Chatting about Sloyd on the Mason Jar Podcast

Hello everyone – I’m popping in to say that I got a chance to chat with Cindy Rollins about Sloyd on the Mason Jar Podcast and the episode is available today!  If you haven’t tried Sloyd in your homeschool yet, I hope the interview gives you some inspiration and help.

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Announcing a Webinar on Exams with Celeste Cruz!

I can’t tell you how excited we are!  We know this wasn’t part of our original line-up, but we have a special surprise addition to our spring webinar lineup.  You’ll want to be there – we have yet to find someone so knowlegable and well-spoken on the topic of exams in a Charlotte Mason homeschool.  We are thrilled to have Celeste Cruz come talk with us!

We both started reading Celeste’s blog, Joyous Lessons, years ago.  On her site, she shares a wealth of knowledge when it comes to both practicalities and philosophy.  She shares school planning tips and worksheets, nature study and notebooking ideas (and a great link up!), great ideas for teaching foreign language, annual plans for each of her students, and so much more.  Did we mention she has eight children (with number nine on the way!) and that they are all under the age of 11?  Oh, and she hosts a conference every year for the CM mamas on the west coast.  Her calm and kind demeanor will absolutely give you the confidence you need to sort of how to do exams well in your home, even if you’ve never done them before.

We are thrilled to have befriended Celeste through our shared Instagram account, @CharlotteMasonIRL and she is such a lovely person.  We so appreciate that she will able to come join us May 23rd at 8pm EST to chat about Exams in the CM Homeschool.  We invite all of you to come join us as well!

STORIES
Click here to sign up!

The webinar will be approximately an hour long and is $10.

In this webinar, we will discuss Charlotte Mason-style exams from both a philosophical and a practical perspective. We will talk about general principles governing PNEU exams, how questions and expectations changed through the Forms, how Miss Mason’s schools managed the exam process, and how students (and teachers!) were assessed using the results.

We will then take that understanding and consider it in the context of the homeschool. How might Exam Week look in the home? What subjects should be covered, and how can we prepare questions and set the proper atmosphere for best work?  How can exam performance help us assess our students’ progress and our own methods and materials?  Can exams really be enjoyable and fruitful, helping us to be better teachers and our children to be better students? (Hint: the answer to that last question is yes!)
Afterward, Celeste invites your questions and concerns for a short Q&A session to follow.

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!

But is it practical?

As homeschooling mothers, we are often busy with those things the must be done: chores, schedules, driving, schooling.  We know there is benefit to reading good books, poetry, good music, and days of rest, but finding the time always seems difficult.  The practical things, the urgent things, beckon us.

Soon, school planning time comes around.  We look at our year and what wasn’t executed the way we had envisioned and we’ve heard much talk of new ideas and new ways of implementing different subjects; it can feel overwhelming. We must pick out math curricula, history books, science topics… How do we introduce writing?  Is narration being done correctly? What if the kids don’t spell well?  Many things seem to need our immediate attention.  They all seem so urgent.

I invite you to take a few steps back.  Perhaps now is a good time to take a bird’s eye view of your home school.  Or perhaps fly even a bit higher than the average bird…

The Great Regcognition

Let’s come together and talk about the philosophy of your homeschool.  We’ll do it by diving deeply into Charlotte Mason’s “creed picture“.  It was here that much of her greatest thoughts are visually expressed.

What will we talk about at the webinar?

  • The Florentine mind of the Middle Ages, and the “boldness of the scheme of education” presented in the painting.
  • The Holy Spirit as teacher.
  • How we can co-operate in the education of our children.
  • Who are the characters in the painting and why are they important?
  • What messages did the artist send through the structure of the painting?
  • How can the discord in our lives and school rooms brought into harmony through unity?
  • What role does virtue and wisdom play in education?  Should they be our aim?
  • How to understand this painting from the top down and the bottom up and how that affects your school room.

Will it be practical? Yes.  In the same way that having a map or GPS device is practical when driving across the country.  Can you make it to your destination without one? Maybe, but you’ll be glad to have it when you are on the road.  You trip will certainly be full of smooth and easy days if you can plan where to go and what to see.  Surely, you will need to worry about gasoline, food, and rest stops – but it is best to start with a map.  Consider this painting your roadmap!

Do you want your own copy of the painting? We are giving away three and there is still time to enter!

If you haven’t registered for the webinar yet, I’d love for you to join me this Tuesday, March 21 at 8pm.  We have some great folks signed up and the conversation is going to be great!

The Great Regcognition

Riverbend Press Giveaway

There are a few companies that just do things really well.  I’m talking about the type of companies started by people who pour their heart and soul into it because they love what they do.  Riverbend Press is that type of company.  Begun by a homeschooling mother of two darling girls who also happened to be the daughter of an old fashioned book binder, she couldn’t find what she wanted when it came to high quality notebooks – so she stepped out and partnered with her dad to start a whole new company.  Her creations are based on hours of poring over the Charlotte’s volumes, PR articles, and L’Umile Pianta articles to make sure her books were as authentic as they could be.  She then had the books printed on the best paper with sewn bindings so they lay flat and finished them with beautiful gold-stamped covers.  This is a company that cares about quality, produces their goods in the United States in a family-run business, and aims to offer the best service to all of the families who trust them with their patronage.  We couldn’t be prouder to partner with them for our very first giveaway!

Today, we are announcing a giveaway of two Books of Centuries in your choice of grey or wine cover.  We will give away one here on the blog and one over on Instagram, so head over there for another chance!

The Rules:  Leave a comment below stating the color you would prefer.  If you share this post on social media (your blog, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc), leave a separate comment with a link leading to where you shared it and you can earn an extra entry!  We will allow up to five entries per person.  The comments will be closed at 8pm on March 2, 2017 and the winner will be chosen at random and announced here on March 3.  Books can be shipped within the US only.

February 

February is not typically an easy month for schooling.  I would say homeschooling, but I’ve heard from enough teachers that this is a universal struggle.  I can’t help but think it goes beyond schooling at all.  Winter is dragging on, there is little or no green growth, but we are so close.  So close.  Spring officially comes in March, the days are growing longer, and hope is on the horizon for warm days, ice cream cones, and beach trips.  How can we best manage our days through this very long shortest month of the year?

One way I have found is to get outside more.  We’ve been lucky this year in that the weather is mild.  We went to the park today to get some sunshine and it was lovely.  Because of that decision, not all the schoolwork will get done today and that’s ok.  It isn’t ok every day, but here and there in February, it can make all the other days so much more bearable.

Mother culture time.  Moms need to recharge too.  I have mother culture activities in progress the same way I have books in progress – easy, medium, and hard all ready for me to pick up wherever I left off whenever the time is available.  I just finished an embroidery of a worker bee (part nature study, part handicraft) and I’ve been enjoying doing some hand lettering in the evenings.  It is only enjoyable when I am surrounded by a clean kitchen and sitting at a clean table, so I am always sure to get those things done early when I remind myself I can have some time to enjoy writing later.

Coffee.  An occasional donut.  Enough said.

Field trips.  I find February to be a great time for field trips.  If the day is dreary or cabin fever is running high, have a list ready of places you’d like to go with the kids.  If you are well prepared, you can take this time to see the term artist at the local art museum, go to a history museum that supplements your readings that term, or find hear your composer being played by a symphony.  We found that we live right by the National Underground Railroad Museum and that seemed like a great way to supplement our study of Lincoln and Douglass and the Civil War.  We were lucky enough to then come upon the John A. Roebling bridge that spans the Ohio River.  It was completed in 1867, only two years after the war was over.  The same river that separated north and south during the war and was an impediment to those who yearned for freedom in the slave states, was spanned by this beautiful bridge so quickly after the war ended and the bridge still stands as a symbol of unity.  It was also the practice bridge for it’s more famous counterpart, the Brooklyn Bridge.  We learned more by getting out of the house than we would have staying home, I daresay.


Lastly, this is the time of year I start planning ahead. Planning for summer and for next year.  For things like camps and weekend trips as well as books, budgets, and goals for the next grade.  It is a joy to do, and prevents overwhelm come May and June when there are so many end-of-year items of my to do list.  It helps me to enjoy the summer months with less stress, while being a stress reliever in the here and now as well. A win-win if ever there was one.

If you are stuck in the mire of February, and not sure how to plan your year better or how to fix some of the issues plaguing your homeschool, we’d love to help you out.  We have consulting available, and we’d love to help you sort out what isn’t working so that you can get back to thriving in your role as teacher and mother.  Sometimes, it is just the February slump, but other times you just need someone to help you with the task of planning the day, making time for the feast, choosing books appropriate to the students in your home, or some other specific task that you could just use a bit of outside advice on.  We have a limited schedule, but we make all the time we can for mothers who ask for help.  We are booking March now and would love to be of service to you!

CM and Community

Amy is on the Delectable Education Podcast today talking all about her vast experience with starting Charlotte Mason communities.  Amy and I met largely because of the book club she held in her living room full of women eager to learn more of Mason, her methods, and how to better implement them in our homes.  She also began a co-op out of her home which grew and grew until it became, and still is, a school for children K-12.  After moving, she has begun a new co-op and still sits on the board at the school she began, though the running of the day to day operations is now in the hands of another amazing mother and teacher of Charlotte’s method.  In addition to books clubs, co-ops, and a school, Amy has also begun a Nature Club or two, muti-day summer intensives for mothers, field trips, and so many other ways that have helped moms and their children thrive not only in their homes, but within a community of learning.

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If you are a reader who is clicking over after listening to the podcast, we welcome you to our little corner of the internet.  We are homeschooling mothers who have used the CM method for many years and in many different situations – at home, in school, overseas, and in multiple regions within the USA.  To hear more of our stories, click here.  We like to write about how using the CM method has changed our whole lives, and not just our homeschools, so while we certainly write about nature, and books, and habits, you’ll also see us chatting about homemaking, mother culture, and organizing our days.

If you are a long time reader, we invite you to head over to hear Amy speaking today on the podcast!  We’d love to hear about communities you’ve started or questions you have about starting communities in the comments or via email.