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

Monday, December 14, 2015

Tweaking AO (part 2)

Hi friends,

Here it is: the grand finale of my Tweaking AO post. Not that there is anything necessarily grand about it to some people, but after the past several months of barely keeping my head above water (for a refresher, you can read the first post ), small improvements are pretty wonderful in my opinion!  :)

What exactly has improved, you ask? Well, I have made a few small changes. The first change we made is with Nature journals: we are not doing it once a week like we used to; we have cut it back to once a month. There's not much to sketch now that cold weather has arrived, so everything is pretty much brown and dried up.  Once spring re-appears next year, we will pick it up again on a weekly basis. This change came easily since my children are outside alot anyway, so they are still doing lots of Nature observation, even if we aren't sketching.

Another change: for the month of December, we are taking a break from our foreign language notebooks. The children do their Duo Lingo lessons every day, but no notebook entries for the month. We just needed a break from it. Besides, the children are doing so well with their Spanish lessons (as in translating Hispanic conversations overhead in the orthodontist's waiting room - hehe), I decided a break from the notebooks was in order. :)  I am still not sure if this change will be permanent or not. Time will tell.

Also, instead of using the AO recommended Thomas North text of this term's Plutarch selection, we are reading the Young Folks' Plutarch by Rosalie Kaufman. My children prefer that version, and it has shorter readings.  And by the way, we typically read Plutarch on Wednesdays, but we didn't read it last week.  Usually, I would be stressed out by Wednesday evening at the very thought of skipping a reading, but guess what??  I didn't go into my typical frantic panic!  :)  I simply decided that last week's reading could be added to this week's Plutarch reading. And since the Rosalie Kaufman version has shorter readings, adding a little extra is no problem.  :)

I am also considering studying one poet all together instead of each child doing their own poetry. Still thinking about that one....

So those are the academic changes.

Now, for the other - and probably most important - change: my attitude. Some of y'all were praying. I was praying.  And the Lord has been answering, because I am not going into my usual "get it done - no matter what" frenzy as much (*ahem*) if some scheduled things aren't completed that particular week.

And with my personality, that kind of change can only come from the Lord. This get-it-done attitude goes all the way back to when I home schooled my now grown-and-flown children. I almost felt as if  I was the home school lesson Gestapo even then. I was so worried about getting it right and making sure they get everything they needed, I was too stressed to enjoy the ride. And I am sure it wasn't a picnic for them either. "Do the lessons! Don't veer off the schedule!" Ugh. Oh, how I wish I would have known back then what I know now. Regrets, regrets....

And when the Lord gave us these 5 younger ones, I was still the Gestapo. Old habits die hard, ya know?

But the Lord is slowly changing me, calming me down, helping me to slow down and savor these moments.  And, yes, even enjoy them! Imagine that! :)  It has taken me this long to learn this, friends! (Did I mention that old habits die hard??)

And Charlotte Mason's words ring so true today...home education is not just about the books and lessons. It. Is. A. Life.

So a big thank you to all of my praying friends. You know who you are.  ;) And thanks to everyone who left a comment on my previous post with suggestions. It was a huge encouragement to hear from all of you.

"As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend." ~ Proverbs 27:17

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Keeping - Our Science Journals

Hi friends,

It's been way too long since I shared a Keeping post with Celeste at Joyous Lessons.
But as I said in a previous post, I have been a little short on time lately, just trying to get everything to mesh with 5 children in 5 different levels of AO. I will give y'all an update on that post later this week - hopefully...if I have time.  ;)

Back to the Keeping link-up....this is our first year of doing Science notebooks, and I have been wanting to share how we do them since my children are loving this method so much more than just reading and narrating. They are enjoying sketching and jotting down important facts. And I can tell by our dinner table discussions that they are retaining so much of what we are studying. They can't wait to tell their Dad all the great interesting things they learned that day. :)

With the 4 youngers, we are doing Apologia's Swimming Creatures of the 5th Day.
Here's how we do it: I read a section from the book. They narrate it back to me, we discuss it together, then we sketch and jot down some interesting facts in our notebooks. What's not to love about that?!  :)

Now, here's a peek at some of what's in their notebooks...

we have studied jellyfish...(they did such a great job of sketching these!)

animals that live on the abyssal plain...

whales and dolphins...

and we are currently studying primeval reptiles...

 Love Mimi's entry.. :)

Ian, my 16-yr-old, is taking a Human Anatomy course. And he is doing a Science notebook as well. He reads a section, orally narrates to me, then writes and sketches.
Here are some of his entries..
different joints of the body..

and different types of muscles..
He always has something interesting to share with his Dad, too. 

This is working so well for us, friends, and I just had to share it. :)

Sharing (finally!) with Celeste's Keeping link-up.

Friday, December 4, 2015


A little something to think about as we wrap up another week of this journey called motherhood.  

Have a blessed week-end, friends.  :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Black Friday Sale at Lilla Rose

Hi friends,

There is a huge 3-day Black Friday Sale at Lilla Rose this Friday, with the release of 26 new Flexi clips!  :) 

Here are the details...

20% off everything, including new releases
25% off select festive styles
30% off select holiday styles
30% off prior Limited Release items
30% off Limited Release past FOTM
50% off select items
FREE shipping on retail orders over $50

Sale starts Friday, November 27th at 12:00 am PST
Sale ends Sunday, November 29th at midnight Pacific

Here's a sneak peek at some of the new releases...

Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tweaking AO

Hi friends,

Well, time has flown by and we are finding ourselves at the end of Term 1. We are in our fourth year of using the AO curriculum, and I know how I have raved and raved about this curriculum in the past.

And I still think it's a wonderfully rich curriculum and I really can't say enough good things about it.  But... (you knew that was coming, didn't you?)

This year has been a rough one for me. Major. Understatement. Let me explain...

When we started AO 4 years ago, my youngest was 4, so only the older 4 children were old enough to use AO. And I put my two middle sons, being only 16 months apart in age, in the same year. So basically, we were doing 3 years of AO. Not bad. I could keep up with that.

Then, 2 years ago, Mimi turned 6 and I started her in year 1. A little more to keep up with, but I could still do it.

But this year, Aaron was ready to be bumped up a year, so now I have 5 children in 5 different years of AO (yr10, yr8, yr7, yr6, yr3). Which means ALOT to keep up with...narrations, poetry, composer study, folk songs, hymns, Shakespeare, Spanish, copywork, dictation, Plutarch, Nature journals, current events, century chart entries, commonplace books, etc. Add to all that Math, Science, Grammar, and any other subjects that my fried brain has forgotten.

One CM mom told me, "Five children in 5 different levels of CM? There is no way you can be enjoying that!" And boy, is she right!

I am overwhelmed with all of it, and have even toyed with the idea of going back to textbooks just to get some time to breathe! And I have gone so far as to order a homeschool curriculum catalog just to browse around in (*gasp!*)! Just keeping it real, folks!

Don't get me wrong, my children are still loving AO. They breeze through readings and love to narrate. They love all the books and we have wonderful discussions and learn so much! And I want them to use it and get the full benefit of it.

But I am so stressed out with trying to keep up with everything. And I have some health issues that I am dealing with. (Won't even go there.)

So for now, I am in the praying stage of what the Lord would have me do. I am leaning towards tweaking the AO schedule for our family and dropping some things. But it's hard. I am an "all or nothing" kind of gal, and I can easily feel that if my children aren't getting all of it, they are getting none of it. Crazy, I know.

And then the question becomes "Which things do I drop from the curriculum to cut back on the stress?" Last week I made a list on the marker board of some of the things that we could possible drop from our schedule and I asked the children to circle their favorite things. I decided we would drop what they didn't circle.

Guess what? Every thing I listed was circled! Which is good : they like it all. And it's bad: how do I figure out what to drop?? *sigh*

So, if any AO moms out there have been in the same situation and have any suggestions, I am waiting to hear from you.  :)

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not  on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths." ~ Proverbs 3:5&6

Monday, November 2, 2015

Just a Reminder..

Hi friends,

Just a reminder to all of us as we begin a new school week...

Happy Monday, friends!  :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Some Recent Handicrafts

Over the summer, we were busy with handicrafts...mostly wood-working for the boys and sewing for the girls. 

And we have some beautiful results to show for the children's hard work.  :)

First, the boys' project: My mom gave us cedar lumber that was my Dad's. Hubby decided to make a bookcase with it. The lumber  was rough and dirty and desperately needed milling. Once it came back from the mill, it was sooo beautiful, and smelled wonderful! The milling really brought out the lovely grain in the wood..

It was a fast-moving project and they finished in 10 days! We couldn't wait to fill it with books!  :)

Love it!  :)

Now, for the girls..Their summer project was making a wall hanging for their bedroom. They chose the colors, cut the squares, and laid everything out on the floor to create the pattern they wanted. They did most of the sewing themselves, and here it is before adding the border..

Then they added the batting, border, backing, tabs at the top for hanging, and sewed it all together. (Aaron cut and painted to dowel rod for them.) And it was ready to hang..
They did a great job, don't you think?  :)

On a smaller scale, we did other handicrafts/life skills...

Cake baking and grape juice canning...

Natalie has been crocheting scarves and giving them as birthday gifts..

And of course, with 3 dirt bikes in the family, knowing how to change a tire is a much needed skill in these parts.  :)

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might. " ~Ecclesiastes 9:10a

Have a terrific Tuesday, friends!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wednesdays With Words

We are watching the movie, Gods And Generals with the children. And it fits in so nicely with Ian's  study of the Civil War for yr10.

Last night, we watched the battle of Fredricksburg. At the end of the battle, one of the southern soldiers questioned General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson about how he was able to remain so calm in the heat of battle.

Stonewall Jackson's quote is commonplace worthy - and unforgettable...

"“[M]y religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me. That is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave.” 

Oh, how desperately we need Godly men like this to lead our soldiers...and our country!

Sharing with Dawn.

Friday, October 2, 2015

A Reminder to Me

Even after 33 years of marriage, I still need to be reminded to...

Have a great week-end, everyone!  :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Lilla Rose Sale

Hi friends,

There is a Lilla Rose Sale starting this morning (7:am PT) til Wednesday, September 30th at midnight....

10% off everything!

10% off October FOTM early release..."Hoot".

15% off newly released styles... and check out some of the Limited Editions...

And 20-40% off select styles.

Thanks to all my customers!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I Am a Polygamist

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Did the title of this post catch your eye? I thought it would.  :) But it's not what you think. Let me explain...

A few weeks ago, I found this fun graphic somewhere on internet.

I saved it to my laptop and emailed it to my children. They loved it and it was alot of fun hearing them trying to determine what kind of reader they think they are.

Then I wondered..what kind am I?

It wasn't very hard to figure it out.

Other than my daily Bible readings, I am reading Great Expectations..(love, love this book, but I just finished Tale of Two Cities, which I also loved! Charles Dickens makes it so hard to choose a favorite, doesn't he?)

Volume 6 of the Charlotte Mason series..

And for poetry, Emily Dickinson..

So according to the above graphic, looks like I'm a grade A bonafide polygamist.  And loving every minute of it.  :)

Which kind of reader are you? Do tell!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Nature Exchange #3

I am on  a roll, friends - 2 posts in one week!  :)

In spite of the time crunch here, I just had to share some photos from our recent Nature exchange with Silvia.  This is something we do once a year with Silvia and her family. I have shared previous Nature exchanges here and here.

My children and I have always thought that collecting and sending the Nature treasures to Silvia is the best part...

..until the box from Silvia arrives and we discover what she and her family have sent us....

Books! Lovely, living books!! Take a peek..

Not to mention sweet notes from her girls, a yummy Texas fruitcake, a volcanic rock from Italy, a fridge magnet from Malta, beautiful journals,

And these gorgeous tablecloths..

The children are devouring the books, and we are all devouring the fruitcake. Thanks again, Silvia! I am so thankful for our friendship!  :)

"As iron sharpens iron, 
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend." ~Proverbs 27:17

Monday, September 14, 2015

Our First Weeks of School

Hi friends,

Wow! I haven't blogged since right after our computer crashed. I know I promised a post about our first week of school as soon as our computer was repaired, but after we got it back, there was an issue with our camera card and I couldn't upload photos from it.

I finally found a way around that issue and can upload photos now. Whew, this has been an electronically challenging 3 weeks!

During the first week while our laptop was in the hospital, we used Kindles and the old laptop when it let us use it. It has a mind of its own and turns on randomly. But we have hard copies of books, too, so all in all, the week wasn't too bad. Besides, for our family, the first week of school is a week of adjusting to the new schedules, getting used to the new books, etc, so adjusting to not having the laptop wasn't that big of a deal, since we were already in adjustment mode.

So, what have we been doing the past few weeks? Well, I would give a play-by-play of our recent goings on, but to be completely honest, there isn't time for that. I can't figure out why, but for some reason, schooling this year is more time-consuming than in previous years. Maybe because the children are each a year higher in AO and it's getting to be more of a load for each child. Maybe because my energy levels have bottomed out because of sleep deprivation. Whatever the reason, there is very little time for me to be online at all..which could actually be a good thing, right?  :)

However, I can squeak out a few minutes to share some photos of what we have been up to.

Math lessons..

Of course, Kim had to get back on the Math bandwagon, too.  He needed to brush up on the months of the year. ;)



Online Spanish lessons..

Nature sketching..

Musical instrument practice..

We also had our annual Nature exchange with my dear friend, Silvia. That's always a thrill.  :)

There it is in a nutshell , a very small nutshell, mind you. :) I hope to be back in a week or two to share some of our handicrafts with you.  

Until then, I hope you are having a great year so far!  :)