Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wednesdays with Words: Leisurely, carefully, painstakingly

With Uncle Sandor and the sheperds to help him, there was very little for Father to do. One morning he brought in his woodworking tools. "We need some new chairs, Mother," he said. Jancsi helped him find well-seasoned, dry maple planks in the woodshed. Uncle Sandor shook his head and smiled. "So you still make your own furniture! I don't see how you have patience for it when you can buy furniture so cheaply now."
Father grunted. "Glued and nailed factory rubbish. I want furniture we can use, not rickety stuff like that. Besides I have nothing else to do now, shall I twiddle my thumbs and look at the snow?" He measured and cut out seats and backs, rungs and legs, for future chairs.
Uncle Sandor looked on for a while. Then he grew restless. Suddenly he exclaimed: "I haven't had an honest tool in my hands since I left for the city. Got a spare saw Brother?" 
Father laughed. "I knew you couldn't resist it, Sandor, there isn't a man who can resist the song of the saw." 
Soon Uncle Sandor was working humming and whistling to himself. Evenings the shepherds helped, too. One by one the rough pieces were planed and whittled, smoothed and rubbed down. Leisurely, carefully, painstakingly, they worked until each piece fitted the other perfectly. Then they were fastened together with wooden dowels.
Father threw himself on the first complete chair with all his weight. "Built for a lifetime!" he exclaimed with satisfaction.
When I came upon this passage in The Good Master the word "leisurely" stood out to me. He is taking careful time and care to build. He isn't shoving together or tacking together with insufficient materials, rather doing the job in the best way he knows. No hurry.

This is what we do when we homeschool. We are to leisurely, carefully, painstakingly study and teach and learn with our students. We are to practice schole and fit the pieces together.

My review of The Good Master will publish tonight (or you can see it at GoodReads, now).

Wordless Wednesday: Painting. A Story.

A photo posted by dawn (@ladydusk) on

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Simple Woman's Daybook for August 29, 2016

For Today... Monday, August 29, 2016

Looking out my window ... The sky is blue blue blue

I am thinking ... about our fall schedule with soccer and piano and organ and drama. Oh my.

I am thankful ... for AmblesideOnline. We're coming to the end of a very productive term on Friday. We've finished three of our books for the term.

One of my favorite things ... break week! Looking forward to next week!

I am wearing ... a summer knit dress. It's hot outside. I should be walking the dog, but I'll probably do a video instead. Too hot.

I am creating ... covers for our new assignment spiral notebooks. I found public domain pictures, made the image with name in picmonkey, printed them, then used my sticker maker to cover the print on the spiral notebooks ... we'll start using them after break:

I am about to listen to ... some of CiRCE's Contemplation of Home. The CDs came Saturday and I haven't broken into the package yet.

I am hoping ... to get my steps. Probably going to do a Leslie Sansone video from YouTube.

I am learning ...

In my kitchen ... I'm thawing frozen Sloppy Joes for dinner.

In the school room ... everyone was done before 1:00. That's a first. And pretty wonderful.

Board room ... I was looking back through Pinterest for inspiration, and found this post of Mystie's: Homeschool Mama, You're Not a Teacher. I agree, what we do is more akin to tutor than teacher.

Post Script ... I was very excited to get to talk with my friend Pam Barnhill about getting the year off to a good start on her Your Morning Basket podcast.  It went live last week, you can hear it here.

A moment from my day ... We had a really great homeschool day this morning:

Linking up with The Simple Woman.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Our Weekly Amble for August 22-26, 2016

Finally, I get to write about this week.

phew. Three Weekly Ambles in one week is a lot. I'm glad to catch up, though.

Monday was awful.

Everything took so very long. Children were still doing lessons at 6:30. Jason was coming home after bedtime. I was frustrated and upset and just do your work already.

It wasn't even that there was too much work - although it was a slightly heavy day - but there was a lot of horseplay and avoidance and general malaise.

I know Mondays are hard. They are definitely the most difficult day of our homeschool week. Perhaps they are for you too. I think here it is because:

  1. Sundays are long. We have Sunday School, Worship, family time, and Evening Worship. We generally visit afterward and eat on our way home. Late to bed means grumpy kids in the morning. 
  2. Weekends are fun. We often have things to do on Saturday that are fun. We love to be with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins on Sundays. There's a lot of running and little rest on those days.
  3. We all forget. We forget the order of the day. We forget the need to buckle down and work. We have to rehash good habits. I need more coffee.
  4. Daddy is gone. He goes back to work. We all adore having Jason home. We love spending time with him. We love interacting with him. And when he's gone, it's just harder. I have to work harder at parenting and they have to work harder at being parented. I must work at being - as Cindy Rollins instructs - impervious. sigh.
So, this past Monday was just extra hard. And Daddy gave them the what-for. No kindles - except for school work - until school was done. Get your work done. Don't make Mommy cry.

The rest of the week was great.  Not perfect, but oh-so-much-better. I talked about it in the Your Morning Basket podcast episode that debuted this week, sometimes we have to rely upon our husbands to help us. They don't want unhappy wives. They don't want to come home to frustrations and complaints. But sometimes, it's oh-so-nice if they lay down the law.

From Tuesday onward, school was done by 2:00. When I want it to be done.

We did change our start time to 8:30 am from 9:00 am. That helped with focus and just getting the process moving. We also took a walk  most days before school started:

We did Whatchamacallit every day. I don't remember the last time we managed 5 days, but it was sweet and I do love when it goes well. We have one more week in our Session and I think we'll be done with learning Luke 10:25-37 (The Good Samaritan). We have come to like The King of Love My Shepherd Is (Dominus Regit Es) It took a while to find an accompaniment we liked, but we found this lovely organ one. We continued moving through Training Hearts, Teaching Minds which is just the perfect length for during Whatchamacallit. We've been talking about propriety - in dress, words, and actions - in Laying Down the Rails. This has been a tricky subject. We read the section on dandelions in The Handbook of Nature Study and looked up the parts of flowers to better understand what we were reading. Poetry is going well, they almost have Project done and have begun working on their personal selections.  I'm struggling with mine.

This was a writing week in our loop ... I was incredibly impressed with how Writing and Rhetoric walked the children through writing their own fables - which turned out very well. Today we did a five minute free write and M-girl chose to write a fable based on the butterfly and frog prompt from Bravewriter:

We practiced multiplication facts (except for today) with dice. We reviewed Latin vocabulary chants. Today we looked at some sentences from Ecce Romani I. I try to add some fun change-ups to Whatchamacallit on Fridays, just for a little variety. Same order, slightly different activities.

Our beauty loop was strong this week, working through Art Appreciation, Folksong, Handicraft, Shakespeare, and drawing today. We finished The Good Master (review to come) and began the next in the series, The Singing Tree.

We got Madam How, Lady Why out of the way first thing on Monday. This is the children's least favorite book each week and I generally read it aloud. This week was slightly more fun because we were able to pull out our rock sample boxes that we have from the state:

We were reading about limestone deposits in England and have them here in Ohio too. In fact, there's a quarry in our vicinity. I should try to see about a field trip.

We finished Wild Animals I Have Known. I tweeted:

I'm so glad they had the opportunity to consider these things in this book. Yes, they were saddened. Yes, they cried. But we were able to discuss how it is the way the fallen world works, the needs of people to eat, see wrong and right judgements of people, and learn something about animals in every chapter. What great things to learn in a book like this.

We read several other books, obviously, but the other reading that really stood out was from Halliburton's Book of Marvels. We read about Mount St. Michel.

I love the way Halliburton writes. Even the gruesome story was exciting and engaging. Part of why this stood out, though, is that some of my family were able to recently travel there and had shared pictures on Facebook which I was able to share with the children. I love when those "coincidences" happen.

We completed chapter #27 in Latin For Children A. I feel like we're never going to finish, but I suppose it's my own fault. The children played the flash card game in review before their quiz yesterday:

Soccer season began Thursday night with M-girls first practice. She moves up into the league with 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. 8th graders are huge. N-boy and R-girl got to play on the new playground with a splash pad. They appreciated that in the 91 and super-humidity.

Overall, after Monday, it was the best week of school in memory. Yay. One more week then break week. I think we're all ready!!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Our Weekly Amble for August 15-19, 2016

OK, the second week of a late review. But, better late than never.

Speaking of late, our school days are going all kinds of late. I don't think I'm over-assigning, kids are just not gettin' er done. Dawdling, playing, fighting, it's getting ugly and I need to put on my big girl panties and be the mean mama.


On the upside, I really like the things I'm assigning.

We worked hard all week long. My new system of figuring out how many readings there are and then dividing them by the expected number of days so I know how much to assign was a grand success. For one week, you know. Starting again this week, we'll see.

We did school on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

My parents gave R-girl a "Pink Pirate Party at the Zoo" with her siblings & school-aged cousins that she got to plan for her birthday. There was so much traveling this summer in my extended family that last Tuesday - the last day of summer before one of their schools started (the other was Thursday), was the only day that worked. It made for a fine Last Hurrah! for all the children.

I ran errands, dropped off our Notice of Intent to Homeschool (on the last day), and went grocery shopping. I also enjoyed a scone and mocha at our town's new bakery.

Wednesday was the first day of public school in our district, so we had to get doughnuts and stuck by the school bus.

My camera wasn't focusing, but I thought it was a cool picture anyway.
On the other days, we did Whatchamacallit, math, penmanship, and Latin. We're working on the irregular "to go" verb.

They did the Week 10 AO readings. They finished working on North Africa in the Memoria Press Geography book. We read about Gibraltar in Halliburton. We made "I need help" cards like our "I need to narrate" cards. And I decided to store them in their assignment notebooks. A post about these is forthcoming. Someday.

I can tell this is R-girl's book because of the green assignments.
Anyway, I got out the stickers and stamps to make those fun, and the girls decided to use little stickers to mark their assignment books. That's pretty fun.

Overall, we accomplished a lot over the week, even if it took longer than I wanted.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Wednesdays with Words: Time is Like Water

I started this blog a long time ago and one of the first things I included was my favorite Bible passage which is still on the header today, 2 Samuel 14:14:
Like water poured on the ground which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life, instead He devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from Him. 
I learned that one way back in my NIV days, I like the ESV, too:
We must all die; we are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God will not take away life, and he devises means so that the banished one will not remain an outcast. 
I guess I like water analogies.

When I was listening to the most recent Mason Jar episode (On Kicking Off the School Year Well), I was struck twice by the way Cindy talked about time. At the beginning of the episode, she first analogized time to water in how it fills up the space that is available.  We find ways to fill up that space - with good things and bad - and have to contain it when we wish to add something.

Then, at the end of the episode, she cautions about filling our days so full with so many things - good and bad - for the purpose of "productivity." I've seen a lot of talk this summer about letting kids get "bored" because that's when they become creative. Hopefully not in a destructive way.

We will fill our time to the brim, every nook and cranny will be seeped into if we aren't cautious to leave plain areas. God had to separate the seas from the dry land - to contain them. Our time is like this, we have to contain things from expanding to take up the whole space. As we watch it trickle and saturate the ground of our lives, we cannot re-gather it, we must use it fittingly in the first place.

Sometimes that proper way is to contain even good things in smaller buckets before everything seeps away.

Wordless Wednesday: Adventures Near Home