Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Wednesdays with Words: Subtly Alters

I'm reading Beauty in the Word with a group of Reformed friends on Voxer. It's an interesting dynamic as Caldecott, Beauty's author, is stridently Roman Catholic and we find places of both profound agreement and disagreement (and, let's be honest, confusion).

There is much to love about the book, I find I'm marking every page heavily - most with firm stars and YES! and some with ummm?? and No! Very little between.

But the Yeses are outweighing the Nos and I can see why it's so beloved by so many- and I'm not quite through Chapter 1 yet.

The introduction "The Heart of the Book" lays out the main ideas carefully before he builds on it. In many places, I'm mentally changing "Catholicsim" or "Catholic" to "Christian" because I find firm agreement with what Caldecott posits, as here:
The 'Catholicism' in a Catholic school cannot simply be added on to an existing curriculum or atmosphere. Precisely because a religious faith affects everything, even changing the way we view the cosmos, it cannot be compartmentalized. (This is why faith seems so dangerous to some non-believers.) Revelation subtly alters the way every subject is taught as well as the relationships between them. What is revealed connects them severally and together to our own destiny, to the desire of our hearts for union with infinite truth. At that point, everything becomes interesting. There are no 'boring' subjects--nothing can be ugly or pointless unless we make it so, turning our backs on the Giver of Being. (pg 14-15, italics his, bold mine)

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Simple Woman's Daybook for January 15,2018

For Today...

Looking out my window ... the world is washed out as the snow falls steadily.

I am thinking ... about how much school we can accomplish.

I am thankful ... for Jason and his dedication to our family.

One of my favorite things ... buttered toast.

I am wearing ... pajamas, but I think I'll shower and dress in a bit.

I am creating ... new habits - prayer and movement.

I am listening to ... Leah Boden on Facebook Live talking about habits and CM. Good stuff.

I am hoping ... to feel all the way better soon.

I am learning ... how capable the kids are. They've been so great over this last week or so and I want to be sure to tell them how I appreciate it.

In my kitchen ... I really don't know.

In the school room ... I'm so glad I sorted out books so the kids can move on on their own.

Post Script ... have you seen these Morning Time Methods videos Pam has been doing? There's one about poetry, another about geography drill, and a third about using the memory palace technique. They're so helpful to see how to do these during Morning Time.

Linking up with The Simple Woman.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Our Weekly Amble for January 8-12, 2018

It was our first week of a new year! 

Our first day we traditionally get something sweet for breakfast, but the weather was such that I didn't want to go out, so Cinnamon Rolls and scrambled eggs it was:

I realized this morning that we didn't do our traditional self-portraits or interview pages. I'll need to get those taken care of next week. 

We had two great days of Whatchamacallit. We start the year with just reviewing hymns and poetry and Bible memory and catechism and getting back into the groove. I love how that helps us ease into Morning Time after a long break. By going over old work, we exercise our minds but it's just a warm-up. It also helps us to go through Whatchamacallit quickly, which leaves extra room for our readaloud at the end, which everyone enjoys.

We also began to institute a "Keeping Hour" which I learned about on Instagram from my friend Mariah. She was finding it a struggle to get her kids to do keeping, too, so she instituted a time of day where everyone went back and did keeping together. I loved the idea, and as N-boy and R-girl are adding Books of Centuries this year, I though we'd try it out. There was some moaning about 3:30 being "after school" but our first two days were great!

Sadly, though, I got rather sick Tuesday night and was mostly out of commission the rest of the week. I was able to listen to narrations, though, and the kiddos are big enough to keep working on their own which is great. The only way they could've done that, though, was if there was a plan. I'm so thankful that I had a plan put together, they had a list of the work for the week, and on Monday we had worked together to divvie up that work. Because of that, they knew what needed to be done and could do it.

We each have a daily schedule, and a set of daily and weekly assignments. I use Pam Barnhill's The Independent Student bundle* for part of our assignments and weekly meetings. I still need to do this week's meetings with my kiddos.

So, while it wasn't the idyllic first week back to school I had in my head (when is it ever?), it was a very good week as I think about seeing my children succeed at doing the work they were assigned without a lot of interaction on my part. I would've preferred to not be sick, though.

*{not an affiliate link, but I do work for her and received the bundle free}

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Wednesdays with Words: A Bird Fits into its Nest

"... He is so close to Nature every moment that he has become part of it. He is as honest as Nature itself; and as big and clean and as simple.  He has grown, with roots deep in the soil, as naturally as that tree. He can't be wrong, he doesn't know HOW to be wrong--God bless him. You know what I mean, Dick?"
"I guess so, Dad. You mean that what Mike knows, he found out for himself, not out of books. Is that what you mean?"
"Partly," Father nodded and was about to say more, but Dick said: No, wait, Dad. I've got to figure this out for myself."
They walked silently, side by side and were almost at their house when Dick spoke again. "Isn't it the same thing that makes Andy's drawings so ... right? He just loves animals and trees and things on the farm and he is ... sort of like the things he loves." 
"Exactly," Father's voice was pleased.
"It's a good thing, isn't it, Dad? I mean, when you feel comfortable ... and don't hurt any place because you sort of ... fit in?" Dick used an expressive gesture, turning one fist into the other, cupped hand. Father smiled at him. "Uhum ... like perfectly meshing gears."
"Ye ... es," Dick sounded unsatisfied, then his eyes lighted up, "No! Like a bird fits into its nest. That's the way I feel here."
Father, with his hand on the screen door, paused and looked at him for a long good moment. "Dicky, my son, bless you. What you just said has made this day perfect."
The Open Gate by Kate Seredy (1960, pg 187-188, emphasis hers)

So there were just so many things I loved about this passage in The Open Gate. I thought the metaphors were spot on, I found the way the father and son were working out the idea together instructive, and I especially liked the emphasis on ordo amoris - "he is ... sort of like the things he loves."

It has been a while since we've had a Wednesdays with Words here at ladydusk. It is my intention for it to be a regular feature in 2018 and I hope you'll join the linkup when you can.

Wednesdays with Words was the brainchild of Cindy Rollins as a way to share our reading and sections that were extra beautiful or meaningful or in some other ways stood out to us. She hosted for several years and I've hosted for a number of years now, although it has been on hiatus since August. It feels good to be back, like a bird in its nest.

Monday, January 08, 2018

The Simple Woman's Daybook for January 8, 2018

For Today...

Looking out my window ... it is still night and darkness shrouds.

I am thinking ... about atmosphere, discipline, and life.

I am thankful ... for wise teachers - from my pastor, to Charlotte Mason, to Paul, to the psalmist, to God himself. Lead me in paths of righteousness for your name's sake, O Lord.

One of my favorite things ... it's the first day of school! Always an exciting time.

I am wearing ... still jammies, but my new Buckeye hoodie that Jason got for me. It's warm and snuggly.

I am creating ... still working on the same embroidery project; I'm almost done with the word!

I am listening to ... the newest Mason Jar episode with Karen Glass. I cannot wait for her book, Know and Tell! I know it will be very helpful and an important component of Brandy's Next Generation CM library.

I am hoping ... to finish some of my other CM library books so I can read it!

I am learning ... new habits of prayer. The ladies in the Humble Habits course are fantastic and creative. How do we pray constantly? What do we pray for. So many inspiring ideas.

In my kitchen ... the birthday party is entirely cleared away and put away and the first day cinnamon rolls. I need to make some cinnamon rolls.

In the school room ... new schedules, new assignment sheets, new reading lists, new keeping notebooks.

Post Script ... Pam has this new series of Morning Time Methods videos where she explains and shows how to do a poetry lesson or a geography lesson in Morning Time. There are more to come. Very helpful!

Shared Quote ... from In Memoriam pg 132 this morning: 
'Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life' covers the question from the three conceivable points of view. Subjectively, in the child, education is a life; objectively as affecting the child, education is a discipline; relatively, if we may introduce a third term, as regards the environment of the child, education is an atmosphere.
A moment from my day ... N-boy was excited to blow out 12 candles on his cake inspired by Lloyd Alexander's Black Cauldron.

Closing Notes: This week on Charlotte Mason IRL, we'll be talking about Fresh Starts! Won't you join us?

Linking up with The Simple Woman.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

2018 Word for the Year

I've been procrastinating on sharing my Word for the Year because it's really not glamorous and has some connotations that readers might think it odd.

But, I suppose you're mostly used to me.

The word I chose for last year - }pacify{ was a struggle in writing but not thinking nor in making attempts at action. I am not sure there was much advancement in pacification of hearts or minds around here, but I'm certain I will continue to make a good attempt.

Actually, all of my previous Words for the Year - *revel*, Attend!, and }pacify{ have stuck around well after their year of emphasis, and so I truly desire to choose a word - idea, action - that has staying power.

The word I've chosen for 2018 is, as I said, a bit unusual. While I'm a rule-follower in many ways - my husband calls me a hall monitor - I am not afraid to buck trends to go my own way when I think I'm right. I never had big hair in high school (when it was all the rage). I did have a perm just after college (when it wasn't). I decided to homeschool my future family when it was unpopular; I blogged when only a handful did so. Generally, I listen respectfully and if unpersuaded, do my own thing.  I've been called the "independent" one by a family member.

I do want to do things "right," though. I want to be a good Christian, wife and mom, fellow Presbyterian congregation member, family member, internet person. I want to be liked despite - or maybe because of - any independent notions I have.

So, I chose a weird word. Again.

Not Joy - must choose *revel.* Attend! ?!?! What are you showing up for? Not peace - }pacify{.

I like to choose a verb. It's active. I makes me think if I'm acting rightly or if I need to change course.

I'm taking Mystie Winckler's Humble Habits course and in doing her Personal Habit Audit, she prompts: "Do you take control of your thoughts in the morning? How?"

Wow. No. Not really. But I'm thinking I should. (Which was actually my response to the whole Audit - ack!) But this one, in particular, stuck with me.

My pastor has been preaching through Philippians for a while now. It's fantastic - he's so very thorough. It's convicting and encouraging in equal measure. Last spring and summer, he preached a lot about Jesus' character and how we are to become like him, that our lives are to be as his. Not in particulars, obviously, but in the main.

That and Mystie's question converged in my mind, and I thought of Jesus going off to pray by Himself; to know the will of the Father that he may do it. And Jesus saying "I and my Father are one." and "if you know me you know the Father" and how He knew what the Father was about and did it.

The other weird thing about my word for 2018 is that it is used in the scripture in both a positive and negative light. Positive concerning our new identity in Christ, negative concerning our old sinful identity or the world that is being remade.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:14-16)
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29)
By now you probably have a good idea of the direction for my word:

In 2018, I want to [conform] to Christ ...

I want to discipline my thoughts. To govern them rightly, as Jesus did. In a recent Ask Andrew podcast, Mr. Kern discussed education in the paradigm of freedom - in particular based on the passage where Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Our ability to perceive truth, which is a skill we learn, which helps us to govern ourselves so we can be free. When we govern ourselves to do our duty in joy and love, we [conform] to Christ.

I want to do the work set before me with the same mind as Christ Jesus, who, though in the form of God, did not count equality a thing to be grasped but made himself nothing. Philippians 2. In Romans 12, it says that we are a to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. I don't have the same work as Jesus. I am not Jesus (understatement) but I am to be like Him. I am to imitate Him, rest in Him, love Him, strive to be like Him. That is, [conform] to Christ. Again, not in the particulars, but the main.

For years, Mystie has used the tag line "learning to love what must be done." I think I've heard "learning to kinda-sorta-like what must be done. If you must." Certainly the emphasis was on the "learning" and "must be done" parts. Anyway, my phrase for this effort to [conform] is "love what must be done." I'm not being asked to do nearly what Jesus was (obviously, nor could I); I can love the work - serving my family, church, and community I have been given. I can do the work out of love and not drudgery and without dragging my feet.

I want to de-conform from the world and it's attitudes and selfishness and pride. I want to humble myself, not sighing in that guilt inducing, "I guess I'll do it since no one else will," but in true service to others. I want to love what is lovely and seek out what is good, true, and beautiful.

If you look closely at the passage in Romans 8 it says we are "predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son." which, in the passive, indicates that it will be done to us, not necessarily by us. The Romans 12 passage says we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. And in 1 Peter, it says to "be Holy because I am Holy." It may not say conform there, but I think both of these passages could infer that we transform ourselves and imitate holiness. This act of transformation and seeking to be holy is what it means to [conform].

I hope to post more regularly on my word this year. I want to look at [conform] from both the positive and negative light. I want to look at it's root meaning. I want to think through what it is to [conform] to Christ in 2018.

I hope you'll join me.

Monday, January 01, 2018

The Simple Woman's Daybook for January 1, 2018

For Today...

Looking out my window ... it's bitterly cold and snowy. I went out long enough to pull the lights off the tree and scooted myself back inside.

I am thinking ... that I love Bowl Season. Great stories, exciting football. Wins and upsets. Lots of teams end the year with a win. Good stuff.

I am thankful ... for the blessings of 2017 and am hopeful going into 2018.

One of my favorite things ... New Year's Day ... Football, food, family.

I am wearing ... jammies. Cause, relaxing. Time for the Rose Bowl.

I am creating ... an embroidery project from Clementine Patterns.

I am reading ... Norms and Nobility and Beauty in the Word. Again. With reading groups. But I think I can!

I am hoping ... to get a lot accomplished this week - cleaning, planning, baking ahead.

I am learning ... about using little habits to grow larger habits. If you get a chance, check out Mystie's new course, Humble Habits {affiliate link} starting Friday. If you buy it with this link, send an email to for a free Facebook accountability group that Pam and I are running. Access only through tonight, but you can sign up for the course for a while yet!

In my kitchen ... I've been making a breakfast and lunch schedule for the first term. I also am making a list for morning snack or "Second Breakfast"

In the school room ... last week I divided up our books for the first 12 weeks. This week I hope to do some pre-reading and make some charts for the kids. I also am making some space for assignments like keeping and nature study.

In my garden ... there are 4-5" of snow ...

Post Script ... this is a good week to check out @CharlotteMasonIRL ... As we begin a new year, our group of curators is introducing ourselves. We wanted to give people a chance to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas and get back to school. But we have almost 9 months of shares and content about homeschooling and Charlotte Mason In Real Life. If you're on IG, we'd love for you to join our community.

Shared Quote ... from today's Cloud of Witness:

"Thou canst not choose but serve,--man's lot is servitude,--
But thou hast thus much choice, a bad lord or a good." - R.C. Trench

A moment from my day ... big kids take down the tree. It's a beautiful thing :)

Closing Notes:
My friends, I do hope to return to more regular blogging this year. I appreciate your participation here and I pray that you enjoy a blessed 2018. 

Linking up with The Simple Woman.