Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wednesdays with Words: Glory When We See It

I'm reading The Living Page - finally, after owning it for a number of years.  I knew I'd enjoy it, but I didn't know how much.  So many contemplatable phrases. The ease of descriptive language Bestvater uses is simply beautiful.

But, the thought I want to contemplate first is from Miss Mason, herself.  Bestvater's opening epigram is a Mason quote I've never heard or read before:

I had meant to read this book a year ago during my year of Attend! but it's coming at a beautiful time, now, too. As I've said before, my previous Words for the Year tend to stick with me.

In the glossary, Bestvater defines "glory" as "All the goodness of God." So, the secret to life, Mason argues, is to see God's goodness all around us. I would say that it's easy to see glory in a morning like the picture above where all is still and gentle and quiet but for some little flakes of snow.  We can see the beauty of that moment.  But, I might argue, that it is best if we can see glory in every circumstance.  To be content with our lot. To be at peace in the moments that seem not peaceful or beautiful, but to see God's hand at work in the sanctification of our lives - in the daily squabbles, in the terrible traffic, in the tensions between us.

The Living Page, the "keeping" that Mason encourages and Bestvater has brought to the fore, can help us with this seeing. Whether in nature, or in the action of characters in history or novel, or in the ideas drawn out of our reading, God's hand in providence and creation as he works out his decrees can be seen if we but open our eyes.  The Westminster Shorter Catechism talks about it this way:
Q. 7. What are the decrees of God? A. The decrees of God are his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.
Q. 8. How doth God execute his decrees? A. God executeth his decrees in the works of creation and providence.
God's eternal purpose - working all things together for good - is the ultimate goal. If we are to see it, even in shards or glimpses or out of the corner of our eye, practicing the habit of noticing of seeing of observation is absolutely necessary.

I can say, then, with Mason, that "perhaps this is one of the secrets of life--to know glory when we see it." Then can we glorify God and enjoy him forever.

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Simple Woman's Daybook for February 20, 2017

For Today...

Looking out my window ... It's still completely dark out.

I am thinking ...that people shouldn't be up when it's dark out.

I am thankful ... that we had a successful first 6 weeks and am excited about this break week.

One of my favorite things ... the smell of coffee in the morning. Too bad the coffee is in the kitchen and I'm in the loft.

I am wearing ... purple pjs and my Outer Banks hooded sweatshirt that no longer zips.

I am creating ... a clean basement this week. I hope.

I am reading The Living Page  with some friends. I may start that this morning, too.  Yay for break week!

I am hoping ... to get a lot accomplished. Break Week is for AMBITIOUS to do lists.  Oh, and add "take down Christmas decorations" to this list:

I am learning ... about joy. Between last week's morning sermon and last night's evening sermon, Joy in the Lord has been a theme ... and the beautiful ways that peace and rest are wrapped up in that, well, it ties in with }pacify{ beautifully.

In my kitchen ... Saturday night dinner: Eye of Round roast, potatoes, and green beans did not disappoint. My mom hosts Sunday dinner after church, I try to make a "fancier" meal on Saturdays. Some weeks I succeed better than others. We had five very happy people on Saturday.

In the school room ... my husband built me a new - huge! - whiteboard to finish our school room. I'm very pleased. I'm even more pleased that it cost about $35 and only a couple hours of his time.

Post Script ... It is our break week and I always get questions about that. Mystie posted the definitive "what do you do on break week?" post this morning. Mystie's amazing Art of Homeschooling eCourse for $10 off with the coupon code 'februrary. It's good through the end of the month, and the course is worth your time.

Shared Quote ... "When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream." Ps 126:1  .... it's like a dream when God rescues and restores us isn't it?

A moment from my day ... loaning books ... That's a pretty good stack.

Closing Notes: While I'd just as soon not deal with Google Fi service for dead phones (twice! In one week!), they've been super helpful and quick to respond.  I'm disappointed with dead phones, but they've been amazinghly helpful and friendly.

Linking up with The Simple Woman.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Our Weekly Amble for February 13-17, 2017

This week we finished the first six weeks of Academic Year 2017!

It was a great six weeks. We managed to keep up with almost everything - except Kim.

M-girl is doing well with her added work, although she is struggling a little with time management of it. She's always been a little less, um, urgent about accomplishing her work.  That's something we discussed in our Weekly Meetin.

N-boy is doing well with the level of requirement. He still struggles with wanting to do the minimum. The Geography Record assignment feels like "just extra work" to him. I very much want to encourage him to go above and beyond in the next term.

R-girl is doing a great job with the readings and the work expected of her. I know it is a little above her age-wise, but she is handling it like a champ. When she focuses, she can easily be the first one done (no piano or organ practices), the problem is focus and not getting caught up with her siblings or her own immediate wants.

Cliffhanger for our Whatchamacallit readaloud over
break. Mwahahahaha
This week we did Whatchamacallit four days (woo-hoo!). We've been working on memorizing Psalm 34, 'Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart is our hymn, A Psalm of Life by Longfellow is our current poem, and the St Crispin's Day speech from Henry V is our Shakespeare.  They're working steadily on all of these.

We had a grammar week that reviewed capitalization rules one day then moved to diagramming and MadLibs on Friday.  We've continued to enjoy The Ology, Training Hearts Teaching Minds, and especially The Chestry Oak. We finished Whatchamacallit early every day this week. That's weird. We observed our final Mary Cassatt painting (a little behind, yes), sang There's a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea (it has caught their fancy, I've heard it a number of times since), listened to some Gregrian Chant, and worked on a drawing lesson.

In math, M-girl is still working on a section on negative numbers; N-boy is moving into perimeter, area, and volume; R-girl is working on multi-digit multiplication and division.  In Latin, M-girl finished Unit 4 and R-girl and N-boy Unit 2 of Latin for Children Primer B. They did some geography.

We read about the Taj Mahal, Mt Everest, and George Washington Carver's invitation to teach at the Tuskeegee Institute. We read how Europe divvied up Africa and the character of the Severn and Avon rivers.  We learned about Teddy Roosevelt and how his character shaped his actions. There was a theme of mourning and dealing with death that was sprinkled throughout many of the readings this week.

On Friday, it was glorious here, so we were able to go on a nature walk with our friends. We went out again on Saturday with Jason.

We celebrated with Shamrock Shakes!

I did make a YouTube playlist although we viewed very little of it. I know the children would like to see the Taj Mahal still, so we may watch that on break week.

On Saturday, Jason built me a whiteboard and installed it in the school room. I'm already loving it!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Nature Study Interview at Raising Little Shoots

Lynn Seddon at Raising Little Shoots invited me to participate in her year-long series of interviews about how Nature Journaling or Nature Study looks in our family.

~ When did your first begin nature study and what got you started?
It has been a number of years since we began and we’re very uneven with our Nature Study. I found our old, incomplete books for this interview and they say 2011 on the back. One of my intentions every year (and 2017 is no different) is to spend more time doing Nature Study.  Since I learned about it in our early years of homeschooling, I thought it sounded like a good means to get me to go outside more and I really wanted my kids to have all the benefits of Nature Study. In particular, I wanted them to observe and know the world around them; to see the natural processes that God had created.
When she so graciously invited me, I told her that we were inconsistent and often did Nature Study in fits and starts.  Lynn kindly told me that many people certainly struggle as we do to go out to observe on a regular basis, that every little bit helps. It can be a real struggle to go outside and observe and study, but I was so encouraged when I wrote the post and thought through the processes and small ways we've learned about nature together that I want to do more and be more consistent.

I hope you're encouraged to do the same ... hop over to Lynn's and read the rest of the interview!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Wednesdays with Words: Obstacles and Adventures

I have been prereading for school during January and February.  It's been wonderful.  Even more wonderful has been the commonplacing that has been coming out of it. So helpful for me! Below is from one of my children's reads for this week.

What others believed were obstacles, [Theodore Roosevelt] considered adventures. What others thought of as setbacks, he viewed as challenges. Carry a Big Stick by George Grant pg 98
This is the kind of thinking I want my children to read. To struggle through challenge as an adventure - in their play, during hikes, doing a math lesson.  I may hang this one on the wall!

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Simple Woman's Daybook for February 13, 2017

For Today...

Looking out my window ... the sun is just peeking over the ede of the horizon.  Blues and a kiss of pink. Glorious.

I am thinking ... about joy and the Father's work in building up the church and his eventual triumph.  Yesterday's sermon has me, well, joyful. And it looks like it isn't online yet.  Once it is, Lord willing, I'll link it because it was just so very good.

I am thankful ... for such excellent preaching in my own church. For the work that God is doing in churches around our city, state, country, world.  He is on the move, my friends.

One of my favorite things ... coffee. But it's downstairs and I'm upstairs ... I'll get mine soon.

I am wearing ... pajamas still.  I stumbled upstairs while Jason was still asleep to do some work before the children awake.  I'll be dressed soon.

I am creating ... the habit of making my BuJo frame each week.  I add the week's events and then if I add more during the week, it'll be gravy.  Baby steps, yo.

I am reading all of my children's school reading two weeks in a row ... and did my commonplacing, book of centuring, and geographing too.  Huzzah!

I am hoping ... to keep up the habit above.

I am learning ... all the things ...

In my kitchen ... a pot of oatmeal is on for breakfast. My fridge is full of leftovers for dinner and it'll be interesting to find room for the grocery order I placed on Saturday.

In the school room ... On Saturday, Jason bought the materials to make my whiteboard between these two windows.  It'll be so wonderful!

Post Script ... did you see that the Spring Morning Time plans are available at If you wanted to do Morning Time but aren't sure where to begin, or want a break from the planning, these plans will help you out!

Shared Quote ... "This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Ps 118:24

A moment from my day ... from our hike on Saturday. It was mucky but glorious.

Closing Notes: it is the final week of our first term of the year.  We're excited to have this first six weeks in the bag and break week next week.

Linking up with The Simple Woman.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Our Weekly Amble for February 6-10, 2017

It was a weird week.

Monday was a pretty solid day. We had sufficient work and the timing went pretty well. R-girl had an orthodontist appointment, so we didn't do Whatchamacallit and the others were sending Google hangouts about their schoolwork:

The olders had piano lessons while R-girl and I picked up our grocery order.  That's so convenient. Anyway, M-girl wrote a resume last week - did I mention that? - for babysitting and said she could make easy meals.  When pancakes and bacon were suggested, she said she'd not made that - so I gave her the opportunity Monday evening.

Tuesday seemed like it was going to be the same kind of productive day, then M-girl threw up. N-boy and R-girl continued forward, but M-girl rested or slept the rest of the day. Happily, organ was already cancelled for the afternoon, so we just stayed home and quietly.

Wednesday was a scheduled off day because of cleaning, library, and Art with Friends ... none of which happened.  Art with Friends was cancelled because of sickness and/or travel and Mommy turned lazy.  

Thursday ... well, Thursday, I tweeted this:

They did all finish their school. Finally.  Whatchamacallit went pretty well. We did no grammar at all this week, though.  Next week. Ah, beautiful looping.  It snowed a couple of inches overnight, so N-boy wanted to try out the macro lens on my phone and I wanted to stay inside. Perfect.

Friday was pretty good. The balance of readings was off this week, so N-boy and R-girl only had three.  M-girl was still making up from bein sick, so she had five.

Today was a little unusual because everyone had a vested interest in finishing. We had friends coming to do Nature Study.   This was our third meeting, so we're still finding our way. So far, @littledrops5 and I have taken turns hosting and whoever hosts chooses what we do. The first time, I brought down our Nature Pal Exchange specimens and let the kids choose what they drew and explored. The second, Anna had read something about geometric shapes in nature, so we drew things inspired by that. Today, since the AO Nature Study focus is rocks, we looked at our rock sample boxes from the state. I thought that wasn't quite enough, so we watched part of John Muir Laws on watercolors (we watched not quite half of #5) and tried some of his techniques first. I also used his new book about Nature Journaling (that I got for Christmas) to think about how we draw rocks and see shapes. As the weather improves, I think we both hope to get outdoors and walk/draw/play more.

Last weekend I accomplished all of my pre-reading on Saturday!

While I did so, I also created a YouTube playlist for us based on the readings - things like a whale fluke, a trip to Isfana, a hermit crab changing his shells, how does Gregorian Chant affect today's music, etc.  If you're interested in the playlist, you can find it here. It aligns with Ambleside Online Year 5, Term 3, Week 5, so I called it AOY5T3W5. We watched some of it as we went, but most of it we actually watched today after everyone was done with readings.  I hope to continue to do this work as I go.

We read no Kim at all. I had it planned for during our drive to Art class and forgot on Wednesday. Ah, well.

Math is going well, M-girl continues in review type lessons, N-boy is working fractions and decimals, and R-girl is working on negative numbers.  M-girl finished Latin For Children B Lesson 3 today while the others are half-way through Lesson 2.  This is somewhat intentional. She needs the momentum of moving faster while the others need more time to practice and learn.  I kind of hate that, because I liked having us all together. Everyone does penmanship every day. They only did one day of MP Geography much to N-boy's chagrin.

We are all working on our keeping habits. M-girl is working to reach minimums and stop.  The others are hard pressed to notice locations and mark them. I marked geographical locations, but as I was hurried to finish reading I marked quotes (with book darts which I learned about from Modern Mrs. Darcy. They're genius.)  to copy into my commonplace and items to put in my Book of Centuries but haven't finished the copying and/or marking even as today. That's next on my list. I hope to have a picture on IG before I head to bed tonight of my finished work.