Saturday, April 29, 2017

Weekly Reflections - Week Thirty-One...


At Home

Look at those puppies! They are growing like weeds...naughty though they are. They are in the ripping up the patio cushion stage. It's kind of like kids, it's a good thing they're cute ;-)

It was a good, but busy week here on Drywood Creek. That's typical for spring. We lost a couple days of 'school' to life. There was dentist appointments, choir, and thrift sales...'tis the season :)  This is the time of year I make clothing purchases for our family for the upcoming year. I scour various neighborhood thrift sales buying the next sizes. It's fun, but a bit tiring.

As we whittle down our weeks of the 2016-2017 school year, the kids are finishing many books. I purposely schedule this way, knowing how crazy busy spring is. We don't take many breaks throughout the year in order to wind down early in the spring. It allows us to finish our academics in approximately three day weeks so there's time for other life events and to get outside. Winter in Wisconsin can be a bear so as soon as the snow melts and the thermometer is regularly above freezing, everybody wants to be outside!

Riley and Ruben both finished their outsourced art class last week and Riley will finish choir next week, just in time for softball to start.

Around the Web

Being outside and away from home, hasn't afforded me as much time on the computer, which is OK. However, I have a couple of things I want to share.

I've been looking at Nicole Williams Forms 3-4 Science Curriculum and would love to hear feedback from any of you who've used it.

I've also been studying Ambleside Online Year 7 and Year 8 schedules trying to plan for the upcoming year. I just realized they have some combination upper year schedules allowing you to do six years of Ambleside Online in five years by combining Years 7, 8, 9 in two years. I have been thinking about combining Years 7 and 8 since this covers the time period I'm aiming to study in the fall. I'll be playing around with schedules over the next couple of months.

This week, I listened to Amusing Ourselves to Leisure and mentally noted a couple of interesting thoughts, but plan to go back to make written notes. I find myself doing this more often than not. I listen to the podcast while working around the house, then go back and listen a second time, when I'm able to jot things down. It's helping me make connections.

I also listened to The Mason Jar #15: Jan Bloom of Books Bloom. I was able to shop at Jan's booth at the Great Homeschool Convention last week, which is where I acquired my new to me copy of Better Late Than Early. During the podcast, I learned a little more about the Landmark book series. We've been collecting Landmarks for years and highly recommend them. But, I didn't realize how Random House chose authors and assigned them topics to write about....interesting!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Reflections on the Great Homeschool Convention, Part 2....


Monday, I shared a few notes from the Great Homeschool Convention talks I attended. Today, I'm sharing some of the resources I purchased for our home library.


I love the vendor exhibit hall! It's my favorite part of going to a conference. However, over the years, I have greatly changed the way I view the vendor hall. In the beginning, I was tempted by shiny book covers, the smell of a new binding, and the flip of fresh pages. I was quick to jump at purchasing, eager to go home and try the latest and greatest, only to become frustrated and burned out when my attempt to recreate school at home failed. Thankfully, for my children's sake, and my own, over the years, I've become more wise.

I now use the exhibit hall to pare down and cull. Instead of jumping at the latest and greatest, I create a wide list of possibilities ahead of time. I then map the vendor hall to find specific vendors that sell things on my list. Even though most companies offer sample pages online, I really prefer to page through the entire book in person. I've gotten pretty good at knowing whether or not a book/program will work for my kiddos simply by flipping through it and taking a few minutes to skim around. By using this method, I've been able to cross more things off my list, than I actually purchase to bring home.

This year, at the GHC, some purchases I did make were the Dover Life in a Medieval Castle and Village coloring book for Ruben to color as I read aloud in the fall. We are heading into the Middle Ages/Renaissance/Reformation so I think it will be a good fit. I also bought A is for Art by Lanaya Gore for Levi. This beautiful picture book, sold by Simply Charlotte Mason, was the splurge I couldn't resist. Next, I purchased The Space Between, A Guide to the Iliad, as well as pre-ordered The Journey Home, A Guide to Homer's Odyssey, both by the CiRCE Institute. We will most likely not be using these next year. However, the conference pricing was too good to be true so I purchased them now, knowing we will use them in the future.

The following are a list of titles that I purchased for our home library and am considering for future studies:

Eusebius, The Church History by Paul L. Maier
A Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare (Oxford School Shakespeare)
The Heidelberg Catechism by G. I. Williamson
Josephus, The Essential Writings by Paul. L. Maier
The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers
The New Foxe's Book of Martyrs by John Foxe
A Castle with Many Rooms by Lorene Lambert (Simply Charlotte Mason)
Winning His Spurs by G. A. Henty
The Dragon and the Raven by G. A. Henty
Confessions by Saint Augustine
Ecclesiastical History of the English People by Bede
On the Incarnation by St. Athanasius
The Rule of St. Benedict in English, edited by Timothy Fry

Lastly, for mother culture, I purchased Beauty in the Word by Stratford Caldecott, Why Freshman Fail - and How to Avoid It! by Dr. Carol Reynolds, and Better Late Than Early by Raymond and Dorothy Moore. Also, I'm waiting excitedly for Old Western Culture: Romans, Aeneid by Roman Roads Media to arrive. I plan to take this course to test the water, you might say, for possible future use of the Old Western Culture courses in our homeschool high school. I will definitely be blogging through my study, so stay tuned!

While in Cincinnati, Riley and I did venture a few blocks one evening for dinner. Fountain Square was beautiful with green leaves and flowers in bloom. Something that is still a few weeks away here in WI.



Best of all, was arriving home and waking to Levi's snuggles. He was excited about his new GHC souvenirs. The red super hero cape, compliments of Memoria Press, is too cute as he runs around the house aiming to save the world that he holds in his hands :)


Monday, April 24, 2017

Reflections on the Great Homeschool Convention, Part 1....

Riley and I arrived home around midnight Saturday from the Great Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati, OH. The conference was fabulous and oh, so encouraging! However, at nine hours with a time change, it's a long hard drive and of course, there's no place like home. It was such a joy to see The Farmer and the boys, to cook my own food, and even wipe down kitchen counters and do laundry. I'm amazed at how much the mundane becomes a joy after a little respite. Last night was my first full night in my own bed and today, I'm so glad we had a blank box on the calendar as we get back in the routine. Since Saturday, I even had a bit of time to reflect and look back on my notes, of which, I thought I would share with you some snippets...

Classical Education Unplugged (Andrew Kern, Martin Cothran, Christopher Perrin, and Carol Reynolds - panel discussion)

Kern - Classical education with quest for wisdom and virtue includes everything; classical includes vocational; vocational does not include classical and is utilitarian

Kern - Algebra is logic

Cothran - nature study is science until middle school, then around 8th-9th grade begin formal sciences

Classical Literature for Children (Rea Berg)

The Power of Story
- books provide cultural literacy
- good books help to make a civil society
- they break cultural myopia
- development of moral imagination leads to empathy and compassion; helps to avoid narcissism
- opens our hearts to truth, beauty, and grace

Why College Freshman Fail (Dr. Carol Reynolds)

based on her book by same title - Dr. Reynolds gave seven top reasons why many college freshman fail
- only 59% actually pass and obtain a bachelor's degree

Charlotte Mason Meets Plato: Restoring the Joy of Education in Your Home (Rea Berg)

What is the purpose of education?
Plato - to create philosopher kings
Charlotte Mason - education is a life

Are we mere products of 21st century American notions of what qualifies as education?

The Tradition of Schole: How Christians Pursued Restful Learning Through the Ages and How to Recover It (Dr. Christopher Perrin)

Schole is undistracted time to study things that are worth while.

There are some things about ancient beliefs that we have to throw out. They didn't have the Gospels.

monasticism - the way schole is transformed, fulfilled and extended by the Gospels

Why Memory and Imitation are a Student's Most Important Skills (Andrew Kern)

There are 4 God given faculties or abilities - just focus on these
- Attention
- Memory
- Imitation
- Harmony

We think in order to find harmony. As long as we have hope of achieving harmony, we keep thinking. If not, we stop.

Being transformed is an act of imitation.

Remember that your child is a human being!

Memorization is OK, as long as you know the story. (why behind the how)

Blood and Morality: The Tradition of Adventure Writing for Boys (Martin Cothran)

based on The Dangerous Article for Boys

We need to see literature as an end, not a means to an end!

Why Children Must Play to Learn (Dr. Christopher Perrin)

What makes for a great engineer?
- play that's self-motivating; done for its own sake; is voluntary; is inherently attractive; includes freedom and time, diminished conscientiousness of self, and improvisational continuing desire

Our play history has some bearing on who we become as adults

There is a play deficit. We don't do enough.

A little non-productivity can make us more productive.

Why Play?
- prepares us for an uncertain world (rehearsal); teaches collaboration, sound judgment, mastery, renovation/recreation, innovation, and delight

The opposite of play is not work; it's depression.

referenced: The 5 Best Toys of All Time

Ancient History through Literature: From Pyramids, Pharaohs, and Philistines to Perspective and Purpose (Rea Berg)

Our goal and mission is to expose our children to the best that has been thought and said.

History had been studied through literature and stories until 19th century, now it's a science.
To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. - Cicero
Inspire your children to love learning and they will be life time learners!

There was so much inspiration, I bought the entire Great Homeschool Convention on audio and can't wait to go back and listen again to several talks, plus others that I didn't get to hear! Rea Berg was Riley's favorite and mine. I also really loved Dr. Christopher Perrin's talk on Why Children Must Play to Learn.

Later in the week, I'll share some of my conference purchases, which will give you a sneak peek into our 2017-2018 academic plan.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Prepping for GHC Through Simplification...


Riley and I are off to the Great Homeschool Convention. For the past couple of weeks, I've been making my lists and checking them twice. I now have ten years of home educating under my belt. Over those years, I have come to know what I like and what I don't. More recently, the art of simplification has been on my heart.

Due to my new less is more thinking, I aim to be intentional upon our arrival. I have mapped my course. After all, the vendor hall is my favorite place to be. I'm like a kid in a candy store. However, it can quickly turn into a bellyache if one is unprepared and overindulges.

After making my lists, I checked our book shelves. I actually found two books on my list that I forgot I had. I'm on a very limited budget and therefore, can't afford unnecessary purchases.  I then priced my list on a variety of sites including Rainbow Resource, Christian Book, Amazon, as well as other various curriculum vendors. I know there will be conference discounts, free shipping, and other incentives, by knowing my prices ahead of time, I'm able to take these factors into consideration and get the most bang for my buck.

I have also printed a list of speakers and the workshop schedule. Since we have about a nine hour drive, I will have time to choose my sessions while enroute. In addition, I plan to buy the conference audio. That way, I don't have to feel stressed about choosing just the right workshops ahead of time because it's inevitable that more than one person on my list will be speaking at the same time. I also like owning the conference audio so I can find added encouragement throughout the year.

Back when I was only five years in, I wrote Prepping for a Homeschool Convention. Much is the same today.  I will be wearing comfortable clothing and shoes, as well as bringing plenty of water along to stay hydrated. I look forward to one on one time with Riley as well as what the Great Homeschool Convention has to offer!

Hey, if you see me at the conference, please say hello. I love to meet fellow home educating Charlotte Mason, Classical Education thinkers :)

Monday, April 17, 2017

Augustus Caesar's World....


As part of Ruben's Updated Rome Study, I finished reading aloud Augustus Caesar's World by Genevieve Foster. It was my first book in Foster's World series. Riley read it on her own. She and I enjoyed it. Ruben did not.

I mentioned in a previous post that I more or less scrapped Heart of Dakota's Creation to Christ history and decided to end the year with Beautiful Feet's Ancient History. I wanted to try a test run to see how Ruben might handle Beautiful Feet's Medieval History study, which I'm contemplating for next year.

Some of the suggested BF readings for Augustus Caesar's World were a bit long for Ruben. I did break the lessons into two days to try to spread the reading out. Riley's been using BF's Ancient History study independently this year. She did not feel the readings were long. Riley read most of them in one day, then completed her notebooking assignments the next, also spreading each lesson over two days, but a little differently than what I did with Ruben.

Augustus Caesar's World tells what is happening around the world in the life and times of Augustus Caesar. Riley read Abraham Lincoln's World, also by Foster, in 5th grade, but enjoyed Augustus Caesar's World more. She made an interesting statement to me in regard to the Roman Empire being most of the known world in Augustus' time vs. Lincoln's world consisting of multiple continents and him not being the ruler of all nations. Based on this, she found Augustus Caesar's World more interesting. I wonder if it was really content or rather reading Augustus Caesar's World in 7th grade vs. reading Abraham Lincoln's World in 5th grade that had anything to do with her interest. Foster's books are very meaty and may be more appropriate for that middle to high school level. Since Augustus Caesar's World was my first read in this series, I have nothing to compare it to.

There were many interesting facts throughout Augustus Caesar's World that I didn't know or hadn't heard before. Although, Foster's final paragraph at the end of the book really made the greatest impression on me...
And so out of this world of the Caesars came another story of the triumph of life and courage over fear and death, a triumph seen anew in every spring that follows winter and with the rising of the sun each day.  (Augustus Caesar's World by Genevieve Foster, p. 325)
I appreciated the fact that Foster included Jesus' history and biblical passages in her world history. One thing I wondered about was why she skipped writing about the medieval world. Foster covers ancient history with Augustus Caesar's World and then jumps to The World of Columbus and Sons. From Columbus to the time of her death, she covered most of American history between her World series and her Initial Biography series. Birthdays of Freedom does include some highlights from the time between Caesar and Columbus, but I don't know of any other work by Foster that goes more in depth on that time period.

As mentioned above, the kids did notebook through their reading of Augustus Caesar's World. Albeit, they did have slightly different notebooking assignments. Riley followed the BF guide most closely. Whereas, I did modify some of the notebook assignments for Ruben.

If you've ever read or looked at a book in Foster's World series, you know that there are illustrated two page spreads throughout that serve as sort of a timeline. The books are usually divided into parts and at the beginning of each part, Foster lays out some of the characters with dates and times that she references throughout her writing. Ruben really enjoys coloring while I read aloud so I photocopied these two page illustrated spreads from Augustus Caesar's World. He colored them and pasted them in his notebook. The purpose of this was two-fold in that it helped him to have a visual timeline of characters and dates for reference while I was reading, as well as occupying his hands in a quiet activity that aided in his listening. I am including sample notebook pages from each of the children's notebooks below.

Overall, Augustus Caesar's World is a wonderful book! I think it's a must read for this time period. This must be why it's not only used by Beautiful Feet, but by so many others, including, Ambleside Online in Year 6, Simply Charlotte Mason, Sonlight, TruthQuest History, and Veritas Press to name a few.








Saturday, April 15, 2017

Weekly Reflections - Week Thirty...


At Home

We had an inch or less of snow predicted, so when we woke to over 6" Tuesday morning, it was a bit of a surprise. Thankfully, it didn't last...and it left the grass a beautiful lush green when it melted.

We had a pretty regular week in our homeschool. I finished reading aloud Augustus Caesar's World and have a post ready to go for Monday regarding that. We have since moved on to The Bronze Bow, which we are all loving! We have a break week scheduled for next week as Riley and I are heading to the Great Homeschool Convention. I'll be prepping for the trip in between Easter celebrations this weekend.

Riley, Ruben, and I participated in a Seder Supper at church Thursday evening. This was our second time participating and we invited my dad along this year. Our church hosts the event every other year on Maundy Thursday. We are not Jewish, but I love the historical significance and partaking in a biblical feast. I also think it's a great experience for the kids.

Around the Web

Sonya Shafer wrote a great post on Nature Study and Science: Is There a Difference? I've heard this question asked before and feel her answer is spot on.

I've been on a Greta Eskridge kick this week as I listened to Inspiring a Love of Nature Through Books and Inspiring Parents in Children's Literature at the Read Aloud Revival. I was very intrigued by her idea of nature journaling through literature! Of course, I don't feel this is a replacement for actually getting out in nature, but I think it's certainly an adequate supplement, particularly to study nature outside your region. For example, Wisconsin is about as far from any ocean as you can get, so reading a book like Pagoo by Holling C. Holling and nature journaling through it to learn about tide pools is a wonderful idea! Greta blogs at Ma and Pa Modern and has a lovely Instagram account.

Speaking of which, I've been poking around on Instagram quite a bit lately as I'm thinking about opening an account. I'd appreciate hearing feedback, pros and cons, if you have experience with it. I love the idea of posting more photos!

The Farmer had talk radio on the other day and I overheard part of Glenn Beck's interview with Jack Barsky, which prompted me to go listen to his story in it's entirety. It was fascinating! Barsky made some very profound observations about the state of our country and communism. I'm looking forward to reading his book.

On My Shelf

The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare - reading aloud

Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry - nearing the end, oh so good!

Home Education by Charlotte Mason - Charlotte Mason Study Group

Beauty in the Word by Stratford Caldecott - recommended and loaned from a mom in our CM Study Group

A Handbook for Morning Time by Cindy Rollins - prep for future school planning

What a difference a day makes.....


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Basic College Mathematics...


I haven't blogged about our curriculum for a while so thought I'd do a few follow-ups as we near the end of the school year. We tried something different this year for Riley's math. She's using Lial's Basic College Mathematics through an online course at My Homeschool Math Class. It's a seventh grade math course, taught by Jann Perkins, that reviews basic mathematics concepts as well as introducing algebra. The various chapters are:

Ch 1 Whole Numbers
Ch 2 Multiplying and Dividing Fractions
Ch 3 Adding and Subtracting Fractions
Ch 4 Decimals
Ch 5 Ratio and Proportion
Ch 6 Percent
Ch 7 Measurement
Ch 8 Geometry
Ch 9 Basic Algebra
Ch 10 Statistics

The class currently meets live online once a week through Web Ex. Mrs. Perkins presents the lesson on a white board type screen. The students participate and collaborate through a chat box. Then she assigns the students homework for the week that they work on independently. It is up to the parent(s) to make sure the student is doing the assigned work and understanding the math.

Approx. once a month or so, Mrs. Perkins does administer a test via a PDF. The student completes it independently and then submits it to her for grading. The student's recorded class grade is solely based on these tests.

Overall, it's been a positive experience. Riley has done well with the course thus far. However, she still is not loving math and complains frequently about it. Unfortunately, the live class falls on our co-op choir/art day. Thankfully, the class is recorded so Riley can watch it at another time. The down side is if we have a busy weekend, sometimes she doesn't get to the recording until Monday and then it's somewhat of a panic to get the homework done by the time a new recording rolls out. She did fall substantially behind when the kids were all sick a couple of weeks ago. This week, she is working on catching up. All in all, there is accountability, but on the other hand, it's not great working off someone else's schedule.

We are on the list to continue with the 8th grade Pre-Algebra through My Homeschool Math Class in the fall as Riley has expressed interest, but I'm also looking more closely at Teaching Textbooks. It looks to be less than half the cost and Riley could work at her own pace, not feeling so behind if she misses a day. I'd love to hear feedback on middle and high school Teaching Textbooks from those of you using it. Please feel free to leave comments below.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Books for Sale - $1.00 Clearance....

Below you will find a list of misc. books that I'm clearing off the shelf. There is a variety of subjects and I've tried to sort them accordingly. Each book is $1.00 plus shipping. It is cheaper to ship more than one book at a time. I accept PayPal and ship media mail within the U.S. Please use the contact form on the right side bar to send inquires and desired list. Let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks so much for your consideration,
Melissa

Books for Sale $1.00 Each

Christian Liberty Press

Appreciating Art 1st grade

Handwriting Without Tears

1st Grade Teacher’s Guide

3rd Grade Teacher’s Guide

4th Grade Teacher’s Guide

Science

A Week with AIMS (Activities Integrating Math & Science) Primary Grades Series 1 in 3-ring binder

Simple and Fun Science – Learning by Doing Level A

Science Trivial Pursuit – Intermediate grades 4-6 by Jacome; published by Good Apple

Simple Science Fun by Teacher Created Materials, Inc.

Kids Celebrate! Activities for Special Days Throughout the Year by Esche & Braham

Hands-On Science Projects by John Clark

Teaching Science through Literature – grade 6-8

Body Detectives, A Book About the Five Senses by Rita Golden Gelman

The Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar System by Joanna Cole SL

Teacher Created Materials Thematic Unit Inventions (Intermediate)

Math & Logic
                                                      
Holt Mathematics blackline masters – grade 2 (3-hole punched w/binder)

Frank Schaffer Teacher Resource Fast Ideas for Busy Teachers Math – grade 4

Frank Schaffer Teacher Resource Fast Ideas for Busy Teachers Math – grade 5

Learning Resources MathLink Cubes Intermediate Activity Book

Connections – Linking Manipulatives to Mathematics – grade 3

Scholastic 50 Fabulous Measurement Activities grades 1-3

Scholastic Easy Math Art Projects and Activities grades K-2

Scholastic Collaborative Math Books grades K-2

The Smart Alec Series – Problem Solving Grade 4

Count and See by Tana Hoban (x2)

Discovering Math – Subtraction by Alison Wells (hardcover)

Dividing Treasures (hardcover)

Math Matters! Adding by Brian J. Knapp (hardcover)

Read Any Good Math Lately by David J. Whitin & Sandra Wilde

Writing & Grammar Books

Correcting Reversals – grades K-4

Basics First Capitalization & Punctuation – grade 2

Basics First Capitalization & Punctuation – grade 6

Daily Oral Language (spiral bound with answers and teacher notes) grades 1-5 (5 books)

Quad-Line Advanced 3/16” Ruling 100 sheet pack (x2)

Reading, Phonics, & Spelling Books

Guided Independent Reading – Book 1 Grades 3-5

Claims to Fame – Fourteen Short Biographies – Book 3 (x5)

Wordly Wise
-       Wordly Wise 3000 2 Teacher’s Key
-       Wordly Wise 3000 4 Teacher’s Key
-       Wordly Wise 3000 5 Teacher’s Key
-       Wordly Wise 3000 11 Answer Key

Frank Shaffer Integrating Literature Series middle and upper grades
-       Science
-       Environmental Education
-       Social Studies
-       Multicultural Education

Teacher Created Materials – An Annotated Bibliography of Multicultural Literature

Yawn at Dawn by Saundra Scovell & Guyla Nelson

Five in a Hive by Saundra Scovell & Guyla Nelson

Misc. Study Guides
-       Oh, The Places He Went: A Story About Dr. Seuss (x7)
-       Ishi, Last of His Tribe
-       Arthur’s Honey Bear

Progeny Press Study Guide: The Bridge

Learning Can Be Fun – More Making Stories is Fun Dominoes

Write Source – Great Source

Write One Teacher’s Edition grade 1

Write on Track (A Handbook for Young Writers, Thinkers and Learners) with TE grade 3 set

Reading & Writing Sourcebook Teacher’s Guide grade 3

Great Source Reader’s Handbook grades 3-5 $3

Writers Express (A Handbook for Young Writers, Thinkers and Learners) (hardcover) grades 4-5

Write Source 2000 Student Handbook & Sourcebook 6000 Student Workshops, Activities, & Strategies grade 6-8 set

Write Source 2000 Student Handbook grade 6-8

Writer’s INC, A Guide to Writing, Thinking, & Learning MFW

Art, Music, Home Economics, and Character

I Can Draw Everything by Walter Foster

The Family Story-Telling Handbook by Anne Pellowski (hardcover)

Instructor’s Page-a-Day Pursuits

Teacher Created Materials Art for All Seasons  by Susie Alexander

Wee Sing - People, Around the House, and Toys and Music by Beall & Nipp (new hardcover) VP

Wee Sing – Wiggleworm Workout, Whew! It’s Bedtime, and Another Holiday…So Soon! by Beall & Nipp (new hardcover) VP

Wee Sing – On the Farm, At the Pond, and In the Air by Beall & Nipp (new hardcover) VP

Wee Sing – Jump Rope Rhymes, Ball Bouncing Rhymes, and Clapping Rhymes by Beall & Nipp (new hardcover) VP

Bible & Misc. Resource Books

The Bible Story by Arthur S. Maxwell – Vol. 3 (1954 hardcover)

Miriam & Her Brother Moses retold & illustrated by Jean Marzollo (hardcover)

Girl Talk – 52 Weekly Devotions by Lois Walfrid Johnson

Rick Warren’s Bible Study Methods, Twelve Ways You Can Unlock God’s Word

DK Ultimate Sticker Book – Hanukkah

Treasury of Bible Stories (hardcover)

Releasing Your Potential by Myles Munroe (book and workbook) set

My Tall Book of Proverbs by Donna Huisjen (hardcover)

The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren (hardcover w/jacket)

The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav

Nearing Home by Billy Graham

Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo

The Message, The New Testament in Contemporary English by Eugene H. Peterson (hardcover)

History

Trade, Transportation, and Warfare – American Indian Contributions to the World by Keoke & Porterfield (hardcover)

Did Columbus Really Discover America? By Peter and Connie Roop

Cry of Courage by Lee Roddy (large print)

The Conquest of the West – A Sourcebook of the American West edited by Carter Smith

Don’t Know Much About American History by Kenneth C. Davis

A Little House Chapter Book – Pioneer Sisters by Wilder

Geography

Everything You Need to Know About Geography Homework by Zeman and Kelly

Misc. Chapter & Picture Books – Classics & Living Books

Keeping Christmas, An Edwardian Age Memoir by William F. Stricker (hardcover w/jacket)

Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown

Stanley’s Christmas Adventure by Jeff Brown

Civil Disobedience and Other Essays by Henry David Thoreau VP AO 12

Whose Promised Land? The Continuing Crisis Over Israel and Palestine by Colin Chapman

A Voice in the Wind by Kathryn Lasky (Starbuck Family Adventure)

The Night Journey by Kathryn Lasky

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Moby Dick by Herman Melville VP

Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan

The Watson’s Go to Birmingham 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis

Earthquake by Matt Christopher

The Search for Belle Prater by Ruth White (hardcover)

Stolen Lives, Twenty Years in a Desert Jail by Malika Oufkir

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Commonplace: Home Education...

Oh so excited to begin reading Vol. 1 Home Education by Charlotte Mason. I already have nearly the entire preface underlined, but just for starters, here is the first paragraph....
The education outlook is rather misty and depressing both at home and abroad. That science should be a staple of education, that the teaching of Latin, of modern languages, or mathematics, must be reformed, that nature and handicrafts should be pressed into service for the training of the eye and hand, that boys and girls must learn to write English and therefore must know something of history and literature; and, on the other hand, that education must be made more technical and utilitarian - these, and such as these, are the cries of expedience with which we take the field. But we have no unifying principle, no definite aim; in fact, no philosophy of education. As a stream can rise no higher than its source, so it is probably that no educational effort can rise above the whole scheme of thought which gives it birth; and perhaps this is the reason of all the 'fallings from us, vanishings,' failures, and disappointments which mark our education records.  
It really shouldn't surprise me, but it does...the more things change, the more they stay the same. I can't help but wonder what Charlotte would think of the current state of education if she were alive today.

Going to begin Part I, Some Preliminary Considerations. Won't you come along....

Monday, April 3, 2017

Weekly Reflections - Week Twenty-Nine....


At Home

Sorry I've been absent. I had all three sick kiddos last week. I'm thinking influenza, but, of course, that's self-diagnosed. You know, fever, aches, chills, cough, etc. It was the pits! Then the Farmer started in...man sickness, that's all I'm saying about that one ;-)

Anyway, I'm thankful I recently began studying homeopathy through another local homeschool mom. It was very helpful in keeping the afflicted comfortable. I'm not a doctor, but some things that worked for us were Aconite and Belladonna for fever. Bryonia and Spongia for coughs. Hepar Sulph for sore throat and Sanguinaria for sinusitis issues.

Everyone was up and kind of running by Friday just in time for the annual homeschool curriculum fair I coordinated. I was a little nervous at one point when everyone was down, but thankfully, it all came together. We had 38 sellers with 42 tables and it was a gorgeous day! Part of the sale is pictured above.

Unfortunately, we did have to cancel our final Middle School Book Club meeting last week due to the illness. We read Julius Caesar by Shakespeare, but didn't get to have discussion. We are still up in air as to rescheduling, but it was the first Shakespeare exposure for some so I am excited to hear what the kids thought.

We also didn't complete the full week of school with illness and book sale prep happening. Because we have other out of the home academic events scheduled three days this week, I've decided to carry over last week's unfinished work. You might say we're taking two weeks to finish one week's book work. I don't normally roll this way, but given the fact that everyone is still in recovery mode, I feel the need to ease back in slowly. One of the beauties of homeschooling is being able to flex the plan.

Around the Web

I didn't spend much time online last week either, but did manage to read a couple of older posts at Memoria Press. One was written by Martin Cothran in response to comments made by Rush Limbaugh on classical education. The other was written by Andrew Kern on Teaching Classical Literature Classically. I appreciate what both of these men have to say about classical education and glean from their teaching.

Speaking of book clubs, I did listen to Creating a Book Club for Kids by Mary Wilson. In finishing up our second year of facilitating a homeschool book club, I've learned a great deal. Our club was co-ed, though age was limited and we met monthly. Last year, we studied 7 books. This year we studied 5. In our particular case, less was more.

Charlotte Mason Book Study

Since finishing Consider This, our CM Book Study group has decided to proceed our study of Charlotte Mason by reading through Vol. 1, Home Education. We will continue to meet monthly, discussing small sections at a time. After studying Vol. 6, A Philosophy of Education with Brandy's Start Here guide, I feel like I have a much better understanding of the big picture and now look forward to taking a closer look at the details.

I do plan to blog through our study so if you'd like to read and follow along, that would be great! We will begin by reading p. 1-41, Some Preliminary Considerations, for our first meeting. Since we don't have a guide to give assigned sections of reading, after our first meeting, we will gauge whether it was too much or too little. Feel free to join in and use the comment section of the blog for discussion.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Weekly Reflections - Week Twenty-Eight...



At Home

Oh, it's that time of year! I'm making my lists and checking them twice because it's used book sale and homeschool convention season. I'm in the midst of planning the Chippewa Valley Annual Homeschool Curriculum Fair. The information is posted below for those of you in the area that can stop by.

Around the Web

This week I read Dawdling and Inattention over at Afterthoughts and was intrigued by the thought of splitting the math lesson. Brandy brings up some great points regarding how growing bodies can affect our kid's attention span.

Have you been wondering about Socratic discussion? If so, Pam Barnhill unpacks it with Matt Bianco in Your Morning Basket #32 Socratic Discussion and Leading to Truth: A Conversation with Matt Bianco.

I also listened to Schole Sisters Podcast #20, Mothers, Don't Let you Methods Grow Up To Be Systems this week, with Brandy, Mystie, and Karen Glass. It was fabulous! I really want to go back and listen a second time. There were so many wonderful points! Also, after finishing Consider This, I appreciate any chance to listen to Karen expound on her ideas.

If you've been anywhere around homeschool blog land lately, you know Schole is all the rage. Kathy Weitz, The Reading Mother, wrote Toward Schole in our Homes and Co-ops, which gave me much to ponder. I linked it in my Schole notes for future reference.
But scholé cannot be the only thing we seek. Rest is absolutely meaningless, not to mention impossible, without work. If we miss this interdependence between work and rest, despair is the likely outcome when we try to map scholé onto the daily experience of our own—all too often far from restful—homeschools. 
And now, about our local homeschool sale....

CHIPPEWA VALLEY
ANNUAL HOMESCHOOL CURRICULUM FAIR

Saturday, April 1, 2017
9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Calvary Baptist Church
3036 Epiphany Lane
Eau Claire, WI 54703

A gymnasium full of new and used books, curriculum, toys, games, crafts, and misc. educational resources
 

Concessions provided by Chippewa Valley Lightning Bolts


There’s something for everyone!!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Reflections from Consider This - Chapters 10-12 and Beyond...



This will be the last post in the series, in which, I share my thoughts on Consider This, Charlotte Mason and the Classical Tradition by Karen Glass. You can find related posts on previous chapters linked below...

Introduction and Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapters Seven through Nine

Chapter 10

Chapter ten of Consider This invites us to a clearer understanding of some classical education terminology. Glass spends time defining the words: university, trivium, and quadrivium. Of course, the trivium being grammar, logic, and rhetoric, three of the seven liberal arts. It's important to understand that the word trivium translates to "3 roads", which are to be taken simultaneously, or as Glass states, "a trivium may be understood as a three-way crossroad", not consecutively. The trivium is not aligned or tied to stages of development. It is part of a much greater whole, of which, Glass asserts, Charlotte expected her students to practice through a variety of exercises in their lessons. Also, Glass maintains that the trivium is in deed a set of skills or arts, and that Charlotte Mason implemented them in her program.
If we can get a vision of grammar, logic, and rhetoric not as subjects to be studied but as arts to be practiced and refined in the process of reading, narrating, and writing, we can see how beautifully Charlotte Mason's methods may be considered a synthetic implementation of the trivium of classical instruction, more especially when the ultimate goal of forming character and virtue is recalled. (p. 86)
Grammar, logic, and rhetoric may be employed synthetically, together, to make the most of every book, through the simple process of reading and narrating, while incidentally examining a grammatical construction or rhetorical trope - perhaps a metaphor - along the way.
Many of the exercises Charlotte Mason suggests for making use of schoolbooks fall within the realm of logical and rhetorical instruction. That is, she expects her students to employ logic and understand rhetoric devices, and to be able to express themselves adequately - to practice the liberal arts. (p. 87-88)
The quadrivium, being astronomy, geometry, arithmetic, and music should also be studied alongside each other as in "a four-way crossroad", as well as alongside the trivium. Together, these seven subjects or skills make up the seven liberal arts. Interestingly, according to Glass, the seven liberal arts were not ever intended for elementary students.
First of all, the seven liberal arts were not intended to be a course of study for elementary school-children, but rather for university students. The ancient universities of Europe were founded, either during the late medieval or Renaissance era, to pursue those arts. To be sure, students sometimes enrolled in universities as young as age twelve or thirteen, so we may consider the seven liberal arts appropriate for our high school students, but the seven liberal arts were historically a university course. (p.84) 
Chapter 11

Glass begins Chapter eleven by quoting Charlotte Mason on "applied philosophy" from her Vol. 3 School Education. Below are some questions that came to mind while reading this chapter were....

What is the link between principles and practices?
As she developed her methods, Charlotte Mason kept in mind the principle that a child's mind is a living organism that requires a varied diet. She made sure that her methods introduced children to every vital area of knowledge, so that their mental diet would be so nutritious as a well-conceived menu plan. (p. 96)
Principles and practices definitely go hand in hand. I remember listening to Schole Sisters Podcast #10 Which Comes First? The Principles or the Practical? in which Brandy, Mystie, and Pam unpacked the relationship between principles and practices.

In the quote above, Glass is specifically referring to Charlotte's Principle 12 on The Science of Relations, which was a principle Glass also referenced in Chapter 5. If the mind is a living organism, which requires a varied diet, living books were a part of that nutrition. Books were also at the center of classical education as a means to accomplish the classical ideal. One must have ideas in order to discuss ideas.

Glass goes on to give examples of how Charlotte provided nourishment through other subjects and areas of study, such as bible, history, literature, science, and geography.
In laying a wide and varied feast of knowledge before her pupils, Charlotte Mason was encouraging them to form relationships for themselves with their fellow man through literature and history, and with the natural world around them. In spite of the variety of books that appeared on her programs, she never lost sight of the synthetic understanding that all knowledge is connected, and she desired that the children should grow to understand that for themselves. (p. 102)
As an aside, I have often wondered about history and its place in the liberal arts tradition. On page 99, Glass writes,
History was not a traditional part of classical education. It is not, of course, one of the seven liberal arts. However, most contemporary educators who are interested  in the classical tradition, which is historical in itself, find that history is an area of knowledge - actually a framework for other knowledge - that must not be neglected. We desire to read the works of the thinkers of the past, and in order to fully appreciate their thoughts, we need to know something of the times that they live in, the forces that shaped their thinking, and the results that proceeded from their ideas. 
How does narration contribute to synthetic thinking?

According to Glass, as a child narrates day after day, he will make connections formed by living ideas, which will in turn lead to synthetic thinking as the child gets older.
Narration requires mental attention from the first word to the last. The mind must sift and evaluate everything that was included in the material.....
....Also, by not merely going over everything in his mind, but by actually speaking it aloud or composing it in writing, the learner is making the knowledge his own. What he has heard or read, then narrated, he knows. (p. 104) 
Where did this idea of narration originally come from? 
Charlotte never tells us where the idea arose to ask children to tell back their lessons, but it is unlikely that she imagined it herself. We know that she delved into the educational writings of history, and perhaps it was there that she picked up the whispers that led her try it....
....Wherever she encountered the idea, we know that Charlotte Mason tried it, and found it an effective method. (p. 103-104) 
What is the role of the teacher?
All of Charlotte Mason's practical methods - narration, nature notebooks, history notebooks, making notes in the margins of school books - are intended to contribute to synthetic thinking. (p. 107)
Teacher's task is to spread as wide and generous a feast before children as possible, and give them every opportunity to assimilate knowledge which will lay the foundation for lifelong interests in every area. (p. 107)
One of my favorite parts of this chapter was the following paragraph. I just love the image it paints.
The relationship between a teacher and a child should include a note of friendship, of sympathy, because they are fellow travelers on the path toward wisdom and understanding. The teacher has gone further and comprehended more, and so earned the right to lead others along the same path. Nevertheless, he remains humble in the task, knowing that he is only a guide, able to ensure that important things are not missed along the way, but aware that the path is not of his own making. (p. 109) 
Chapter 12

Glass spends the final chapter of Consider This developing the idea of synthetic thinking and a synthetic understanding of knowledge. She believes synthetic thinking is the means to being educated classically and reaching the classical ideal, even if one never reaches a "level of proficiency in any of the liberal arts". By synthetic thinking, Glass proposes we must consider all knowledge as a whole.

Next, Glass pits synthetic thinking against postmodernism...
Postmodern thinking has permeated our culture, and although it is difficult to define, the identifying feature of postmodernism is a rejection of all "metanarratives" - attempts to synthesize knowledge and experience in a unified, meaningful way. (p. 114)
Postmodernism thought is analytic. It is the deconstruction or fragmentation, which proclaims there is no absolute truth. In my mind, if there is no set measure or absolute, one would have to continually search each part or analyze to find meaning. Glass shows us how postmodernism goes against Charlotte's principle 12...
Postmodern literary critics assume that words have no absolute meaning; that is, they do not refer to real things but only to words. According to their system, the only real meaning in any text is what the reader chooses to find. The classical practice of giving language first place in education - of reading and understanding books and learning to communicate clearly and effectively through words - cannot coexist with rejection of a unified, absolute truth. "Education is the science of relations" is the exact opposite of "fragmentation". (p. 114)
Glass also points out that one must have a synthetic view of a human being if one is to adhere Charlotte's principle one, which states, "children are born persons".
We need to embrace her principle today and expand it to "we are all persons," which is in fact a synthetic way of viewing a human being. It is a rejections of the reductionist modern psychology, which would have us believe that we are animal beings only, and that our thoughts and emotions are no more than electrochemical impulses. If that is the case, there is no room, no reason, for classical traditions; we are without truth and meaning. (p. 115)
Glass goes on with a brief explanation of how to synthesize as well as giving one last push to encourage the pursuit of synthetic understanding. In closing, she states part of her purpose for writing Consider This,
Part of my purpose in writing this book has been to help its readers know classical education a little better through acquaintance, however brief, with the thinkers of the past, rather than merely knowing "about" classical education through the lens of modern thinkers. I have offered only a taste, but the authors I have quoted here are worth reading more fully. (p. 122)
Throughout reading Consider This, it was apparent to me that Glass is well read, not only in regard to thinkers of the classical tradition, but to the writings of Charlotte Mason as well. If I got anything out of this book, it was a desire to read widely, both ancient writings on education, as well as modern writings on education. A thirst to drink deeply from the ancient well. A hunger for a varied diet brought by a feast of living books. I look forward to continuing my pursuit of both classical and a Charlotte Mason education.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Weekly Reflections - Week Twenty-Seven...

At Home

I believe I mentioned Wikki Stix in my preschool post a few weeks back. They've been a fun edition to our homeschool. Levi has been quite create with them. I love the glasses he made in the photo above!

We welcomed wi-fi into our home recently. After buying a Kindle and not being able to use it without wi-fi, I finally bit the bullet last week and made the switch. So far, I'm loving it! You will notice a boat load of podcasts linked below as I'm now able to listen while I work :)

Around the Web

This week, I listened to A Delectable Education, podcasts 54, 55, 56, 57, which are all about math. My favorites were 56 and 57, in which Liz interviewed Richele Baburina about middle and high school math. I could listen to Richele talk all day about math. She's so knowledgeable and humble. It's clear she's really taken time to study, understand, and implement Charlotte Mason's methods in her homeschool.

At CiRCE, I listened to Brian Phillips in The Commons #1: Alfred the Great (Featuring Dr. Ben Merkle) and The Commons #2: J.S. Bach (featuring Greg Wilbur), both of which were fascinating historically. It got me thinking how much time one must spend studying the life and times in order to write a biography. I was prompted to locate a copy of The White Horse King  through inter library loan to see if it would be a possibility for Riley in the fall when we move to the middle ages.

I also listened to The Mason Jar Q&A: LIVE from the 2016 CiRCE Conference...twice! I was intrigued hearing Karen Glass speak about Charlotte Mason. It's apparent, Karen is very well read. I also loved what Cindy said about how silly it is for people to talk about classical education or a Charlotte Mason education. I agree about the need to stop driving a wedge.

I'm looking forward to reading Part 3 of The Benedict Option or the Constantine Project. This is an interesting concept that actually came up a few months back at one of our CM Study Group meetings. You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Lastly, I listened to Schole Sisters Podcast #15, Thankfully Classical, in which Brandy and Mystie spoke about thankfulness in their homeschools. Here are my responses to the "Thankful Prompts"....

A person (dead or alive) who provides classical inspiration...Andrew Kern

A book that changed your life...Charlotte Mason's Vol. 6, A Philosophy of Education

A practice that saved your homeschool...Narration

A principle that revolutionized your lessons or thinking or was otherwise life-altering...looking at the why instead of how when it comes to educational practices of the past in order to decide whether or not my motivation is utilitarian 

A curriculum you love...Beautiful Feet

An organization you’re indebted to...CiRCE Institute