"....Your children shall be like olive plants all around your table." Psalm 128:3

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Our Field Trip to Holland

For our very first read-aloud, I chose this book........

It's not as graphic as Corrie ten Boom's The Hiding Place, but my children still learned more about World War II and the unbelievable cruelty that the Jews suffered than any History textbook could teach them.

After we finished reading the book, I was online trying to  find photos of the "Angel's Den" (the room where Corrie and her family hid the Jews) to show the children. I found much more than photos...I found a virtual tour of the ten Boom house, now the ten Boom Museum!  The children and I sat transfixed to computer as we "toured" the house, room by room, with a lady's voice in the background narrating everything.  It brought everything to life for the children - and me! -  to actually see the rooms where the watches and clocks were repaired; the kitchen where the ten Booms shared their meals; and finally, Corrie's room, where the Angel's Den was located.  It was almost as wonderful as actually being in the real museum. The children talked about the tour for weeks afterward, and asked me to read the book to them - again!

For those of you who are interested,  here's the link for the virtual museum tour...


Scroll down and click the photo in the middle and then click "virtual tour".

Enjoy your stay in Holland.  :)

Have a blessed day,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Give Thanks

Several years ago, my children made this Thanksgiving banner. I have been able to preserve it, although with each passing year, more of the "natural treasures" that make up the banner, fall off.

It's very easy to make. First, you write the letters on fall-colored construction paper. Then, glue sticks, grass, small vines, berries, etc, onto the construction paper.  After the glue dries, wrap the tops of the paper over several strands of fall-colored yarn, and glue down the flaps. Let the glue dry over night.

Here are some of the things my children used for their letters...
                                     The G is made of milkweed and a stick.

                          They used berries, dried flowers, and lavender for the A.

                            The T is made of wild grapevine tendrils and bark.

                                          The K is made of fern fronds.

                                    They used honeysuckle vines for the S.

"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His Name. "    Psalm 100:4

Have a happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

linked up at www.raisinghomemakers.com

Monday, November 21, 2011

Interview With My Children

So exactly what do my children think of this new method of education, as opposed to the textbook method?  I asked them, and here's what they said...

Mimi, who is four, said, "I like the read- alouds!"

Natty, who is eight, said, "Instead of the textbook method, I like learning this way."

Asher, who is nine, said, "Instead of reading alone, I like reading together as a family."

Aaron, who is eleven, said, "Instead of long lessons, I like shorter ones."

Ian, who is twelve, said, "Instead of doing lessons separately, I like doing them together as a family."

They also told me the things they disliked the most about the textbook method, and I quote:
  -  "long, boring lessons"
  -   "written tests"
  -  " doing lessons separately"

 They also told me what their favorite things about the Charlotte Mason method:
  -  "shorter lessons"
  -  "read-alouds"
  -  " no more twaddle"
  -  "narration" (especially the various forms of it)
  -  "Science experiments"
  -  "Nature Journals - we love Nature Journals!"
  -  "This method is more relaxed."
  -  "We like Art appreciation and composer study!"
  -  "We learn all day, not just when the books are open."
(I love the fact that they love to do lessons together as a family!)

 So I  would say that the evidence is definitely in favor of the Charlotte Mason method, wouldn't you?   :) 

" And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up."  -  Deuteronomy 6:6-8

Have a blessed day,




Friday, November 18, 2011

How We Implemented the Charlotte Mason Method


Before I tell you how I implemented the Charlotte Mason method into our homeschool, I will tell you what I have learned about her. I could never exhaust her entire philosophy on this blog because there's just too much; six volumes have been written about her. But I can explain to you what I have learned in the past 4 months of research.

Charlotte Mason was an English educator born in 1842, and died in 1923. She had a very high view of children in a day in which children were not even allowed to ask questions.

Her basic philosophy was that, most importantly, children should love to learn. This basic philosophy included doing “regular school” plus the humanities (music, art, and crafts). She also believed that parents should schedule as little time as an hour per day in the morning to do serious academics (with that time increasing as the child gets older), and then the parents and child going out into nature and doing nature sketching.

She believed that children should have lots of time to pursue their own interests. She believed that “education is an atmosphere, a way of life, a discipline.”

She believed that parents should frequently read aloud to their children. And then have the children “narrate” to their parents, telling them what they have learned.

She believed in exposing children to poetry, keeping nature journals, enforcing good habits, and doing dictation.

She believed that children should read “living” books, which means that books that have real-life characters in them; someone with whom the child can connect.

There's so much more, but here's how I have implemented what I have learned so far...

After a Bible lesson to start the day, I read aloud to the children. We are currently reading “Johnny Tremain” and “Everyday Graces”. The children love to be read to and it's a very relaxing way to start the day.

After read alouds, we do copywork, which is penmanship. I write a quote on the marker board and the children copy it into their Noble Thoughts notebook in their very best handwriting. The quotes are from the Bible, a historical figure, or a line of poetry. The children love this, too! At this time (twice each week) we recite poetry. Recitation is a great way to sharpen public speaking skills.

After copywork, each of the four older children have their silent reading time. They are not allowed to read “twaddle” (dumbed-down children's literature) anymore. Only living classics for us now. I am slowly removing all twaddle from our home and I'm amazed at the sheer amount of it! I am happy to say that all twaddle is being replaced with the best literary works available. After they each read one chapter, they narrate it to me...or, tell me everything they can remember about what they read. Narration can be oral, written (for the older ones), play-acting, painting, drawing, etc. Narration is a favorite of the children. While the older four are reading, I do reading lessons with my 4-yr.old.

For History, we are studying American History together. I read the lesson and the children narrate, usually orally. We also do History Pockets (the Civil War) once a week. On Fridays, we do our Book of Centuries, which is essentially a timeline in a notebook.

Then we do Apologia Physical Science. Again, I read the lesson. They narrate orally and we discuss it. And we usually have 1 – 2 experiments each week, so even my four-year-old already  loves Science. Every Tuesday, we do Nature Journals. We take a walk or hike, then come home and sketch what we saw. It can be anything from leaves to trees to birds or any object found in its natural setting. This is also a favorite activity of the children.

For music, we are studying Johann Sebastian Bach, and for Art appreciation we are studying Leonardo da Vinci one day a week. The children love this, too, and I am pleasantly surprised at how much they enjoy looking at the art and listening to classical music. I downloaded classical music on my computer and it's our background music during lesson time so they hear alot of it.

Instead of a spelling book , we use Spelling Wisdom books. I bought them from the Simply Charlotte Mason website found below. Once again, the children love this. It's so much better than the typical spelling textbook!

Next is Math. We use Saxon Math, and again, oral lessons (done individually). The children do have math problems to work, but I shorten the lessons according to age.

For English (done individually), we do oral lessons, shortened according to age.

It might look like a long day, but it isn't. The children are excited about school and the day passes quickly.

We don't do many tests. Tests only focus on what the child doesn't know, instead of what they do know. But we do lots of narration, and from that alone, I can tell that my children are learning. And they are learning a lot. And they love learning and are eager to get started each and every morning. So the battle is over.

I am thankful to know that I wasn't the cause of my children not liking school. It wasn't me after all....it was my method.

For more info on the Charlotte Mason approach to home education, visit Silvia, @ http://educandoenelhogar.blogspot.com

And these websites are wonderful resources, too...

So, there you have it. If you have any questions or feedback, I'd love to hear from you. :)   And in my next post, you will hear from my children about what they like about the our “new” way of homeschooling.

Happy homeschooling!

Have a blessed day,


linked up at The Carnival of Homeschooling @ www.momschool.net/2011/11/22/carnival-of-homeschooling/

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Why the Charlotte Mason method of home education?

“So, why the Charlotte Mason method?”

"Charlotte Mason was an English educator that lived in the late 1800s/early 1900s. How can her methods be effective in our day?"

I've been asked these questions several times by other homeschool moms when I mention our new method of home education.

Before I give my answer(s), a little background...

This year, we began our 18th year of homeschooling. and as of last summer, the textbook method of home education was the only method that I used – it was the only one that I was familiar with. Of course, I had heard of other methods, including the Charlotte Method. But that's all I knew – the name, and nothing more.

As the new school year drew closer, I struggled with the very method of teaching that I was so familiar with. Sure, the kids did well : good grades, tested far above grade level, etc....but did they enjoy learning? I knew they loved being home – I'm thankful to say that that was obvious. But I also knew they didn't like school work . They just wanted to “get it over with”. There was no eagerness to learn. They seemed bored and complained about the lessons. I know – until I learned about the CM approach, I too, thought it was “normal” for children to dislike school. But I also knew that children are born with a love for learning, and I wanted to encourage that, not snuff it out. And I was afraid that I was getting very close to doing just that if I didn't change my methods!

So I began to pray about it and ask the Lord for wisdom about changing something..anything to preserve my children's love of learning.

A couple of weeks before we were to start school (the Lord is always on time, isn't He?), the answer to my prayers came in the form of a magazine : The Old Schoolhouse magazine. There were several articles that explained the CM approach. I read each of them (devoured is more accurate) , highlighting almost every word! This was it! I knew that I had found what I'd been looking for. I also did lots of online research. And the more I learned, the more excited I became. My hubby and I discussed it and he was very supportive of the change. And I knew if I had his support, making the change would be an easy transition.

The next step was to talk to the children about it. After I explained to them what we were going to do, they became very excited, and eager to start the new year ( imagine that! eager to start the new school year!).

That's the “why”.

Stay tuned. In my next post, I'll explain the “hows”.

Happy homeschooling,

linked up at www.deeprootsathome.com

Friday, November 11, 2011

In Flanders Fields

 In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The lark, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
- John McCrae

May we never forget that "all gave some, and some gave all."
Please remember to thank a veteran today.
Have a blessed day,

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Little Girl's Crocheted Skirt

On a recent post, I mentioned that I have been crocheting a skirt for my four-year-old daughter.  One of my readers asked for the pattern, so here it is....

H hook
I used 2 skeins of Lion Brand Homespun yarn, which was, in my opinion, a mistake. The Homespun yarn is very heavy for a skirt. When I make one for my seven-year-old, I will definitely use a lighter weight yarn.
Size: approx. a size 4-5. (The skirt is actually just a rectangle and sewed up the back.)
If you need to increase this for a bigger size, make sure you do a multiple of 4 + 3.

Row 1: Ch 83, in 4th ch from hook do (2 dc, ch 1, 1 dc), *skip 3 ch, in next ch work (3 dc, ch 1, 1 dc); rep from *, ending skip 2 ch, 1 dc in last ch. Ch 3, turn.
Row 2: Under first ch 1 work (2dc, ch 1, 1 dc), *under next ch 1 work (3dc, ch1, 1 dc); rep from *, ending pat under last ch1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of turning ch. Ch 3, turn.
Row 3- 23: Repeat Row 2 for stitch pattern. Fasten off and weave in ends.

For a lining, cut a rectangle-shaped piece of light-weight material, slightly smaller than the skirt and stitch it to the wrong side of the skirt.

(You can make this longer for a bigger size, if you just increase the rows.)

I sewed up the seam to make the back.
I use elastic on all my daughter’s skirts. So I take the 3/4 inch elastic, measure it to my daughter and cut. Then I sew the one end into a circle. Then I sc the elastic to the first row of the skirt.
Or you can stitch it to the skirt. Fasten off and weave in ends.

Here's a photo of the finished product..

 "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
  My soul shall be joyful in my God,
  For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
  He has covered me with the robe of righteousness."   Isaiah 61:10

Have a blessed day,


linked up at  www.deeprootsathome.com

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For today, November 7, 2011.....

Outside my window....it's cold, but the sunny is coming up and it promises to be a beautiful day.

I am thinking....about how much I love having a woodstove on chilly mornings.

I am thankful....for this time of year. The leaves are beautiful.

From the learning rooms....lots of fun is in store for today: read alouds, recitations, nature journals, a science experiment, studying the first article of the Constitution, and we continue our study of Leonardo da Vinci.

In the kitchen....homemade biscuits and scrambled eggs for breakfast.

I am wearing....a blue skirt and a white top.

I am creating....crocheting skirts for my girls.

I am wondering....what to fix for supper tonight.

I am going...nowhere today, but to the polls tomorrow. The children consider it a field trip.  :)

I am reading.... (other than the Bible) Johnny Tremain. Actually, I'm reading it aloud to the children, but I like to read ahead a little bit.

I am hoping....to get alot of cleaning done today.

I am looking forward to.... Aaron's 11th birthday on Thursday.

I am hearing....Kim, our cat, purring beside me.

Around the house....our deck chair cushions and umbrella needs to be brought in for the winter.

I am pondering....how much I love the time I have with my children.

One of my favorite things....curling up in front of the woodstove with a good book.

A few plans for the rest of the week....Aaron's birthday bash, and a Chronicles of Narnia
play at our local library.

Here's a picture I'm sharing.......

On Saturday, we made apple butter with my parents, brother, sister,  and extended family. What a great day! Doesn't it look delicious?

Have a blessed day,

 Hosted by http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Don't Buy the Lie


Mothers, don't let anyone ever dupe you into thinking there's anything noble or disgraceful about remaining at home and raising your family.

Don't buy the lie that you're repressed if you're a worker in the home instead of in the world's workplace.

Devoting yourself fully to your role as wife and mother is not repression; it's true liberation.

Multitudes of women have bought the world's lie, put on a suit, picked up a briefcase, dropped their children off for someone else to raise, and gone into the workplace, only to realize after fifteen years that they and their children have a hollow void in their hearts.

Many such career women now say they wish they had devoted themselves to motherhood and the home instead.

 - John MacArthur (Successful Christian Parenting, 1998, p.195)

 Have a blessed day,

linked up at www.raisinghomemakers.com