Saturday, March 10, 2018

Our Weekly Amble for February 26-March 2 AND March 5-9, 2018

Last week, (Feb 26- March 2) was like a perfect storm. On Sunday, the end of break week, I was home sick with a horrible head cold. On Monday, we began our new term, the Warm-Up Week for Homeschool Consistency Boot Camp, and I was curating for Charlotte Mason IRL on the topic of Break Week. It was busy.

It was also a very organ week. On Saturday I sat in the hallway while the children were at a day of workshops for the Organ Guild of Columbus. It was great because I got a good bit of work done, it was not great because I got colder and colder throughout the day and I suspect it helped that head cold along. M-girl and N-boy enjoyed the workshops a lot. M-girl particularly enjoyed the Children's Choir workshop and N-boy the improvisation techniques one. I ran into both choir teachers from high school, which was weird. (I was only in choir my freshman year, but the one was a student teacher that year).  Anyway, we had that on Saturday, then regular lessons and practices on Tuesday and Thursday. Thursday was also the first Thursday of the month, so there was a recital that we attended (actually, the organist from my parents' church).  On Friday, the church where the academy is hosted had a visiting composer (who has composed some of the children's music) and he did an hourlong workshop with them. The six students played for him, then he worked with each one in the group and focused on something key for their piece. It was one of the coolest lessons I've ever observed.

Remembering what we're about
Monday after break week is often a challenge, I wore my Atmosphere Discipline and Life shirt to remember - and remind - our purpose and posture of learning. The very beginning of this first day after break was not an exception, we struggled.  However, once we got going it went pretty well. The best first day after break. Overall, it was a good week. We did the planned work and the extra events.

Wednesday was cleaning day - and we decorated for spring besides. The girls did a nice job with that.

We had Art and More with Friends and worked more on Cleomenes for Plutarch (killed all the ephors!), made the most difficult fans ever in paper sloyd, and started some drawings.

We gave the children a good amount of time to play outside as it was a nice day, especially for February.

I got to snuggle the newest member of our group - a few weeks old - during the sloyd and drawing time. That was fun, I like holding the ones I can hand back these days :)

Drawing Lesson
Baseball outside
R-girl planned and cooked dinner Thursday night. It was yummy and she experienced the difficulty of getting everything together. Good lessons all around.

This week went overall very well. We had our moments, though.  

We did Morning Time all four school days, although I was tempted to skip Friday. I was glad we did it because it was, by far, the best part of the day.  We finished A Comedy of Errors during Whatchamacallit. The children were painting, so we listened to the Arkangel production I bought - which all term they refused to try because they thought they wanted to read it. They decided they loved it, so I purchased Henry V and Richard III - we'll finish Henry V from last term (that I stopped to pick up Comedy) and Richard III for next term as we start Year 7. We missed it in the fall and I think it'll be good to do before we get to Daughter of Time.

We mostly finished the Memoria Press grammar book II and I'll be buying Level III at the Cincinnati GHC. We're still reading through the section on diagramming. We finished the week with what turned out to be a not very funny Mad Lib. 

We started learning When I Survey the Wondrous Cross and Philippians 4:4-13. They've almost finished memorizing 'Matilda who Told Lies and Burned to Death.'  We've been enjoying Langston Hughes poetry in the Dream Keeper book. We started to read from Michael Clay Thompson's Building Poetry about metaphor and simile.

We also finished The Open Gate by Kate Seredy. We all enjoyed it and there was much to think about. 

I got and wore another attitude adjusting shirt from Brandy and it was well received by all. The girls had optometrist appointments on Tuesday. R-girl needs a slight adjustment to her lenses, but M-girl needs drastic changes ... and wants to get contacts, so that'll be happening soon. Actually, she's been wearing N-boy's old glasses this week and they've made a big difference.

The children continued with Latin. N-boy and R-girl in LFC B lesson 19 (maybe 18?) and M-girl moving forward through lesson 7 in Latin Alive! She had a good tutoring session yesterday using Google Hangouts with our tutor.

In math, M-girl had several lessons that were marked as though for tests this week. She got almost everything right which is always reassuring and she is finishing up MEP Year 5. N-boy is working on positive and negative numbers with multiplication and division, addition and subtraction. R-girl is working on fractions and adding together differing kinds of things and order of operations.
I want to start giving variations on their written narrations as we move into more formal composition.  I need to purchase and watch Amy Snell's workshop and read Karen Glass' book. The children all write fine narrations, but I think more variety and challenge would help us all.

On Friday, my parents took the girls to see the new A Wrinkle in Time movie. They said it was good - pretty to watch and interesting - but not like the book. They could see all the things that were stripped from the book and the things added to the movie, so I felt like they were discerning about it. 

We had some sibling squabbles throughout the week - especially at the end of the week. We were all tired, but two children had to do school at different times because of it, which was disappointing. I need some strategies for peace-making and longsuffering for my kids to deal with each other more kindly. The constant wrangling for "my own way" tires me out so quickly and makes me sad.

Monday, March 05, 2018

The Simple Woman's Daybook for March 5, 2018

For Today... 

Looking out my window ... it's dark out. I has been a long day and I'm glad to be sitting down to my laptop to write a post.

I am thinking ... friends who homeschool in very difficult circumstances. My heroes.

I am thankful ... for my cuppa tea.

One of my favorite things ... Voltron on Netflix when Daddy has an evening meeting. So much smoother.

I am wearing ... torn jeans (laundry day) and my orange with white flowers shirt. I like this one! When I walked the dog earlier I wore my new winter coat. It's bright orange LOL

I am creating ... not much time for creating right now but I saw some knit creations downtown on my walk

I am reading Norms and Nobility as soon I I hit Publish. I just finished listening to The Classical Homeschool Podcast on Isocrates ... walking the dog and then cleaning the kitchen.

I am hoping ... I don't fall asleep reading.

I am learning ... to get up on time in the morning. It's such a struggle.

In my kitchen ... we made a copious amount of waffles. I like the Cook's Illustrated waffle recipe (although I do half whole wheat flour). I'll freeze what we didn't eat tonight for another meal because waffles are no joke, y'all.

In the school room ... we had a pretty good Whatchamacallit and a good school day over all. Piano lessons and choir rounded it out.

Post Script ... last week I hosted a discussion on Break Weeks for @CharlotteMasonIRL It was a good discussion thinking about assessing our homeschool based on Atmosphere, Discipline, and Life.

Shared Quote ... WCF Chapter 5 Section 5: "The most wise, righteous, and gracious God does oftentimes leave, for a season, His own children to manifold temptations, and the corruption of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and, to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon Himself, and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends."

A moment from my day ... First Friday with my people at Barley Hopsters. Fun.

Closing Notes: It's such a busy time of year! Entering into Convention Season; Boot Camp ramping up; Pam's new book release, and many other things.  I heard from a soccer coach tonight, too. Fun all around!

Linking up with The Simple Woman.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Our Weekly Amble for February 19-23, 2018

This past week was Break Week at the Garrett Academy. We worked hard for six weeks and were ready for something different. I kept telling my kids that Break Week does not equal vacation, and it doesn't. Break week is still work - it's just different work ... and this week proved it. There's a proverb that says a change is as good as a rest (i.e. A change of work or occupation can be as restorative or refreshing as a period of relaxation), but in this case I think the change of work makes us ready to go back to our regular work.

Monday was a slightly quieter day for the children. I purposely planned the first two days to be work days, but primarily work I need to do. I needed to order AmblesideOnline Year 7 books and think about the differences between Lite and regular Year 7 because I am thinking about how to differentiate for R-girl. I don't think she can keep up with a full Year 7 pace. I think she can read the books, but maybe not quite so many of them. I figure anything I drop from her now could be added back when she's in Y12, though, because she'll "finish" with N-boy - so I may need something. Anyway, I did the ordering, but I have the next 6 weeks to plan and organize.

The kids still had all of their outside classes to continue, so there were piano lessons and choir to attend to.

Tuesday was supposed to be office filing and online work day. I did some of the online work, but the filing went by the wayside ... it was absolutely, gloriously beautiful here in central Ohio and we took advantage of opening the windows and going to the park with friends.

Organ ended up being canceled, so we enjoyed the quiet day.

During all that free time on Monday and Tuesday, I was trying to pay attention to how my kids were spending their time. Mystie Winckler says a part of break week is about assessing how affections are being ordered. So, while I was tapping on my laptop, I was watching things like - Bible reading first thing, domino builds, reading (lots and lots of reading), playing with scratch programming online, writing stories, riding bicycles, joining my Pilates challenge, playing piano and/or organ music on the piano, and some voluntary moving books around to improve spaces. R-girl got her final Doodle Crate from her Christmas subscription, so she worked on that. I was really pleased with what I saw.

Doodle Crate

Scratch Programming on the new family laptop

Nice enough to read outside!


1000 Dominoes! It was my Dad's birthday, so my kids sent him this video.
Wednesday is our regular cleaning day and day out. The morning cleaning was not what I expected so we had to do some when we got home. There were hurt feelings and some tough words until attitudes improved and the work was accomplished. I've been trying to establish that cleaning time as it is a personal (and therefore family) weakness. Opportunities to repent and work together. The work didnt' take very long once we all chipped in and they still ended up with some free time prior to their evening classes - parkour for the younger kids and soccer conditioning for the oldest.

Thursday was baking day. Perhaps you recall my breakfast and lunch plan where I assigned a certain food for each day of the week?

It was a rousing success. That made the main food pain point "Second Breakfast." On Thursday I planned Baking Day where we would take care of that ... and we made so much food to freeze

We made Sausage Balls (replacing the Bisquick with Almond Flour - and I like them better), Lemon Coconut Energy Balls (I also add zest of one lemon), Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Bites (which R-girl made, having put them into her Enquire Within journal during a Keeping Hour)

We also made some quick breads - Cranberry Chocolate Chip Bread (a new recipe! mine is pretty crumbly but I might've used regular chocolate chips and more than the recipe called for ;) It still tastes yummy!)

And three old friends:

Banana Bread

Sift 3C flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 12/ tsp salt. In separate bowl, cream 3/4 C butter and 1-1/2 C sugar. Add 2 eggs and 2 over-ripe bananas. To the creamed butter, sugar, banana alternate adding sifted flour and 2/3 C milk. (you can add nuts or chocolate chips or whatever, I usually don't) Bake in 2 greased loaf pans at 350* 45-50 minutes

Pumpkin Bread

Cream 2/3 C Butter with 2-2/3 C sugar. Add 4 eggs. Add 16 oz pumpkin (1 can) and 2/3 C of water. Sift 3-1/3 C flour, 2 tsp baking soda, 1-1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground cloves (or to taste) ... you can add 2/3 C coarsely chopped nuts or 2/3 C raisins or 1 C chocolate chips (I did white chocolate chips recently) Bake in 2 greased loaf pans at 350* for 1hr 10 mins.

Finally, I made a batch of my "Big Batch Chex Mix" I make it in one of those roaster ovens which is great because I don't spill Chex all over my oven.

Big Batch Chex Mix

Mix 12 oz box of Corn Chex, 12 oz box of Rice Chex, 14 oz box of Wheat Chex, 4 C cheerios, 4 C pretzel sticks, 4 C mixed nuts in a great big huge bowl (or the roaster oven itself. On stove, melt 3 sticks of butter with 8 T Worcestershire Sauce, 2 Tblsp Lawry's Season Salt, 3 tsp  garlic powder, 1.5 t onion powder. Pour over and mix well. Roast at 350* for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool and put in wide mouth Mason Jars for storage. Makes about 8-1/2 jars.

Thus ends my career as a food blogger :)

We went out to dinner Thursday night (and, in full disclosure, I made the cranberry bread Friday morning)

Friday was clean out the basement day. We have a children's half a family quarter, affectionately called the library, and a grown-up quarter. All portions needed significant attention. Much of the portions I worked on included throwing things away and organizing. We have boxes that we moved from our old home (almost 14 years ago) and my office. We have boxes of things we inherited (so many pictures from my mom) and things I'd like to keep, but don't necessarily need to access.

I also have a copious amount of craft stuff because while I don't have a hobby, per se, I do like to dabble from time to time (usually around Christmas).  My stuff was a big jumble with no organization. I got a good start on clearing that up.

The kids half was more of a struggle, although they did find pieces for and put together a lot of games. I'm leaving much of that mess to them ... we'll see if they can get it organized and cleaned up. They did put some baby and toddler toys out of their area into the crawl space but it was harder than it needed to be.

Today, M-girl and N-boy are at workshops for the local Organ Guild. The music is amazing to sit here and write and work to :) Choirs and organs. Wonderful.

Now, I'm ready to preread for the school term that starts Monday. I think we're all ready to get back to our regular work after this busy week.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Wednesdays with Words: "all in" all the time?

I've been reading Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung for a year now - mostly because I have been both  crazy busy and avoidant. It's not a long book; quite short in fact, but strongly convicting.

On Sunday, I decided that I needed a sabbath from the internet. The desire to be on Facebook or scrolling Instagram is becoming compulsive; and that gives me access to the work I do for Pam Barnhill, too, which becomes tempting to "just check real quick." So I decided to turn my phone to Airplane mode for the day and be present with family and congregants.

That meant that when I got home Sunday evening, I had to find something else to do - and I picked up Crazy Busy. Coincidentally (Ha! or not), I was on the chapter "Rhythm and Blues" which is about rest and sabbath rest.

We may think that more work is the answer to our decreasing drive and goldfish-like attention span, but rest is often the antidote we really need. Sometimes the best preparation is a wandering, soul-enriching procrastination. Take a nap, throw the Frisbee, sing a song, and then write the paper. The land won't produce a harvest if it never lies fallow. We can't be "all in" all the time. Just think of the Israelite calendar. It had times for feasting and times for fasting. It was for their piety, and their productivity that God put them on a predictable pattern filled with daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal, annual, and multi-year rhythms. (pg 94, emphasis his)
 I need Sundays with less connectivity. What do you need rest from?

Which leads to my announcement. It seems Wednesdays with Words as a blog linkup has run its course. I may still write posts here that fit into the format from time to time, but I'm going to move to Instagram full time. Won't you join me with a book photo, page photo, or graphic of the quote for the week? I'll be using the #WednesdaysWithWords hashtag and invite you to do the same.

Thank you for your participation over the last couple of years; I have enjoyed reading along with you.

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Simple Woman's Daybook for February 19, 2018

For Today...

Looking out my window ... the rain is falling hard. We've had some lightning and thunder. The neighbors have a moving truck as they pack to move to Texas.

I am thinking ... it would be a miserable day to move.

I am thankful ... that it's break week and we have a quiet morning.

One of my favorite things ... is a schedule for a rest. I've been reading Kevin DeYoung's Crazy Busy off and on for a while and last night I read his chapter on Sabbath and rest and it was a great reminder of why we take this time. That and the dominos currently overtaking my foyer.

I am wearing ... still in pajamas, but I need to go change to exercise gear because today's the first day of The Balanced Life 10 Day challenge.

I am creating ... AmblesideOnline Year 7 plans. Or that's today's plan :)

I am reading ... Persuasion again. Wonderful.

I am hoping ... to get a lot done this week. My schedule might be overfilled.

I am learning ... what my children choose for their free time. One of the purposes of break week is to assess the affections being built in all of us.

In my kitchen ... oatmeal with trail mix. Happy breakfast.

In the school room ... cleanup and break week. The kids have already done some Scratch programming this morning.

Post Script ... it's time for another Homeschool Consistency Boot Camp Challenge. If you struggle with this area, Pam and I would love to help you out.

Shared Quote ... I read Psalm 36 in my devotions this morning and it always stands out:

Your steadfast loveO LORDextends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the montains of God;
your judgments are like the great deep;
man and beast you saveO LORD.

A moment from my day ... N-boy made French Toast on Saturday.

Linking up with The Simple Woman.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Our Weekly Amble for February 12-16, 2018

The first six weeks of the 2018 Academic Year are done!

It feels really good to have a solid term under our belts. Even with sickness, we've stayed caught up with much of our work - particularly the readings.

This week we had Whatchamacallit each morning. It really does help to start our day right. We've been learning "O Love that Wilt Not Let Me Go" and John 14: 16-31. We've moved forward on our catechesis and continued reading The Ology, which has been helpful in many places. We learned more about Doric columns, finished the Nursery Rhymes section, and talked about courage. We did some grammar and talked about question words vs. helping verbs starting yes/no questions. We laughed at a MadLib. We read 4 scenes in Comedy of Errors ... there's a lot of miscommunication going on. We didn't do Plutarch because we did the lesson with our co-op. We read a good bit more of The Open Gate. We did a drawing lesson, read about Gershwin, and sang The Riddle Song.

The kids did math and xtramath most days. M-girl is working on probability; N-boy is working on absolute value and negative numbers; R-girl is starting on fractions.  They finished reading Black Ships Before Troy. They learned more about Noah and the flood. In Story of the Romans, they just read about Pyrrhus and his elephants. Strabo began to work on his geographical mapping in Augustus Caesar's World. Migrating birds face many dangers, which they learned about in our Nature Lore book. We read more about currents and elements and Galileo.

On Wednesday, we had our Art and More with Friends group. My little Plutarch group had a nice discussion comparing Chelonis and Agis and their courage and the way they stood up for what they believed was right. We made bon bon boxes and filled them with candy. The children drew trees. They exchanged the Valentines they made with their friends.

We did not do any Keeping Hour gatherings. It was crazy busy at the time I've determined to do Keeping Hour and, quite honestly, between exhaustion and the Olympics I wasn't motivated myself. On Friday, we had the special opportunity to go see my niece (the kids' cousin) compete in a local gymnastics meet which meant neither Nature Study nor Keeping Hour.

My goal for the next six weeks is to do Keeping Hour 3 times per week. I also want to better establish our EHAP for the end of the day.

I want to strengthen our end of week meetings and our Nature Study Fridays and my prereading which was spotty this term. If I could get 2-3 weeks ahead, I'd be thrilled.

If nothing else, there is always something to improve! It was a good six weeks and we're all ready for something a little different next week.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Are you going to a Convention this year?

I have resources for you!

A number of years ago, I wrote this post: Homeschool Conference Essentials.  I find that this is how I pack and prepare.

I also wrote about my Convention Binder which is my main tool.

I wrote about them again for Pam and interviewed another friend as well: Don't go to the homeschool convetion without this handy tool.

I helped a little with this post from Pam Barnhill - a pictures and a tip - but it's super helpful and the forms are so pretty! How to the the most out of the Homeschool Convention

So Tired, Brain Hurts, But Here are the Big Ideas I Promised (2015 wrap-up) Kortney Garrison of One Deep Drawer made this Word Cloud for me:

A post-convention post mortem: 2016 GHC Reflections

2017 Big Ideas Word Art:

Finally, I was honored to be invited to talk about Conventions with The Homeschool Sisters on their Episode #34

My friend Amy wrote this exceptional blog post about how to take away ideas rightly.

Have fun! Talk to people. Smile. Learn. Love. 
Homeschool Professional Development is a wonderful thing for Homeschool Moms. 

If you see me in Cincinnati this year, I'd love to say hi! and see how your Convention is going.