Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Reflections on a Charlotte Mason Education...

At our last CM Study Group meeting we reflected on our Saturday morning of CM style studies.  After being led by Sonya Shafer of Simply Charlotte Mason through Natural History, Arithmetic, World History, Singing, Repetition, Writing, and Spanish, my two words for describing a CM education are "useful" and "challenging".

It occurred to me that Charlotte taught in a manner that showed each subject's usefulness in life.  For example, Natural History was studied to build a love of God's creation and our natural surroundings, as well as learning about plants, animals, birds, weather, seasons, etc.  I believe along with the study of Natural History, comes the habit of appreciation, attentiveness, creativity, and a desire to know...why are male birds more brightly colored than female?...why do leaves change color in fall?....etc.  Also, in Arithmetic we used multiplication and division to figure answers to problems relevant to our lives.  We memorized scripture for Repetition, which is certainly useful.  We copied a meaningful quote for penmanship, not just a row of a's, b's, c's, etc.  Each subject seemed to have a deeper meaning than just checking a box to get it done.  I was actually left with thoughts to ponder from the day's studies.

A CM education is also challenging.  I don't mean this in a frustrating sort of way, but in a fun sort of way.  I was challenged almost as if I were playing a game or working on a puzzle that I couldn't wait to solve or watch come to fruition.  It was a fun and meaningful challenge that left me with a positive anticipation for more.  It also left me wanting to share my excitement, such as a child with a new found treasure.

The more I learn about a Charlotte Mason education, the more I know it's right for our family.  In fact, I want to go back and relearn using Charlotte's methods...ha!  I'm so excited for this opportunity to teach and learn beside our children!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Benjamin West and his Cat Grimalkin...

Benjamin West and his Cat Grimalkin by Marguerite Henry is the story of a Quaker boy who has an extraordinary gift.  West grew up in 1700's Pennsylvania territory .  He could paint realistic pictures and portraits.  The problem was Quaker's viewed picture making as belonging to this world and the things of this world.

Finally Papa place the drawing on the table.  "The image of Sally should be carried in our hearts," he said, as he looked up over the rims of this spectacles.  "Not on a piece of paper.  Pictures fade; memories remain green forever."  p. 42

Henry's story delightfully tells West's boyhood story.  Benjamin West went on to become the Father of American painting.  This book is recommended by Beautiful Feet and TruthQuest. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Consider This....


Have you heard?...Karen Glass's new book Consider This: Charlotte Mason and the Classical Tradition is finished!  I've been intrigued by this project for some time.  The notion of Charlotte Mason being a classical educator came to mind while reading Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn.  There are definite differences between a Charlotte Mason education and a classical education.  However, since researching Charlotte's methods more in depth, I'm finding more similarities than I would have once thought.  I'm looking forward to reading Glass's book in hopes of gleaning a greater understanding of these similarities and differences. 

Find out more about "Launch Week" and sign up to win a free copy here!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Our New Project...

Introducing.....Molasses, our new Jersey calf.  You may remember that the Farmer wanted to sell the sheep so he could use the pasture for a new project....raising calves.   Yes, we already have beef cattle, but I believe he's leaning back toward dairy cattle.  He's been looking for baby dairy calves, but prices are high right now.  In our quest, we came upon this little Jersey bull and just couldn't resist!

We've had Molasses for a couple of weeks and boy is he finicky!  We are learning you can't feed Jersey calves just any old milk replacer.  We had to purchase specially formulated milk replacer for Jerseys.  Unfortunately, he's currently recovering from scours as it's difficult to figure the proper ration.  A couple years ago, I told you about Clarabelle, Riley's Jersey heifer calf that died.  We are just hoping and praying Molasses fares better.

The kids LOVE Molasses, especially Levi....

Do you have experience raising Jersey calves?  I'd love to hear about it!  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Diary of an Early American Boy....

Diary of an Early American Boy by Eric Sloane is so awesome, the kids asked for a sequel! 

While exploring an old house, Sloane discovered a small leather-bound diary written in 1805.  The diary was written by a fifteen year old boy named Noah Blake.  It was a one year account of life on his father's farm.   After researching early American life in that region, Sloane wrote Diary of an Early American Boy based on Noah's journal.  The author included original diary entries and then wrote a story around them.  The illustrations are outstanding showing many early American tools and explaining how things were done at that time. 

Diary of an Early American Boy is a Sonlight and TruthQuest recommendation that I almost skipped.  Then one day, I sat down and started reading the Author's Note and realized the treasure I held.  I started reading it aloud to the kids and we were all hooked.  We learned a great deal and highly recommend this book!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Changes to American Girl...for Better or Worse?

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Have you heard about the new changes to American Girl?  They've changed the historical doll outfits and created the Beforever line.   RileyAnn is quite upset.  In fact so much so, that she wrote a letter to the president of the company...

Dear American Girl,

In all due respect, I would like to tell you what I think of your new "Beforever" products.  I think that they are cheap, unauthentic, and above all I do not think that they are the highest quality that you can make.  For a long time, I believed that you put your best effort in the making of your products, but now with the launch of "Beforever", I think that you have "dumbed down" American Girl.  I think that your new "Beforever" girl outfits are very unmodest.  I also think that your new mini dolls look terrible and very cheap.  I am very sorry if I have been too negative about "Beforever".  I just thought that you would like to know my opinion.  


I don't normally blog about these sorts of cultural, current event issues.  However, I must confess, in looking through the catalog with Riley, I also was disappointed.  The historical character outfits have been changed.  They appear to reflect modern times with extremely short dresses and skirts and tank top built in shirts for the matching girl outfits.  I wonder if Pleasant Rowland, original founder of American Girl Co.,  would approve of these changes?!  I found her reasoning for creating American Girl quite interesting.  It's my belief that she created the dolls, not only to get girls interested in history, but also to fill a need for life like dolls for girls ages 8-12. 

As a mom of a tween, I always appreciated the modest innocence of American Girl.  In addition, Riley learned so much about American History at a very young age from simply reading the books.  She knew most of the major time periods and could associate many happenings.  She actually taught me, ha! 

I'm sure the change was a marketing ploy, but I wonder if they upset the integrity of American Girl by making the change?  I'd love to hear your thoughts....