Monday, January 2, 2017

Meaningful Minutes: Introduction

My goal is to provide resources and ideas that will allow you to add elements of a full education (art, music, history, literature, etc.) and skill development that many schools just can't provide anymore.  I plan to add a new idea a week.  Please don't add a new idea a week to your schedule - that would lead to chaos.  As this develops I hope that you will find some resources that can help add life, beauty and wonder to your home.

Who is this for?

If you are a:
  • former homeschooler who wants to add a few subjects you used to do, 
  • mom to a gifted child who finishes assignments early and you need to keep them busy at school
  • mom with children in a traditional school but you want to add some Classical/ Charlotte Mason content and methods into your life 
  • classroom teacher who wants to provide activities for those who finish early or to add a taste of these subjects to your teaching 
  • mom wanting to redeem car time and wait time in your life 
  • afterschool leader wanting to add different educational content to your time beyond homework completion 
Each week I will post a different subject or skill area and resources that you can use in 10 to 15 minutes a day or week (depending on the subject).  The links will become live below as I write them.

Honestly, most of these aren't my ideas.  Short lessons are a key approach from a  Charlotte Mason (a 19th century British educator) education.  She advocates short lessons so that students fully pay attention to the material, among other reasons.  We also tend to have a "bigger is better" mentality and don't pursue things because we think they will take too much time or don't know where to start. These are short and effective resources that, done regularly, can add to your child's knowledge and skill set.  In Mason's personal life she would read 10 minutes from a few different types of books every day. Basically, she understood habit training and stacking before it was a "thing".  The modern version is described here.

The skills that I will be discussing are also used in Classical or Charlotte Mason education and probably aren't part of the repertoire of skills your school is building. At first I thought these skills were too basic or unnecessary but I have learned that these simple skills are lifelong supports to learning.

How can you use this?

Pick a 
  • topic that you like and start doing it regularly as it fits in your schedule 
  • handful of topics and start looping them (explanation here) into your time before school or before bed or whenever it can fit.  A loop might have 3 or 4 subjects that rotate through in a week.  
  • few topics and start adding some fun "Saturday school" activities to your home - nature walk, geography book and art - whatever works for your family
  • few areas and start planning for summer.  Decide topics or skills that you want to cover this summer keeping it short.  It could just be an hour of your day and bring a little bit of learning and structure 
  • science, geography, math or other types of books to add to your normal read aloud time - read literature a few days a week and other topics the other days.  
  • few books and encourage your children to read from a wide range of subjects for school assignments or at home leisure reading - not just the next Rick Riordan (although that is what sometimes happens around here) 
These are just a few options- you know your kids, your schedule and your goals best.

I hope you find some resources and ideas that can help expose your children to the wonders of history, art, science, math and more in just a few minutes a day or week.

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