Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ray's Arithmetic Status Update

We are still using Ray’s Arithmetic as our math text, having just finished Term 2 of Ambleside‘s Year 2 with my newly 8 yodd.  We have completed addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, and I am extremely pleased with dd’s understanding of the math processes involved.  She still needs drill to have fluency with the math facts, but we will continue to drill using Peggy Kaye’s Games for Math and our math wrap-ups as well as practicing with real-life situations whenever possible.

This year we have added a weekly lesson from Edward Zaccaro’s Primary Grade Challenge Math.  This excellent, living math book introduces concepts like fractions and decimals and percents that we otherwise wouldn’t reach for years, and it also adds an element of intellectual stimulation that arithmetic lacks.
One thing I would still like to do is to study the Manual of Methods that went with the original Ray’s Arithmetic (which differs substantially from the Parent-Teacher Guide by Ruth Beechick that comes with the Mott Media set).

I also regret not having been faithful in implementing the measurement exercises recommended by CM.  They are not hard to do, but I just didn’t make them a priority.  Picking those up again would be valuable, I believe.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Charlotte Mason Kindergarten

If you are planning to do a kindergarten year with a five-year-old, I hope you’ll study up first on CM’s recommendations so you can plan a wonderful K year that meets your goals in a CM-friendly way.  I don’t say this because I think there’s some rule that says we all must follow CM’s recommendations but because I have always found her recommendations to be wise and useful, and I am sure that these (related to the years before formal school begins at age 6 or later) are also wise and useful and so are worth keeping in mind.
If you want to study up, I’d recommend starting with these two links:

A Formidable List of Attainments for a Child of Six–For Five-Year-Olds or Six-Year-Olds?

This is my attempt to catalogue what CM says in Volume 1 about children under six.  The first part focuses on the List of Attainments, but read all the way through.  One important part:

"Charlotte Mason did not intend for children under the age of six to be free to play all day with no parental direction or instruction.  She gives us definite guidelines for the type of gentle instruction we should weave into our children’s days."

http://www.amblesideonline.org/CM/1_5a.html

Start with the second section at this link, which covers the kindergarten, and also read the third section (which also covers the kindergarten).  Read carefully and see what she praises about the kindergarten and what she mentions as concerns.  Notice also where she says that certain aspects of the kindergarten (as a formal institution) are good but can be handled better differently at home–those are aspects you’ll want to keep in mind as you make your own plan.

Think and pray about your goals for a K year.  What is its purpose?  What do you hope to accomplish?  What does your specific child need during this time (which may last for more than one year)?
It is absolutely possible to have a kindergarten year that follows Charlotte Mason’s advice.  May you find just the right arrangement for your child!