Monday, March 30, 2009

Charlotte Mason - The Basics

The more I get into Charlotte Mason principled education, the more I like it.

I started out with Classical Education, but I think it was just toooooo....structured and "too much" for me. Plus, it totally wouldn't have worked for my second daughter. But, my hats off to those that teach classically!

I'm also intrigued by the Robinson method - because it is also literature rich - and I love the concept of my kids teaching themselves! But, I think, all by itself the Robinson curriculum would be too narrow, since it doesn't incorporate other languages, art, nature study, handicrafts, physical education, or life skills into it's curriculum. To my understanding these are things the students can pursue on their own if they want, but they aren't to be a part of lessons. I'd love to understand more about how students teach themselves...but overall I would identify myself as an imperfect and newbie Charlotte Mason educator.

Charlotte Mason style learning incorporates a lot of reading - but not just any reading - real, living, not dumbed-down books. We are not to bring down the world to the level of the child, but we are to bring the child to the richness of the world. In the early grades there is an emphasis on reading aloud and verbally narrating (summarizing) what was just read. Topics, ideally (I have a hard time with this) should be short (15-20 minutes long) and varied. By varied I mean you switch to very different types of studies to keep interest in schoolwork up. So...

  • 15-20 minutes reading and narration
  • 15-20 minutes copywork
  • 15-20 minutes art or art study
  • 15-20 minutes math
  • 15-20 minutes or longer nature study
  • 15-20 minutes more reading
  • 15-20 minutes science
  • 15-20 minutes free writing or verbal grammar.

This is just a general idea. It's flexible, but the principles are powerful. A great (and FREE) website to check out in Ambelside Online - you can get lots if not most of the materials for free online (classic books).

My Study Of Charlotte Mason This Week

I am planning to take one chapter of the Charlotte Mason Original Homeschooling Series and do a narration (book report) of my own each week. This will motivate me to work through the books. If you want to leave a link where you are incorporating something about what I am reviewing on any given week, feel free to do so with Mr. Linky - or just leave a comment. I may not have anyone take me up on it, but I want to give you the opportunity if you want.

Here is this week's summary:

Charlotte Mason Original Homeschooling Series - Volume 1

Home Education - Training and educating children under nine


There is a natural law of education much like the law of gravity. It permeates the child's ENTIRE life - leaving no part untouched.

Goals of education:

  • Science as a staple
  • The teaching of Latin
  • The teaching of modern languages
  • The teaching of math
  • Mastery of handicrafts
  • Writing skills, which are dependent on:
    • Knowledge of History
    • Knowledge of Literature
  • Mastery of life skills
  • Technical training

Yet, we need to go beyond these goals to follow the Law of Education.

Priciples Of The Law Of Education

  • Authority and obedience are natural and essential to education
  • But, children need to be respected as individuals with their own unique personalities (tailor the education to the child)
  • There are 3 main educational priciples:
    1. Children need a proper atmosphere to learn (do not bring the atmosphere down to the level of the child)
    2. Children need good habits to learn
    3. Children need living ideas to learn (not dry, lifeless ideas)
  • The child should be prompted to seek after knowledge on their own, and shouldn't be spoon fed ideas
  • Provide a full and generous curriculum but take care to help your child connect the dots - understand the whys and whens and hows. (For History I think homemade timelines do this.)
  • Children should be taught the difference between "I want" and "I will". We can desire something but not have the will to learn it. In order to learn something better it is helpful to turn to learning something different and/or interesting. Then, later turning back to the original thing we werew trying to learn or do.
  • Teach children logic & teach them to carefully and discerningly think through ideas
  • Our spiritual life is not supposed to be seperate from any of our studies, but we should seek the Divine in all that we do.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Friday, March 27, 2009

Spring Weather Forcast

This is our forcast for the next bit. This is a very typical forcast around here in the Spring (and Fall and Winter for that matter).


I so hope they are wrong. We've been getting back into homeschooling here the last few days. But, next week Mariah will join us and this is her Spring break. I was hoping for sme sunny (or non-rainy) weather so she could spend lots of time outdoors. Well, it will be alright, I just hope for some nice weather for her sake.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Broken Wrist Update

I went to a doctor's visit with the hand surgeon yesterday. The wonderful news - is that I have a hand brace now and not a cast at all. God is good. I am able to put on coats and take a shower without having to tape up my arm in a plastic bag. The doctor gave me excercises to do with my hand three times a day to basically push it back into a full range of motion. I don't use a sling anymore. I'm not to lift anything at all with my hand yet, but I have a lot more freedom. I feel like a new woman. Just wait till I can actually use my hand. Woohoo!

The only downside is right now with the re-introduction of moving my hand - my wrist and arm just throb. I'm sure that won't last too long though. Thank you all for your prayers through all this. I really appreciate it.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Things My Kids Said

Two things that were said today.

Abigail, my seventeen month old (baby) was walking around talking to her baby saying, "baby, baby, down!". Can you guess what I say to her a lot? And can you believe she is role playing already???

Natalie, my seven year old, commented, "It's a good things that sometimes we get distracted from our distractions, isn't it Mom?" So, true.


My Three Girls

Here are my three girls, each at about a year and a half.   abigail_one_and_halfrachel_one_and_halfnat_one_and_half abigail_one_and_half Abigail - Currently One And A Half rachel_one_and_half Rachel - Currently Five And A Half nat_one_and_half Natalie - Currently Seven And A Half

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Natalie is dealing with another bout of CVS (or stomach migraines). I'm thankful we know what it is now. When she gets to feeling nauseous if she tells me early enough, we can ward it off with ibuprofen. And if that doesn't work we've got these really expensive pills that they use for nausea in cancer patients. It helps and we don't end up in the E.R. Yet I still feel bad for her. Just like with migraines, the triggers can be numerous - stress (she threw up right after I broke my arm), a virus (she's got a cold right now), being really hungry or really full, and various foods (although this hasn't seemed the case for her).

You can read about it here if you are interested. CVSA Online It affects about .04% of children in the U.S. (or about 4 in 10,000 children).

I also feel badly because it's one of these kinds of syndromes that make your kids end up being sicker more than is typical, and I think when we have to cancel things people wonder if we are just being dramatic or if we are just flaky.  I know I need to keep trusting God for her healing, as is the case for all our kids.

Lazy Saturday

I just LOVE taking pictures. I have to watch out that it doesn't become an obsession. Part of the alure is the artistic component matched with the technical component. Now that I am understanding the basics of aperature (also called depth of field), shutter speed, focal point, steadying your camera, and ISO - I'm in heaven trying to get just the right shots.

Plus, a few months ago I figured out how to open and adjust my pictures in camera raw - which for certain pictures like silhouettes and really blown out pics can make all the difference in the world.

Then, too, while I've had access to Photoshop for years through our business, I've only recently gotten to the point in the learning curve where I can follow more advanced techniques. One of these techniques I just learned through a link on iheartfaces is to make a new layer and sharpen it specifically for the eyes - then apply a quick mask (which is alt the little square with the little circle in it - which for the life of me I never understood what that was for before), then you paint over the iris part of the eye to reveal the sharpening. That sharpens just the eyes - putting an extra sparkle in them - which is especially cool when you are starting with really contrasty eyes like with my Rachel. I think Abigail has pretty cool eyes too.

Isn't that cool???? I know it's technical (I apologize), but it's what professional photographers do and how the get the eyes to just shine! And, the thing is, I know everyone isn't as into photography or Photoshop. But, it was Greek to me too when I started, and with persistence, I'm starting to pick up some things.

Really, I'd say when I switched to the 30D from my G2 there wasn't much difference in most photos. I got action shots better because the G2 didn't take instant pictures like a digital SLR, plus it didn't have a sports setting. But, even still, with all the knowledge I've gained, certain pictures I think turned out better with the G2 because it had an excellent lens (although small). I'm just saying this to say don't limit your photography by your camera. Sure if you have the $100 special from Costco, your options won't be so hot. But the Canon G10 goes for about $400 and is an excellent camera. The Digital Rebel (an SLR) runs about $700. And you can lways pick up used deals through Craigslist. If you catch the photography bug bad, however, I warn you that the thing you will drool over after you get a decent SLR, will be the lenses. Oh, how I drool for a professional level zoom lens!

Here are some pics from my lazy Saturday. You can see that the anti-nausea medicine perked our little Natalie up and she is back to her normal disposition. I probably should have given it to her sooner, but to give you an idea - without insurance one pill costs like $20 or so (she takes a half a pill). We get 3 pills (6 doses) with one insurance co-pay and only one refill in a year. So, I wait till it seems clear the ibu won't do the trick to give it to her.

Oh, I could just eat her up!

Love this sister shot.



Can you tell she's competitive?

It's bokeh (the subject is out of focus), but I like it.

I love her eyes - especially when I can get her to look at me :).

Friday, March 20, 2009

Tonight's Therapy





Seven - she's not feeling well




Thursday, March 19, 2009

Pictures & Me

Here is a picture I'm sharing with. I Photoshopped the colors and really like it.

Tree with pink sky

I'm doing alright with my wrist. Actually, I'm starting to get quite irritated with the inconvenience. I guess that's a good sign. It means I'm feeling a lot better. Last night you wouldn't know it though. I waited too long to take any medicine and I was very tired. The novelty of helping seems to be wearing off my family too. That's all right they do pretty well. It's the little things like you can't hold a glass of water and open the door to your bedroom at the same time. As I set my glass of water on the table, walk over and open the door, walk back and get my water, Jon says, "did you want me to help you?" Does he have to always ask me to ask him to help me? Can he just try and help without me asking? This is an ongoing difference in how we do things whether my arm is broken or not. Right now I just feel a bit helpless - which is not a way I like to feel!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My Cleaning Girls

cleaning cleaning_2


Ah, the roses are getting buds. And, I've noticed everyone is starting to prune them. I have fallen in love with roses. Not that my roses are that beautiful. Yet, I have studied them the past few years both through book learning and real life observation.

I have a secret to tell you. I have an unusual hobby. I remember being in Highschool and being asked what my hobbies were. It was a ? I felt badly about it, because I couldn't think of the answer to it. But, now, I think I could come up with 100 hobbies.

So, my hobby? I love to prune. Roses. Rhodies. Trees. Kiwis. Grapes.

People are funny about roses. It seems to me there is a lot of misinformation about roses - or a lot of mystique. But, really, roses are really pretty easy. Here are couple of pointers:


  • You don't have to take roses down to nothing. Leave more canes. The only reason you need to cut the canes off is to cut off dead material, and to provide for more air. How do you know if it's dead and diseased and needs to be taken off? Well, basically you need to take off canes if they are black or mushy. That's it. Now, I had one bush this year that I was disappointed in. I just bought it last year and I love the roses on it. It was a Jackson's Perkins (a good name). Most of its canes were black - so I had to take it back to three or four inches.
  • Cut for airflow and to avoid criss-crossing branches. This is always the rule of pruning. Cut extra branches off to clear up more space in the middle of the plant and allow for airflow and sunlight.
  • Cut your roses at an angle down from your bud. This allows for the sap to flow away from the bud and to seal the cut properly.

Other Tips

  • Roses love lots of light. Plant in full sun.
  • Roses love nitrogen and they like the soil around them to be loose. At the beginning of Spring, turn some soil up at their base and give them some compost and fertilizer.
  • Roses like regular, deep watering - but don't prefer the sprinkler. Water them by soaker hose or by hand once a week during dry times (twice a week during hot, hot weather). Sprinklers spread fungal diseases, so avoid them.
  • Take double leader roses down to one bud when they have two or three buds if you want more "long roses" type roses or more evenly distributed roses. They are cinch to pop off when the flower buds are newly formed. For fuller looking roses bushes leave the extra buds.
  • Treat regularly (every week) for black spot during the main growing season. You can use organic fungal treatment or a baking soda/water mix to treat it. Google it!
  • Make sure and remove your trimmings from the base of your rose bush. This is another way your roses get black spot (the black spots on your leaves that cause the foliage to fall off).

Here are my roses I've just pruned. I'll post updates as the season progresses.


rose_1 rose_2 rose_3 rose_4 rose_5 rose_6 rose_7 rose_8



Sunday, March 15, 2009

For Breakfast

For breakfast this morning (thanks to my husband): German Pancakes With Marionberry Sauce. Everyone's favorite.


Friday, March 13, 2009


Can anyone out there tell me how to fold laundry with one hand? to fold socks??

Surgery On My Wrist

I'm home. The anesthesia went a lot better this time and I could breathe better this time afterwards (I have asthma). I still have some pain, but that should improve over the next day or so. My wrist is all patched up now, with a plate in my arm. I should have mobility. There may be some loss of mobility, but the doctor said not any more than any break to the wrist, whether it required surgery, or a plate, or not.

Thanks for your prayers. BTW - I overheard a conversation after surgery and the surgeon and the anesthesiologist were both believers. I love how God works.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Life With One Arm


I have surgery tomorrow for my wrist. Then they said I'd probably stay overnight. I didn't wake up from anesthesia very well last time and so I'm not looking forward to it, but it needs to be done.


I must say I am getting very good at typing with one hand. Probably no novels for a while, but it may not slow me down as much as I thought.

To Remember


I was asked by a friend if I was going to be able to take photographs for the next eight weeks. Yes indeed! Thanks to the post Birthday/Christmas I got a tripod and remote trigger and can take pictures one handed. To prove it here is a self-portrait.

Self Portrait Wrist

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Prayer Please

Added Note: 

In response to the Thought left below:

I hope I'll be able to move my wrist! Or I might just prefer to leave it how it is! The bones that are broken are actually in the forearm just beyond my wrist - so their the big bones that connect to the small wrist bones. Here is my somewhat unskilled attempt to draw a picture of my wrist in Illustrator.


Just an update on my wrist:

I went to surgery today to get pins put in it, but it didn't work. So, I will go back on Friday hopefully and have another surgery to get a plate put in my arm. 
On top of this Natalie is getting these stomach migraines (CVS) I think because she is stressed about it, plus she also has a cold. The little girls are with Grandma.

So, please pray for Natalie to get well and for her to have God's peace; for me to not get sick; and for everything to go well on Friday.



Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I Broke My Wrist

Well, I was out walking with my husband last night and slipped real hard on ice in our driveway. I put my hand back to brace myself and broke my wrist quite badly. It's splinted. I'll have surgery tomorrow to pin the bone in place. There were two breaks, but one was a big break on the big bone in my forearm - it was quite convoluted,

So, I'm typing this with one hand and needless to say, I won't be posting and commenting so much, but I'll still be visitting you. I also can't drive for eight weeks, so I'm trying to figure that out with all the activities we do.

Bye for now.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Rachel's Birthday List

Rachel's birthday isn't until August, but every girl needs a head start in writing out that list. Here she is:

The Birthday List

Snow Cat

"Don't take my picture! Let me in!" Don't take my picture! Let me in!

Photos Of The "Snow"

Here are some photos from our farm today (in the "snow"). Looking Out Abigail (1) Watching The Snow   Watching The Snow Natalie (7) Watching The Snow   Junco   Junco All winter we have Juncos and Chickadees and an occasional Blue Jay and Northern Flicker. Lately we've been seeing Robins, Goldfinches (they aren't gold yet), House Finches, and Spotted Towhees. But today in the snow, there were mostly Juncos. Juncos are easy to get close to, which is nice.   black_calves Here are the two black calves - Blackberry and "Doesn't Get A Name"   Jewel Our new calf Jewel. Now you can see her true color. And, as you can see she is as sweet as can be.   Jewel Jewel again.   Jewel & Me Jewel and I.   Ruby This is Ruby, Jewel's Momma.   Ruby & Pattina Ruby & Dora Ann. Dora Ann is the next Momma (due in about a month and a half).