A Gentle Feast: Green Year Term 1 Review

The past 12 weeks of the school year have flown by and we are taking full advantage of this Thanksgiving break week! The kids and I are capitalizing on outdoor time on Grandma and Grandpa's farm and making a few trips to the indoor hockey rink as well.

We finished Term 1 just in time for this break and will be jumping into Term 2 come Monday. With this being our first school year using the A Gentle Feast curriculum created by Julie Ross, we are studying the Green Year (Cycle 1): Columbus, Conquests, and Colonies from 1000-1650 AD. Disclaimer: I am not compensated for this post but will receive a little $ if you use my A Gentle Feast affiliate linkThank you :)

A Gentle Feast is a Charlotte Mason curriculum, geared towards the family learning together, consists of four main components:

  • The Appetizer - Bible study, poetry, picture and composer study along with recitation and fables/hero tales. 
  • The Soup and Salad - Language Arts Block - writing, reading and grammar
  • The Main Course - Variety of subjects scheduled throughout the week
  • The Dessert - Weekly add-ons such as Poetry Tea Time and Nature Study

The living books have been a definite highpoint for us and are enjoyed by all. The boys especially loved the history book selections; anything involving war peeked their interest. Exploration and Conquest by Maestro was my first grader's favorite book and Leif the Lucky by D'Aulaire was a close second. Mapping Penny's World by Leedy and Me on the Map by Sweeney were the two favorite Geography reads of the term.

The year's book list for A Gentle Feast is a long one but I did my homework earlier this year and have hunted down the books secondhand or requested from the library. It helps that I have been blessed with two book-selling friends! They have been a great resource too.

For our Bible study, we have used The Child's Story Bible by Catherine F. Vos for New Testament and Old Testament readings and then the NIV for our Psalm and Proverb readings.

The Burgess Animal Book and Birds of the Air are part of our Natural History studies along with Exploring Nature with Children. The kids have enjoyed the Burgess readings especially as they have recommended videos and coloring pages for each chapter - though our challenge is that some of the chapters get a bit too long for the attention spans of the 4 and 6 year old even. Then we break up those readings and do a little bit during different times of the day.

For first grader E's Language Arts, we are using 100 Gentle Lessons in Sight and Sound Level 1 and 100 Gentle Lessons in Handwriting/Print. The lessons have been perfect for building a firm reading foundation and for reviewing handwriting technique.

The variety of sight/sound in the reading lessons keep things interesting for him and I have seen such huge progress in his ability to read and enthusiasm for reading! The Kindergarten curriculum that we used last year had monotonous reading lessons that bored and frustrated him but this new approach has been a breath of fresh air.

The kids also have Spanish lessons twice a week using a lesson plan included in this curriculum. If the scheduled lesson seemed like too much for this age, we listened to a Spanish read-aloud book.

Math is the only subject that isn't included in our A Gentle Feast curriculum for Form I (grades 1-3) and, after using Singapore's Earlybird Math for Kindergarten, we moved into Singapore's Dimensions Math 1 for first grader. Singapore Math has been great for E! The teaching style has really clicked with him and a colored textbook to work out of doesn't hurt either :) Keeping the lessons short, at around 25 minutes, is key to keeping math fresh and it's still standing as his favorite subject thus far.

For Preschooler's math, he plays with Alpha Rods, counting bears, magnetic shapes or works out of his own "math book" (one I found on Amazon) if he wants to. Gotta be like older brother!

Being able to cover so many subjects together as a family has been awesome. It's been a "lightbulb moment" for me, as I have thought to the future and wondered how life will look teaching three different grades at once. It is possible!

Homeschooling my boys at ages 2, 4 and 6 is about having realistic expectations while still spreading the feast of beautiful books and hands-on learning before them. Some days we can read so many books together and even the toddler listens! Other days, I need to dial it back and save most of the reading or possibly the reading/math lessons for toddler's nap time.

Teaching this age has been a lesson for me in patience and flexibility. Teaching with such young ones in the family isn't easy but what they absorb is amazing! Preschooler memorizes poetry like his older brother. Toddler tries the Sol-Fa singing lessons like his older brothers. Children are sponges and they absorb so much more than we realize!

I am so thankful we switched over to A Gentle Feast because the lessons are about as planned out as a Charlotte Mason curriculum can get. Some preparation is required of course but it's very minimal compared to building our own curriculum. I went through a relaxed "assessment" with First Grader and Preschooler to use as a measuring tool after each term and to see what areas we need to work on more.

I have greatly appreciated our Green Year studies so far and did I mention how much I'm learning alongside the children? Yeah, it's awesome!

On to Term 2!
Explore the A Gentle Feast curriculum here and feel free to email me or comment here with any questions! Disclaimer: This post contains my A Gentle Feast affiliate link. If you click it, and make a purchase I will receive a commission.


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