Back in November I posted a quick list of all the curriculum we’re currently using. Our main curriculum, A Gentle Feast, is currently being updated and will release in the next two weeks, so I thought this would be a good time to tell you more about it. I hope you enjoy a closer look at this wonderful program. Please feel free to comment or email me with any questions you might have.
Last summer I was browsing instagram and came across a Charlotte Mason curriculum I’d never heard of called A Gentle Feast (or AGF). It looked interesting, so I headed to their website and saw all of my large family Charlotte Mason homeschool dreams coming true! Ok so maybe it wasn’t that magical, but it was close.
I loved the idea of other well-known Charlotte Mason curricula, but when it came down to it, I always walked away feeling overwhelmed and at a loss for how they would work for my family without having to make a lot of adjustments. For one, many start with British instead of American history. I’ve read Charlotte Mason’s thoughts on history and I really think that Charlotte Mason would have started with American history if she were American. Then with 5 kids who will all be school aged at the same time for several years, I really wanted something that had us doing the majority of our subjects together. Other large families made the well-known programs work and were very successful with it, but I kept hoping I would find something that I could use as written.
A Gentle Feast has proven to be the perfect fit for our family. From the book selections to the extra programs utilized to flesh out the program like Exploring Nature With Children (which I love) and Singing Solfa (another favorite), AGF works so well for us.
One of my favorite features unique to AGF is the way the subjects are divided up. Each day your family enjoys Morning Time (Appetizer), which includes Bible reading and memorization, Beauty Loop (Salad), which focuses on singing and recitation, The Feast (Main Course), including History, Geography, Math, Phonics, etc., and Afternoons (Dessert), when you enjoy Poetry teatimes, handcrafts, and things like Shakespeare.
The Beauty Loop is my favorite, mostly because this is when we pull out our Meaningful Menus and enjoy singing, reading, and reciting together. In her re-design, Julie includes printable pages (including the ones you see above) that will work perfectly in Meaningful Menus. Just swap out the sample pages included when you purchase my Menus and insert print outs from the AGF Student Pages for your history cycle.
AGF is divided up into 4 different Cycles, which correspond to 4 different historical time periods. The main history “stream” is American, starting with Exploration in Cycle 1 and progressing chronologically until present day in Cycle 4. As students progress through the Cycles, doing 1 Cycle a year, they start adding different history streams, like British, World, and Ancient history. Lower elementary students focus on just one stream of history, while upper elementary add British, etc. This progression means that by their twelfth year, a student who has gone through the whole program will have done each Cycle 3 times, digging deeper and deeper into history with each passing year.
Families just starting out with 1st graders should choose Cycle 1, but because of the way the Cycles work, families who have used other history curricula coming into AGF can choose which Cycle to start with. If you just studied colonization, for instance, you should start with Cycle 2. It’s also important to remember when transitioning to a new program that you shouldn’t worry too much about gaps in your kids’ education. Gaps are unavoidable even for most public or private schooled kids, and with AGF’s rotation, anything missed the first time will be covered again the next time you do that Cycle.
If you’re not completely in love with your current curriculum, I highly recommend you give A Gentle Feast a try. I think you’ll love it as much as I do!