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JennGM
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Posted: Aug 19 2010 at 8:46am | IP Logged Quote JennGM

Back again with another thought, Jenny.

I love the simplicity of the original idea. The idea pulling together major events of the century, having the child make the connections and summarize, also sketching key inananimate objects (museum pieces) would be wonderful especially if you feel intimidated by drawing faces.

But the idea is somewhat limiting. If a child really was enthusiastic about Mozart, or the Hundred Years War and added more material, the place to make it a keepsake would be the BOC. Otherwise there would be two volumes to keep on track. But is that a bad or good thing? Not sure.

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Posted: Aug 19 2010 at 8:51am | IP Logged Quote JennGM

CrunchyMom wrote:
It is interesting, though, I'm still having a hard time wrapping my mind around it, especially this line where she quotes Bernau:

Quote:
Naturally one page is a very small space in which to illustrate the whole of a century, and yet it is a mistake to leave two pages for some centuries, as I have seen in some books, as it does away with the idea of the book; therefore each should choose what she considers the most characteristic events, planning out the arrangement of the page, as far as possible, before drawing. In this way no two books will be alike, and there is great interest in comparing them.


I mean, "planning the arrangement of the page" with it being something that's worked on for years? I'm puzzled.


Yes, that was another stumbling block to me. I see the narrative area, but it seems like it wouldn't/shouldn't be filled until all the key events are placed and the child can summarize.

So if this notebook is planned, it seems more formal than a nature journal or a history journal or notebook. Seems like my crosspost is along similar lines. Do you have the child keep track of what he learned in history in a History Notebook and then finalize in his museum book?

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Posted: Aug 19 2010 at 9:40am | IP Logged Quote Mackfam

I read the article, too, and found it very interesting.

Our own Book of Centuries is not far from this description at all. I really like the simplicity of the original idea, and I envision it looking like a cross between Edith Holden's Country Diary of An Edwardian Lady and Gloria Thomas and Warren Carroll's Celebrating 2000 Years of Christian History which would be a very lovely book indeed.

Charlotte Mason did not begin the Book of Centuries until Form II (ages 9 - 12). Taken directly from Volume 6, the Chapter on The Curriculum, p. 175 - using Charlotte Mason's words about the Book of Centuries.

Charlotte Mason wrote:
Miss G. M. Bernau has added to the value of these studies (she's speaking of history) by producing a 'Book of Centuries' in which children draw such illustrations as they come across objects of domestic use, of art, etc., connected with the century they are reading about. This slight study of the British Museum we find very valuable; whether the children have or have not the opportunity of visiting the Museum itself, they have the hope of doing so, and besides, their minds are awakened to the treasures of local museums."


When she speaks of "British Museums", she's referring to another book used alongside the BOC written by Frances Epps entitled, British Museum for Children which is available in the public domain. This book was read and referenced and the images within inspired some of the sketches and illustrations in the student's BOC.

While I appreciate the simplicity of the approach advocated in both articles, especially appreciating the detailed description given by Miss G. M. Bernau in her article for the PNEU, I believe that I can still make use of the method, while not adhering to the strict format proposed in the Childlight article.

We already follow the same principle advocated by Miss Mason, of adding simple illustrations of objects to the BOC as the children read. The child adds dates from their reading. Written narrations are also there as well, though I haven't asked for a written narration of a century; the written narrations added so far pertain to a specific book covering a period. I think a century narration might be a really good idea for an older student as a summary narration from their reading of a century...perhaps as part of an examination?

I'm not convinced that the strict format proposed is necessary, though it certainly is simple. The BOC we use could be better in terms of layout - I'd like it if a new century (AD) started on the far left of the page and ended on the far right of the opposite page, but a century still covers approximately 2 pages, which is still a fairly simple and non-overwhelming use of space.

In short, I think you can make your own BOC as described by Chari, or use another you print and download, or purchase, and as long as it isn't overloaded with superfluous pages or information, you can apply the method as proposed by Charlotte Mason and the author of the Childlight article and still end up with a treasure in the BOC your child develops and adds to over the years.

What a great, thought-provoking article that is!!!

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Posted: Aug 19 2010 at 9:51am | IP Logged Quote Mackfam

I was cross-posting!

JennGM wrote:
So if this notebook is planned, it seems more formal than a nature journal or a history journal or notebook. Seems like my crosspost is along similar lines. Do you have the child keep track of what he learned in history in a History Notebook and then finalize in his museum book?

This was one of my concerns as well, and one of the reasons I decided that continuing our BOC in the method as CM describes, and making use of the format that Chari describes (or something similar), still allows me to accomplish a BOC in this simple manner. Our BOC work is VERY simple. The illustrations my children add are also simple - a musket for Daniel Boone, emblems of the various knights of the Crusades, etc. Their choice. I have one child who really enjoys portraits. And one child that enjoys adding weapons (I'll let you guess which one that is! ). I like having the space/opportunity to go back and add something to the BOC when a child stumbles across a cross-connection through reading. We enjoy being able to add pertinent map-work to our BOC as it applies to history studies.

Ok...enough on this! I'll let someone else chime in now!

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Posted: Aug 19 2010 at 10:35am | IP Logged Quote Grace&Chaos

Jen, thanks for the input. I knew I could get some good thoughts on this. My oldest dd is 10 and I thought this would be a good time to start with her. I really am drawn to the simplicity of it and love the idea of a nature look/feel to it. I'm definitely going to check out some of your links.

Do you use a three ring binder/ loose pages or a set bound book? Is there a post on your blog maybe showing us a sample?

Lindsay, For my younger ones I do think notebooking will be the way to go. My dd 6 worked on history pockets last year and I know she enjoyed seeing the finished book at the end of the unit.

Jennifer, like you I have boys and the idea of the objects (I picture lots of weapons and such)would be so appealing and not a lot of writing required just snips of information. Just some thoughts I still have plenty of time with them. Also, my dd 10 is not big on too much drawing so I thought this would appeal to her. She loves writing though and so some room for narrations would suit her. This is how her nature journal is really set up (a small drawing and lots of written description on the opposite page).

Thanks ladies I'll enjoy reading some more thoughts on this.

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Posted: Aug 19 2010 at 12:00pm | IP Logged Quote lapazfarm

I've also been intrigued by that article and had some of the same questions and confusions already expressed here. I did want to add my thoughts on one area of confusion, namely the planning out of pages while still adding to it over the years dilemma.
My take is this.
Since CM classrooms did sequential history in blocks, they would be filling in the books as they go with dates (or events/people) from their readings and sketches from relevant museum artifacts. They wouldn't be going back and forth between centuries from one year to the next willy-nilly. If I am not mistaken, the history cycle would not be repeated until perhaps the last year when the Ancients were revisited? So, with that in mind,they could easily plan out a page, fill it up over the course of a week or month with what is most relevant to them individually, and leave it behind, moving on to the next century. The "adding to it over the years" would be in adding material to additional centuries in the book, not revisiting pages already completed.
At least that is my interpretation.

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Posted: Aug 19 2010 at 12:21pm | IP Logged Quote Mackfam

I think you're right there, Theresa. That's how I understood it as well.

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Posted: Aug 19 2010 at 1:06pm | IP Logged Quote Grace&Chaos

Theresa, thanks for that addition. This is what I'm hoping to accomplish. Get the book started: write what is relevant and/or most interesting to my dd for the period studied at that moment and move on. Since we are following a sequential study I really think this might work for us. I really want her to enjoy this. And like me she really likes things very clean and compact.

I'm getting a clearer picture on how I want my dd's book to look like. I'm thinking of getting a leather bound sketch book and assigning century pages for BC and then doing half century for the time after. Leaving the one page for sketches and the second for snips and/or short narrations. Of course this will be my trial run. I'll have three years before I think of my next dd starting hers.

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Posted: Aug 19 2010 at 1:13pm | IP Logged Quote Mackfam

It sounds like a really neat start, Jenny! I truly do love the simplicity of the idea, and I love imagining what something like this might look like!

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Posted: Aug 19 2010 at 2:56pm | IP Logged Quote CrunchyMom

lapazfarm wrote:
I've also been intrigued by that article and had some of the same questions and confusions already expressed here. I did want to add my thoughts on one area of confusion, namely the planning out of pages while still adding to it over the years dilemma.
My take is this.
Since CM classrooms did sequential history in blocks, they would be filling in the books as they go with dates (or events/people) from their readings and sketches from relevant museum artifacts. They wouldn't be going back and forth between centuries from one year to the next willy-nilly. If I am not mistaken, the history cycle would not be repeated until perhaps the last year when the Ancients were revisited? So, with that in mind,they could easily plan out a page, fill it up over the course of a week or month with what is most relevant to them individually, and leave it behind, moving on to the next century. The "adding to it over the years" would be in adding material to additional centuries in the book, not revisiting pages already completed.
At least that is my interpretation.


Aha! That makes sense.

I think I also had an idea of being able to include things from literature, music, or art studies which may not coincide exactly with what's currently covered in history. I see now that CM's vision for this book is not nearly so comprehensive.

A lot to ponder. I'm afraid I'm still atttached to the idea of the BOC being a good way to organize records across subjects.

However, as Jen pointed out, one could have two different "projects." A binder BOC system for including narrations and such as well as a simpler BOC for a more personal record specifically for history.

Hmmm...

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Posted: Aug 19 2010 at 3:00pm | IP Logged Quote CrunchyMom

Also, this seems to be an area where methods might be modified in a home setting (obviously, given all the variations one sees). Sequential history is one of those areas of compromise I see myself making. It seems to me it is a subject which makes a lot of sense to combine grade levels, and doing that means that even if one goes sequentially, not every child would study sequentially.

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Posted: Aug 20 2010 at 8:11am | IP Logged Quote JennGM

Theresa, that makes sense for sequential history.

BUT, it does bring a further question for me. Is BOC originally intended to be isolated for history?

I guess it's another question I'm wondering and need to read more thoroughly. But I'll throw it out here.

Did CM's plans always have corresponding periods for picture and composer study? And literature from the period?

I'm asking, because it seems so natural to add material like authors, composers, artists to the BOC. But if it's not tied into sequential history, it seems more random.

Hmmm...I'm having a bit of deja vu...did I ask this before?

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Posted: Aug 20 2010 at 9:57am | IP Logged Quote Grace&Chaos

JennGM wrote:


Did CM's plans always have corresponding periods for picture and composer study? And literature from the period?

I'm asking, because it seems so natural to add material like authors, composers, artists to the BOC.


Ditto Jenn! I'm thinking that if we are studying them will add. I noticed that it was natural to add these components to fit our history studies this year. But like you I'm wondering if that's the CM way.


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Posted: Aug 21 2010 at 9:37am | IP Logged Quote Mackfam

JennGM wrote:
BUT, it does bring a further question for me. Is BOC originally intended to be isolated for history?

For Charlotte Mason, history was the pivot upon which her entire curriculum turned - so art, literature, architecture, museum visits, music, geography all sprung from the period of history being studied. Ms. Bernau mentions that current events were included in the BOC by way of newspaper clippings and some photos were allowed to be pasted in, but sparingly. The BOC is referred to as a LIVING THING, and its individuality to its author is encouraged and underlined. It's clear that even in CM's schools the BOC was something that was encouraged as a habit, with students adding in pertinent material and illustrations as they came across it in their wide reading. History was not a compartmentalized subject as we sometimes see it treated in other forms of education, therefore, the BOC would not have been compartmentalized either. According to Ms. Bernau, neatness and accuracy were the only requirements.

Ms. Bernau wrote:
"Children get accustomed to treating their Book of Centuries as companions to all their reading."


JennGM wrote:
Did CM's plans always have corresponding periods for picture and composer study? And literature from the period?

Yes. I believe so as much as possible.

A book with a wonderful explanation of the Book of Centuries and how it was used in CM's schools, which again draws from Ms. Bernau's article is More Charlotte Mason Education by Catherine Levison. Chapter 6 is devoted entirely to keeping a Century Book. Ms. Levison offers a thorough explanation of the BOC using original sources. She leaves it to the homeschool mother to decide how best to format and implement a Century book and explains at the end of the chapter why she chose not to follow the exact format offering other formats as options.

This is just my opinion, but I think the format is not so important as the method. Whether a family chooses the simple format described by Ms. Bernau and further illustrated by Ms. Bestvater (which I really do envision as quite lovely when complete), or a format which is dated and leaves more room for entries, I think the method for a Century Book is this:

** Adding to a Century book should become a habit
** Each Century book is individual and is a living thing
** Additions should be neat & accurate
** Illustrations should be simple and might be inspired from books and images of everyday objects which characterize a period of history
** Current events can be added
** Photos/digital images can be added, but they should be kept to a minimum.
** The Century Book is a companion to all the child's reading

Grace&Chaos wrote:
I'm thinking that if we are studying them will add. I noticed that it was natural to add these components to fit our history studies this year. But like you I'm wondering if that's the CM way.

I think it sounds great, Jenny! I really can't wait to see some pictures of your Century Book in action!

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Posted: Sept 02 2010 at 6:20am | IP Logged Quote JennyMaine

I stumbled upon this yesterday and thought it was a great example.

History Portfolio

Also, has anyone tried this? Wondering if it is any good.

BOC e-book

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Posted: Sept 02 2010 at 10:04am | IP Logged Quote Grace&Chaos

Thanks for sharing, the History Portfolio has some nice student examples ! I showed them to my daughter as she is working on her first Book of Centuries.

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Posted: March 29 2011 at 7:26am | IP Logged Quote JennGM

Bumping this, as there was another post regarding the Book of Centuries by Laurie Bestvater.

Be sure to check out the links, as you can see the examples she refers to in her article. I do wish it had A.D. examples instead of all B.C.

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Posted: April 02 2011 at 9:08am | IP Logged Quote AmandaV

So glad to see this bumped up - I've been thinking of starting a Book of Centuries recently with my son, and he is interested, but when I read the first childlight article I wondered if doing something not exactly as CM instructed would be in any way detrimental, or just our spin. I see it more as a scrapbook of studies, at least at this age. I would probably keep him from cluttering with too many examples. Anyway, this thread was really helpful to peruse through and see the many links.

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Posted: May 09 2011 at 8:46pm | IP Logged Quote SuzanneG

Harmony Art Mom had a great post with lots of pictures with her/their Book of Centuries.

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Posted: May 10 2011 at 4:55pm | IP Logged Quote kristacecilia

This is timely. I hadn't planned to start a book of centuries with my son until he was 10 or so, but he asked if we could start one next year (he will be 7 1/2). I just purchased the do-it-yourself kit from History Through the Ages/Homeschool in the Woodsthat Jen recommended. I am going to use it along with Connecting with History.

I doubt I will put a ton of emphasis on it yet... but I will print it off and make his book for him... and he can use it if he's read, I guess. He seems to really like notebooking... I purchased some nature study notebooking pages from Notebookingpages.com and he really loves those. I might get their history ones, too, and he can add stuff to his history notebook if he isn't too into the BOC stuff yet.

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