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

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.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Wednesdays with Words: Civilizing Aunts and Domestic Duties

I've been trying to put the phone down more and pick up miscellaneous books more. Including the one that resides in the Master Bath.

I really like Marilyn Chandler McEntyre's writing. I loved her Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies and have been rarely reading What's in a Phrase? Every time I pick it up, I think I should do so more.

Last week I read her meditation on Ezekiel 5:12 "A third part of you ... I will scatter to all the winds ..."
But the ways in which we need each other are often obscured for those of us who live in a culture where mobility is expected and required for many jobs, individualism is elevated to an ethic, and independence is presumed to be a core value in early childhood training. American national mythology glorifies the loner who "lights out for the territory," rejecting the constraints of civilizing aunts and domestic duties. ... Anonymity is not only inevitable; it has become, for many of us, normative. We don't expect -- or even want -- to be recognized in the middle of the city, and so our sense of accountability shrinks. We are a scattered people.
After this diagnosis, she goes on to contemplate, if not a panacea, a cure for those who recognize the suffering:
Gathering, therefore -- building and fostering community -- requires prayerful attention. Ultimately, real community is a gift from the Spirit who directs our ways, but sustaining community is a sacred, human, often demanding task. To gather -- for worship or prayer, or around a bereaved family, or in a hospital room, or where free lunches are served to the homeless -- we have to lay aside the personal occupations that keep us closely focused on our own homes, traveling our daily routes, caring for our nuclear families. 
Building community online is good. I've been encouraged and loved and grown through those relationships. Building community in person. Living in someone's life is better. I was reminded of this while I listened to Mystie discuss her Elementary Lessons with Pam. That she and her friend are able to work together because they live their lives together already. Their children live together. They play together. They are in a position for reproof and exhortation related to the day-to-day living of which homeschooling is just a part.

Who do you live with? How do you build community together with others? How do we take "me and my household" to build up the body rather than insulate against it?

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

[Conform] Jesus vs. The Composite Internet Woman

I wrote this post for the @CharlotteMasonIRL prompt for the week about burnout, but after I published it, I realized it really fit in this Word for the Year [conform] series on my blog. It is important to know to whom we are [conform]. The Bible makes it clear that we are no longer to [conform] to the world. For many of us, our world has a large portion of Social Media. Be cautious.

At @CharlotteMasonIRL we're talking about burnout.

What do you think about my Composite Internet Woman? (HT: Sarah Mackenzie  for her name) Isn't she beautiful? She's the amalgamation of the curators of Charlottemasonirl ... eight vibrant and distinct women who homeschool using the Charlotte Mason philosophy.

Sometimes, when scrolling Instagram and Facebook and blogs, moms forget and create a frankensteinish amalgamation like the one above and pressures themselves to do ALL.THE.THINGS. But, friends, this turns out not pretty. There are only eight people in that picture - not the hundreds even thousands many of us follow on social media. We pressure ourselves to do all the things, but NO ONE does all the things. When we think we have to do all and all beautifully, that's one time when burnout comes.

Each of the #cmirl collaborators has different strengths and weaknesses in our homeschools, yet we can work together harnessing those strengths to create a feed that, we hope, encourages and inspires other homeschoolers. But, we are all aware that we are separate and distinct, like the second picture. We help each other, but we do things differently. We can take part and leave part behind.

We're much prettier as individuals working together than melded into one.

Charlotte's motto, "I am, I can, I ought, I will" comes into play here. I am Dawn (not the Composite Internet Woman) I am a member of my family and church and I live in the place and time that God has chosen. I can do so much in the 24 hours God has given me - a third, at least, designated for sleep. I ought to choose to fill my days with what God calls *me* to (not what he calls Celeste or Amy or Angela or Camille or ...). I will do what is right - take the ideas that fit and leave the others behind.

To avoid burnout, you too need to not overextend yourself to compete with some Composite Internet Woman who doesn't exist. Comparison is a trap, a thief of joy, and burnout is the result. We are to [conform] to Christ, not the Composite Internet Woman. Be aware.

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Simple Woman's Daybook for February 12, 2018

For Today...

Looking out my window I see the happy lights we're leaving on the deck. They make me happy.

I am thinking that it's late to put this post together, but so be it.

I am thankful that I got my grocery order placed. Hooray Kroger ClickList! You are my friend.

One of my favorite things is ordering my groceries rather than shopping the store myself.

I am wearing sweats and the new sweatshirt I got from my in-laws for Christmas. I love it.

I am creating that counted cross stitch I started a while ago ... I finished the words while watching Olympics last night. Yay, me!

I am listening to the Mason Jar Podcast with Cindy Rollins and David Kern. They were discussing what Mason's first principle, Children are born persons, means and how it works out in the education of children. I've been thinking about this a lot over the past year - what it means when educators talk about children becoming "more human" if they're already persons. How do we cultivate humanity? Interesting information to assimilate into my thinking.

I am hoping to continue practicing my humble habits. The class has been so profound in my life in making small changes. I worry that after the accountability group on Facebook closes, I'll lose momentum.

I am learning to take small steps and trust. One of the small steps I've learned over the past years is some self-talk: "Sometimes it's easier to do school than to not do school."

In my kitchen the pantry was cleaned last week, the fridge was cleaned thoroughly last month. They're both looking a little bare, but the grocery order should help that situation. I'm trying to not think about cleaning out freezers, but I suspect that ought to be on the horizon as well.

In the school room it's our last week of the six weeks. I have the Year 7 booklists and schedules printed so I can start ordering books and figuring out what we need to do as we go forward.

Post Script
Later this week, Pam will open the doors to the Homeschool Consistency Boot Camp. We offer this seven week course a couple of times per year and people have told us how much it has changed their homeschool for the better. We teach strategies to help moms accomplish the homeschool gig. You can read more about it on the link above. If you think we can help you, we'd love to have you join.*

*The link is not an affiliate link, but I am the Community Manager for and am compensated for the work I do. If you purchase the Boot Camp, I'll be paid for my time.

Shared Quote "Love does not seek its own." 1 Cor 13 was in my Cloud of Witness reading this morning and was quoted several times today. We all needed to hear it. I suspect we'll need to hear it tomorrow, too.

A moment from my day waiting for the children after choir during which the dog and I walked 1.5 miles with blue skies and plenty of sun. It was cold, but felt good to be out.

Closing Notes: Tomorrow, February 13, 2018, I'll be the guest on The Homeschool Sisters podcast talking about Homeschool Conventions - the who and what and how and why. It was a great conversation with Kara and Cait. So thankful they invited me. I love their podcast! I've listened to every episode despite the fact that I do very little the same way they do. They always make me laugh and think and sometimes we all need to hear someone outside of our little part of the homeschool world. I hope you'll check them out!

Linking up with The Simple Woman.

Friday, February 09, 2018

Our Weekly Amble for February 5-9, 2018

We had another really solid week of lessons to finish out our fifth week of the term.

Four days of Whatchamacallit, which is my goal. They weren't necessarily the best Morning Times ever, but they were good and we got a good deal of work. We're almost done with our memory passage in John 14. We reviewed other passages - including Genesis 1-2:4. We're singing "O Love that Will Not Let Me Go." I've started to collect accompaniment to all of our songs in Amazon Music, which is very helpful. I need to finish that. The dog still "sang" today, though.

We began a new section in Laying Down the Rails on Courage after finishing Candor. In Mathemagic we learned why it's impossible for there to be Vampires. After we read about Doric columns on Monday, M-girl pointed some out in our town "they even have the bulge!" We read some more nursery rhymes.

Our new poem, 'Matilda: Who Told Lies and Was Burned to Death" is well on it's way into the children's memories. It took a bit when I asked "What does this remind you of?" for someone to come up with The Boy Who Cried Wolf, but they got that and laughed. We've been enjoying Langston Hughes' poems, and N-boy has read some as we're in a section with blues rhythms and non-standard English, both of which I struggle with reading. Today, we reviewed all sorts of poetical language - from different feet, to different types of rhyme, and finished with assonance, dissonance, and alliteration. We applied all of these to, conveniently, the day's review poem: The Eagle by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Ah, synchronicity. Completely unnplanned.

We're on a section in Writing and Rhetoric about outlining stories and worked through that for three days, but Friday is either most loved or loathed with the Friday Free Write. R-girl and I enjoy it, so we carry on. I drafted out a creditable poem and I think she is working on a continuing story. The others follow the rules, if not the spirit, of the process.

They have the memory work for Comedy of Errors down. We worked several sections of Primary Challenge Math. We reviewed some Latin vocab. Monday and Thursday we read scenes from Shakespeare; Tuesday and Thursday we did our Plutarch lesson. We had a brief discussion about what how debt forgiveness affects all involved - debtors and creditors. Agis and Cleomenes is more confusing to me than any story we've done prior. I hope I start to see my way clear.

We did little of our Beauty Loop this week - music and folk songs played during break. We did do a drawing lesson, and it was a success. We read a little from our novel today; I'd like to do that more.

On Wednesday, our day out was cancelled due to snow, so the kids cleaned the school room - huzzah! And we cleaned the pantry. It wasn't our most productive day ever, but it was good. Two had parkour, the other didn't have her soccer conditioning (which was OK, cause we got to go out to dinner).

They all worked on math and xtramath each day. M-girl's Latin tutor says she's doing well. The others finished Lesson 17 in Latin for Children B today. They're copying the Bible. They've been working on South Saharan Africa in their Geography workbooks.

Readings are going well. They enjoyed catching up with Tarquin in Story of the Romans after learning about him with Publicola. They read about Akhenaten and Augustus Caesar and the Egyptian pantheon and religion in Augustus Caesar's World. In Sea Around Us we continued learning about ocean currents and how they modulate temperatures. Achilles died in Black Ships Before Troy today. Galileo proved through the use of pendulums that weight doesn't affect falling - and he figured out how to figure trajectories for cannon.  Everyone was excited about the explosive nature of sodium, birds that migrate over the ocean, and Livingstone's "discovery" of Victoria Falls. It was, by far, the lightest week of assignments we'll have all term.

We only practiced our Keeping Hour twice. This is something I'm trying to emphasize, and I'm struggling a little. I've scheduled it for 3:30 and I'd like to do it three days a week. I need to do a better job on Fridays of coming back and drawing after our walk. If you're interested in Keeping Hour, don't miss Mariah's guest post from Tuesday.

We finished today with a run to the store to buy sleds - we hoped! - and succeeded. We tried out the local sledding hill for the first time, then took the dog for a walk around the woods. Happily, we ran across three of the Sugar Maple collection buckets - one without a lid so we could see (and hear!) the sap drip in.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Wednesdays with Words: Holiness, Fellowship, and Conformity

I've been reading Andrew Murray's The New Life as part of the Humble Habits ecourse work. It has been incredibly helpful and encouraging.

I ordered it because when I googled 'conform to Christ' it came up as one of the top recommendations. I've heard of Murray before as solid and worthwhile and Mystie so enjoyed his book Humility last summer, so I decided to give it a try.

Murray's books seem to be written as short meditations building an argument with Bible passages and commentary. There's a prayer, all of the Bible references from the selection, and comprehension questions.

The New Life is teaching new believers in a very measured and concrete way about this new life we have when we become Christ's. Murray was a South African pastor with a Continental Reformed theological persuasion.

I've been really enjoying The New Life. It's a gentle yet theologically robust theological presentation of what to do when you're a new believer, but sometimes the basics are totally worth revisiting.

I'm to chapter 14 "Holiness" - "But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation: because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy" 1 Peter 1:15-16

When my Word of the Year was *revel* I was reading 1 Peter over and over. I even wrote about a later passage: Revel in Jesus. This Humble Habits course has been very eye-opening for me. One of the weeks we were to choose a phrase for self-talk. This self-talk isn't some ego-boosting self-affirmation, rather it's truth from God's Word to spur us on to good works and to remember who we are. I chose "Be ye holy as the Lord is holy." to go along with this year's Word of the Year, [conform].

Murray pulls it all together for us:

Not only has God chosen and called us for salvation, but also for holiness--salvation in holiness. The goal of the young Christian must not only be safety in Christ, but also holiness in Christ. Safety and salvation are, in the long run, found only in holiness. The Christian who thinks that his salvation consists merely in safety and not in holiness will find himself deceived. Young Christian, listen to the Word of God -- Be ye holy.
And why must I be holy? Because He who called you is holy and summons you to fellowship and conformity with Himself. How can anyone be saved in God when he does not have the same disposition as God. (pg 32, emphasis mine)
This is why easy believism is not Christianity. You are not saved in yourself, you aren't even holy in yourself. But you do have work to do alongside that of the Trinity: be ye holy. Work to become like Him. Perfectly? No. Completely? Again, clearly No. But every day looking to His holiness to inform your very being and self. That hymn, "I need thee every hour" has been a mental echo these days. I do. Every hour I need his holiness to clean up the mess I make and every hour I need to remind myself to "Be holy."

Murray goes on to explain that God is holy in all three of His persons, "Christ is your sanctification. The life of Christ in you is your holiness. In Christ you are sanctified--you are holy. In Christ you must continually be sanctified. The glory of Christ must penetrate your whole life."
Holiness is more than purity. In Scripture we see that cleansing proceeds from holiness. Cleansing is the taking away of that which is wrong--liberation from sin. Holiness is the filling with that which is good and divine--the disposition of Jesus. Holiness is conformity to Him. It is separation from the spirit of the world and being filled with the presence of the Holy God. The tabernacle was holy because God lived there. We are holy, as God's temple, after we have God living within us. Christ's life in us is our holiness. (pg 33, emphasis mine)
There are some tough lines here and I want to be clear - I don't think Murray is advocating personal holiness as something we achieve as a permanent state in this life. It is always a reliance on the Lord and because of that reliance an effort to do better. "our work is to receive this power from Him by faith every day."

A  word of warning. As sinners, we cannot have this state of holiness on our own. We cannot hold this state on our own power or work. I recall there were men who came to campus - who still come to campus, I suppose - who claimed to be personally holy. This cannot be so. Sanctification is a process that takes a lifetime and is never done until glory. We run the race. We do the work. We work out our salvation with fear and trembling because God works in us.

When we are Christs, he does the sanctifying work, not we ourselves. But just as Jesus warns:

"When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.” (Luke 11:24-16)

If we try to empty the house without it being refilled by him, we become worse than we started. Salvation and holiness go hand in hand. Neither is our work, yet we must participate in both: we must trust and believe and we must [conform] to Christ in holiness.