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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival: Study of History {vol1}

Welcome to the latest edition of the charlotte mason blog carnival !

The Study of History

Images of Book of Centuries by Florence Rankin (?) on display @ Charlotte Mason Digital Collection

Nancy presents Telling the Bees by a Fighting Quaker - Plus a Book Recommendation!
AnnieKate presents Some Favorite Living History Authors
Penney Douglas presents History for History-Makers
Barb presents Weekly Wrap-Up: Better to Think or to Know?
Jenny presents A Book that Fits 
Adding to The Beauty presents Artist Study ~ October 2011 ~ Sandro Botticelli
Nancy presents Singing is to the Song Thrush as Narration is to the Child
Ritsumei presents Aquarium Trip
Jay3fer presents Making a (Rosh Hashanah) Lapbook, the Charlotte Mason way!
amy in peru presents Atmosphere: Intentional Living.

Helpful Links:
The Book of Centuries Revisited by Laurie Bestvater (part one) & (part two)
History: Teaching Practically Considered
Intro to History and Citizenship

Theme for the next carnival:
the Pursuit of Knowledge

Suggested Reading:
CM Series: Vol.6 pg.300ff
PR Article: The Open Road

Submit your blog article to the next edition of the charlotte mason blog carnival HERE!.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Atmosphere: Intentional Living

Wildflowers gathered - August 2011, Sunriver, OR

I overheard a really important question yesterday, the answer to which is, I think, worth reminding ourselves of on a very regular basis, 

"How do YOU stop and really live intentionally every day?"

After thinking it over a little more, my answer is as follows:
LeAnn... read aloud ;) heheh. seriously, I have been thinking the same thing as I may only have 5 more years with my oldest... yikes, did I just write that?! oh my.

Honestly, I don't live intentionally every day. I don't. But I do aspire to try.
I don't want to settle in to intentionally survive each day; I want to really live.

First, we must begin to consciously treasure up the moments, realizing how fleeting and how precious it is to have our children where they are RIGHT NOW. We can never ever have this moment back. Treasure the three year old jabber that oh too soon will turn to proper speech, boys spluttering constant motor sounds before they realize it's not "cool", the carefree over-accessorizing eight year old flaunting pink and pearls, tights and tutus, pigtails and braids prior to becoming fashion conscious, preteens proud in their becoming before blushing unsure of just what that really foretells.
Because really, someday they will fly, fly away. 

I might cry now.


Here's a couple more strategies I'm putting into practice on a regular basis:

turn. off. the. computer. (and other time-wasting devices)
read aloud.
drop everything and go outside.
eat ice cream as often as possible.
play games instead of watching tv or movies.
remember to take pictures.
pray often.
work together on meals and cleanup.
play music.
light candles just 'cause.
make tea and drink it in kid-sized tea cups.
stay charged up... get enough sleep, read the Word, drink coffee, stay in touch w/ friends, etc.
when cranky, take a break.
practice random acts of affection.
cuddle them tight.
let go of what I can't control.

What things do the rest of you do to live intentionally?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

For Reading Out Loud... {part two}

For the times we don't read aloud.
[read part one here - When it's good to read aloud.]

We must always keep in mind that small children learn in so many multitudes of ways other than just listening to stories! We wouldn't want to shut them up all day inside with books. They need lots of time to process what they've heard, to play it out, or to spill outside and stomp puddles or smack mudpies and the like. We've got to give them time to digest all that they're taking in.

Then of course there are some things we simply won't read aloud. I may want to edit or skip some parts of the material unnecessary to their development at the time. Charlotte Mason actually recommended this with parts of the Old Testament. Though my husband skips nothing and my children to have survived knowing about Lot and his daughters, to my extreme relief. ;)

And soon enough, the time will come when they will be reading all on their own. We all want our children to become independent readers who LOVE to read. For example, an educational goal I have for my children, is that in the end they be able to handle whatever they are given to read (whether they tackle it straightaway or know where to find the resources to help them through). They definitely won't attain this by my reading everything to them or explaining every difficulty they come across. At some point, they must, by practice, read most if not all of their school books alone.

In those transitional days when a reader is getting ready to assume more of her school readings, it's often necessary to hand the material over gradually so as not to overwhelm. Some students while able to read, may not be able to read entirely alone (see Anne's note). Though I recommend encouraging independence, it may come slower for some than others. My 8yo daughter will be reading most of her books on her own this year, while my sons were only just transitioning into more independent reading at age 10. Everybody's different and the transition will look different for everyone. :) [for more on what this transition looks like and at what age, see vol.1 pg.230-233]

As wonderful as reading aloud is, sometimes we have less time to spare. With very young children, we do our best. We may be juggling many ages and stages simultaneously in our homes. We may suddenly realize to our dismay that overcommitted, we have so much on our plates that even the time in the car between events must needs be music-filled or silent in order to maintain sanity. However, this is a state that we cannot maintain forever. Let's face it, during some seasons it won't be possible to read aloud for enjoyment as much as we had perhaps hoped, but those books over the years that we are able to share will be remembered. In our family, through all the moves and changes I try to keep at least one book going at all times. Time spent reading aloud has definitely become one of those ties that bind us... something I never would have foreseen early on, but that now I wouldn't trade for the world.

Articles on Reading Aloud to Children:

AO discussion on Reading Aloud
Why it is So Important to Read Aloud to Your Kids
Parent Involvement and Student Achievement

Charlotte on the subject of Reading Aloud:
"Let us suppose mother and children arrived at some breezy open wherein it seemeth always afternoon. In the first place, it is not her business to entertain the little people: there should be no story-books, no telling of tales, as little talk as possible, and that to some purpose. Who thinks to amuse children with tale or talk at a circus or pantomime? And here, is there not infinitely more displayed for their delectation? " vol.1 p45

"The most common and the monstrous defect in the education of the day is that children fail to acquire the habit of reading. Knowledge is conveyed to them by lessons and talk, but the studious habit of using books as a means of interest and delight is not acquired. This habit should be begun early; so soon as the child can read at all, he should read for himself, and to himself, history, legends, fairy tales, and other suitable matter. He should be trained from the first to think that one reading of any lesson is enough to enable him to narrate what he has read, and will thus get the habit of slow, careful reading, intelligent even when it is silent, because he reads with an eye to the full meaning of every clause." vol.1 pg227

"It is a delight to older people to read aloud to children, but this should be only an occasional treat and indulgence, allowed before bedtime, for example. We must remember the natural inertness of a child's mind; give him the habit of being read to, and he will steadily shirk the labour of reading for himself; indeed, we all like to be spoon-fed with our intellectual meat, or we should read and think more for ourselves and be less eager to run after lectures." vol.1 pg228

"The power of reading with perfect attention will not be gained by the child who is allowed to moon over his lessons. For this reason, reading lessons must be short; ten minutes or a quarter of an hour of fixed attention is enough for children of the ages we have in view, and a lesson of this length will enable a child to cover two or three pages of his book. The same rule as to the length of a lesson applies to children whose lessons are read to them because they are not yet able to read for themselves." vol.1 p230

Saturday, September 24, 2011

For Reading Out Loud... {part one}

When it's good to read aloud.

Oh, the preciousness of sprawling out or cuddling close while savoring a family readaloud on any given cozy evening of the week! There's nothing quite like it except for perhaps the gathering one by one around the piano as a hymn is poked out; resulting in a rehearsal of four part harmony a capella... (heheh. But let's be real. The latter has NOT happened in our family to date. Folksongs, yes, but only in one voice, and hymns? ...someday, I hope to sing them in four part harmony! I'm quite sure it's simply for lack of a piano...)

What is it about reading aloud? Is it the prolonged moments of harmony, togetherness, identification in common knowledge, the fact that all the kids are QUIET? :) Whatever it is, sharing a book is sweet.

I've always read aloud to my kids. It's the very first thing that comes to my mind with the word: homeschooling. Reading aloud always seemed the most obvious way to share knowledge before the kids knew to read themselves. And the sweetest. It wasn't long however, before the questions occurred to me, how long should this tradition continue? Is it something for young children only? Is reading aloud a necessity if I hope to turn out good readers? How much is too much?

We know that setting a good parental example in literacy is a very strong influence in producing children who enjoy reading. That is, when we are seen to enjoy gaining knowledge and living ideas from books, then it is a positive influence. On the other hand, if a child only sees his mother reading magazines, romance novels or glued to the screen reading homeschool blogs {gasp!} to the detriment of relationship and responsibility, this would NOT be a good example, now, would it?

Example is important. But example isn't primarily what I'm after when we read aloud. We must of course set an example by doing our best when reading aloud. Choosing good books, using correct inflection of voice, emotion, enunciation etc, are all important things we can teach by example. But when we read aloud we are really fluffing the nest a little, enjoying life together. In our family, it's a matter of being together and sharing family joy more than instilling reading habits. For us, reading aloud is not only for acquisition of knowledge in the early years but for sharing experience.

That said, there are many ways we share experience in story while reading independently. Family members or friends can read the same book and find common experience even when years span the readings. As Wendi has said, “Discussion still occurs, shared experiences still exist – and there's the added fun of asking 'Are you at the part where...?' 'What did you think when you got to the bit where she says...?' 'Don't you wonder what would have happened if he'd known...?'”

With young children, we read aloud in order to share wonderfully beloved stories since they have yet to acquire the skills to read them on their own. Their minds are hungry for story, and yet they are still immature when it comes to reading fast enough to satisfy their appetite for knowledge. With older children, we read aloud to share wonderfully beloved stories simply because we love to share the stories. :) I hope to continue reading aloud as long as my children will listen!

[ be continued]

A few book suggestions from the AO lists to read aloud for multiple ages
(there are of course many, many others):

C.S Lewis' Narnia series
Little House on the Prairie series
Pilgrim's Progress
Swallows and Amazons series
Little Britches series

What has your experience been with read-alouds?
Which books have been your family's favorites?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival: Planning/Organization {vol1}

As a new school year begins, we're trying to get all our ducks in a row!

Welcome to the Organization/Planning edition of the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival!

Let's see how it's done!
If you have any planning/organization tips that you LOVE, will you please leave a comment?! Without further ado... here are the submissions for this carnival!

Nancy presents Avoid the Grooves - Shift That Paradigm.
Barb presents Charlotte Mason Keeps Me On Track.
Amanda presents Nature Study Using Calendars Ideas.

One key thing for keeping my brain is keeping a notebook!

Shirley Ann presents New Planner.
Sonya presents Do Not Sit Up Late: Three Practical Do Not’s, Part 1.
Mama Squirrel presents First few days of school...musings.Lanaya presents When the Schedule Goes Out the Window.

In my notebook I have calendar pages for an overview, monthly as well as weekly pages.

Lizzie presents School Starts Tomorrow posted at A Dusty Frame.
Sarah presents Setting Up Shop & This Years Curriculum: Phonics Rule Book.
amy in peru presents Planning around life.

Traveling as much as we do, requires a great deal of organization and planning!! :)

Posts on miscellaneous topics related to an education based on Charlotte Mason's principles.

Jay3fer presents Very interesting… thoughts on Stuart Little.
Barb presents Living Books For High School Science .
Naomi presents Hidden Even to Ourselves.
Nadene presents A Collage of "The Cradle"

Always take time to smell the roses... (preferably not skyrockets aka: skunk flowers!

Jeanne presents Folksongs in the nursery.
Chris presents Mondays with Miss Mason-Starting with "A". & Mondays with Miss Mason?C for Character.
Tricia presents Lily Pad: A Pastels Tutorial.

...or look at the micro-wonders of the world!)

Theme for the next carnival on 9/27:
The Study of History

Suggested Reading:
* CM Series: vol. 6, p169-179 and vol.1 p279-294

Click here to see a schedule of upcoming themes and topics for future carnivals.

Submit your blog article to the next edition of
the charlotte mason blog carnival using our carnival submission form.

blog carnival coming soon!

We arrived in Lima, Peru yesterday at 4:30am and then slept a ton yesterday and I lost track of what day it was... OOPS!  The carnival will be posted this evening! There are a LOT of entries!  I´m excited!


Saturday, September 10, 2011


36 hours and counting...

  • Finished packing 12 pieces of luggage at exactly 50lbs! ...only 2 left + carry ons! :) Yay.
  • Everything on my list is purchased and almost packed.
  • We have a family dinner tonight,
  • church and family lunch afterward tomorrow,
  • and then we leave EARLY Monday morning!

Friday, September 9, 2011

How many kids can a golf cart fit, if a golf cart can fit kids?!

Micah and I both were on the front seat as well just before taking this shot!! Keep in mind every single one of us are at our all time high for weight! Yay for furlough! :) Hilarious.

I am SO excited! Sarah the Stout took our family photos today & one day you too will see her work... right here on my blog! That is if we managed to not mess up every picture! ;)

Friday, September 2, 2011

good news and bad news

*For tickets purchased before August 30, 2011:
Two bags checked - No charge

For tickets purchased on or after August 30, 2011:
$30 for the second checked bag. Exceptions may apply.


It is becoming more and more expensive to travel every day.

Thankfully, we don't have to pay for the second bag this time around. But seriously, it's ridiculous! For tourists, perhaps one bag is reasonable, but for people who live overseas this is seriously tragic.

We have a winner!

Thanks for playing with me! I especially liked the words, *blessings* (would've been far more spiritual), *blue* (would've shown my artistic side - I was actually thinking lavender before I added more pictures! :) and the *POEM*...! wow. I wish I were a poet... and a naturalist... and an artist... and a... oh. ahem, sorry.

 But, I'm far too simple. :)  I was thinking about the wonder of *summer*... I'm just so taken with it :) To experience the cool dampness of spring and to see the trees and flowers bud and ease into warmth, and then sun... bulging blossoms, bright green bushiness and hot sunny days. Soon the nights cool and we are gladdened by the coming of fall...

oh the loveliness of seasons. :)

Here's the lovely gift Bonnie left me which typifies my experience this summer exactly:
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
~ T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding, FOUR QUARTETS

So in the end, Michelle, who would have won a prize for most posts had there been one, wins the prize for reading my pictures and guessing *summer* first! :) Yay! That was fun! ;)  I hope you all enjoyed the carnival and that your end of summer and beginning of fall and then winter and spring again are all glorious. :)

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