Saturday, August 29, 2015

Our Weekly Amble for August 24-29, 2015

We had a week that improved as it went on.  It started out rough, as it often does, and improved to Friday's excellent day.

Sometimes in homeschooling that groove is important.

I was so thankful that I had done planned out the week for both Circle Time and the rest of our lessons.  I want the children to get into the habit of checking assignments off their list so they aren't always asking "what's next?" or "how much do I have left?" or "what chapter of this book?"

We started Couch 2 5K this week, and ran/walked three times.  We did our pilates video one day.  We walked after dinner with Daddy most nights as well as reading from our dinnertime read-aloud: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I think we're all enjoying it more than we expected.  This has become a nice pattern to our days. M-girl had soccer practice twice, N-boy once (Saturday morning), and R-girl's begins on Monday.  Games don't start until September 12, but the season is gearing up.  At N-boy's practice this morning I planned out my October 31 Days series: "Surviving Sports Seasons Sanely." It'll be a wild ride!

Grovetime went relatively well.

We were a bit behind in our reading of George Washington's World and Kidnapped, but I think we've caught up with that, so we can ease back on the readings this coming week.

We've all been enjoying - and following - A Midsummer Night's Dream as I've been reading it aloud more than we did as even the Librivox audio recording.  I think both reading the names of the characters and reading a scene each day has helped with the continuity of the reading. I want to do more thinking on this, though, because sometimes those readings are long.

The children did some Index Card a Day but also did paper airplanes (guess which I prefer?) We did the assigned AO readings on Monday then filled in the rest of the week with Proverbs 1-3.  We also are reading one letter of Psalm 119 each day and will cycle through those.  We finished learning "How Firm a Foundation" as our hymn and are all looking forward to our next hymn: "It Is Well With My Soul." I've waited on some of those until N-boy could manage singing parts, which he now can. Yay! (All of our learned hymns are here.)  Our Bible memory work is John 1:1-18; this week's focus was the first two paragraphs. We went through the whole Catechism for Young Children this week.  Monday will be the last day of readings from my eBook. I'd like to start thinking about habits next.

We read about reptiles in general, then three kinds of snakes from the Handbook of Nature Study.  We learned about garter snakes, milk snakes, and water snakes.  We've continued with Emily Dickinson poetry and memorizing 'Sea Fever.' This week finished a cycle of reviewing all the poems we've memorized so far, so next week will be back to 'Ooey Gooey.'  I love doing grammar and math memory work and studied dictation during Grovetime.

For our studied dictation I selected from the Ambleside Online copywork group for Year 4. We spent the week thinking about the spelling of words in the selection as well as the punctuation (commas, semicolon) and why the author made the choices he made. Then on Friday, they got a clean sheet of paper and wrote as I dictated.  This photo is of N-boy's dictation from yesterday.

As I said, we read a section from George Washington's World each day this week, through George marrying Martha.  I think we'll slow down on that now, though.  We also read Proserpine from Age of Fable.  Oh, and I read too far in Madam How and Lady Why. The children were disappointed by this. We had some good discussions from this section, because I disagree with Kingsley and think that our souls are much more tied to our bodies than Kingsley indicates.  I wonder if others have issues with that section.  (I disagree with CS Lewis' statement "You are a soul, you have a body." too.)

Copying Catechism questions and answers.
We ended up listening to Kidnapped in the car a couple of times because I really want to keep Grovetime to 1.5 hours, and we just ran out of time. I hope this changes as we ease back on some of the readings.  I also want to get more Latin in as we only chanted two chapter's lists each day (our current chapter and one review, moving in reverse through the chapters).  We need to move forward.

So, Grovetime happened every day this week.  We have decided that Thursday's will be a cleaning day: home economics. A nice way to ease into the weekend and reset for the coming week.
They were planning a play, this was his costume,
he came to math dressed so.

This means that math, copywork, geography blobbing, and other readings happened only four days.  But, they happened.  N-boy is working on a section dealing with symmetry.  R-girl finished up multiplying by 9s and is doing some review of multiplication and order of operations. M-girl is reviewing long division and order of operations.

The children each did piano practices and had lessons this week. Instead of a spring recital, we did recordings of them playing which I hope to have to share soon.



Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wednesdays with Words: The Wild Thyme Blows

We have been reading such good things in school, working our way through Kidnapped and A Midsummer Night's Dream in particular.  I posted pictures of my commonplace book last week with quotes from both; one I liked the ideas within and the other two quotes the poetics of.

I mean, the assonance and near rhyme that Scott and Shakespeare used for setting a mood - of drearieness or amusement - are subtle when read to oneself and much more blatant aloud.  Read "The nearer I got to that, the drearier it appeared." with a Scots accent and it becomes eerie.  And, poor Bottom, extempore roaring? He is so unaware of the humor he provides us.

But these quotes are not the one I have chosen for today.  I choose one not new to me - but new in context - from our Shakespeare reading.  A verse I was first introduced to reading Ken Ludwig's How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare. It's lovely and breezy at first, but becomes much more devious - in a way to move the plot along - as Oberon decides upon his trickery.  The first part is so lovely, though, so gentle and descriptive:

Wordless Wednesday: Eating Out

Hot dogs.

Root beer! A special treat.


Monday, August 24, 2015

The Simple Woman's Daybook for August 24, 2015

For Today... Monday, August 24, 2015

Outside my is a gloriously beautiful morning.  Not too warm, not too cool and a clear, lovely sky.

I am thinking... about the school day ahead.

I am thankful... for the most beautiful weekend I can remember in a long time.  The weather was perfect and we had zero plans on Saturday.  We were busy cleaning and yarding but we were all home most of the day (I ran to the store for dinner).

I am wearing... exercise clothes (shh. don't tell anyone).

I am creating... new routines. And a grocery list.

I am going... to the grocery store.

I am wondering... how best to use periscope or if I will be much of a presence at all.

I am reading... Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie. I printed out the companion journal and am hoping to get more depth that way.

I am hoping... our day smooths out. Late night after evening worship last night means tired, grumpy children this morning.

I am learning... to speak more patiently to the tired, grumpy children.  Children are certainly stretching for my patience.

In my kitchen... oatmeal is bubbling on the stove waiting to be consumed.

In my garden... we have 5 green tomatoes on the plant out front.  Didn't expect any, so a nice surprise.

In the homeschool... everything is planned for the week. But, as my friend Heather always reminds me, held loosely.

A photo posted by dawn (@ladydusk) on

A photo posted by dawn (@ladydusk) on

A favorite quote for today... Obedience is Quick, Cheerful, Quiet, and Complete

A peek into one of my days...
Smores with cinnamon grahams and nutella. I'm in love.

One of my favorite things... coconut in my oatmeal.  Surprisingly delicious.

From the board room... I started a new board I'm calling "Ear Salad" because the stuff on it is too excellent to call "Ear Candy." I'm linking to favorite audio talks and talks I'm sure I want to listen to.

Post Script... If you're a homeschooler and didn't see Brandy's call to cheerful obedience using I am, I can, I ought, I will and setting it to moms ... why are you reading my blog?! Hie thee there!

Linking up with The Simple Woman.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Our Weekly Amble for August 17-21, 2015

So, I did one of these posts about a month ago in July, then we went on vacation. We had a week of preparation, where we did some lessons, cleaned, and packed. We had the week of vacation itself, which was a wonderful time.

We came home and had a pre-planned reset week where we caught up the laundry (ugh) and cleaned children's bedrooms (double ugh) and worked on other house cleaning projects (like bathrooms - triple ugh). On Saturday we visited my in-laws and left N-boy with them for a few days.  N-boy got home in time for piano lessons on Wednesday afternoon.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning the girls and I finished the house cleaning (I finished all of the Homeschool Snapshots podcast, listened to the Your Morning Basket first episode, The Mason Jar second episode, and am almost caught up on Read Aloud Revival), painted nails, had a tea party, played games, visited with friends, and the girls painted ... like art.  They got it out, put newspaper on the table, painted, then cleaned it all up without any intervention on my part. Who knew?

Thursday and Friday we did actual lessons.  We did Circle Time both days. Our Circle Time has changed slightly this week because I was able to listen to Cindy Rollins both on the Your Morning Basket podcast and The Mason Jar podcast.  We've done Circle Time for years and I slowed things down this year, took a lot of the repetition and redundancy out.  All of us work on the same memory items.  We only do two hymns a day.  It's way better.  I loved that Cindy said she did one scene of Shakespeare per day, so that is the big addition I made for our Circle Time. I also added, from Mystie's example, one section of Psalm 119 each morning right after our opening (Doxology or Gloria Patri).

I made a pretty page for my kiddos so they could track where they were in Grovetime.  I added Shakespeare to *my* list, but not theirs. Boo.  It's still pretty though, and we do Shakespeare after Math, please just pretend it is there, that's what we will do.

I have the official page, though. This is complete and ready for next week.  My chart isn't nearly as pretty.  I can do Grovetime without the big full chart if I follow the "do the next thing, move the post-it tab" principle, but I do love seeing the whole week at a glance like this.

So, our schedule at the beginning of the month made it so we didn't do Grovetime until this week. Some of our content changed:

  1. We added Psalm 119 reading letter by letter.
  2. We finished Psalm 24 and began John 1:1-18.
  3. We started 'How Firm a Foundation' as our newest hymn.  Happily it is only three verses and we know parts of it pretty well, so we can learn it in August.
  4. We finished the Weather section in the Handbook of Nature Study, so will begin the Reptiles section next week.
  5. We finished Robinson Crusoe on our drive (thank you librivox!), so we started Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson. I'm glad I'm reading it aloud, I was surprised how poetic it is. We found some alliteration and rhyming just as I was reading.
  6. I did some commonplacing from Shakespeare and Kidnapped.
  7. And, of course, we restarted A Midsummer Night's Dream, I read the first two scenes from the Complete Works of William Shakespeare set of books Jason inherited from his grandparents. They were really dusty on my shelf.
Next week we should finish (Lord willing) my eBook (it's free, did you download it yet?) and I think we're going to try to use Laying Down the Rails. I need to study up! The 'Index Card a Day' is still a hit!

Everyone did two math lessons this week.  M-girl is still in the beginning of Year 4 and so it has all been review.  It's going well.  N-boy struggled with his attitude which made his math harder, but he reviewed order of operations and area and perimeter.  R-girl is learning her x9 multiplication tables.

We reviewed a little bit of our Latin chants, did some penmanship, finished the reading from Week 6 of term 2 that hadn't been completed (I always forget that second page with Stories from the History of Rome and the Geography reading).  We've been doing a section from George Washington's World every day because that's what fell behind when I was sick, we're almost back on track with it, and read about the start of the Seven Year's War today. We've been enjoying Emily Dickinson's poetry and are almost finished memorizing Sea Fever by John Masefield.

I've always struggled with starting lessons mid-week. It just makes sense to me to start on Monday, but Pam Barnhill, in a Periscope broadcast this summer, said to plan to restart school midweek because that eases everyone back in.  So even though we've only really been off for 2.5 weeks, I took her advice and started yesterday. I'm glad I did, those first couple of days back to routine can be doozies, and today was.  Hopefully, we got a lot of that out of our system and can hit the ground running on Monday.

And, just so you know we live in the real world and I don't always have pretty charts, this was today's school. When everything is checked, you're done.

Mommy wasn't done with school, though,
 I watched Sarah Mackenzie and Adam Andrews on the Read Aloud Revival membership site via chromecast while I caught up on the ironing this afternoon.  A little Mother Culture, teacher training.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wednesdays with Words: To Those Ends

Welcome to the one-year anniversary edition of  the Wednesdays with Words linkup here at ladydusk! I can't believe it's been a year.  I know this summer has been a bit scattered, but I'm so pleased that I've had the opportunity to get to know you and your reading and your books over the last 52 weeks, and am excited to see what the coming year will bring!  Once again, a huge thanks to Cindy Rollins who created and hosted Wednesdays With Words and allowed me to step into her place like a toddler stepping into mama's shoes.

Now, to our regularly scheduled posting:

I pre-ordered Sarah Mackenzie's book from Classical Academic Press Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooer's Guide to UNSHAKEABLE PEACE.  I had previously purchased the e-version, but it got lost in the electronic shuffle as it wasn't in my Kinde queue.  I did listen to the wonderful audio portions, though.  Time to relisten.

Anyway, the book arrived in my mailbox while we were on our vacation, so I started it last week after we returned.

I've only read the introductory materials - Dr. Perrin's forward, Sarah's preface and introduction.  They're well crafted.  Nothing you or I haven't heard before, but they make the reader start turning their mental wheels and considering teaching from rest and what it means in real, everyday, homeschool life.

There's a paragraph in the Introduction, that really resonates with me, and probably to many of us. It isn't new, it isn't practical advice, Sarah is simply giving us a clear statement of what this calling is and ought to be. I find it lovely:

The photo in the graphic is from an annual brunch held in my church. Different ladies decorate and host a table to welcome newcomers to our congregation. Sarah talked about a feast, but I love the idea that truth, goodness, and beauty are the serving platters on which we serve the nourishment - the ideas - that enculturate the souls of our children bringing them to a place of wisdom and eloquence.

The china in the picture has a story. My great-grandmother bought the pieces as blanks and had them hand painted, eight different place settings. I inherited the china set from my mother who inherited it from my great-grandmother.  When it came into my possession, my grandmother (who is still with us) told me she didn't think the china had ever been used.  What a travesty! I haven't used it often, but it has been used and will be used again (Lord willing).  I'm recovering its purpose.  We, in the Christian Classical Education community, are also recovering purposes.  I'm excited to read the rest of Sarah's book which is a step in that direction.

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Simple Woman's Daybook for August 17, 2015

For Today... Monday, August 17, 2015

Outside my looks like there might be some sun shining through the cracks in the blinds.  I haven't really looked, yet.  I suspect it's going to be another hot day.

I am thinking... about what it will be like to have only two children for the next couple of days while N-boy is at my in-laws' home.  

I am thankful... that the children have these opportunities to spend time with their grandparents and have such a good relationship with them.

I am wearing... pajamas.  I just dragged myself out of bed when Jason was leaving.

I am creating... space.  We're cleaning bedrooms and today must sort books an clothing. You know, life's necessities.

I am going... no where. Yay.

I am wondering... how many people actually downloaded my eBook. I have no way of making a count, of knowing who or when.  It's actually, likely better that way - no inflated ego and no depressed disappointment.  

I am reading... Harry Potter (book 1) as our dinnertime read aoud.  Jason is such a better reader than I am. He has a lovely deep voice, and his Hagrid is awesome.

I am hoping... 
are liking the eBook and are being strengthened and encouraged by it.  

I am learning... about the influences of ancient Egyptian culture and religion on Hebrew culture and religion.  Fascinating.

In my kitchen... we're having one of our family favorites tonight Grilled Chicken with Sesame Noodles. Yum. I use more stir-fry vegetables now, but essentially this recipe.

In the homeschool... we are considering changes to our "Art with Friends" group, maybe doing more of an "enrichment" group where we do some Nature Study or Composer Study or Book Detectives of some of those ideas with the bigger group.  Just thinking for now.

A favorite quote for today... from Spanish Mama (found on Pinterest, but looks like a lovely blog):

A peek into one of my days... Jason and his dad and his brother-in-law took down a section of the fence and replaced it when we visited on Saturday. 

One of my favorite things... visiting with my Mother-in-law and Sister-in-law.  They are such wonderful encouragements to me.

From the board room... as I was deciding last winter whether to make the jump to Charlotte Mason education, I created a board I called "Changing Horses Midstream?" because I was stressed about the whole thing.  It was a great change for us and I still add things I'm learning to the board.

               Follow ladydusk's board Changing Horses Midstream? on Pinterest.    

Linking up with The Simple Woman.