The Plan for Mary Beth


Mary Beth turns ten this fall and it promises to be a very big year for her. Truth be told, all curriculum plans aside, Mary Beth's biggest lessons will be those she learns helping to care for a new baby.  She was six the last time we had an infant in the house.  That baby--Katie--is her pride and joy and her constant companion.  Together, they are both going to so love caring for this new sister.

Mary Beth is a big fan of Catholic Heritage Curriculum.  She loves Language of God, handwriting, and the speller.  She drinks up the Catholic readers in big gulps.  The infusion of faith truly touches her heart.  So, she'll have a steady supply of those.

I'm so impressed with all things published by Hillside Education.  Mary Beth is still working through Stories with a View and enjoying it.  We'll pull some lessons from Primary Language Lessons as needed.  Those needs present themselves in the context of something real and meaningful for her:  blogging.

Her real writing progress is happening somewhere hidden.  She has a private blog and a circle of friends who both visit her blog and provide a wonderful example of fine writing at their blogs.  Every day, all of her own volition, she writes journal entries.  Following her big brother's example, she's even attempting to write a novel!  The only rule is that she is to edit with me before  she posts.  This is an incredibly meaningful and effective way to teach composition.

Much like her mother and her brother, she's not all that enamored of math.  The Math-U-See videos exasperate her. So, we're dialing back a bit.  She'll use some of the manipulatives her little siblings are using, but with a big kid twist.  We're planning to work through Multiplication and Division with Rod Patterns and Graph Paper and to make good use of our well-worn Math-It Kit. She'll also share Touchmath materials with Christian.  One way or another, she'll multipy and divide this year.

For religious studies I'm looking very forward to reading St. Patrick's Summer, The First Christians, and A Life of Our Lord for Children with her. These treasures have recently been re-published by Sophia Institute Press.  She'll narrate as we go and I know there will be plenty of discussion.  She has been devoted to the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd since she was tiny and we are eagerly awaiting Moira Farrell's third book.

She's already put all the Catholic Mosaic books on the shelf and is creating her own liturgical year notebook.  This is a child for whom literature-based learning is perfect!

I am determined to follow through on plans to learn to sew with her.  We are going to begin with Sewing with St. Anne. I inherited it from a friend who bought it sight unseen.  She found that there was nothing in it that she didn't already know and wasn't equipped to teach her daughter.  I, on the other hand, really need a basic, beginner's book like this.  And even with it, I will be constantly begging the intercession of St. Anne.

For art, her biggest brother will teach drawing lessons and we will all enjoy the art included in CHC's fourth grade lesson plans. Because of strict no-sharing policies, I can't use the plans for everyone and I'm not doing a different picture study for each of seven children, so we'll just use the prints and we'll all appreciate the art together.

Unit studies round out the plan.  It's not difficult to get her to add to our family nature blog or to draw for her own nature journal.  She loves historical fiction and has created her own impressive reading list.  I'll add to it as we study history units.

She's as physically gifted as her brothers are.  She plays a very competitive game of backyard soccer.  But, for our own sanity, we have strict policy of limiting "extra-curriculars" to one activity.  We do everything we can to help the children pursue that one passion as deeply as they desire.  And we have found that they tend to be very committed.  Mary Beth is no exception. Last Christmas she was the youngest child to dance Clara in her dance school's history.  She loves to dance! This fall will be full of rehearsals for this year's Christmas performances and she will be at the studio for three or four classes week. She's made it very clear though, that she wants those classes loaded into two days only.  There are going to be two little sisters at home and she doesn't want to miss these fleeting little sister days...