Thursday, April 30, 2009

Little Ann

Hey, just to let you all know the calf is doing great. Yesterday we headgated her Momma and walked the calf over to nurse. She nursed well, but still looked tired afterwards. I had been reading about calves being dehydrated and so we tubed her with a salt water/baking soda mixture to help hydrate her. By morning she looked spunky! She was up nursing herself and nursed three out of four quadrants dry. We headgated her Mom again and put her on her mom for the remaining quadrant. Plus she was up jumping around tonight! We will still need to watch her carefully for the next three weeks.

Little Ann

I think we are going to name her "Little Ann". Do you remember "Where The Red Fern Grows"? Our kids love that movie. We were reminding the kids she won't be little for long. I still have a black cow I couldn't come up with a name for. The cows we've named this year were Ruby and Jewel - Marion and Blackberry. This one's Mom's name is Dora Ann. So the name kind of matches.

Little Ann

Hey, just to let you all know the calf is doing great. Yesterday we headgated her Momma and walked the calf over to nurse. She nursed well, but still looked tired afterwards. I had been reading about calves being dehydrated and so we tubed her with a salt water/baking soda mixture to help hydrate her. By morning she looked spunky! She was up nursing herself and nursed three out of four quadrants dry. We headgated her Mom again and put her on her mom for the remaining quadrant. Plus she was up jumping around tonight! We will still need to watch her carefully for the next three weeks.

Little Ann

I think we are going to name her "Little Ann". Do you remember "Where The Red Fern Grows"? Our kids love that movie. We were reminding the kids she won't be little for long. I still have a black cow I couldn't come up with a name for. The cows we've named this year were Ruby and Jewel - Marion and Blackberry. This one's Mom's name is Dora Ann. So the name kind of matches.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

My Week

My Week April 20-24, 2009


I keep having unbelievers and our nation and what we stand for on my heart. I will keep praying. But, also, I pray that God would direct me how to reach out to others in a tangible way.

Our Farm

Dora Ann still hasn't calved. She's at least a week past her due date - according to the last possible date she could have gotten pregnant. And, she keeps faking us out. She lost her calf last year and we weren't home at the time, so we're extra nervous. We hope it was just a fluke and that we get to keep her. She is such a sweet Momma - loves to be scratched.

I'm waiting on my greenhouse seedlings to sprout. I have one warmer for my trays. Otherwise, it's been above freezing in there, but not optimal.

The steers got out of the electric fence at the neighbors, so this week Jon is working on re-inforcing the fence over there - making it double layered in spots. He is also working on tilling a couple acres of field to replant.

Our Home & Health

We've all been healthy, except Rachel is fighting a cold. I don't know where we get them from - dance, church, or the grocery store - those are pretty much the only places we go!

I felt like I was treading water with the house all week. Oh, well, "some days are like that".

I've been trying to eat less, to the point of feeling hungry all week. My feet have been bothering me so I haven't added walking to my routine, but I've done a lot of stretching.

In The Schoolroom

We started each day with Violin practice. On Tuesday we went to dance. Nat did Saxon Math four out of five days, but it was taking her like an hour to an hour and a half to do her math by Thursday, so on Friday, I just let her do her own thing on math, which was actually a pretty good summary of what she had learned this week. Nat's been working through the human body book on her own. She even wanted to do it on Saturday she is that interested. She learned about teeth and nutrition among other things this week. She's been doing copywork from the Bible and also from the Handbook of Nature Study. She has chosen mostly to write about sheep. She really wants a goat and I think sheep are close to goats, so she's hooked. We've been doing a lot of nature study this week. Not four to six hours a day, but a good hour of dedicated time each day, plus free time outside. We looked at our giant Douglas Fir and it's deep grooves at the bottom of our property this Friday. We've continued with Parables Of Nature, Fifty Famous Stories, and Trial and Triump this week. Nat is reading By The Shores Of Silver Lake of the Little House Series this week. We went to soccer on Thursday - in the rain, and Nat had a soccer game on Saturday. The game is a challenge for her - especially the cold, early mornings, but she pretty much begs to continue next year, so I think we may. I keep going back and forth.

Rachel has really made progress reading this week. She is finally getting most of the letters - including the letter "I". Yeah! And she is all the sudden able to understand the "vowel followed by a consonant followed by an e" rule. She can't actually tell me vowels from consonants - but she gets that certain letters followed by other letters followed by an e say their name and the e says, "shhhh!" How cool is that! I can't tell you how pumped I am at that.

Abigail, well Abigail is cute and she likes to do "Copywork" too right next to sisters - she likes to get out pencils and paper, help with the dishes and the laundry. She's just plain cute!

Our Business

I haven't been into work this week at all. Business is pretty slow as I hear from almost everyone, yet we are hopeful for opportunities and for God's blessing.


On Friday, we went to dinner with some friends. Here are some cute pictures from that night:





Friday, April 24, 2009

Her Own Math

Natalie made up her own math worksheet today. Also, notice the baby climbing in the background. She nearly gives her Daddy a heart attack when she does things like that.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My Ballet Girls

My ballet girls got their costumes for their dance recital today (which is in two months). Don't they look cute?



Sunday, April 19, 2009

My Greenhouse Is Done!

My Greenhouse's Done
And I'm Going To Get To Planting
Hey-la Dey-la
My Greenhouse's Done!

If you ever listened to oldies when you were a might get the song going in my head today. :)


The really sad thing is that I totally started this day with GRUMPINESS. I thought my camera was broken and I'd have to send it in to the manufacturer. My world well...I just wouldn't like it so much...if I were without my camera... Then I was discussing my camera with my husband and mentioned sometimes the lens was the problem with this error99 code. He said, "well, did you try your other lens." Sure enough it was my lens (probably the contacts) and it wasn't even my favorite lens. Shame on me for being grumpy!

Later when we got home Jon finished my greenhouse. And, when I mentioned to him that it was time for peas to go in the ground (and not in the greenhouse), he put compost on our garden. The greenhouse is mine, but the passion for the garden, well...he is even more passionate about than me. He's a crazy farmer and gardener.

This is Jon blowing me a kiss. He must really love me.

Compost - cows are handy sometimes

Can anyone guess what these are???

I'll give you a hint, the first picture is related to this picture.

And related to this picture...

And, unrelated to planting, I just had to share this picture from today. Mariah is always game to do most anything...


Saturday, April 18, 2009


I took the two big ones to Natalie's soccer game today. Natalie did quite well today. We've been talking about the game a lot this week and the importance of doing our best and of watching what's going on the game even when you aren't actively involved. It was like night and day...Natalie was a very involved girl today. Here are two pics...Mariah watching...Natalie practicing.




Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I Love Spring

Just a pic. I love Spring.


New Gardening Toys

Here are my two new gardening toys:

This is the greenhouse my husband is making me. We are bit behind schedule what with my wrist breaking and the business move getting in the way. But, it's coming along and I will have the greenhouse for the rest of this season and each season to come. I want to make starts and also just extend our season.

This is my new garbage-can compost-bin. I will take kitchen scraps and leaves from bushes and trees and place it in there. I'll have two compost bins - so I'll rotate what is the ready compost and where I put my scraps. I'll use it for compost for my purposes. My husband makes compost for our garden from steer manure. This is for my own purpose around the yard. Also it's a good thing to do with kitchen scraps to reduce our garbage.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


The Hummingbirds around here are becoming downright plentiful. We are feeding them Organic Evaporated Cane Juice Sugar Water. That's why it's yellow. I figured it was healthier for them than pure white sugar water. This actually isn't their favorite feeder. It's by our front door - plus it has little small flowers on it rather than the big type they prefer to eat from. The color of the water does not matter. Even though they prefer the other feeders, I've seen up to eight at this feeder. Why can't I get a picture of that?! Maybe I will. For now, this will have to do:


Charlotte Mason - The Out Of Door Life

Charlotte Mason's chapter on the out of door life for school at home is a hugely substantial one. It is over 50 pages long and covers a lot of details.

A good portion of the chapter is spent discussing the physical benefits of being out-of-doors in a way that is now out of date. Charlotte talks about blood chemistry in a manner unfamiliar to us and we now understand she is talking about vitamin D. She talks about light and we know that light on our eyes is necessary to keep us from being depressed. She talks about fresh air and oxygen. Certainly, we can see that a jaunt into the country is healthy, not just because of the scenery, the chance to unwind, the vitamin D, and the light; but because we breathe fresh, oxygen rich air mostly free from exhaust and other such city issues.

I've read about many a city dweller talk about nature study and mention that while they aren't able to observe this or that because they aren't in the country...but, that they get in their own nature study - studying birds and flowers and grasses and local trees. Truly, this is a great start. And something that Charlotte encouraged, as she encouraged us to have our children be familiar with every tree in every season within their neighborhood. But, somehow, many think that Charlotte was writing to a time where nature was more prevalent and available. I think on the contrary. This chapter is full of references about traveling away from the city to give your children opportunity to roam and to observe nature fully.

4-6 Hrs Outside A Day During Good Weather

Another surprise in this chapter is how much nature study and how little formal study Charlotte Mason believed our children should have (at least in the younger years - which goes up to at least the age of seven). In the spring & summer months (or all days when the weather is tolerable) Charlotte encourages us to give our children four, five, even six hours DAILY to romp outside. Not just "free time in the back yard" when you are finished with school, but as a type of school itself.

2-3 Hrs Outside A Day During Poor Weather

In the winter months (or I would say for some southern dwellers perhaps in the summer months - as 100 plus degree weather is definitely not tolerable for four, five, or six hours), Charlotte tells us our children should have two to three hours outside per day - divided into one to one and a half hours in the morning, and one to one and a half hours in the evening.

What Are We To Do Outside

We are to:

  • Train our children to observe things
  • Let our children have a substantial time left to themselves
  • Make sure our children play vigorously for an hour or two
  • Get detailed descriptions of things our children see and hear from our children
  • Make sure our children tell us about things with a full and exact vocabulary - rewarding the child by listening to them and praising them when they describe things clearly
  • Get the children to look at something - then close their eyes and recall what they have seen with detail
  • Teach our children names of field crops and all aspects of their farming
  • Teach them about the flower and plants they see and their history
  • Expect our children to know the name of every wildflower in their neighborhood
  • Have them collect flowers - press them, learn their latin and english name and habitat
  • Have them identify trees - in Winter, in Spring, in Summer
  • Teach them about plant reproduction - pointing out the seeds
  • Have them track FIRSTS of the season - where seen and when
  • When able to write, have them keep their own NATURE JOURNAL
  • As young as five or six have our children paint pictures of nature
  • Have our children hold and observe bugs and other critters from a young age
  • Collect a caterpillar and/or a tadpole, bring them home and watch their development
  • Have our children notice differences between plants and animals and make note of them
  • Have our children take up natural objects (sticks, rocks, etc.) and examine them - reasoning how they came to be the way they are
  • To familiarize our children with local geography and geographical terminology
  • Have our children notice the position of the sun and it's effects on shadows and light
  • Have our children note the weather
  • Have our children notice distance - first with feet, then yards, then 100 yards. Have them notice how long it takes to walk a mile.
  • Teach our children about direction and landmarks using the sun and shadows and landmarks and later a compass (maybe now...even later geo-caching)
  • Once a week or less we should point out colors or some loveliness of the landscape
  • Have the children play, sing songs, play games, play tag, skip rope, do sports, and generally be as loud as they wish to be - she mentions swimming to be a good outlet
  • Keep a FAMILY DIARY of things the family notices - or guesses about, which they come across
  • Charlotte appears to encourage war games (which she refers to as scouting)
  • Silently and with all attention "sneak" up on wildlife in order to watch them in their natural behavior (she refers to this as bird-stalking)
  • To follow the sounds of birds and learn (starting in the winter months) the sounds of the birds and how to differentiate them

We are not to:

  • Entertain our children
  • Make learning too bookish or too pressured
  • Talk too much

I thought this an excellent quote from the chapter:

"The power to classify, discriminate, distinguish between things that differ, is amongst the highest faculties of the human intellect, and no opportunity to cultivate it should be let slip; but a classification got out of books, that the child does not make himself and is not able to verify for himself, cultivates no power but that of verbal memory,"

Another point I thought well worth mentioning is:

"Watch a child standing at gaze at some sight new to him - a plough at work, for instance--...he is, in fact, taking in the intellectual food which the working facultry of his brain at this period requires. In his early years the child is all eyes; he observes, or more truly, he perceives, calling sight, touch, taste, smell, and hearing to this aid, that he may learn all that is discoverable by him about every new thing that comes under his notice."

The only mention of a "real lesson" in this chapter is the mention of a ten minute French Lesson - of which Charlotte mentions that the mother should have contact with real French speakers so that her accent is good. Charlotte emphasizes learning a living, practical language.

If you are following Charlotte Mason's principles in your homeschool and this chapter applies to you in some way and want to make a link to your blog post, please do so below. Of course, you are always welcome to leave a comment as well.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Little Abigail

Little Abigail is getting so big. She's getting to be a real little person rather than a baby. My husband gets really nervous when she climbs up on chairs (and for good reason). Yet, I told him this morning that I though he was just fighting against the wind trying to get her to not go up on chairs at all. She wants to be just like us! At this point, I just want to teach her to sit down on chairs (she sees her sisters use chairs as stools and wants to do the same).

Here are some pictures of her from today and from yesterday. Today she fell aspleep while eating. Oh man! I just want to package her up and save her for some rainy day. But, a picture will have to suffice. The other pics were from our very lame very small Easter Egg hunt from yesterday. We were stuck at home. :( We were going to go to see family - but Jon pulled out his back and really needed to rest. It's hard to get that man to rest! His body was telling him it was time.

Asleep In Her Chair

Sleeping In Bed

Girl In Elmo Dress

Looking At My Egg

Friday, April 10, 2009

My Week

My Week - April 4-April 10, 2009


I feel like God is continuing to do a work in me to pray for my world and country and family.

Our Farm

We are still waiting for Dora Ann to have a baby calf. Any time. She isn't showing any signs yet. Jon moved the main herd (mostly steers) to a bigger pasture. Next week he will move them to the neighbor's pasture - who generously let us borrow their field. Between my injury and the move at work - we have been behind at implementing the greenhouse. It is halfway done, however. I am also watching all sorts of perennials start to bring forth new buds. I want to get out there and divide up some clumping type of flowers before they become too big.

Our Home & Health

My wrist is feeling quite good. I'm typing with two hands without any trouble now. It's two weeks till I'm home clear. I'm excited for that day. I want to start exercising and want to get some cooking goals accomplished. I'm slowly getting started on some of it now. The house is getting much easier to keep up with. And I did a lot of organizing of my desk this week, which desperately needed to be done. I'm analytical in all that I do and I tend to collect more and more papers which I don't know what to do with. I like my various hobbies and interests, yet it is my desire to stick with the interests I have going and not add to them. Of course, the Lord can lead me, but too often I lead myself into disarray.

In The Schoolroom

I've really been enjoying my Charlotte Mason reading this week. It's about the out of doors. The weather was beautiful this week and between that and how I've been influenced by my Charlotte Mason reading, I have largely been allowing my girls to enjoy the weather. We have done math and reading of course. Natalie has done science. Natalie has been reading a Tom Swift book from the library. And, we have been studying nature. It has been enjoyable.

Our Business

It's been busy because we just moved and everything is still unsettled. Also, Jon's work computer went down (the core of it was about six years old and was due to be replaced) and so he has been dealing with an unreliable computer all week. This has been frustrating to him.

Other Activities

The girls went to dance this week. They just love dance. It's a Christian classical dance studio and the girls absolutely love it. I love it too as I get good fellowship there. We also went to soccer this week and have soccer tomorrow morning. The girls really enjoy soccer, but unfortuneately I don't so much. I'm not sure what to do about next year. Sometimes I wonder if I started soccer to make up for my own lack of sports ability anyhow. Yet, sports were a really great thing for my husband growing up. We went and watched Mariah's Easter recital at her school this week. Mariah (my step-daughter) is in a Christian school this year and we are as pleased as can be with how she is doing. She had a solo at the performance and was beautiful and sounded beautiful. On Sunday we are planning to visit cousins, which is a long drive, but one we usually only make a few times a year. Here is a picture of the girls explaining about their outdoor art (people made out of cedar chips). Creative Outdoor Art

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Struggling With Health Issues

I have been struggling to find answers to my girls' health issues. Perhaps their health issues aren't such a big deal, but they are my girls, and I was a little girl I told myself that I would not allow my children to go through health problems and not get them fixed.

I have asthma. And, as a child, it was out of control. We had pets. We had lots of dust. I didn't have the good medicine - I didn't get an inhaler until I was about 10 I think and I had gone to a camp with a girl who had asthma and had an inhaler. At that point I was taking some pill for my asthma - that made my heart race and tasted awful (I couldn't swallow pills so I broke them up in my food). So I got a rescue inhaler. But that didn't take care of it all the time. Sometimes I was just miserable - struggling to breathe.

Between that and the influence of my Grandmother, who struggled to feed me right when I spent summers with her, and to influence my family to feed me right. Yet, I don't think she came close to figuring things out. Being from the south, she continued to fry our food. Yet, she believed the doctors and cut out animal fat from her and my Granddad's diet. She took lots of supplements. She fed me homemade yogurt popsicles and homemade bread (probably not whole grain, but wonderful memories anyhow). My granddad had congested heart disease, but still lived to a pretty good age. I came to find out later in life that my Dad (like his Dad) had serious sleep apnea and that this causes congested heart disease. I would think that issues like anxiety control and weight would contribute to the sleep apnea, but at this point my Dad has to use a machine which makes sure he breathes right during the night.

Anyhow, I'm just not black and white on any of these issues. If you need to take medicine, please keep doing so. I "need" to take three or four prescription medicines - and really I would desire to not have to take them, but this is where I'm at - and without them I would be putting my health at serious risk. Yet, as I do more and more reading trying to figure out my girls, I am starting to think that maybe our issues all have a common cause.

When I was a child, I thought a lot about what it would be like to have been born in another century. I felt like I would fit in better with a more innocent age, yet I was so thankful to have the medicines I have, that I was thankful to have been born now. (Of course, I now have the faith to know that God knew exactly what he was doing by having me be born exactly when he had me be born.) But...I wonder...I mean I think there are genes at play here, but I also think that we've been changing things so much with vaccines, additives, refined and processed food, and lack of physical activity and fresh air - that our genes have been exacerbated.

I've found out that my middle daughter does not have Celiac disease. But, I am learning so much more beyond that. And, I'm just starting to crack the surface - nutrition and God's plan for our nutrition they are so complicated, yet so simple.

So, when my middle daughter is off gluten, even though she doesn't have Celiac, she does a lot better. On gluten, she doesn't look me in the eye, has tons of potty accidents, sings repetitively, and touches everything. The doctors don't seem to think much of this. To fine tune her symptoms more I've taken her off of milk - MOSTLY. I'm having a hard time telling her she can't have cheese. Nonetheless - you can see a dramatic difference with how she eats. Now, recently I've thought about it - because of her kidney that was unfunctional and a balloon - she was on a low dose of Amoxicillin every day until she was about one (when the kidney was removed). This had to have just ruined the good bacteria in her gut - creating leaky gut syndrome.

Also, I think leaky gut syndrome is something that affects me. It's associated with a whole host of auto-immune diseases. Yet, it's not something that the mainstream medical community by in large even considers.

On to my oldest daughter. Well, she gets CVS - or stomach migraines. Also, she has GERD (heartburn) and some mild asthma from the GERD and also from dust allergies. Plus, she just gets colds for longer - I think maybe it has to do with post nasal drip from allergies or GERD. So, the GERD is mostly a physical weakness in her stomach valve. But, the asthma and the stomach migraines are also in the auto-immune classifications.

And, it turns out, they tested Abigail at birth (because they were looking for participants in a study) and she had the Diabetes marker. My husband's dad died of liver cancer. His uncle has been battling with cancer for eight years. One of the girl's cousins has classic autism (not mild). My husband's brothers and sister have all dealt with thyroid issues (also auto-immune related).

So, I don't think I'm over-zealous at all to be looking for a common thread and to be looking out for the future (as well as current) health of my family. There is a great quote from Charlotte Mason in what I'm reading this week. She is speaking of the child being outdoors. She argues that one hour doesn't do it - but during the mild weather season - four or six hours a day is more appropriate. Then she says, "Let me repeat, that I venture to suggest, not what is practicable in any household, but what seems to be absolutely best for the children; and that, in the faith that mothers work wonders once they are convinced that wonders are demanded of them." Well, with God's leading, I can go against habit and culture and do what wonder He has requested of me.

Here are a few things I am discovering. First off, the big four problems when it comes to leaky gut syndrome (associated with auto-immune diseases including allergies and also associated with depression) - are gluten, casein, soy, and corn.

According to Nourishing Traditions - all dairy should be in raw or fermented form - the enzymes and healthy bacteria offer protection even against intolerance to casein. Also according to Nourishing Traditions (but I could list a lot of other sources) - all grains should be soaked in an acidic medium or should be prepared in a sourdough fashion. You should note that the Glycemic Index lists store bought whole wheat bread as causing a rise in your blood sugar just as fast as white bread! Nourishing Traditions says all grains should be soaked, not just ones that have gluten in them. But, that there is better tolerance by Celiacs or Celiac types when grains are properly prepared. Nourishing Traditions also teaches us that we get way too much Omega 6 in the typical American diet and we need more Omega 3 (what we get from pasture fed beef, pasture fed chicken, pasture fed chicken eggs, and salmon). NT teaches us that the polyunsaturated fats that we've all been taught are the "acceptable" fats - are actually cancer causing and artery plugging - especially given the ways we prepare them (high temperature). NT teaches you should consume first pressing olive oil, other first pressing nut oils, coconut oil, and animal fat (butter & lard from a pasture fed animal). NT also teaches that soy is bad (and is in everything processed), as it increases unwanted hormones and also blocks absorption of minerals.

Did you follow all that?

Now, others believe that due to the harm in the gut, even with proper soaking of the grains, some would do better to go off grain (or to go off gluten, casein, soy, and corn - GFCFSFCF) altogether. Or, at least, until the gut healed enough that grains, properly prepared, were not an issue anymore.

Added to that, I've long known that MSG is in a LOT of food, especially when you go out to eat. MSG is highly associated with migraines, but also with a lot of other auto-immune issues.

Now, I've recently discovered that glutamates are bound in many, many foods that we eat. When they are highly processed - the glutamates are released and they act just like MSG does. These free glutamates are in things like processed flour, processed milk product, parmesan cheese, sausages, yeast, fish sauce, soy sauce, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, soy protein, corn protein, dough conditioners, whey (not the homemade kind), medicines, chewing gums. Overwhelming list, huh?  

No wonder we have so much ADHD? IBS? Migraines? Asthma? Cancer? Obesity? Diabetes? We eat refined products galore. We eat refined, unproperly prepared grains. We eat MSG (or free glutamate) in so many foods. I've even read that the EPA has allowed, even in organic products, a glutamic acid product to be sprayed on foods - so we are probably getting some glutamic acid on our store bought foods, even if we select organic.

What to do? I want to go all the way. I don't think, at least at this point, that I am willing to go gluten, casein, soy, corn free. But, I can work to have my middle daughter follow that diet as she clearly seems to have the most issues. And I can learn to make my grains with a soaked or sourdough process. And, I'm seriously thinking about figuring out how to do some raw milk - either goats or milk. Or, at least go pick up the non-homogenized organic milk. I can tell you from the experience I've had with it so far, that food is DELICIOUS prepared this way. I can also just not buy anything processed. What we will save on going out to eat will make up for any additional cost.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Special Moment

I love it when I'm fortunate enough to be able to capture special moments like this. Here is Jon with Mariah. mariah_jon

Charlotte Mason - Childrearing & God's Divine Plan

I am doing a weekly study of the Charlotte Mason Home Schooling Series in order to keep me reading through Charlotte Mason's works and so that I can truly implement her powerful philosophies of education in my home school. If you are following along or wish to share about how you are implementing one of the Charlotte Mason principles covered during this week, just leave me a comment or link to your blog entry with Mr. Linky (at the bottom).

Here is this week's summary:

Charlotte Mason Original Homeschooling Series - Volume 1

Home Education - Training and educating children under nine

Part 1 - Some Preliminary Considerations

Charlotte points out that as time went on, women would all the more work, even if not necessitated by finances, just to feel the honor of doing something "useful". But she reminds us that instructing our children in the home is the most important job in society - it determines what kind of man or woman they will become.

Love is the first way we educate our children.

Studying about the rearing and education of our children is of utmost importance so that we can be effective in our profession.

The training and education of children follows certain laws. If we follow those laws we will raise mature children. If we don't follow those laws, then serious physical and mental shortcomings are inevitible. In order to get good results, we need to learn about the laws which govern our children's development.

How childrearing usually goes: Parents have lofty ideals. Yet they are excited to see the child's developing personality, but as the child becomes more independent, they leave the child alone.

In the Divine plan the family is the unit of the nation, not the individual, but the family.

Charlotte goes on to talk about old-school schooling where pain was inflicted for every offense, children were to be tough, children were to do the bidding of their elders. Then, she talks about the "new" style of education where adults give way to children and the world is made for children. In Charlotte's view both these styles of education were wrong.

The child is being educated by everything he does - eating, drinking, playing, reading, working, etc. - but he is unaware of it.

Charlotte Mason is trying to establish and explain the natural law of education and her own method of education, but she warns us that good methods turn into mere systems all too easily. Educational systems work.  A system teaches you to follow certain rules until the habit of doing certain things is full established. Yet there are limitations of systems. Rather, the whole of a child's existence should be used to educate the child.

Three Biblical Commandments

The Bible give us three commandments when it comes to our interactions with children. Do not OFFEND the child. Do not DESPISE the child. Do not HINDER the child. These commandments may be negatives, but if it becomes settled within us what me MAY NOT DO, it is much easier to see what me MUST DO. So, therefore studying and cementing God's commands about children, is vitally important.


OFFEND - to a stumbling block into front of someone, to trip someone up

Here are some ways we put up stumbling blocks in our children's lives:

Charlotte talks about how children are born innocent and law abiding. She tells us that it is by making light of little tresspasses (by letting little bad habits go on) that children become resistant.

Our example to our children is very important as well: "if his mother does what she chooses, of course he will do what he chooses, if he can; and henceforward the child's life becomes an endless struggle to get his own way."

She says if the child feels the parent is law-compelled, then he will be meek. Most of the time, reasoning with a child simply does not work and undermines parental dignity.

Charlotte points out that sacrificing our children's health through unwholesome food or other unwholesome habit (lack of exercise, too much TV, too many video games come to mind), is putting a stumbling block in our child's education as well. These things make our children dumb in a way that they will not be able to fully overcome later in life.

Another way to put a stumbling block in your child's life, is for a child to feel unloved. Make sure to take time each child now. Don't wait till they grow older, it may be too late.


"However much we may delight in them, we grown-up people have far too low an opinion of children."

Watch out who spends time with your children. If they have caregivers with negative attributes - even if they seem unrelated to the care they give your children, know that your child is likely to pick up on those attributes.

"To laugh at ugly tempers and let them pass because the child is small, is to sow the wind." Not dealing with each issue at the first offense is a way of despising our children.


Hindering is keeping children from coming to Him. Don't teach them that the things of God are more for adults or parents. Teach them God's way from their youth.

Other Considerations

Our brain needs exercise, rest, and nutrition to work properly.

Our brain needs "the daily habit of appropriate moral and mental work." Just as important as work is rest. We should alternate the work and the rest of our brain. We should pay careful attention to when we plan activities. For instance, in the afternoon after lunch, might be a better time for outdoor time. Also, once a child has done math and they are getting distracted, you could switch to a subject like history, which engages imagination (a different part of the brain).

Having dinner together and including the children in the conversation is a great way for parents to train children in manners and morals, and to encourage bonding of the family.

Charlotte goes on quite a while about the importance of air to the blood of the child. We can relate. Isn't a good dose of country air, no matter the weather, invigorating?

She mentions that sunshine is important too. We now know that Vitamin D produced in our bodies when we've had real sunlight, plus the anti-depressant effects of the light itself, is vital for our health.

Charlotte mentions that we should be allowed to sweat well and that a daily bath with some scrubbing opens up pores and gets more impurities out. Has anyone else heard of this being an issue in current day literature? Chrlotte encourages parents to dress their children in breathable clothing like cotton and wool for this reason.

Charlotte goes on to talk about religious people. She notes how often those that don't have religion, have better morals. She says this is because they are following God's natural laws and whether we recognize our Lawgiver or not, following His laws produces good results. She points out that those that study and recieve scripture observe the MOST IMPORTANT law of all. But we should have good habit and receive Christ's sacrifice both.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sunny Day On The Farm

It's a sunny day on the farm. Here are some pics.



I'm not sure which black calf these pictures are of. I'm guessing the boy. He is very friendly - so he's usually in front. I can't really tell them apart - except if they are next to each other the boy is taller and has a leaner frame.


This is 6217. I can't remember her name. The two black Momma Cows look the same to me unless they are standing up side by side - in which case Marion (the girl calves mom) looks bigger.


Jewel. She's more stand-offish now. Jon said it happened when he tried to weigh her at three weeks when a friend of his was over. I had tried to weigh her when she was born and her fur was so slick she kept slipping out of my arms.

jewel_sun_2 lizards
These lizards did a good job camoflauging themselves don't you think?

Anyone know what kind of lizard this is? My girls want to know.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Delicious Eggs

Don't these eggs look delicious. It's spring and our chickens are getting lots of fresh, green pasture. We allow them to free range them all year round. It was amazing when it snowed, the eggs literally turned to looking like store bought eggs overnight. Right now our eggs are so orangey. Can you see it in the picture? Our chicken wake up bright and early in the morning and the lighter it gets the more you can hear them cackling, "let me out! let me out! I want to free range!"

Much more orangey than the organic, "free range", flax-seed fed eggs I used to buy from the grocery. Ours get that good Omega 3 from the grass. That orangey color are the Omega 3 fats. Good for you and yummy too!


My Week

My Week - March 30-April 3, 2009


I've been praying a lot for wellness in our family and for God's help in our business. I've also been reading some in Daniel and Revelation this week.

I am really praying for (starting with myself) for Christians to pray for the God's people to humble themselves and pray for our world and nation and for His righteousness to shine in this generation. I think sometimes we get so frustrated and feel like what can we do about where this whole society is going. Well, He can accomplish much and one of the main ways He chooses to work through us is through our prayers. Of course He knows best, but He wants us to petition Him nonetheless. Remember Abraham petitioning God for Lot's city? It turned out the time had come for it to be destroyed, but God did not look down on Abraham's compasssion or prayers. 

Our Farm

Dora Ann should have a baby calf in the next week or two now. She is the last of the cows which we are planning on re-breeding to have a calf. And she, along with the other Mommas stay in the upper pasture by our house. We'll wait and see.

Our Home & Health

My wrist is getting better. Two and a half more weeks till I can drive and do more things with my left arm. At least I think so. I'm getting to the stage where my fingers feel more flexible and my arm usually isn't in pain and I am tempted to do things I'm not supposed to do yet - like grab a pillow with my broken arm or scoot my toddler on my lap or try and fold towels.

The house is a challenge to keep up with. But most of the time I've kept up with making meals. I'm so glad I came up with that easy menu plan before I broke my wrist. I'm not being perfect with Rachey's Gluten Free Casein Free and I think it shows - we've had lots of potty accidents and some trouble looking me in the eye and concentrating on days when I haven't been so good. It's so hard to tell what is just a bad day and what is diet related. If I just never ate when we were out and about and never cheated on milk products with her, it might be clearer

In The Schoolroom

We're pretty much back on task with school this work, since the kids are well, I'm out of pain, and I am a lot more mobile.

Some books we've been reading together are Trial & Triumph, Exploring New Worlds, and The Burgess Bird Book. Nat read several readers to Rachel this week - one about Helen Keller. Then she made brail with foam sticky shapes she cut up. Nat also read a full length translation of Pinnochio this week. She loved it and was sad there wasn't a sequel about his life as a real boy. Nat did some copywork from The Handbook Of Nature Study and the Bible.

Nat worked on 2's and 5's in multiplication and double digits with adding. I like Saxon math for it's gradual introduction of topics. I just cut back on the worksheets when I feel it is too much. Nat spaces sometimes and forgets to watch for signs in her math. That another good thing about Saxon - they mix it all together so the kids learn to watch for signs. I'm quick to explain things to my girls with manipulatives so we make math fun that way. I do want to get the book Family Math sometime for a more hands on approach.

In science the girls have been learning about the brain and the nervous system. They really enjoy the projects that go with the chapter. Below, I'm sharing a picture of their brain models (Natalie's and Mariah's).

Rachey has been enthusiastic about reading "Top Job Mom" to me this week and enthusiastic about her math (which is Abeka Kindergarden math).

Our Business

Things are going well. We are moving our business closer to our home. Jon's putting in lots of hours because of that, but it's good long term.

Mariah went to work with Jon two days this week - and was excited to help Dad with stuff. Since this week it's not all desk work, but more hands on and errands, it works out well.

I went in with Jon on Tuesday. It was actually just a few hours in the office. That would be about how much I think I could stand, typing with one hand. Then, Jon & I went out to dinner (no kids). It was nice!