February is always a dangerous or expensive month for me.  It’s when I hatch all of my business ideas.  Ask Michael about our Etsy shop.  Or proofreading business.  Or our diaper service.  Or that time I was going to sell “nursery sets” of children’s books.

Or or or or or.

A new business is not an option at this point.  But that doesn’t mean February is boring.  Oh no.  To spice things up, I started to doubt and question every educational decision I’ve made.
That’s not a fun place to be in the middle of February.  Or anytime, for that matter.
It just feels worse in February.

Our third child will be five in the fall.  English is his second language, and, frankly, he doesn’t love books.  I had been planning on holding him back a year and having him do kindergarten with our youngest.  And that will likely still be the case. But he needs something more than just sitting down and reading picture books.  He needs intentionality and to learn how to learn, if that makes any sense at all.  He’s been so focused on learning self-protection, survival, defense mechanisms for the majority of his life.  Now he’s learned English to a 3-year-old level and our family dynamics.  Learning how to engage with books and education hasn’t been a priority for him.

One thing about him is he looooooves repetition.  Loves it.  He’s the one that will remind Michael to do daily catechism lessons if he forgets.  I had used a very gentle literature-based unit study style curriculum with Million for preschool and part of kindergarten before I discovered Ambleside Online. It’s based on repeating books every day for a week and pulling out different concepts each day.

Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut…..  Charlotte Mason didn’t suggest doing any formal studies with kids until they were six years old.  And she also advocates a single reading, without repetition, in order to improve attention.  And unit studies are not part of the Charlotte Mason methodology that I love so much.

(Insert all of the ideological arguments I throw at myself at 3 a.m. when I can’t sleep.)

Yes, you guilty feelings, I hear you.  But, he can’t pay attention if he has no desire to pay attention.  


“This is why we homeschool.”  is what Michael reminded me.  “So that we CAN tailor our methods to meet each child where he or she is at.”

So that’s where we’ve landed.  In two weeks or so, Aslan will begin Five In a Row as preschool.  I’ll be working my tail off with all of the crafty junk I so ardently avoid.  And the older boys will continue to progress with a more rigorous, Charlotte Mason-based education.

  • Note: Because Five In A Row (FIAR) is typically begun in the fall to match with a school year, we’ll be arranging the titles in the curriculum to meet our seasonal needs.  Because of that, we’ll be doing two snow-themed units at the very front end of the curriculum and then following Minnesota’s more natural weather progression.
  • Other note: We have only committed to the first volume of FIAR with Aslan.  Perhaps he’ll love it, and we can certainly do more, but we’re going to take a wait-and-see approach before jumping in “whole hog.”


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