What does a Council of Oaks Meeting look like?

Have you been wondering what a Council of Oaks Meeting (our Morning Time) looks like? It really isn’t complicated, and being prepared makes it less complicated.

We sit around the table with our memory work notebooks and my iPad or computer. Any other books we need are handy on my school cart. We start our hour with eating breakfast and listening together to the day’s scripture reading and a read-aloud that everyone is listening to (Trial and Triumph, This Country of Ours, Plutarch, or Charlotte Mason’s Ourselves). That takes about twenty minutes. Since most of us aren’t really ready to talk yet, this works just fine. When the listening portion is over, we carry our dishes to the kitchen and come right back.

If all goes as planned, we open up our memory work notebooks and start on the day’s memory work, which includes some recitation and a lot of singing. We work through the daily tab, the even or the odd tab (according to the date), the day of the week tab, and one numerical tab. (We don’t do the date for that. We just do the next one, and I mark the next day’s with a post-it. That’s because we have stuff in 24 tabs, and we want to make sure we hit them all regularly. This gets us through all our review work once every six weeks.) Working through just the memory work takes about twenty-five minutes, so this brings our total time invested to forty-five minutes, give or take.

We use  Spanish and German resources from Cherrydale Press and Latin resources from Classical Conversations and Visual Latin. Reviewing those series is incorporated into the memory work binder. We’ve done 2/3 of the Spanish book, and we are starting the German book. If students in Europe can learn three languages at a time, I guess we can too. (I teach Latin, have a degree in Spanish and study German also. I love linguistics and am passing that on to my children. It is more normal in the US to learn one language at a time. Charlotte Mason’s students were mostly English speaking. They started French at age 6, German at age 8, and Latin at age 10. We are running a few years late on the German, and we swapped in Spanish instead of French because we hear it around here. In England, French was the most important language for Charlotte’s students to know. In Oklahoma, Spanish is definitely more often used than French is, so this swap is logical. This takes about ten minutes a day, bringing the total time to fifty-five minutes so far.

After memory work, we look at some beautiful things. Most of the material for this is on the Resources page for the Memory Work Pack we are working on. I read a poem aloud from the month’s poet. One day of the week, we’ll look at work from the Artist of the Month. Another day, we will listen to a snippet of the month’s composer. I might read a little of a biography of one or the other. One day we will listen to or watch a scene from Shakespeare or read from Shakespeare. The fourth day, we usually skip this portion for music lessons or orchestra practice, or our twice monthly meeting with other Charlotte Mason families. This beautiful portion takes about ten minutes, so now we are up to sixty-five minutes.

Last, but not least, this year in our Council meeting we will do a cursive handwriting lesson, because this needs more attention in our house. Micah is working on speed and endurance, and Josiah and Gideon need practice forming letters and stringing them together smoothly. This brings our total meeting time to about an hour and fifteen minutes. I’d like to shave it down to an hour, but I don’t know what to cut.

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