Monday, March 27, 2017

The Simple Woman's Daybook for March 27, 2017

For Today...

Looking out my window ... it's a dark night.

I am thinking ... about all the things from the weekend. There were a lot of them.

I am thankful ... that I got to go to the Kindred Conference with Cindy Rollins and Angelina Stanford. They were amazing. I got to drive with two wonderful ladies from church and that time was invaluable. That my dear friend, Heather, was able to come was icing on the cake.

One of my favorite things people ... Cindy Rollins. I needed to hear so many things she had to say. And, I got to hug her neck.

I am wearing ... black sweat pants, Buckeye shirt. Comfy day.

I am creating ... blog posts interviewing moms about hobbies.  The first is on Wednesday coming soon over at ... check it out!

I am reading ... Notes from a Tilt-a-Whirl by N.D. Wilson. Can I just say that it is hitting me in the exact right spot.

I am hoping ... to work on disciplining myself when it comes to reading the word and getting my steps.

I am learning ... to take the small steps ... the ones I can handle and leave God's work to Him. I wish it weren't so hard.

In my kitchen ... my wonderful husband stopped and picked up makings for dinner, grilled it, and served it. I feel like I won the husband lottery for sure.

In the school room ... we muddled through a day when I hadn't pre-read and it went just fine. Here's to tomorrow.

Post Script ... Pam's post last week about why homeschool moms are inconsistent resonated with me, did you read it? What about you?

Shared Quote ... "Get philosophy straight, be faithful, trust in the Lord for the fruit." Cindy Rollins at the Kindred Conference.

A moment from my day ... soccer season has begun

Closing Notes: if you're on Instagram, have you seen the new @charlottemasonirl community? I'm honored to be a contributor and we've had some seriously helpful and motivating posts. Won't you consider following us and joining our weekly challenges? Tag your posts with #charlottemasonirl

🍀Greetings!  Welcome to Charlotte Mason IRL, a gallery of Ms. Mason’s educational methods real life. Our aim is to showcase authentic CM practices, as shared from the diverse homes & hearts of our community members. It can be daunting to begin the journey of a Charlotte Mason education, but every journey begins with a single step—and that is what we hope to spread before you here: a library of experiences others are sharing about their steps on this journey. . Join us! We are seeking practical tips and inspirational ideas for authentic implementation of Ms. Mason’s philosophy. Each week, we will introduce a new theme concerning CM methodology; tag your response posts with #charlottemasonirl and we just might share your insights and stories with our community here! . We look forward to journeying alongside you & Charlotte real life. @athena_amidstthereeds . . . #charlottemasonirl #charlottemasoneducation #charlottemasonliving #livingeducation #inreallife #IRL
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Linking up with The Simple Woman.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wednesdays with Words: Hedges and Fields

"Fields and hedges, hedges and fields? Peace and plenty, plenty and peace. However, it may seem dull, now that the grass is cut; but you would not have said so two months ago, when the fields were all golden-green with buttercups, and the whitethorn hedges like crested waves of snow."

Charles Kingsley, Madam How, Lady Why

Like last week, authority and boundaries lead to peace.

I wish I weren't so dense or incapable of putting that into practice.

I don't expect there will be an Our Weekly Amble post this week because I get to meet Cindy Rollins this weekend at CiRCE's Kindred Conference. If you didn't know, this linkup started on Cindy's old Ordo-Amoris blog and she kindly allowed me to take it over when she retired. I've longed to meet Cindy for years and years and am so excited to finally have the opportunity!!  I'll be traveling with two friends there all day Friday and home Saturday evening after the conference, so I won't be able to bemoan how this week has gone.  Not that you want to hear that anyway.

I hope to have some good Wednesdays with Words out of the weekend ... and I'm sure there'll be some overgramming as well. I'm very excited to visit with my friend Heather and meet a number of other virtual friends for the first time. I bought a new outfit so selfies won't be such anathema ;)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Our Weekly Amble for March 13-17, 2017

It was an odd week.

We only did Whatchamacallit one time this week. On Monday, R-girl had an Orthodontist appointment (no more turning the key in her expander!)

So, we did our the core subjects - Math, Reading, Penmanship, Latin, Reading - pretty consistently but Whatchamacallit went a little by the wayside. That frustrates me, but I wasn't feeling great the end of the week and directing that was more than I was up for.

I was incredibly glad that I had done my pre-reading though. Because I knew what the assignments were and could listen to narrations and continue with conversations directing our school from my couch.

The children did a good job with that - even knowing where to find their assignments when I didn't put them in their spiral notebooks.  What a blessing.

This week we read about President McKinley and the Spanish American War - it was interesting to read about it from a different angle than had been presented in Story of the World a week ago. We also read about the economics of the growth of the United States between westward expansion and the growth of big business. We'd read a little bit about TR's trust busting in Carry a Big Stick and I suppose that will be a big emphasis in Story of the World 4.

The children are all enjoying the George Washington Carver biography, this week they liked it in particular with the traveling school going to farms and helping communities where they were. They're very pleased that we're almost done with Madam How, Lady Why and enjoyed learning about Submarines in Story of Inventions. The end of the Iliad in Age of Fable was another hit. I think I might be looking forward to reading The Iliad for real, now.  We are entirely behind on Kim.

They've been working on the Baltic States in their Geography books. Math is moving along nicely; M-girl started a section on time, N-boy is fighting with big numbers, and R-girl is metric conversions, graphing, and such.  Latin is also going well. M-girl finished Lesson 7 and the others are halfway through 4.

The biggest lesson this week was that they all learned to get started earlier and work to finish so they had their day freer. What a blessing to see this understanding. There was even a day when N-boy and R-girl worked together on all their work and finished well.  When they can get along, it's a beautiful thing.
This lasted approximately 10 minutes. I will take it! 
I think most homeschool moms have the fantasy this picture illustrates. Quiet working sitting together.  It can be (and was) short-lived in this case, but it was beautiful and I *revel* in the few minutes of fantasy realizing that I also have to enjoy the next few where }pacify{ takes over. The work God calls us to is work. Life isn't utopian perfection, but it's good.

So, I say, even with its struggles and fits and starts, we had a good week of school.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wednesdays with Words: Cowardice and Sloth

In my year of }pacify{ one of the first things I've needed to determine is "what exactly is peace?" If the goal is to bring about peace, then knowing what that entails is very important.

I've been reading George Grant's book Carry a Big Stick with the children for school.  In it there is a chapter on Roosevelt's ideas about peace in the world. Grant quotes Roosevelt:

I've been thinking about this a lot as it relates to parenting. There is much to contemplate in this sentence. Peace without righteousness is not the highest goal. So if mom gives in just to get some quiet, that's not good. How many times do we lessen expectations or requirements in order to avoid the argument? I do it too often. Cowardice. How often do I just do the task myself rather than instructing a perfectly able child to do it - or leave the task entirely undone - because it's easier than stirring the pot? That's sloth.

One of my friends was concerned about my word for 2017. It gave her a bad taste in her mouth. "Like giving in so they're happy?" No. My word is }pacify{ not mollify. To mollify means "appease the anger or anxiety of (someone)." and "reduce the severity of (something); soften." This is not real peace. It's pseudo peace. Real peace comes with right action.

I'm afraid that in past years I've settled for mollify when I really need pacify.  That's why it's hard now. It involves "raising my body not my voice" (that line I learned from Mackenzie Monroe) and doing the work of training in righteousness. Peace involves action whether from training myself and others in my household that order is peaceful, that calm voices are peaceful, that trusting the Lord is peaceful, that doing the work yields peace.

Action to yield true peace is what is needed. Now that I better understand, I need to better put in action. Pacify, not mollify.

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Simple Woman's Daybook for March 13, 2017

For Today...

Looking out my window ... it's dark.  Not a hint of the coming sunrise.

I am thinking ... about all the things I have to do today.  Often on Mondays the list is long because I rest on the Lord's Day and don't work.

I am thankful ... for that day of rest and the time I get to spend worshipping or being with friends and family.

One of my favorite things ... is my extended family.  I got to spend time with them celebrating my nephew's tenth birthday. These cousins love each other and the adults and it's a loud, raucous time. Lovely.

I am wearing pajamas and sweatshirt. I dragged myself out of bed.

I am creating ... a series of blog posts interviewing homeschool moms on their hobbies. Some of these women are so amazing and I can't wait to introduce them - of their hobby if you know them already.

I am listening to ... the shower running downstairs. Well, it just turned off.

I am hoping ... that R-girl's ortho appointment goes well this morning. I hope the expander has done its work.

I am learning ... about resting in today and not planning too hard for the future. Individual steps ahead.

In my kitchen ... Mondays are leftover days, so we're going to have breakfast leftovers and dinner leftovers. It makes for an easier transition back into the work week.

In the school room ... I got my prereading done this weekend. This helps me to prepare assignments in the best way.

Post Script ... Every week I look forward to Karen's "Weekend Web Wandering" posts. She always finds fascinating articles that I hadn't seen and leads me some trails. If you aren't reading Living, Unabridged, you're missing out! I can't wait to catch up with her in person at GHC in Cincinnati :)

Shared Quote ... I 've decided to highlight one poster from WwW here each week. I appreciated this post from Aria on love and it's nature. And I very much appreciate that she was influenced by our pastor - may I so be influenced to partake in daily devotions.

A moment from my day ... so this lasted about 10 minutes. Bliss. (and unusual!)

Closing Notes: I'm hoping to get some posts extra up this week. One about }pacify{ and things I'm considering about that. One about pre-reading and keeping and how that currently looks in my home.  Besides Wednesdays with Words and Our Weekly Amble. It might be a busy posting week.

Linking up with The Simple Woman.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Our Weekly Amble for March 6-10, 2017

It's nice that it's Saturday.  We've had a week.  Parts of it were good, parts of it were challenging.  Just like any other week!

I'm taking part in Brandy's Charlotte Mason Boot Camp and at the end of the week I learned about "not prodding" the students - bribery, reminders, ahem, "Just do your work" doesn't actually achieve much; rather giving the assignments and letting them move throughout the day without hounding. They'll learn that it's better to finish thouroughly in a reasonable amount of time. I need to go on with my work, though, even if they aren't finished.  It's a struggle.  I love Mason's reasoning, though, that we aren't doing anyone any behaviours by setting reminders for every last thing, that adulting includes doing the things that have to be done without constant interaction from the one to whom an appointment is made or work is due.

A story, perhaps.
N-boy's Thursday assignments
finished by 11:30
On Thursday, one child really really wanted to go to the library in the afternoon. Their work was done by 11:30. On Friday, when there wasn't a goal to achieve, nor anything specific to fill the afternoon with, same child messed around, dawdled, and generally annoyed everyone keeping all from finishing a lesser day and making it take a much longer amount of time.  I forced myself not to nag and yell and prod (I did stand in a doorway and raise eyebrows once), and the work was finished sooner than I expected when I did the doorway.

I'm trying to think of some afternoon occupations for the children to look forward to. One will certainly be no tablet usage if lessons aren't done in a reasonable amount of time, and Daddy says no pleasure reading before school.  It seems that some other play occupation would be good as well.

Anyway, if this - this immediately practical and paradigm shifting thought - is what we've learned in the second full week of Boot Camp - and I've been around the CM world a while now - I'm excited about the coming weeks and what else I'm going to learn.  I highly recommend the exercise when Brandy opens it up again!

This week's readings were filled with wars and rumors of wars (which led to wars); more of the character of Theodore Roosevelt; George Washington Carver's teaching techniques; rock strata in England; and television.  We had some controversial topics to discuss from the readings.  While we respect George Grant and many of his views, not all of his ideas regarding The South and it's sense of honor align with our Ohio ideas.  We had a great discussion about areas where Daddy and I agree with Grant's positions and where we disagree.  We always try to present multiple sides.  I also struggled with some of the views put forth in the Christian Liberty Nature Reader, namely that we can know good and evil because of the way we were created.  We talked some about the Creation and Fall and theological things.

But that is what education is. It's wrestling with ideas, talking them over, keeping or tossing, sorting through information and ideas and deciding what is worth keeping.  I'm so thankful that AO gives us those challenges in such an excellent fashion.

I'm also glad that I pre-read those passages, so I knew ahead of time that we'd need to have those discussions:

We had Whatchamacallit four days.  We are learning 'Nothing but the Blood' for our hymn, which has been a song I've sung and heard, but not very often in my Presbyterian circles (moreso in the OPC than had been true in my childhood church).  Continued with new stanzas of Psalm 34, and 'A Psalm of Life.'  We began reading Paul Laurence Dunbar poetry, a poet I'd not heard of previous to AO, but I've already copied 2 of his poems into my commonplace.

This is where AO shines at being "multicultural." Rather than talking about it all the time, they quietly introduce an African American poet whose poetry is moving and important - I know why the caged bird sings - but is perhaps obscure and oughtn't be. We've been introduced to George Washington Carver, Phyllis Wheatley, Booker T Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, and expect others in the future.

It was a grammar week, so we worked on some diagramming and did a very silly "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" Mad Lib on Friday. We're getting close to the end of The Chestry Oak. My kids are either comforting me or chanting that I would cry more because each chapter brings a spate of tears. They are so worth it!

We did Latin, M-girl finishing Lesson 6, the others Lesson 3 in Latin For Children B. M-girl put the big crossword puzzle together.

We also worked on Math - conversions between decimals and fractions for M-girl, R-girl began a section on graphing (she's in the final pages of Year 3 and they're very easy!), N-boy is also doing fractions and decimals.

R-girl is almost done with her Westminster Shorter Catechism copywork. She would like to copy a book of the Bible like M-girl does, so I need to order her a book. She wants to do Esther.  N-boy is working more slowly on his.  I keep encouraging him to write.

He did write his best written narration ever this week. And it was by hand. I was pleased.  M-girl started The Lost Tools of Writing this week.  I was also very pleased with her Friday narration.

We had Friday Meetings and that went well. I'm slowly making those more our own with our family's needs. I've appreciated starting with Jennifer Mackintosh's ideas. Sometimes its good to take someone's practice and slowly incorporate your own needs. One thing I'm going to add to everyone's list is that they and I will straighten their school shelf during our meeting. R-girl worked on this project yesterday, and I think regular maintenance will help build better practices.


Keeping was slightly less successful this week for M-girl. I struggled with this somewhat this week, so I understood.  I'm also thinking I'm requiring too many items for her Book of Centuries (fills up quickly!) and Commonplace book.  It's one thing to establish habits, but I want to make this feasable as a lifestyle.  Something I'm mulling.

How was your week?

Thursday, March 09, 2017

I can't contain this quote

"There were more things to do, more new things to learn, than could possibly be done and learned if one had to stop every hour and start doing something else. Michael liked this way much better. It was ... it was like walking through the woods and meeting the little creatures and the trees and the plants in it, in person, and so learning about them, instead of learning their names from a big book, a page to each new thing, with a stiff, dead-looking picture of it to look at." Kate Seredy, The Chestry Oak pg 189

This book is just spectacular. Reading it aloud might kill me though; I cry every chapter. Joyful and sad and beautiful and harsh and doubtful and ultimately hopeful. I have yet to read a Seredy book that wasn't just fabulous (this is our fourth ... we own one more).