Search This Blog

Monday, December 30, 2013

Where I've finally reflected...

This upcoming term's artist is Manet... imagine my delight when I found this! :)
Oh. so. lovely.

I have not in fact deflected my goals for reflection... honest, I have truly reflected. 
While most of it's still in my head, some of it's on paper, I have shared a teeny-weeny bit over here...

Reflections of Goodness... {the value}

Reflections of Goodness... {observed}


I still hope to blog those reflections specific to our homeschooling year. What I've learned as a person and teacher-guide, as well as what we've learned and implemented in our school... I'll be posting that over at Fisher Academy. Hopefully, that will happen sometime tomorrow. We wrapped up term exams on Saturday, and I'm almost done with Term Planning today. It may yet be possible!


{If you too are reflecting on 2013, click over to see if you'd qualify to enter the giveaway 
for a 2014 Art Calendar. Linky closes 12/31 @ midnight.}

Friday, December 27, 2013

A Jolly Christmas Card! {& Reflection Extension}

The time for entering a reflective blog post is being extended to December 31st!

If you, like me, were totally hoping/planning to reflect and write and enter, and ran plumb out of time, you now have a couple of extra days, which only seems sensible as we were all pleasantly occupied with Christmas! If not, I'd be delighted to send the calendar to the only entrant so far, my dear friend Tammy!!! You may link your post any time before midnight on 12/31 in the linky or in the comments, right over here at this post!

On Christmas morning, we opened our 2014 Art Calendar as our first family gift. I'm serious. I know it might well be a silly thing, but I really love our little tradition. ;) Despite the fact that no one looks particularly interested (judging by facial expressions alone), everyone really was excited about this... really.

As a side note, did you see our Christmas card this year? Since we recently took "official" family pictures when we did our BIG announcement, we decided to make this one a little extra jolly. 
So, here it is... :)

You may notice a little sheen on my upper arm. That is sweat. Keep in mind that we are experiencing HOT weather down here in the Southern Hemisphere, especially in the jungles of Peru. That explains that. I won't describe in detail the damp state of my clothing after getting out of the car in 90 degree weather without air conditioning in my pregnant condition...

I hope you all enjoy the rest of your holidays immensely!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

On Reflections... {& Giveaway Announcement!}

Doesn't this picture give pause for reflection?

As we approach the end of the year, everyone soon will be (if they are not already) talking about New Year's resolutions. Don't worry, this is not a post about that, though one might be forthcoming. We shall see, I am as yet unresolved... ;)

However, I have resolved to keep with tradition this year and give away an ART calendar from Metropolitan Museum of Art. I love these things. You know, this summer I was a hop, skip and a jump away from the actual museum in NYC? Yep, and some of my bestest buddies from around the world were actually there right at that very same moment. Can you even believe it didn't work out for us to meet up there? I'm actually still mourning about it. My only experience of the Metropolitan Museum of Art remains the ART calendar. Something for which I can be and am thankful.

This is our happy calendar sitting front and center upon our school table. 
Did I mention that it's super handy for copying down the date every day?

These calendars are GREAT for art exposure. I love mine; every day a different piece of art. I'm so thankful to Jimmie for introducing me to the idea some years back. Though I don't officially incorporate it into our Art/Artist Study, potentially you probably could. Especially useful would be the old calendars as you could cut up or paste favorite art prints into notebooks, sort and save them by artist or other some such. On an amazon review I read today, someone said that there is a lot of repeat of art between years. I've never noticed that. After all, there are 365 unique prints at least. We've displayed the annual for the last 3 years (and have 2014 waiting under the tree) and I've never noticed undue repetition.

Anyway, how would you like to have a 2014 ART calendar for your very own?? Well, you can buy one, just click right here. OR, you might receive one from yours truly. Here's how that'd work:

You reflect on your past year, write them down* and link up here or leave me a comment (non-bloggers, see note below). Of course, in keeping with the spirit of the thing, you shouldn't be reflecting just for an entry; you should really reflect. But, yep... It's that easy. I'll do a drawing and send out the calendar to one of you! If you're interested, keep reading.

You'll notice the *reflections* of the palm tree in the glass... :)

Recently, I just got to thinking, wouldn't it be helpful if we could make and take the time to reflect upon and to write some observations on living the past year? Perhaps we could learn some things about ourselves and our families? Perhaps this exercise could help us to make useful decisions regarding the coming New Year? It should ever be our goal to become more fit for life and service. By reflecting on past success and failures, perhaps we might continue ever upward in our pursuit of that goal?

How has this year gone for you in your family, in life, in your homeschool? What have you accomplished this year that you are proud of? Which things have you had to put aside because plans up and changed? What circumstances have made you stronger? In which areas do you see need for improvement?

The necessity of reflection is emphasized by Charlotte Mason all throughout Ourselves (that being somewhat the point of the volume) the fourth of her Homeschooling Series. “There are so many interesting things in the world to discuss that it is a waste of time to talk about ourselves. All the same, it is well to be up to the ways of those tiresome selves, and that is why you are invited to read these chapters.” (v4 p130)

Consider also this persuasion for reflection:
Living means more than the happenings of one day after another. We must understand in order to will. "How is it that ye will not understand?" said our Lord to the Jews, who would only see that which was obvious, and would not reflect or try to interpret the signs of the times; and that is the way with most of us, we will not understand. We think that in youth there is no particular matter to exercise our Will about, but that we shall certainly will when we get older and go into the world. But the same thing repeats itself: great occasions do not come to us at any time of our lives; or, if they do, they come in the guise of little matters of every day. Let us be aware of this. The 'great' sphere for our Will is in ourselves. Our concern with life is to be fit, and according to our fitness come the occasions and the uses we shall be put to. To preserve Mansoul from waste, to keep every province in order––that, and not efforts in the outside world, is the business of Will.
v4 p143

May I quote CM once again to remind us of why we would reflect and take the trouble to make sure we are bettering not only our children and families, but ourselves?
We are inclined to wait upon circumstances and upon opportunities, but it is not necessary, nor, indeed, does it answer, for the person who waits for his opportunity is not ready for it when it comes. The great decision open to us all, the great will act of a life, is whether we shall make our particular Mansoul available for service by means of knowledge, love, and endeavour. Then, the opportunities that come are not our affair, any more than it is the affair of the soldier whether he has sentry duty or is called to the attack.
v4 p152

Again, it is easy to get comfortable and even bored with living, instead we might reflect how to be and teach our children to be useful. Then, it's just a matter of willing ourselves to DO something about it... :)
Child or man, we spend half our time in being bored; and we are bored because our thoughts wander from the thing in hand––we are inattentive. When for a moment we do brace ourselves to an act of attention, the invigorating effect of such act is surprising. We are alive; and it is so good to be alive that we seek the fitful stimulus of excitement––to be the more listless after than before, because we have been stimulated and not invigorated. Being bored becomes a habit; we secretly look forward with longing to the end of every occupation or amusement, and are ready to take up with any 'crank' that promises distraction and fuller living, for however short a time. When we have used up that interest, another may occur.
v5 p410
'Hell is paved with good intentions' is a dreadful saying with which we are all familiar. I suppose it means that nothing is so easy to form as a good intention, and nothing so easy to break, and that lost and ruined souls have, no doubt, formed many good intentions. Therefore we must face the fact that the intention to be of use is not enough. We
must get the habit, the trick, of usefulness.
v4 p208

*Obviously, many reflections might not be suitable for publication. That's okay, you don't have to publish ALL of your reflections. You might reflect upon having reflected, for example, and share the things that are suitable. You decide. OR, if you don't have a blog, or you'd rather share your reflections privately, that'd be fine too. Just comment that you'll send me an e-mail. If you do decide to blog your reflections on the past year, enter your post in the linky below. I'll consider each entry, as outlined eligible above, to receive one entry in the drawing for a free 2014 Art Calendar!

I'll close it off 10 days from today on Friday, December 28th at 11:59pm. We'll do the drawing on Saturday, and the calendar will be in the mail on Monday morning... with Prime shipping from, someone could be enjoying their calendar early that first week of 2014!

EDITED: Let's make it December 31st at 11:59pm!! 
I'd like to extend the deadline, because quite frankly, I haven't been able to get my own Reflections posted!! It makes more sense anyway. I chose the original date thinking it'd be fun to get the calendar as close to New Years' day as possible, but with Prime shipping, it'll be practically the same this way! :)


P.S. Speaking of, don't forget that linking through my blog when doing your online Christmas shopping at amazon sends us a little kickback. That's a REALLY cool way, I think, to support missionaries! Just sayin'. :) To all of you who do click through here... a BIG, gigantic, humongous THANK you! We'll be getting a gift card very soon for $21.16 for purchases made last month! That's awesome! I am so thankful!

Here are a few links that might be of particular interest at this time of year (they're of particular interest to me, anyway, and we should always recommend or buy gifts that we wouldn't mind receiving ourselves, right? Oh, and no, none of that was meant as a hint, either, btw.):



Nature at Your Fingertips :: December {NSM Linkup!}

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).



Saturday, December 14, 2013

Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival :: Holiday Edition 2013

Hello Bloggy Buddies and fellow Charlotte Mason Enthusiasts!

I hope you all are enjoying this holiday season, we sure are! I just can't believe it, because of the busy wonderfulness of having guests, the holidays really snuck up on us ever so suddenly this year! This year, being the first year in a long time we've been able to pull out all the stops having all our holiday paraphernalia on site. We've been enjoying our Basket of Delights and holiday themed movies and nativity scenes and Christmas trees and lights and traditional daily Advent readings...

This unwrapped recently from our Basket of Delights
This year, I wrapped up a number of old favorites to add an element of excitement. 
We unwrap and read one per night.

Can you believe we've almost finished another year?! 2014 is only days away. Have you had a chance yet to reflect back over 2013 yet? How has this year gone for you in your family, in life, in your homeschool? What have you accomplished this year that you are proud of? Which things have you had to put aside because plans up and changed? What circumstances have made you and your family stronger? In which areas do you see need for improvement? As the end of the year approaches, these are things that have been on my mind and I'm planning to blog about reflection in the next couple of weeks. See more here.
“The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.”
Proverbs 16:9 (ESV. Good News Publishers/Crossway Books. Kindle Edition.)

Sometime during the next couple of weeks, wouldn't it be neat if we could make and take the time to reflect and write down some observations on the past year? Perhaps this kind of an exercise might help us to make wise decisions regarding how we face the coming New Year?*

(*If you happen to decide to blog your reflections on the past year, don't forget to visit this link to find out how you could receive a free 2014 Art Calendar!)

As far as the CM Blog Carnival is concerned, we've covered a LOT of ground this year. See digest below for links to all the carnivals in 2013! It could NOT have happened without all of your help. I am especially grateful to all the wonderful hostesses this year. I'm already looking forward to next year!

Thanks to these blogging lovelies, we have a handful of freshly blogged reading selections to spread over the next couple of weeks until the CM Blog Carnival starts up again next year. Grab a cuppa somethin' and enjoy!

Cindy shares: Christmas Nature

Nancy shares: Christmas Books

Celeste shares: Picture Books We Love :: My Top Ten Christmas Books for Littles

Patti shares: Rosa Bonheur - Deer in the Forest, Arcangelo Corelli - Trio Sonatas Opus 3, John Oxenham - What Can a Little Chap Do?

Carol shares: Ambleside Online Year 2 with an 8yo

Jen shares: What We've Learned October through December 2013

Tammy shares: Peacefully Guided

amy in peru shares: A Year's Reflection & Joy to the World, a Christmas Carol Songbook (a blast from the past)

My kids are getting so big... they're all bigger than at least one tree now! :S

Digest of 2013 Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival Editions:
New Year Edition: Favorite CM Moment! @Holisitic Homeschooler
Self Education @Journey & Destination
Born Persons / Nature of a Child @Grace to Abide
Proper use of Authority @Delightful Education
Sacredness of Personality @Living CM in California
Education is an Atmosphere @Windy Hill Homeschool
Education is a Discipline @North Laurel
Education is a Life @Harmony Arts
Making use of Mind @Afterthoughts
Way of the Will @Dewey's Treehouse
Way of Reason @The Winding Ascent
Summer Edition: What we love MOST about CM!! @Simply Charlotte Mason
Knowledge of God @Higher Up and Further In
Knowledge of Man: History @Piney Woods
Knowledge of Man: Literature @Journey & Destination
Knowledge of Man: Citizenship (Morals & Economics) @The Common Room
Knowledge of Man: Composition @Epikardia
Back to School Edition: CM Planning and Organization! @Our Journey Westward
Knowledge of Man: Languages @Fisher Academy
Knowledge of Man: Art & Music @I will lift up
Knowledge of the Universe: Science @HNS blog
Knowledge of the Universe: Geography @Dewey's Treehouse
Knowledge of the Universe: Math @Aut2bhomeincarolina
Knowledge of the Universe: Physical Development & Handicrafts @Hunsucker's Home
Holiday Edition: Celebrating the Year! @Fisher Academy

If you are a fellow Charlotte Mason enthusiast have always dreamed of hosting the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival on your blog, please send an e-mail to charlottemasonblogs (at) gmail (dot) com, as the schedule for 2014 is in the works!

See you all next year!!


{This is embarrassing... just in case some of you are ultra prompt and find a couple of missing links in this post, due an unexpected turn of events, the links referring to A Year's Reflections will be posted sometime tomorrow. I was waylaid this week and I really didn't want to postpone publishing this carnival even a minute longer... my clock says 11:55pm, December 14, which means it is not technically late, yet!! ;) }

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Breaking News: You are NOT going to believe this...

This may be the real reason I've been rather absent online. I've been kinda more than usually occupied offline... :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Hymn Study: Our Family Hymnbook

photo courtesy of  anissat

Today, I'm working on our Family Hymnbook. I've actually been very casually working on it for several years, but officially for the last --- days, well, since February according to my pop-up reminder app. :( Obviously, I've been procrastinating a little. However, I have decided that I am quite done with that pesky pop up feeling of guilt every time that little reminder unexpectedly comes on the screen. I have determined to finish our hymnals this week, printed and all. I'm actually getting really excited. I know it will really help streamline our hymn-singing each morning.

Cindy Rollins in her recent series on Morning Time, had a post that highlighted hymns, as well as consistent reminders sprinkled throughout the series about their family hymnal, and I suddenly became thoroughly frustrated with myself for my major Family Hymnbook failure! We enjoy singing hymns, but sometimes we get kinda stuck in a rut with the oldie-but-goodies, if I haven't yet scrounged up the words and music for the newer hymns.

So, today, I looked up all the hymns we have and don't have music sheets for (links provided, see below), I slapped them all in a pdf file, printed it off and now I'm excited to finally put our Family Hymnbooks to use! All I have left to do is make 5 copies.

You might already have access to a hymnal or two (though I advise you to consolidate your favorites into a more family friendly version... you bet it'll go much smoother!), or could make a more personalized version yourself. I'd encourage you to do that, in fact. But, if you're like me and you could use something in the meantime to keep you from utter hymn chaos on some of those mornings, please feel free to use this one! :) See download link below.

In the post, Hymn Study: What we do, I talk a little more about how we do hymns, but honestly you should not go a day longer without reading Cindy's posts linked above. She is an EXPERT. :)

In our Family Hymnbook:
(Links to printable sheets for individual hymns. Personalize your own hymnbook!)

A Mighty Fortress
Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed
All Creatures of Our God and King
All Hail the Power of Jesus Name
Amazing Grace
America the Beautiful
And Can it Be
Be Still My Soul (We Rest on Thee)
Be Thou My Vision
Blessed Assurance
Bringing In The Sheaves
Christ The Lord is Risen Today
Come Thou Fount
Come Ye Thankful People Come
Count Your Blessings
Crown Him With Many Crowns
Eternal Father Strong to Save (Navy Hymn)
Fairest Lord Jesus
For A Thousand Tongues To Sing
For the Beauty of the Earth
Great is Thy Faithfulness
Hallelujah What a Savior
He Leadeth Me 
He Who Would Valiant Be
Holy, Holy, Holy
How Great Thou Art
I Sing The Mighty Power of God
I surrender All
I'd Rather Have Jesus
Immortal, Invisible
It Is Well With My Soul
Joyful, Joyful
Just As I Am
Leaning on The Everlasting Arms
Low in The Grave He Lay
Man of Sorrows
More Secure Is No One Ever
My Anchor Holds
My Country Tis of Thee
My Hope is Built
My Jesus I Love Thee
Nearer My God to Thee
Now Thank We All Our God
O Come All Ye Faithful
O God Beyond All Praising
O God, Our Help in Ages Past
O Love of God
O Sacred Head Now Wounded
O The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus
Onward Christian Soldiers
Our God Reigns
Pass Me Not
Praise Him, Praise Him
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
Rock of Ages
Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us
Softly and Tenderly
Soldiers of Christ Arise
Take My Life and Let it Be
The Church's One Foundation
The Old Rugged Cross
The Star-Spangled Banner
There's Power in the Blood
Thine Is the Glory
This is My Father's World
Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus
To God Be The Glory
Trust and Obey
We Rest on Thee (see Be Still My Soul)
What a Friend We Have in Jesus
When I Survey
Wonderful Grace of Jesus

Above All
Be Unto Your Name
Blessed Be the Lord God Almighty
His Name is Wonderful
I will Sing of the Mercies
In Christ Alone
Lamb of God
Lord, I lift Your Name on High
Shine, Jesus, Shine
Shout to the Lord
There is a Redeemer
We Bow Down
We Will Glorify
You Are My All in All

AO hymn rotation for this year:
(those that were/are new to us and not linked above are linked below)

September: Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken (tune is from Haydn's Emperor String Quartet) -
October: There Is a Happy Land
November: Come, Ye Thankful People, Come
December: How Great Thou Art
January: Trust and Obey
February: Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah
March: Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
April: Lord Of All Hopefulness Lyrics
May: Beneath the Cross of Jesus
June: Fairest Lord Jesus
July: I Love To Tell the Story
August: Awake My Soul and With the Sun

Search for more of your favorite hymns here:
Center for Church Music: Songs and Hymns


Friday, November 15, 2013

Naturally, it's November... {NSM! linkup}

But can you honestly believe it?! November?! As in a month and a half 'til it's a new year?! My life is flying before my eyes. Speaking of flying and flitting, would you believe we landed in moth mecca? It was incredible. I've never seen so many moths in one place, let alone of such variety! Of course, I'll tell you about it! Just let's start at the beginning of the story...

At the end of last month, we took one of our rousing and rollicking road-trips across the entire country of Peru. Jungle, Andes, Pacific coast all in one really long day (though we usually split it into two pretty long days)! Oh, and there were 9 of us this time. My mom joined us almost directly off the plane, and there was Christine, who is cheerfulness in the flesh, plus the regular seven of the Tuttle Tribe. Yep, first it was 13 hours easterly, then 3 hours straight south on the Panamerican Highway and we were once again arrived in the coastal city of Trujillo. We were there for a record short amount of time (5 extremely busy days). Still, it was long enough for my brother recently arrived from the States, to surprise us all by ringing the doorbell of the house we were staying at, early on Siah's birthday! Then it was pack all back in the Jack (the name of our minivan); this time with 10. Boy, was that exciting! :)

We got to do a little more site-seeing this trip due to being blessed with guests, but I'd better leave most of those details to a different story since this one is supposed to get back around to moths (don't worry, we're getting there). After a long drive the first day, we stayed in a hotel, uh, hostal... well, no. It really was just a very rustic house way up in the mountains. I hope the pictures we took will do it justice. On the second night, we stayed at an honest to goodness hostal, which was also up in the mountains, only not so high up. It was slightly more modern, except they were far from honest, cold-heartedly cheating us out of the pledged, pre-paid and earnestly yearned for breakfast the next morning. After all these long days climbing mountains and such, and little sleep, the third night, we merited a stay at the White House (La Casa Blanca), a hotel built practically on the highway, traffic sounds and party-people noise included at no extra charge. It was a grand adventure to say the least.

That last day, we had a long drive ahead of us. We were all exhausted and quite ready to be on the homeward track. About an hour down the road (or up it, would probably be more accurate), we were surprised and super excited (...moths?! not yet... we're almost there, I promise.) We hit the jackpot! A gas station that offered GLP (autogas, LPG or liquified petroleum gas, to be exact)! This was very exciting, as it is the first station on the very long route across the mountains and this type of gas cuts our travel expense drastically. We pulled in, half expecting that the sign would be false and they would not have GLP as is so often the case. But, we not only found what we were looking for, we found what must otherwise be known in the Lepidoptera world as Moth Mecca. It was incredible. We were so tired we thought we were dreaming, but lo and behold, the pictures are on my camera to prove it!

There were thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of moths, everywhere. Not flitting and flapping in a way that might make one nervous. They were all just placidly sitting there sunning their wings. Or something. How would I know what they were thinking of doing? Apparently, in that place practically in the middle of nowhere, they have big lights on after dark, and though it was mid-morning by the time we pulled in, there were still a myriad of moths all over the pavement, building, garbage cans, everywhere. It was awesome.

So, aspiring to be a good nature study mama as I do, I got out of the car, made everyone else get out, and I gazed and I ooh'ed and ahh'ed and I took lots of pictures of moths. We ourselves were the marvel of the Peruvian gas station attendants. They couldn't believe how interested we were in those bugs. They even stopped sweeping up the mass of winged wonders while we were there so that we could get a really good look. :)

Well, after all, I don't know if the story was worth the wait, but I was really excited about it and the pictures. Below are some of them. See if you can see a pattern. Next, maybe you can find the one that is not like the others. Lastly, there is one who rebelliously refused to stay put in line like the clown he is colored after. And if any of you actually look and find these, you are truly worthy of my awe and gratitude for the interest you have taken in this here extremely lengthy blog post.

Super lovely, wouldn't you say?!

The yellow with black spotted ones were all about the same size, with approx. 2 1/2 inches wing-span, which may give context to the others you see them next to. it makes that one VERY pretty moth, my favorite, look very large.


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, October 14, 2013

a nature study.

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).

This was part of our today. :)

This post is shared with October's Nature Study Monday {NSM LinkUP!} 
& the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival.

You're welcome to link up, just
grab this image to share in your post...


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Nature Study Monday {NSM} September LINKup!

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).

We've been making time during our weekly nature study hour for dry brush practice this school year. We've had several sessions, and the kids are gaining confidence in using only their 'pinceles' (paint brushes, in spanish) as opposed to pencils. We have a lot to learn yet, but I'm really excited by everyone's willingness. :)

Oh and you may notice that I have gained another pupil! She's my eldest daughter for the next couple of months! Christine's a college student who has come to hang out with us. She's an enormous help and so fun to have around. And look, even she was brave enough to attempt watercolor!! ;)

**Please share your nature study posts from September!! I'm sorry I'm so out of it with getting stuff posted on time this month. I'll leave this post up until I get the October NSM Link-UP up. Which technically should be in less than three days. Until then, please look over your posts and if you have anything nature study related from September, link up to share! Oh, and tell your friends, the more the merrier! :)

Grab this image to share in your post...


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Jungle School! {from the archives}

I thought it'd be fun to have a look back at what we were doing this month five years ago... and it was fun!! I have such cute kids! ;) This is a look at Jungle School before we actually moved here. Now of course, we do Jungle School every single day. heheh.

Originally posted in 2008, from the archives:

Jungle School!

Here's what school looked like for us last week. We spent a total of 40+ hours in the car, 4 HOT nights in hostels and 2 1/2 days in the jungle! woohoo!

The boys had several free-reading books by Roald Dahl that they finished. We kept up on Bible reading and had several nature study opportunities. Fun.

We finished reading Squanto, by Feenie Ziner and Landing of the Pilgrims, by James Daugherty.
These two books coincide perfectly... definitely read these two together for SUPERB living books on pilgrims/mayflower/colonist history!

Jungle school is fun :)

{original post can be found here}

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival: Knowledge of Man - Languages

During the last weeks I am pretty sure I was living near the edge of the face of the earth. Some people may even have feared I'd fallen off, especially my mother, if perhaps they had forgotten that the earth is still round. Presumably far from danger, I actually wouldn't have minded risking a more lengthy stay, yet I have found my way back for the moment and here we are!

Still, that IS why the carnival is up late... :)
Due to the fact and relation of my recent hermitage, apparently I forgot about deadlines. I am so very sorry because I do understand that the convention of timeliness is very important in some cultures; of course, not so much in South America! ;) ... though, better late than never I hope.

Now, at the edges of the earth, if it were still flat, I'm sure there'd be people who speak different languages. Don't you think? And, wouldn't it be handy if you happened to find yourself there and you were able to talk to whoever lived at those extremities in order to ask him or her pressing and pertinent questions about the edge of the world and how to avoid falling off of it? I think that'd be mighty convenient, if not downright valuable.

Of course you'd have to speak their language to ask questions like: How steep is it? Precisely how far from here to the edge? What happens to people who fall off? etc. AND you'd have to understand their language in order to find out the answers... all of which brings us to the topic of this carnival. Languages. It's good to know the language(s) with which you must ask important questions or give important answers.

See. it was all for a purpose. ;)

And maybe you'll be glad that as I was writing this, I decided to break it into two posts, rather than compel you to wade through a REALLY, really long-winded version. Short lessons. Full attention. I'm doing this for your own good. You can find the other part here.

This picture is either symbolic of me trying to ignore the rest of the world by choosing hermitage,
OR how the rest of the world sees those of us that only speak our own language... you choose. :)

You've been SO polite to read this far.
OR maybe you just scrolled down directly.
Don't worry... no one will ever know. ;)

Oh and lest you think worry that fashionably late carnivals may be coming into style... don't worry. I won't host again 'til around the end of the year, and most of the other hostesses are North American. ;)

This edition of the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival's topic is...
The Curriculum: Knowledge of Man - Languages

And now for the lovely, lovely contributions for this edition of the carnival...

Christine shares: Lessons for the New Homeschool Year

Lanaya shares: Finding a Balance for High Expectations

Cindy shares: Charlotte Mason Narration How-To with Video

Nancy shares: Our Schedule, Our Atmosphere

Bobby Jo shares: Starting with the Simple Things

Megan shares: The Mysterious and Wonderful World of Solfege

Camille shares: Learning and Teaching - Language

Carol shares: Intellectual Courage and Courage of Confession

Tammy shares: Teaching a Second Language if You Don't Already Have One Yourself

Mama Squirrel shares: On the teaching of languages, especially French

Amy in Peru shares: Thoughts on Languages

Find out more HERE about upcoming carnival topics & how to get yourself on the e-mail list to receive reminders and announcements so that you never miss another edition.

Submit any Charlotte Mason Education posts on any topic at any time to charlottemasonblogs (at) gmail (dot) com!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Thoughts on Languages.

In this chapter Charlotte discusses some basics related to teaching English, French & Latin. She states that it is better that a child should begin with a sentence and not with the parts of speech, that is, he should learn a little of what is called analysis before he learns to parse. Or said even more simply, he should learn to get the gist of things before being bogged down with the nitty gritty.

The basic method she mentions is listening with narration, other activities being added along the way. When it does come to parsing, much of the grammar of each language seems to be picked up through narration and/or pointed out naturally at first, advancing in detail with further learning. The teaching of these multiple languages seems to correlate and so contribute to the mastery of comprehension and grammar of all.

Which seems absolutely brilliant to me as I have seen the beauty of that correlation and contribution in teaching my own kids. Teaching Latin and a foreign language at the same time as going over the basics of English grammar, around year 5 or 6 I about shouted out loud as I saw all the lights come on. VERY fun.

Also not surprisingly, we once again find attention a major power in education, especially in acquiring a new language:
"This hitherto unused power of concentrated attention in the study of languages whether ancient or modern appears to hold promise of making us at last a nation of linguists." Vol. 6, pg. 213
I was encouraged by the simplicity of lessons described in the chapter. While I think she left a lot unsaid, I do think the simplicity shouldn't be compromised. Based on what I've learned from past attempts and in the mean time, I'm looking forward to improving the aspect of language development around here. ;) To read more of CM's own words, click here.

This has been another 'thinking out loud' post, along the lines of chapter 10, section II:II of CM's Homeschooling Series, Volume 6, Towards a Philosophy of Education. Did you know that the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival is going through this volume systematically? Interested? Check out recent posts and the schedule for future posts here.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Scheduling :: Finding Your Family Rhythm

It is my hope that through identifying regular life rhythms and learning to move and dance to them with our families, we will improve the quality of atmosphere in our homes. Finding our family's rhythm and beginning to order our days can also help us (and our kids) to form good habits, help us to look at life calmly knowing what comes next (or where to pick up when we get off track), and help us to make the most of our family's precious time.

It's very likely that your family already has a rhythm, it may be fast or slow (it may seem kind of chaotic at first glimpse!) Take a moment to consider, you may realize you already do many things the same way every single day. Your rhythm is influenced by the individuals that make up your family and what you think is important... and we know what we think is important by what we make time for.

Charlotte Mason taught that a big part of education is atmosphere. Our family rhythms influence much of what she would call 'atmosphere': the things we think are important, the way we move from one thing to the next and the way we treat one another in the midst. She also labeled education a discipline... this has to do with forming habits. The habit of orderliness (with our time, especially), is something we are looking to strengthen when we identify, concentrate on, or begin new family rhythms. It is calming to certain personalities to know what comes next. Finding and keeping a rhythm will especially help those kinds of people.

Keep in mind, when making lists or schedules, you don't want to create another guilt-inducer that will scream back at you when it simply doesn't work, something changes, or when for some reason or other you are unable to carry it out. Our goal for finding family rhythms is to come up with a visual reminder based on what we are already doing or things we'd like to add, which should serve as a tool to help us improve the atmosphere of our homes. After taking care of basic needs, we can calmly accomplish the things we've determined are really the most important.

If at any time you notice that following a list or schedule is stressing your family out more than it's helping (after the initial working-out-the-wrinkles stage), you need to remind yourself that all of these are only tools. They are meant to serve us, we should never find ourselves slaves to a schedule (or anything else for that matter). We aren't marionettes, we must find the freedom to move in a way that reflects our individuality!

Why, if we we get ourselves too tied down to a certain way, or try to dance to someone else's tune, that'll take the joy right out of dance! :)

Here's a little printable guide that hopefully will help you to identify, develop and dance to Your Family Rhythm. (Please let me know if you have any trouble downloading).

Monday, August 26, 2013

What I learned this summer... with pictures!!

This summer I had the enormous pleasure and privilege to find myself stateside in attendance of several Charlotte Mason retreats, with some shopping and visits on the side. How kind and longsuffering my husband is to have taken care of things back home in Peru so I could have a couple of weeks of ‘mommy break’ as he calls it!

Among the interesting gems I have laid hold of this summer are: the importance of the manual hand work of Sloyd in early education; the place and importance of Mathematics, as well as it’s proper instruction; and how to take Science out of the box even in the upper years, getting the student to ask the questions. And perhaps outstanding amongst the others, the idea of being fully present and living fully wherever one is, struck home once again.

Read more... HERE.

P.S. My arm may be twisted to blog about and/or link to those interesting gems... I will try and see what I can do.  :)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Where has August gone? {NSM! LINKup}

I know, it's just not proper. I didn't post this month's Nature Study Monday until, the 24th?! I don't know about yours, but our summer break has flown by! I have some great pictures and words, but I thought I'd better go ahead and get this posted before it's September already. Maybe some of you have had better success at nature study blogging this month than I have?!

So, what DID you do for nature study over the summer?

Grab this image to share in your post...


Monday, July 15, 2013

Ah. This is the Life... {NSM! LINKup}

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).

We've been on vacation from school since the beginning of June, so any nature study that has happened lately is completely spontaneous and informal. Actually, I've been SO busy between prepping for and hosting a short-term mission team, working on AO projects, holding down the fort for the last week and a half with my husband away, among other super enveloping projects... I wondered if ANY nature study at all would happen.

Oh! Can I just say that I've been SO pleasantly surprised?! One of the wonders of a CM education is the way it changes one's whole way of life. And it makes me want to exclaim... yippety, skippety! Or something.

I mean get a load of this; this is what I'm talking about...
Our days have been spent learning new jumprope rhymes, letter play, catching wasps-of-unusual-size, reading, writing and a whole lot of masterly inactivity on my part.

Doesn't that just sound downright wonderful?! I get happy all over again as I sit here writing it down. These are the days...

Here's some of the spontaneously informal nature-ish stuff we've done last week.
  • Kids asked to look at the moon with binoculars.
  • Heard and searched for a night bird, can't wait to try and observe it (maybe it's the owl come back?)
  • Compared a moth and butterfly.
  • Watered plants and observed new growth in all the kids' own edible greenery projects.
  • Observed a VERY large spider. Unsuccessfully tried to exterminate said spider. Still looking...
  • Listened to thunderstorm.

So, what do you do for nature study over the summer?

Grab this image to share in your post...


Monday, July 8, 2013

Nature Study Monday :: July! {LINKup!}

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).

The day after tomorrow marks one month since my Dear Blue (my mac) was inadvertently drowned in a large cup of iced coffee. So sad. See a picture of us together, here. The mourning of whom, I hope, will be a reasonable excuse for not having posted the regularly scheduled Nature Study Monday posts. Dear Blue was replaced last week by Bluely Beloved and so, here I am again! Praise the Lord!:) Please forgive the lack of new and inspiring nature-ish notes this week, but please do feel free share your nature study posts for everyone to visit!!

A momma kitten came and shared her bed with us for a few days...

Grab this image to share in your post...


Monday, June 10, 2013

How examining exams can help teachers teach better

There may often be a direct correlation between exam success and the quality of the term's work. Exams ala Charlotte Mason can be a pretty good indicator of whether or not things are going well with books, methods, character, etc. Though maybe not in the way we'd be naturally inclined to think. We are primarily looking for what the student DOES know, not what they missed. Exam week should simply be an extension of term work, an opportunity for the student to remind herself (& you) of the things s/he has spent time caring to know about.

What we have perhaps failed to discover hitherto is the immense hunger for knowledge (curiosity) existing in everyone and the immeasurable power of attention with which everyone is endowed; that everyone likes knowledge best in a literary form; that the knowledge should be exceedingly various concerning many things on which the mind of man reflects; but that knowledge is acquired only by what we may call "the act of knowing," which is both encouraged and tested by narration, and which further requires the later test and record afforded by examinations."   v6, p291

Taking a closer look at how we feel about exams and reviewing the student's given answers, I suspect, we might uncover some clues as to how we as teachers could improve; in order to increase and inspire MORE opportunities for 'acts of knowing' in subsequent terms. If exams are stressful for our kids, maybe we're getting too much in the way, or pressuring them unduly. If their answers are lacking, maybe we're asking the wrong questions. Or maybe the books we're feeding them are leaving them dry as dust? Considering exams can also help us become aware of personal weak spots (ours and theirs).

In this post, I'm going to take a look at a couple areas that recent examinations have exposed in our homeschool. But first, let's look at some of the main perks, guidelines and ideals in term exams.

Boys and girls taught in this way take up ordinary school work, preparation for examinations, etc., with intelligence, zeal, and success. v3, p302

When the terminal examination is at hand so much ground has been covered that revision is out of the question; what the children have read they know, and write on any part of it with ease and fluency... v6, p7

At the end of the term an examination paper is sent out containing one or two questions on each book. v3, p273

They appear to enjoy doing this; indeed, the examinations which come at the end of each term are a pleasure; the only difficulty is that small children want to go on 'telling.' v3, p276

For it is a mistake to suppose that the greater the number of 'subjects' the greater the scholar's labour; the contrary is the case as the variety in itself affords refreshment, and the child who has written thirty or forty sheets during an examination week comes out unfagged. Not the number of subjects but the hours of work bring fatigue to the scholar; and bearing this in mind we have short hours and no evening preparation. v6, p158

It is not the best children that answer the examination questions; the general rule is that everybody takes every question. v6, p297

After the experience of over a quarter of a century in selecting the lesson books proper to children of all ages, we still make mistakes, and the next examination paper discovers the error! Children cannot answer questions set on the wrong book; and the difficulty of selection is increased by the fact that what they like in books is no more a guide than what they like in food. v6, p249

"The terminal examinations are of great importance. They are not merely and chiefly tests of knowledge but records which are likely to be permanent. There are things which every child must know, every child, for the days have gone by when 'the education befitting a gentleman' was our aim. v6, p291

So, now that we have those key things about exams in our minds, let's take as an example a few of the things that our recent exams have made me aware of in our homeschool.

Books (History, Geography, Literature, etc):
This is my kids' strong point. What they read, they know. And I love that. As long as the questions are open-ended, they can usually give me something awesome. (Over the years there have been a very few problem books, when they just don't 'care' and there was serious lack of 'book connect'. But thankfully, that wasn't the case this term. Besides, I'm usually aware of that before exam time anyway).
Teacher takeaway: I can't take credit for all our book choices. But I can take credit for choosing the way we do learning around here. I'm SO glad for Charlotte Mason's philosophy, especially her emphasis on living books, and for AO's attempt at modern day CM programmes! :)
Something we've learned from past years... one issue we have to be careful of in particular is, having two students in the same year, they share the same books. I have to be careful to give the kids their questions a solas or else give them different questions, otherwise they are bent towards comparing.

Artist study:
Not one of my kids knew the name of our artist this term. Um, that's right, nobody knew. And I am a little embarrassed about that. Poor Seurat. While everyone definitely had a favorite painting or two or three, and I did read about the artist and mention his name, somehow it completely slipped ALL of their minds.
Teacher takeaway: Frequently, but unobtrusively, incorporate artist's name, the name of painting and other interesting data into weekly picture studies.

Several of my kids don't write their names/dates very well. Though, this is not the end of the world with an 8yo, it is practically unforgivable with a 14yo.
Teacher takeaway: After thinking, I've realized that I rarely ask for assignments where they write their names. I bet it won't take more than a week to fix this little slip.

Also, CM says this, "Children in Class III. write the whole of their examination work." (v3, p288) Yet, my y8 students did about half written and half oral answers. I suppose that's in part because we did exams this year over three days instead of an entire week, and oral work is quicker. But the other part, honest-to-goodness, is due to my extreme aversion to reading cryptic handwriting and diversified spelling (note the courteous phrasing). I can honestly hardly bear reading their written answers. This is my bad.
Teacher takeaway: This is completely lackadaisical on my part. I need to keep them writing and I need to diligently correct a portion of their weekly written work. Even if I hate it. Perhaps not tons, but a regular amount until we see marked improvement. I am failing them as a writing teacher if I don't.

Anything musical seems to be the most happy part of all our schooling. Everyone everywhere around here likes to sing everything singable every term, be it folksongs, hymns, harmony... what have you, we like it. Fun, huh?!
Teacher takeaway: Keep up the good work! And on the dull days, sing something to cheer us all up. Make sure to stay positively encouraging in everything musical. And PLEASE get on top of piano lessons before it's too late!!

Recitation and Memorization:
We consider these two separate subjects, even though there can be overlap. All of my kids did well with their recitations considering how little they've actually been taught. They read their selections nicely with good enunciation and inflection, even if their eyes were glued to the page. It was obvious their teacher {ahem!} had failed to teach them of the importance of connecting with the audience (eye contact, body language, etc). The only memorization we do is several Bible selections a term.
Teacher takeaway: While I regularly feel we come up short on the quantity of memorized material each term, my kids are slowly improving their presentation of such. I have given very little attention to the whole read aloud/memorize, prepare and present for an audience thing each week. Next term, I'll set aside some moments to go over this each week and maybe watch some examples on youtube.

"It cannot be too often said that information is not education. You may answer an examination question about the position of the Seychelles and the Comoro Islands without having been anywise nourished by the fact of these island groups existing in such and such latitudes and longitudes; but if you follow Bullen in The Cruise of the Cachelot the names excite that little mental stir which indicates the reception of real knowledge."  v3, p169

So, we know that even with Charlotte Mason style exams, as with other types of exams, at first glance, children might come off successfully from exams without having cared deeply about the term's work. But hopefully, as we listen carefully to their answers, especially to what's between the lines, we'll sense the extent to which they really care about the knowledge they're acquiring. Troubleshooting, we may look into areas of personal habits as well as quality of material. It's the teacher's job to analyze these things, adjusting to make sure we're doing all we can to lay the feast, stay out of the way and encourage the child to take a personal interest in and responsibility for learning. Our ultimate goal being that they and we take advantage of the full life set before us.

“The question is not, -- how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education -- but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?” v3, p171

More Fisher posts on exams:
Nervous about CM-style exams? Don't be.
Our Exams {AO year 8, term 3}
Related Posts with Thumbnails

Blog Archive