Thursday, August 30, 2012

lessons for discipling 2012-2013

I aim to keep the following as my focus in all my planning and teaching: 
In all areas of life, God's Word has been given to us for our instruction and our direction and I must teach it faithfully to our children and to their children after them.  
All my curriculum choices hopefully will help me accomplish this God-given task. Here are some questions I am asking myself to help keep me focused on my responsibility.

How can I use this material to disciple our children further in the knowledge and obedience of God's commands and instructions?  
Will our studies and discussions help them to think God's thoughts after Him?  
Does the atmosphere in our home cultivate a love for God and His world?
Will this instruction be of lasting value to them and to their children's children?
Do they see their parents faithfully reading, studying and praying over God's Word?
Have I shown them clearly that they are loved by me(and their Daddy) and by God?

In light of those thoughts, here are our lesson plans for this upcoming year.  Many of these are the Year 4 Ambleside selections

Daily Lessons
Math:  Still using RightStart and liking it. (Shane teaches before he goes to work.)
Bible:  Training Hearts, Teaching Minds, Psalm memorization, Hymns, Bible Story and prayer
History:  Continuing with The Story of the World, Volume 3 and Trial and Triumph, starting Genevieve Foster's books with The World of William Penn and George Washington's World.  Also will be reading through the Mr. Pipes books by Douglas Bond which feature stories of hymnwriters and history.

Grammar: First Language Lessons, Level 3, All About Spelling, Level 4 and 5 , memorizing poems, copywork, literature selections, Folksongs

Latin: we completed Prima Latina and are now beginning Latina Christiana 1 and also using Visual Latin
French:  still figuring this out...

Weekly Lessons
Artist/Picture Study:  Rembrandt and Vermeer until Christmas break, A Child's History of Art: Painting, also reading from Pictures Every Child Should Know: A Selection of the World's Art Masterpieces for Young People  

Composer Study: Bach and Handle until Christmas break

Nature Journal:  Seth's Nature Journal
Geography/Mapwork:  Continuing our mapwork
Science: Finishing up Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding, continuing through the Nature Readers and starting The Story of Science
Shakespeare: Continue reading one story a week from Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare.

Plutarch: Publicola
I am jumping into the new world of Plutarch's Lives this year starting with a study on Publicola.  I have organized and condensed the very helpful(and free) study guide by Anne White(click on the Publicola link above) and I have begun reading and rereading the selected portions to help me understand this material.  It is hard and different, but after spending some time with recently, I think I am beginning to understand the era of the beginning of the Roman republic.  There are twelve lessons and the reading selections are broken into very manageable pieces and the suggested study rate is one lesson per week. 

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know your labor in the Lord is not in vain. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:58

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

family vacation, part two

First round of photos were posted here.

I know I posted this one already, but I like it so much!

On some walking trails behind Daddy's old elementary school.

Visiting with the Anderson clan, some of whom are well-armed!

And making good  friends with Rodney. (Thanks Chantelle for a great photo.)

Swimming in Rodney's pool.

Thinking about it..


Not quite ready.

Visiting more good friends...and their new beautiful house!

Going to "Skinnies" for ice cream and fun.

Yes, indeedy.  Lots of fun around here!

See, more Fun.

Wayyy more fun!!

Someone else likes Fun too!

And this kind of Fun too.

And there's some more.

Lots and lots of croquet at Nannie and Grampie's.

Always aiming right for the croquet game, of course.

definitely double-trouble.

hanging out together.

Getting acquainted with going to restaurants.

Wearing shoes on Nannie's armchair, sorry about that.

Chess with Grampie.

Making more friends who obviously like the same things.
On our way home through Maine.

Just happening upon Paul Bunyan after listening to his stories in the car.

Love water wheels!

Traveling through the stormy White Mountains.

Overnight stay in New Hampshire.

And one last thrilling family photo before finishing the long ride home!

Monday, August 27, 2012

the knowledge of God

Some of the "Israelites" enjoying their "morning manna" in the wilderness.

I am gearing up to teach Sunday School again at our church this time with an age group of four and five, which will include many of the children in my class from last year. I have been pondering all summer how I can continue to incorporate Charlotte Mason's methods into our lesson time. Last year with the age ranging from two to four, I found keeping attention and interest was fairly easy(with others helping) until we handed out the coloring page.
This year I have been planning on incorporating group narration after I present the Bible story, which means the children will, with each other's help, retell the story with as much detail as they can remember.  My hope is that through narration, the story's details and teaching will not be forgotten and that the narration will encourage the children to retell it again and again to family members and friends. Having given this much thought in recent weeks, I was delighted and surprised last week to read the following post that though not directly relating to Sunday school was helpful and inspiring as I continue to plan for my time with the children.

 Living Mason's Ideas at VBS

of books and learning

Seth's bookshelves reorganized and refreshed.

What you will find below is a small serving of articles and posts I have enjoyed in recent weeks.

  On Reading Aloud
Happily and suitably, the better language in the better children’s literature grabbed my children’s attention as the books with Disney characters never could. The patterns of the language engaged their ears. My children have remembered those poems of their early childhood for these many long years after I read them, repeatedly read them. Best of all, the patterns of that language engaged our collective minds. I found myself speaking to my children in that kind of language and with the rhythmic patterns of the literature that I read to them. My words felt incomplete unless they had a sort of poetry to them. My tongue sought to replicate what my ear had heard from my own mouth. I found myself needing to speak in complete sentences, needing to complete my thoughts. What a gift to child, to have that in his earliest understanding of language. To deny him the goodness that is our language is to impoverish him, no matter what your other circumstances.
“I suggest you clean up your room, If Papa trips there, it’s your doom!”
Homeschool Reflections
(You can find out a little more about the daughter-part of this post from here).
I read Charlotte’s books. That’s my number one best advice. READ HER BOOKS. Get if from the source. I wish I’d done that the first five years! Once I did, our school and life improved dramatically. Now that I have a grasp on the philosophy, it has made teaching very natural and more intuitive. I stopped looking for a step-by-step guide because once I understood her method, the how-to began to flow naturally out of that.
Sowing Living Book Seeds
(In the last year or so I have been contemplating the possibility of one day having a private lending library to share with homeschooling families.  In the meantime, I am always eager to loan our own items to friends who desire to have the "right" books. I found this post inspiring and encouraging toward this dream.)
We feel a bit like the disciples facing five thousand hungry persons looking to Jesus for help and hearing him say, “you give them something to eat.” We know our resources and efforts are insufficient for such a time as this, but we have read the Living Book and believe that He can bless and multiply our meager offerings. We believe that some child, in some book, is going to be impacted by some living idea that takes hold and nourishes him – perhaps one of tomorrow’s great leaders. Greater still, we believe that many children learning through nourishing literature will take delight in the beauty of story and, realizing the purpose of God’s story for themselves, will grow up to raise godly children who will increase His light in the world.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

He is our Help

There are many times when I want so badly for her to speak our language so we can hear what she thinks and how she feels and what makes her laugh herself giddy for no apparent reason.   I want to hear her sing the songs I  know she must know having heard all her life sung around her.  I want to hear her call Seth's name, the only one she has no sound for in our family. I want to hear her ask for her morning cup of orange juice and for the coveted bowl of pudding for dessert.  I never thought I would be longing for one of my children to be chattering away in my ear but I do long for and pray for Kate's mouth and tongue to find the right places to allow her to speak to us and to join the conversation and make some of her own.  
Will you continue to pray alongside me?  It is a gift for me to know the encouragement of others who understand that some things take time, much more time than we often want to wait for, but that God is indeed faithful. He has always been gracious to us in our prayers for Kate and I trust this answer is no different, but His timing is what we wait for and trust in.  

We wait in hope for the LORD;
He is our help and our shield.
In Him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in His holy name.
May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD,
even as we put our hope in you.
~Psalm 33:20-22

Monday, August 20, 2012

life after the garden...

We came home from our vacation to find the tomato vines bearing a ton of ripe tomatoes.  I only took one quick photo before getting right to work to get the garden back in shape.  I feel a bit double minded because I sense autumn is in the cool, breezy air and I love that time of year, but I really want the warm summer sun to keep shining to keep the garden producing.  So I feel a bit guilty when I linger over thoughts, photos and posts with pumpkins and acorns and fall leaves and warm comfort foods.  I have resolved to allow myself to plan some fall meals and baking since the weather is much more comfortable to be working in the kitchen, but I am still nurturing and caring for each fruit in the garden and hoping that the fresh veg keeps coming.  I just don't want it to know that I have plans for when it is no more.

Monday, August 13, 2012

a collection of links

our three musketeers

Facebook before 13?
At least for our family, there are privileges in growing up that are worth waiting for (staying alone at home, having a cellphone, joining FB, watching certain movies, and so on). If we give them all those perks at a young age, we have no cards to play later! So when they are in their youth, what else can they look forward to? They already have it all and have seen it all. So they have to find something more exciting for themselves that is more thrilling or that feeds their need of accomplishment. But in our family, we decided to wait for those privileges. To have them looking forward to reach that age where they can join, or get the "cool phone" or look forward to be old enough to earn privileges that come with maturity and responsibility.
How to Have a Grand Conversation
The first question was one I learned from the immortal Andrew Kern and it is: "Should x have done y?" The second one has really enhanced the conversation I was getting out of the first, and it is from the brilliant DHM over at The Common Room: "Does that remind you of anything else?"
Lessons from An Olympic Hero
His approach to the Bible was summed up as, “Read accurately, interpret honestly, apply drastically.”
The Making of a Poet
I read the poems and found my eyes filling with water. Not because she can write poetry but because she cares.
"The question is not, how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education, but how much does he care? ~Charlotte Mason"

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

the five of us

family vacation

Trying out the bubble machine in PA.

Enjoying having a little dog around.

All dressed for church.

Riding the tractor with Daddy.

On the road in Maine.

Hitting the playground after a long, long car ride to NB.

We don't have this cool stuff in Ontario!