"....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.  :)