Saturday, February 24, 2018

Our Weekly Amble for February 19-23, 2018

This past week was Break Week at the Garrett Academy. We worked hard for six weeks and were ready for something different. I kept telling my kids that Break Week does not equal vacation, and it doesn't. Break week is still work - it's just different work ... and this week proved it. There's a proverb that says a change is as good as a rest (i.e. A change of work or occupation can be as restorative or refreshing as a period of relaxation), but in this case I think the change of work makes us ready to go back to our regular work.

Monday was a slightly quieter day for the children. I purposely planned the first two days to be work days, but primarily work I need to do. I needed to order AmblesideOnline Year 7 books and think about the differences between Lite and regular Year 7 because I am thinking about how to differentiate for R-girl. I don't think she can keep up with a full Year 7 pace. I think she can read the books, but maybe not quite so many of them. I figure anything I drop from her now could be added back when she's in Y12, though, because she'll "finish" with N-boy - so I may need something. Anyway, I did the ordering, but I have the next 6 weeks to plan and organize.

The kids still had all of their outside classes to continue, so there were piano lessons and choir to attend to.

Tuesday was supposed to be office filing and online work day. I did some of the online work, but the filing went by the wayside ... it was absolutely, gloriously beautiful here in central Ohio and we took advantage of opening the windows and going to the park with friends.

Organ ended up being canceled, so we enjoyed the quiet day.

During all that free time on Monday and Tuesday, I was trying to pay attention to how my kids were spending their time. Mystie Winckler says apart of break week is about assessing how affections are being ordered. So, while I was tapping on my laptop, I was watching things like - Bible reading first thing, domino builds, reading (lots and lots of reading), playing with scratch programming online, writing stories, riding bicycles, joining my Pilates challenge, playing piano and/or organ music on the piano, and some voluntary moving books around to improve spaces. R-girl got her final Doodle Crate from her Christmas subscription, so she worked on that. I was really pleased with what I saw.

Doodle Crate

Scratch Programming on the new family laptop

Nice enough to read outside!


1000 Dominoes! It was my Dad's birthday, so my kids sent him this video.
Wednesday is our regular cleaning day and day out. The morning cleaning was not what I expected so we had to do some when we got home. There were hurt feelings and some tough words until attitudes improved and the work was accomplished. I've been trying to establish that cleaning time as it is a personal (and therefore family) weakness. Opportunities to repent and work together. The work didnt' take very long once we all chipped in and they still ended up with some free time prior to their evening classes - parkour for the younger kids and soccer conditioning for the oldest.

Thursday was baking day. Perhaps you recall my breakfast and lunch plan where I assigned a certain food for each day of the week?

It was a rousing success. That made the main food pain point "Second Breakfast." On Thursday I planned Baking Day where we would take care of that ... and we made so much food to freeze

We made Sausage Balls (replacing the Bisquick with Almond Flour - and I like them better), Lemon Coconut Energy Balls (I also add zest of one lemon), Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Bites (which R-girl made, having put them into her Enquire Within journal during a Keeping Hour)

We also made some quick breads - Cranberry Chocolate Chip Bread (a new recipe! mine is pretty crumbly but I might've used regular chocolate chips and more than the recipe called for ;) It still tastes yummy!)

And two old friends:

Banana Bread

Sift 3C flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 12/ tsp salt. In separate bowl, cream 3/4 C butter and 1-1/2 C sugar. Add 2 eggs and 2 over-ripe bananas. To the creamed butter, sugar, banana alternate adding sifted flour and 2/3 C milk. (you can add nuts or chocolate chips or whatever, I usually don't) Bake in 2 greased loaf pans at 350* 45-50 minutes

Pumpkin Bread

Cream 2/3 C Butter with 2-2/3 C sugar. Add 4 eggs. Add 16 oz pumpkin (1 can) and 2/3 C of water. Sift 3-1/3 C flour, 2 tsp baking soda, 1-1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground cloves (or to taste) ... you can add 2/3 C coarsely chopped nuts or 2/3 C raisins or 1 C chocolate chips (I did white chocolate chips recently) Bake in 2 greased loaf pans at 350* for 1hr 10 mins.

Finally, I made a batch of my "Big Batch Chex Mix" I make it in one of those roaster ovens which is great because I don't spill Chex all over my oven.

Big Batch Chex Mix

Mix 12 oz box of Corn Chex, 12 oz box of Rice Chex, 14 oz box of Wheat Chex, 4 C cheerios, 4 C pretzel sticks, 4 C mixed nuts in a great big huge bowl (or the roaster oven itself. On stove, melt 3 sticks of butter with 8 T Worcestershire Sauce, 2 Tblsp Lawry's Season Salt, 3 tsp  garlic powder, 1.5 t onion powder. Pour over and mix well. Roast at 350* for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool and put in wide mouth Mason Jars for storage. Makes about 8-1/2 jars.

Thus ends my career as a food blogger :)

We went out to dinner Thursday night (and, in full disclosure, I made the cranberry bread Friday morning)

Friday was clean out the basement day. We have a children's half a family quarter, affectionately called the library, and a grown-up quarter. All portions needed significant attention. Much of the portions I worked on included throwing things away and organizing. We have boxes that we moved from our old home (almost 14 years ago) and my office. We have boxes of things we inherited (so many pictures from my mom) and things I'd like to keep, but don't necessarily need to access.

I also have a copious amount of craft stuff because while I don't have a hobby, per se, I do like to dabble from time to time (usually around Christmas).  My stuff was a big jumble with no organization. I got a good start on clearing that up.

The kids half was more of a struggle, although they did find pieces for and put together a lot of games. I'm leaving much of that mess to them ... we'll see if they can get it organized and cleaned up. They did put some baby and toddler toys out of their area into the crawl space but it was harder than it needed to be.

Today, M-girl and N-boy are at workshops for the local Organ Guild. The music is amazing to sit here and write and work to :) Choirs and organs. Wonderful.

Now, I'm ready to preread for the school term that starts Monday. I think we're all ready to get back to our regular work after this busy week.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Wednesdays with Words: "all in" all the time?

I've been reading Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung for a year now - mostly because I have been both  crazy busy and avoidant. It's not a long book; quite short in fact, but strongly convicting.

On Sunday, I decided that I needed a sabbath from the internet. The desire to be on Facebook or scrolling Instagram is becoming compulsive; and that gives me access to the work I do for Pam Barnhill, too, which becomes tempting to "just check real quick." So I decided to turn my phone to Airplane mode for the day and be present with family and congregants.

That meant that when I got home Sunday evening, I had to find something else to do - and I picked up Crazy Busy. Coincidentally (Ha! or not), I was on the chapter "Rhythm and Blues" which is about rest and sabbath rest.

We may think that more work is the answer to our decreasing drive and goldfish-like attention span, but rest is often the antidote we really need. Sometimes the best preparation is a wandering, soul-enriching procrastination. Take a nap, throw the Frisbee, sing a song, and then write the paper. The land won't produce a harvest if it never lies fallow. We can't be "all in" all the time. Just think of the Israelite calendar. It had times for feasting and times for fasting. It was for their piety, and their productivity that God put them on a predictable pattern filled with daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal, annual, and multi-year rhythms. (pg 94, emphasis his)
 I need Sundays with less connectivity. What do you need rest from?

Which leads to my announcement. It seems Wednesdays with Words as a blog linkup has run its course. I may still write posts here that fit into the format from time to time, but I'm going to move to Instagram full time. Won't you join me with a book photo, page photo, or graphic of the quote for the week? I'll be using the #WednesdaysWithWords hashtag and invite you to do the same.

Thank you for your participation over the last couple of years; I have enjoyed reading along with you.

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Simple Woman's Daybook for February 19, 2018

For Today...

Looking out my window ... the rain is falling hard. We've had some lightning and thunder. The neighbors have a moving truck as they pack to move to Texas.

I am thinking ... it would be a miserable day to move.

I am thankful ... that it's break week and we have a quiet morning.

One of my favorite things ... is a schedule for a rest. I've been reading Kevin DeYoung's Crazy Busy off and on for a while and last night I read his chapter on Sabbath and rest and it was a great reminder of why we take this time. That and the dominos currently overtaking my foyer.

I am wearing ... still in pajamas, but I need to go change to exercise gear because today's the first day of The Balanced Life 10 Day challenge.

I am creating ... AmblesideOnline Year 7 plans. Or that's today's plan :)

I am reading ... Persuasion again. Wonderful.

I am hoping ... to get a lot done this week. My schedule might be overfilled.

I am learning ... what my children choose for their free time. One of the purposes of break week is to assess the affections being built in all of us.

In my kitchen ... oatmeal with trail mix. Happy breakfast.

In the school room ... cleanup and break week. The kids have already done some Scratch programming this morning.

Post Script ... it's time for another Homeschool Consistency Boot Camp Challenge. If you struggle with this area, Pam and I would love to help you out.

Shared Quote ... I read Psalm 36 in my devotions this morning and it always stands out:

Your steadfast loveO LORDextends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the montains of God;
your judgments are like the great deep;
man and beast you saveO LORD.

A moment from my day ... N-boy made French Toast on Saturday.

Linking up with The Simple Woman.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Our Weekly Amble for February 12-16, 2018

The first six weeks of the 2018 Academic Year are done!

It feels really good to have a solid term under our belts. Even with sickness, we've stayed caught up with much of our work - particularly the readings.

This week we had Whatchamacallit each morning. It really does help to start our day right. We've been learning "O Love that Wilt Not Let Me Go" and John 14: 16-31. We've moved forward on our catechesis and continued reading The Ology, which has been helpful in many places. We learned more about Doric columns, finished the Nursery Rhymes section, and talked about courage. We did some grammar and talked about question words vs. helping verbs starting yes/no questions. We laughed at a MadLib. We read 4 scenes in Comedy of Errors ... there's a lot of miscommunication going on. We didn't do Plutarch because we did the lesson with our co-op. We read a good bit more of The Open Gate. We did a drawing lesson, read about Gershwin, and sang The Riddle Song.

The kids did math and xtramath most days. M-girl is working on probability; N-boy is working on absolute value and negative numbers; R-girl is starting on fractions.  They finished reading Black Ships Before Troy. They learned more about Noah and the flood. In Story of the Romans, they just read about Pyrrhus and his elephants. Strabo began to work on his geographical mapping in Augustus Caesar's World. Migrating birds face many dangers, which they learned about in our Nature Lore book. We read more about currents and elements and Galileo.

On Wednesday, we had our Art and More with Friends group. My little Plutarch group had a nice discussion comparing Chelonis and Agis and their courage and the way they stood up for what they believed was right. We made bon bon boxes and filled them with candy. The children drew trees. They exchanged the Valentines they made with their friends.

We did not do any Keeping Hour gatherings. It was crazy busy at the time I've determined to do Keeping Hour and, quite honestly, between exhaustion and the Olympics I wasn't motivated myself. On Friday, we had the special opportunity to go see my niece (the kids' cousin) compete in a local gymnastics meet which meant neither Nature Study nor Keeping Hour.

My goal for the next six weeks is to do Keeping Hour 3 times per week. I also want to better establish our EHAP for the end of the day.

I want to strengthen our end of week meetings and our Nature Study Fridays and my prereading which was spotty this term. If I could get 2-3 weeks ahead, I'd be thrilled.

If nothing else, there is always something to improve! It was a good six weeks and we're all ready for something a little different next week.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Are you going to a Convention this year?

I have resources for you!

A number of years ago, I wrote this post: Homeschool Conference Essentials.  I find that this is how I pack and prepare.

I also wrote about my Convention Binder which is my main tool.

I wrote about them again for Pam and interviewed another friend as well: Don't go to the homeschool convetion without this handy tool.

I helped a little with this post from Pam Barnhill - a pictures and a tip - but it's super helpful and the forms are so pretty! How to the the most out of the Homeschool Convention

So Tired, Brain Hurts, But Here are the Big Ideas I Promised (2015 wrap-up) Kortney Garrison of One Deep Drawer made this Word Cloud for me:

A post-convention post mortem: 2016 GHC Reflections

2017 Big Ideas Word Art:

Finally, I was honored to be invited to talk about Conventions with The Homeschool Sisters on their Episode #34

Have fun! Talk to people. Smile. Learn. Love. 
Homeschool Professional Development is a wonderful thing for Homeschool Moms. 

If you see me in Cincinnati this year, I'd love to say hi! and see how your Convention is going.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Wednesdays with Words: Civilizing Aunts and Domestic Duties

I've been trying to put the phone down more and pick up miscellaneous books more. Including the one that resides in the Master Bath.

I really like Marilyn Chandler McEntyre's writing. I loved her Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies and have been rarely reading What's in a Phrase? Every time I pick it up, I think I should do so more.

Last week I read her meditation on Ezekiel 5:12 "A third part of you ... I will scatter to all the winds ..."
But the ways in which we need each other are often obscured for those of us who live in a culture where mobility is expected and required for many jobs, individualism is elevated to an ethic, and independence is presumed to be a core value in early childhood training. American national mythology glorifies the loner who "lights out for the territory," rejecting the constraints of civilizing aunts and domestic duties. ... Anonymity is not only inevitable; it has become, for many of us, normative. We don't expect -- or even want -- to be recognized in the middle of the city, and so our sense of accountability shrinks. We are a scattered people.
After this diagnosis, she goes on to contemplate, if not a panacea, a cure for those who recognize the suffering:
Gathering, therefore -- building and fostering community -- requires prayerful attention. Ultimately, real community is a gift from the Spirit who directs our ways, but sustaining community is a sacred, human, often demanding task. To gather -- for worship or prayer, or around a bereaved family, or in a hospital room, or where free lunches are served to the homeless -- we have to lay aside the personal occupations that keep us closely focused on our own homes, traveling our daily routes, caring for our nuclear families. 
Building community online is good. I've been encouraged and loved and grown through those relationships. Building community in person. Living in someone's life is better. I was reminded of this while I listened to Mystie discuss her Elementary Lessons with Pam. That she and her friend are able to work together because they live their lives together already. Their children live together. They play together. They are in a position for reproof and exhortation related to the day-to-day living of which homeschooling is just a part.

Who do you live with? How do you build community together with others? How do we take "me and my household" to build up the body rather than insulate against it?

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

[Conform] Jesus vs. The Composite Internet Woman

I wrote this post for the @CharlotteMasonIRL prompt for the week about burnout, but after I published it, I realized it really fit in this Word for the Year [conform] series on my blog. It is important to know to whom we are [conform]. The Bible makes it clear that we are no longer to [conform] to the world. For many of us, our world has a large portion of Social Media. Be cautious.

At @CharlotteMasonIRL we're talking about burnout.

What do you think about my Composite Internet Woman? (HT: Sarah Mackenzie  for her name) Isn't she beautiful? She's the amalgamation of the curators of Charlottemasonirl ... eight vibrant and distinct women who homeschool using the Charlotte Mason philosophy.

Sometimes, when scrolling Instagram and Facebook and blogs, moms forget and create a frankensteinish amalgamation like the one above and pressures themselves to do ALL.THE.THINGS. But, friends, this turns out not pretty. There are only eight people in that picture - not the hundreds even thousands many of us follow on social media. We pressure ourselves to do all the things, but NO ONE does all the things. When we think we have to do all and all beautifully, that's one time when burnout comes.

Each of the #cmirl collaborators has different strengths and weaknesses in our homeschools, yet we can work together harnessing those strengths to create a feed that, we hope, encourages and inspires other homeschoolers. But, we are all aware that we are separate and distinct, like the second picture. We help each other, but we do things differently. We can take part and leave part behind.

We're much prettier as individuals working together than melded into one.

Charlotte's motto, "I am, I can, I ought, I will" comes into play here. I am Dawn (not the Composite Internet Woman) I am a member of my family and church and I live in the place and time that God has chosen. I can do so much in the 24 hours God has given me - a third, at least, designated for sleep. I ought to choose to fill my days with what God calls *me* to (not what he calls Celeste or Amy or Angela or Camille or ...). I will do what is right - take the ideas that fit and leave the others behind.

To avoid burnout, you too need to not overextend yourself to compete with some Composite Internet Woman who doesn't exist. Comparison is a trap, a thief of joy, and burnout is the result. We are to [conform] to Christ, not the Composite Internet Woman. Be aware.