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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hymn Study: He Leadeth Me

We sang this hymn during October (it was scheduled for September, I think!) and I never did post this... until now. :) I figure it's nice to have all this in one place, so I'm posting it anyway.

He Leadeth Me:

Click here to Listen, Download [ Real Audio | Mp3 ] and/or Print [ Lyrics | Sheet Music ].

Helpful Links:
Hymns in public domain (in both word or pdf formats):
English Hymns in the Commons:

Friday, November 25, 2011

Folksong: The Ash Grove

Because of furlough and moving, we started this school year off late, but we're not really even trying to catch up.  So even though The Ash Grove is supposed to be the folksong for October according to the AO Folksong schedule, we're quite fond of doing things at our own pace. We're singing Ash Grove right now! 

I put together a page for our Family Music Book and thought y'all might like to use it too.  Here it is, another fine Fisher Academy printable: The Ash Grove

Here are the chords for guitar:
Part A

Part B

Helpful Links:
My favorite Ash Grove link from
Youtube for sing-along (lyrics are on the screen & he sings quite slow, so it's easy to keep up!)
Lively musical rendition with bagpipes
Guitar Chords

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Holiday Links... oh no!

So, you know how you almost get tired of Christmas music by the time Christmas actually rolls around as it has actually become the background music to all of life in the months of November/December; it's playing in every store, on every radio station, in the house, in the car, while every single person alive seems to be humming one of the tunes because they can't get them out of their heads?! Well, I have a feeling it's going to seem the same with holiday related blog posts. It's already begun. Everyone is posting about Holidays. Already. I promise to do my best not to contribute any more to the sheer inundation unless absolutely necessary.  This is my one frivolous holiday post... 'kay?  The following links are just some fun stuff I've seen lately (and only the beginning since we haven't even celebrated Thanksgiving yet!!), and mostly because I wanted to announce the The Holiday edition of the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival!!

A Peruvian turkey
In the States you choose your turkey by going to the store that has the lowest price per pound and rummaging in the freezer section for a clean plastic covered prepared "bird" with a weight appropriate to the number of guests. It probably even comes in a bag with a handle to carry it home.  In Tarapoto, you choose your turkey like this...

My parents-in-love perusing the options :)

Thanksgiving last year in the jungle w/ Micah's parents 
and the Martijn and Martine family! 

Featured Holiday Links!! 
**On Thanksgiving in the Common Room!** This blog is A WINNER at the HSBAwards 2011!
The Holiday edition of the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival

On Simplicity:
Unwrapping the Holidays
O Christmas Tree
Serenity for Little Ones during the Holidays
Plan Your Peaceful Christmas
Simplifying the Holidays: Focus on Giving

Christ-centered Holidays:
Christ-centered Christmas Dialogue
3 simple practices for a peaceful advent

Food Related:
I'm taking pies to our Thanksgiving gathering. I'll use this pie crust recipe and maybe make this cheesecake?!  I'll be making pumpkin pies for sure... I'm not so sure I'm brave enough to try something SO new when I don't even have an oven!!  I'll be borrowing one to cook at least 2 pies!! :) hilarious.
Here are some more Thanksgiving recipes for future reference, since I'm quite sure you've already got your menu planned by now!!  Don't these pumpkin pops look AWESOME!?!  I'm tempted not to use any of my canned pumpkin puree for the pies and use it all for these!!  Oh so tempting.

Check out this free e-book!!

I am not crafty. This is the ONLY even remotely crafty thing we're doing this year.
It's an 'I'm thankful for...' paper chain!  So much fun. :)

Source: via amy in peru on Pinterest

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

And the winner is...

I love contests.
I love giving things.
I want to do it WAY more often.
It's really pretty easy and really really fun!! ;)

So. There were 8 entries and the number drawn at was #3!!  The third comment was Penney Douglas'!  Yay, Penney!  You'll want to send me an e-mail because you've won this really fantabulous Metropolitan Museum of Art 2012 Page-a-Day Calendar to put under YOUR Christmas tree!!

Thanks to everyone for playing!  :)  We will have to do this again sometime!

Monday, November 21, 2011

This Week In History: Links for 11/21

My good friend Nancy wondered out loud in the comments of this post, if I knew of anywhere online where Current Events articles might be gathered on certain news headlines from varying viewpoints... I don't. There should be! Until I find one, or as I am able, I'll be posting our links as I accumulate them!  :)

image courtesy of: ba1969

This week's links:
A Greek Tragedy: Ending the Entitlement Mentality - Chuck Colson
What is a tax increase? - World Magazine
Panel set to fail to cut deficit $1.2 trillion - Associated Press via yahoo
Video: Explain it to me: Super Committee @

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Unwrapping the Holidays

Traditions are like gift wrap.
Every time a couple leaves and cleaves, a new family is formed and they begin to dress up their own traditions, including those special traditions focused around the holidays. It may be difficult to create your own style if you are a family that lives close by both sets of parents, having to share time between families on holidays. Yet, living far away has it's challenges too! Matter of fact, living in another culture, a different hemisphere and far away from grandparents and other family has deeply impacted not only how our family celebrates the holidays, but how we think about them.

First of all, holidays come wrapped in all different colors and sizes in other countries. For one, in the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas is during summer... and it's HOT! (just stop and think of how many North American traditions have to do with being cold outside!) Thanksgiving is hardly heard of here in Peru while I think New Years is bigger here than in the US. Easter, Mother's Day and Independence Day are quite popular in Latin America and are celebrated with much ado. Even birthdays are made special, in that the birthday girl is so lucky she gets to prepare a meal for all her visitors! (I, the Queen of October 19th, admittedly have trouble with that one!)

Now, I grew up probably similar to the majority of you, thinking that the winter holidays were all about family, turkey, eating as much as possible, Christmas trees, decorations, lights, prettily wrapped presents (and lots of them!) and having a day full of as many pleasant things as possible. Well? Isn't that what most of us thought, or maybe still think? It is certainly what commercialism would have us believe. However, as a grown up I've certainly had a Holiday or two that were not all they were wrapped up to be! How often do we realize, that many people in the world have nothing and do nothing on our “most important days of the year”. I know, it seems exaggerated, but it's true.

Somehow, our experiences have taught us that Holidays are more than all that.
But if Holidays are not all about traditions, then what?

Our families are far away, the cranberry sauce comes airmail if at all, and there's absolutely NO hope of a white Christmas... until recently, turkeys weren't to be found before the middle of December, and in the early years, unless you brought or made your own decorations, including your own artificial tree (a somewhat recent luxury), you'd be out of luck there too. So, if holiday fun is based solely on the external, we should go cry in the corner every year during the holidays. But we don't. And here's why: that would be ridiculous. Oh, that and we've realized that holidays are a lot more than just the pretty wrappings. Sure, there can be a whole lot of fun involved, and over the years we have had some really special holidays here with our 'missionary family'. But, what we find under all that gift wrap is, that certain days are special because for us they have deeper meaning.

The treasure of Thanksgiving is a whole season to give thanks to God for all He has given us. The rest is the curly ribbon on top! And sure, we want to be thankful all year round, but having one day when we can REALLY remember... this is good for us! The same goes for Christmas, we unwrap the Gift of the God who keeps His promises, His Son who will someday come again! Of course we want to remember Him every day of the year, but why not be extra doubly reminded at Christmas?! Sure, we can do all of this without a whole lot of poof and floof. But, truth be told, all of us know that a little floof here and curly ribbon there is not going to hurt anyone. :) The floof simply serves to remind us...

Notice Stove Top stuffing, the pumpkin, olives and cranberry?! 
My mouth is watering. Whoever sent it a couple years ago, may they be forever blessed!

So, bring on the turkey and twinkly lights and the presents or whatever floof you've got and let's remember...
GOD is very very good! :)

Giveaway... only 3 more days!

Don't forget to submit your Holiday posts to the upcoming CM blog carnival... 
and comment here to win a 2012 Art Calendar!

The deadline for carnival submissions is Monday @ 5pm. 
Winner will be announced November 22!
{For more details see this post!}

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Current Events: Our Method

Did you know that 1.73 people die while 4.13 are born every. single. second?  In the same fraction of time, 73 items are ordered over at, and 50,000 e-mails are sent by yahoo alone.  In an age when it is virtually impossible to stay current on what is happening, as we are constantly inundated with information available on the instant from every corner of the earth with most anything you could possibly think of being googled at any hour of the day...

How does one discern what really matters? 
How do we remain current and not waste a ton of time?

Time Cover Story: How Twitter Will Change The Way We Live (in 140 characters of less)

Current Events. This year marks the first time I have put today's world in the hands of my older children. They've read books, they've talked with grown ups, but this is the first time they themselves will come face to face with the world as presented through the media. It isn't a safe or pretty place. In particular, because of the nature of the internet, and folly being only a mouse click away, it is vital that they not be left to their own devices or be given too much liberality when it comes to sifting through the headlines.

Dealing with Time and Developing Discernment. 

With so much information at their fingertips, how are they to know what to read? Obviously, if they pick something that simply isn't important, all is not lost; discernment will come with time. There is the good, there is seemingly a lot more of the bad, there is the appropriate and an unfortunate amount of the inappropriate. Someday, they will choose. all. by. themselves. EEK! At some point in time they will probably read things I'd rather they hadn't. Can we just come to terms with that? (no, believe me, I'd rather not)

In the meantime, I will try to teach them how to go about the choosing. After all, we are in the world, even if we are not of it. An understanding of which might just be the key to developing proper discernment. :)

However, with one computer, our main concern at this point is time. And all of our news sources online as they are, we don't have a lot of time to spare :)

The time factor:
  • Limiting time. This is a tool that I use as a grown up ALL of the time. I commonly limit the time I have to finish a certain task. I take 30min to read in the morning. We start school at 9am, for example. It is when I do NOT limit my time that I end up wasting hours upon hours getting super side-tracked or just plain lazy. A timer with a LOUD and annoying beep is a very helpful tool for practicing self control ;)
  • Limiting the sources was also a big help.  Limiting them even more will be even better. For now. In this way, I can use Masterly Inactivity, instead of hovering, pestering, or generally showing myself as a control freak. :)
  • They might also find that following a certain interest over the course of several weeks would be very interesting - discoveries made within a certain branch of Science, political issues, war and it's outworkings, a particular country in the news, etc. 
The discernment factor:
  • I thought that narrowing the selection would be a good way to keep them from being overwhelmed with the flood of information as well as time limits (they had 2 sites to choose from). It worked alright in that regard. But even with the limited choices, how were they to discern for themselves what items were worth their time? This is a big deal. I find that for myself, sensational headlines often draw my attention much quicker than the world happenings that really are affecting history.  
  • For now, I will be their discernment filter. I will choose for them. As we go along, I will dialogue with them about what is worthy of their time and what clearly is not. Later on, I will ask them to join me in deciding what news is pertinent for them to read. When I see a maturity and responsibility in this, I'll be happy to simply guide their choices. How long does this process take? Hah! I could foresee it being within a year's time, or several... it absolutely depends on the student!
So for now, here's what we do:
  1. I can usually tell, from family conversation about what is happening in the world and knowing my children well, what will interest them. Based on what the news is, I've picked 4-5 articles for them to choose from (this way I can print them off!).
  2. I like to add an article about the same event from more than one viewpoint/news source. I would love to always have a conservative print magazine (World) to compare with the more liberal media. 
  3. At some point, once we have some experience with this subject under our belts, I will graduate my kids to selecting their own articles from well-known and trusted sites. This will probably not take place until we have more than one computer between the 7 of us ;)

Anonymous Wall Street Protest

The links for this week:

Wall Street Protestors Decry “Gilded Age”
Better Late Than Never
Occupy Portland Summary : Protesters march, begin to fill Pioneer Courthouse Square :
Occupy Portland: Photo Essay :
Occupy Movement Reaches Critical Stage :

Editorial Cartoons at World Magazine :
Food Stamps Surge :

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Upcoming CM carnival on Holidays?! & A Giveaway?!

Okay so if you've been paying attention, you may have noticed there's been a slight change of theme... okay a dramatic change!  Yep. We're changing themes for the upcoming carnival, and to celebrate, I'm going to give away your first gift of the season!  *Read on.

Please join us at the upcoming CM blog carnival sharing about Holidays at Your House!  
Carnival will be hosted in the Piney Woods... talk about fitting for the season!

Doesn't this little guy look festive?
No, he is not included in the giveaway. 

You might want to post what Charlotte Mason-y things you do during holidays... maybe you could teach us about how Charlotte Mason might have had us use our holidays.  You might post about whatever holiday traditions you have in your family!  If you have a favorite holiday post you'd like to direct us to... do it!  It's up to you :)  Seems to me that you could include Thanksgiving and/or Christmas holidays! Or any other holiday during the months of November/December for that matter!  The only stipulation you must keep in mind however is, that this is a Charlotte Mason blog carnival!  Which of course we all know just makes it that much better fun! ;)

Or, of course, if you just want to post what's going on in your CM world, please do.**
As always, themes are completely optional.

*Now, here's the really fun part!  Submit a *Holiday-related* post to the upcoming CM blog carnival and you will be halfway to earning one entry in my drawing to win this really fantabulous Metropolitan Museum of Art 2012 Page-a-Day Calendar to put under YOUR Christmas tree!!  Did you know that usually in the past these awesome calendars have already sold out at amazon by this date!? Get yours for free here!  ;)  In your *Holiday-related* post, mention this contest and link to this post to earn your entry in the drawing.

It's as easy as that: Submit your Holiday-related post, include a link to the contest & then leave a comment here to tell me you did it!  :)  Fun.

You can submit your posts here! ::

Earn an extra entry by liking my page on fb (see sidebar).
Earn an extra entry if you become a brand new follower of this blog (leave separate comments for each).
In order to qualify for the extras, you have to have earned your first entry - see above.

Upcoming CM Blog Carnival :: Holidays - 11/22
Optional Reading:
CM volume: v5, p109ff :: A Happy Christmas To You!
PR articles: Holiday Amusements

You can submit your posts here! ::

PS. This IS your friendly bi-weekly blog carnival reminder!
If you'd like to receive regular reminders by e-mail about the carnival, please send an e-mail to :)

**We love ALL CM-related posts EVERY carnival!! However only Holiday-related posts will qualify for the giveaway this time :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Are you a missionary, lady?

If you are a missionary, lady, have I got news for you! Another very nice missionary lady is having a giveaway just for us other missionary ladies on her blog! I hardly dare tell you for fear of a stampede, that she's going to send one of us a holiday care package with Thanksgiving AND Christmas goodies in it!!  Sound too good to be true?  Check out Mrs. John in Ghana's most amazing fun idea!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

To work on this week...


Shorter Readings
(divide up longer readings over several days – will help with concentration (read for understanding vs. to finish the reading), and will improve narrations (narrate after each section of the reading vs. trying to remember all the way back to the beginning)
Vary Activities
(read for 20-40 min; do nature study, read, or sing hymn, etc. - this will help with quality of concentration, overall brain function, as well as help each study serve as a source of variety and delight)


Get Work Done B4 Lunchtime
(alternating reading and doing, finish all school related tasks early with exception to the mommy-read books which may be read at quiet time or bedtime)
Start Bedtime Readings at 7:30pm
(if not, this just doesn't get done... everyone is too tired (including mommy ;)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Our Combined Year 1/2 with Ambleside Online!

The early Pioneer father looked out into the unexplored valley below him, as (today in this blog post) you and I will be gazing over the brink of a historic year for our homeschool (as you may come to notice, we're also learning about similes today ;). As a mother hen scurries around gathering her chicks like a mad woman... oh. wait, those things might not be dissimilar enough to be a true simile... ;) and no, most days are NOT in the mad woman category, anyway.  (only about every other... ;) just kidding OF COURSE)

This is the year that we have officially added Siah (7yo) into the AO rotation, and he will be doing not only y1, but y1 & y2!! Oh yeah! {high five} Well... not really both years. He'll be doing a combination of the two years in order to be able to slide up to y3 next spring with Bria. I'm very excited about that for lots of reasons. We shall see to those in this post.

Reasons for Combining:
  • When I contemplate having all 4 children (someday 5) in separate AO years with our travel schedule/lifestyle, I begin to shake like a whole forest of leaves... under heavy storm!
  • Because I combined the two older boys from the beginning, it's as normal as bread for breakfast in our house to share years.
  • Siah was a much earlier reader than his brothers were and will be able to read many of his books independently this year (thus justifying for me, helping him along in y3 at 7.5yo). - I do not normally recommend this. I like to have a nice young 7yo at in y1! But, I think it's going to work for us. I plan to modify when necessary.
  • Siah has become a very good narrator under the unofficial tutorship of his older siblings.
  • Bria had her y2 abruptly interrupted by a long furlough, so she's perfectly set up to do a combined year with Siah (she'll read some books from the second half of y2, that I've decided he won't have to read, while he's listening to the books she's already heard).
  • I can keep them together on the booklist, but at their own levels in math, copywork, dictation, etc.

Here's a sneak peek, click the link to see the whole thing.

Here's the proposed schedule, we're currently in week 4. :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival: Religious Studies {vol 1}

Welcome to the November 8, 2011 edition of the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival!

blog carnival:  where like-minded bloggers come together and share posts on along a common thread. 
~ that's my very own definition ;)

Our common thread is also our friend and mentor, Charlotte Mason. :)  There are many encouraging posts once again this time around the carnival.  Please stop by the different blogs and make sure to say hello!  The carnival will be taking on it's beloved rotation around the blog-o-sphere once again as several volunteers contacted me saying they'd love to host us, so I'm excited we'll be going a-visiting!!  Please see the schedule page for information about the when and what of upcoming carnivals. :)

It's time again to grab that cuppa somethin' good and enjoy the rich variety and beauty in CM homes around the world!  Enjoy!

A living education is...

nak presents Science Narration Journals & Walnuts Plumping

Tiger's Mum presents Degas and the ballet

Cindy West presents Fungi Study

Laura Grace Weldon presents Fun Theory  

Michelle presents The Charlotte Mason Method Inspires Me 

Richele McFarlin presents Teaching Shakespeare to Young Children

Jimmie presents Thirteen Ways to Reuse a Page a Day Art Calendar

Pamela Jorrick presents Art Every Day Challenge

Kelly @ The Homeschool Co-op presents Self-Control, NutureShock, Tools of the Mind & Homeschoolers

Barb-Harmony Art Mom presents Our October Bird List and Sparrow Study Using the Handbook of Nature Study

AnnieKate presents Mother Culture

{  About a year ago, several regular carnival bloggers agreed that we might add optional themes for those bloggers who would like some added inspiration on what to blog about, an idea for further CM study, and/or in order to have a place of reference for the future when looking for specific CM topics. I've really enjoyed having the topic, but have also worried that many people have perceived it as a limit to the carnival instead of an enhancement.  Please know that the theme serves only as a suggestion, not in anyway a limit!  }

Some religious studies:

Brandy@Afterthoughts presents Bible Lessons, CM-Style {Part I} & Bible Lessons, CM-Style (Part II)

Nadene presents Memory Verse Cards for Victory, Prayer & Purity | Practical Pages & Memorizing Scripture the Simply Charlotte Mason Way (free printables!)

Nebby presents Psalm 24  

Amy Dumas presents The Closest of All Relationships

Barb presents Habit: Remembering The Thoughts Of God

The next CMBCarnival will be:
Book of Centuries/Timelines (a form of vitality) - 11/22
(to be hosted at our favorite online treehouse!!)
Suggested Reading:
CM vol.6 p169-180 & vol.4 p.36-38
Parent's Review articles: The Book of Centuries & The Teaching of Chronology

PS. Be on the look out, because we have a few giveaways planned for some of the upcoming carnivals!! ;)

Monday, November 7, 2011

It's my party and I'll vote if I want to! ;)

Wow! I think it is SO fun that someone(s) nominated this blog for the Homeschool Blog Awards!  Thank you :)  I'm so excited about one nomination in particular: Best Homeschooling Methods...  I wholeheartedly agree!  A living education as advocated by Charlotte Mason herself is the BEST!  Join with me and make her principles famous?! 

I've made the difficult decision to vote for myself oh, I mean, Fisher Academy in Best Homeschooling Methods category!! (We've also been nominated for Best Nature Study, and Favorite Homeschool Mom - hah! you guys are too much! seriously. I laughed out loud on this last one. I'm flattered though :)

Here's why:
  1. Charlotte Mason is the BEST and I want her method of delightful, living education to be famous!!
  2. It's fun to win stuff!!
  3. There are so many great blogs, it's probable I won't win anyway, so I might as well get one vote!! ;)
You can vote for Fisher Academy or any number of my friends' wonderful blogs here (I counted at least eight CM bloggy buddies on there, so we have a good chance of winning between us!):

You can only vote for Fisher Academy in one of the following categories...
Best Homeschooling Methods Blog
Best Nature Study, and Favorite Homeschool Mom

Have fun, and enjoy the party!! ;)
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