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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!! ;) }
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