with a big rushing wind that tore off the roof and ruined all their possessions and he left his business card on the table, “South West Wind Esquire,” was written on the card with long, swift, curly writing.
I also did Dictation with the children and learned that we could be doing this together, so I might change this up next week, or I might keep it the same because the kids each like different books to dictate from. Surprisingly the children have really liked these lessons, especially our daughter.
Everyday the children recited aloud from The Psalter. We worked up to three verses this week. I haven’t added poetry or Shakespeare yet, but I plan to before too long.
We attended Divine Liturgy on the occasion of the Feast of St. Innocent on Thursday which replaced our morning lessons. The hymn we sang in honor of St. Innocent concludes with this proclamation, “the Lord truly guides a man in the way he should go.” Doesn’t this speak right to the heart of scholé at home? Not only does the Lord truly guide the mother and father to administer scholé at home, but the Lord truly guides the hearts and minds of each child in the homeschool in the way that he should go, if we leave room. Principle 20 of Charlotte Mason’s “A Short Synopsis” says, “We allow no separation to grow up between the intellectual and the ‘spiritual’ life of children, but teach them that the Divine Spirit has constant access to their spirits, and is their continual Helper in all the interests, duties and joys of life.”
St. Innocent was a unique missionary sent from Russia to the native people of Alaska. The reason I say “unique” was because he ministered to the native people where they were at. He didn’t expect them to convert to “Russian” Christianity or any other ethnic Christianity. He brought Christ to them, not trying to change their native ways, and he taught them the Gospel in their own tongue. He created an alphabet for the Aleut people, because they didn’t have one, and translated the Gospels and the services in the Aleut native language. Years later, when the U.S. purchased Alaska, he wasn’t dismayed. Instead he foretold that this would allow Orthodox Christianity to move into the lower 49 and that some day the Orthodox Divine Liturgy would be sung in English, in the states. I was present in this very service, foretold by St. Innocent, as we sang the Divine Liturgy in English by my English speaking priest and our choir and lay people. It was beautiful.
The focus of scholé, restful learning about the most important things in life: truth, goodness, and beauty culminates in the faith we live out day to day as we worship Christ, glorified in His creation, in His Saints, and in our daily lives as we are guided in the way that we should go, by the grace of God.
*Maple Leaf & Seed painted by me, Jennifer Bascom. May not be used without permission.
Edited to add: Afternoons consisted of narrations of previous afternoon lessons and independent lessons of math, science, biography, literature and historical fiction reading, current events, composition, handicrafts, physical fitness, and afternoon leisure activities.