An April “Vacation”

I often take time over the Christmas Holidays to evaluate our current year and put some ideas on paper for the next twelve months for school and for summer activities and travel plans. This year, I decided that I was not going to make my annual trip to Virginia for the homeschool convention in June, but that instead we would plan to have lessons for twelve weeks from January to the end of March, take April off to do yard work and plant the garden and then have a summer term in May, June, and July for twelve weeks. August would again be  a holiday month and we would resume lessons in September before the Advent holiday that we have taken for the past several years.

My original plan was to do at least some of our summer term on Cape Cod. My family owns a cottage on a pond there that various cousins and relatives use as it suits them and I thought that June on the Cape might be very nice. Not yet crowded with holiday tourists and as we mostly hang out on our pond anyway there isn’t much need for events or other attractions to be open. Of course, with all of this virus stuff that part of the plan is off of the list for the moment although if things ease up we may still go.

So here we are halfway through April and we have been busily digging new garden beds and renewing the old ones as well as getting trash out of the yard and shop and generally tidying up the place. The furnace man has come and serviced the furnace, I have an electrician lined up to improve the electrical service to Stuart’s shop and am hoping to get someone in to replace the rotten siding and paint the place.

I’ve been going through the basement and putting books into their right categories in the library and learning materials into the their right totes since everything had gotten rather muddled when we had our basement flood and foundation building project last spring!

I’m also deep in curriculum development for Discovering History With Notebooks. The full  scope and sequence for 12 grades of History and Geography studies is all laid out and I am working on weekly lesson plans and sources for the various pieces and parts as well as sample notebooks for each level. I am drawing heavily on Maria Montessori and Charlotte Mason for the order in which history is presented and the ways in which students and teachers interact with it so that Form One begins with themselves and their personal geography and history:

Form 1: Ages 6-8

  • Year 1: Geography of the Natural World
    • Term 1-My Home, Neighborhood, and Town
    • Term 2-My State and Region
    • Term 3-My Continent, Continents and Oceans, The Globe
  • Year 2: Land Forms, Maps, Seasons, Weather
    • Term 1-Land Forms, Map Making
    • Term 2-Maps, Compass, Distances, Scales
    • Term 3-Seasons, Weather
  • Year 3: World Geography
    • Term 1- North America – The United States 2 states per week beginning with the child’s state
    • Term 2- North America- The United States 2 states per week plus two weeks with three states
    • Term 3- Canada, Mexico, Central America

and by the end of Form Five (High School) students have a solid grasp of History in general as well Church History and the History of Philosophy and Theology:

Form 5: High School: The Making of the Modern World

  • Year 1: 1600-1800
    • Term 1-The 17th Century
    • Term 2- The 18th Century
    • Term 3- The 19th Century
  • Year 2: 1900-Present
    • Term 1- 1900-1950
    • Term 2-1950-2000
    • Term 3-2000-Present 
  • Year 3: The History of the Church
    • Term 1-Early Church to the Protestant Revolt
    • Term 2- Reformation, Counter-Reformation, Enlightenment
    • Term 3- The Church in the Modern Age, 1870-Present
  • Year 4: Philosophy and Theology Through the Ages
    • Term 1: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, St. Paul
    • Term 2: Talmud, Church Fathers to Aquinas
    • Term 3: Enlightenment, Marx, Modern Criticism, Psychology

I am really happy about how the project is coming together- there are plenty of sources that are free to use or inexpensive so I hope that this program will be easy for people to use and bring a depth to study and discussion that will equip students for life.

I remind myself frequently of that wonderful word from Miss Mason:

“The question is not, – how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education – but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?”

The study of human action and Divine Providence that we call the Study of History  is surely a significant part of that “large room” and I hope to help families to see the Beauty and Wonder and ultimately the Truth contained in this study.


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