I love the Charlotte Mason philosophy. I have been using many of her ideas for 8 years now. I love snuggling on the couch and reading all those great "living books" on a variety of topics. I love the idea of using narration, personalized spelling lists, dictation and copywork, picture study, music appreciation and nature notebooks. But using mostly these methods (and all the planning that goes with it) can be very demanding on the mother/teacher, especially in a large family (and I consider 5 children to be a large family).
I'm finding more and more that textbook/workbook( or Switched-on schoolhouse, which is basically a textbook/workbook on CD ROM) method isn't that bad :) It may not be as "fun" for the kids, but they are learning. I guess I'm feeling spread quite thin these days. I have a puppy who needs a lot of training, a toddler who needs lots of attention and is starting potty training, a budding actor who needs lots of rides to practices, and my other kids have different activities and other needs, too. Not to mention a home business, housework, errands, and cooking.
I love my life, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. I love teaching my kids and spending lots of time with them. But I've been realizing that I need a break, and I'm longing to do some more creative things for myself. I'd like to do more crocheting, needlework, sewing, guitar, and scrapbooking. It's also it's that time of year that I start looking forward to Spring. I don't go outside much in the winter, and I'm getting a little antsy always being indoors. So, here are some little changes we've made in our homeschool:
Isaiah finished the Total Language Plus book. I like TLP, but Isaiah has a hard time following which activities/lessons he was supposed to do each day, so I had to spend a lot of time helping him. He is now using Easy grammar Plus, some Critical Thinking Press workbooks, and a computer spelling program. He is also now using Swithed-on Schoolhouse for Science and Bible. This way he can be a little more independent. History and Math are the same.
Christian enjoys school, and what we've been using has been working out well, but I haven't done as much history, geography and science with him as I'd like. I've started using E.D. Hirsch's books "What your 1st (and 2nd) Grader Needs to Know", instead of spending so much time scouring the Library shelves for great "living books". I'm sure I'll use some Library books to supplement, but using Hirsch's books takes some pressure off.
Charles and Andrew are doing well and are very independent, so, the only change for them is that they are both adding Switched-on Schoolhouse Bible. The Bible curriculum I had chosen for them didn't work out.
Now, I'll still incorporate some of Charlotte Mason's ideas, but I think these changes are going to free up some of my time.