Friday, August 31, 2018

Week 3 ~ Year 20 Seven Tenets of Our Homeschool

Over the last 20 years many things have changed. Curricula have come and gone; some goals and dreams for my children have shifted; and the focus of our days has sometimes been taken over by life, forcing us to set books aside for more pressing life lessons. However, there are certain tenets that have always remained. I have never truly experienced burnout in our homeschooling journey. I attribute that to a true love of teaching and the discovery of a Charlotte Mason Education in the earliest months of our homeschool journey. A Charlotte Mason education is so rich. It fills our senses with wonder and leaves our lives full. These seven features of our homeschool have never wavered throughout all these years. They have been with us daily, weekly -- or in the case of poetry teas --monthly, since the beginning of our journey.

Character Training ~ Character training is truly an element that is taught day in and day out in our home through conversations, great literature, curriculum, Bible study and example. This week we focused on the book, Character Is Destiny: Inspiring Stories Every Young Person Should Know and Every Adult Should Remember, by John McCain. This was our small tribute to Senator McCain as we send up prayers that our country will heed his words and come back together to help all Americans live better, more peaceful lives.

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other." ~ Mother Teresa

Nature Study ~ We have done formal and informal nature studies through the years. Some years I have meticulously picked nature topics and we have studied them. That is not the way we are currently doing nature study. We currently have a much more natural flow to our study. For instance, this week we went to say our final farewell to the Chihuly exhibit at the Biltmore and were stunned by the lily pads and other pond plants. Before long, I realized that we (the kids and I) were taking more pictures of the pond life than of the Chihuly glass. So we enjoyed the beautiful plantings and identified later in the week what we had seen. One book that has really stood the test of time in our homeschool is Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock. This book has been a staple in our home since the very first month of our homeschool journey.
Victoria Water Lily Pad

Water Lily

Egyptian Lotus Flower
A Rich Art Program ~ Art has always been a vital and intricate part of our homeschool. We have used picture studies since the kids were old enough to sit and look at books. I love this book I just found, How to Talk to Children About Art, by Francois Barbe-Gall. I am sure it will benefit children who cross my life in the future. Besides visiting Chihuly again this week, we also had our monthly art class with Grandma. Dean also went to his weekly art class. 

The children learned the seven principles of art for visual arts and photography with Grandma. Then they went outside to take photos to portray the seven principles. These are a few of Anne's shots. After, they critiqued their photos using, the Rule of Thirds Grid to determine the photos with the best compositional layout.

Charity Work ~ It is vital to me that my children have charitable hearts and are able to put others before themselves. I believe we have achieved that goal for three out of the four (and our fourth does care, at least as far as her mental health will allow). This month we found ourselves out of homeless kits, so we made 15 more with the focus on hygiene. Usually, we are concerned with the weather, which dictates our homeless kits -- water and sunscreen in the summer, energy bars and warm socks/hats in the winter -- but our fall bags could take on a different focus since fall is one of the easier seasons to live outdoors if one must do so. Our bags are filled with soap, tooth paste and tooth brushes, combs, socks, shampoo and lotion. We will pass them out over the coming weeks as we see people in need along our city streets.

Poetry Tea ~ What isn't to love about a poetry tea? You get to eat treats, drink tea, use crystal and listen to great poetry. We studied four poems by Emily Dickinson this month. We had an animated conversation about her poem, Because I Could Not Stop for Death

Field Trips ~ There is no better way to experience the world than going out into the world. We love field trips and I am always on the hunt for fun and educational experiences. This week's field trips were to the Biltmore Estate and to play miniature golf with the visiting grandparents at a new course in town. 

Family Read Aloud Time ~ There is such value in sharing great literature with your children. It affects so many aspects of their lives from writing skills to an understanding of the world around them ... and so much more. As I mentioned before, we have been reading Character Is Destiny this week. We plan to start Christy by Catherine Marshal next week. This book is one of my all time favorite books and is set in the mountain hollers not far from our mountain city. I think it is timely, since we hope to visit Cades Cove this fall, which is where our adopted children's lineage stems from. 

Thanks for hanging in there for this rather long post!

Blessings, Dawn


  1. I didn't mind "hanging in there" a bit. I quite enjoyed how you put this post together, and I liked all of the photos. We regularly drive past a couple of intersections at which we could pass out homeless kits. Now you've got me thinking . . .

  2. We have lived and grown by these as well!

  3. I love this post and the way you incorporate all those things into your lives!

  4. We have made Charity bags as well and pass them out whenever we see a homeless person on the road. I too believe in giving back and am trying hard to teach my kids the same. I loved Chuilly art when it came to our area.

  5. I only learned about Charlotte Mason (and started reading her books) when my kids were older. If I had it to do again, I'd incorporate her methodology from the beginning.
    My daughter is reading the Andreola book on Mason now. And she met a group of homeschool moms at CFA today (my dd works theree). These moms meet there monthly to discuss Charlotte Mason. My daughter thought that was neat.