Tuesday, May 31, 2011

FPEA Homeschool Convention

This weekend I got to got to the FPEA homeschool convention in Orlando, Florida!!!! It was a BLAST!!!! 

Thursday morning I woke up with an EXCRUCIATING PAIN in my left foot. I thought it was a pinched nerve or something so I just took some Tylenol and stayed off of it. When I woke up Friday morning at 6 am to go to the conference I couldn't even walk across the my little bitty bedroom. I hated to do it but I had to call the other mom I was carpooling with and tell her I was going to the ER. She was such an angel she prayed for my foot right then over the phone. 

At the ER they took X-rays and determined that I have a calcium deposit on a nerve bundle under my toe joint. The doctor said I had to stay off of it for the next few days. I told him I had to go to a convention. He said he could write my employer a doctor's note. I told him that wouldn't do any good because only one of them can read. hahaha...  I explained to him that it was a homeschool conference and I WANTED to go. He advised against it... so I  told him, "I am going to this conference." To which he replied that I would not be doing any permanent damage but I would certainly be in pain. So he wrote me a Rx for Naproxen and sent me on my way. I decided against filling the Rx and took a Tylenol instead. 

I finally was able to pick up my friend and we were on our way. We got there a little late of course but I still managed to limp my way in for the last half of the second session... 

Combining the best of a classical education with Charlotte Mason method and unit studies

I must have missed everything the speaker had to say about classical education sorry. I came in just as the words, "CHARLOTTE MASON METHOD" were put up on the screen. It was basically all review for me but I will share with you my notes. 

Narration- rather than giving tests and worksheets for your child to complete after finishing a lesson it is better to ask them what they learned. 

Copywork- Have the child copy 3 to 4 well written sentences daily. They will learn proper grammar, spelling, and perfect their handwriting skills. Copywork should be as near to perfect as possible. 

Nature notebook- This writing should be free. There is no need to correct spelling or grammar. This is the child's expression of their world. 

Fine Arts- Present them with beautiful works of art to store in their memory. Listen to classical music by the same composer throughout the week until the child can recognize the music and composer. 

Foreign Language- Charlotte had recommended children learn French because France was England's closest neighbor. We should study Spanish because our nearest neighboring country is Mexico. 

Living books- Rather than boring text books, use living books to teach a lesson whenever possible. Of course sometimes you have to use a textbook to teach a lesson on certain subjects that do not have a living book available. His example was Phoenicia. 

Timelines- Make a century book. Buy a set of flashcards for each child on subjects in history and use them to adorn your notebook page. This way young children do not have to write out all the information. 

Bible- Have direct contact with the bible. Even if you are not a Christian you should read the bible with your children. It is beautifully written and the most complete record of the history of the world. 

NO twaddle- Twaddle was explained as a book that relies on pictures to tell the story rather than well written stories. 

Structured mornings and unstructured afternoons- This was my favorite thing I took from the whole lecture and plan to implement in my homeschool. 

The speaker was a spokesperson for My Father's World. I have always liked the curriculum. I think it is perfect for someone who wants everything planned out and put together for them! I recommend it to anyone who wants a Charlotte Mason Education in a boxed curriculum. It has many great aspects to it. If anything were to happen to me, I would want the person who took over educating my children to use MFW to teach them if they could. 

I like how they have their stages separated; pre-reading, learning to read, learning to love to read, learning by reading. I think that is how we should all look at education. so many kids hate reading. If we give them only little bits of beautiful things to read, they will hunger for more. 

He offered the idea of having a book basket time everyday. Instead of handing your child a book and telling them to read it everyday, fill a basket with beautiful and engaging living books. Then when reading time comes tell them to pick out a book and sit down. They don't have to read the book but they must sit quietly for 15 minutes. A strong willed child might hold out for a month before they get curious and crack open that book. Eventually they will be devouring great literature. 

He made an example of a science project. If your science book suggest instruction for assembling a sun dial that involved buying a 4 foot sheet of plywood and cutting out a perfect circle, would you go out and but that 4 foot of plywood??? Would you just skip the project and find a worksheet or website instead??? What if your science book told you to make a sundial by sticking a pencil in the dirt and observing the way the shadow moves throughout the day??? Keep projects simple and you will be more likely to actually follow through with them.

When it comes to educating our children we need to strive for the ideal but expect the real. After all, our goal should be to raise good mothers and fathers. Our family is our legacy. 

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