Monday, October 30, 2017

{This and That}

First order of business: in case you haven't heard, CM West :: Conference in Old San Juan is open for general registration!

Amber and I have a heart for developing local/regional community, and we have tried to choose speakers from this region as well.  So I want to share a little bit about the team behind this year's retreat, in case you don't know them already...

Amber, my collaborative partner and friend, will be speaking on Mother Culture, a topic she is well-versed in as the mother of teens down to tots who still finds time to read Dante and keep a Book of Centuries (among many other things!) in her free time.  Definitely my kind of gal. :)  She is the first person I go to for a considered, authentic-to-the-principles brainstorming session, and I am so grateful to have her planning this event and speaking on this topic.

Her husband Matt Vanderpol, a genuine Charlotte Mason dad and Eagle Scout, will be fleshing out Mason's thoughts on scouting and orienteering, an oft-forgotten component of the out-of-door life of the child.  He will also guide us through some hands-on activities to help us direct our own children's studies. I can personally attest to the work he has done in this area with his own kids, an area I am excited to learn more about because I know next to nothing! LOL

Jessica Severne, a mama who seems like she was born to inspire and disciple and who runs an active Charlotte Mason community a few hours north of me, will be sharing about what "Education is a Life" really means. We'll be pondering how ideas work, both through presentation and immersion. She came to our retreat last year and we have kept up communication since then.  She is a passionate and creative mom with a heart for Mason and for big ideas, so I'm anticipating her talk to just the refocus and reminder I need.

Virginia Lee Rogers, whom you may know from her guest posts on Afterthoughts, has explored Charlotte Mason's suggestions for special studies and object lessons and, perhaps more importantly, implemented with them in her family and with her nature group. She'll be sharing how she uses the Handbook of Nature Study and other resources to guide children in forming relationships with the natural world.  I met Virginia Lee for the first time at CM West in Seattle, though we have known each other online for years and are fellow team members at @charlottemasonirl.  She is flexible, friendly, and intentional. I know what she shares will bless my own knowledge in this area!

And I'll be talking about keeping this year. :)  I'm still deciding where to go with the presentation itself -- how to tackle one of the biggest impacts on my intellectual and spiritual life in one hour?  I'm thrilled, however, that we have left space in the schedule for some discussion and immersion time afterward.  So I'll be able to take a more philosophical tack during the talk and then we'll also have time for the practical bits: sampling examples from all forms and subjects, discussing how we can flex the practices to meet our own needs and those of our students, brainstorming how to overcome difficulties.  I can't wait to carve out some quiet time and start pulling all my ideas together.

We also decided on a slower pace for the conference this year based on the topics that we will be covering, allowing more time for immersion and practice.  We're aiming at a nice balance of restful and educative.

But the best part is probably meeting the other moms!  So many connections to forge and strengthen, so much shared enthusiasm and mutual encouragement.

I can hardly wait for February! And in the meantime, we're moving forward with prayerful planning.


Speaking of keeping: some of you already noticed the page I just added to the top navigation bar earlier this week: Products We Love. This was a recommendation from a reader and I'm so glad I did it -- now I have one easy place to direct people who ask what we use and why. Right now, it just highlights our keeping supplies.

(As you can see, I have a big disclaimer on there about how understanding the principles is more important than materials. It totally is. But I also know that it's nice not to have to test out every single product yourself when you are trying to equip your homeschool with supplies, as I have had to find out from a lot of trial and error. ;))


We took advantage of the hot weather this week to resume our weekly beach visits.  Lots of shorebirds at this time of year -- plovers, godwits, curlews, gulls, and more. And no one else there, which is perfect because that means my kids can run wild!


Did you listen to the Schole Sisters podcast about pre-reading, with Brandy, Mystie, and Dawn Garrett?  I loved it!  (It got me thinking about some of the reasons I pre-read -- and this is one of them. There are many more.)

I loved this post at Archipelago: Enough. I certainly have found it to be true, and I'm grateful for those that go before me that encourage me it continues to be so.


All Saints' and All Souls' Day are this week!  A few years ago I made a prayer card for our cemetery visits to pray for family and friends who have passed.  Feel free to download and print for your family or homeschool group. :)

We are getting saints' costumes ready today for trick-or-treating tomorrow, and we'll also be taking a leisure day on Wednesday for the feast -- Mass, a trip to the graveyard, some picture books about our favorite saints, and rest.  It's kind of lovely to have that promised to us in the middle of the week!


We are on break this week, so I'm staring down a to-do list a mile long as I attempt to get us positioned to start Term 2 next Monday. Hoping to pop back in here later this week with some posts that have been sitting in my drafts folder.  Until then!


  1. Wonderful as always dear Celeste!
    Love the new products tab, very handy!
    God bless,

    1. Thanks so much, Antonia! Part of the wonderful things about popping on here with a post is chatting in the comments box with all my friends. :) It is always nice to catch up!

  2. Excited for the conference!!! The beach looks amazing- isn't it special how we get to enjoy such treasures that others miss during the school year. :)

    1. Oh, and your little man is adorable!

    2. Yes, we always love it when everyone goes back to school and we get our favorite places to ourselves again. :)