Ambitious Plans and Time Constraints!  

Posted by: Laura Delgado

This week I truly feel like I am falling behind my life. Yes - my life is finally getting ahead of me. We made the mistake of starting to clean out the playroom. Now my wonderful friend P is coming to stay the night before we go to an icon writing presentation and Divine Liturgy at my other wonderful friend Pe's Byzantine church, and all of the playroom cleaning has to get "swept" back into the playroom. I hate starting something I can't finish. I hate doing something halfway, or really doing anything that I can't do perfectly. Of course, since my initials aren't JC, I tend to live a very frustrated life. Anyway, I have what I loathe: a busy week. I'm taking T to the library today for a knitting club with her friend S. Tomorrow is AMC movie club for $1 movie. Thursday is Byzantine day. Friday is T-ball party day with the boys. Somewhere in there I have to find the time to finish my work for (work I really enjoy - I just have to find the time!). I was also fortunate enough to be asked to write another review for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine - an ebook on ebooks! It's right up my alley (look for the review here), but I need time! Time! Time! Tempus fugit...

My current project is the composition of my own history curriculum. I love Tapestry of Grace, but I have felt quite strongly that Catholic children deserve a Catholic curriculum, especially given that the history of the Western world *was* a Catholic history, prior to the Protestant Revolution (okay, okay, you might know it better as the Reformation). It would be nice if it was presented in an unbiased light (and maybe, someday, someone can do that ;-) ). Seriously, though, there are so many amazing Catholic resources out there that are just not tapped in Protestant curricula. Also, there is a tendency to gloss over, for example, Egypt because "it was pagan, and, therefore, did not have much to contribute to Christianity". That's pretty close to a direct quote from one popular homeschooling curriculum. Egypt may not have contributed much to Christianity, but we're still studying it because of its amazing early insights into farming, medicine, engineering, and other fields. Plus, kids love learning about Egypt. What better way to engage them in history early on in their education? Mummies, pyramids, the Nile, rituals, gods, myths, etc...We're going to start reading G.A. Henty's The Cat of Bubastes as a read-aloud this week, as a matter of fact...

The spine, if you will, of our history program will be Warren Carroll's five volume A History of Christendom (the fifth volume of which is not yet written). It is the only comprehensive Catholic history of civilization of which I am aware. T has studied Old Testament history until she is blue in the face. Both she and I are so ready to stop wandering in the wilderness that we consider ourselves honorary Jews, but the younger kids haven't studied it at all. Hence, although I run the risk of them not understanding the parallel track of history, we will not study OT history right now. With T, though, I will continue Religion, using Fr. Laux primarily, although now supplementing with Peter Kreeft as we start talking about the compilation of the canon. When I start actually to write the history curriculum, I will write in a big section on the compilation of the canon. It's something about which I suspect a lot of Catholic parents don't know much themselves, but which I have studied and enjoy. It is almost mini-apologetics to know why the books in the Bible are there, while others are not. It's also great Church history.

My mind is running so fast that my fingers can't keep up. It's funny. There are two kinds of homeschooling parents (okay, there are many more than two, but there are definitely at least these two): my type is looking every day at curriculum, wondering what is out there, and how I can fit more into our day, or how I can adapt it to what we do.

To be honest, what I am usually thinking is "how can I write something better than this that is ideally suited to Catholic classical homeschoolers?" The other type wants her curriculum simple and uncomplicated. If it works for her, she's happy. She likes her lesson plans to tell her what she needs to accomplish each day, and she likes to know that in May she is done for the summer, and that in September her children will begin a new grade. In no way do I mean to suggest that Mom B is inferior to Mom A. In fact, I sometimes envy her. The fact is, though, that I am the polar opposite of she, and I wonder sometimes if my kids suffer. I can point to their Math and Language/Reading curricula and tell you that 5 year old N (6 in a couple of weeks) will solidly be a 2nd grader by September, and that 7 year old T (8 in a few weeks) will unquestionably be a 5th grader by September, but their Science is somewhat sporadic and informal (they both know a ton of Science, though). Their art instruction has yet to begin (although I can tell you about every single great and not-so-great art curriculum out there, and I own three of them!). They are both way above level readers and are great spellers thanks to a very solid phonics foundation, and they both seek out non-fiction above fiction at least 50% of the time. I have been (usually obliquely) questioned for allowing/encouraging them to get ahead of their grade level, but why on earth not? There is no shortage of knowledge out there, and I plan to homeschool them through high school. You get to a point when you can afford to spend a whole semester studying Shakespeare in high school if that is what you choose to do, right? I digress and I ramble. I cease.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 23, 2009 . You can leave a response and follow any responses to this entry through the Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom) .


Hope you survived your busy week! Thanks for the tip about Henty's work. I am going to try and incorporate it here, as we are going to study ancient history.

What else are you going to use when you study ancient history? Your boys will *love* the Henty books!

I purchased SOW w/ activity bk. I am hoping it will be fine for both. Strangely, L really hasn't had any formal ancient history instruction, thus far.

BTW, thanks for your review of FLL, I am really enjoying it.

Have you looked at the "Real Science-4-Kids" series by Rebecca Keller?

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