C is our resident nutter, and very proud of that accolade! She is as different from her twin as it is possible to be. A huge personality, she has much to say, is enthusiastic about everything, yet really struggles with concentrating over long periods of time (think minutes rather than hours or days!). She gets bored very easily. I think this is why she was the only child for whom unschooling worked. To have full control of her time enabled her to switch and change as soon as she lost interest.
Normal school schedules stifle C, yet she lacks the motivation to pursue goals to the very end. I have given more thought to C’s school than any of my other children. It is more complicated because she is a more complicated girl. She reminds me of Jo from Little Women.
- She wants to do something spectacular with her life, but she does not know what:
Jo’s ambition was to do something very splendid; what it was she had no idea as yet, but left it for time to tell her; and, meanwhile, found her greatest affliction in the fact that she couldn’t read, run, and write as much as she liked. A quick temper, sharp tongue, and restless spirit were always getting her into scrapes, and her life was a series of ups and downs, which were both comic and pathetic.
“I want to do something splendid before I go into my castle–something heroic, or wonderful–that won’t be forgotten after I’m dead. I don’t know what, but I’m on the watch for it, and mean to astonish you all, some day. I think I shall write books, and get rich and famous; that would suit me, so that is my favorite dream.”
- She has great intentions which seem to go awry frequently:
“I keep turning over new leaves, and spoiling them, as I used to spoil my copybooks; and I make so many beginnings there never will be an end.”
- She hates to conform or be confined:
Jo carried her love of liberty and hate of conventionalities to such an unlimited extent that she naturally found herself worsted in an argument.
- She is a book-worm extraordinaire and loves nothing more than to be reading or to be writing something for someone else to read:
The moment Aunt March took her nap, or was busy with company, Jo hurried to this quiet place, and curling herself up in the easy chair, devoured poetry, romance, history, travels, and pictures like a regular bookworm.
“Late at night my mind would come alive with voices and stories and friends as dear to me as any in the real world. I gave myself up to it, longing for transformation.”
- One suspects that she will end up doing something out of the ordinary:
“Oh, Jo. Jo, you have so many extraordinary gifts; how can you expect to lead an ordinary life? “
My goal as her mummy is not just to educate her but to continuously be building her character so that she can become the very best version of herself. I know, deep in my heart, that to educate her in a traditional way would kill all that is original and authentic in her. But she is simply not mature enough to handle a complete carte blanche. I love her so much and have no wish to change her; but I also do not want to see her stagnate. As you will see, her schedule differs slightly from the others:
8-830 am Half hour of maths – C does not feel she can concentrate for an hour at a time, so she will be doing only half an hour of Conquer Maths
830-9 am C will be spending half an hour with her younger siblings. We have not decided what she will do with them, but it will be hands on fun, maybe in the kitchen.
9-10 am One hour of writing/grammar/spelling. This will be with me and will vary each day. She enjoys anything writing related!
10-11 am One hour Morning Meeting – this will include listening to Samuel Pepys diary; finishing the Who is God? curriculum and moving onto Who am I? curriculum; Watching a ten minute video from Khan Academy on the 17th century and another on biology. These are free and very, very good, each lasting around 10 minutes. The videos on the 17th century will be great go alongs with our very casual approach to history this year, whilst the biology ones will be useful for IGCSE in Biology which both T and L want to take, and although C won’t be taking biology I still think it is good for her to have some scientific knowledge and this seems a good way for her to get some!
On a Friday (when Lorna’s two join us) this one hour will be focused on a continent unit study which the children will be doing by themselves in preparation for their presentation at the end of each term. Each term we will cover a new continent. This term it will be South America.
11-12 am One hour Nature walk to a local meadow and woodland
12-1230 pm Lunch whilst watching another Khan video on world history. These are done by John Greene and are really, really good. They go over all we have covered in the past six years but I hope will pull everything together and make more sense of history as a whole rather than a series of cultures. Again they are short, very well done and quite funny.
On a Friday we will probably not include the video and just have lunch at the table.
1230- 130pm Quiet time. The children have a small reading list to work their way through and I have bought in a few more books from the Sonlight curriculum, which are perfect for their age but have little to do with what we are learning in history or science.
On a Friday the littles will have a quiet time whilst the older four and I work our way through Religious Studies GCSE and will be focusing on Religion and Citizenship. This will not be an exam we take this year, but I figured there is no harm in beginning to work our way through the syllabus.
130 -330 pm Interest led learning
All her life C12 has had a strong faith in God and a fascination for God’s word. She cannot get enough of church and goes up early and enthusiastically for every service she can. She has read every Christian book I own and frequently immerses herself in the word. In my heart I have always believed God has something special and very specific for her; after all she lived through a birth which, according to the doctors, should have killed her. God saved her for a reason!
So some sort of Bible or Religious Studies was our starting point. We chose the easypeasy home school Bible course. This is set out so that she will be reading a quarter of the Bible in the year. She will be using an online journal to help her write about all she is learning about scriptures. I have also printed out a couple of articles (recommended by Easy Peasy Homeschool) about how to journal the Bible.
C is a voracious reader and very possibly reads even faster than I do. She gets through a ridiculous number of books a week. They are the one thing guaranteed to hold her attention and she is often found hiding in the upstairs bathroom, reading quietly by herself (often the only place to go to get peace to do so). Obviously this is something I want to harness and encourage, and knowing she enjoys biographies, I am going to try to get hold of as many Trailblazers Christian biographies as I can. I think these will build up her faith and be an opportunity to see faith lived out in different individuals’ lives.
English is a very obvious extra course to take. C12 is my only child who wants to take both English Lit and English Lang for IGCSE. To say she enjoys writing is an understatement. Again, she will be using easypeasy homeschool English course (in addition to the English/writing courses we will do together each morning). She is hoping this 8th grade English course will give her some formal grammar teaching which she hopes will improve her writing even more.
She will also be participating in NaNoWriMo this month, and writing a 50,000 word book (it has taken me three months to write a little over 15,000 words, so 50, 000 seems huge!). This is the first year she will be old enough to participate and she is very excited. She is all signed up and ready to start preparing! This will probably be her main focus during the month of November.
Once she has completed NaNoWriMo, I am going to (hesitatingly) allow her to write her own blog. Her intention is to use the blog as a platform for her own stories as well as a place to review books she has enjoyed (or not). Until then she will be leaving some reviews on Amazon, which is a great place to have a voice and practice review writing skills.
I mentioned to C that I thought she needed to have a reading list separate from her brother and sister, to which she nodded her head rather vigorously! She literally reads a book in a couple of hours, often less. And she obviously takes it all in because she is well able to give me a run down of the story and her opinion on the writer. I think she could probably do with some books which would stretch her reading ability, vocabulary and turn of phrase. To this end we will be borrowing classics from the library. She has already read all of Jane Austin’s books, so I suggested the Bronte sisters might be the next authors to try. After that, maybe some Dickens or Conan Doyle. The (literary) world is her oyster! I have got her some index cards on a ring, which she will use to write down any unfamiliar vocab from which ever classic she is reading.
I will also be setting her a short fiction essay to write each week. This will hopefully encourage the skill of writing a beginning, a middle and an end for her essays. Each short story will come from a past English exam so she will become better and better at writing shorter essays over a shorter time. My mum will be stepping in on a Saturday to mark and go over the essay with C. I think the 1-2-1 time will be good for her and mum is great at grammar and spelling.
On a Friday, like T and L she will be spending the afternoon working on her history unit study. She will be studying the 17th century by learning about John Milton, a seventeenth century poet and political activist under Cromwell’s rule of a common wealth Britain. He wrote a long, well-known poem called Paradise Lost. Having already extensively studied both Shakespeare and Dante and thoroughly enjoyed both studies, I am hoping this too will create a frenzy of excitement.
As you can see, C has a scheduled morning and an unscheduled afternoon. Her afternoon will be taken up with the activities she most enjoys such as Bible, reading and writing. The open-ended nature of her day leaves lots of room for starting and stopping when she needs to, changing activities as she sees fit.