After a lovely Christmas break, this week has been one of easing back into our school routine and trying out new curriculum, yet again. And what a week it's been! Let me just say now that I am totally and completely wiped out!
Last month I spent a fair amount of time researching the Classical Liberal Arts Academy and found myself deeply impressed with the school on many different levels. Realizing that it would be quite a *challenge* for us (especially in its demands for structure and discipline, two areas in which we're rather lacking), I enrolled the kids in the three core classes: Classic Catechism I, Classical Arithmetic and Classical Grammar I, while also enrolling myself in the Praeceptor Training. I naively anticipated that the addition of a few online classes would simplify my life somehow, because it seems I've struggled a lot with homeschooling this past year.
However, this week has been nothing short of a *total* nightmare, made worse by the fact that I've been dealing with an increasingly nasty migraine for the past three days. Every single day has been a battle, replete with hours of whining/crying/arguing over the work and how hard it is to do. Essentially, there's a lot of memorization (it's ALL memorization), and while I knew it wouldn't be easy, I certainly wasn't expecting this. How on earth do you force a child to memorize pages (and pages) of material? It's overwhelming, I do understand that, yet not completely impossible if they'd avoid working themselves into such a frenzy over it! At any rate, we're committed, and I do believe the classes are valuable, so I'm not prepared to let them win this battle. I firmly believe that once we get past this hurdle (if I survive it), we'll all have benefitted. I can only hope that next week I'm headache-free and in a better position to deal with this, um, challenge. This weekend I'm going to begin praying this Novena for Homeschooling Mothers (Day 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9), which certainly can't hurt.

Aside from our online coursework, the kids each completed a lesson in their Singapore Math books daily. In History, we continued to read from St. Benedict: Hero of the Hills by Mary Fabyan Windeatt (perhaps the emphasis on the obedience of the monks will rub off on them?!) and Life in a Medieval Abbey by Tony McAleavy. In particular, we began to study the art of illumination; we read Marguerite Makes a Book by Bruce Robertson and started on Bibles and Bestiaries: A Guide to Illuminated Manuscripts by Elizabeth B. Wilson. We'll continue this study next week using some of the resources listed below. I am deliberately keeping history quite light right now until we get more settled with our other classes. Given my tendency to over plan everything, I'm trying to do as little planning as possible ~ not an easy feat.
Online Resources:
Lesson Plans / Hands-On Activities:

Our recycled Christmas tree (the birds love it!)
In other news...I've been doggedly pursuing my own self-education this week. In addition to my Praeceptor Training class, I read A World Lit Only By Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance: Portrait of an Age by William Manchester ~ a lousy book riddled with inaccuracies! The only thing I gained from the book was a renewed interest in Henry VIII and a desire to learn more about Europe's primevil forests. So to that end, I'm currently reading the excellent and exceedingly well-researched The Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool, Will Sommers by Margaret George and have ordered The World Without Us by Alan Weisman, which mentions Poland's ancient Bialowieza Forest.
Speaking of books, it's worth mentioning that Amazon is currently offering another trial of Amazon Prime, this time for 3 months (!), with the purchase of any textbook (through 2/5/2010). Their definition of a textbook appears to be a bit loose, but to qualify I ordered The Book of Margery Kempe and The Age of the Cloister: The Story of Monastic Life in the Middle Ages by Christopher Nugent Lawrence Brooke (which does not qualify). I had a trial of Amazon Prime right before Christmas and have been dearly missing out, so I was thrilled to discover this offer (thanks to Jessica at Shower of Roses!).


  1. cyn said...
    Sorry to hear about your migraine- not pleasant! Sounds like you are slowly easing back into the week. My children sometimes have hours of whining and we have no memory work- so you have my utmost empathy!
    Faith said...
    I just love your blog! I am so sorry about the migraine. I suffer from them too. Terrible things!

    Those history books sound very interesting too.

    CLAA looks so very intimidating to me! Good luck with that. I'll be interested in how you progress.
    Mandy in TN said...
    Thanks for all the info on illuminated lettering and the book Life in a Medieval Abbey. We are currently listening to all the Hildegard von Bingen music that I can find online, so Life in a Medieval Abbey might be something we should read!
    Our Westmoreland School said...
    For not planning, what you have is much more thorough than I had put together for the same time period. It looks wonderful. We studied illuminated lettering, but not to the depths you have there. I wish I could back and redo it (there's always middle school, right).

    I read a biography of Mary Queen of Scots last year and there was a great deal of the mess Henry VIII left behind. The Other Boleyn Girl is also a nice, albeit partly fictional, read for that time.

    Thanks for sharing :) I really enjoyed reading your blog (sorry for your migraine and the difficulties you've found in the new courses).
    Kristine said...
    Cyn ~ I appreciate the empathy, I'm so not looking forward to school next week!

    Faith ~ Thank you...CLAA *is* intimidating, but I'm sure it's got to get a bit easier once we get past the initial shock of it all (or at least I hope so!).

    Mandy ~ I'd love to know what music you've found online, I'm very interested in Hildegard & can't wait till we study her! "Life in a Medieval Abbey" is *really* excellent & while OOP, can be picked up pretty cheaply. It's a very thorough book!

    Our Westmoreland School ~ To be fair, I did the planning for the illumination stuff last summer when I was still in "super planning mode," LOL. I lost most of my plans when my hard drive died, unfortunately, but was able to salvage a few things. 'The Other Boleyn Girl' is on my to be read list!

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