Thursday, April 4, 2013

Charlotte Mason

"We owe it to them to initiate an immense number of interests.  'Thou hast set my feet in a large room,' should be the glad cry of every intelligent soul.  Life should be all living, and not merely a tedious passing of time; not all doing or all feeling or all thinking--the strain would be too great--but, all living; that is to say, we should be in touch wherever we go, whatever we hear, whatever we see, with some manner of vital interest.  We cannot give the children these interests; we prefer that they should never say they have learned botany or conchology, geology, or astronomy.  The question is not, --how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education--but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?"
--Charlotte Mason

Sunday, March 17, 2013

What I am reading right now...

I started reading this book last night, and it has already been encouraging, convicting, inspiring, and humorous!  In a word, it is refreshing.  It's a short book, and easy to read.  But the truths are profound and wise.  In the Foreward of the book, Nancy Wilson says this,

"Sometimes all we really need is a fresh perspective on our circumstances.  We need someone to open a window and let a breeze blow into the room that we didn't realize had gotten so stuffy.  This book is about opening the windows."

I am thankful that I happened to find this book at the library.  The Lord is giving me a fresh perspective, and I am opening the windows!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Homeschool Days...

 I wanted to share just a few of the things we've been doing in recent weeks and months during our learning time at home. 

First a little note on organization.  (Okay, it's not such a little note after all).  The bins you see in the background of the first picture below are a new organizational method I have been trying recently.  We already had the shelves and bins, but had been using them for toys and craft supplies in different locations.  So I emptied them out and put them in our living room, which is now our primary learning space.  I also rearranged the furniture so that we would have more open space for doing activities on the floor.  We have the kids small table by the window for when they need or want to be sitting at a table.  Each child has their own shelving unit with twelve bins.  The way that we are using them is similar to the "workbox system," but with our own spin on it.

I usually do the following preparation in the evening so it's ready for the next morning:
  • First I place each activity for the next day into its own bin with all the supplies needed to complete the activity (whether it's simply reading a book, or making a craft, or whatever).
  • Next I place the bins in the order I would like the child to do them.
  • Lastly I place the numbers on the bins.  The numbers are removable so I can rearrange the bins depending on whether I need a small size or large size for each activity.
My older son (6) likes doing his in order, so that he has a sense of accomplishment and knows just what he has left to do.  He can also get started and continue somewhat on his own for some of his activities, if I'm taking care of the baby or working with my younger son and can't help him right away.  For my younger son (3) we use the bins a bit differently.  He gets to choose what he wants to do and what order to do them in.  Sometimes he does all the activities in the bins, and sometimes only a few.  Some of them require me working with him, and some of them he can do on his own.  I have found that using this system helps to keep us on track, and the kids are excited each day to see what will be in their bins!  It does require a bit more prep time in the evening, but it is worth it because our days run more smoothly!

Here's a small sampling of some of the things we've done in these last few months since the holidays.  And the answer to your question is yes, we do school in our PJ's a lot! :)  Just because we can!

One chilly wintery week we read the book The Mitten, and found a bunch of fun printable activities to go along with it.  I found these great printables here.

We've been adding in some Montessori inspired activities like transferring pom poms with chopsticks and clothespins (because that's what I had on hand).  This activity helps improve fine motor skills, and they can also practice counting and sorting by size and color.  Although Caleb really liked how the pom poms felt on his hands!

 Caleb has been working on making letter shapes out of play dough.  This makes it more hands on for him, and it seems to help him remember the different letters better.  Of course after he makes his letter for the day he gets to just play with his play dough.  Wesley has been learning digraphs (sh, ch, wh, th).  In this picture he is working with dot paints to practice recognizing digraphs. He's using another great printable that I found here.  He enjoyed it even more because it had a picture of a Skylander on it!

We had been learning about native Americans and the pioneers, so we made some little teepees.  This was a really fun activity that we found in our Living Long Ago book.  The boys had a lot of fun decorating them, and then playing with them.  We used miniature pirates (because they were the only toy we had that was the right size) and just pretended they were native Americans. That's the beauty of imagination!

This was their own version of dressing up like native Americans...and this was followed by hours of imaginative play! 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

David's Birthday!

 We recently celebrated David's birthday!  (by recently, I mean quite a few weeks ago). The kids love wearing party hats!  They enjoyed giving Daddy a gift which they had picked out for him weeks ago: a t-shirt with the word "Seminary" on it.  They also enjoyed staying up extra late the night before to help me decorate the house with party decorations.  We celebrated by going out to eat at Cheddars, one of David's favorite restaurants, with some friends. 
 Then we ended the evening with a trip to Orange Leaf for some yummy dessert.  This was our first time going to Orange Leaf and it was a lot of fun!  The kids are already thinking about what they want to try the next time we go.

 Eliana had fun too, even though she didn't get to try the frozen yogurt.  Just sitting like a big girl next to Daddy!

  The next day, the boys helped me bake a cake for Daddy.  They were such good helpers! Wesley was our photographer for the cake making process:

Happy Birthday David!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

For Uncle Ted!

These boys don't need a reason to dress up...they enjoy wearing costumes any old time.

Wesley and his snowman.

Going to play in the snow!

Caleb is giving his little cousin Jude a huge hug!

Sweet Wesley.

Thanksgiving dinner at Mom and Dad's.

Mom with all 3 of her grandkids! (in order: Caleb, Wesley, Judah)

Chocolate moustache!

Sorry, I can't get my video to upload. I'll have to try again another day.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


We got to see the baby elephant at the zoo last week, he was so cute! Had a nice view of the tiger too. Wesley, Caleb, and I all had a great time! We went again today but forgot the camera.
We love the zoo!