Thursday, October 13, 2016

Our 2016-2017 Homeschool Booklist

When we first began homeschooling I was very concerned about finding the perfect book list.  I knew pretty early that I resonated most with Charlotte Mason's (CM) methods of education, so all that remained was to implement it.  I thought for a long time that if we weren't reading from "the perfect book list," we wouldn't be "doing" CM.

However, the perfect list of books is not out there.  (Well, maybe it is, but we can't read every book, unfortunately.)  What matters is the methods and principles:  narration, the use of living books, recognizing that children are born persons and all that comes with that, and many, many other things.  And I've also come to the conclusion that what matters especially in the first few years of a child's education, i.e. grades one through three, are the skills and habits that are being honed.
"This period of a child's life between his sixth and his ninth year should be used to lay the basis of a liberal education, and of the habit of reading for instruction.  During these years the child should enter upon the domain of knowledge, in a good many directions, in a reposeful, consecutive way, which is not to be attained through the somewhat exciting medium of oral lessons." (Charlotte Mason, Home Education, p.11)
"...the child of six has begun the serious business of his education, that it does not matter much whether he understands this word or that, but that it matters a great deal that he should learn to deal directly with books.  Whatever a child or grown-up person can tell, that we may be sure he knows, and what he cannot tell, he does not know."  (Charlotte Mason, Towards a Philosophy of Education, p.172,173) 
So, in the early years we are to provide the child a feast of books on a wide variety of subjects in a gentle manner.  The term 'gentle' I don't think means that the schooling is necessarily easy, but instead should be non-stressful for the child; we shouldn't be cramming information down his throat, demanding that he learn this or that by this time or that time.  The process of learning from a variety of whole, living books should be a delightful experience.

And let me say that I was so relieved - and that it brought to me a sense of rest - to read CM's words about how it doesn't matter in these early years whether the child understands everything that's read.  What matters is that "he should learn to deal directly with books."  I'm understanding this more and more as I educate my firstborn, that right now it's about my child learning to attend, learning that knowledge comes from books, that narration is the act of knowing, that I (the teacher) am not to interfere with the child's dealing with the book - I am not to spoon-feed the child.  As a result, it's not as important that the child read this book, or that book, as it is that he is learning how to learn and how to think.

So!  Here are the books that our family has chosen for this school year.  My oldest, who is seven, is a second-grader and the only one who is formally schooled right now.  Our second, the five-year old, joins in most of the time.  The one-year old roams around and makes messes and demands attention, which we are only too happy to give :)

*This list of books are the books from which Izzy narrates.  We also read Bible stories and poetry everyday, as well as other free reads and picture books.


I'm going to keep a "live" list of history books that we're reading as the year goes on, so I'll be updating as we add new books.  This year we're beginning at the beginning of American History.  Here's what we've read so far:

Leif the Lucky by D'Aulaire
Columbus by D'Aulaire
A Child's History of the World by Hillyer (I'm picking and choosing chapters to correlate with our study.  So far we've read about other explorers after Columbus.)

Natural History

Among the Pond People by Clara Dillingham Pierson
Wild Animals of Africa

This year I asked Izzy (7) what she was interested in learning about as far as natural history goes, and she said "ponds".  So, we're reading from Among the Pond People.  We'll probably finish this before the year's end, in that case we'll pick another book.  We're also reading Wild Animals of Africa, something a little different that I haven't seen on any book lists.  I noticed that a book about zoo animals was incorporated in the PNEU curriculum, so I thought this one about African animals would be fun and interesting.


Seabird by Holling

This is all we're doing so far.  I'm saving Mason's Elementary Geography and Long's Home Geography for next year so that I can combine my two older girls. 


Little Pilgrim's Progress by Taylor
My Book House series

As far as the My Book House series (which my awesome mother so generously bought for us!!), I'm choosing stories from the first six books for Izzy to narrate (except from the first one, as that's just nursery rhymes).

And there you have it!



Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A day in the life

This is a day-in-the-life of our homeschool.  This is just one day – not every day looks like this, of course.  The beauty of life.  Izzy (7) is a second grader, Addy (5) is technically a kindergartner, and Paige is almost one!

I eat breakfast before the girls this morning.  I’m trying to make this a habit:  get up around 6:30 when Jared’s alarm goes off, dress, brush teeth, wash face, get coffee, get Paige and nurse her because this is when she’s been getting up lately, put her back down because she’s still sleepy, read a little, eat breakfast and read a little more, wake the big girls up around 7:45 if they’re not up already (they haven’t been).

The big girls sit down to breakfast around ten after 8:00, after they change clothes and make beds, and we pray before they eat.  We talk, then I read from The Jesus Storybook Bible.  Today’s story is about the Pharisees praying out loud for everyone to hear, and showing off, when really they are hollow inside.  Then Jesus teaches the people how to pray, i.e. The Lord’s Prayer.  Which is good because we memorized that last school year and needed to review it.  We then discussed the “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” part and talked a little about our need for forgiveness every day.  And how no one is perfect and we mess up a lot.  And Izzy said, “Like Pinocchio!” 

I then read Psalm 150 twice which we are currently memorizing.

I read a poem by Walter De La Mare, our term’s poet.

The girls were done eating so we cleared the table, they got coloring books and I read for 10 minutes or so of “King Lear” from Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare.  We can never read huge chunks of this – I read a couple of paragraphs then we rolled the dice to see who would narrate.  I was evens, Izzy odds.  We rolled an even the first two times, so after the third reading I told Izzy it was her turn.  Incidentally, the beginning of “King Lear” introduces the king’s two older daughters as shallow and hollow people, but unfortunately neither of the girls made that connection with our Bible story.  I guess I could have asked the question, “How does this compare with what we read earlier about the Pharisees?” but I just now thought of that.  Poo.

At some point Paige woke up so I brought her into the kitchen and she had her breakfast and hung out with us in her high chair.

I pulled up our current hymn on youtube, “Come Thou Fount” (which I loooooove), and we listened/sang/danced to it.  The big girls put their coloring books away and got out materials for writing.  Izzy did copywork from the story “The Minotaur” from Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne: “He put his whole brave heart into the effort.”  She completed, as neatly as possible, the first three words, which took about 10 minutes.  Of course, she had to redo a few letters.  Addy wanted me to write “cute bunny” for her to trace.  Then she wanted me to add “lives by our house.”  (We found some baby bunnies close to our house the other day.)

Addy then left to go brush her teeth and hair and feed the dogs while Izzy and I did math.  I am really liking Frank Hall’s Arithmetic Primer so far.  Apparently so is Izzy.  When I asked her at lunch today what she had enjoyed about her day so far, she mentioned math as one of the things.  (Or maybe she’s like her mommy in that regard :) )

We finished math and Addy finally finished feeding the dogs after yelling at the squirrels I don’t know how many times for eating from the bird feeders.  I threw dinner in the crock pot (French dip sandwiches – yum!), Addy helped, Izzy brushed her teeth and hair (not really her hair, she likes to pretend she tries to brush it).  Paige is down from her high chair and crawling who knows where. :)

I cut up a cantaloupe and we take the rinds outside, a few lots down, to the aforesaid baby bunnies.  There are three of them in a hole in the middle of a vacant lot.  Izzy and I went to the store the other night and on the way home I spotted a rabbit in that lot.  When we pulled into the driveway, Izzy got out and walked over towards the rabbit, very slowly, and spotted the babies.  She ran back, we got Addy, they put on rain boots (because it was a little rainy) and we all trekked back over.  The mama had hopped off a little ways but kept her eye on us.

The girls drop the cantaloupe rinds all over and stare at the bunnies and Addy says over and over again that she wants to hold one and we watch a butterfly land on the stroller and then on Paige’s head twice.  (Of course my camera wouldn’t focus for that picture.)

The hole is to the right of the big piece of cantaloupe rind.

Paige is curious.

Back at the house, I have Addy pick a book (she picks a Curious George story) and we three sit on the couch and read.  Paige plays in the floor.  I then read a few pages of “The Minotaur” from Tanglewood Tales to Izzy and she narrates.  Addy leaves to go play with the globe.  Halfway through my reading to Izzy, Paige gets fussy so I nurse her and finish reading.  We then move back to the table because Addy wants to paint.  Izzy and I do a reading lesson, with regular commentary from Addy (she’s good at creating sentences with the words Izzy is learning to read).  Izzy doesn’t end up actually reading any sentences today because all we manage to do is learn about eight new words in our allotted time (15-20 minutes).  I don’t want to go too long and risk Izzy becoming bored.  Short lessons = eagerness to learn (hopefully).  So far so good.

We’re I’m hungry by now (it’s around 11:15 or so), so we break to fix lunch and the girls play.  I eat and start laundry and try to clean up the kitchen some.  The girls sit down around noon to eat.  I alternate cutting up small pieces of cantaloupe and smashing them for Paige (as she only has a limited amount of teeth to work with) and reading The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  Due to Paige shoveling down her food and my effort to keep up, general conversation, and Paige’s loud cries of commentary, i.e. baby shouts, we only manage to get through half of a chapter. 

We clean up the kitchen, I mess with the laundry, and make Izzy and Addy go outside in the back yard.  They have been resistant to this idea all summer because it’s been so hot.  But the weather is cool this week – low to mid 80s, and they need it.  I nurse Paige, she goes to sleep, I read a little and pick up a little.

The big girls keep wanting to come in but I tell them a few more minutes.  “But you already said that.”  I know.  But because of my insistence that you stay out, you end up constructing an apparatus to transport toys back and forth to each other with a bucket.  See?  It’s good for you. 

I finally let them come in around 2:00 and they play for 15 more minutes before we have our daily rest/quiet time.  Izzy gets some books to look at, I get a book (the first book in the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy), and Addy has to go lay down with nothing, poor thing.  It would do her good to nap and I’m trying my best to convince her of this, but she isn’t buying.  Izzy lays on my bed and I read a Curious George story to her because “Addy got to pick one this morning and I didn’t.”  Then I lay on the couch and Addy gets up to tell me something every ten minutes.  Addy finally lays on her bed without getting up for about 15 minutes before Paige is up, and then we’re all up.

It’s time to check on the bunnies again.  While we’re watching the bunnies I think of a podcast I listened to last week about how observation skills need to be taught and wonder cultivated.  So I ask the girls if they have any questions about the bunnies.  Is there anything they’re wondering about?  Addy has lots of questions, but Izzy not as much.  Maybe it’s her age – I have to really coax her to slow down and think a minute.  Or it could be her personality – she’s an on-the-go person.  She finally comes up with “Do they ever come out of their hole?”  Good question.  I wonder why the mommy didn’t put them in a hole under the big tree 10 feet away with overgrown bushes all around it, and “Do the babies rotate positions in the hole?  Because one has his bottom facing the opening and I bet it wants to switch places eventually.”  Addy comes up with “Why do they have a white spot on their foreheads?” and “How long are their legs?” and “When will the mama come back?” and “Where is the mama?” and “Can they hop?” and “When were they born?” which leads to “I wonder how the babies come out of their mommy’s belly?”  She’s still asking these questions as we walk back to the house, and saying over and over again how she’s soooo glad and thankful we have bunnies to watch over.  And then she concludes that maybe the mommy will let us have one of the bunnies, or two of them, or maybe all three because she’ll just have more anyway.  I laugh the whole time.

When we get back to the house we park in the shade and eat popsicles.  Paige also tries to eat a marigold.

I write down our bunny questions so we don’t forget and the girls play outside a little before we go back in.  And, Paige stands up on her feet for the first time ever!

That’s pretty much our day.  The rest of it is normal hanging out and playing and doing some chores and dancing to folk songs and getting dinner ready and Daddy coming home and eating dinner and checking on the bunnies one more time and getting ready for bed.  Oh, and I just want to be clear that there was some fussing and some “That’s not how we treat other” talks and some “Obedience means do it right now with a good attitude” sermons as well.

Ahhh, I’m pooped.  But in a good way.  And so very thankful to be able to spend this time nurturing, discipling, teaching, and learning with these precious kiddos.  And thankful for God’s grace EVERYDAY.  He knows I need it.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

What we've been up to

My blog has taken a back seat lately.  I've been capturing lots of memories, but just haven't had time to sit down and share them!  (And our wifi is terrible - it kicks me off all the time and, as a result, it takes FOREVER to upload pictures and try to write something on here.  I usually just give up.)  

Let's see...

I've felt stressed lately about getting All The Stuff done.  I emailed an online friend and she was SO encouraging.  She reminded me that all will be well if I cut back for awhile.  I am in a season - with a baby and young children - and I don't need to try to do everything I think we should be doing.  Plus, we all know that education is an atmosphere, and if I try to cram in more than is necessary at this time, causing unnecessary anxiety to myself (and taking it out on everyone around me), what will my children really be learning from me?  Nothing worthwhile.

So, we're focusing on getting the basics done before lunch - math, reading instruction, at least one AO reading, copywork at least 3 days per week - plowing through so that we're free the rest of the day, with plenty of outside time and play time and time to enjoy this sweet, little stinker :)

A few weeks ago, on a day in which we got nothing done and I was feeling discouraged, Izzy came out of her room at one point during the day with a book she had written!  She had been working on it most of the day, here and there, sounding out words (many of them misspelled and all of the letters 's' are backwards :) ), illustrating it, and taping it all together.  It's about her favorite animal - a lion.  

They're laughing at their favorite part in the book - when Addy faints because she sees the lion.

She created.  She thought.  She put forth effort.  And then proceeded to read it about 120 times in a row, lol.  She was so proud.  So, I would say it wasn't a wasted day.  

We finally took Izzy's training wheels off of her bike.  She hasn't ridden it much lately, so we hadn't really thought about it.  But over the weekend I asked her if she wanted us to take them off and she said yes.  Jared was the nervous one this time, not me!, but we convinced him, and she did it on the first try!  She was definitely ready. 

This little booger is getting so big - almost 7 months!  She's not crawling yet, just pushing up with her arms, strengthening those baby muscles :)  She's so fun and sweet, such a happy baby.  <3 Baby love <3

We've been enjoying the beautiful spring weather, as I'm sure you all are as well.  We've gone on lots of nature walks and identified different plants and things, but the nature journaling hasn't been very consistent around here.  Anyone else need encouragement in this area?  

Playing Pooh-sticks.

Trying to catch tadpoles.

See all the periwinkles?

There's a neat bird sanctuary close to where we live with tons of bird - peacocks, guinea fowls, turkeys, and much more.

I don't think I ever realized how ugly the heads of turkeys are.

And other random photos...

This girl and her cat.
What have you been up to?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Back to the Classics - Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852)

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe was published in 1852.  Stowe was an abolitionist and wrote this novel as an attempt to educate her fellow citizens of the atrocities of slavery.  Here's a quote taken from the end of the novel:
"For many years of life, the author avoided all reading upon or allusion to the subject of slavery, considering it as too painful to be inquired into, and one which advancing light and civilization would certainly live down.  But, since the legislative act of 1850, when she heard, with perfect surprise and consternation, Christian and humane people actually recommending the remanding escaped fugitives into slavery, as a duty binding on good citizens, - when she heard, on all hands, from kind, compassionate and estimable people, in the free states of the North, deliberations and discussions as to what Christian duty could be on this head, - she could only think, These men and Christians cannot know what slavery is; if they did, such a question could never be open for discussion.  And from this arose a desire to exhibit it in a living dramatic reality.  She has endeavored to show it fairly, in its best and its worst phases.  In its best aspect, she has, perhaps, been successful; but, oh! who shall say what yet remains untold in that valley and shadow of death, that lies on the other side?"

According to this website, Uncle Tom's Cabin was banned at one point because "the contextual, historically and culturally accurate depiction of the treatment of Black slaves in the United States has rankled would-be censors".

This story was very moving.  It's kind of difficult to describe my feelings about it - it wasn't a hard read necessarily, but it wasn't an easy one, either.  There were times when I didn't want to pick it up because I wanted something lighter, but when I did pick it up, I quickly became engrossed in the story again.  There were tough things to read about (nothing gruesome, though, thankfully), especially knowing that events like these really did happen.

I know some may shy away from a book about this particular topic, but I'm glad I read it and highly recommend it, especially to Christians.  Stowe was obviously a Christian - the main character is a believer and the book is full of scriptural references.  It was chocked full of faith and trust in God.  And even though the topic of the book covers a difficult subject, it was also a very uplifting read.  I read it on my kindle and highlighted quite a bit.

Highly recommend.
5/5 stars

Linked up with the Back to the Classics Challenge

Friday, March 11, 2016

Back to the Classics: Persuasion (1817)

*Disclaimer - I'm not planning to give a synopsis of any of the books I review.  I don't like to read them in others' reviews because I can always find out what the book is about.  I do, however, enjoy reading why someone liked a book and what that person may have gotten out of it.  So, that is what I plan to do.

Persuasion (1817) by Jane Austen was a delight to read.  She is such a charming and insightful author.  The only other Austen I've read is Pride and Prejudice, but that was years ago so I can't really compare the two.  Although now I know that I'll definitely be reading more of her works!  (And I'm wondering why I haven't read more of her before now...)

The idea of persuasion and influence, and the consequences - good or bad - that can result from being influenced by others (or by influencing others), is the overarching theme of Persuasion.
"Anne wondered whether it ever occurred to him now, to question the justness of his own previous opinion as to the universal felicity and advantage of firmness of character; and whether it might not strike him that, like all other qualities of the mind, it should have its proportions and limits.  She thought it could scarcely escape him to feel that a persuadable temper might sometimes be as much in favour of happiness as a very resolute character."
Austen also wittingly describes the egocentric nature of humanity through the characters of Anne's family, especially her extremely vain and conceited father, and her absurdly self-absorbed sister, Mary.  Reading about them was almost laugh-out-loud funny, but at the same time brought to the surface my own selfish tendencies and attitudes and how ridiculous I can be at times.  :/

Austen writes so beautifully - this was the first "classic" I have read in a long time and I had to go slower than normal and look up so many words, lol!  But definitely worth the time (for me, especially, as I'm not a speed reader - I like to take it all in) and I know my mental muscles have grown :)

5/5 stars

What have you read lately?

Linked up with Back to the Classics Challenge

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Rethinking our Charlotte Mason year - my schedule

Today I’m going to share with you my homeschool schedule.  This schedule reflects a general flow to our days rather than a we-do-this-at-this-time kind of schedule.  Also, at this point I have only one student - an almost 7 year old first grader.

I based this schedule off of the PNEU time tables.  I mainly looked at what was scheduled in the morning for form I students and for how long.  My schedule is tweaked, of course.  If you haven’t explored Nicole’s posts on scheduling, I encourage you to do so.

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Morning Time
Memory Work
Memory Work
Folk Song
Memory Work
Memory Work
Folk Song
Picture Study
Individual Lessons
Nature Journal
Great Americans
50 Stories
Just So
Blue Fairy/
Reading Instruction
Reading Instruction
Reading Instruction
Reading Instruction
Reading Instruction
Nat History
Pond & River
Nat History
Burgess Bird
Object Lesson



Nat History


Spanish Song

My grid tells me three things (as I outlined in my previous post).

1.  What to do – I have each subject plugged into a specific slot, along with a particular book for that subject, if needed.  So each week we will just get through what we can for that reading and continue where we left off the next week.  If we cannot read and narrate a whole chapter of Just So Stories, for example, no big deal, we'll just continue the next week.  Pressure off!  The books are in red type and are mostly taken from Ambleside’s year one list.  (I have made a change or two here and there.)

2.  How long to do each thing – The column on the far left has the suggested amount of time to complete each subject.  Again, I’ve made some tweaks here and there to best fit my child.  For example, on the time-tables copywork (or writing) was done for 20 minutes, but I’ve shaved that down to about 10 minutes.  We may take a little longer than the suggested amount of time for a particular subject, but never more than 20 minutes.

3.  What comes next – The grid shows the flow of subjects, i.e. what to do next.  I've tried to order the subjects so that there's some variety, and my child isn't doing the same type of work back-to-back, like two narrations in a row.

Also, it’s interesting to me how the PNEU schedules had drawing and handicrafts actually scheduled in the morning, rather than in the afternoon (which is where I would have a tendency to place subjects that fall under the category of "we’ll-get-to-them-if-we-can").  I think that shows the value placed upon those subjects.  (It makes me think of The Little Prince and how he lamented the fact that he was not taught to draw when he was a child.  Actually, lots to think about in that book in regards to childhood and what's most important in life.)

So that's a little bit of an overview.  I'll talk more about some details - books, morning time - of this schedule soon!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Rethinking our Charlotte Mason year

I emailed an online friend awhile ago and we chatted a bit about our homeschools and the feeling of being a *little* overwhelmed J  And I made the following comment to her:  we haven’t been narrating everything under the sun.

Now, before you throw anything at me, let me say that I understand and completely agree with Charlotte Mason’s method of narration.  I realized later that the reason I said that we haven’t been narrating everything in our curriculum is because we’re behind. 

I felt that I needed a picture somewhere in this post :)
 Then I got to thinking, why are we behind?  I read to my dd6 every day, at least twice a day (which is supposed to be the norm for year one), from our school books and she narrates.  The process lasts 15 to 20 minutes, which is the recommended amount of time for such a young child to spend on any one subject.  So why aren’t we getting through all the readings for the week?

Because my child can’t.  And that’s okay.  

Beauty and the Beast is a long fairy tale for a 6 year old to narrate.  So is Aladdin.  And the Tales from Shakespeare stories.  And the stories from Parables from Nature.  At least they’re long for my child to narrate.  We have to read and narrate a paragraph or two at a time (depending on how long the paragraph is, of course).  And again, that’s okay.

I love what Nicole says on her blog:  you have to fit the schedule/curriculum to the child, not the child to the curriculum.  It’s about the child.  I think CM was definitely about the child, and more concerned about an appropriate amount of time spent on a certain subject (depending on the age of the child), rather than getting through a certain number of pages.  Because if it’s about the latter, it’s not really about the child anymore.

And besides, we all know that our children are not going to be able to read every wonderful book in the world, and are not going to learn everything there is to learn in the world.  There will be gaps somewhere.  No one is complete in their education.  If they were, they would be on the same plane as God, and that’s impossible (and we shouldn’t strive for that anyways!).  We ultimately want our children to fall in love with learning, to pursue a relationship with God, and to pursue truth, goodness, and beauty.  How each child gets there will be different.

So, gleaning lots of wisdom from Christy Hissong in her two great posts (scheduling for peace and scheduling for peace revisited), and from Nicole, I’ve decided to cut back – not necessarily on the books, but on our schedule.  I’m going to take the AO year one books and stick them into our daily schedule, and not worry about if we finish what the AO schedule says we’re supposed to finish for that week.  We’re going to spend the suggested amount of time for each reading, getting through what we can, and the next week continue where we left off.

I think having a schedule is important, but what I do not mean when I say schedule is a schedule with times of the day.  For example, at 9:00 we do this and at 9:20 we do this, and so on and so forth.

By schedule I mean three things:
1.  Knowing what to do
2.  Knowing for how long to do each thing
3.  Knowing when to do each thing, i.e. what comes next

The times of day that each thing happens really depends on each family and how they can get each thing accomplished.  For me in particular, at this season of my life we usually cannot sit down at some time in the morning, before lunch, and accomplish everything in one sitting.  Things spill over into the afternoon on most days and that’s okay.  (Which, on a side note, I kind of like because I think it shows my children that learning is a part of our life and happens at any time, not just at a certain time of day.)

I’ll be back in a day or two to share our particular family’s schedule, so stay tuned!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Some wisdom from Anne Shirley

Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables, #1)

I’m currently reading Anne of Green Gables, and goodness!, why haven’t I read this book sooner?  Although sometimes I think a book can’t really speak to us until we’re ready for it, whenever that may be. 

 Anyway, I am loving Anne – this eleven-year old passionate, full-of-life-and-wisdom, little girl.

Early in the story the Cuthberts are trying to decide whether to adopt her or not (they were wanting to adopt a boy originally).  Here’s a snippet of their conversation:

“What good would she be to us?”
“We might be some good to her,” said Matthew suddenly and unexpectedly.

Our children are not our slaves.  Their purpose is not to serve us.  We are to serve them, through love and discipleship, through discipline and teaching.  Who knows what God has in store for them?  And He has given us the great privilege of being some good to them.

The rest of these are Anne quotes:

“I’m not in the depths of despair this morning.  I never can be in the morning.  Isn’t it a splendid thing that there are mornings?”  

Totally agree, Anne.  Joy comes in the morning.  Darkness, winter, night – I think those are all things to be thankful for because when the morning does come, it gives us perspective.  We understand that it won’t always be dark, it won’t always be winter.  There is hope.  God won’t always feel far away, we will find Him again.

“It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.  Of course, you must make it up firmly.”  

Ahhh, yes.  A good reminder - everything begins with our mindset.  Something that I need to be reminded of often.  (Ahem.)

“There is nothing more to do except to pray and I haven’t much hope that that’ll do much good because, Marilla, I do not believe that God Himself can do very much with such an obstinate person as Mrs. Barry.”

Haha!  This makes me laugh.  But it’s also a sober reminder that God has given us a choice to listen to Him or not.  Just like with our own children – we teach and disciple, but they ultimately have to make the decision to be humble and teachable.

“Saying your prayers isn’t the same thing as praying.”  (I can’t find the exact quote in my book so it may not be exact.)


I could keep going, but that’ll do for now.

I’m about halfway through this book, and it’s quickly becoming an all-time favorite.

What have you been reading lately?

Monday, February 1, 2016

January books

I have a goal to read more this year.  Not because I want to say, "Hey, look at how many books I read!" but because I love to read and I'm a homeschooling mom educating her children with real, living books so, um, I should probably educate myself along the way as well.  My reading has been abysmal the last several years and I'm finally ready to remedy that.

Anyways, all that to say that I want to keep track of the books I finish each month, as well as our family read-alouds, as a sort of accountability piece and to just keep track of books.  (And now that I've said that I probably won't post another book post again, because that's what I do when I commit to some blogging thing.  We shall see.)

So here are the books that I finished in January (I finished five, which is like a record for me.  What else am I to do when I nurse a baby several hours each day?)


Persuasion by Jane Austen (own)
This was the first book I read for the back to the classics challenge and I'll have a review posted soon.  I'm probably one of the only people who have never read Persuasion before now (Remember what I said about my abysmal reading?  Okay, I lied.  My reading has been abysmal for probably forever.).

Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (kindle)
This is the second book I read for the classics challenge and, again, I'll have a review soon.

Gathering Blue (The Giver, #2)

Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry (library kindle)
This is the second book in The Giver Quartet.  I read The Giver last year and really liked it so I was looking forward to this one.  I was a little disappointed.  It didn't get that interesting until well over halfway and then it just kind of ended.  That being said, it's a quartet, and I'm looking forward to reading the other two books to see how it all fits together.

The Space Trilogy

Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis (own)
I had been wanting to read Lewis' Space Trilogy for awhile and finally got it for Christmas.  It is worthy of its reputation so far (I'm halfway through the second book, Perelandra).  Engaging and, as all Lewis is, makes you think.

A Wrinkle in Time (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet, #1)

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (library)
For the first half of the book or so I didn't get what all the fuss was about.  But then toward the end when it all came together, it hit me, and I was very moved.  I think part of its having such an impact on me was because when I read this, I was a little down and I related well to the main character, Meg.  Great book.

Lightfoot the Deer

Family read-aloud:  The Adventures of Lightfoot the Deer by Thornton Burgess (own)
This is the second of Burgess' The Adventures of ... books that we've read.  We love these.  I found a bunch of these at a yard sale last summer, score!  They are such good and wholesome nature stories, teaching about animals and character at the same time.

What did you read?  Anything good?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

An update! Finally!

Well it sure has been awhile!  We've been quite busy around here the last several weeks/months, and I'm sure most of you have been as well.  I felt it was time to share some pictures and give a little update as to what's been going on with us.

I've been wanting to blog, but my hands just haven't been free to type lately.  Man, is nursing demanding!  I spend most of my time reading while I'm nursing Paige; trying to type on the computer is too difficult.  She is four months old now (four months!!) and I gave up nursing long before this point with Izzy and Addy (unfortunately).  I've decided that I just wasn't informed of the time required and demanding nature of nursing the first two go-arounds.  Although, I guess that's just an excuse.

I've had conversations with other moms about how nursing is supposed to be the most natural thing between a mother and her baby, but it sure doesn't feel like it's natural.  It feels like work sometimes, especially in the beginning.  But, that's the way God intended it, isn't it?  It's a gift He's given us, this time spent with our precious babies.  I must stop many, many times throughout the day (and sometimes at night) - stop whatever task that's taking up my time - and spend it with my child.  I must stop what I'm doing and hold her close, gaze into her face, feel her soft skin against mine, breathe her in.  These beautiful moments with her snuggled up against me so much throughout the day will only last so long.

Oh, there's just something about a baby!  Jared and I have commented to each other that it seems as if we are just enjoying Paige more than we did Izzy and Addy (again, unfortunately).  I don't know if it's because we could have lost her, or because we're a little older now and a *little* more laid back (him more than me on that last point).  I think it's a little of both.  And maybe because at this point we aren't planning to have any more kiddos, so that's probably a factor, too.  (Although, you never know...)

I had to throw in this pic because Izzy is such a goob.
Speaking of Izzy being a goob, I accidentally signed up for Amazon prime (actually I forgot to cancel the one month trial) which allows you to borrow one free kindle book each month.  The pickins' are quite slim.  I did manage to find a book called The Child Whisperer, though.  It's basically about learning your child's inner nature and how to respond and nurture that nature in raising him/her.  Izzy is hands-down type 1 - fun-loving, playful, happy, social.  Addy is a little harder to figure out.  I'm thinking maybe she's type 2 - sensitive, emotional, relaxed, tender (someone is going to say yeah right to the last two, but that's probably because we haven't been encouraging her to live true to her nature).  It's all very interesting.

Paige, well she's a baby and I'm just not sure yet.  She seems like a type 1 - she loves to be talked to - she gives the biggest smiles all the time and is so happy.  She does not like to be left alone!

I just love this picture.  So, so sweet.

What else?  How about some random photos from the past month or so?  

Christmas at the square.  No Paigey-pie (that's her baby nickname) - she was at home with Nana and Papaw.

Christmas day.

Izzy and her new pogo stick.  She's pretty good! 

Izzy's teeth are beginning to fall out.  She's lost three so far and is about to lose a fourth.

No tea time is complete without covering yourself with stickers.  And my sweet mother-in-law got me my new favorite thing - a book holder!  Love it.

Oh yeah!  Paige has started rolling over!  (That's light from the window on her face.)

Paige in her big girl chair!  We haven't given her any cereal or anything yet; she just hangs out with us and gets mad after about ten minutes.  Luckily Jared eats fast.  This doesn't happen too often because she's usually hungry when we are.

Remember what I said about Izzy being type 1?

Hmmmmm, I don't think they love their baby sister or anything.

Until next time!