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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

So are YOU a descendant of Macbeth?!

Apart from the sense that Macbeth may generically represent the battle of every man against his baser nature, I was thrilled to find out that my family has an even more personal and IRL connection with Shakespeare's play Macbeth!

My extremely cool Uncle Steve is into genealogical research and he's done a TON of it. As it just so happens, he even reads my blog sometimes! Aw. Isn't that nice? He wrote saying he had seen my last post on Macbeth, and is SO super nice (have I said that already?) that he sent me some stuff he'd found related to what we were studying! Yep. Cool. Anyway, somewhere in his research he had run across the fact that my dad's side of the family is actually descendant from the in real life King Duncan I and his son Malcolm III, the historical figures on whom Shakespeare based his work.

Of course, I simply had to share. It may be my only claim to fame! ;)

Donnchad I
King Duncan I
King Malcolm III

Malcum Camnoir

Can you see the family resemblance?


Friday, January 24, 2014

Booklists Old and New: 2013 & 2014

This post shall be Reflective on the one hand, as I note the books I've read in 2013, while on the other it shall adhere to this month's theme of Newness with a projected booklist for 2014.
Now you know. That there was my introduction.


...and because the girl's extremely bored expression 
makes. me. laugh., I'm putting it up AGAIN.

Last year, I set out to be more purposeful in my reading. I guess I probably did better than past years, but still I was not as purposeful as I'd like to be.

I made a Very Long Booklist for 2013. I sort of went hog wild listing titles left and right. I figured they were books I'd eventually like to read, so why not put them ALL on the list?! Silly me. There was a big difference in the list I made in January 2013 and what I had in December 2013. There were books that had been scribbled in on a whim and two months later were completely forgotten or that halfway through the year had lost their luster. Those along with some books that have been on the *to read* list for the last 4 years simply didn't get read. Obviously, I am a novice at advanced booklistkeeping.

Anyway, no more excuses, I read what I read and here's the list.

Wait, one more thing: I'm not going to comment on any of them this time around because, well, if this reflective-ish post is going to make it up inside January's borders, I have to post it as-is.

Oh, and I just thought of something else. I may try to make a linkable list later. Right now, I'm just going to post pictures of the list. That's about 68 times easier!

Yes, the list, it's coming...

Books actually read in 2013:

Now, for 2014.
I learned some things from reflecting on last year's Very Long Booklist. This year's list denotes changes based on those now *older and wiser* observations.

Starting with generalizing the categories, then slimming my pickings in each, I anticipate having room for more guiltless spontaneous reading throughout the year.

Also, I went ahead and cut all the books I've been thinking of reading for nigh on forever and will commit their fate to whichever way the winds of interest and curiosity blow.

Oh, the list? Right, that's where I was going....
Here you have it.

Books planned for 2014:

P.S. Incidentally, not all the books that I read to the kids for school have made the Booklists. Generally, I only included those I would read regardless of whether I was reading aloud to them or just for my very own self.

And it's possible I've forgotten to list one or two titles; and nary an author, since this is not an official bibliography (contact me if you simply cannot figure that out and absolutely must know).
So that's  pretty much it.

My friends booklists often help me decide which books to read.

These are a few of my friends' favorite things:

Jeanne's favorite 10
Mama Squirrel's 10 books that stuck
Nancy's Reader's Journal

It seems like there were a few more, but I'm so late in getting this up, the links are buried now... Anyway, if you've posted a booklist and you'd like to share, you can link to it in the comments, how's that?!

*(:K: stands for the kindle version.)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

On Raising Heroes & Physical Training

Hmmm. I just can't seem to shake this question:

Does our Culture make Heroes?

I had intended to pursue some other thoughts I came across in my reading of Charlotte Mason's, School Education. But for the whole week, every time I open the chapter, I can't get past the subject of heroes. It's been haunting me and won't let me go 'til I give it a good think.

For how many of us, is it our goal to make heroes? Have you ever even thought of that? I am of the opinion that it's pretty uncommon in modern American culture to purposefully set out to make, much less to be heroes. Americans want smart kids. If we're especially ambitious, we might hope for rich or famous kids. Mostly, we just want them to get good jobs, to earn a good living, to enjoy the good life.

But heroes? Is that what anybody is aiming for?
Should that be what we're aiming for?

I can't imagine that heroes ever happen on accident.

The mythical Greek hero Heracles, known to the Romans as Hercules, 
was renowned for his great strength and the heroic deeds he performed. *

What is a hero?
n: a person, typically a man, who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities: a war hero. 
(Mac dictionary Version 2.2.1)
Courageous. Outstanding. Noble.

Yep. I'm convinced that's precisely what is required of Christ-followers in today's world.

Instead, popular culture isn't that much different from what CM describes as 'fine physical culture' of the English in her day, it's 'poor and narrow that [youths and maidens] may get the most, especially the most of physical enjoyment, out of life...' and 'excess in sports, excess in easy-going pleasure, excess in study, excess in desultory reading, excess in carelessness in regard to health, any excess that we have a mind to, is lawful to us if only it is expedient.'

How often have you heard echoes of popular thought, 'Well, it's my body and I can do what I want with it'? Rather self-centered, I'd say.

What of heroism? Do we give it a second thought?
Probably every kid wishes they could be a hero someday in some way. But from 4 feet tall, it all seems so unattainable. So. Far. Away. Children turned adults usually leave those Neverland-type dreams far behind altogether.

How can we help our children preserve that heroic impulse and go on to become courageous, outstanding, noble? In a word modern-day Heroes?

“It would be good work to keep to the front this idea of living under authority, training under authority, serving under authority, a discipline of life readily self-embraced by children, in whom the heroic impulse is always strong. We would not reduce the pleasures of childhood and youth by an iota; rather we would increase them, for the disciplined life has more power of fresh enjoyment than is given to the unrestrained.”

A hero is respectful of authority.
A hero is practiced in in self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control.

The old maxim affirms that habits ARE important, even in the pursuit of happiness. “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”

But why? Why not just grow up in the headlong pursuit of one's own happiness? Besides, that's natural and more... normal.

The Bible says it's because, we are NOT our own. Charlotte adds, 'The divine Author of your being has given you life, and a body finely adapted for His service.' It is our work to preserve 'this body in health, nourishing it in strength, and training it in fitness for whatever special work He may give' us to do in His world.

Inspiring, isn't it? Our kids, too, can be inspired by such a high purpose, if we share it with them. Bought with a price, we ought to glorify God with our bodies.

“Life is held in trust from a supreme Authority.”
CM, v3 pg104
Let us all aspire to be heroes.


For further exploration on encouraging true heroic impulse, Charlotte suggests, and I strongly concur, reading on the following subjects might be profitable to both parents and children.

Greek games and Greek heroes.
How a child may be trained to his physical responsibilities.
The vocation of the body.
'Innocent' excesses.
Unlawful and lawful home discipline.
The heroic impulse.
The training afforded by games.
Athletics, their use and abuse.
Parental authority in physical matters.
The right uses of self-denial.
The government, management, and training of the body.
The duty of health.

This post is based on thoughts on the first part of Chapter 10 in Volume 3, School Education by Charlotte Mason. The topic, Some Unconsidered Aspects of Physical Training, is one option for posts advocated by the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival 2014 Schedule. If you'd like to read other posts on the subject, be sure to read all the January editions.
If you'd like to share your post with the upcoming carnival, find out how here.
Find links to past CMBCarnivals here.

*Image source info here. License for use here.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

JoviOval Time: What it looks like... kinda.

Remember those idyllic moments I mentioned happening 'bout every 23 days around here? You know, the 'glowing hour' surrounding what we call 'JoviOval' time...?

Well, the other 22 days go something like this.

I don't know about you, but this picture 
mentioned in this context makes me LAUGH!

Sometime before 10am, I call to my kids, giving a 10-20 minute warning. They've already been doing school on their own since 8:30 or so, hopefully. During those minutes, I take a shower or make my coffee or eat breakfast, gather my stuff and finally sit in My Spot in the circle-ish, perhaps more ovate, sitting area of the schoolroom.

Usually, at least some of the kids are sitting there waiting when I come in. Other times, they run over immediately. Occasionally, they have to be called another time. Almost always there's a scuffle over who sits where... we are all still in training. :)

From there, for the next hour and a half or so, we're able to get a lot of things in that might otherwise slip through the cracks. Wait, that DID slip through the cracks. Many years ago, we started out with just memory work and our read-alouds, but with travel and moving there were lots of cracks! Plus, things have morphed as we've added students and subjects over the years to come by what we now have an official name for and everything!

During JoviOval time we SING and dance... uh, just kidding. We mostly stick to singing, though we could dance. ;) We read the Bible and poetry. The kids tell their memory work and practice recitations. In between stuff, usually everyone scuffles over seating arrangements. Again. Sometimes they tackle [ahem..] bother each other. Yes, in fact, they do.

Just keepin' it real. ;)

In fact, here's a real life of one our moments...
me reading aloud, people milling about, 
someone grabs the camera... yeah. It's like that. :)

We also do Helpful Together Things which smooths having lots of students at different levels. I read aloud from a science, geography, literature or history book for EVERYBODY. We do French and Spanish together. And a bunch of other stuff. You'll see. In my next post, I'll put up the list of what we're doing this term.

After we finish the official 'all together' stuff, some students skedaddle and we move on to the subjects that need at least my partial attention. That'd be mostly math, but can include Latin and/or grammar, among other things.

We've had to change lots of stuff to make 'JoviOval' time work. Matter of fact, I make changes every term. Some things I hope to do seem to get put off for an entire term even though they're on the list. Sometimes, it's all a flop because of moodiness or unpreparedness. Which is why habits contribute so much to atmosphere. It definitely doesn't just happen. No magic here. I have to make it happen, and all of us have to keep working to ensure that it continues. :)

Please don't forget that nothing really worthwhile will just up and happen overnight. One doesn't accomplish one's goals without some trial and error. It wasn't 'til last year that I really started to feel really quite happy with our 'together time'.

Key point: Take one thing at a time.

Also in my next post, in the Spirit of Newness (yes, I am in fact stretching the New Year theme out THIS LONG), along with our schedule, I'll share what's new in JoviOval time for this term/year, what's being tossed and why.

If you want to be really inspired, or need help with ideas for beginning a Morning/Circle Time, definitely have a browse over at Cindy's. She's got 30 days of MT! If you're interested in an all-out-AO-ambler's outlook and of her sundry daily experiences gathering her chicks into an egg-shaped formation and of some multi-age combinations, you'll want to read my next couple of posts, too. AND there's the linky, too! Only my friend Brandy has shared so far. She has a habit of posting about her Circle Time each term, so you could see her older posts as well.

Have you blogged about your Morning Time/Circle Time? Do you wanna? Help us out!
Please post and share your experiences in the linky below!


Monday, January 20, 2014

Praying Mantis in disguise... {NSM!}

Okay, so the Mantid doesn't really look like a Walking Stick, but that's certainly what we thought s/he was at first glance! Of course, we've seen Mantids before, so after some little observation, we quickly realized our mistake. Most of the praying mantids we've seen have been green, so you can understand our confusion. :)

We tried to pick him up in a plastic peanut butter jar, only to discover this one liked to use his/her WINGS! When flying it looked a lot like what we, when we were growing up, used to call mosquito-eaters. Praying mantids, on the contrary, when stationary, are very stately looking bugs. Calm and poised, they are pretty easy to observe. It's fun to see the little black points in their eyes follow you as they stare you down.

After 2-3 days in the plastic jar on the table for observation and a nature journaling session, we let him/her go near the place of discovery.

The {Nature Study Monday} link up is for ANY nature study-ish blog post written at any time during the current month. Which means, when you submit your link, it will show up in every. single. {NSM} post. during the whole month! Oh, and be not confused, feel free to link up on any day, be it Monday or not! (scroll down for linky).

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Jovi'Oval Time... or whatever you wanna call it.

Here we are, happily engaged in a French lesson... 
Can you just envision a new baby thrown into that mix?! Heheheh! Makes me laugh!

Many people call it 'Circle Time'. Others call it Morning Time. Whatever you call it, it's that glowing hour of the day when mothers demurely call their children to begin their studies. These come skipping hand-in-hand cheerfully, having finished their respective duties, as they are in the habit of always doing something helpful or productive. They then gather eagerly around their mother with fresh and radiant faces all set to profit from every word that proceeds from her sweetly up-turned lips.

It's almost exactly like that in my house every 23rd day or so. :)

Problem is, similar to Cindy's (aka: the Morning Time Master) sage words in one of her extremely helpful MT posts, if I call it and think of it as Morning Time and it doesn't happen in the morning, 3 out of 5 times I'd probably end up skipping it altogether. Which is in fact, exactly what has occurred MANY times.


Then there's the perfectionist in me that still slightly quails at the prospect of circles. They're so perfect. Do you remember, as a child, learning to draw a circle? Have you tried to free hand a perfect circle lately? Try it. How'd you do? Perfectly round? Right.

All of these are reasons why, this year, I've come to call our together time Jovi'Oval Time. Who doesn't need a little joviality every single day? Well, that and 'cause we're just not circle perfect people, ya know? Obviously, this is not meant as judgment on those who DO choose to call it Circle Time. This just how it IS with us. Besides, Circle Time people probably are perfect... ;)

The label 'Jovi'Oval Time' may be, in part, a recognition of just how much grace we require around here! In our diversified and dynamic lifestyle, Jovi'Oval Time has become a way to keep us oriented, get a lot of learning done, and build togetherness. It's become a pretty important part of our everyday. A liturgy of sorts, as Cindy might say.

The name 'Jovi'Oval Time' is new as of this school year, so during this month of Newness I'm gonna share a little about what we do. Hopefully, you'll be encouraged by our experiences and will feel free to share your own!

If you'd like to SHARE your Circle, Morning, Together Time posts, I'd be happy to collect the links in a linky here in this post! Do you have an older post on what y'all do? Are you just formulating your thoughts and plans? Whatever. Share your posts below if you feel so inspired... I'm sure we can all learn from each other!


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Shakespeare: Macbeth

Macbeth & Banquo with the 3 Weird Sisters (Image Source)

Macbeth is the scheduled Shakespeare play this term at, and as usual, we'll be following the rotation. We will be adding some new things this time around though, and I'm writing those down here, for posterity's sake. Because I may need to be reminded some years down the road, as I am in this for the long-haul. I have a mere 18 years to go... at least if we're done making babies who turn into future students. ;) Speaking of babies, I have lately discovered that I hold a very divergent view to that of Lady Macbeth in regard to suckling babes...


So, Macbeth...

What we usually do: 
Listen to an (abridged) version: Bruce Coville's rendition in audiobook format is what we used this time around.
Do a sketch, or more correctly termed, a schematic sketch of all the characters (everybody usually wants to do their own version):
Read the play aloud as a group, dividing into character parts.
I've decided on a couple monologues from Macbeth that we'll read aloud weekly during the term. The olders will use these for recitation. The littles just benefit from exposure. :)
See links below for sites I used to find the monologues...

What's new:
This year, my eldest AOy4 student is participating in the readings. Traditionally, before each scene, we divide up the speaking characters and then read the lines aloud together. Now, we have another reader! Because of the nature of this play and because of the fact we'll be using a study guide (see next point), I've dismissed my younger AOy4 student from the readings. He can listen/read if he wants to, but otherwise he's free to do something else.

With my AOy9 students, I'm experimenting with using Brightest Heaven of Invention to guide our study. So far, we've covered the Intro and the first two lessons. It's been a little choppy navigating how to divide the readings and commentary and questions and all over 12 weeks as BHI divides the play into four lessons. I haven't figured out a completely streamlined way yet, but I'll be posting my speculative plan (see end of post, if that's of interest to you). Then hopefully, I'll re-evaluate at the end of term what I think could have been done better. You know, for posterity's sake.

Helpful Links:
The University at Adelaide offers the best free kindle versions of Shakespeare that I can find online, with great formatting and linked table of contents! Check out their version of Macbeth here. I also like and have used MIT's version which I push-to-kindle.
Youtube version of the Orson Welles 1948 movie of Macbeth - The author of BHI, recommends this one as the best of the four versions he previewed. We may watch it... I'd really rather see a live performance though...
My friend Nancy just taught through Macbeth with her co-op students, how handy of timing is that? Here is her post: Recommended resources for Macbeth. Matter of fact, upon her recommendation, I purchased the kindle version of Leland Ryken's study guide for Macbeth. While he and the author of BHI have made distinct observations on the play, I definitely think one or the other is sufficient. BHI features six plays (Henry V, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Macbeth, Taming of the Shrew and Much Ado About Nothing). There are Ryken study guides for Hamlet (coming soon) and Macbeth.
Monologues for recitation and memorization: here and here.
Arkangel audio version of Macbeth (unabridged) from
Brightest Heaven of Invention: A Christian Guide To Six Shakespeare Plays by Peter Leithart, find it on here:

Miss Charlotte's commentary and application from Macbeth: 
"Every child, every man, who comes to a sudden halt watching the action of his own reason, is another Columbus, the discoverer of a new world. Commonly we let reason do its work without attention on our part, but there come moments when we stand in startled admiration and watch the unfolding before us point by point of a score of arguments in favour of this carpet as against that, this route in preference to the other, our chosen chum as against Bob Brown; because every pro suggested by our reason is opposed to some con in the background. How else should it happen that there is no single point upon which two persons may reason,––food, dress, games, education, politics, religion,––but the two may take opposite sides, and each will bring forward infallible proofs which must convince the other were it not that he too is already convinced by stronger proofs to
strengthen his own argument. Every character in history or fiction supports this thesis; and probably we cannot give a better training in right reasoning than by letting children work out the arguments in favour of this or that conclusion.

Thus, Macbeth, a great general, returns after a brilliant victory, head and heart are inflated, what can he not achieve? Could he not govern a country as well as rule an army? Reason unfolds the steps by which he might do great things; great things, ay, but are they lawful, these possible exploits? And then in the nick of time he comes across the 'weird Sisters,' as we are all apt to take refuge in fatalism when conscience no longer supports us. He shall be Thane of Cawdor, and, behold, confirmation arrives on the spot. He shall also be king. Well, if this is decreed, what can he do? He is no longer a free agent. And a score of valid arguments unfold themselves showing how Scotland, the world, his wife, himself, would be enhanced, would flourish and be blessed if he had the opportunity to do what was in him. Opportunity? The thing was decreed! It rested with him to find the means, the tools. He was not without imagination, had a poetic mind and shrank before the horrors he vaguely foresaw. But reason came to his aid and step by step the whole bloody tragedy was wrought out before his prescient mind. When we first meet with Macbeth he is rich in honours, troops of friends, the generous confidence of his king. The change is sudden and complete, and, we may believe, reason justified him at every point. But reason did not begin it. The will played upon by ambition had already admitted the notion of towering greatness or ever the 'weird Sisters' gave shape to his desire. Had it not been for this countenance afforded by the will, the forecasts of fate would have influenced his conduct no more then they did that of Banquo." vol 6 pg 140

Divide Macbeth (using BHI as study guide) over a 12 week term:

For now, we're going with the Option 2. (see below)

#1 - Either split the readings in half: read half of the reading selection each week (designated in BHI 'lessons'), read only half of the commentary and deal with half of the review & thought questions (pick several from those that apply to that week's reading).
#2 - Read the whole selection from the play one week, narrate and pick several of the review questions. The next week, read the commentary and choose several thought questions for discussion and/or for essay format of written narration.

Possible 12 week term schedules using BHI:
Option 1
Option 2

wk1 intro (Colville audiobook or Lamb's) and schematic sketch of characters, read BHI intro
wk2-3 Act 1.1 - 1.4 + commentary, review and thought Qs (half/week)
wk4-5 read Acts 1.5-2.4 + commentary, review and thought Qs (half/week)
wk6-7 read Acts 3-4 + commentary, review and thought Qs (half/week)
wk8-9 read Act 5 + commentary, review and thought Qs (half/week)
wk10 video, choose from essay questions, start paper (outline + first draft), write play
wk11 edit paper + second draft, practice play
wk12 hand in paper & perform drama

wk1 intro (Colville audiobook or Lamb's) and schematic sketch of characters. y9 - read BHI intro
wk2 Act 1.1 - 1.4 + review Qs
wk 3 BHI lesson 1 &thought Qs
wk4 Acts 1.5-2.4 + review Qs
wk5 BHI lesson 2 &thought Qs
wk6 read Acts 3-4 + review Qs
wk7 BHHI lesson 3 + thought Qs
wk8 Act 5 + review Qs
wk9 BHI lesson4 + thought Qs
wk10 watch video, choose from essay questions, start paper (outline + first draft), write play
wk11 edit paper + second draft, practice play
wk12 hand in paper & perform drama


Maybe some of this will prove handy for somebody. Most likely, that somebody will be me come 'bout 15 years from now... Oh my, I can hardly imagine that far out.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Izula - Bullet Ant - Paraponera Clavata, aka: Scary bugs! & {NSM}

'kay. So, we have BULLET ants in our house. Regularly. Um... yep. Those gigantic ants purported to have the most painful sting among insects alive today?! Yes, those ones. Bet you can't guess why they're called Bullet Ants?! A guy who has reportedly seen some in a jungle near ours, shares his ideas about that name here. But don't worry, they're common; we've seen tons. You know, in our house even... I just skim all these sites touting the exotic Izula, the Paraponera Clavata, and think... got one in my living room. Beat that!

At about an inch in length, that's about life size!

Every now and then, and there's no telling when, we'll find one of these ugly bugs galavanting around one of our rooms or flaunting himself down the hallway. You know, just walking around, checking things out. They like our place, I guess.

Usually about an inch long, they have beady black eyes, wicked looking chompers (mandibles) and a kind of wasp-like looking body. They have hairs on their abdomen and legs. They sport segmented antennae and a yellow section on their foremost legs. In my opinion, they are rather formidable looking... Oh, and did I mention they squeak? Yep, they make a sound when they're startled or bothered (we can make them squeak, but cannot yet communicate with them enough to know the exact squeak-causing emotion).

Check out those chompers...

According to those who know, these puppies bite AND sting. Thankfully, we've experienced neither, and I'm not eager to try my luck. We've trapped a few for observation, but squish most of them. Currently, we have three in captivity. Siah, the animal whisperer, found all of our current guests two evenings ago. Two were inside the house, one with wings (possibly a female) and one without. Later, when the kids were out with the dogs after dark, barefoot, he walked right next to another, this one without wings. Oh, for grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be!

Everyone here knows and avoids the Izula. Many friends report the sting is very painful. Our neighbor said he felt the throbbing up his arm and it made his heart beat similar to, he thought, a heart attack. I can tell you, just looking at one of these beasties makes my heart beat faster! Yuckity. Besides feeling like a gunshot, the sting will cause fever, which is why I'm getting a bit anxious to fumigate our house again ASAP. I'm not really into having one of my kids accidentally stung. Nope, that would not be a happy day.

Yikes. :S

There are many interesting tidbits like, ancient rituals involving getting bit multiple times on purpose for rites of passage, mentioned around the web, particularly in the comments of this blog post. And apparently, according to that blog author, the classification for this giant ant is debatable for some who want to claim it as some evolutionary proof of something or other? I thought it interesting that, supposedly, the only other one kinda similar is found in a fossil? That's cool.

Anyway, the kids have been having much fun with these guys. They think they're pretty brave to have them in their house AND to keep them around. I think it's kinda crazy and kinda cool, as long as there are no prison breaks. We did a more in-depth study this time around, thus this blog post. The kids are learning lots from observation and are gonna share their photos and info with a couple of the sites we found, to report their findings. That should be interesting.

The ants' quarters

I've come a long way with bugs, let me tell you. I used to be pretty nervous around your medium-to-average house spider, and I'd become semi-paralyzed with fear around bees or wasps. Yep. Bullet ants, baby... in my house. God definitely has a sense of humor. :)

Q: How do you react to scary bugs/creatures?! Are you able to remain calm and reasonable or do you freak out? How do your kids do? 

The {Nature Study Monday} link up is for ANY nature study-ish blog post written at any time during the current month. Which means, when you submit your link, it will show up in every. single. {NSM} post. during the whole month! Oh, and be not confused, feel free to link up on any day, be it Monday or not! (scroll down for linky).

Monday, January 6, 2014

Nature Study Monday: January 2014 {NSM! Link up}

The {Nature Study Monday} link up is for ANY nature study-ish blog post written at any time during the current month. Which means, when you submit your link, it will show up in every. single. {NSM} post. during the whole month! Oh, and be not confused, feel free to link up on any day, be it Monday or not! (scroll down for linky).

Well, HELLO 2014!!

Due to holidays and prego woes (think swollen, hot and sweaty), we didn't get out much last month. I'm really proud of my kids as they are getting into the habit of making weekly nature observations on their own whether we go on an official nature walk or not. Nothing can replace the sheer pleasure and amazingness of a real nature walk, but at least they're not going to become nature-deprived by a long-shot. ;)

Thankfully, rainy season is beginning to pick up, which means endless sticky mud, but also promises some periodic relief to the oven like conditions we've been experiencing. Some say, and I'm tempted to agree this year, that 'tis actually hotter during rainy season. Who would have thought?

Before Christmas, we did get to greet this happy little pig on our walk to get honey from a local seller in a nearby town. I say happy because he was probably glad to be just a wee one, for which reason he may still be alive today. Many Tarapotinos eat pork in their Pachamanca for Christmas. (youtube video - kinda long and we're more rustic, but it's similar.)

Lately, I've been working on our nature study schedule for this term. I'll plan to keep loosely following the Nature Study Rotation here. Since we just started reading Gregor Mendel: Planting the Seeds of Genetics (which gives signs of being very good - it's very well written and illustrated for a science book!!), and we have LOTS of legumes around here, I think we'll also have another and closer look at vines. Last term was trees/shrubs/vines, but we did a little more with stars/sky which was supposed to be this coming term (our science focus was astronomy). I think we'll just officially swap them.

Though we do a lot of nature study, we generally don't do a ton of formal study on a given subject, though we probably should. Occasionally, we do. Either way, I like to read up ahead of time on the scheduled subject so that I'm ready to point out interesting tidbits as the opportunities present themselves.

AO's Nature Study Rotation for 2013/14:
Summer/Fall: Trees/shrubs/vines
Winter: Stars/sky
Spring: Amphibians

2014 CM Blog Carnival Announcement and Invitation!

For the first edition of this year, the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival will be posted on January 14, 2014! 
How cool is that? 1/14/14! That's only a week away.

Please join us by submitting a post, or just reading along. Posts are due by 1/13 before 5pm EST. Send the link to your post in an e-mail to: charlottemasonblogs (at) gmail (dot) com.

As always, we welcome all of your Charlotte Mason inspired blog posts! Bloggers vary widely in their gifts and experiences, which means, we can all learn from each other. We hope you'll share with us!

Below, you will find an optional topic, a thought provoking quote and several ideas for those who need a little writing prompt or who would like some direction for further study. :)

I look forward to reading and sharing!  

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Some Unconsidered Aspects of Physical Training - Chapter 10 

Here are a couple of interesting things that I came across in my pre-reading of the chapter (read the entire chapter online here). A thought provoking quote, considering the day and age we live in:
"'Ye are your own,' is perhaps the unspoken thought of most young persons––your own, and free to do what you like with your own. Therefore, excess in sports, excess in easy-going pleasure, excess in study, excess in desultory reading, excess of carelessness in regard to health, any excess that we have a mind to, is lawful to us if only it is expedient. This loose morality with regard to our physical debts, without touching actual vice, which is probably on the decline, is the reason why the world does not get all that it should out of such splendid material."     Charlotte Mason, v3 p103
A list of pertinent ideas to think over (read the entire chapter online here):

  • Greek games and Greek heroes.
  • How a child may be trained to his physical responsibilities.
  • The vocation of the body.
  • 'Innocent' excesses.
  • Unlawful and lawful home discipline.
  • The heroic impulse.
  • The training afforded by games.
  • Athletics, their use and abuse.
  • Parental authority in physical matters.
  • The right uses of self-denial.
  • The government, management, and training of the body.
  • The duty of health.

(List quoted from v3 p105)

*Please see the CM Blog Carnival Schedule page for a list of dates and topics for the whole year (in progress). 

**By subscribing to the Carnival Announcement/Reminder list you can stay up-to-date and never miss another carnival. Plus, you'll receive handy-dandy monthly ideas & links pertaining to the topic... for free! ;) oh wait, it's all free! heheh.

***Also, please encourage your bloggy AND non-bloggy friends, who love Charlotte Mason and/or those just getting interested, to visit the CMBCarnival, the more the merrier!! :)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival Schedule

In honor of Charlotte Mason's birthday, today, here is the schedule for the upcoming year of CM Blog Carnivals!
I'm already looking forward to learning and sharing, are you??

This year, there will be one topic designated per month (always optional). All carnival editions hosted and posted during the corresponding month will fall under the same topic. In past years, many that prefer to follow the schedule simply weren't able to keep up with a new topic every two weeks. SO, for those folks, we're allowing for a whole month to meditate on each subject/chapter. We'll see how it goes, and if we like it, we'll keep it. If not, we can change it up*. :)

One more thing, this is really important... the schedule below mentions a bunch of reading selections and blogging topics which are 100% optional! You may blog about any of Miss Charlotte's favorite topics at any time and submit your posts to any CM Blog Carnival all year long! The list below is simply for those who find it helpful, would like to have a plan, or who enjoy communing and thinking along the same lines as others. Please always feel free to share what you are thinking or doing, whether 'officially on-topic' or not.

Go ahead and bookmark or print this post if you'd like to follow along!

Feel free to snag the CMBC logo to link from your blog's sidebar!

Subject to revision, please check the Schedule Page for changes and exact dates.
Optional reading selections & topics are taken from sections of School Education, 
Vol. 3 of CM's Homeschooling Series

Some Unconsidered Aspects of Physical Training - Chapter 10
A few subheadings from the section:
  • Does our Physical Culture make Heroes?
  • A Serviceable Body, the End of Physical Culture.
  • Ye are not Your Own
  • Use of Habit in Physical Training

Some unconsidered aspects of Intellectual Training - Chapter 11
A few subheadings from the section:
  • Three Ultimate Facts - Not open to Questions
  • Limitations of Reason
  • The Formation of Intellectual Habits

Some unconsidered Aspects of Moral Training - Chapter 12
A few subheadings from the section:
  • Authority, the Basis of Moral Teaching
  • Limitations of Authority
  • Morals do not come by Nature

Some unconsidered Aspects of Religious Training - Chapter 13
A few subheadings from the section:
  • Authority in Religious Education
  • The Habits of the Religious Life
  • Fatherhood of God, Kingship of Christ, Our Saviour & The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit

A Master Thought - Chapter 14
A few subheadings from the section:
  • Education is a life
  • A Creed which unifies Life
  • The Diet of Great Ideas
  • A Captain Idea for us, - Education is the Science of Relations

School Books and How They Make for Education - Chapter 15
A few subheadings from the section:
  • What manner of Book sustains the Life of Thought?
  • Our aim in Education is to give a Full Life
  • Our Work, to give vitalising Ideas

How to Use School Books - Chapter 16
A few subheadings from the section:
  • Disciplinary Subjects of Instruction
  • Principles on which to select School books & Marks of a Fit Book
  • Children must Labour, Value of Narration, A Single Careful Reading & The Teacher's Part

Education, the Science of Relations: We are Educated by Our Intimacies - Chapter 17
A few subheadings from the section:
  • Only Three Educational Instruments
  • On what does Fulness of Living depend?
  • The Child a Person

We are Educated by Our Intimacies - Further Affinities - Chapter 18
A few subheadings from the section:
  • Intimacy with Natural Objects
  • Having Touch with the Past necessary

We are Educated by Our Intimacies - Vocation - Chapter 19
A few subheadings from the section:
  • Sincere Work
  • Children have Affinities and should have Relations
  • The Highest Relationship

Suggestions Toward a Curriculum - Chapter 20
A few subheadings from the section:
  • A Definite Aim, A unifying principle
  • Knowledge vs. Information
  • Children have a Natural Craving for Knowledge

What we love MOST about Charlotte Mason, Looking back & Looking forward

*Please always feel free to send suggestions and opinions regarding the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival to charlotte mason blogs AT gmail DOT com (no spaces)!

And the ART calendar goes to...! & More reflection, anyone?

Wait, I just had a flashback. You know that awkward feeling you get when you're at a raffle or some drawing, and the winner's about to be called out and for that split second you're REALLY hoping... and then... you're not it?

I hate that.

I am so sorry. Here, I've done it again! Seriously, I want to send everyone a calendar. I even want to send a calendar to everyone of y'all who was considering writing a reflective post! Sad, how I wish I could.

At least I am not going to do it like several I've seen done here in Peru. Here, they call out THREE names and the first two ARE NOT the winners. Can you believe that? They call out the first name, and then say, 'I'm sorry, you DIDN'T win'. Then the second, 'I'm sorry, NOR did you'. Imagine. I feel like that would be almost devastating and is one reason for which I strongly dislike raffles here. I feel super sad for whoever hopes and doesn't win...

But then again, how HAPPY for Nicole! Because hers is the name I drew tonight, and tomorrow, I will be sending her the 2014 ART Calendar!! Yippee! And because you all are so generous, I know that you all are really and truly happy for her too! :)

Now, for a confession, I haven't even read any of the entrants' posts yet! I've been saving them all up! Now, I can hardly wait!

To make it easier, I'm going to go ahead and post the linky AGAIN right here in this very same post, AND, I'm hoping, that maybe, just maybe, there might be a few more of you that were hoping/planning to get around to it, so I want to open it back up for a week or two just in case there are any of you who may still be reflecting on 2013/goal setting for 2014 and would like to link up your posts. There are no more giveaways, mind you, but I'd still love it if you'd like to share your posts! I may add a couple more myself. :)


Please feel free to link up to your posts in review of 
or reflection upon 2013 or goal setting for 2014!


FREE or VERY cheap books!! (kindle & audiobooks)

Happy New Year!!
Look what I found while online today!
I just had to share, especially since a couple of them I've read and have REALLY loved.

FREE ESV Audio Bible! 
On during January only!
I already own this and use it EVERY day!

Today's Deals on has a few new releases & popular titles on sale:
Amazon's Gold Box Deal of the Day - TODAY (1/1/14) ONLY! - Scroll down for the titles I found interesting...

Because He Loves Me: How Christ Transforms Our Daily Life is going on my reading list for 2014! 
Only $5 for the AUDIOBOOK at I saved $4-10!
The kindle version is available here for $9

Quiet by Susan Cain made my top read for 2013! 
Grab the kindle edition for only $2.99 (may only be for a limited time?)

CHECK it out. I'm sure it's only for a limited time!
  Beth Moore's Amazon Page lists a number of her books for FREE or for $0.99 right now, including:

To Live Is Christ - FREE
Believing God - FREE
The Beloved Disciple - FREE (I'm s.l.o.w.l.y. working through the study version of this right now!)
Praying God's Word Day by Day - $0.99
A Heart Like His: Intimate Reflections on the Life of David - $0.99
Breaking Free: Discover the Victory of Total Surrender - $0.99
Jesus, the One and Only - $0.99
Praying God's Word: Breaking Free from Spiritual Strongholds - $0.99

Possibly Interesting Amazon Daily Deals?!
(I haven't yet read any of these, but am contemplating a few of them)

For more titles on sale TODAY ONLY see:
Amazon's Gold Box Deal of the Day

*See this post for some the really good reasons you might choose to support our family through our affiliate linkage! :)

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