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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Vote now for your favorite CMBC logo/button!

Seriously, ladies!
In the latest Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival, we announced a potential logo/button redesign for the CMBC. A few talented ladies have submitted some pretty nice options for us to choose from!! 

Take a look at all these awesome CMBC buttons! We have some homeschoolers with real design talent among us. I know it's gonna be difficult for me to decide! Make sure to cast your vote and then come and leave a comment on this post to be entered to win a $25 gift certificate to!! 
See contest details below :)

Please use the poll in my sidebar, to cast your vote!
Leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

See details below for how to be entered to win:

$25 gift certificate to


Here are the details...
  • HOW TO ENTER: Send an e-mail with your SQUARE .jpg, .png or .gif attached to charlottemasonblogs (at) gmail (dot) com by 1/31! This is only a week away! (This opportunity has ended, see below for other ways to enter)
  • On January 31st, a poll (see sidebar) will be posted here on FisherAcademy where you can vote for your favorite from the newly submitted options, or vote to keep the old one!
  • HOW TO WIN: Every logo/blog button submission is worth an entry to the giveaway! Anyone can play! Get your aspiring web-designer-kids to try?! Earn an entry in the drawing simply by leaving a comment on this post after voting (you must vote AND leave a comment!), but note that ONLY those who leave a comment after voting will be entered in the giveaway (I don't have a way to track or get in touch with who votes, that's why you must leave a comment! :)
  • The giveaway is sponsored by who has just this month launched a new CM Discussion Group and would love for you to join them (it's online and it's free, take a look here).
  • Drawing for the $25 gift certificate will take place on Monday, 2/6. Winner will be announced Tuesday, 2/7. The new logo/button will be announced in the upcoming CM blog carnival. Stay tuned! ;)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival - Imagination {vol.1}

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to welcome you to the Imagination edition of the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival! :) While not all the posts are overtly about encouraging imagination in your children or what have you, all of them will involve using your imagination in how apply what you've learned to your situation! :) I'm very excited about this topic, and even though my month has been swamped with too much to do and for that reason I didn't get a chance to post, I've been reading and thinking and imagining all about imagination and it's important role for the learner. I'll intersperse some of my favorite quote finds with the wonderful submissions for the carnival. :)

Imagination, preparing to adorn and crown Truth.
Engraving by Benoît Louis Prévost (d. 1804)

Imagination is Inherent in Children:
"Who shall measure the range of a child's thoughts? His continual questions about God, his speculations about 'Jesus,' are they no more than idle curiosity, or are they symptoms of a God-hunger with which we are all born, and is a child able to comprehend as much of the infinite and the unseen as are his self-complacent elders? Is he 'cabined, cribbed, confined,' in our ways and does the fairy tale afford a joyful escape to regions where all things are possible? We are told that children have no imagination, that they must needs see and touch, taste and handle, in order to know. While a child's age is still counted by months, he devotes himself to learning the properties of things by touching, pulling, tearing, throwing, tasting, but as months pass into years a coup d'oeil suffices for all but new things of complicated structure. Life is a continual progress to a child. He does not go over old things in old ways; his joy is to go on."
vol 6 pg 36
:: Sarah presents Imagination ::

An Imagination Grows:
"Now imagination does not descend, full grown, to take possession of an empty house; like every other power of the mind, it is the merest germ of a power to begin with, and grows by what it gets; and childhood, the age of faith, is the time for its nourishing. The children should have the joy of living in far lands, in other persons, in other times––a delightful double existence; and this joy they will find, for the most part, in their story books. Their lessons, too, history and geography, should cultivate their conceptive powers. If the child do not live in the times of his history lesson, be not at home in the climes of his geography book describes, why, these lessons will fail of their purpose. But let lessons do their best, and the picture gallery of the imagination is poorly hung if the child have not found his way into the realms of fancy." v1 p153
:: Nadene presents Inspired Imagination ::

The Responsibility of Education:
"How do we prepare a child, again, to use the aesthetic sense with which he appears to come provided? His education should furnish him with whole galleries of mental pictures, pictures by great artists old and new;––Israels' Pancake Woman, his Children by the Sea; Millet's Feeding the Birds, First Steps, Angelus; Rembrandt's Night Watch, The Supper at Emmaus; Velasquez's Surrender of Breda,––in fact, every child should leave school with at least a couple of hundred pictures by great masters hanging permanently in the halls of his imagination, to say nothing of great buildings, sculpture, beauty of form and colour in things he see. Perhaps we might secure at least a hundred lovely landscapes too,––sunsets, cloudscapes, starlight nights. At any rate he should go forth well furnished because imagination has the property of magical expansion, the more it holds the more it will hold."
vol 6 pg 43
:: Tammy Glaser presents Fruits of Thoughts :: 
:: Leah presents Love God - Love Geography! ::
:: Katey Kautz presents Eagle Migration ::
Dangers of Imagination:
"Imagination may become like that cave Ezekiel tells of wherein were all manner of unseemly and evil things; it may be a temple wherein self is glorified; it may be a chamber of horrors and dangers; but it may also be a House Beautiful. It is enough for us to remember that imagination is stored with those images supplied day by day whether by the cinema, the penny dreadful, by Homer or Shakespeare, by the great picture or the flaming 'shocker.'"
vol 6 pg 55
:: Kelly @ The Homeschool Co-op presents Librarian's Picks - WoodsWalk & Night Science for Kids ::

Thank you all SO much for your submissions, for reading the carnival and for leaving words of encouragement on the various posts!! 


The upcoming CM blog carnival:
Hosted by Barb on February 7th
Theme: Nature Study
Reading Selections: "Sight-Seeing" section in volume 1, page 45-48.

Please submit your posts by no later than Monday 2/6.
You may do that here (or from the link in my sidebar).

If you would like to receive occasional reminders by e-mail regarding the CM Blog Carnival, please send an e-mail to charlottemasonblogs (at) gmail (dot) com.


And now an exercise for our imaginations!!

Awhile back, I overheard some whisperings of discontent with our current CM Blog Carnival logo... it's outdated!... and ugly! Well, while we all differ in our aesthetic sense, and I'm not necessarily completely unhappy with it, I wouldn't be opposed to changing it either, so I thought we'd have a game and then a vote.  And voting is always more fun when accompanied by a giveaway!! See details below to see how you could win a...

$25 gift certificate to

...and come up with a design for a potential new CMBC logo/blog button!

Here are the details...
  • HOW TO ENTER: Send an e-mail with your SQUARE .jpg, .png or .gif attached to charlottemasonblogs (at) gmail (dot) com by 1/31! This is only a week away! 
  • On January 31st, a poll will be posted here on FisherAcademy where you can then vote for your favorite from the newly submitted options, or vote to keep the old one!
  • HOW TO WIN: Every logo/blog button submission is worth an entry to the giveaway! Anyone can play! Get your aspiring web-designer-kids to try?! Earn another entry simply by voting, but note that only those who leave a comment after voting (on the poll post) will be entered to the giveaway (I don't have a way to track or get in touch with who votes, that's why you must leave a comment! :)
  • The giveaway is sponsored by who has just this month launched a new CM Discussion Group and would love for you to join them (more info to come).
  • Stay tuned for more details to be posted on January 31st :)

Here's what the current logo/blog button looks like:

Here are some examples of what a new logo/blog button might look like:

So there you go, please send in your submissions for the upcoming blog carnival 
AND your logo/blog button ideas to charlottemasonblogs (at) gmail (dot) com!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Top 10 things I love about Charlotte Mason's Philosophy

Here are the top 10 things I love about CM's Philosophy... today :)
I'm always learning more, so this list will undoubtedly grow, and there are surely things I've neglected to mention... maybe you can help me in the comments?
Here are my reflections from last year, and from three years ago... 
Uh right, back to this year, here you go:
  1. I love to learn and I want make it as easy as possible for my kids love learning too! Like many of you, I didn't always know the joy that comes from learning. I do vividly remember the awe I experienced outdoors when I was pretty young. But it was my experience in school to be uninspired by boring text books taught by bored teachers. It wasn't until I began researching the teaching of my own kids (even before they were born), and then actually watching them learn for themselves, that I realized again how many interesting things there are to know. Charlotte's philosophy of education is the most delightful I have encountered, not just for children, but for learners of all ages!
  2. Books. Need I say more?
  3. Charlotte Mason encouraged Nature study as the training ground for keen observance. The ability to focus on something for an extended amount of time, paying close attention to detail, developing knowledge based on personal experience with the diversity of plant and animal life are all invaluable to a wide and varied curriculum.
  4. Nature Study has multi-faceted value. In our day and age, the need to be outdoors tends to be forgotten; and if not forgotten, then at best undervalued. Charlotte Mason regularly emphasized the benefit of nature study and the necessity for children to have many hours outdoors. I've found that when we spend extended periods of time outside, we tend to be drawn outside of ourselves, out of our self-absorbed existence into the enormous and incredible Creation; we gain perspective and the propensity to acknowledge God as the eternal Problem-Solver is increased.
  5. The training in CM's way of the will has been key in turning this family around, starting with the parents. :)
  6. Narration works.
  7. An appreciation of the arts enriches life through our understanding of the human experience as relates to God, man, and the world around us.
  8. Children are persons. They will learn because they must. They will learn in spite of us. We get to teach them, because God has given us the privilege. Our children are the people who will lead our future families, our churches, our nation, our world.
  9. As persons, they are interested in the same things as we are (or as we should be interested in, if we haven't been dulled up and dumbed down!). They don't want silly stories, or kid-i-fied versions of things (they do get spoiled though don't they? generally though, they can tell the difference). They want to know about things from someone else who is interested in knowing things (through personal experience or from the wealth of authors who have written out of their own passion to know).
  10. As children learn about all the interesting things in the world they form relationships, which as CM taught, is what all of education is – the Science of Relations. It is this science of relations that helps us to understand that people are whole beings, in a whole universe held together by One God, Who made all men and all things and Who is working. As we learn about ideas and things we are really learning how we relate to Him, the world and to others, also how all things relate to other things, because He made and sustains them all.
CM offers a short synopsis of her educational theories as practiced in homes and school for many years here.

What are your favorites?? This month's CM blog carnival has "My Favorite CM moment" as theme. Do you have a post about your favorites or another post related to using CM's methods in your school? Submit it here.

Upcoming CM Blog Carnival: January 10th
Theme: What do you like the most about CM educating?
Submit your posts here.

Happy 2012!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Homeschool Day Book - A Review.

Homeschool Day Book Record Keeping

Here's a relatively inexpensive, no frills, SUPER easy-to-use program to keep track of your homeschool progress. I love to plan, but I have not found a way that I love to keep records. I do something a little different every year. I'm hoping that by high school, I'll have figured something out. The Homeschool Day Book, may just be a step in the right direction!!

Here's my honest review:
So right off I had several problems. There isn't a mac download option! My main computer is a mac, so I can foresee a follow through issue here for me as the program isn't available for the computer I use the most. But if you have a PC (at least as a backup like we do), you'll be okay.

The second minor problem I encountered was on my netbook. The default screen size or resolution is too small or something to that effect. I went ahead without making any changes and it's workable. Of course, if you have a normal size computer screen, you won't have this issue either. One of my criticisms will have to do with this.

The general idea of the program is that you enter your students, your subjects and you make an entry each day filling in the various fields for a record of who did what when. It's pretty much for keeping a homeschool-specific digital diary. It'd be best if you could see it to know what I mean. Don't worry, there's a free trial version. :)

This is where you enter your subjects :)

++ When you first get started, there's a little start up wizard where you add your students and subjects. Once you get past the wizard, it seems you can add as many students/subjects as you'd like; I have 48 so far :) I even entered individual books rather than subjects as it would be more helpful for me to check off the individual readings. In the detail box (what we did today), I can enter the specific pages covered if so desired. When adding more subjects, it would be nice if it were set up as a default action to be able to press enter after each subject so as to not have to use the mouse to press the button.

This is the main page...  :)

When I'm looking at the main home page, the buttons are nearly off the page (I think this has to do with the screen size issue referenced above). But I can still get at them, even if barely. Everything else looks good, but for practicality, I'd like it if the scrolling section with the check boxes for subjects was bigger. I have a lot of individual subjects, so it'd be nice if that were bigger or at least adjustable. I might even like it if there was a sort/toggle option (a-z or z-a), or an option so that I could alphabetize the list in a vertical column rather than horizontal? Though I'd probably get used to it as it is.

++ I like that I can include all or some of my children on any given event, and each entry is fully customizable!!
++ I can make entries for past dates, or for the future. I can foresee the potential of this program being used not only as as you go (you plug in what you did on any given day), , or after the fact, but you could potentially plot out what you'd like to do for the week or term, and use it as you go along as a reference guide.

++ There is an option to print off reports which you can print off per child, per subject, per date range and you can save it as a .pdf or in excel formats! Awesome.

One feature I'd like to see is the ability to copy/paste days, or at least events, that are exactly the same.

I do like this program overall and see that it could be very helpful! I love the simplicity of it and that it has some basic features that will really be helpful: a fill-in-what-we-did-today format, with customizable printable reports. I just wish it had a mac version! Matter of fact, this same exact thing but as an app for iTouch or iPad would be absolutely amazing. I'm sure it won't be long before someone comes up with something similar, maybe the Homeschool Day Book will be the first! :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

of elephants... calendars, copywork and commonplace

On the art calendar:

image courtesy of wiki commons

For poetry, copywork and commonplace notebook:
Tit for Tat: A Tale
by John Aikin

A Law there is of ancient fame,
By nature's self in every land implanted,
Lex Talionis is its Latin name;
But if an English term be wanted,
Give your next neighbour but a pat
He'll give back as good, and tell you 'tit for tat'.

This 'tit for tat', it seems, not men alone,
But elephants, for legal justice own;
In proof of this a story I shall tell ye,
Imported from the famous town of Delhi.

A mighty elephant that swelled the state
Of Aurengzebe the Great,
One day was taken by his driver
To drink and cool him in the river;
The driver on his neck was seated,
And as he rode along,
By some acquaintance in the throng,
With a ripe coconut was treated.

A coconut's a pretty fruit enough,
But guarded by a shell, both hard and tough.
The fellow tried, and tried, and tried,
Working and sweating,
Tutting and fretting,
To find out its inside,
And pick the kernel for his eating.

Strength, quite out of patience grown,
'Who'll reach me up (he cries) a stone
To break this plaguy shell?
But stay, I've here a solid bone
May do perhaps as well.'
So half in earnest, half in jest,
He banged it on the forehead of his beast.

An elephant, they say, has human feeling,
And, full as well as we, he knows
The difference between words and blows,
Between horse-play and civil dealing.
Use him but well, he'll do his best,
And serve you faithfully and truly;
But insults unprovoked he can't digest,
He studies o'er them, and repays them duly.

'To make my head an anvil (thought the creature)
Was never, certainly, the will of nature;
So, master mine, you may repent!'
Then, shaking his broad ears, away he went.
The driver took him to the water,
And thought no more about the matter;
But elephant within his memory hid it;
He felt the wrong - the other only did it.

A week or two elapsed, one market day
Again the beast and driver took their way;
Through rows of shops and booths they passed,
With eatables and trinkets stored,
Till to a gardener's stall they came at last,
Where coconuts lay piled upon the board.
'Ha!' thought the elephant, ''tis now my turn
To show this method of nut-breaking;
My friend above will like to learn,
Though at the cost of head-aching.'

Then in his curling trunk he took a heap,
And waved it o'er his neck with sudden sweep,
And on the hapless driver's sconce
He laid a blow so hard and full,
That cracked the nuts at once,
But with them cracked his skull.

Young folks, whene'er you feel inclined
To rompish sports and freedoms rough,
Bear 'tit for tat' in mind,
Nor give an elephant a cuff,
To be repaid in kind.
Quoted taken from, The Oxford Book of Children's Verse (Oxford Books of Verse)
Or can be found online here.

Mendelssohn mp3 music for $2.49

Ambleside Online's scheduled composer for study this term is Mendelssohn... yay!

I found many of the selections on this mp3 album.
(It has 99 pieces for only $2.49! Sadly, it only has two Songs Without Words, but see below*)

If for some reason this link isn't product specific (I tried!), just type in 99 Mendelssohn and it should come up in the search :)

*Never fear because my compadre Naomi over at Living Charlotte Mason in California has put together a playlist which includes a good selection of aforementioned Songs Without Words on grooveshark - click here.

I'll be posting more on this subject in the weeks to come :)

Monday, January 2, 2012

to do... to day

I'm more than half way through my homeschool planning day.
It's 4pm and here's what I have left to do... we shall see ;)


Picture study files drop off
Buy medicine
Haircut - (jac)

P/U pictures, buy: diet coke, boxed milk

4 print
4 mp3 players
4 kindle

Drawing lessons
Work projects

if there's time leftover...
Organize folders
Blog post

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Day, A New Year!

Happy New Year!!

It's also Charlotte Mason's birthday today. I think that'd make her 169 today :)
She was born January 1, 1842 in Bangor, Great Britain.

Random Fact:
If you were in Peru today, you'd be sure to have worn your yellow underwear to usher in the New Year, or... maybe not.

Exciting possibilities:
Maybe this is the year Jesus will come back... are you ready?
" Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him."

"But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. "
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