Arbores this year and already thinking about next year

Wow, I (Stacey) can’t believe it’s the end of December already!  Where has the year gone?!  Well, this has been a very fun first year of Arbores and I just wanted to post a little something about our group and what our days look like.  We’ve had lots of questions about our group and I thought writing it down and being able to direct people to our website would be a good way to answer lots of questions at once!  It’s been a very fun year ‘de-CC’ing’ and figuring out what it is that we really like and dislike doing as a group.


This school year we are meeting once a week for 28 weeks from 9-2:30, doing the following subjects as a group:

  • Memory Work & Bible Memory (30 min)
  • Hymn Study (15 min)
  • Latin (15 min)
  • Art (45 min)
  • Science (45 min)
  • Literature Discussion, Geography/Map work, Presentations (45 min for all three)
  • IEW Fix It Grammar (15 min UG only)
  • IEW All Things Fun and Fascinating (45 min UG only)

During IEW, the preschoolers/LG students do some phonogram lessons, calendar/days of the week/geography.  We also have a structured lesson time set aside for our preschoolers to have a read-aloud and an activity from the Homegrown Preschooler.


We run on 7-week quarters with a 2 week break after Q’s 1 and 3 and a 3 week break at Christmas and an optional 4-week January term to study and perform a Shakespeare play.


Next year, Lord willing, we plan to add a junior high (Dialectic) program and we’ll also be changing the group to a combination of the Classical and Charlotte Mason traditions.


As part of this change, we’re considering dropping Latin (maybe doing only vocabulary?) and doing Spanish instead, as it’s more practical in our current time.  Also, we may not pursue the formal memory work and just stick with Bible passages/books, poems, etc. And we may restructure our days to include nature study which would also encompass art and science (we’re not sure exactly how this would look).  We’re looking to use something like Simply Charlotte Mason in our homes and meeting once a week to solidify the home learning we’re doing as well as tackle those subjects we may not get to at home such as art, science, composer study, nature study, handicrafts, etc.


It’s been really neat to see the Lord working in our hearts and minds this year.  As I’ve been reading and listening to podcasts and starting to consider more of Charlotte Mason’s methods in my own homeschool, so has Becky.  The Lord continues to bless this group, not because we’re excellent leaders, but because we continue to seek Him and follow His guidance for this group, even if it’s out of our comfort zone.  I couldn’t have asked for a better co-op leader and friend than Becky.  She’s been an amazing support to me this year!


The following podcasts have been very helpful for me to figure out what all this CM stuff looks like and have just been overall very encouraging for me:

  • The Arts of Language Podcast (IEW)
  • A Delectable Education
  • Your Morning Basket
  • The Mason Jar

Also, I’ve spent quite a bit of time perusing the Simply Charlotte Mason website as well as Ambleside Online.


All that said, I still love Tapestry of Grace and use it in my own homeschool.  I’m not fully ready to give up on it, but I’m willing to see what direction the Lord has for me.  Simply considering moving more toward CM’s methods is all the Lord’s doing, so I’m willing to do whatever He leads me to.  After looking at these curricula options, I think for next year we’re (Arbores is) considering  building our own booklist, roughly following a 4-year cycle (SCM has 6 years, AO has a different year for each child, and TOG has 4 years).  We like the idea of doing the same period of history for all of our family, which SCM and TOG both do.  But we like the options available at AO as well as the free resources and of course, the short lessons.  AO recently published an “AO For Groups” option which we have also been looking at as an option.


I pray the Lord continues to bless our little group and that He builds it into whatever He wants it to be and that we’ll just be the putty in His capable hands.  I hope you’re all enjoying this season, celebrating Him and taking some time OFF SCHOOL to relax.  I can’t wait to see you all in January for our Shakespeare term!!!

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