Here I Go Grow Again
Well, that didn't last. What is it they say about not trusting feelings? Ha. (And I kid you not, I thought the same thing when I typed that sentence out.)
Considering the fact that I never landed on a set curriculum for my oldest during the past twelve years of homeschooling, I'm not sure why I thought I should even try again. (Decision fatigue, stress of life----the past years have been hard, but 2019 has held it's own special brand of hard----I mean I know why I thought I *should* try. But really, self? I say.....I'm sure I'll laugh about it somewhere in my future.)
What can I say?
The release of lesson plans from the Alveary was a big disappointment. The actual plans themselves are well done. They are visually beautiful. The books are fit properly to the subjects. The readings are carefully chosen and paced. They have plugged in links to helpful pictures, maps, and such. I know a lot of work (and then some!!) has gone into them.
But the release itself. Huge disappointment. So many delays. So little communication. Unless they get much more organized and better at communication, here's my short review to anyone thinking about using the Alveary after the start of two different years as a member: don't plan to be able to implement anything they put out within at least two weeks of any date they give you. If you do, you'll likely be set up for a lot of frustration. (Hopefully they will get better!)
So about somewhere mid week last week---I finally agreed with myself as to what I already knew. I would not actually be using most, if any, of the plans. (Art looks amazing! The videos I've watched are so helpful! And I'm not quite finished looking through the other subject I was most looking forward to seeing----geography. Ironically, those were the very last plans released later in the week, and by then I knew I would be moving on/back to hashing out my own course of study. Finally. I guess I'm a slow learner at this. Which is also ironic as I never once hesitated to pick and choose among ideas and resources and create from scratch when I taught children in a classroom setting. I still miss some of the ladies I worked closely with over the years and the brainstorming, planning and sharing we were able to do. I'm definitely going to try to watch every single art, sloyd, and dance video and enjoy what I can learn from the Alveary in general vs. utilizing plans specifically though.)
Instead of just deleting my last post, I thought I'd write this one. Maybe someone out there needs to know they aren't the only one who goes around and around wanting a laid out CM plan to be THE ONE to use, to then repeatedly find there just isn't one (even with minor tweaks here and there). (And yeah, that one person might just be one of my own daughters one day if no one else. My oldest will remember my days of ramblings about this subject, my youngest one won't---hopefully. Hopefully I don't keep that up for another 12 years. Ha.) Not that there aren't many wonderful choices. But for some reason, the choices just are not for me, or for whoever needs to hear it. I mean, what can one do? Pull up your bootstraps....tie and knot at the end of your rope and hang on. Do what you know to do. (Whatever it is----CM or not.)
When trying to understand the Charlotte Mason philosophy what needs to be done? Go to the source. Always, go to the source. Charlotte Mason herself. There is a lot (a LOT) of information, opinion, and "noise" in the CM homeschool community now that did not exist ten years ago. Listen to much of it too long and it will bog you down. Podcasts, blog posts, webinars, articles, even the PNEU programmes (dare I say it)----they can be learning tools, but they can also become burdensome. Reading Charlotte Mason's volumes has never been burdensome (for me). Inspiring. Invigorating. Vocabulary expanding. Yes.
(After CM herself, I'd really recommend listening to Sonya Shaffer from Simply Charlotte Mason. And the Ambleside Online founders or Brandy Vencel, who utilizes AO. Always full of grace. And humble wisdom.)
So before I could even try to dig into my own planning---to clear the noise in my own head, I decided I needed to go back to the 20 Principles and read them again. Write down what I needed to listen to directly from CM---what I need to focus on instead of anything else.
Children are born persons.
Education is the science of relations.
Two guides to moral and intellectual self-management are the way of the will and the way of reason. Teach children not to lean too confidently on their own understanding. Whether it be right or wrong, reason will confirm whatever is willed.
The chief responsibility which rests on children (and us all) as persons is the acceptance or rejection of ideas.
Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.
The mind feeds on ideas and the child must be given a generous curriculum with knowledge that is varied, vital, and fitted to him. (emphasis added)
Allow no separation to grow up between the intellectual and spiritual life of children. Teach them the Divine Spirit has constant access to their spirits and is their Continual Helper in all the interests, duties, and joys of life.