A Friday Check-in

It’s the first day of fall, after what was quite the long summer break.  I hope you all are well!  I am guessing most of you are in the swing of things as far as schooling and activities and all that go, I know we are here at the Malucci home.

This year, in addition to school I have one child enjoying a fall golf league and another who is back on the swim team.  It makes for more evening activity than I am used to, and we are learning to navigate that.  My general approach is that this is a season, and we have some seasons that are enjoyable for their activity and others that are enjoyable for their calm.  Fall is an active season, it seems.  I will admit, at least one of those evenings is a calm one for me as I knit, read, or paint while my boy golfs.  It is a real win-win.

We are also back to hiking and exploring in the cooler weather.  We have a favorite spot or two that we frequent, and this rocky creek is one of them.  We found lots of great clay to play in and it was fun to hear the conversation among the kids since we are studying geology this term.  They noticed the rock layers and the types of rock so differently on this trip!

Cooler weather also means my kids want to bake more.  I am attempting to give them more freedom in the kitchen – the older two can follow recipes and it is fun to have muffins made without my having to make them!  (also: my boys are excited about football season)

Last, but certainly not least, if you follow my Instagram account them you may have seen my news, but that quartet up there will be a quintet next March – another child is on the way!  My daughter is very much hoping for a sister, while the boys think it would be a lot of fun to add to the boy team.  We shall see what God has in store for us!

Advertisements

Friday Update {SQT}

It has been delightfully busy on our end of the blog, so we haven’t been posting but we have been doing all sorts of things we can share in snippets! Here we go:

  1. This is exam week for Amy and next week is exam week for me.  It was a blessing to watch Celeste’s webinar first – I feel ready and excited!  I don’t have my questions prepped quite yet, and the party isn’t planned, so there is some work to do this weekend, but it should be a great week.
  2. That means summer begins and it is time for the CMI conference.  Amy and I will be doing a shared session on Atmosphere, Discipline, and Life in the home.  Amy will also be presenting a session (similar to her presentation at UVA that was moderated by David Brooks of the NYT) on Character Development in a CM education.  She’ll also be doing a chat on Shakespeare!  I’ll have a section on Sloyd called “The Next Steps” but we will definitely cover the foundational principles of Sloyd so anyone is welcome, even if you’ve never tried it.  Lastly, I’ll have a chat the first evening on Architecture, which is one thing I love to learn about and I hope you will too after we chat about it!
  3. It also means summer travels.  Amy is heading to the mountains to enjoy some time with her family and I am heading to Philadelphia later this summer to spend time with family and friends (Amy!) and see the ocean after a too long hiatus.
  4. With the coming of summer, it means planning for next school year!  I will have only two “official” students for the last time in a long time, but I am looking out for good resources for teaching literacy and numeracy to a five year old.  That is a part of my summer planning, in addition to getting ready to have a sixth grader and fourth grader!  Amy will have four official students next year and one sweet toddling girl walking around the house.  Thank heavens for shared subjects!
  5. I also have a couple of weeks booked in my schedule for “home projects and fun reading”.  Moms need a break too and I want to enjoy my deck in the morning while sipping iced tea and reading a book.  The kids can play in the yard!  I’m hoping I end up painting that bookshelf that needs it because there are some serious piles starting in our book loft.
  6. This year, I think I will also continue the habit of nap school.  We put the little boys to bed and clean up from lunch and then we can do some math, read some scripture and a couple of good books and then go about our day.  That will help us use the hottest part of the day well and ease the transition back to the school day come next term.
  7. Next term!  We will start back up in August this year – it’s too hot to enjoy the outdoors at that point so why not get things started and take some days off in fall when it is beautiful out?  At least, that has been my thinking the past few years.  What about you – how do you plan out your school year?

Paper Sloyd

Image result for sloyd

I’m preparing a talk on paper sloyd that I am giving in June, and I can’t help but think about the fact that each time I mention it I get one of two reactions: a blank stare, which is most common, and a sheepishness.  The sheepishness usually comes from CM moms who have heard of sloyd, but are either too confused or intimidated to try it.  I thought I’d type out a bit about what sloyd is and how to start in order to ease the confusion and intimidation.  It is really quite simple, but at the same time so foundational for geometry, measurement, and precision in math as well as the intellectual habits of accuracy, honesty, and diligence.

Now, I’ve written a bit about this before, and you’re welcome to check that out as well. At the time, I was teaching sloyd in a classroom environment at a Charlotte Mason school, but doing it at home with my kids isn’t much different.

What is sloyd?  It is a Swedish word meaning the rough equivalent of handiwork.  It is also a system developed by Otto Salomon that incorporated the use of paper, then wood, and metals.  It was a staple in Nordic schools, and is still taught in that area of the world. Yes, all those articles about how schools in Finland are the best? The kids do sloyd.

Let’s not get put off by the idea of woodwork and metalwork quite yet.  At first, it is as easy as finding paper that is a bit thicker than printer paper (though, printer paper will work in a pinch) and some other basic supplies – scissors, pencil, and perhaps some stickers or a hole punch if you want to decorate or hang up your creation.  See, this is easy already.

Next, there is a book in the public domain that is worth printing called Paper Sloyd for Primary Grades by Ednah Anne Rich.  I say print it, even though you could buy it printed for a reasonable price only because the one you would print at home is not compressed or stretched and so the examples print in the proper size.  The copy I purchased has compressed the writing to half size to use fewer pages and so all the diagrams are now half as wide as they should be… which makes it a bit confusing.  However, if your printer is broken and you know you’ll start in two days if Amazon Prime does the work for you, by all means just do that.  Well begun is half done, after all and so it is better to start than to procrastinate because you need ink or you keep forgetting to print it.

Now, the beauty of this book is that it works for all beginners and it is fully scripted.  The two keys to success I have found lie in these two important points:

  1. Don’t skip the intro.  The intro holds all of the information you need as teacher.  If you skip it, you will mostly likely not understand enough about the method to actually be doing sloyd and you’ll just be folding paper.  Techniques are outlined well in the introduction.
  2. Take your time.  10-15 minutes is probably enough and it may take 6 sessions to get through the first project.  That is ok.  Learning to create straight lines, tiny pencil dots, and safe cuts is key to the process.  Don’t rush through.  All of this work now lays the foundation for future projects.

Now, try the first project out on your own using the instructions.  See where you find the language confusing (if at all), and work through it on your own.  The questions you have are often the ones your students will have too, so find the answers now.

It’s time.  Bring in the kids.  If you have kids middle school aged and up, your pace will be faster than with the 4th grade and under crowd.  I find kids in 1st and 2nd grade need a lot of time.  If you have a wide age range in your home, this is a great time to do one project with the older kids and allow one of them to teach the younger ones.  They will learn it even better when they teach it.

Your first project will be delightful – it is an envelope.  There is a scrap of paper left over that is perfect for making a note to fit in the envelope.  It is not only a lovely creation, but a lovely gift and Charlotte encouraged handicrafts to be given away whenever possible so this fits the bill nicely.  Kids will naturally practice on their own time as they want to send these envelopes to more siblings, friends, and family members.  Let them play with the materials – different thicknesses and glossiness of paper, stickers to seal the envelope, and artwork on top if they’d like.  This should be a delight to them and fully their own creation.

That seems like a good way for you to start, though I’ll be back with more on this topic soon.  Would a video be helpful to walk you through the first project?

Happy Friday {SQT}

We don’t do link-ups often, but with a few busy weeks under our belts, it seems like we need some sort of catch-up post, so Seven Quick Takes with Kelly it is.

  1. There is a new Charlotte Mason Instagram account to add to your follow list @charlottemasonIRL.  A conglomeration of some of your favorite CMers showing what homeschooling looks like in their home.  We aren’t professional photographers with pristine homes – rather than aspirational, we are calling it practical inspiration.
  2. So… we are past the ides of March and still haven’t talked abut the next room in the Delightful Home.  Let’s just say the stomach bug has made our home less than delightful recently.  Then we had very delightful visitors, which meant living life rather than writing about it.  We haven’t forgotten though!
  3. img_1063Hair braiding.  That’s a handicraft, right?  I’ve only got one daughter (and Amy with her four daughters is too far away to give us in person tutorials) and we’ve been using YouTube to figure out how to make fun braids.
  4. Last term of school starts Monday!  We are officially on the downhill.  Does anyone want a post of what books we are using?  I always like seeing what other families use in their home schools and thought you might also.
  5. Happy St. Patrick’s day.  No corned beef around here because it is also Friday, which means we abstain from meat.  I am feeling rather more authentically Irish about the holiday though, since the Irish are great fisherman.  I mean, they invented the proper woolen sweater just for fishing. Fish and chips it is!Image result for irish fisherman's sweater
  6. The giveaway closes on Monday! Head over there to enter – you have three chances, so the odds are good one of those Riverbend Press prints could be on your wall soon!  Also, the webinar registration is still open for our tuesday webinar on that painting. I can’t wait!
  7. Lastly, would you say a prayer or two for Amy – she is part of a panel on Monday discussing character formation in schools and she is the representative of Home Schools.  The discussion is being moderated by David Brooks of the New York Times, so its pretty exciting.  If anyone wants to know more, maybe Amy will write up her experience here.  She will be presenting her research on CM and character formation at the National CMI Conference in Kentucky this June, if you’ll be there.

Have a wonderful weekend!

The Great Recognition, for you. {A Giveaway}

We’ve told you how much we love Riverbend Press before, and so we were thrilled when they offered to give us three beautiful prints to give away to in conjunction with our upcoming webinar on this painting.

Great RecognitionPrint Giveaway!

This print is really beautiful – printed on a product that is more like canvas than paper, it is durable and can hang unframed, as I do.  It is a seamless combination of the upper vault and the wall of the Spanish chapel, which is a big deal!  Imagine photographing from the middle of the ceiling nearly down the floor and having minimal distortion.  It is an heirloom quality piece.

How can you get one?  Well, one way is to visit the shop.  Another way is to win one right here!  We have three to give away!

  1. One will be randomly drawn during our webinar and given to an attendee – so go register!
  2. Another will be given away to a commenter on this post.  Leave a comment to enter, it is that easy. If you share this giveaway on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest – link it in the comments for an extra entry.
  3. The last print will be given away on our Instagram account.

Giveaway will close Monday, March 20 at 8pm and all winners will be chosen and announced on March 21.