Wonder in the Woods

Living and Learning in the Pacific Northwest

Simplicity and Purpose

Last night our little co-op had a great planning meeting. We have a solid plan for the summer term. I’m excited!  I enjoyed talking with my friend until late in the night about homeschooling and motherhood.  Meeting up face to face is so much better than on-line communication.  I’ve fallen out of love with Facebook so I deleted my account this morning. I’ve done this before, but I think it will stay gone this time.  I have most everyone who wants to keep in touch in my email or cell phone, or they have mine. I can be reached through this blog too.

I want to homeschool in a completely different way this year.  I’m boxing up all our extra curriculum and resources.  I’m keeping it simple.  We are going to read to read, and write to write, etc.  I’m going to seek purpose and opportunities for hard work.  The boys need to feel a sense of purpose and use their muscles too.  I’m working in the yard again, and feeling lighter after deciding what we are doing for school this year.  I’m not going to blog about our plans, therefore there is no need to blog about what did not work.

We almost got a golden retriever puppy this week, but decided it won’t fit our lifestyle at this time.  I will keep my eye out for a full-grown golden retriever that needs a new home.  My aunt and uncle have the sweetest golden that they rescued a couple of years ago.  With this conversation this week, it is a good opportunity to go to the library and check out books about puppies and dogs.  I’m going to show the boys how to find the information they want to know.

I wish I had found this wonderful resource years ago. It would have simplified our homeschool from the beginning, or maybe I needed to see what doesn’t work before fulling appreciating this method.  Learning with kids is easy.  It is thinking about the public school timeline that complicates how parents feel about learning.  I will quit anything that makes me feel like we need to be in that box.  Anything on our shelves that is not a good living book is going into a box and into storage.

I feel lighter and more free.

3 comments on “Simplicity and Purpose

  1. silvana
    August 30, 2013

    Can it be??? someone that thinks like me???
    “I’ve fallen out of love with Facebook so I deleted my account this morning”
    People give me the weird look when I tell them I am not on Facebook. Be ready to tell them why you don’t use it! To me it is about how time consuming and unpersonal it has become. People don’t call to say happy birthday anymore if you are on Facebook they just post something on your page… I much rather have a phone call.

    “I want to homeschool in a completely different way this year. I’m boxing up all our extra curriculum and resources. I’m keeping it simple. We are going to read to read, and write to write, etc. I’m going to seek purpose and opportunities for hard work.”
    This is also my goal! I found your blog because I googled: Daily 5 and homeschooling. I used daily five as a dual language teacher with my 3rd and 4th graders and I love it (I also used the CAFE menu). I know it is right for my family so I was looking for ways others were using it. I have the book all highlighted and with sticky notes! My kids are little (almost 4 and 2.5) but my oldest can do so much already. She even has her own daily journal! We follow Montessori methodology, and the daily five fits right in with the child’s choices and adult mini demonstrations. I wanted to ask you how you are offering the choices? In school, I had a sheet of paper with my students’ names and the columns. I would ask them after our morning meeting what they wanted to work and send them on their chosen way… but I am wondering if there is a better more visual way for little ones at home. I am thinking about a pocket chart that my daughter can chose from. What do you do? ask them?

    “Learning with kids is easy. It is thinking about the public school timeline that complicates how parents feel about learning. I will quit anything that makes me feel like we need to be in that box.” This is a bit harder for me, since I was a teacher… but I am working at it. The first thing I did was to ditch the idea of the school calendar. We work during our summer! We work based on my kids interest and it just didn’t feel like work. I want to continue to do that.

    I have so much to ask you…I am a new fan!

    • RosieCotton
      September 4, 2013

      I feel like I am home.

      Having just completed boxing up crates of curriculum we don’t need, and fully committing to CM and a Classical plan for my 6 and 7yr old boys and our 3 library cards, I come across this beautiful piece which says just what I am thinking. Your photos are beautiful, your posts are elegant, I’ve never had a Facebook account so I can’t like you there. Am reaching out to tell you I like you here.

      I wish we lived in Oregon to join your wonderful summer co-op days. Just sitting back here enjoying what I know will be the best years of my life with my kids. Even if my parents and sisters do not think so as they cannot even find the box I am in. We’ve started the year reading reading reading cuddled up on the couch enjoying the classics. The status of the public system is not anywhere close enough to trust my children with. The private system not much better. Having sold curriculum for 4 years and seeing the true stats of students in every state I could not simply ignore it like many do.

      I struggle with am I good enough for them, but I know where that comes from. I’ve been trying to do too much to please the outside, and am now focused on simple things, simple curriculum, and enjoying our days. We have 8 wooded acres here in central MN, and are thinking about getting chickens. The boys catch grasshoppers and frogs from the ponds daily in their catch boxes and put them on my once fabulous dining room table. And I drink it in. Certified Scuba Divemaster if you need any advice or help! Diving is truly awesome. Just wanted to say thank you, and maybe we can talk or even meet sometime somehow.

  2. Wonder in the Woods
    August 31, 2013

    At 4 years old Chandler wanted to learn to read and write. I couldn’t stop him. I even asked him to take a break sometimes because he would work on it for hours. I really love Charlotte Mason and you might too? Formal schooling doesn’t start with CM until 6 years old. Anything my kids did before this age was inspired by them. I didn’t have pockets or work boxes or a schedule of any kind. We went on plenty of nature walks, I read to them, and I also did a lot of storytelling which I think is even better than books because kids can interject their ideas for the stories. My kids are great storytellers now. We do some “noun stories” now and the kids pick a person, place, thing, abstract noun and action verb. Then I tell a story or they tell a story. They are quite good at it. Their storytelling started from me telling them stories at about 4 years old and up.

    Definitely ditch the school calendar and anything that makes you feel like you have to do all 5 of the Daily 5 in one day. Exploring the world is so much better. Walking beside your child is so much better. Your child might want to read and write and that’s great. Follow that. Kids can shut down and lose interest if it is not their idea, or maybe they are pleasers and want to do it to please mom. Let it come from them.

    As for our schedule now that I have a 2nd and 4th grader, well, we do have some school work. We do Charlotte Mason “school” one day a week, which is not like public school at all, and the boys are actually enjoying it. They are ready. I have them do Teaching Textbooks Math (1 lesson), Explode the Code (2 pages) and copywork (2 sentences for Chandler, 1 paragraph for Hunter) every day as their independent work. They also read to self, read to someone, and I read to them. They can choose the order, etc. Chandler liked work books when he was preschool age. I didn’t stop him, but I also didn’t ask him to do them.

    You might like this book about daily rhythms and learning for young children. This is what I would do before Daily 5.🙂


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This entry was posted on August 16, 2013 by in CM School, Planning.



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