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Saturday, December 15, 2012

And the winner is...!

I know. I said I'd announce the winner to the giveaway for the last CM blog Carnival on Saturday, December 15th. And yes, I am aware that it is very LATE on Saturday, but I'd just like to point out that it is in fact, still Saturday, so at least I'm not too late!! ;) I wanted to give everyone enough time to get any last minute entries in... uh huh. That's exactly it. But you don't want explanations, you want to know who won! SO...

Out of 75 total entries...

I'm excited to announce...

the winner is...

Liz from Living Books Library who submitted the post, Our Favorite Christmas Story Ever!

I got to meet Liz (and her husband) and daughter Emily at ChildlightUSA this summer.
And they've sent me books! So, it's especially fun that I get to send them something in return!!
Fun, fun!


Merry Christmas to all, and a Happy New Year!


What I've learned about having a giveaway...

  • It's fun to give things away, but it makes you feel kind of sad that you can't give everyone something, especially at Christmastime.
  • CM discouraged prizes and rewards, but I don't think she ever talked about blog giveaways, so I think I'm okay.
  • It seems like someone who took the time to enter more than ten times would win (Catherine!). I drew a couple of names after I drew the winner just to see what the likelihood would be, and didn't draw one of the frequent commenters until the fourth and fifth draw! weird. Wanna know the names I drew after? Jessica, Lanaya, Karen in Kansas City, and finally, Catherine! 
  • Only a very few people took advantage of the opportunity by actually seemingly trying to 'win'. I wonder if that is because it's not that interesting of a prize, or because it requires too much effort, or for some other reason. It makes me very curious about the psychology of a thing like this. 
  • I'd like to do it again because it's fun, but...
  • It's probably just as fun to surprise someone you already know randomly with a gift in the mail. :)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Past

A quick look at some Christmases past...

 :: 2009 ::


 :: 2010 ::

:: 2011 ::


:: Today, 2012 ::

Breaking all tradition, we were super late this year in getting our humble Christmas decor & Basket of Delights all set out. Things were way out of control these last couple weeks, with early Thanksgiving, our 16th anniversary, Micah's rivertrip, repercussions (sickness), etc.
But here we are finally, with our Christmas spirit on.  
The books were pulled out in force all afternoon. Yay!
AND, best of all, my parents come to visit in just 8 days!!!!!! 
we. cannot. wait.
I hope you too are all enjoying everything good about this holiday season so far! 

P.S. Don't forget tonight is the last chance to enter in the giveaway. :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival: Holidays Edition, 2012!

Happy Holidays! 
for those who celebrate, and 
Happy Normal Days! 
to everyone else! ;)

So normally around this time of year, the fun begins. Of course, at our house we have fun ALL year... yours too, right? ;) Excitement always picks up a little more around Thanksgiving, since that's my favorite holiday (mom's rule)! Then, as we piece together our plastic tree (oh, for the days when we cut down our own...), start marinating our eardrums in Christmas-y tunes, and we set out to follow the trail to Advent, it really starts getting exciting. It's during this time of year more than any other, our days are filled with more meaning than usual as we take time to remember what's good, better and best.

I can't wait for y'all to read the posts this time around. so. much. great. stuff.
And if you can't stop thinking about possibly receiving a 2013 ART calendar for Christmas, let me remind you, 'Don't open til...' you've read to the end of the post where there are more details.
C'mon, you can do it! Just a little bit of 'I am, I can, I ought, I will' practice. :)

happy holiday posts.
Bobby Jo shares... So Very Thankful
Patti shares... about how they celebrate Advent.Catherine shares... Making the Most of the Holiday Season.
Patti shares... Celbrating the Birth of Christ.
Liz shares... Our Favorite Christmas Story Ever.
Sarah shares... Christmas is Coming.
Nebby shares... A Charlotte Mason Christmas {aka Handicrafts}.
Cynthia shares... The Ultimate Guide to Christmas Nature Study.
Nancy shares... On Christmas Traditions and Books.
Bobby Jo shares {again}... At Home with Books: Christmas time.
Carol shares... Room at the Inn.
Jen shares... How we are celebrating Advent this year
Heather shares... Lessons in Holiday Giving.

happy every day posts.
Barb shares... Taking An Autumn Hike AND Making Time and Space for Creativity.
Lanaya shares... Tractor Refinishing Handicraft.
Angela shares... Reading Lessons
Celeste shares... Squirrel Signs
Dana shares... Our Favorite Christmas Books
Yours truly, shares... O Christmas Tree! (a post from the past)

Thank you all SO much for submitting posts and for taking the time to read/comment!
It might look compact, but there are a whopping 19 posts here for your holiday reading enjoyment!! That's lots! I'm so thankful for all of you who make the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival go. I know that the carnival is such an encouragement to many who don't have a CM group close by, or don't have much time to get out of the house. Thanks for taking the time to share with us!! ;) We hope to see you at the carnival... next year!!

This is the last CM blog carnival of the year. But, we're not sad, because 2013 is a whole new year and we'll fill it full of learning, fun and CM education blogging! :)

AND because we have a fun giveaway planned which will take place as follows...

Now, for the merry-Christmas-maybe-get-a-gift-to-put-under-your-tree part!
(please read carefully, as a few things have changed)

2013 Art Calendar - giveaway!

Drawing will be held on Saturday December 15th
The winner will be announced the very same day! :) That way y'all will have exactly 4 whole days to comment on the other carnival posts, and the calendar will still make it in time to be tucked under the tree!! more time = more comments = more chances to win.
  • Every blog post submitted to the upcoming Holiday edition of the CM blog carnival (all CM-related posts welcome!) – will automatically earn 2 entries!! - EXPIRED.
  • Leave a comment on any of the above carnival posts AND come back here to this post to tell me you did it  - earn up to 19 entries!  I mean, why not, right?!
    (P.S. to be eligible, remember to comment elsewhere and come back and tell me each time in a separate comment, which you will put on this very, right here Holiday edition carnival post. these comments are what I will draw from which will make the drawing oh-so-easy for me. oh, and if you don't have your e-mail address linked to your comment, I won't be able to contact you, and I'll have to draw another name!)
  • Blog about the giveaway (include linked picture from this post), & leave a link to the post in the comments of this here postworth 2 entries!! ...this is intended to make the carnival more famous!
  • Link to the giveaway post on fb AND/OR pin the giveaway pic to pinterest, (and leave a comment in this here post)worth 1 entry!
  • "Like" (if you haven't already) the Fisher Academy fb page or subscribe to Fisher Academy by e-mail – this doesn't earn any entries, but it IS a great way to stay up-to-date with the CM Blog Carnival! :) 
  • (P.P.S. I forgot to say this before, so I'll say it now, US mailing addresses only. If you live overseas, don't worry, you can still play, but if you win, I won't be able to send it directly to you. If you have a family member (or other US address) that will receive mail for you, please feel free to participate!) 
So. There you have it. There are many chances to win! I leave it up to you, if you'd like to participate to win on purpose, or if you simply want to take it easy, submit your post and read and comment on the carnival as usual. Either way, you are VERY welcome, and you might just end up being that one extra happy person to receive the calendar for Christmas!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Reminder! LAST CM Blog Carnival of 2012 {AND giveaway!}

Alright. It's been WAY too long since we've had a little freebie fun around here! I've been wanting to do a giveaway for months now (a year?!), but have just been WAY too busy.
But, now I say, enough is enough. We won't wait any longer. We've got to have some end of the year fun!

The upcoming and LAST CM Blog Carnival of 2012 will be hosted right here @ Fisher Academy, and we're gonna go ahead and celebrate and make it even MORE fun by giving away a really cool CHRISTMAS gift! Again. (see info below)

Plus, there are TONS of other things worth celebrating. Counting backwards some of the bigger events of the year, we have... the 2012 Holiday season (now upon us); a whole 'nother year's worth of Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival posts; AmblesideOnline's forum debut; 200+ friends connecting with Fisher Academy; old and new friends connecting in persona at ChildlightUSA conference, plus about a million personal things we could all probably name off... and I could just keep on counting!

It's totally a year worth remembering.

In celebration of a year's worth of living, I'll be giving away a really cool art calendar as a kind of earnest money on this coming year, that I'm certain will be just as good. Who knows, maybe it'll be THE year of all years that Jesus comes back?! Wouldn't THAT be amazing.

2013 Art Calendar - giveaway!

So before this year's over, one happy person will be the proud new owner of a 2013 Art Calendar! OR if you don't want to wait, you could buy yours here: Art 2013 Gallery Calendar (Page a Day Gallery Calendar)!

Because we're in the midst of celebrating the 2012 holidays, and because we're talking about the last CM blog carnival of 2012, and because it would be so much fun if lots of people participate, I'll draw and announce the winner on the day after the carnival, December 12th (just in time to get or regift the calendar for Christmas!!), on 12/12/12!!  Wow. cool.
Read the following carefully to know how you can go about trying to win. :)

Earn one entry for each of the following... (earn up to SIX entries!)

  • Every blog post submitted to the upcoming Holiday edition of the CM blog carnival (all CM-related posts welcome!) – will automatically earn 2 entries!!
  • Leave a comment on any of the carnival posts AND on the CM blog carnival post which will be posted @ Fisher Academy on December 11th - earn 1 entry!
    (P.S. to be eligible, remember to comment elsewhere and come back and tell me in your comment on the Holiday edition carnival post on 12/11. Oh, and if you don't have your e-mail address linked to your comment, I won't be able to contact you, and I'll have to draw another name!)
  • Blog about the giveaway (include linked picture above), and leave me a link in the comments of this here post – worth 2 entries!!
  • Link to this giveaway post on fb AND/OR pin the giveaway pic to pinterest, (and leave a comment in this here post) – worth 1 entry!
  • "Like" (if you haven't already) the Fisher Academy fb page – this doesn't earn any entries, but it IS a great way to stay up-to-date with the CM Blog Carnival! :)

So. There you have it. There are many chances to win! I leave it up to you, if you'd like to participate to win on purpose, or if you simply want to take it easy, submit your post and read the carnival as usual. Either way, you are VERY welcome, and you might just end up being that one extra happy person to receive the calendar for Christmas!

Drawing will be held on December 12th (the day after the carnival)
Drawing will be held on Saturday December 15th and the winner will be announced the very same day! :) That way y'all will have more time to comment on the other carnival posts!! more time = more comments = more chances to win. ;)

Coming soon!
Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival Holidays edition,
December 11th @ Fisher Academy
Quoted from last year:  
"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! ;)"

Submit your carnival post here.

Have I ever told you how much we LOVE our Art Calendar?!

Do I look like I love it?! Or, do I look WEIRD?! ...don't tell me. 
The calendar sits on our table, and the kids change it daily.
It is also useful for copying the day's date :)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Hymn Study: Dear Lord and Father of Mankind

Scheduled in October...  Sung in November... Posted in December... :)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Highschool Math! {HSHS carnival edition #4}

Is anyone else shaking in their boots thinking about how to do math with older kids?! Today we'll have a look at how to handle math in the upper years. Thanks to others who have gone ahead, those of us who are just coming into the highschool years have much help and encouragement.
"...math appeals directly to the mind and, although it's as challenging as scaling a mountain, it can be just as rewarding. Good math teachers know not to drown lessons in too many words."
Charlotte Mason

Willa shares what her 4 grown homeschoolers did for mathematics in the homeschool and what her current high schooler is doing. With or without outside help, your students can be successful in college prep math!

How do you keep maths interesting when the high school years look like screeds of formulae to be memorised? The only answer I could come up with was similar to what we've done in the primary years; follow the child's lead and pace, but give the topic breadth with living books and other fun activities.  Catherine shares with us, Does math have to get boring during the teen years?

Many parents fear homeschooling through high school because of math. This article is for them. Lori Havens discusses the concerns that homeschooling parents have about high school math (and science), and shares how these fears are common, sadly, but unfounded. Get a dose of encouragement and reality from this veteran homeschooling mom, who considers herself barely average (at best!) in math, with one son now successfully graduated from college, the other now a student in electrical engineering at one of the top 5 engineering schools in the country!

I share very briefly about one way to use narration in math in, Keeping a Math Notebook.

Sue explores the questions, Do high schoolers really need to learn higher maths skills? If they do learn maths, what contributes to their success? And can structured maths courses play a part in the education of unschoolers? in When Will I Use All This Maths, Mum?

Updated!! (somehow these posts were originally omitted, please accept my apologies):
Erin shares how they strive to foster math thinkers in their home and search for the balance between meeting expectations and yet supporting each child in their varying talents, in the Maths Equation.

Sally talks from the perspective of the non-math person about different curricula for different students, and her friend Anne-Marie talks from the perspective of the math person about the same in Homeschooling High School Math.

And then on another note, we have some more general encouragement from our friends...

Jimmie Lanley shares her daughter's recovery from a spinal fusion surgery, Jimmie realized yet another layer of how wonderful homeschooling is in The Beauty of Homebound Homeschool.
This free printable notebooking page is designed for listening to presentations or speeches. Great for co-op classes. She shares, Keeping it Real You are Not Alone in your Homeschool Struggles about the chaos I see sometimes in my home also happens in the homes of others.

Connie shares some Encouragement of a Friend. I would like to submit one of my posts that was a part of the HomeSchool High link up. It had lots of views~ the encouragement to encourage one another resonated well with my readers and on social media.

As the end of the term comes to a close, I take a few minutes to record the achievements my son has accomplished. Recording these things as we go along makes the building of a narrative report card much easier at the year's end. Barb shares Homeschool Grades versus Achievements.

Charlotte Mason talks more about Mathematics.
"Arithmetic and Math don't appeal to most children, either, no matter how intelligent. Most children are baffled by math, although they may love reasoning out questions of life in literature or history. Since so many dislike those subjects, maybe we should take that as a hint and stop putting so much pressure on those subjects. It would make sense to push grammar and math if children's reason was waiting for us to develop it. But when we see that they have plenty of ability to reason in other subjects, we have to face the fact that they have plenty of reason. They have as much ability to reason as they have ability to love. They don't need us to give them subjects to develop their reason. Our job is to give them lots of material for their reason to work on. If their reason gets sharper, it will be a side effect as they learn their other subjects. (...)  A child who understands how immutable the laws of math are will never divide 15 pennies between five people and give them the wrong amount. He will understand that math answers aren't arbitrary, they're logical, and even a child can use reason to come to the right answer. Math can be enjoyable for a person who loves perceiving a law of nature and figuring out the law behind why things work the way they do. But not every child can be a star wrestler, and not every boy 'takes' to math. So perhaps teachers should make it their duty to expose the child to as many interests as possible. Math is just one subject in education, and it's one that not everyone excels at. So it shouldn't monopolize too much time in the school day."
Read the quote above in its context here (scroll down to page 151ff).

More helpful math-related links:
  • MEP is a K-12 math program designed and used in Europe available free online here.
  • Brandy hosted a 'Math Week' series on Afterthoughts last month, have a look!

This has been a highschool carnival post! Hasn't it been fun?! Please check in here for more of the same! The next Homeschool High School Carnival on January 1st will be hosted by Gae at Cherished Hearts at Home. The suggested topic will be Finding our Stride... You are most welcome to join us. Thank you to all our contributors and to our readers for taking the time to read and comment:)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Geography: Discovery of Muscovy

In this term of AOy8, my boys are reading the Discovery of Muscovy. I know next to nothing about it (the book or the history contained therein), except that Muscovy is related to Moscow and that in searching I turned up a bunch possible resources. One thing is certain, we're making the most of the opportunity to study Russia in our map drills for this term.

Without having pre-read the book, I'm putting together a list of potentially helpful links, albeit slightly ignorantly. Maybe if you've used/read the book, you can be of some help in indicating which of these might be the most helpful. This post will hopefully change as we go along. I'll toss the unhelpful things and perhaps add more along the way :)

So, without further ado...

Helpful links:
The actual map we will hopefully be able to use the most alongside the reading. Links to other maps to print and use for drill (including blank) here.
Wiki entry on the Grand Duchy of Moscow (1340-1547) and Tsardom of Russia (1547-1721).
A cool looking map here.
Maps showing progression/expansion of the Grand Duchy of Muscovy. Click the years on the left sidebar to see changes.

Cool old looking illustrated map (pictured above).
Online bio of Ivan the Terrible.

Site for general info about Russia (including historical and modern facts).
Some helpful wikis: Tsardom of Russia and Anthony Jenkinson (Muscovy Trading Co., 1529-1610)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Shakespeare: King Lear

This play is one of the few of Shakespeare´s that can be pinpointed exactly as to when it was written. Isn't it cool to know that this play was performed for King James and his Court in the Christmas holidays of 1606?! And here we are nearing the same time of year ourselves! Interestingly, written into the play, there is a probable reference made by Gloucester to several eclipses that took place in 1605! A story familiar to many of the time, it is taken from a well known fable that was commonly inserted into an undocumented period of English history (which we read about last year in Birth of Britain), is actually referred to in Spenser´s Fairie Queen (which we are reading this year!! ...connections galore!), and had already been made into a play prior to Shakespeare´s version.

Despite the fact that the commentary I read said this play is a particularly difficult one, I still think this is going to be one of my favorite plays so far. It may even come to be a close rival to Cymbeline. The consequences of unchecked pride and unbridled anger are brought to our attention by means of a captivating story. I can´t wait to get further!

I´ve worked out three options for scheduling the play over a 12-week term. See/print the alternate schedules here. We'll read the play in 9wks. We'll include an intro, informal play & movie, if I can find a good version. Here's the schedule we'll follow:

Week 1: Intro: (read Lamb's? draw character map)
Week 2: Act 1, Scene 1
Week 3: Act 1, Scene 2 - 4
Week 4: Act 1, Scene 5 – Act 2, Scene 2
Week 5: Act 2, Scene 3 – 4
Week 6: Act 3, Scene 1 – 6
Week 7: Act 3, Scene 7 – Act 4, Scene 3
Week 8: Act 4, Scene 4 – 6
Week 9: Act 4, Scene 7 – Act 5, Scene 2
Week 10: Act 5, Scene 3
Week 11: Informal play
Week 12: Perform recitations chosen from selected excerpts OR watch movie of play (if applicable).

helpful links:
King Lear on
King Lear on (1971 version) - Parents should preview, I have not.
AO Shakespeare Rotation
Site that highlights monologues from Shakespeare's plays - men's parts, women's parts - (thanks, Nancy!)
Shakespeare: Cymbeline
Shakespeare: for all ages
What's so great about Shakespeare?
Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Bard? (...seeing local performances adds immensely to the Shakespearean experience)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Now, here's a beaut!

This guy was seriously huge. and SUPER interesting. really awesome color, too!
We haven't figured out what he is yet, though, so if anyone has an idea, do share ;)
:: UPDATED! ::
i'm SO glad you all inspired me to look him up! he wasn't super easy to find, even though y'all were right in identifying him as a click beetle. i wasn't totally sure based on my field guide's description, but the online pictures helped to narrow it down a LOT. there are a ton of click beetles. i never would've known it. he's not overly photographed though, as the only "green click beetles" i found initially were here and here. but after all is said and done, i even found a book written about them! woot! i did not however feel inspired by the title to read it: Larvae of Alaus myops, A. oculatus, Chalcolepidius porcatus, Hemirhipus apicalis and generic larval characterization... but you can download it here. :) you're welcome. ;)

in the end i was able to narrow it down by googling "elateridae green" (the slightly less scientific terminology of green click beetle was not successful), and later narrowed it down to Chalcolepidius porcatus, though he might be a Chalcolepidius virens, wiki info:

Kingdom: Animalia (Animals)
Phylum: Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Class: Insecta (Insects)
Order: Coleoptera (Beetles)
Family: Elateridae (Click, Firefly and Soldier Beetles)
Genus: Chalcolepidius
Species: C. porcatus OR C. virens


Linking up again here for November...

Click on the butterfly to link up your own November nature study posts to share!
To join in the fun, just leave your link in the comments & snag the button too if you wish. :)

Oh! and don't forget...
CM Blog Carnival coming up soon!

Coming soon!
*oops!* edit: carnival will be hosted @ SeeJamieBlog :)
  • Submit your posts by clicking on the carnival button above :)
  • Deadline for submissions is Monday, November 26
  • As always all posts on any CM-related topic are welcome and will gladly be included.
  • Completely optional topic for discussion: Principle #20, concisely rendered thus:  We allow no separation to grow up between the intellectual and 'spiritual' life of children, but teach them that the Divine Spirit has constant access to their spirits, and is their Continual Helper in all the interests, duties and joys of life.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

It's a jungle in here!

That's right. It's a jungle IN here... meaning, in my house.
We live in the jungle, and sometimes we've found it's difficult to keep the jungle outside the house.

We've found tarantulas, centipedes, lizards, rats, and get this... the latest find was a snake, INSIDE our house. So, you can imagine my dismay at people's terrified state when having been called upon to kill a spider that's like a whole inch in diameter!
No really, I understand.
I used to be that way.


So, wanna see the snake? He was just a little guy (40ish cm).

Oh, and they say he's blind... which might even make you feel a little sorry for him. But he isn't really. I was happy to discover he was nonvenomous and that he is helpful. He eats stinging ants and their larvae. So, he's one of the good guys. Now that you know a little more about him, would you like to keep him as a pet? 

I thought about it.

But my husband forbade me. Yes, that man who brought home a baby alligator. Yep, he's the one. That, and our pets don't tend to fare well for some reason (except the parrot, he's good now that he's in a cage). So, after we got a real good look, we let the not-really-blind snake go.

Oh, and here's who I found last night near the bathroom...

He's pictured slightly bigger than life size, at 9cm-ish.
He's missing some legs, but don't let him fool you or make you sorry for him.
He's full grown, he bites and he's poisonous.
I smashed him flatter than a pancake!

It's FUN to share and encourage each other with nature study!
That's why I'm linking up again this month, with Nature Study Monday: November.
Please feel free to share your nature study posts this month on your blog,
and then link them up by clicking the button below:

Helpful Links:
The low-down on the Blind Snake, aka Typhlopidae. More here.
Interesting facts on the Blue Legged Centipede, aka Scolopendra polymorpha
Nature Study Monday: November Link-up

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Psst! ...don't forget!

Coming soon @ SimplyCharlotteMason!
  • Submit your posts by clicking on the carnival button above :)
  • Deadline for submissions is Monday, November 12
  • As always all posts on any CM-related topic are welcome and will gladly be included.
  • Completely optional topic for discussion: Principle #19, concisely rendered thus:
"Therefore, children should be taught... that the chief responsibility which rests on them as persons is the acceptance or rejection of ideas..."

Monday, November 5, 2012

Nature Study Monday: November

Last year in my nature journal, I started listing the changes we saw taking place every month. A book of firsts, if you will. In doing this, we have finally seen that we DO in fact have some seasonal changes in this land of perpetual summer, so very near to the equator, so consistently warm and moist.

Here's the list for September - October as currently seen in my journal...

in tarapoto, san martin:
  • orange, yellow, pink blooms on trees throughout the area. first spotted on the way to yurimaguas.
  • red star shaped lilies in bloom in the city and out in the campo.
  • pomarosa trees bloom and carpet the ground beneath in a stunning fluorescent pink.
in trujillo, la libertad:
  • cacti were 'blooming' with bunches of little reddish yellow 'apple' looking blooms covering the topmost points and edges.

It will be fun to keep compiling observations and later to compare years!       :)

This is the place for you to link up to your own November nature study posts to share!
To join in the fun, just leave your link in the comments & snag the button too if you wish. :)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

32+ hours of Peru.

It took 32 hours(+) to cross Peru from east to west and then back again.
I've got the pictures to prove it.

There's one picture per hour, plus some, but unfortunately they're not pictured here by order taken.

Friday, October 26, 2012

P.S. Carnival is coming!

Coming soon!

  • Submit your posts by clicking on the carnival button above :)
  • Deadline for submissions is this coming Monday, October 29 (5pm PST)
  • As always all posts on any CM-related topic are welcome and will gladly be included.
  • Completely optional topic for discussion: Principles 16 &18, loosely rendered thus:
"(16) There are two guides to moral and intellectual self-management to offer to children - 
'the way of the will' and 'the way of the reason.' (18) The way of reason: " ... "

Read the principles in their completeness, here. :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

aahhhh. nature study :)

out in the field, looking...

...back at home, sketching

more nature study links:
Nature Study Outing: Week 9 - Joyous Lessons
First Rain - living CM in California
Nature Journal inspiration
Using field guides in nature study
Nature study one of the constants

... linking this post to nature study monday's october post :)
just click to link your nature study posts too!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Knocking at Will.


A deed knocks first at thought,
And then it knocks at will.
That is the manufacturing spot,
And will at home and well.

It then goes out an act,
Or is entombed so still
That only to the ear of God
Its doom is audible.

Emily Dickinson

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pursuing the Way of the will...

According to some sources, every one of my kids (my husband and I as well), would probably be categorized as "strong-willed". If I didn't know better, I'd say that strong-willedness was a Tuttle family trait. :) But what would you say, if I told you, that we were actually born very weak-willed individuals all?

Charlotte helps clarify how things really are when she explains, "The baby screams himself into fits for a forbidden plaything, and the mother says, 'He has such a strong will.' The little fellow of three stands roaring in the street, and will neither go hither or thither with his nurse, because 'he has such a strong will.' He will rule the sports of the nursery, will monopolise his sisters' playthings, all because of this 'strong will.' ...But, all the time, nobody perceives that it is the mere want of will that is the matter with the child. He is in a state of absolute 'wilfulness,'––the rather unfortunate word we use to describe the state in which the will has no controlling power; willessness, if there were such a word, would describe this state more truly." (v1 p321).  If you'd like to read more about 'will training', click here, and see helpful links below.

So, as it is, in our family, weak wills are constantly being stretched and strengthened. Every one of us has come a long way... and yet we still have a long way to go. :) The following excerpt pertaining to the will, is a modified example of what I write down periodically in my 'Mother's Diary'. Read more about that here (v2 p106).

For me lately it is cooking. I've never really liked to cook. And for some reason, in recent weeks, it's become more of a chore. But someone must cook, or there'd be certain mutiny among my crew. And we'd be very, very hungry. So, even though I don't want to cook, and wish someone else would do it, I know that I ought to. So I do. Many days I can think of a thousand things I'd rather, and so have to will myself to do it; twist my own arm, so to speak. Now, I've taken measures to make it easier on myself, like having a plan, organizing my recipes, delegating some tasks, etc. But do I really have to *like* to do it?! I don't know. But I do know that the hours preceding dinnertime would be a lot less miserable if I could find a way to be cheerful about it. :) So, my next step in pursuit of the way of the will is to approach cooking cheerfully, without even a hint of complaint. And believe me, this is gonna be huge! My plan is to think about something else. Listen to a sermon, an audiobook? I don't know what, but changing one's thoughts is a very CMish idea, and one I fully intend to employ. :)

Then, there is one of us who is strengthening his will muscles in the area of math. This certain someone does not enjoy taking time to attend closely to the math lesson. He does not enjoy using his time to do his math exercises. This, for him is a huge daily feat of the will.

Another certain someone, who shall also remain nameless, has by way of the will, been overcoming in the area of copywork. Even though this person has special talent in this area, for some reason it had become a burdensome and most dreaded task. Being made aware that the way to victory lay in taking it in manageable sized chunks, and going straight to task to get it over with quickly, has been key for this person.

Then there is one who usually makes it his business to be the most attention loving groupie wherever two or more are gathered. He has a most perpetual test of will power especially during school hours: having to will his pencil not to drum, his feet not to tap, his tongue not to click, his chair not to tip, his voice not to burst out with every answer... etc. maybe you know someone like this. If you don't have one in your homeschool, be very, very glad. :)

The cutest little someone in the family is currently valiently working on willing herself not to suck her thumb, the sweet chick. For such a small person, she's admirably facing this gargantuan exercise of the will, and though she's had some setbacks, she's doing a fantastic job.

Lastly, there's the one who seems to do everything well, and get along with just about everybody all the time. But even this one doesn't escape the occasional test of will, and is currently working on willing to obey right away, because otherwise forgetfulness sets in immediately within ten seconds or so.

These are some of the tests of will we've been facing lately.
How 'bout you? What are some areas you have seen improvement by working on willing?

"The will is the controller of the passions and emotions, the director of the desires, the ruler of the appetites." v1 p320

helpful links:
The Will -- The Conscience -- The Divine Life In The Child
Looking for an easy read? Simply Charlotte Mason has a free book called "The Way of the Will", where they've gathered some of the most important CM quotes and put them together in a easy-to-digest format.

Friday, October 12, 2012

P.S. Don't forget. :)

Coming soon!

  • Submit your posts by clicking on the carnival button above :)
  • Deadline for submissions is Monday, October 15
  • As always all posts on any CM-related topic are welcome and will gladly be included.
  • Completely optional topic for discussion: Principles 16 & 17, loosely rendered thus:
"(16) There are two guides to moral and intellectual self-management to offer to
children - 'the way of the will' and 'the way of the reason.' (17) The way of the will: " ... "

Narration: A little prep goes a long way {pt.2}

“Let the boy read and he knows, that is, if he must tell again what he has read.”
Charlotte Mason, vol 6 pg 262
If it is true that, as one writer put it – we narrate and then we know – our children's comprehension of the material then, not to mention their retention of it, depends on narration. It would seem that it's of utmost importance and that we had better get it right, hadn't we?

I love this picture as an illustration for this subject. 
It reminds me of how we are always there to help if need be.
Yet we allow the child to have the full experience in education; 
to come face to face with his own reality, his circumstances, himself.
"The message for our age is, Believe in mind, and let education go straight as a bolt to the mind of the pupil." 
Charlotte Mason, vol 6 pg 261
As parents/teachers, just what do we have to do with narration?
"This, of getting ideas out of them, is by no means all we must do with books. 'In all labour there is profit,' at any rate in some labour; and the labour of thought is what his book must induce in the child. He must generalise, classify, infer, judge, visualise, discriminate, labour in one way or another, with that capable mind of his, until the substance of his book is assimilated or rejected, according as he shall determine; for the determination rests with him and not with his teacher." 
Charlotte Mason, vol 3 pg 180

"We as teachers offend deeply in this matter. We think that we shall be heard for our much speaking and we repeat and enforce, explain and illustrate, not altogether because we love the sound of our own voices, but because we depreciate knowledge, we depreciate children, and we do not understand that the mind and knowledge are as the two members of a ball and socket joint, each of them irrelevant without the other." 
Charlotte Mason, vol 6 pg 258
So, the getting of ideas and the putting of them into order belongs to the child. And according to the quote above, it seems there are ways we can hinder our children.

Circumstances and books vary. Some may be starting out with very young children. Others may be coming to a Mason education midway through. Still others will be adapting to special needs in their families. Many times troubles arise, and suddenly, we think we need to take things into our own hands. In order for them to get everything (something?) out of the reading, I've got to ask them QUESTIONS. Especially, leading or probing questions to prompt their memory. Right?!
No way! Listen to what CM says,
"Given a book of literary quality suitable to their age and children will know how to deal with it without elucidation. Of course they will not be able to answer questions because questions are an impertinence which we all resent, but they will tell you the whole thing with little touches of individual personality in the narrative."
Charlotte Mason, vol 6 pg 261

"When a child is reading, he should not be teased with questions as to the meaning of what he has read, the signification of this word or that; what is annoying to older people is equally annoying to children... Direct questions on the subject-matter of what a child has read are always a mistake. Let him narrate what he has read, or some part of it. He enjoys this sort of consecutive reproduction, but abominates every question in the nature of a riddle. If there must be riddles, let it be his to ask and the teacher's to direct him the answer. Questions that lead to a side issue or to a personal view are allowable because these interest children––'What would you have done in his place?'"
Charlotte Mason, vol 1 pg 229
The only really helpful questions then, are those based on the Socratic method which tempt the listener to apply a moral or lesson to their own life.

If lotsa questions don't help, by golly, what else can we do?

Primarily, we help by giving patience, time and practice in narrations. After that, more patience, more time and more practice. And then? Still more patience, time and practice. :) You get the picture. But, Charlotte also recommends several other ways that the teacher can help without getting in the way of the reader and his mind feast. Two of these come in the way of preparation before the work of narration is done.
"The Teacher's Part.––The teacher's part is, in the firstplace, to see what is to be done, to look over the of the day in advance and see what mental discipline, as well as what vital knowledge, this and that lesson afford; and then to set such questions [see acceptable types of questions above] and such tasks as shall give full scope to his pupils' mental activity."
Charlotte Mason, vol 3 pg 181
Pre-reading Prep:
Giving an introduction to a reading is sometimes helpful if not downright necessary. Remember, that as educators, we want to stay out of the way as much as possible. The purpose of an intro would be to aid the student's understanding, in a way so as not to interrupt the reading. It is NOT a supplement to the story. It is not a teacher dictated lesson. It is only soil preparation, as it were, so that the child may listen unencumbered by things too difficult. A helpful introduction might include, explaining difficult vocabulary, noting important names and highlighting any mapwork pertinent to the reading. Books that might benefit from a quick overview include, history titles, science reads, and a few more specifically: Parables of Nature, Our Island Story, Pilgrim's Progress and Marco Polo. But as is often the case, after recalling what happened in the last chapter, an intro won't even be necessary.
"Do always prepare the passage carefully beforehand, thus making sure that all the explanations and use of background material precede the reading and narration. The teacher should never have to stop in the middle of a paragraph to explain the meaning of a word. Make sure, before you start, that the meanings are known, and write all difficult proper names on the blackboard, leaving them there throughout the lesson. Similarly any map work which may be needed should be done before the reading starts."
Next, a simple reminder before the reading begins, that the student will be narrating when the reading is over, would not be out of place. Just quickly say, "Listen and let the words paint pictures in your imaginations. When I stop, I'm going to ask someone to tell back the story. If it is your turn to tell, you might even choose to use some of the same words from the story! Everyone should be paying close attention."

Pre-narration Prep:
Don't forget! The goal of the following tips is simply to help the teacher stay out of the way as much as possible.

1. Keeping those names of important people and places in the story written and within eyeshot can be SUPER helpful (use the same list of words/names you used as an intro to the reading). Being able to refer back to these, should help the narrative flow. This is very practical with those books you are reading aloud, but even in those early years if your child is reading some of the more difficult books alone, he/she will still benefit from an occasional intro and/or having difficult vocab and/or names written out ahead of time.

2. It also helps to have a few moments (even a half hour or so) to seriously reflect before giving a narration. Sometimes, when put directly on the spot, a student won't do well. He/she can't think of anything or perhaps their thoughts are still a little muddled and they feel frustrated having to put words to them. Maybe they've gotten hung up on an idea planted by something they heard in the story that they need time to process before having to move on to the work of narration. Giving them just a few minutes to order their thoughts with a few of the following prompts can work wonders.

Sometimes, when the reading was difficult, or we've been a bit distracted, I give my younger kids some extra prompts, "Take a minute to remember back to where we started reading. [pause] Can you remember what happened first? [pause] okay, got it? After you've thought for a minute, start as soon as you're ready." This seems to help them to put it in sequence.

3. And finally, for older children, knowing that they can jot down notes, or make lists or marks in the margins of their books, may help them to better formulate their narrations, and avoid a second reading. The students might write down their own questions that cover the reading, or enumerate a series of points made, or any other variety of activities that will help them to own the material for themselves.
“Let marginal notes be freely made, as neatly and beautifully as may be, for books should be handled with reverence. Let numbers, letters, underlining be used to help the eye and to save the needless fag of writing abstracts. Let the pupil write for himself half a dozen questions which cover the passage studied; he need not write the answers if he be taught that the mind can know nothing but what it can produce in the form of an answer to a question put by the mind to itself."
But let this be a warning to us all...
"Disciplinary Devices must not come between Children and the Soul of the Book.––These few hints by no means cover the disciplinary uses of a good school-book; but let us be careful that our disciplinary devices, and our mechanical devices to secure and tabulate the substance of knowledge, do not come between the children and that which is the soul of the book, the living thought it contains.”
Charlotte Mason, vol 3 pg 181
Join me again next time in thinking how we might approach correcting narrations.

Posts in this series:
And then, like, well... and other narration woes. {pt.1}
Narration: A little prep goes a long way {pt.2}  <- -="-" are="are" b="b" here="here" you="you">
Narration: Correcting sloppy speech {pt.3}

Monday, October 8, 2012

Nature Study Mondays - October

So, I'd really like to continue Nature Study Monday posts as a place to collaborate and compile nature study love and inspiration... but I'm still trying to figure out a feasible format for blogging it, the most do-able for me, and at the same time, fun and helpful for everyone. I've decided to post Nature Study Monday posts on a monthly basis for now. I'll link all my nature study posts for October here, to this very post  (hopefully every Monday!) and I'd love it if you linked up to your posts in the comments too! Just bookmark this post and come back all month long. Maybe even someday I'll get all high tech and add a linky ;)

Share your October nature journal entries, your nature photos and nature experiences right here! 
{leave a comment!}
P.S. Snag the button and add it to your post, if you feel so inclined.

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