Arbores this year and already thinking about next year

Wow, I (Stacey) can’t believe it’s the end of December already!  Where has the year gone?!  Well, this has been a very fun first year of Arbores and I just wanted to post a little something about our group and what our days look like.  We’ve had lots of questions about our group and I thought writing it down and being able to direct people to our website would be a good way to answer lots of questions at once!  It’s been a very fun year ‘de-CC’ing’ and figuring out what it is that we really like and dislike doing as a group.

 

This school year we are meeting once a week for 28 weeks from 9-2:30, doing the following subjects as a group:

  • Memory Work & Bible Memory (30 min)
  • Hymn Study (15 min)
  • Latin (15 min)
  • Art (45 min)
  • Science (45 min)
  • Literature Discussion, Geography/Map work, Presentations (45 min for all three)
  • IEW Fix It Grammar (15 min UG only)
  • IEW All Things Fun and Fascinating (45 min UG only)

During IEW, the preschoolers/LG students do some phonogram lessons, calendar/days of the week/geography.  We also have a structured lesson time set aside for our preschoolers to have a read-aloud and an activity from the Homegrown Preschooler.

 

We run on 7-week quarters with a 2 week break after Q’s 1 and 3 and a 3 week break at Christmas and an optional 4-week January term to study and perform a Shakespeare play.

 

Next year, Lord willing, we plan to add a junior high (Dialectic) program and we’ll also be changing the group to a combination of the Classical and Charlotte Mason traditions.

 

As part of this change, we’re considering dropping Latin (maybe doing only vocabulary?) and doing Spanish instead, as it’s more practical in our current time.  Also, we may not pursue the formal memory work and just stick with Bible passages/books, poems, etc. And we may restructure our days to include nature study which would also encompass art and science (we’re not sure exactly how this would look).  We’re looking to use something like Simply Charlotte Mason in our homes and meeting once a week to solidify the home learning we’re doing as well as tackle those subjects we may not get to at home such as art, science, composer study, nature study, handicrafts, etc.

 

It’s been really neat to see the Lord working in our hearts and minds this year.  As I’ve been reading and listening to podcasts and starting to consider more of Charlotte Mason’s methods in my own homeschool, so has Becky.  The Lord continues to bless this group, not because we’re excellent leaders, but because we continue to seek Him and follow His guidance for this group, even if it’s out of our comfort zone.  I couldn’t have asked for a better co-op leader and friend than Becky.  She’s been an amazing support to me this year!

 

The following podcasts have been very helpful for me to figure out what all this CM stuff looks like and have just been overall very encouraging for me:

  • The Arts of Language Podcast (IEW)
  • A Delectable Education
  • Your Morning Basket
  • The Mason Jar

Also, I’ve spent quite a bit of time perusing the Simply Charlotte Mason website as well as Ambleside Online.

 

All that said, I still love Tapestry of Grace and use it in my own homeschool.  I’m not fully ready to give up on it, but I’m willing to see what direction the Lord has for me.  Simply considering moving more toward CM’s methods is all the Lord’s doing, so I’m willing to do whatever He leads me to.  After looking at these curricula options, I think for next year we’re (Arbores is) considering  building our own booklist, roughly following a 4-year cycle (SCM has 6 years, AO has a different year for each child, and TOG has 4 years).  We like the idea of doing the same period of history for all of our family, which SCM and TOG both do.  But we like the options available at AO as well as the free resources and of course, the short lessons.  AO recently published an “AO For Groups” option which we have also been looking at as an option.

 

I pray the Lord continues to bless our little group and that He builds it into whatever He wants it to be and that we’ll just be the putty in His capable hands.  I hope you’re all enjoying this season, celebrating Him and taking some time OFF SCHOOL to relax.  I can’t wait to see you all in January for our Shakespeare term!!!

True Rest

There is SO much that we could spend time diving into and studying, but the question is where should we start and what SHOULD we be studying and diving into? This year our quest will be to embrace Scholé (restful learning). How do we begin this journey of rest? I truly believe that it starts with the Source of True Rest and that is Christ Himself.

Matthew 11:28-30 states

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

If we desire to have “rest” in our homeschooling, then we need to have rest in our souls and that rest is only found in Jesus. The “rest” we all desire is the rest ONLY He can give. No matter of curriculum, cutting back on things, or slowing down, can achieve true rest. Rest needs to come from within, through the Spirit inside us. We WILL NOT be able to achieve rest without Him. So as we start this new journey together, I urge you to start with Him. We NEED to spend time with Him each day. We NEED to dive into the Word and truly study it. Until we develop a habit of daily time with the Lord we will not be able to have the restful environment we desire.

It’s our desire is that we all not just share a passion to homeschool our children and give them a “love of learning”, but to share an Obsession for Jesus. We live in a dark world, that seems to just be getting darker. We need to teach our children to be lights and to stand firm on the TRUTH. The best way they will learn this is through our example. If we show them our passion for the Lord, they will develop a passion for the Lord. So let’s start this journey of rest by learning to rest in Him. I am so excited to see what the Lord will do this year as we “Scholé” with our Savior as the focus.

“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NASB)

The Beginning

The beginning of something can be exciting and enjoyable.  Some may feel apprehensive.  I guess I would fall into that category.  As I think about how this group has come to fruition I can only explain it by saying it is a work from the Lord.  I hope you believe as I do,  that if we choose to let Him, the Lord orders our steps and guides our going out and our coming in (Psalms 121:8).  This is how we began, by following a path that only He could have laid out and being diligent to press forward even when it didn’t always make sense.   I hope as you join us in this journey you will draw nearer to the the One who directs us and shapes us and guides each step we take.