Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Wednesdays with Words: Teacher not Curriculum

I am going to, once again, attempt to join an online book club. To join a book club reading Norms and Nobility.


This time, though I'm reading with a group on the AO Forum led by Karen Glass.  The schedule is rather slow: one section - maybe two - per week - over the course of the next year. A long sustained schedule might break me, but I really really want to read it this time. The last time I tried, with Cindy Rollins, I got through just Chapter 1, but I say that book "de-deweyfied" my education major philosophy.  Likely more would be better.

My hope is that most of my Wednesdays with Words for the next year will be from Norms, so I hope you will be patient with me.

This week, we read the Preface to the 1990 Edition.

This isn't so much a preface as an explanation of the reason for the book, a peek into why and what he has written, and some self-critique after more experience.

The first time I read this, I underlined the statement that I'm highlighting today, but I didn't think on it too seriously:

So, I do believe - and I think Hicks believes - that the course of study is incredibly important and the way it's put together matters.  Having a course of study that leads its students to act rightly - "... the end of education is not thinking; it is acting." Hicks says on page vi - is of utmost importance, and a curriculum that ignores the norms of living, that ignores acting rightly, is not a curriculum that I can in good consscience place in front of my children.

But it matters, too, that I, the teacher, am a student.

A quote I love from Carolyn Weber's Surprised by Oxford is:

"As I aimed to become a teacher, God made me a student. My spirit as a questioner does not affront Him; rather, it reflects Him, and honors Him, and pulls me toward Him." 
I use that quote with my signature on education forums, but do I always believe it or practice it?

This is my goal for this reading of Norms. To Attend! to the call to be a student; to observe in Wonder, to do the Work of learning and questioning and seeking, to grow in Wisdom, to Worship God, and *Revel* in His creation, leading, instruction.  Huh. My Rule of Six. Funny.

One of the goals I put together for our 2017 Academic Year is to preread seriously and prepare for the coming week with the work I'm expecting of M-girl - Commonplace, Book of Centuries, Mapwork, all of it. But as the instructor, I need to do more - scaffold lessons, ask questions, seek more deeply.  My friend Celeste at Joyous Lessons has been inspiring me on Instagram this fall, and I've talked with Jason about changing these habits of mine.

I need to change the teacher.  

Will it happen all at once? Unlikely. The habit of years is hard to break. Does it need to change? Yes. And so I am going to make a concerted effort.

This quote from Hicks only reaffirms the direction I was already thinking. Modeling a love for learning, the processes of learning, the joy of learning for my children is not the goal.  It's a side benefit. 

Actually loving learning, the process of learning, the joy of learning for myself is the goal. 

If you aim at earth you'll lose it, but if you aim at a heaven, you get earth thrown in, eh?

Wordless Wednesday: Yuletide Session 2016 Week 1

And a bonus:

A video posted by dawn (@ladydusk) on

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Simple Woman's Daybook for Monday, November 28, 2016

For Today... November 28, 2016  ... Two more days of November!

Looking out my window ... the sky is grey and almost pink while the sun lazily makes it's way into the pre-winter sky.

I am thinking ... about getting dressed. We're going to see A Christmas Carol this morning.

I am thankful ... for a wonderful long weekend being thankful with friends and family.  We have so much to thank God for!

One of my favorite things ... Ohio State beating X*ch*g@n in The Game. It was some bad football, but we won, so Huzzah!!

I am wearing ... Buckeye jammies - but soon something dressier to go downtown.

I am will be creating ... the children's Christmas ornaments for this year. I have the stuff, just need some time.  Later in the week, I think.

I am listening to ... Christmas music. I have a slight obsession. Just finished Sara Groves' O Holy Night (with the hilariously true song about toy packaging) and now have Amy Grant's A Christmas Album.

I am hoping ... that Jason has fun deer hunting ... and maybe doesn't get anything?

I am learning ... good question.  Maybe to tune out the self-negativitiy script?

In my kitchen ... I really need to go to the grocery store.  Coffee with cinnamon eggnog this morning, though. It's the important things ;)

In the school room ... the table is covered with "This doesn't go down here. Take it upstairs" detrius. I need to clear it so we can do the puzzle I ordered.  It's lovely to be on break!

In my garden ... er, yard, the outside decorations are hung - window candles, lights around the door, big ornaments in the tree. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas :)

Board room ... looking for "Spice" recipes for the family progressive dinner this weekend.  I have a dessert plan, but need a heavy appetizer plan too.

Post Script ... Brandy's "Probably Our Simplest DecemberTerm Ever"  post resonates with me because I also have our simplest plan ever.  Sort of.

Shared Quote ... "I should be sorry if I only entertained them. I wished to make them better." Handel wrote of his masterpiece, The Messiah. I love that quote every time I come across it, which I did last night in our Advent Reader.

A moment from my day ...

Linking up with The Simple Woman.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Wednesdays with Words: Thankfulness

This is a very hard story to tell, a very emotional and personal story. I'm turning off comments for this post because I am thankful for the happening and for God's intervention, but I really don't need any recrimination or love or feedback. I'm also not promoting this one anywhere on social media. This is for my people who read anyway. I hope you understand. I hope you have a fantastic Thanksgiving. I am giving thankfulness for the Lord's intervention.

There's recently been some drama in my life.  A choice I recently made had repurcussions I didn't expect. It started with a week of mental anguish as I stewed over, self-blamed, and generally convicted myself. Oh, guilt.

No one else seemed to be upset with me or gave me grief about my decision, but we're always hardest on ourselves, right? My pastor was concerned that I might get some catty comments (not a one) - but they were all from my own head.

So that mental script that all of us have - the constant drip of blame and accusation and self-recrimination - I'm pretty sure some of us have it more than others.  I have a hard time letting go when I think I've let others down - even when assured that I haven't. That desire for approval stands up to be counted and the guilt just eats until a chasm has opened beneath it. I *know* that my approval is in Christ and that's all I need. I can intellectually assent to that, but sometimes the emotions wrangle that knowledge into dust.


I was stewing in worship. That's the worst, when I can't control the tears and everyone is worried - children, husband, those nearby - because I can't shut off the script.

Finally, I had enough.

Shut up.

I hate that phrase. I try not to use it.

I told my brain, my accusor, to

Shut up. In Jesus' name.

And it did.

This was a couple of weeks ago. And I still haven't gone down that path. If I start to, I'm reminded of what God did to make my brain shut up and it's like a brick wall. There is no path. It's closed off.

So, the words that keep coming back to me: Shut up. Such a weird Wednesdays with Words, but I have felt compelled to share this. To encourage you that He is still at work. That he cares for his people. That he cares for you.

He is good. I am Thankful for a God who protects His people, even from ourselves.

May you have a Blessed Thanksgiving and a wonderful Holiday season. Carol, I know you'll read this - God's richest blessings to you as well.

Wordless Wednesday: It *is* that week. Go Buckeyes!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Did I mention?

Yesterday was our last day of the Academic Year for 2016?

We did a relatively big day:

These kids worked so hard over the last 10 weeks - 9 weeks of lessons. We did a whole 12-week term of AmblesideOnline to finish Ambleside Online Year 5, Term 2 by the end of the school year.

M-girl is going to do two math lessons to finish MEP Year 4 this coming week.  But that's *her* goal.

12 weeks in 9 was exhausting and I told someone "moderately awful" and "just doable" and I hope we never find ourselves in a place where I think we need to do an accelerated term again.  I really, really wanted to be done with Term 2 before the end of our Academic Year, and am thrilled that we met that goal.

Then we went for Frozen Custard:

It was in the 70s and sunny yesterday, and is snowing this morning

It was a fantastic last day!

I've already begun thinking about our 2017 Academic Year, thus I've been working through Plan Your Year from Pam Barnhill. (I'm not an affiliate, but I am her Community Care Coordinator, so if you purchase it, you benefit my children's music lesson fund).  I've never done planning this way before and am finding a lot of benefit to thinking through our overarching vision, and then goals for the year.

It was fascinating to talk with the kids about their strengths and weaknesses and consider what their goals for next year should be.  I'm enjoying the process and recommend it.  Over our Yuletide Session break, I may post more fruit from this planning.

A photo posted by dawn (@ladydusk) on

For now, we're going to watch some football and play some Legos and enjoy our break with a lot of adventures and enough (I hope) relaxation.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Yuletide Session 2016

It's that time of year again ... maybe even a little late for this post, but I'm just now getting everything planned for our "break."

The first thing I do is remind myself of all the things we plan to do over YuletideSession by looking back at last year's plan.

We had a great YuletideSession in 2015 - but we didn't do any of the Whatchamacallit plan I made. So, I think that'll be exactly the same.  (If I hadn't already had a plan ready to go, I'd have been really excited to try out the FREE Advent Morning Time Plans that are available for download now. Jessica worked really hard to make these beautiful plans for you!)

I love our break time. Christmas is my favorite time of the year and there are so many interesting places and things to go and see and do. We enjoy this time of "going and doing" without the added pressure of doing formal academics, too. I like that we can sleep in and rest on the days we aren't going and doing.  Those days can be filled with holiday baking, a little crafting, reading, and the occasional Christmas movie.

This year, the only big addition was a suggestion from Pam Barnhill on Facebook - covering the school table with a jigsaw puzzle for the duration. I decided on one with the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center in honor of M-girl's recent adventure in NYC.

You likely won't be surprised that much of the plan is the same. In general, I like to have a number of established traditions that we do year in and year out to keep the planning easy and to enjoy the season. I'll share our general plan below.

After Christmas, we have a couple of weeks to rest, decompress, enjoy our presents, plan the new Academic Year, and clean the school room. Oh, and watch a lot of college football. Officially, we start back the Monday after N-boy's birthday (January 5). So we have a birthday party during YuletideSession, too. We've been following this schedule for years - since 2010, at least.

  • Cook Thanksgiving dinner with Mama
  • Thanksgiving dinner(s) - and thankfully on different days!
  • Christmas tree cutting and decorating the house
  • A Christmas Carol play in Columbus
  • A day trip to Pittsburgh and the Oglebay Lights on the way home 
  • First Friday in our town
  • My family's annual Progressive Dinner
  • Cookie Day with my parents - and a brother and a sister with their kids this year!
  • We should have our regular Bible Study and Art with Friends groups
  • Piano and Organ Recitals
  • First Lego League competition
  • Downtown Columbus Adventure - Ohio Statehouse, Main Library Train display, and State Auto  Christmas Corner
  • Christmas shopping with Mama and Papa 
  • Dickens of a Christmas at Ohio Village
We may also:
If we do Whatchamacallit (and I am fine if we don't ... I'd like to do these things, but it is break!):
Such a fun time of year! What are some of your family's favorite activities?