Wednesday, July 13, 2016

from my common place

(In my study of Charlotte Mason's educational methods, I have found so many useful and delightful habits to use in my own life and continuing education.  Something I have started this year is keeping a commonplace journal, just as Charlotte Mason and her students once did.  The common place is simply a journal to copy meaningful quotes, poetry, scripture or other ideas you stumble upon in life and in your reading. It has been such a lovely way to keep and record these thoughts and passages that have influenced my thinking during a given season of life. I thought I'd share some of these passages every so often in hopes that they might also be inspiring to you...and of course, feel free to copy them into your own commonplace! :)

A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.
-C. S. Lewis

The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things.

Education is a life. That life is sustained on ideas. Ideas are of a spiritual origin, and God has made us so that we get them chiefly as we convey them for one another, whether by word of mouth, written page, scripture read, musical symphony; we must sustain a child's inner life with ideas as we sustain his body with food. 
- Charlotte Mason

The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater. 
-J.R.R. Tolkien

I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those which anything splendid or wonderful happens, but must those that bring simple pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string. 
-L.M. Montgomery/Anne Shirley from "Anne of Green Gables"

By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
-Proverbs 24:3-6

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Summer List 2016 and a little fourth of July

Even though we've been enjoying the slowly warming days for a while now, the fourth of July always feels like the official start to summer. We began celebrating on the 3rd with a Spokes and Stripes parade for kids around the town common. The next day we enjoyed the parade that our family has been going to every year for decades, a big ol' BBQ and then music and fireworks on the wharf, just steps from our front door. The fireworks this year were particularly spectacular! 

Monday, June 27, 2016

What's in Our Morning Basket - Summer 2016

This weekend I refreshed our daily Morning Basket for the summer months; new memory work, poetry, songs, art and stories have been collected, printed and are ready to go.  An important aspect of a Charlotte Mason education is offering an abundant "feast" of living ideas.  Our Morning Basket is one way I provide my children a feast to nourish their minds, hearts and souls. 

An important note: we do not do all of these elements every day. At the bare minimum we do the invocation, prayer, scripture and doxology.  We rotate many elements and review old memory work/songs depending on the time we have on that particular day or the kids attention/mood etc.  Even though I like to have each part planned and ready in our basket, we are very laid back and sometimes do more and sometimes do less. It is important to me that this is delightful and not a chore. Read more about our Morning Basket habit HERE.

Morning Basket: Summer Season

1. Invocation- Light a candle, say together: "The Lord is my light and my salvation".

2. Calendar/Nature Study- Review plans for the day, look outside and record weather and nature observations. Identify common local birds with Sibley's Birding flashcards.

3. Bible- Read a story from "The Children's Bible in 365 Stories" and a Psalm or Proverb from Scripture.

4. Prayer- Discuss and list what each person is thankful for and record prayer requests/answers to prayer in our prayer journal. Pray together. 

5. Memory Work- 

   Scripture: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 ("There is a time for everything...")

   Motto/habit training: "There is a time for everything" (discuss the idea that both our actions and the timing of our actions is important to God)

    Poetry- "Ducks Ditty" By Kenneth Graeme

6. Music- 
   Hymn: "Fairest Lord Jesus"

   Folksongs: "The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night", "The Crabfish"

7. Picture Study/Art History: Henri Matisse

"Open Window, Collioure" 1905
"Harmony in Red" 1908
"The Snail" 1953

8. Poetry and Read Alouds- Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes, Selections from Book 2, "Story Time" from the My Book House collection. 

9. Benediction- Hold hands and sing the Doxology (then hugs and "I love you's" all around.)

Summer Read Alouds:

The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White
Mother West Wind's Children by Thornton Burgess

Thursday, June 9, 2016

These days


These days, I'm ...

- enjoying the sunshine, earth and open air as much as possible
- looking forward to my last week of art class and working on end of the year grades and evaluations
- collecting delightful books and resources for Levi's kindergarten year
- rather exhausted from my energetic night owls AND early risers
- reading "Little Men" by Louisa May Alcott and inspired by Jo's teaching and the atmosphere of "Plumfield"
- dreaming about starting a Charlotte Mason homeschool co-op
- looking forward to having more time to paint this summer and hoping to get through at least 3 paintings 
- working on our summer bucket list and summer reading list
- paying down our debt, Dave Ramsey style..
- ... learning how to be extremely frugal in the process
- enjoying my kids, their funny conversations, their mischievious antics, their love for each other.
- counting down the days until August which will include a 10th wedding anniversary extravaganza complete with a houseboat and tree cabin AND our annual family camping trip
- thankful for many, many things

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

What's in our Morning Basket: Spring Term

Our morning basket continues to be my favorite thing about our homeschool day (although I don't think you need to homeschool to do it!). We have kept our rhythm of working through some, if not all, of the things in our basket during breakfast each day. Sometimes we do more, sometimes less depending on their attention on that particular day. Easter marked the end of our Lenten morning basket and it has now been refreshed for spring with new scripture, memory work, books, songs and art. 

Morning Basket: Spring Term

1. Invocation: Light a candle, say together: "The Lord is my light and my salvation".

2. Calendar: Review plans for the day, look outside and record weather and nature observations.

3. Bible: Read a Psalm, read a selection from "Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing".

4. Prayer: Write down what each person is thankful for and record prayer requests (including our Compassion child and someone from our photo prayer book). Then we pray; the kids thank God for what they are thankful for and I usually pray for the requests. 

5. Memory Work:

Scripture: Matthew 28:6, I Tim 1:15, I Cor. 15:3-4, Mark 16:15, Acts 16:31 (and review verses from the past year)


"All Creature Great and Small" Cecil Frances Alexander

Motto/habit training: "Obey, right away, with a joyful heart, everyday". Practice obeying (similar to Simon Says).

6. Hymn: "This is My Father's World"

   Folksongs: "Oro the Rattlin' Bog" and "The Water is Wide"

7. Picture Study/Art History: Auguste Rodin (an exhibition of his work coming to the Peabody Essex Museum, so this spring/summer we will be able to walk to see 175 of his sculptures!)

"The Thinker"

8. Benediction: Hold hands and sing the Doxology (then hugs and "I love yous" all around.)

9. Poetry and Read Alouds: If they are still happy and attentive, I read from our collection of poetry books or seasonal read alouds. This term, I'm reading a lot of spring/nature themed selections.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter 2016

Easter was: waking up to flowers and an empty grave in our Easter garden; excited and fully dressed kids at 6am; heading to church early to watch Papa practice from the balcony; a full and good resurrection Sunday celebration; cotton candy, hot crossed buns and baby animals; a ham feast at the James', a treasure hunt, lots of treats, a photoshoot; dessert and egg hunt at the McKenna's, matching sisters; tired, happy children on a sugar high; thoughts of Dad and the promise of the resurrection; Levi and Maggie ending the night dancing around the kitchen shouting "Jesus is alive!".