Monday, July 4, 2016

{This and That}

Happy 4th of July!

I didn't mean to take a blog break, but school planning took over my brain!  New chore routine, new schedule, new Keeping opportunities, new organization for our Italian materials, lots and lots of new books... It has been a busy month but I think we're almost ready to start our new school year next week.

I was originally planning to start with a light list of assignments this holiday week, but I decided instead to wait on schoolwork until we dive in on the 11th.  Instead, we'll do a test drive of our schedule and chore routine this week.  My kids are also doing some school prep with me: setting up their binders and history notebooks, organizing their pencil boxes, and giving me lists of anything we might be missing to make their lives run more smoothly this term.  And I have a little extra time to finish up some pre-reading and finally decide on a strategy for our weekly checklists.  (That has proved to be a challenge for me this year as I add a new student!)  So far so good!  This has been a great way to ease into the new year.

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Before I say anything else...


AmblesideOnline provides the backbone of our homeschool.  I love the book selections and am blessed by the community, and I'm happy to give back where I can by moderating on the forum and sharing resources here on my blog to help you use AO effectively with your family.  My heartiest thank you to AO and the wonderfully clever and generous ladies behind the scenes!


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In the midst of these past few busy weeks, we celebrated a birthday: Vincent, my oldest, turned ten last week.  Double digits!  A whole decade! Excuse me while I'm over here indulging in cliches and wondering where on earth those years went.


Vincent is a rough-and-tumble, curious, adventurous boy who is always up for a challenge and loves nature, numbers, and being in charge.  He is a mystery to me in some ways because we are so different, but the more I read Charlotte Mason's work, the more I feel like I understand him better.  He is very easy to please and his personality is a great match for the oldest brother of a troupe of littles.

 And I can't say I have eight kids under ten anymore! :)

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Speaking of how time flies, I was going through our photos from an outing a few weeks ago and came across this random snap of my kids having a snack...

only missing the baby

...and it reminded me of this picture from eight (!) years ago, of my oldest two on the same steps:


Yikes, right?

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And a little update on the current baby of the family: Justin turned seven months old!  He took his first couple lunge-steps this week (!) and keeps me busy at the beach.


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Reading around the web...

I've been thinking about weekly time budgets.  Do you do one?  I think this might be the weekly planning tool I've been missing.

Three Easy Ways to Begin Keeping a Nature Journal -- from the wonderful artist, Jan Blencowe.  (She recaps her past eight months of nature journaling in an inspiring slideshow. See what a simple habit can become?)

Local friends: the San Francisco Bay Area mapped a la Tolkien.

Karen Glass attempts to define classical education

Cindy Rollins describes my reading experience (and probably yours too).

We'll be reading an Audubon biography this coming term, so I found this article particularly fascinating.

I'm sure these literacy practices we should abandon will come as no surprise to you, but they are still dominating the curriculum of our nation's schools.

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I love how imaginative little kids are.  We have been going to the aquarium every few months, and one of the wonderful shows they offer involves a scuba diver going into the kelp forest to feed the tiger sharks and such.  This is how Bridget and Xavier came to me the next day:

"mommy, we're divers!!"
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My husband has been taking the oldest four kids running with him on Saturday mornings, so I'm able to do all my Saturday running solo -- and early!  It's working out really well.  I get to enjoy this view on the way to my Saturday run...


...and this view when they're heading out for theirs.  :)


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Okay, I have loads more to talk about but am out of time for today.  I'll catch up soon!  In the meantime, I'll be back tomorrow to chat notebooking -- with our Keeping Company link-up for July.  See you then!

12 comments:

  1. I can't believe your 7 month old just took his first lunge step! That's awesome. I've always wanted an early walker. Nora is 13 months and while she can now stand up without support, she refuses to even try to step without someone holding her hand! I desperately want her to walk because it is SO much easier for me when they can walk. Happy birthday to Vincent! I'd love to hear more about how your Italian writing assignments someday (soon! lol).

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    1. I have had about half of my kids walking quite early, but for me it feels like it gets harder when they start walking! They're no longer content to sit still in the stroller or in my carrier any more, they're always falling and getting bumps and bruises...I feel like the closer they are to the ground when they're that little, the better. LOL My latest walker was Cate at 14 months, and once she DID start walking, she walked easily and perfectly and never fell! Hopefully sweet Norah will be the same way for you. :)

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    2. That reminds me of how my dad always says there's a reason babies are built short and close to the ground. πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‚ I love the picture of your scuba divers, too!

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    3. Ha, yes, exactly, Angela! :)

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  2. Would you mind sharing why you prefer Ambleside over Mater Amablis selections?
    This coming year will be our third year homeschooling and my children are grades 5, 3 and K. We have used Mother of Divine Grace our first year at home. Last year I compiled my own curriculum.
    After reading much about Charlotte Mason this past year, I really feel like her educational philosophy will best suit our children so we will be implementing her methods this year. I am unsure of whether we should follow MA or AO. Any input you have would be most appreciated!

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    1. Hi Meg! I basically just looked at both booklists and decided by weighing which one fit my family better. I like AO's history rotation -- it just makes more sense to me. I also like that they include more classics, more challenging books at lower grades, and more vintage texts. Those things just appeal to my personality, and as the teacher, I want to teach books I love. :) I also am comfortable swapping and tweaking where needed for our Catholic faith and I actually prefer to choose my own religion selections, so that made me confident about going in the direction of AO. Also, at the time, MA did not have weekly breakdowns (those are in progress now) but AO did (and still does), and AO also has a very large, very active community of users.

      But those are just preferences. Both are solid programs that adhere to CM's principles, and I really don't think you can go wrong. :) Take a look at the booklists and see which ones seem to fit your needs and the tone you want for your family. And pray too! :) Best wishes in making a good decision. :)

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  3. Great to see a This and That post from you as always! Hope your new school year is getting off to a great start!

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  4. So many great links! I can't wait to spend some time reading through them. And I loved that picture of your kids' scuba outfits - so creative! And amazing what changes 8 years will bring... but it just doesn't seem that long, does it. (And don't even start thinking about 8 years from now... you'll be looking at graduating kids - yikes!!)

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    1. The fact that my Big Kids are more than halfway through their childhood is SO overwhelming! Yikes is right! :)

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  5. You take all 8 to the beach? I have 6 right now (8 to newborn) and I have a relatively easy time at the lake where the swimming area is smaller and roped off, but the beach is a nightmare of anxiety for me! Please share your beach sanity tips!

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    1. I take all eight to the beach WITH my husband. ;) He is working from home right now, so we try to go once a week together. If I take all eight myself, it's only for a non-water day (like a beach day in winter), which is about as easy as taking them to the park. :)

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