Monday, October 16, 2017

Middle School Chemistry in Morning Time...


As part of our Morning Time study, we've been working through The Mystery of the Periodic Table by Benjamin D. Wiker and The Elements by Theodore Gray using Ambleside Online's Year 6 rotating schedule. Every other week, I read from each book. For example, Week One, I read Chapter One of The Mystery of the Periodic Table. Then Week Two, I read about a specific element in The Elements. Week Three, I went back and read Chapter Two from ...Mystery of...Periodic Table, Week Four, we read about another element, and so on and so forth.

In addition to the above mentioned reading, I've added a notebooking component to our study. At the beginning of the year, I gave Riley and Ruben a blank periodic table. As we read about a variety of elements in The Mystery of the Periodic Table, they plug them into their table. Then every other week, as we read about a particular element from The Elements, they write about and illustrate a picture on a blank page of something representative of that element. At the end of the year, I will bind these pages with my ProClick binder into their own personal chemistry notebooks. They initially decided they wanted to bind blank paper as opposed to using a spiral or sewn composition notebook.

So far, it's been a wonderful study! I really enjoyed looking at their pages. So much so, that I decided to join them in the notebooking venture. However, I opted to use a sewn composition notebook for my study. Below are samples of our pages....








Saturday, October 14, 2017

2017-2018 Morning Time Reflections - Week Six...


We are six weeks into our 2017-2018 academic year so I thought I'd review what's working and what's not in our Morning Time (MT), since this seems to be the area in which I've made the greatest adjustments. First off, here is our original plan.

As you can see, my original plan was to have MT three days per week. I wondered how this would work since we school four days per week. However, at that time, my niece was going to join us three days a week in our homeschool and I wanted to spread the feast for her as well. Honestly, the first couple of weeks were rough. I chose many of my MT reads from AO Year 7 because it was a good fit for my kids. Unfortunately, it turned out not to be a good fit for my niece for a variety of reasons, which I won't get into here. She is no longer joining us in our homeschool, so I will write about MT as it pertains exclusively to my family.

Three days per week proved to be too little time to cover the books I had planned. AO Year 7 books are wonderful and very meaty. Some of them provided too much reading at one time. They needed to be spread out more. Sadly, I let go of Idylls of the King for now. I couldn't quite figure out how to spread it out in a way that we could understand and make sense of it. We even tried the Librovox audio for a couple of weeks because I thought maybe the fact that I couldn't find the rhythm or the beat while reading it, was the reason we couldn't understand it. However, that didn't seem to help. I feel like we don't have a good enough medieval or Arthurian base for real understanding. We are reading other Arthur books this year, which I think will help lay a foundation for a future reading. Tennyson's Idylls is definitely worthy, just not for us in this season. I may come back to it in a few weeks or possibly in our next medieval rotation, but for now, I'm subbing in other random poetry.

I've added Grammar-land by M. L. Nesbitt. I found that Grammar with Ruben was just not getting done throughout the week, so I decided to add in this gem as a read aloud during our MT. It's mostly review, which he needs. Riley scoffed a bit at first because she felt she was way beyond this point, but we're now a couple weeks in and she's been a better sport. I'm reading a chapter per week and once it's done, I hope to add some sentence parsing and diagramming into our MT. Our new MT, now looks something like this...

Day One
How to Be Your Own Selfish Pig by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
The Mystery of the Periodic Table by Wiker and Bendick, alternated with The Elements by Theodore Gray as scheduled in AO Year 6

Day Two
How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler
Grammar-land by M. L. Nesbett

Day Three
The Brendan Voyage by Tim Severin
Whatever Happened to Penny Candy by Richard Maybury

Day Four
The Story of Painting by H. W. Janson
Ourselves by Charlotte Mason

In addition to the read alouds, I'm adding various poetry, music, and art each day. Levi has been joining us for MT and I want him to learn The Pledge of Allegiance, so we recite it some days as well. I would like to add more memory work down the road. Possible other additions could include, health, Shakespeare, and drawing, but for now, I don't feel like I should add until we finish or take away something else. We will continue as planned for the next six weeks and reassess at that time. 

Overall, I'm happy to be back at MT and I think the kids are too. I love the conversations we've had from some of the books. We're also doing a bit of notebooking through the chemistry books, which I will share in another post. It's been fun to look at everyone's drawings and see what each person took from the book.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Vacation as Education on a Tight Budget....


We were very fortunate to start the school year off with a mini vacation in the northern part of our state and the neighboring state. There were waterfalls and a water park. We also spent a couple nights at a cabin on Chequamegon Bay, part of Lake Superior.  To some it may not be much, but to us it was a very big deal since we don't have opportunities like this often. I always wonder what it's like for those that set out for a year or more at a time, traversing the globe. For our family, travel mostly happens through books, but on those rare occasions when we do get out, there is much learning to be done.

Traveling on a budget takes some planning, but it is entirely possible. Thankfully, for the internet, one can do much of the legwork ahead of time. To begin, I find a destination. Once I have a goal in mind, it's easier to plan the steps to get there. Next, I look for lodging. I do check a variety of hotels, but don't stop there. I also look into Air B&B's, campgrounds and resorts with cabins, and misc. rentals, which can often be found on Craigslist. I do a lot of calling around and definitely attempt negotiations. Most often in the off season or if there is not some major event happening in the region, lodging reps will offer discounted rates, particularly if you're staying more than one night. After Labor Day and back to school is a great time to travel, because for most, it's considered the off season.

When choosing lodging, I also consider things like whether or not there's free parking, wi-fi, a swimming pool, microwave, refrigerator, and continental breakfast. I always ask about room set up. On our latest trip, the hotel had a wet bar in the room, which was a counter top with an extra sink, microwave, and refrigerator. This allowed me an area to make meals and clean up in the room.

A few years back, we invested in an electric cooler than can be used as a refrigerator. It plugs into the van and has an adapter to fit a regular electrical outlet once in the hotel. We are then able to pack food or at least stop at the grocery store on the way. It's much cheaper to make your own meals or eat out of a grocery store deli than a restaurant three times a day. We travel with this electric cooler and an electric frying pan, making meals as we go. Continental breakfast is also a bonus because it's a free meal...well, you pay for it with your room stay, but I mean it's not an over and above charge.

Once we have a destination, lodging, and food sources in line, I look at our budget to determine which attractions we'd like to see. Part of finding a destination also has to do with attractions, but finalizing these plans comes after making sure there is lodging and food within our means within that area. We are not a touristy type family so theme parks are not usually our idea of fun. We much prefer to get off the beaten trail. We enjoy scenery and wildlife so mountains, prairies, waterfalls, and geysers are intriguing. We also have a great love of history so museums or historic festivals are a delight. Book store and thrift shop stops are an absolute must! You never know what new treasure you will find.

Some of the sites we saw on our trip up north in early September were Pattison State Park, Amnicon Falls State Park, Lake Superior, Canal Park and the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor's Center - Army Corp of Engineers in Duluth, MN, and Chequamegon Bay. We looked at the falls at Pattison and Amnicon on the same day since they are only a few miles apart. This allowed us to buy only one entrance pass that was good at all State Parks in WI for the day. The Maritime Visitor's Center was awesome and free. We observed many new things regarding the history and science of ships and The Great Lakes. While there, we saw two major ships in Canal Park, the Walter J. McCarthy Jr., which is 1000 ft long, heading out to sea, and the Herbert C. Jackson, which is 690 ft long, coming into to dock. We also saw the Aerial Lift Bridge go up and down for each ship. It was amazing!

When planning our itinerary, I purposely plan loosely. You never know when you will come upon something of interest off that beaten trail and we want to be sure to have time to explore. Heavy scheduling while on vacation is not my idea of rest and relaxation. We like the freedom to be flexible. As a matter of fact, the Maritime Center noted above was not planned. We happened upon it quite by accident and it turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip.

If we are traveling long distances, I typically book lodging in advance for the first night, but sometimes not the nights thereafter. This gives us freedom to stay an extra night if something trips our trigger. Also, we are not tied down to traveling a certain number of miles to the next destination. That way, if we see something of interest along the way, we can stop. Or, if a kid has behavior issues or someone gets sick (it does happen, ask me how I know) again, you're not committed to being somewhere by a specific time. To some, this may seem fly by night, but for us, it has proved valuable.

Traveling provides many excellent means to educate. Hands on learning may be the most significant of these. It's one thing to read the fabulous book, Paddle to the Sea by Holling C. Holling, but quite another to actually see a Great Lake. When reading about a 1000 ft ship, one can imagine what that might look like, but seeing it in real life up close gives a whole new perspective. Seeing animals in their natural habitat is nothing like reading about them. Although, reading helps us to better understand what we are seeing. There are many benefits to educating through a vacation and it is totally possible on a tight budget.










Monday, October 2, 2017

Thoughts on Kindergarten...


I have this sweet Little Golden Book - We Like Kindergarten by Clara Cassidy. It's illustrated by Eloise Wilkin, which makes it even more precious. It was originally published in 1965, back when the idea of kindergarten was still thought of as 'garden for children'.

We Like Kindergarten depicts a girl named Carol leaving her puppy and kitten behind to head off to kindergarten. When she gets there, she hangs up her coat and is welcomed by her teacher playing the piano. All the boys and girls begin to sing. Then they take turns feeding the fish and turtle in the aquarium. Next, they finger paint, play with clay and musical instruments, and dance round singing "Farmer in the Dell", before the teacher reads them a story and they have show and tell. Then there is outdoor play and a snack preceding nap time. Lastly, the children wake from their naps to dance some more and draw pictures before saying goodbye to friends and the teacher and heading back home, where Carol is welcomed by her puppy and kitten. The book ends with Carol singing and playing her piano, pretending to be the teacher of her puppy, kitten, stuffed animals, and little sister.

Carol's kindergarten experience is very similar to my own here in rural Wisconsin, back in the late 1970's. (Yes, I'm dating myself.) Mrs. Fuchs and Mrs. Hawkinson both played the piano. We sang folk songs like "Farmer in the Dell" and "She'll be Coming Around the Mountain", which I remember vividly to this day. We made paper crafts, drew, and painted. We also had milk and graham crackers for a snack and nap time. We had outdoor recess and plenty of imaginary play time. There was story time and each week, we were introduced to a new letter of the alphabet via the inflatable Letter People. We also had a deaf boy in our class so we learned each of the letters in sign language.

Before looking ahead, let's take a brief moment to look back. My maternal grandmother is 98 years old. She was born in 1919 and didn't begin formal education until the age of 7 and in 1st grade. (She also purchased her driver's license from the local post office for 25-cents....can you imagine!!) Anyway, the Farmer is a bit older than me. He attended a rural one room school a couple of miles from his home until 4th grade, when the rural country schools in our area shut down and the districts began busing kids to the public school in the village. He began his formal education in 1st grade at age 6. Up until this point, there were no kindergartens in our community. However, a few years later, kindergarten reared it's head in our home town. Because of which, I was sent to school at age five.

Fast forward to the 21st Century, most children in our village and neighboring towns are no longer even beginning school at age 5, but now at ages 3 and 4. So in 100 years, children went from starting school at age 7 to age 3/4. However, children have not changed!! A child born today is still developmentally the same as a child born in the early 1900's. Genetics have not altered the various developmental stages. Children are no more developmentally ready to sit still, focus for long periods of time, and learn to read, then they were 100 years ago. I believe this is why ADHD and ADD are so prevalent today.

In Vol. 1, Home Education, Charlotte Mason had quite a bit to say about early childhood and kindergarten...
II. THE KINDERGARTEN AS A PLACE OF EDUCATION
The Mother the best Kindergartnerin. - It is hardly necessary, here, to discuss the merits of the Kindergarten School. The success of such a school demands rare qualities in the teacher - high culture, some knowledge of psychology and of the art of education; intense sympathy with the children, much tact, much common sense, much common information, much "joyousness of nature,' and much governing power; - in a word, the Kindergarten method is nicely contrived to bring the child en rapport with a superior intelligence. Given, such a superior being to conduct it, and the Kindergarten is beautiful - 'tis like a little heaven below'; but put a commonplace woman in charge of such a school, and the charmingly devised gifts and games and occupations become so many instruments of wooden teaching. If the very essence of the Kindergarten method is personal influence, a sort of spiritual mesmerism, it follows that the mother is naturally the best Kindergartnerin; for who so likely as she to have the needful tact, sympathy, common sense, culture?
The Nursery need not therefore be a Kindergarten. - Though every mother should be a Kindergartnerin, in the sense in which Froebel would employ the term, it does not follow that every nursery should be a regularly organised Kindergarten. Indeed, the machinery of the Kindergarten is no more than a device to ensure that carrying out of certain educational principles, and some of these it is the mother's business to get at, and work out according to Froebel's method - or her own. For instance in the Kindergarten the child's senses are carefully and progressively trained: he looks, listens, learns by touch; gets ideas of size, colour, form, number; is taught to copy faithfully, express exactly. And in this training of the senses, the child is made to pursue the method the infant shapes for himself in his early studies of ring or ball. (Vol. 1, Home Education, p. 178-179)
Here we see, it isn't that Charlotte Mason is directly opposed to Kindergarten, which was a mistaken thought I used to hold, but rather, that she believed the best Kindergarten teacher is mother and the best setting is the home or the child's natural environment. She also advocated for the child to have plenty of sensory experiences, such as looking, listening, and touching the world around them. Charlotte Mason warned us about the perils of a structured classroom kindergarten back 100 years ago. She was also very specific about the qualities of the teacher, advocating that mother knows best.

Home educating affords us opportunities to provide a natural, loving environment for our kindergartners. You, as mother, are THE best teacher for your young child. No fancy curricula is needed. Simply let your child observe their natural world around them through beautiful books and time in the out-of-doors marveling at nature and God's creation. Let them play and pretend, developing their imaginations. Like Carol's kindergarten, sing songs, dance, introduce musical instruments, draw, finger paint, and play with clay. Allow your child those sensory opportunities. Expose them to great art and music. So many things we consider today as enrichment were absolute necessities to a liberal arts education in the past.

Finally, studies are showing better late than early may be the best approach. I recently read this blog that discusses Delaying kindergarten until age 7 offers key benefits to kids. I've been intrigued by Finland's approach to early childhood for some time. Could we come full circle after 100 years? Sometimes progress isn't always what it seems.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

2017-2018 Reflections - Week Four...

At Home

Last school year, I wrote 2016-2017 Weekly Reflections, reflecting once a week on our academics, as well as various happenings at home and linking articles around the web. Since these were popular posts, this year, I hope to continue in that same vein. However, the posts may or may not be weekly, depending. I'm undecided at this point. I'm actually hoping to spend less time on the computer and more time with my nose in a book this school year, so we'll see how it goes.

For now, I want to report that we are four weeks into the 2017-2018 school year. Riley has begun in earnest. You can find her Year 8 books here. She's enjoying most of her studies, particularly her science selections. She's made some great notebooking pages based on her readings. She also likes that her online math class is two days per week this year, versus one day last year. She said it's good to be able to touch base more frequently with the teacher, particularly if you have questions.

Riley's also loving her Beautiful Feet Medieval History study. She drew by hand, this beautiful world map on tag board over the first couple weeks of school...


I have been reading the following titles along with her as part of my Mother Culture. Also, in order to be able to understand her narrations and have more meaningful discussions...

The History of English Literature for Boys and Girls by H. E. Marshall - AO Year 7
The Once and Future King by T. H. White -  AO Year 7
Watership Down by Richard Adams -  AO Year 7
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott -  AO Year 7

This week, Riley and I have jointly decided to drop The Once and Future King. We had just finished chapter six in week three, when she came to me and wondered how it was going. Truth be told, my enthusiasm started strong, but quickly dissipated after week two. I was disappointed when they turned into sea creatures. At this same time, Riley was also reading King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table by Roger Lancelyn Green for her BF study. She decided to continue one more week of The Once and Future King, reading chapters 7 and 8, at which time, we talked again and decided to drop it. My thought is, there are too many great books to read a just so, so book that's not sparking ideas. To some, The Once and Future King is excellent. To us, it is not. I believe we gave it a fair shot and who knows, maybe down the road, we will revisit it. For now, the BF King Arthur book is satisfactory.

Ruben is also reading Ivanhoe and Watership Down along with us via audio. Ivanhoe is going just OK, but I feel it's too important to give up. I want us all to have a Sir Walter Scott experience and so we shall keep plugging on with this book. We are all loving Watership Down! Ruben actually got way ahead of Riley and I, which was OK since we had to return the audio to the library and wait our turn to get it back again. I may just break down and use my Audible credits for it.

Ruben and I are also reading Beowulf by Michael Morpurgo as part of his IEW Medieval History Themed Based Writing Lessons. Riley already read this same version of Beowulf through Beautiful Feet. Ruben's written two papers so far with IEW and he's doing a great job! I'm really glad I chose this program for him. It seems to be a good fit. Here are Ruben's paragraphs....

Week 2

 Life in the Middle Ages
          In the Middle Ages, knights and kings were thought to have lived in massive castles. It was not a glorious time for Europe. In the 400s the Western Roman Empire was crumbling. Sadly, warriors stormed and seized parts of it. They were not interested in arts or learning so it was called the Dark Ages. Knights and castles did not appear until the late 900s. Peasants worked from sunup to sun down for the noblemen. There were many hardships. Education and the glorious Roman culture were forgotten.

Week 3

The Anglo-Saxons
When the Western Roman Empire fell, the Anglo-Saxons crossed the North Sea. They invaded Britain. Angles settled the southern part of the island. They called it Angleland, which is modern day England. The Angles gave us the English language. Anglo-Saxons brought pagan gods. Woden, who was an Anglo-Saxon god, gave us our word Wednesday. In 598 AD, a monk named Augustine intrepidly came and enthusiastically preached to the Angles. He converted many of them to Christianity. The Anglo-Saxons proudly ruled England until 1066 AD.    

I have not officially started math with Ruben yet. I've been so busy working on the Journey: An Education for Life retreat among other things that I didn't have time to get organized. However, we will begin soon. His Year 7 book list is here

In regard to Morning Time, I need to do some reassessing. You can see our original 2017-2018 plan here. I'm really on the fence about How to Be Your Own Selfish Pig by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay. We're three chapters in and I don't really feel it's applicable at this point. I think I may wait until Riley and Ruben are older and revisit it. I also dropped Idylls of the King by Tennyson this past week, which makes me a little sad. I couldn't find the beat and we were all suffering. However, I may bring this one back when life slows a bit. I think it's an important read and I want my kids to experience it, but with the busyness of life, now may not be the time. 

All things considering, we are off to a good start. I really do look forward to some down time over the next couple of weeks to focus more on our studies. We have also opted to take a semester off from participating in our local homeschool choir. This is bittersweet as it's such a great opportunity. Yet, as mentioned, we really need some down time right now. Riley actually thanked me when I shared our decision to wait until spring. This solidified that it was the right decision for now.

Around the Web

I hadn't been reading blogs or listening to podcasts for about 4-6 weeks prior to the Journey retreat because I didn't want my talks to be skewed by someone else's thinking. However, today, I broke my fast and read a few articles that I really enjoyed....

Will This Curriculum Prepare My Student for College Level Writing? by Lisa Kelly is a commonly asked question. As a matter of fact, I was asked it last Saturday after one of my talks. So many mamas want to know if a CM education really will prepare their kids for the modern world. My answer is there is no better time than the present for a Classical Christian Charlotte Mason education!

I really liked Karen Glass's post on The Perfect Charlotte Mason Curriculum. Again, this was right in line with my first talk last weekend, in which I outlined 5 key ideas of Charlotte's philosophy on education. Personally, Vol. 6, A Philosophy of Education, is my favorite so far, but our CM Study Group is currently reading Vol. 1, Home Educationand it's a close second. 

Have you seen Celeste's Reading Journal? It's beautiful!...and something I've been desiring to begin this year as I read along Riley and Ruben. I actually did something similar for a bible study a couple of years ago, but it became too time consuming so I gave it up. However, I'd like to get back at it this winter. I'll keep you posted on my progress. 

Lastly, I'm working through Richele Baburina's 3-part Physics series at Sabbath Mood Homeschool. I look forward to hearing Richele's ideas. I greatly appreciated her Mathematics guide published by Simply Charlotte Mason

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Reflections on Journey:An Education for Life 2017...

Journey: An Education for Life

I'm still coming down from Journey: An Education for Life. Planning a homeschool retreat is exhausting and fulfilling all at that same time. It was a great day, in spite of 90 degree temps with no AC. There were new friendships forged and old ongoing. I loved seeing mamas relax, regenerate, and rejuvenate. We even had a couple of husbands attend.

The session descriptions and agenda were as follows:

9:00 a.m. Is a Charlotte Mason Inspired Education Relevant Today?: (Melissa Greene) 
The keynote will include a brief introduction to Charlotte Mason. There will be highlights of several key principles of Mason's philosophy as well as what a Charlotte Mason education is not. The talk will close with thoughts to ponder on whether or not a Charlotte Mason inspired education is relevant today.

10:30 a.m. Reflections on a Charlotte Mason Inspired Education: (Gretchen Houchin) Encouragement from a retired homeschool mom with practical examples of what worked and what didn't. The focus will be on high school and older students, but will blend with methods used in the younger years to build the foundation for the upper.

12:00 p.m. Lunch

1:00 p.m. Teaching Through Literature and Living Books: (Melissa Greene) Description and examples of living books, along with practical application on how to use them in your homeschool to cover a variety of subjects. Talk will also include ideas on how to use the methods that underlie Charlotte Mason's principles with traditional and struggling learners. Book lists and suggestions will be shared.

2:30 p.m. Charlotte Mason in Real Life: Courage for the Long Haul: (Cindy Rollins) Find joy in the realities of homeschooling when the romance fades. Thoughts from a veteran mama of nine on what truth, goodness, and beauty look like in real life. Strategies will be given for the long haul.

4:00 p.m. Q & A Panel Discussion: (Cindy Rollins, Gretchen Houchin, and Melissa Greene) All three speakers will come together to answer questions from attendees regarding home education in real life.

We did record the retreat, but I'm still waiting to hear if the audio quality is good enough to share. I can't wait to go back and listen again as there were many administrative duties so I wasn't able to focus on any one talk. However, I received great feedback and would love to do it again next year. Below are a few scenes from before and during the day...



 





We had to limit registration to 50 persons in order to get a seat for everyone. Originally, I was bummed about this. However, having a more intimate group turned out to be lovely on a variety of levels. There was a great deal of networking between participants throughout the day and time to take questions from everyone who asked.


Of course, it was a real treat to meet and work with Cindy Rollins. She was so encouraging and really took time to answer questions and talk with moms about a variety of issues. Both she and Gretchen are beautiful mamas that I'm thankful to have had the opportunity to partner with. I look forward to next year...

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Lessons Learned from a Preschooler....

Dear Mama,

I am a born person. I've been listening to your voice and thinking about what you say since conception. I have thoughts and feelings. I can read your mood and disposition. I have intelligence. Give me ideas and I will make relations.


Please be patient with me. I really don't want to be naughty or annoying. Sometimes, I get hungry, tired, or need your attention and don't know how else to show you. Distractions help me to see there are other ways than throwing a fit. I also need discipline and long for structure. It helps me feel safe.


I love to play outside. I am in awe and wonder of nature. I'm interested in birds and trees. Come, go for a walk with me. Rain, snow, or shine, I want to be out-of-doors. Let's go jump off the dock or in a puddle.


Narration is natural as I really want to tell you about what I see and hear. You don't even have to ask me, I just can't wait to share with you everything I am learning.


Read me a story. This is how I develop my speech, vocabulary, and early reading skills. I love to hear your voice. I don't need a curriculum or any fancy bells and whistles. Just put down your electronic device and look me in the eye. I want to have conversation with you.


Playtime is important. You may have noticed that I act out what I see and hear. I enjoy playing dress-up, being a princess, a cowboy, or a puppy. I like to climb, run, jump. I don't need a jungle gym. God's creation is my playground. I can make swords and guns out of sticks. I love to eat stone soup and best of all I can't wait to pick you a handful of wildflowers.


I really want to be your helper! I want to be just like you so give me little jobs where I can show my skills. I like to measure and pour, sweep and dust. I can even match socks, fold laundry, and put my dirty dishes in the sink. Teach me how to work.


This is how I learn.

Love,
Your Preschooler

Monday, September 11, 2017

Reflections on Mere Motherhood...

Our CM Study Group took a sabbatical from Charlotte's Vol. 1, Home Education, in August to read Mere Motherhood by Cindy Rollins. Cindy will be the guest speaker at the Journey: An Education for Life retreat in a couple of weeks. It was a re-read for a few moms in our group, but a first time read for myself.

Mere Motherhood, is a memoir of sorts. It is Cindy Rollins' story. The story of her life as a mother of nine children and more particularly, a homeschool mother. Rollins writes candidly about her experiences in large family child rearing. At times, I laughed out loud. I consistently found myself nodding, yes, yes, and yes! Mere Motherhood is an easy read with deep thought and profound perspective. Rollins writes about her children as only a mother could. She shares times of trial, fear, failures, and self doubt, as well successes and lessons learned. Through it all, her unwavering faith and love of the Lord are inspirational.

I have many tabs for common place entries in my copy of Mere Motherhood, but will only share a few below that were profound to me...
As homeschooling became more complicated with so many glitches, hardships, and moves, I started streamlining our days. I made sure that we were having Morning Time and that the boys were doing math, a written narration, and reading for two to three hours each day. Housework, farm chores, and the constant stream of farming neighbors who needed a 'boy' for the day helped all this add up to a decent education. p. 62
I am a mother at heart. I build a home, which seems like a place to stay, but really, it is a place to leave. That is the way of it. Children are meant to grow up. I understand that now. Maybe you have yet to come face-to-face with what that means. I hope you will take courage and allow your children to walk away with grace. p. 82

Blogging helped me take notice of my weakness in the area of grammar. My older boys graduated high school comfortable with writing, but they were weak on mechanics. This weakness wasn't a huge deal, as a semester of college English put most of it to rights. At the same time, comfort and ease in writing can never be gained in a single semester. p. 88

Good mothering is not smothering;... p. 113

     Anyone who knows me, knows I tend to think too much. But something happened in my thinking when Andrew Kern said, "The radical pulls the child out of the culture. The conservative tries to weave the child into the culture." Anyone who knows Andrew knows he was speaking about The Odyssey. For the first time, I got a glimpse of why our counter-cultural lifestyle had failed and how there was maybe no such thing as a culture war. To fight against the culture is to commit suicide. We live in this culture. To pretend our children will live in another culture is insanity. But still, I worry about my children. Lately, I have seen evidence of families losing their children's hearts. I have talked to many, many moms grieving for children who have left the faith. Good moms. Good families.
     And then last night, I glanced at a quote from John Senior about destroying the television. We had lived for twenty-five years without a television, and the benefits were evident, and yet I know that now that we have one we cannot get rid of it, nor do I think we should. I wish we 'should' but I know we shouldn't. Knowing I could not change our reality left me deeply depressed for my children.
     Last night, I was reading and praying and in the midst of it I prayed, "My children, Lord, O, my children." Then, today, in a twinkling, God took all my reading and all my thinking and all my praying and showed me something true and something hopeful and maybe even the whole shebang.
     Today, one of my children, an older one visiting for the weekend, was talking to his grandfather on the phone. That is it. I don't know how to explain this, but the second I heard that child, I felt a great peace. That child was rooted. That child may be a sloppy mess sometimes, but he is rooted. That child has a grandfather with whom he talks. And suddenly I know how to handle this cultural tide against which I cannot stand. I do not have to stand against it. I have to make sure we are rooted in real things. I can't fight Facebook, but I can plant a tomato. Every single time I do something that anchors our family to the past and our heritage, I am helping preserve the hearts of my children. I am giving them a lifeline to the good life. We don't have our children for long. We don't have a whole lot of control over their lives or their futures. When we plant our flags on issues, we often win the battle and lose the war. I have not been able to justify losing the war by taking stands on issues, even issues I care deeply about. Love and heritage are good; issues not so much. If my children are tied to our family by love, then all will be well, even if they don't always plant their flags were I have planted mine....
     ...You can't fight your children into the Kingdom. You can pray for them, and you can tell them stories, and you can love them. p. 128-130
Here is what I do know, what I am willing to share with you. There are three things that cover a multitude of sins: reading, reading aloud, and written narration. p. 135 
What I love most about these passages and many more throughout Mere Motherhood, is the grace that shines through. Whether you homeschool or not, as a mama, we all feel anxiety about the responsibility of child rearing at some point. Cindy's veteran perspective provides a real sense of peace. After all, it's not in our hands. God has a plan for each and every one of our children. We simply need to trust...
This is not about having the perfect family or the perfect school. Your success or failure doesn't rest on your perfection, just your faithfulness. p. 160

Saturday, September 2, 2017

2017-2018 Year 8 Curriculum Preview...

Here we are one week in to the 2017-2018 school year! Today, I'm sharing Riley's Year 8 book choices. Many of these choices were based on Ambleside Online Year 7 in conjunction with Beautiful Feet's Medieval History. In addition, you can find our full Morning Time plan here.

Bible - Character/Citizenship
Ambleside Online Year 7 Through the Bible Reading Plan
Continue copying Psalms in Do you Journible?
How to Be Your Own Selfish Pig by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay (Morning Time)
The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer (Morning Time)
The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges (Morning Time)
Ourselves by Charlotte Mason (Morning Time)


History - Medieval, Renaissance, & Reformation
Combination of resources including:
Beautiful Feet Medieval History Intermediate
In the Days of Alfred the Great by Eva March Tappan
In Freedom's Cause by G. A. Henty
The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
The Story of the Middle Ages by H. A. Guerber
The Story of the Renaissance and Reformation by H. A. Guerber


Geography
The Brendan Voyage by Tim Severin (Morning Time)
How the Heather Looks by Joan Bodger (Morning Time)

Economics & Government
Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? by Richard Maybury (Morning Time)

Natural History
Lay of the Land by Dallas Lore Sharp

Science
Eric Sloane's Weather Book by Eric Sloane
Social Life of Insects by Jean Henri Fabre
The Wonder Book of Chemistry by Jean Henri Fabre
First Studies in Plant Life by George Francis Atkinson
Adventures with a Microscope by Richard Headstrom
Signs & Seasons by Jay Ryan
Great Astronomers by R. S. Ball
Secrets of the Universe by Paul Fleisher
The Mystery of the Periodic Table by Wiker and Bendick (Morning Time)
The Elements by Theodore Gray (Morning Time)

Literature
The History of English Literature for Boys and Girls by H. E. Marshall
The Once and Future King by T. H. White
Watership Down by Richard Adams
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain

Poetry
Idylls of the King by Tennyson (Morning Time)
The Oxford Book of English Verse chosen and edited by Arthur Quiller-Couch
Alfred Lord Tennyson - various poems
John Keats - various poems

Shakespeare
Macbeth (Morning Time)

Grammar
Easy Grammar 8 - continue from last year

Penmanship
Prescripts Cursive Passages and Illuminations: Poetry

Composition
Narration
May begin Lost Tools of Writing ??

Spelling
IEW Phonetic Zoo - continue from last year

Math
Lial's PreAlgebra - online


Logic
How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler (Morning Time)

Art
Weekly drawing lesssons
Outsourced art class through local homeschool group
The History of Painting by H. W. Janson (Morning Time)

Music
Soli Deo Gloria - local homeschool choir

Friday, September 1, 2017

2017-2018 Year 7 Curriculum Preview....


We are back to school here in Drywood Creek. With one week down, here is Ruben's Year 7 curriculum:

Bible - Character/Citizenship
Ambleside Online Year 6 Through the Bible Reading Plan
How to Be Your Own Selfish Pig by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay (Morning Time)
The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer (Morning Time)
The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges (Morning Time)
Ourselves by Charlotte Mason (Morning Time)

History - Medieval, Renaissance, & Reformation
Combination of resources drawn from the following:
Beautiful Feet Medieval History Intermediate
Famous Men of the Middle Ages by Greenleaf Press
Famous Men of the Renaissance & Reformation by Greenleaf Press
Simply Charlotte Mason Middle Ages, Renaissance, Reformation, & Epistles
TruthQuest History
What in the World? Vol 2 Middle Ages: Romans, Reformers, Revolutionaries by Diana Waring (audio)

Geography
The Brendan Voyage by Tim Severin (Morning Time)
How the Heather Looks by Joan Bodger (Morning Time)

Economics & Government
Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? by Richard Maybury (Morning Time)

Natural History
Secrets of the Woods by Willliam Long
School of the Woods by William Long

Science
Signs & Seasons by Jay Ryan
Secrets of the Universe by Paul Fleisher
The Mystery of the Periodic Table by Wiker and Bendick (Morning Time)
The Elements by Theodore Gray (Morning Time)

Literature
Beowulf by Michael Morpurgo
1001 Arabian Nights by Geraldine McCaughrean
The Legend of King Arthur by Roger Lancelyn Green
The King's Shadow by Elizabeth Alder
Otto of the Silver Hand by Howard Pyle
Robin Hood by J. Walker McSpadden
Marco Polo by Demi
The Kite Rider by Geraldine McCaughrean
Crispin: The Cross of Lead by AVI
Watership Down by Richard Adams
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain

Poetry
Idylls of the King by Tennyson (Morning Time)
Pied Piper of Hamelin
Misc. poetry

Shakespeare
Macbeth (Morning Time)

Grammar
Winston Grammar

Penmanship
Let's Write and Spell by Mary and Warren Johnson

Composition
IEW Medieval History-Based Writing Lessons
Narration

Math
Combination of misc. resources

Logic
How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler (Morning Time)

Art
Weekly drawing lesssons
Outsourced art class through local homeschool group
The History of Painting by H. W. Janson (Morning Time)

Music
Soli Deo Gloria - local homeschool choir

You can find our full Morning Time plan for Term 1 here

Thursday, August 31, 2017

2017-2018 Curriculum Preview - Morning Time...


We started school this week. I'm still working out the bugs, but after a one year hiatus from Morning Time, I knew I had to bring it back. I really missed our time together, reading and discussing various books and topics.

Given the fact that Riley and Ruben are only one grade apart, I'd always done the bulk of their school together in K-6th grade. However, last year, Riley asked to be separated as she wanted to gain more independence in her studies. Although, I definitely saw growth with both she and Ruben, all year, I felt like something was missing. When planning this year, I wanted to find a way to give them space for continued individual growth and yet bring them back for some joint discussion.  Eventually, I figured out if I included Morning Time once again with a few common books, yet maintained their individual schedules for most subjects, I could gain the compromise I was looking for.

It was a bit of a trick figuring out which books to include. However, spending the summer studying Ambleside Online's Year 7, I came to some conclusions. I decided to keep Riley and Ruben in the same time period in history with different books. They have individual math and language arts. Riley is doing AO Year 7 Science as written, whereas Ruben is using a mix of science resources. They also have separate bible reading plans. Over and above this handful of core subjects, I put most of the rest of the books in our Morning Time. The first term looks something like this:

Day One
How to Be Your Own Selfish Pig by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
The Mystery of the Periodic Table by Wiker and Bendick, alternated with The Elements by Theodore Gray as scheduled in AO Year 6
Idylls of the King by Tennyson

Day Two
Ourselves by Charlotte Mason
How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler
The Story of Painting by H. W. Janson
Idylls of the King by Tennyson

Day Three
The Brendan Voyage by Tim Severin
Whatever Happened to Penny Candy by Richard Maybury
Idylls of the King by Tennyson

We tried the above schedule this week. Some of the books were a hit and some not so much. I can already see a few adjustments that need to be made. I'm considering moving a couple of books back to Riley's individual schedule as I am not sure if Ruben is quite ready for them. In addition, my niece is schooling with us this year and most of the books were a real stretch for her. She's in 6th grade, but hasn't been raised on living books and classic lit. I may even omit a couple and use them at a later time. I would also like to add some sort of health book, possibly drawing lessons, and memorization/recitation, as well as Shakepeare. I'm still thinking this all through.

Overall, I'm glad I brought Morning Time back to our homeschool. Levi participated two out of the three days. The kids colored while I read aloud. He did fairly well. Have you kicked off your school year? Do you incorporate Morning Time? If so, I'd love to hear about it, particularly if you're using Morning Time with middle and high schoolers. Feel free to share in the comments below.

Friday, August 25, 2017

2017-2018 Curriculum Preview - IEW Themed Based Writing Lessons and Literature....

I'm trying a new approach this year for writing with my Year 7 child. I'll be using Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) Medieval History-Based Writing Lessons with Ruben. I don't typically use writing curriculum. Our children simply narrate. Beginning orally and transitioning to written. However, Ruben has a bit of trouble getting started. We briefly tried Writing & Rhetoric by Classical Academic Press for a term last year unsuccessfully. I then pulled my dusty IEW Level B off the shelf and tried it.

IEW is something I collected years ago after completing a seminar with a local homeschool group, watching the Teaching Writing: Structure and Style together. Once I learned the method, I dabbled in it with our high school graduate, but didn't stick with it as she was a fine narrator and I didn't see the need. I have since heard many success stories of people using IEW with their dyslexic kiddos. Ruben and I had the pleasure of meeting and hearing Mr. Pudewa speak at the CiRCE Regional Conference back in January. Ruben enjoyed Mr. Pudewa immensely so I thought maybe I'd give IEW another try.

We completed several lessons of IEW Level B in the spring. Ruben bought into it and enjoyed writing as much as he could. Having dysgraphia, writing has been a consistent struggle alongside reading. However, while using IEW Level B, I saw growth. This was very encouraging. I want to continue. Since we are studying Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation this year for history, I decided to try the IEW Themed Based Lessons for this time period.

The Theme Based Lessons come with a Teacher's Manual and Student Book. The Teacher's Manual includes the lesson pages from the Student Book, along with teaching notes, sample key word outlines, answers to questions and vocabulary quizzes, as well as ideas for motivating the student. There are 30 lessons. It is suggested that one lesson will take approx. one week at 4 days per week. However, a few may take 2 weeks. I'm not as concerned about timing of a lesson as much as whether Ruben is understanding the material and showing continued growth in his writing. In addition, the Student Book contains vocabulary cards to accompany the writing lessons. However, I'm undecided as to whether or now we'll use these, as Ruben's vocabulary is very strong. I attribute this to years of classic book and literature read alouds.

Something that I really like about the Medieval Theme Based Lessons is the suggested literature list. In the scope and sequence, Lori Verstegen, the author, has included a list of titles to accompany the writing study. The suggested books look wonderful and many of them are the same books used in BF's Medieval History Intermediate study, which means Riley and Ruben will be reading many of the same titles.


The suggested books are:

Beowulf by Michael Morpurgo
1001 Arabian Nights by Geraldine McCaughrean
The Legend of King Arthur by Roger Lancelyn Green
The King's Shadow by Elizabeth Alder
Otto of the Silver Hand by Howard Pyle
Robin Hood by J. Walker McSpadden
Marco Polo by Demi
The Kite Rider by Geraldine McCaughrean
Crispin: The Cross of Lead by AVI

These will be Ruben's literature books for the year. I will throw in a few other history titles and that will be covered as well. So there you have it, our writing, literature, and history base for Ruben's Year 7!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

2017-2018 Curriculum Preview - Beautiful Feet Medieval...


It's that time of year, where I start posting our back to school plans for the 2017-2018 academic year. Once again, RileyAnn will be using an Intermediate level of Beautiful Feet for her history. This year, she'll study from the BF Medieval History guide. One of my older daughters actually completed this same guide a few years back, but it was the original brown cover, comb bound guide. She really enjoyed it at the time. However, Beautiful Feet has since revised the guide, which is what Riley will use. The new guide includes the following books:

Beowulf by Michael Morpurgo
King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table by Roger Lancelyn Green
One Thousand and One Arabian Nights by Geraldine McCaughrean
Queen Eleanor, Independent Spirit of the Medieval World by Polly Schoyer Brooks
The Adventures of Robin Hood by Roger Lancelyn Green
Magna Charta by James Daugherty
Cathedral by David Macaulay
Castle by David Macaulay
The Kite Rider by Geraldine McCaughrean
Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Gray
Morning Star of the Reformation by Andy Thompson
Crispin and the Cross of Lead by AVI
Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, adapted by Barbara Cohen
Joan of Arc, Warrior Saint by Jay Williams
Fine Print, A Story of Johann Gutenberg by Joann Birch
The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly
The World of Columbus and Sons by Genevieve Foster
The European World, 400-1450 by Barbara A. Hanawalt

Doesn't that look like a delicious list!?! Ruben and I will be reading many of the same titles this year as part of his history and lit, of which I'm really looking forward to.

This BF guide holds 35 weekly lessons, which includes suggestions for the student to complete a portfolio of their work. This portfolio could include such things as reports, illustrations, poems, illuminated manuscripts, and other projects the student completes. There are also vocabulary lists, mapping and geography assignments, comprehension and discussion questions, which could be used for narration prompts, suggested websites to enhance the study, a time line, hands on activities, and additional suggested titles to read in order to further the study if the student desires. It is not recommended that you do everything in the BF guide and we won't! I'll be sitting down over the next couple of days to solidify Riley's plan and highlight the lessons I wish her to complete. I'll be posting her full list of curriculum for the 2017-2018 year here soon, so stay tuned!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Reflections on Home Education - Part IV....

Charlotte continued Part IV of Vol. 1, Home Education with further discussion of habit training. You may remember she began writing about habit training in Part III, of which I wrote much in Post 1 and Post 2. Early on in Part IV Charlotte advocates for habit training in order to make life easier for mother, saying...
...habit....falls in with our natural love of an easy life.
-AND- 
The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days; while she who lets their habits take care of themselves has a weary life of endless friction with the children.  All day she is crying out, 'Do this!' and they do it not; 'Do that!' and they do the other. (p. 136)
Shortly thereafter, Charlotte acknowledges the difficult task of habit training and basically encourages us to put one foot in front of the other, one step at a time.  She says mother must acquire the habit of habit training so that it becomes not a burden, but rather pleasurable. Also, if we are performing habits ourselves because they are delightful and we value the results, then our children will pick up these habits upon observation and share in our delight.

You may also remember at the end of Part III, Charlotte wrote about "Infant Habits', or those that are easily taught at a young age to children learning to mimic mother in the home. Those infant habits being order, regularity, and neatness, which a child would obtain by example, through having a daily schedule or routine, including regular meal times, bath time, and bedtime. Also, in abiding by the rule of everything has a place or EHAP, which makes for a tidy home, picked up at the end of the day. In Part IV, Charlotte adds a few must have habits...
We have already considered a group of half-physical habits - order, regularity, neatness - which the child imbibes, so to speak, in this way. But this is not all: habits of gentleness, courtesy, kindness, candour, respect for other people, or - habits quite other than these, are inspired by the child as the very atmosphere of his home, the air he lives in and must grow by. (p. 137)
Next, Charlotte writes about mental habits, including the habit of attention, application, thinking, imagining, remembering, perfect execution, obedience, and truthfulness. She tells us that even children who have been trained in infant habits, can have difficulty transitioning to mental habits in the school room.
Even the child who has gained the habit of attention to things, finds words a weariness. (p. 141)
Habit training also falls under Charlotte's principle of Education is a Discipline, in which she is referring to the importance of instilling good habits in our children.

Habit of Attention

What is it?
Attention is hardly even an operation of the mind, but is simply the act by which the whole mental force is applied to the subject in hand.  (p. 145)
Why is it important?
First, we put the habit of Attention, because the highest intellectual gifts depend for their value upon the measure in which their owner has cultivated the habit of attention. (p. 137)
How do we obtain it?
In the first place, never let the child dawdle over copybook or sum, sit dreaming with his books before him. When a child grows stupid over a lesson, it is time to put it away. Let him do another lesson as unlike the last as possible, and then to go back with freshened wits to his unfinished task. (p. 141)
I have written much about the methods used in Charlotte's schools in regard to the habit of attention, namely in a post titled, Do You Really Know Charlotte Mason?..., which you can find here, so for the sake of this post becoming extremely lengthy, I will not re-write those methods outlined in Part IV.  One thing I missed in that post and picked up this time around was Charlotte's mention of the importance of a schedule for the student.
In the first place, there is a time-table, written out fairly, so that the child knows what he has to do and how long each lesson is to last. This idea of definite work to be finished in a given time is valuable to the child, not only as training him in habits of order, but in diligence; he learns that one time is not 'as good as another'; that there is no right time left for what is not done in its own time; and this knowledge alone does a great deal to secure the child's attention to this work. (p. 142)
Oh, how true this is! For years, I held Ruben's schedule, doling out one subject at a time. He would constantly ask questions like, "How much longer?", and "What do we have left?", which quickly grew to be an annoyance. Last year, I used a spiral bound notebook, giving him daily assignments all at once. What a game changer! Not only did the annoying questions stop, but he also gained greater independence. I saw the beginning signs of ownership. In addition, it greatly improved the habit of orderliness. Giving the child a schedule or at the least, allowing him to see the time-table, is very important!

Under this section, Charlotte also writes about the importance and effect of natural rewards and consequences. She talks about emulation and the negative effects of affection as motivation, which can lead to manipulation. Charlotte points out that the habit of attention goes hand in hand with maturity, stating...
....attention is, to a great extent, the product of an educated mind. (p. 145)
Lastly, in the section Habit of Attention, Charlotte shares some cautions and reasons for the development of inattention. These being over pressure and a lesson being too difficult for the child.

Habits of Application
Aim steadily at securing quickness of apprehension and execution...(p. 149)
.....steady, untiring application to work should be held up as honourable, while fitful, flagging attention and effort are scouted. (p. 150)
Habit of Thinking

What is thinking?
....let us mean a real conscious effort of mind, and not the fancies that flit without effort through the brain. (p. 150)
Here Charlotte gives an example from Archbishop Thompson in his work, Laws of Thought, which demonstrates the teaching of cause/effect and compare/contrast.  Charlotte states this type of teaching should be an important part of every school lesson.

Habit of Imagining

Charlotte writes briefly about the importance of alternating the lessons. In particular referring to a specific type of children's literature, stating that a little non-sense reading is all right, but too much is a pity when there's so much better out there, like tales and heroic adventures.
"They must have 'funny books', but do not give the children too much nonsense-reading," (p. 152)
"But let them have tales of the imagination, scenes laid in other lands and other times, heroic adventures, hairbreadth escapes, delicious fairy tales in which they never roughly pulled up by the impossible - even where all is impossible, and they know it, and yet believe." (p. 152)
Along with imagining, Charlotte closes this section with thinking, which she states comes by practice.
....thinking, like writing or skating, comes by practice. The child who never has thought, never does think, and probably never will think... (p. 153)
The child must think, get at the reason-why of things for himself, every day of his life, and more each day than the day before. (p. 154) 
Charlotte further advises that in order to aid in the child thinking, instead of waiting for the child to ask "why", the parents should ask "why". Then allow the child to ponder and think.

Habit of Remembering

Here, I will let Charlotte speak because there's so much goodness...
Much of what we have learned and experienced in childhood, and later, we cannot reproduce, and yet it has formed the groundwork of after-knowledge; later notions and opinions have grown out of what we once learned and knew. (p. 154)
 ...give an instants undivided attention to anything whatsoever, and that thing will be remembered. (p. 156)
But it is not enough to have a recollection flash across one incidentally; we want to have the power of recalling at will: and for this, something more is necessary than an occasional act of attention producing a solitary impression. (p. 157)
Let every lesson gain the child's entire attention, and let each new lesson be so interlaced with the last that the one must recall the other; that, again, recalls the one before it, and so on to the beginning. (p. 158) 
To secure such a record, there must be time; time for that full gaze of the mind we call attention, and for the growth of the brain tissue to the new idea. (p. 158) 
...to secure right-of-way to that record...imprinted on her brain, the path should have been kept open by frequent goings and comings. (p. 158)
To acquire any knowledge or power whatsoever, and then to leave it to grow rusty in a neglected corner of the brain, is practically useless. Where there is no chain of association to draw the bucket out of the well, it is all the same as if there were no water. (p. 158)
The link between any two things must be found in the nature of the things associated. (p. 159)  
Habit of Perfect Execution

In regard to perfect execution, Charlotte writes about the people of her own country being guilty of letting their children perform slipshod work under the notion that they will eventually improve. However, she states this about the Germans and French...
....know that if the children get the habit of turning out imperfect work, the men and women will undoubtedly keep that habit up. (p. 159)
This is why she says...
No work should be given to a child that he cannot execute perfectly, and then perfection should be required of him as a matter of course.  
She closes this section by writing about the importance of finishing what you start.
The child should rarely be allowed to set his hand to a new undertaking until the last is finished. (p. 160)
Habit of Obedience

According to Charlotte, the whole duty of a child is obedience, which is also the whole duty of man. God not only calls children to obey their parents, but he calls us to obey Him. She says, parents are the appointed agents to train up the child. The habit of obedience should be taught from birth. It must be a gradual building up and cannot be militant or bullied. If a child is always taught to obey, the child will always obey. In order to do this, mothers must be diligent and have follow through.
To secure this habit of obedience, the mother must exercise great self-restraint; she must never give a command which she does not intend to see csarried out of the full. And she must not lay upon her children burdens, grievious to be borne, of command heaped upon command. (p. 164)
Charlotte further states, that children trained in obedience should be given liberty to learn how to direct their own actions. I don't know about you, but I sure wish I could have a do over.

Habit of Truthfulness

There are three ways to be untruthful and all are vicious, says Charlotte.

1. Carelessness in ascertaining the truth
2. Carelessness in stating the truth
3. Deliberate intention to deceive.

However, children can be allowed the first two occasionally, but absolutely not the third. It is important for mothers to train their children in the accuracy of statement in order to avoid the first two if possible, as exaggeration and embellishments do tempt children. Again, mothers must be reverent in their duty.

Charlotte says children are not born with tempers, but rather tendencies and parents have the ability to train it out of them.
The root of evil, is not that these people were born sullen, or peevish, or envious - that might have been mended; but that they were permitted to grow up in these dispositions. (p. 167)
It is the force of habit that tendency becomes a temper; and it rests with the mother to hinder the formation of ill tempers, to force that of good tempers. (p.167)
Parents can change the child's thoughts before a bad temper has time to develop and become a rut by taking them outside or distracting them with a given task.

There is so much wisdom in Home Education! I wish I had read it before I had children or when they were younger, but one cannot wish for time that has past. I must simply move forward with this knowledge. How have you applied Charlotte's ideas to older children? How have you attempted to reverse bad habits, now that you have gained wisdom? I'd love to hear your ideas. Please feel free to share and open up discussion in the comments below.