Wednesday, November 18, 2015

{From My Commonplace}

Some thoughts on habit training today from Miss Mason...

"Knowing that ... conduct and character alike are the outcome of the habits we allow: knowing, too, that an inspiring idea initiates a new habit of thought, and, hence a new habit of life, we perceive that the great work of education is to inspire children with vitalising ideas as to the relations of life, departments of knowledge, subjects of thought: and to give deliberate care to the formation of those habits of the good life which are the outcome of vitalising ideas.

 -- from Parents and Children, p, 255

"We who teach should make it clear to ourselves that our aim in education is less conduct than character."

 -- from Charlotte Mason's Toward a Philosophy of Education, p. 129


It's very easy to get caught up in training our children in good habits without remembering the end goal: virtue.  Conduct can (usually) be trained by repetition alone, but character requires the inspiration of "informing ideas" that make that conduct worth having.

Now all I need is to post that up somewhere in my home with flashing lights and bells...

Monday, November 16, 2015

{This and That} :: Babymoon Edition!

Some of you noticed the sweet baby boy pop up on my Instagram widget over on the sidebar and already shared your congratulations, but I wanted to share our happy news more formally:

Justin Vianney finally decided to make his appearance last Monday, eight days late and perfect.  We arrived home with him first thing on Tuesday and were greeted by a crew of very excited siblings clamoring to be the first to hold baby brother.  

Drew, who is 17 months now, was very intrigued and was happy to blow kisses and wave--but has kept a healthy two-foot distance from this strange new arrival.  Ha!  He has gotten over it--mostly--and will now approach him (still a bit trepidatiously) and kiss his little wiggling feet.  No signs of jealousy, but definitely a bit of healthy suspicion. ;)

On Wednesday we had the baptism, which was lovely.  And Xavier got to join Vincent as an altarboy again, which he was absolutely, positively thrilled about.  Happy day.

I got a post-baptism picture with all my kids together, which was pretty great too.  (You moms, and especially you moms of many, know how hard it is to get a decent photo of all the kids!)

Since then, I have been parked on the sofa with lots of pillows and moving as little as possible except to head to Mass yesterday.  Recovery is going fine and I'm already feeling stir-crazy, but I know from experience that it's best if I take it easy as long as possible.  Thank you so much for the prayers!


A couple days before he arrived, we spent the morning at the farm park.  We hadn't been there in a while, and Clara didn't even remember her last visit, so it was time!

Speaking of Clara, she was positively thrilled upon seeing this just inside the entrance:

Her self-determined, years-long nickname is Piggy, and every time she sees pig, she's sure to shout, "That's ME!"  So this--and the pot-bellied pigs we saw inside--were a real treat.

I always look forward to seeing the Muscovy ducks, who are my personal favorite. 

I mean, really, right?  They are just so cute.

She is pretty cute too:


Before giving birth, I made a little Babymoon Checklist for the kids.  The checklist basically keeps them going with school while taking me out of the equation as much as possible--or at least keeps the activities that require me to get off the sofa to a minimum.  My plan is to use it for a few weeks while I recover.  After Thanksgiving, I think I'll be ready to go back to our usual plan.

In case you're interested, here's what it looks like:

You'll see it's basically just a modified version of my kids' usual weekly checklist.  I just cut-and-pasted the original columns into different places and added/subtracted from there.

I made one for Cate too, since she cannot bear to be left out of anything that involves checklists.  (She is her mother's daughter.  Ahem.)  At the bottom of hers I cut-and-pasted my list of readings that I need to do for Years 1 and 4, which I snip off and keep in my agenda.  We hit those during naptime, as usual.

As you can see, we're definitely doing a lighter version of school here.  We're skipping grammar, dictation, picture study, music study, and recitation.  I'm also not doing math with the two younger kids--they're just reviewing for now with worksheets and math games with the Big Kids.  The Big Kids are only doing their daily work twice a week rather than four times, freeing up more time for outdoors play with the littles.  And memory work and Italian, usually done partially with me, are scheduled as independent activities for now.  It's not bare bones, but it is scaled down just enough to accommodate a new-newborn in the house.

We did our checklist this past week and things ran very smoothly, so I think this will be a good fit for us for the next few weeks!


Some favorite finds lately...

Brandy has a Pay-What-You-Want collection of Charlotte Mason talks if you're looking for an audio injection of inspiration!  I'm treating myself to a couple for postpartum listening. ;)

Kimberlee's talented daughters created some really neat coloring pages in honor of Veteran's Day that would be wonderful for armed services-loving kids any time of year!  (Maybe a little stocking stuffer?)

As soon as I'm back in the kitchen, this apple bread is happening.

Looking for a fall handicraft?  I wish I knew how to crochet!  I also think they would look really nice hanging from the Christmas tree.

Amazing wealth at Cornell's Natural Sound Archive.  I'm bookmarking it for some nature study on a rainy day.

Have you checked out the Charlotte Mason blog carnival for November?

And don't forget: Keeping Company is up and ready for your entries!  I've seen some great posts floating around--don't forget to link them up for others to read and enjoy. :)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

{From My Commonplace}

Last term's poet for my Big Kids was Tennyson, and this poem was one of Vincent's memory selections.

I've been reading lately about the Way of the Will in Charlotte Mason's volumes, and this poem keeps coming back to me again and again.  I have always appreciated the distinction Miss Mason draws between strong and weak wills (and her thought that those we call "strong-willed children" actually have very weak wills when the concept of the will is properly understood), and this poem illustrates that distinction nicely.

It also addresses the weakening of the will through repeated sin.  We have been reading Mother Mary Loyola's First Confession during our Morning Basket time and she reminds often how our ability to resist temptation "ever weaker grows thro' acted crime, or seeming-genial venial fault."  Such a good reminder.

And oh, the language.  The images are so beautifully drawn, and the rhyme scheme, alliteration, and diction make this one a joy to read aloud.

The kids and I often quote those first few lines to one another (in a friendly way, of course) when I ask them to do something they don't want to do.  Gianna will call out to me with a smirk as she heads to finish up the dishes, "He suffers but he will not suffer long!" Ha!


Will by Alfred Lord Tennyson

O well for him whose will is strong!
He suffers, but he will not suffer long;
He suffers, but he cannot suffer wrong:
For him nor moves the loud world's random mock,
Nor all Calamity's hugest waves confound,
Who seems a promontory of rock,
That, compass'd round with turbulent sound,
In middle ocean meets the surging shock,
Tempest-buffeted, citadel-crown'd.

But ill for him who, bettering not with time,
Corrupts the strength of heaven-descended Will,
And ever weaker grows thro' acted crime,
Or seeming-genial venial fault,
Recurring and suggesting still!
He seems as one whose footsteps halt,
Toiling in immeasurable sand,
And o'er a weary sultry land,
Far beneath a blazing vault,
Sown in a wrinkle of the monstrous hill,
The city sparkles like a grain of salt.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Keeping Company :: November Link-Up

Welcome to Keeping Company's link-up for November! Thank you in advance for your contributions to this CM notebooking round-up.  If you're interested in joining in, please take a look at the instructions below!

A bit of inspiration from #KeepingCompanyCM over on Instagram...

top (l to r) - stoppingforbutterflies - vlcjrogers - thismamadoll
bottom (l to r) - athena_amidstthereeds - rjnsix


:: For bloggers: You should see the linky below.  Click on the "Add my link" button, and it will prompt you to include the information for your post.  Once you submit it, your link will be added to the list, and others will be able to click over and read what you have shared.

:: For Instagrammers: Tag related photos with #KeepingCompanyCM to join the link-up.  (You can also add individual Instagram photos via the linky if you prefer.)


:: Remember to link to a specific post and not to the homepage of your blog.

:: Any posts about CM-style Keeping are welcome!  The prompt is optional.  Your post can be as simple as a photo of your commonplace book.  And please don't feel like you have to be an expert.  We are all looking to grow in these habits together. :)

:: Feel free to add more than one post.  The link-up will be open for a month, so you can come back and add more if you are so inclined.

:: You can grab the button over there on the sidebar if you'd like to add it to your post or site.

Looking forward to popping by to read about all the Keeping your families are doing this month!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Cate's First Grade :: Exams, Term 1

A look at Cate's first grade exams, based off of AmblesideOnline's Year 1:

The Questions

Natural History
What is your favorite bird we have read about so far from the Burgess Bird Book? Tell me all you can about it.
Tell me the story of Moses the Kitten or Only One Woof.

Tell the story of Alfred and the Cakes or the story of Cornelia's Jewels.
Tell me what you remember about Horatius at the bridge or Androcles and the lion.
In the chapters we have read of Our Island Story so far, who has been trying to conquer Britain? Was it easy for them to be conquered? 
Tell me what you remember about Bodicaea or Caractacus.
Illustrate one scene from the life of Benjamin Franklin.

Tell me about one of the saints we read about this term.
Describe what happened to Joseph in Egypt.
What must you do to make a proper confession?
What was your favorite story of First Communion Days?

Free Reading
Who was your favorite character in The Secret Garden and why?

Reading Skill
Identify the middle sound in the following words.  mug, dog, mom, dad, cat, lit, pig, pet.
Sound out these words.  Then tell me two words that rhyme with each of them.
Finish reading Small Pig to me.

Play a game of Money War with Xavier.
Total the amounts for these coins.
Partition 15 using your abacus.
Play a game of Corners with Mommy.
Complete these addition problems.
What time is it?

Write your full name and the names of our family members in your best hand.

Memory Work
Recite Robert Louis Stevenson's "Rain" or "At the Sea-Side."
Sing "Dona Nobis Pacem" or "Veni Creator Spiritus."
Sing "Scarborough Fair" or "The Ballad of Davy Crockett."
Recite a passage from Much Ado About Nothing.

Show me where Paddle is traveling through now.  What is one interesting thing he encountered so far on his journey?
Narrate our weekly run to me.

Say the days of the week or the months of the year in Italian.
Sing a song in Italian.
Tell me three things about our yard in Italian.
Describe someone in the family, including what they are wearing and what kind of personality they have.

Illustrate the poems you memorized by Robert Louis Stevenson.
Besides those poems, what was your favorite poem by Stevenson that we read this term?

Physical Education
Do five jumping jacks correctly. Do five push-ups correctly.
Complete our three-mile run with only two walk breaks.

What kind of stories did Aesop write? Tell me your favorite Aesop's fable, including your understanding of the moral.
What was your favorite fairy tale we have read this term? Tell me the story.
Draw a scene from Much Ado about Nothing.   
Choose one of the animals from Just So Stories that we have read about so far and tell me Kipling's version of how it came to look as it does.

Complete a drawing page from your teacher.

Picture Study
Choose one of Velazquez's  paintings and describe it as well as you can.

Music Study
Who was our composer for this term?  Tell me about one of his compositions.

Play your recital piece for the family.

Complete this embroidery project for your sister.

The Answers 
(Just a sampling.  These were all oral narrations that I audio recorded and then transcribed for my records.)

from Aesop's Fables
One day three boys went to the pond.  In the pond there were frogs.  They picked up rocks and threw the rocks into the pond.  The frogs didn’t like it because they might die, but the boys didn’t stop.  The biggest and fattest frog poked his head out the water and said, “You are going to make us die.  Would it be better if you would stop throwing rocks into the water or if we died?”  This is the lesson: if you keep throwing rocks into the water, then we will die.  So that is not a good choice.

"Androcles and the Lion" from Fifty Famous Stories
Androcles was a man.  He found a cave, a very dark cave, and he went into that cave.  He was scared at first, but then he went in wthout being scared.  A lion came up to him, roaring, and he saw that the lion had a little needle inside its foot.  So he pulled out the needle.  A chief came to Androcles and said that Androcles would fight a lion for not listening to the chief.  So Androcles was brought one day, and crowds of people came to watch the fight.  He heard the lion roaring and he didn’t want to fight with the lion, but when the lion saw him, he was so glad that he had pulled out the needle inside his foot that he hugged him and did not do any harm to him.  The people were so glad, but they didn’t know what had happened because they were not there.  And Androcles told them the whole story about it, and how he pulled out the needle inside the lion’s foot.  Androcles did not get in trouble.  He made friends with the lion.

Velazquez's "Old Woman Frying Eggs"
She’s frying eggs with a boy, a maddish-looking boy.  There’s a log under the kettle and it looks like she boiled water and then threw stones into it to make a fire under the log.  Then she put eggs that are yellow and white.  She’s wearing a whitish ragged veil that is dirty and she’s wearing black, brown, and green clothes and some sort of scarf.  There is a big table that is next to her with cut up eggs and cut up potatoes and cut up onions.  Then there are two jars.  One of them looks like it's filled with water and the other a kind of juice or something.  The boy that is next to her is dressed in a kind of suit.  She has blue eyes and she looks very old.  The boy looks like he is in his teens, and he has brownish eyes.  The old woman--you can’t see her hair because she’s wearing the white veil.  But the boys doesn’t have anything over his hair and it is curly brown. The light is coming from the side of them and the woman is looking at the boy and the boy doesn’t seem to be paying attention. He is looking away or looking down at the table.

"Beauty and the Beast" from The Blue Fairy Book
Beauty is a good girl and her father had three boys and three girls.  She was one of those three girls.  One night a storm came up and their house fell down in fire.  So they moved to a different house.  After the storm came up, their father asked them what they wanted for a little gift.  The three brothers didn’t know, and neither did the girls know, but the two other girls besides her said, “You guys figure out what you’re going to have,” and their Daddy said, “You guys figure out for yourselves.”  And the two sisters wouldn’t even do the cleaning and Beauty did her brothers’ work in the field and she did all the house cleaning.  Their father was going to get their gift, and Beauty said she didn’t know what she wanted either. But she said after thinking for a very long time, “I want a rose.  We hadn’t seen a rose and there are none at this house.”  Their father said, “Okay, I’ll give you a rose.” And he went off traveling on the horse.  He saw a castle there and he stopped his horse at the steps of the castle.  Then he patted his horse and went off his horse. He found some roses in a big trail and he almost picked a rose,  but before, a beast came up and said, “This is my field and you are not allowed to pick anything out of here unless the person who wants it will come to me.”  So the father picked it and said “One of my daughters wants it and it’s the best daughter,” and he got the rose and said, “Beauty is her name and she shall come to you.”  When her father was home with the rose, Beauty danced up and said, “Thank you, Father” and her father gave it to her.  And the father said, “My daughter, you have to go to the beast.  It’s the beast’s garden that I picked it in and there’s no other rose next to our house.”  And so they got the horse and traveled on.  As they led up to the castle, her father stayed there for a week.  And then her father left.  He left her in the room that he went to to stay at there for a little because he wanted to know where she could stay.  So he went.  She dreamed about a prince. Then she ate and went back to bed and dreamed about her prince again.  Then she went into a fancy room that had a frame.  The frame was the prince that she dreamed of.  And the beast came to her and he said, “Do you love me?”  She didn’t answer, and the beast came all of that week and said, “Do you love me?”  Then, as she was lying and sleeping, she woke up.  She dressed and there was a man that came to her and said, “Here is a prince.  It is the beast.”  And the beast came to her and said, “I shall be married with her.” And he was married with her.  But first she saw her father, and the beast said, “I will die if you don’t come back early.”  And a lady reminded her, saying, “You must go, the beast is dying.”  So Beauty traveled on her way and hugged the beast because she did not want him to die.  And then he was married with her very happily.

A Few Thoughts

:: As you can see, Cate has a very creative personality.  She often elaborates on her narrations and I generally have to reign her in gently to focus on the details that are actually there, not necessarily the way the story plays out as she visualizes it in her head.  ;)  But she has really grown as a narrator from the beginning of the year, when I could barely get a sentence out of her because she was paralyzed with perfectionism.  (It's hard to be a beginning narrator in a home with two older siblings who narrate so expertly.)  Even though there are plenty of mis-rememberings and misunderstandings here, I'm encouraged by her progress and enthusiasm.
:: She too was very taken with the performance of Much Ado About Nothing that we attended, and her choice of drawn narration was actually based on her favorite part from the staging, not necessarily from the read-aloud version.
:: She loves Paddle to the Sea, but I have really neglected mapwork with her for that book.  She at least knew where the Great Lakes were, so I suppose that's something--ha!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Fourth Grade in Our Home :: Exams, Term 1

Here's a peek at my 4th graders exams from last term: first the questions, and then a sampling of answers follow.  Please keep in mind, I have two students answering, so they're sometimes doing just half of each category.  (And if you're looking for questions to use for your own exams, check out the wonderful exam page over at AO!)

The Questions


What do you know about King Philip's War?
"In spite of Franklin's popularity in Paris, the war news from America was making the French foreign minister wary of an American treaty."  Tell the whole story.
Tell about the witches of Salem, or how New Amsterdam became New York.
What do you know about Lord Baltimore or William Penn?


"The river is a museum." Explain.
Tell about the "Est Est West" or the Amazon river in South America from Hillyer's A Child's Geography of the World.
Label this map of Europe/Asia.
Tell me about one character from California history we have encountered so far in The Cruise of the Arctic Star.  Where in California does his or her story take place?

Natural History and General Science

What are earthquakes? What causes them?
Talk about how silk is made and harvested and about Epeira's bridge.


Write 2-4 lines of a poem you memorized this term in print and in cursive.


Complete this grammar worksheet (taken almost exactly from the AO Exams page).


Translate sentences from Getting Started with Latin.


Listen to the story of Il Cappucetto Rosso and narrate back in Italian.
Narrate this picture in Italian using complete sentences.  (Write at least three sentences.)
Change these sentences to accommodate a new subject.  Consider verbs and adjectives.
Conjugate irregular verbs.  Write sentences with them.

Memory Work

Hymn - Sing "Veni Creator Spiritus" or "Dona Nobis Pacem."
Folk Song - Sing "Scarborough Fair" or "The Ballad of Davy Crockett."
Poetry - Recite one of your Tennyson poems for this term.
Shakespeare - Recite a passage from Much Ado About Nothing.

Nature Study

Tell me as much as you can about one of the trees we are studying this term.  Be sure to include its name, where it grows, what its leaves and bark look like, what seeds or blossoms it has, and any other details you'd like to share.  Illustrate with sketches.


Tell the story of one of the following: Apollo and Daphne, Pyramus and Thisbe, Cephalus and Procris.
Draw a map of Robinson Crusoe's island or a picture of the outfit he makes himself.
What attitude toward his shipwreck does Robinson have when he arrives on the island, and how does his perspective change?  What causes the change?
Who was your favorite character in Much Ado about Nothing?  Describe a favorite scene that he or she was in with as much detail as you can.


Describe the various ways in which Marcus Cato spent his old age.


How did the fact that Paul was a Roman citizen change his story?
Tell about the early disagreements between the Jews and the new Christians.  What were some of the issues they struggled over?
Tell about Peter's escape from prison.


What are the marks of the Church?
Explain the two kinds of grace.
Tell two events from St. Isaac's life that demonstrate his sanctity.

Music Study and Picture Study
Tell about your favorite Brahms' piece from this term.
Can you name the following composition by Brahms?  What was his inspiration for the piece?
Describe your favorite Velazquez work from this term's studies.  You may sketch it if you would like.

Reading Skill

Read this passage from Bambi aloud in your clearest voice.


Go through your piano flashcards.
Play your recital pieces for our family.

Free Reading

Describe Bambi's encounters with the Old Stag.  What role does he play in the story, and how is he important to Bambi?
How is "He" portrayed in Bambi?  In what ways are the animals right about him and in what ways are they wrong?


What was your favorite poem by Tennyson other than the one you read?  Explain what you liked about it.


Complete your math unit quiz.


Show one of your recent drawings to Daddy.

Handicrafts and Life Skills

Make a batch of oatmeal bars for the family.  Be sure to clean up after yourself and ask for Mommy's help in getting them in and out of the oven.

Some Answers

"The River is a Museum" from Holling's Minn of the Mississippi, by Gianna
In Minn’s time, the river was a museum.  There were all sorts of things there: sea chests, and gold, and things from before the Great Fire.  The Great Fire had been when men came, and one of them accidentally set fire to the woods and the woods burned up.  Then it was all farmland, and then, people went to college and found out that they could make it a wood again, and so they did.  And since they made it a wood, that was what Minn saw: a wood.  Before it, there was a wasteful way of floating logs downstream, and whenever it was not done properly, the logs fell to the bottom, and so there were many of those too.  The sea chests were from the old days of pirates and adventurous sea voyages.  Sometimes they had been drowned by the St. Anthony Falls, which Minn was going over, and at other times, they had been shipwrecked.   

Marcus Cato's later life, by Gianna
Marcus Cato’s old age was very different from the old age system of rulers, and he praised himself about it.  He said that people who retired when they were old were not good, and since he didn’t retire, he was good.  Instead of retiring, he went off to a place in the countryside where he said that he was taking a little vacation.  And he also went on his last great journey: he went to see a king who paid tribute to the Romans.  Cato was a Roman and a censor of Rome.  He went and saw them and he saw that they were not acting properly and he decided to make war against them, so he went into the senate and declared war.  A young man went against him and he said that Cato was wrong and that the unruly country would be a bridle to the Romans because they were getting too proud and too haughty.  Marcus Cato, however, despised him for this, and in the end, there was a war.  And Marcus Cato prophesied that the young man that went against him would be the great hero of the war, and he was right.  Also, when he was old, he used to write books.  He wrote one about farming, one about health, and he said that his wife and children never got sick, but that was not true, for his wife died early.

Peter's Escape from Prison in Acts, by Vincent
One day Herod wanted to please the Jews so he had James the Greater’s head cut off. This delighted the Jews, and Herod decided to take Peter and put him in prison.  The guards put him in prison and one guard was changed to his left wrist and another to his right, and there were two guards outside the door.  The guards took turns in groups of four.  Now in houses around, many people were prayingfor Peter.  In the middle of the night, Peter’s chains fell off and although the guards were still awake outside the door, they did not see him leave.  Peter went to a house and knocked on the door, saying it was Peter.  One of the girls opened the door and seeing Peter, she told everyone that he had come since they were praying for him.  Then they thought it was better if Peter stayed out of the way of the High Priests.


Some Thoughts

:: I like to put some of the kids' responses side by side just to show how different two students' details and styles can be.  This is one of the reasons I really like CM-style exams: they give the opportunity for the student to share what he remembers best rather than trying to ferret out what he doesn't.:: I usually like to write my own history questions, but the ones that AmblesideOnline offered for this term were so good that I didn't bother!  The kids remembered Salem very well and William Penn not so well--that was no surprise, because isn't that about your experience with early American history? ;)  Really, though, the founding of the colonies has made an impression and the kids are excited to see how these issues erupt into the situation described in Poor Richard, BUT I think the particular governors are starting to run together a bit at this point.  The narrations are good right after reading, but the details are a bit fuzzy a few weeks later.  My main goal for them to take away from this section of TCOO is that the founding of each colony had its own "personality."  We'll be moving on to the Revolutionary period shortly!
:: I didn't include a geography question about Minn because we haven't done weekly mapping with that book yet--I need to get better about doing that!  They do still enjoy the book as a natural history read, so it works on a lot of levels and is still a rich text.  But the geography is very rich too and I am doing a better job prioritizing that in Term 2.  (I actually had them draw and label maps to the point we're at in the book just last week, so we're all "caught up" now and it's up to me to just keep it going.)
:: Gianna actually came up with the question about Robinson Crusoe's outfit and I loved their responses!  They (and especially Gianna) love creative narration options, and I think exams are a great opportunity to try those out.  
:: I also did way more written exam questions that I was planning to, but they asked to do more, so I decided to let them try that.  I think the amount was actually just fine and I may just plan it that way next time around too.
:: I was planning to record recitations on video to share here, but since we were all sick for exams, it didn't happen.  Next time maybe?
:: I haven't yet had them do any cursive practice from a print model--I have always had them write from a cursive model for copywork.  But I thought it would be a good opportunity to try something new for exams. I am going to do this more often now that I know they're capable!
:: So my Shakespeare question (for them to just choose a scene to describe rather than retelling the whole play) was roundly rejected in favor of a full and complete narration.  This has happened before so I wasn't surprised.  There is something about Shakespeare that gets them really fired up about narrations!  Suffice it to say that our trip to the theater a few months ago really captured their imaginations: they love Shakespeare more than ever now and particularly love reenacting favorite bits.  So if you have a chance to enjoy a live performance near you, take advantage!  It's paying dividends here, for sure.

In the next few days, I'll share a quick peek at my first grader's very first formal exam.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Keeping Company :: November Invitation

Hi friends!

It's November, and the temps have finally cooled down here...which means I've spent a couple recent evenings with a steaming cup of (decaf) coffee and my commonplace book.  Bliss!

We've also been out and about in the fall air--even though we haven't made it to the beach this week, we did hit the local farm park with Daddy and did a bark study with friends.  I haven't yet made my own nature journal entry for the latter, but this evening, maybe?

Once again, I'd like to invite you to join in the fun of sharing your Charlotte Mason-inspired notebooking with the e-community in this monthly blog link-up.

If you haven't checked in on our October collection, please do poke around the lovely entries there!

This Month's Feature
I'm happy to introduce you today to Amber if you haven't met her already!  She has shared several notebooking posts with us over the past year, but this month's was so inspiring for those of us working to build Keeping habits with our kids: Nature Walks, Nature Journaling, and the Fight to Be the Teacher I Want to Be.

by Amber at Flare of Light 

She was inspired by the recent Charlotte Mason conference in Seattle to rededicate herself to more frequent nature study with her children:
I resolved to postpone our morning time from 8 to 9 and cancel our usual morning activities to take a walk with the kids - a walk that has never gone well with all five children, as it is about a half a mile downhill to the creek, and then of course a steep half a mile back home.  I wasn't sure what they would think of visiting the creek, dry for several months due to the drought.  Would it still be interesting if they couldn't throw rocks in the water?  And I wasn't sure at all how I was going to get my four year old and 21 month old back up the hill if they both fell apart. 
Sound familiar?  Click over to read about how it went!

I love how she describes her children's varied approaches to both the outing and the sketching afterward--it is something I notice each and every week, how my kids' personalities come through in their adventuring and recording.

by Amber at Flare of Light

And by the way, she has a little follow-up post too: What My Nature Journaling Really Looks Like.  I had to chuckle because that's pretty much exactly what my nature journaling really looks like!  I'm sure many of you can relate. ;)

This Month's Optional Prompt
I hesitate to say this because it's only just the beginning of November, but I know lots of homeschooling moms (including me) are already considering Christmas gifts--and I just love to give and receive lovely school supplies!  So this month I thought I'd ask...

What are your favorite Keeping materials?  Do you have a favorite brand of nature journal, a preferred notebook you've turned into a Book of Centuries, a beloved set of pens or nifty waterbrush, particularly special watercolors, something else you just can't "keep" without?  What do you consider essential for notebooking in your home?  Feel free to share with us your favorite finds if you are so inclined!

I'll be back here next Tuesday, November 10th, to post this month's link-up.  Until then, feel free to add your posts to the October collection!