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Friday, January 30, 2009

Artist Study: Copywork method

Masters Copywork
  1. Get a sheet of thin tracing paper.
  2. Place it on top of the print of the chosen artist's selection.
  3. Use a light pencil to trace as much of the painting as you can.
  4. Use whatever art materials you have available: watercolors, colored pencils, and chalks work the best.
  5. Try to make yours look as much like the original as you can.
  1. Look carefully at the print of the chosen artist selection.
  2. Draw freehand the main subject and things that stand out from the picture.
  3. Finish with whatever art materials you have on hand.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Is the new CPSIA law hurting you?

**UPDATED below**
Have you heard about the new lead law? It potentially could put many small businesses out of business including many beloved family-run businesses that sell educational products to homeschoolers. If you own a small business being hurt by the new law please read the following and contact the HSLDA (Homeschool Legal Defense Association). For more info on the new law and regulations to be put into effect Feb. 10, read HERE and HERE.

From the Desk of J. Michael Smith

Will New Consumer Product Regulations Affect Your Business?
Dear HSLDA Members,

Help Us Protect You

If new consumer product regulations will harm your business, tell us
so we can tell federal officials. Contact HSLDA's Federal Relations
Department at 540-338-5600 or Many of you
have contacted us with your concerns regarding the impact of the
federal Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), and the
forthcoming regulations. We have addressed some of these concerns in
the online analysis, "Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of

However, we are concerned about the effect that this legislation and
the proposed regulations will have on small family businesses. It
appears that many of these vital businesses could be forced to close
due to the high cost of compliance with the CPSIA.

HSLDA is trying to help protect such family businesses, as well as
the homeschooling families who may purchase educational items from
such a family business.

We will be meeting with the commissioners of the Consumer Product
Safety Commission on Wednesday, February 4. It would help our efforts
if we had actual accounts from family business owners who will have
to go out of business, or make drastic cutbacks, as a result of this
legislation and the proposed regulations.

If you are interested in having us use your family business as an
example, please send us your contact information and a one- or two-
page summary of your family business, the impact of the CPSIA, and
what the likely harm to you will be. You may send this information to
Eric Lansing at You may reach Eric and
the rest of the HSLDA Federal Relations staff at 540-338-5600, if you
have additional questions. We will only share your first name, name
of your business, and your state of residence with the CPSC.

Thank you for your help. We are committed to doing all we can to
protect family businesses, and are ready to begin lobbying Congress
for an exemption to the CPSIA, if the commissioners are unhelpful to
our cause.

Mike Smith
HSLDA President
Hey! They've grated a one-year reprieve! Thanks to all the calls, letters, etc. "The commission has been bombarded with thousands of calls, e-mails, letters and visits from people upset about the law, Martyak said." Great :) Here's a link to an article with more info.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Notes on Habit Training

Is habit training more for me or for my children?

Anyone who has children will notice sometime that what we do, our children do also, in one form or another. If I were more perfect, I think I would naturally have better children. Of course, we know that we are all sinners. Yet, monkey say, monkey do. No?

Do your kids dawdle? Do you? Do your kids treat each other impatiently? Do you?

Now, I don't know what it's like in your family, but when I started contemplating some of the complaints I have about my kids, I mean really thinking about it, all of a sudden it dawned on me and I started getting a little nervous. I began to realize I too struggle with the same things in some form or other. That's not the worst realization, but the truly horrific was that they probably learned their bad habits from me in the first place!!

So, I started to realize and feel the burden that if I expect my kids to work on forming good habits, I've got to show a little reformation in my life as well.

At this point, I started realizing how important habit training really is, in all of life. No matter how young or old we are, there will always be areas to improve. I think habits are a life-long concern.

Stay posted, more thoughts coming on this whopper of a subject. I cannot say exactly when...someday is as close as I can get :)

A Charlotte Mason Education

We use AmblesideOnline! Want to know more? Click Here Ambleside Online is an online guide to a comprehensive Charlotte Mason education. The site has lists for study and reading at every level. There are lots of links to living books online, great tips and several e-mail groups that offer amazing support. Also on site are the original Homeschooling series by Charlotte Mason in their original language as well as a modern English version. I really feel this article written by Anne White gives a thorough look at what a CM education looks like. Download a printable brochure on the great features of AO.

A brief biography of Charlotte Mason HERE.

Books on Charlotte Mason's methods of schooling:
Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola - very good
Penny Gardner's Charlotte Mason Study Guide - only $5, haven't read yet.
Catherine Levinson has several books as well as many great articles on the subject on her site - I have one of her books ordered, received in Ptld... haven't arrived here to Peru yet.

Simply Charlotte Mason has a WONDERFUL growing selection of SUPER GREAT CM resources in paper and electronic format. I am using quite a few of their items. Jack's Insects, Your Business Math Series (living math), Laying Down the Rails, and Spelling Wisdom are some of the titles we are currently using. We just LOVE SCM. They have a planner/calendar that I just think would be great, but I made my own and it works just fine for now. They also have a free e-book
on how to create an atmosphere of learning CM style.

I found a site today that has a bunch of links to articles on CM methods here. I'll definitely be back there to have a read when I have a few moments. Another Amy from Heart of the Matter Online posted "How to Homeschool the Charlotte Mason Way" and had some great links as well.

I enjoyed reading this brief synopsis of some benchmarks of a CM education at HS unlimited.

Personally, our favorite things about CM homeschooling are
the emphasis on the importance of habit training (my fave ;),
short lessons, nature study as a subject,
and having lots and lots of books as friends...
among many, many, MANY other things :)


Character/habit training links & resources

Okay, now I'm putting my links up here for this subject for easy access. Habit Training the Charlotte Mason way.

I will attempt to write more about each one later :)

Laying Down the Rails - A Charlotte Mason Habits Handbook @ Simply Charlotte Mason

Laying Down the Rails is useful and practical and worth owning. Parents would do well to have it close by in order to refer to it often. Recognizing how powerful habits are and their potential helpfulness in the home school is the first step. Using this resource is definitely the second. Charlotte Mason had much to say on this valuable topic and this book has captured her vast wisdom and presented it in a friendly and easy to use format. I consider this work to be indispensable and will recommend it to all home schooling parents.”

—Catherine Levison, author of A Charlotte Mason Education, More Charlotte Mason Education, and A Literary Education

Free Habit Training Cards
Character Training Notebooking pages

Plants Grown Up & Polished Cornerstones
We also use: For Instruction In Righteousness

An article on Habit Training by Catherine Levinson at

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Forms for an organizational freak... like me

Forms, forms and more forms. I am a listy girl!

A super amazing organization site is: She has every form under the sun available. It is simply amazing. Most everything is free, but she does sell a cd of the website with even WAY more stuff on it. Cool stuff.

Some of the pages on her site:

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Kids Communicate

As we live far away from family and friends, my kids need to maintain relationships over long distances. I've recently downloaded a tool that I think will make the time that they are online with their grandparents, family and friends more fun and personalized.

Go have a look, check out if it's something that your family could use.
It's Skype for kids! Skypito

It's fun. The interface is really kid-friendly.
It's safe. Parents approve a list of people their kids can call/chat with.
It's free. Skype to skype calls are free!
(that means when we call someone else with Skype to their skype account it doesn't cost a thing!)

From the website:
Skypito is the world's first safe Internet chatting solution for kids, created in cooperation with Skype. It was designed to mimic the Skype application but created specifically for younger users, ages 2-14.
The idea behind Skypito appeared when we noticed that a safe chat and online communication tool for kids was missing from today's market. Being a company that focuses on family-friendly technology we felt it was our calling to make one.
Skypito was funded exclusively by EasyBits, and it can be enjoyed free of charge by children all over the world.
Have fun!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Commit this to memory

We've been kind of hit and miss with this important subject. Sure, we've done LOTS of memorizing, just not in an efficiently organized fashion. There are two systems that I think are the BEST and we have tried them both on and off. One of the most important aspects of memorization are the tactics used for review. After all, what good is it to you if you memorized a verse a couple of months ago but you can't remember it when you need it? Continual consistent review will lock these truths in forever!

Scripture Memory System FREE - this is great, the only downfall is that you have to write or type out the verses. We have used this inconsistently to review the verses we've already committed to memory, to try to retain them. If we would've used it more like recommended we'd have had better results. This is better if you're trying to memorize whole passages from the Bible.

Memlok Bible Memory System $20 - this really is SUPER, all the work is already done for you.
You can download and print the whole thing off at your leisure, or for $5 more you can order a CD... and they send you the plastic holders for review + 2 more downloadable gifts and shipping is free! This has verses in a topical format. Someone gave us the older version complete with a 3-ring binder. It is definitely the coolest memory system I've seen. Oh, did I mention that you can choose your favorite version!? You can add a version as well for only $8. You can also choose whether or not you want the visual prompt images on the cards.

Of course, we haven't fully put it into practice... yet. But it is something that we plan to do, starting this new year.

Are you planning on making any changes or starting anything new this year?


Here's an article by Ruth Beechick on Family Scripture Memorization
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