Sunday, March 30, 2008

Praiseworthy Music - Renee and Jeremy

I came across a link to this video and from there this website for Renee and Jeremy. The music is simple, sweet and delightful. The kind of music you'd listen to without your children in the room! And it's very relaxing music, something I find we need here during the day. So I urge you to check it out for yourself. You can listen to the entire album on their website.

Education in Our Home

It's been awhile since I participated in the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival and this month I was actually inspired by another blog carnival hosted by The Heart of The Matter. This is a week long carnival with a different topic for each day. Monday's topic was "A Day In the Life" and since I employ Charlotte Mason's philosophy in my children's education I thought I'd write about our typical day. And maybe even kill two birds with one stone! And perhaps some of you who don't home educate will be interested in what kind of life we lead here.

Our schedule revolves around my husband's. I rise with him in the morning and help him get ready for work. At the same time my children are getting up and hopefully making their beds. We also take our days off with my husband's work schedule so that when he is home we can spend time with him. After my husband leaves we eat breakfast and then begin our day.

My son (age 7) prefers to move into school slowly. So we start with bible study and then move through a few of his easier lessons. We end up with the hardest lesson which in our case is math. Then my son practices his piano lesson.

My daughter (age 9) prefers to "swallow the frog" as my dear friend Dana says and start with the hardest, math, and then move through her other lessons. She also ends with piano practice.

Both of my children's "core" curriculums contain the following:

Bible Study - Daily - We follow a bible study for the Word of Life program that takes a child through the bible in six years.

Math - Daily - I have always used the Saxon Math curriculum with my children and I have been very happy with it. Math was never my forte and this curriculum is scripted until year 4 so everything you have to say and do is already determined. Since my daughter has moved beyond that we also use the Dive CD's to supplement her curriculum.

Spelling - Daily - Spelling Workout

Grammar - Daily - Rod and Staff Grammar

Handwriting - Daily - Zaner Bloser (Between Handwriting and Grammar I feel my children do plenty of copywork as required by Charlotte mason so I don't give them additional)

History - 3 days per week - We are currently using the Story of the World Series by Peace Hill Press. In addition to this I use the Ambleside Online history readings. Many of these we listen to in the form of audio books. Often I download mp3 files for books we are reading and we listen to them in the car on the way to activities we go to several times a week.

Science - 2 days per week - Rod and Staff. I like this curriculum's emphasis on the Natural World and the presumption that God is the sovereign creator of all things without introducing specific doctrines.

Latin - Daily - We use the Memoria Press books for this presently.

Literature - Daily - I use the the required Literature from the Ambleside Online curriculum as well as AO's free reading lists. I highly recommend these. As with history, we often listen to these as audio books in the car. Some of them my children read on their own and some I read to them.
After lunch each day of the week we usually work on one of the following as specified by Charlotte Mason: composer study, artist study, handicrafts, and nature study. We generally follow the Ambleside Online curriculum for all these. I also try to give my children outdoor time everyday which can be difficult in the winter! I've described how we do nature study in the past. Basically each of my children have a nature notebook that they use to draw something they have observed in nature that week.

We also do a number of activities with other homeschoolers in the afternoons. We are very blessed in this area to have a LARGE group of homeschooling families. My children have several acquaintances of various ages that they interact with. My children have a homeschool PE class, a children's program at our church and piano lessons we attend weekly. My son attends Cub Scout events three times per month, my daughter attends a Keeper's At Home club for girls twice a month and we attend field trips about twice a month. It is really easy to get over committed in our area so we try to be careful about the activities we agree to so that they don't get in the way of academics. But that can be difficult sometimes!

Of course, this is a PERFECT week! We strive to attain all these goals each week but it doesn't always happen. We homeschool year round so that gives us a lot of leeway in our schedule which helps.

So this is our life. It is quite full and I feel very blessed to be able to be home with my children.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Monday, March 17, 2008

In observance of the missionary Patrick and for my mother.

The Old Schoolhouse Goes Digital!

One of my favorite magazines now has a digital subscription. For only 16.95 a year you can subscribe and receive your issues as a digital download. Try out this free sample here.

When you subscribe you'll receive 19 free gifts. BUT until Midnight, March 18th new subscribers will get a one-year digital subscription for $10.95 + 19 FREE gifts + 5 FREE bonus gifts–- a $379 value. But remember this special offer is available only until March 18, 2008. You can find more information here.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Remembering Patrick

Saint Patrick Going to Tara Ireland from

There was a man called Patrick who was captured by Irish marauders and taken from his wealthy, comfortable life in Roman occupied Britain to live as a slave in Ireland. There he found faith in Jesus Christ and even though he managed to escape and return home, he obeyed God and returned to Ireland to evangelize to the lost. Patrick was a missionary.
Today he is traditionally called St. Patrick and considered the patron Saint of Ireland although he was never officially cannonized by the Roman Catholic Church. I like Patrick. I like to remember him and his love and service to God. I grew up observing St. Patrick's Day with my family and today I observe it with mine. I use it as a time to celebrate someone who gave his life to God.

I think one of the best children's books on the life of Patrick is Saint Patrick by Ann Tompert. This book focuses more on the facts that can be known about Patrick than the legends that have grown up around him. The illustrations are beautiful and capture the attention of young children. My 9 year old daughter reads it herself. If you only share one book with your children about Patrick, this is the one.

I'm currently reading "Let Me Die in Ireland" by David Bercot to see if I want to share it with my children. So far so good. Subtitled, "The True Story of Patrick" the author attempts to tell the story of Patrick using only facts gleaned from Patrick's autobiography embelished with details of life at the time Patrick lived. So far this is an excellent book. The gospel of Christ is presented as Patrick comes closer to God while a slave. The historical descriptions are accurate and manage to teach while entertaining.

We also spend this day in my family celebrating and learning about the Irish people. We listen to Irish music, check out parades online, and eat Irish food.

I hope you will spend some time tomorrow telling your children about Patrick and how he loved God enough to give up his own comfort to spread the gospel.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

blog readability test

I feel so much better about myself now!

Praiseworthy Blog: E.W. Spider

I've found a blog that I really love. It's called E.W. Spider and is described as "bite size, vegetarian based crafts and recipes for young learners. And that is an apt, if understated description. I'm simply enchanted with this site! There are so many simple fun things to do with kids. And the author's sense of humor is delightful for adults as well. Frankly, I'd like to do a lot of the things she writes about even if I didn't have kids!

The author of this blog teaches English to children in Japan. Now that sounds like a perfectly lovely job. And apparently through it she has learned a lot of things to do with children that aren't "twaddly" as Miss Mason would say, and that children will find as delightful as parents. Check it out!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

No Knead Bread

Okay. I'm a little behind the eight ball on this one. I tried No Knead Bread a few weeks ago. This is the recipe that became famous all over blogdom after it was in the New York Times.'s fantastic. You just mix up a few ingredients, let it sit for eighteen hours. mess with it a bit and I mean a LITTLE bit. Then bake it in the oven in a preheated lidded pan. I used my cast iron dutch oven.

This bread rivels any I have bought in stores. The texture is a chewy, crisp crust and a tender interior with lots of air pockets. Some have complained about the taste, but I find it very tasty. And as you can see from the picture above, it looks quiet impressive.

The first time we had a few slices with butter and honey then I froze the rest of the loaf and used it to make garlic bread. The second time I made it I made two batches and used them to make pizza's the next night. Fantastic pizza dough! I just stretched the dough onto pizza pans, let it rise and then topped them and baked. Delicious. Next I'm going to try making cinnamon rolls with this dough.

So, I advise you to try it at least once. Teach your kids how to make it and let them do it! They'll love it and it's a great chemistry lesson.