Thursday, January 5, 2017

Keeping Company :: January 2017

Welcome to another year of Keeping Company -- on paper in our homes and on screens here in community!

A little reminder about how Keeping Company works:

On the first Tuesday of the month (or thereabouts),  I'll post the linky, some highlights from the previous month's submissions, and maybe a discussion topic for those who like a prompt to respond to.  Then you'll be free to add any and all posts about CM-style notebooking over the course of the month.  Your posts can be as detailed as a step-by-step explanation of your history tools through the Forms or as simple as a few lines from your commonplace book.  The linky will be active until the next month's post is up so feel free to come back and add more.

Instagrammers can tag their notebooking photos with #keepingcompanycm to join in!  (And a note: if you've been sharing on Instagram and I haven't featured you here on my blog, it's because your account is private and only followers can see your tagged posts.  If that's the case, send me a message to let me know so I don't miss your contributions!)

And please do share the link-up with friends!  I cross-post each month over on the Joyous Lessons Facebook page, so you can "share" from there to your favorite homeschool Facebook group or your personal page.  You can also add a link to Keeping Company on your blog or pull the Keeping Company button code over on my sidebar to include.  All of that is completely optional, however -- participation is on your terms!  This is simply a spot to collect and inspire. :)

From Last Month
Some commonplace inspiration to start the new year:

Amber shared a selection of commonplace entries from the last few months. There is such beauty in the variety!

Are you ready for tears?  I will admit that the snippet at Amy's this month tugged at my heart.

And over on Instagram ...

(l to r) - hazelnuthatch - spreadingthefeast - theycallmemommy618 - sarahjokim

(l to r) laurke2 - jeffsjessie - frannieruth19 - stoppingforbutterflies - bibliobites

(l to r) mariasugiyopranoto - rjnsix - brc_mackenzie

Starting the Discussion
This week I'm thinking about notebooking goals for myself and for our family for the coming year.  I'm guessing you might be doing the same?  New Year's seems like a good time to reconsider and rededicate, coming as it does in the middle of the school year when interest might have faded, schedules are in need of tweaking, and a new start is welcome.  If you committed to certain kinds of keeping that simply haven't gotten done so far this school year, join me in making a new start!

My goals for this year:

:: A weekly nature journal entry.  This is a habit I was successful at in 2016 and I am looking forward to another year dipping into my journal each week, improving in my drawing and painting skills, and making new discoveries.  (I will also be posting my annual peek into my commonplace for those interested -- as soon as I have a chance to photograph it! :))

:: Posting here {From My Commonplace} at least once a month.  I didn't meet this challenge last year, so I'm picking it back up again.  I add to my commonplace just about every week, so it's just a matter of taking the time to share.  I love reading what others are keeping in their commonplace books and inevitably notice connections to my own reading -- I think it's a rich practice to keep reading journals in community.

:: Maintain my current history notebooking alongside our Year 5 studies and start a Book of Centuries for Year 6.  I've mentioned before that I am keeping a century chart and several maps like my students are.  This has all been a precursor to starting a proper BoC when we begin our new history rotation this fall, so I'm looking forward to getting started on his next stage in our keeping.

The Link-Up

:: For bloggers: Click on the "Add my link" button below, 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.

:: Remember to link to a specific post and not to your blog's homepage. 
:: 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 or your kids drawing.
:: 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.


  1. Love seeing some History Keeping in your linky! Our crew loves History Keeping and Poetry Notebooks. They get used/done faithfully every week. My Commonplace is my favorite way of Keeping. But our poor nature journals. We do well 6 months of the year, then they just slide the other 6 months. We are always doing nature study. My kiddos love collections and labeling and looking up or reading about. We spend time watching and observing and discussing. But for some reason we just don't always carry it over to our Nature Journals. I put it on the schedule even, but then I let that time slip away into the actual Nature Study outdoor time. Or when we get home I get busy with the littles, and then the bigs start adding to collections or flipping through field guides. So I'd like to do better about that in 2017.

    And it's not really Keeping I guess, but I would like to start exams this year as well. The written portion of them that is. We have started sharing our recitations and memory work and often oral narrations from a favorite book at the end of a term. (we do 6 week terms here) That was a great idea, Celeste, and we have so much fun with it! But nothing written so far.

    I'm thinking of getting the John Muir Law book, but it's a bit pricey. I wish our library had it so I could look through it first. But I need a better plan for Nature Journaling that would get us putting our discussions and observations onto paper and not just in conversations and collections. All but one of my kiddos are very extroverted. I think that's one of the reasons they love History and Poetry Keeping. We do poetry together and talk about it and the kids act it out and share it with others. So I just assign the poem that they have spent that much time already loving during their copywork. Or if they come say, "Mom I have to read you this poem!" they just naturally want to record it in their notebooks as well. And History Keeping is done during special time with mom from notes they've kept through their independent readings during the week. So it's a very relational thing, a way of recording the cool people and things they've read about as they excitedly share them with me. But I am determined to help us figure out a way to make Nature Journals just as heartfelt. My kids would live outside amongst nature if I'd let them. And no one can enter the house without seeing a collection of this or that. I just have to find a way of bridging that passion over into their Keeping of it.

    Looking forward to another year of #keepingcompanycm! So glad you do this, Celeste. =)

    1. Yes, I was so pleased to see some history keeping pop up this month. There is never enough of that shared, I don't think. I love that your kids so enjoy those notebooks. It's certainly the case that although we all can and should aspire to stretch ourselves in the ways we are weak, some kinds of keeping are more in tune with our particular family culture and/or the season of life we are in. I'd love to see more of your poetry notebooks! We have a family poetry notebook but I can envision the kids starting off with their individual notebooks as they get older. On the other hand, like you said, the relational aspect is so special and is what makes the subject come alive in some ways, no matter how those bits are "kept." I'm sure you and your family will find a way over time to make that connection with nature journaling. Maybe your little ones will be the ones in your home that just can't help drawing everything they see and it will rub off on the bigs! You just never know how those connections will grow over time. I think that's one of the wonderful things about having a lot of children -- there's lots of years to come. :)

      And by the way: I think the JML book is perfect for what you're describing -- moving those observations and discussions onto the page.

      And I anticipate you and your crew really enjoying exams like we do. There is something very fulfulling about them.

      Thanks for your participation, Virginia Lee! I always look forward to seeing what you guys are up to. :)

  2. We have had so many interruptions, setbacks and obstacles with hospital stays etc that I'm starting to feel quite discouraged over the things that I had planned that are being dropped. I need to sit down and recharge my batteries by reevaluating my goals, changing focus on a few things and making new priorities. All the things that you mention here are important to me and somehow I must make them an indispensable part of our education. Hope to join you with a game plan soon and thus bring about some renewed energy in my home!

    1. There has to be lots of grace for you and your family this year, Lucy, with a new baby, a challenging pregnancy, and all. <3 But I do find it refreshing, like you said, to sit down after a difficult season of life and dream about the ways we can get back to those life-giving practices that make our educational experiences meaningful and delightful. But remember: baby steps toward that game plan!! :) I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with over time. :)

  3. My goals for myself are to add a few things to my new journal seasonally, hopefully monthly, Gladys Taber-ish inspired. She always wrote so seasonally. I want to start the process of us documenting our new home's area. My second goal is to do this the best I can WITH my children. They journal and enter in so much more if I'm doing it with them. My third goal is just to get outside more and walk a few routes frequently so we are noticing those seasonal changes. I echo Virginia in that I'm so thankful you are doing Keeping Company. :)

    1. I knew it was you thanks to the Gladys Taber reference and your mention of documenting your new home. :) I love your goal of keeping seasonally. That isn't something I have thought much about -- probably because we don't have big seasonal changes here. But so many of the naturalists of the past did work and think seasonally and I think there is such charm in that! I do like the Edwardian Lady months spreads and think about those often.

      And getting outside more -- yes! This is something I want to do but doesn't feel possible for me right now...but I'm going to add that to my summertime list. :)

      Thanks for joining in, Amy! I always appreciate what you share.

  4. Hi Celeste, looking forward to participating again this year. Thanks for your efforts & inspiration.

    1. And thank you for your eager participation, Carol! Happy to be going through this homeschooling journey with you. :)