Tuesday, September 27, 2016

school days


I often get asked these days how we like homeschooling and the only thing to say is that we love it!  I think it's really interesting to be a second generation homeschooler, to now be the mom-teacher after being the daughter-student as a child.  I chose our school curriculum and activities with great care and kept it scaled pretty quiet for the first few weeks, knowing that as I gained momentum, I'd be ready to add in additional fun - I'm getting ready to add in a few little things beyond what I describe below but may there will be a follow up post on those soon. 

On school days we begin our morning with Morning Time: memorizing Psalm 19 together, singing some songs that the girls choose (for now but I want to add in a hymn that we learn soon), a brief Spanish lesson, and a book and activitiy from Five In a Row, which I chose specifically as part of kindergarten for Millie (yes, kindergarten!  Oh my!) but we are all loving FIAR - it reminds me of Charlotte Mason's recommendation of slow reading.  Each of the three classic picture books we've read and playfully studied over each week so far have become a "part" of our lives and language.  Yesterday Rosie burst out with a quote from "The Story of Ping," that just made me laugh out loud.  "Yes!" I thought, "That is what I want for my children!"  I bought chalk pastels this year and we have done a few tutorials from Hodgepodge to coincide with our FIAR books that are excellent.  You can see Lyddie showing off her version of the Madeline cover above. 

Lyddie is in first grade this year.   I chose Ambleside Year 1 as our home base, which includes readings in history, literature, natural history, and Bible.  We are also using the Ambleside composer schedule (Dvorak this fall) and picture study schedule (Mary Cassatt- OH LOVE!). Ambleside Online is a careful application of Charlotte Mason's philosophies and I appreciate it so much because, if you've been around here much, you know how much I love Charlotte Mason.  We are not doing any formal writing/composition curriculum this year, instead I chose to work on the mechanics of writing by learning cursive and practicing copywork.  Oral narrations take the place of composition at this young age, and I love how that is working out with Lyddie who can freely connect with the material we are reading without being hindered by having to write her thoughts or summaries with her budding writing skills. 

Mid-morning we "take a break" for tea time; this means sipping tea at the table and reading poetry or listening to our music selections and maybe doing our art fun if there's time.  This might be my favorite part of the morning!

I decided to begin Millie in math with Lyddie and carry them through together as far as it works.  RightStart Math (level A)  has been a wonderful choice and we are loving it.  Math hasn't been a struggle or fuss over the past 25 days, not even once.  Instead we look forward to it eagerly because it's all kinds of games, and it is fast-paced and quick so we are not spending more than 10 or 15 minutes on it each day.  I do not thing that is everyone's experience teaching math, and I am really eager to present math as the feast of beauty that it really is. 

Spell to Write and Read is our spelling and phonics for Lyddie and Millie.  I decided sort of last minute to teach them cursive together so once we have learned all the lower-case cursive letters this week we will really jump into the SWR curriculum each at their own level and pace.  

We currently "do school" four days a week with the fifth day each week dedicated toward nature study.  Mondays are Jesse's day off and we have done a few nature outings that have been so enjoyable together as a family.  Each of the girls and I are keeping a nature sketchbook too, even Rosie.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Jesus loves me

The shadows stretch a bit longer now, and condensation gathers on the windows in the mornings.  The sunflower heads hang low as if ashamed by their fruitfulness, bowed by the weight of the drying seeds.  Brought low by the growth and new life they promise. 

Squelchy mud clings to shoes on a morning walk past the orchard.  We round the bend and see the calf folded under it's mother in the corner of the pasture, but suddenly the dog barks loud and jumps at the fence to see this surprising creature, and the mother and calf run to the middle of the pasture before we get a chance to see it near.  

A second round of raspberries hang heavy on the brambles, unnoticed in this season of packing and uncertainty.  When you've practically sold your home but haven't yet got one to move into, raspberry beauty is probably more important than ever - but gets forgotten.  

How can it still be so stunning to me how fickle my heart is?  I am weak, yet He is strong. This upheaval is a passing challenge and His mercies are new every morning.  

Yes, Jesus loves me.  

Sometimes I stomp my feet and declare Him a trickster, how can He have betrayed me so?

Then oh, the sorrow I feel over this churning heart full of tyrant feelings seeking to rule me when I see what I've done: my own betrayal, my own "I don't know the man."  My face reddens and my repentance is genuine and deep.

Jesus loves me when I'm bad, 
when I talk back to my Dad
When I stomp and whine and pout,
Poke my bottom lip right out

Yes Jesus loves me.

(New lyrics that I love and sing to our girls from Randall Goodgame - here.  And will you say a prayer for us, that the Lord would guide us in the next season?  We will continue to be in ministry as usual here on the Rez but when an offer of our asking price came in for our house, we felt it was a clear provision from the Lord as a way out of a house we didn't feel was the best long term option for us and moved forward.  The house we hoped to buy and restore had an offer on it just a week before we sought to put an offer on it, and there is nothing else clear on the market in our area at this time.  We are trusting that God has a good plan for us and that He is protecting us but would love prayer to continue to trust Him in the uncertainty.  Thanks, dear friends!)

Thursday, September 01, 2016


Some dear people offered their cabin to us this summer and we were able to spend several days there.  We were so blessed by our time away as a family playing, kayaking, and paddleboating, and fishing.  A glorious day at the seaside was so replenishing; I wish we could visit the beach every single day of life.  I am always so restored by sitting in the sand, watching my girls play and run, and playing and running with them. I think everyone's favorite memory was "rescuing" our sandcastle from the waves by digging trenches and higher walls (a battle that we ultimately lost, with a few tears).  However, building a driftwood fort with the girls in the sand is vying for "favorite memory" for me, too.  
Our summers are fast, chaotic, and this one didn't include many day trips like we usually have because of swimming lessons and illness, so having a focused time to reset our family patterns and relationships was a wonderful way to prepare for fall.

This week I am constantly cleaning to keep the house ready to show. We are praying hard for someone to make an offer on our house so the ball can keep rolling forward but accepting that God's plan and timing are best. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Portland Sweater

Just doing a quick today because holiday hasn't allowed for any blog updates. Making: Portland sweater (pattern by Carrie Bostick Hoge) and reading a whole stack of books including: "For the Children's Sake," "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell," and "The Shepherd's Life." 
Happy August, my friends! 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

camp knitting

I cast on the Portland Sweater by Carrie Bostick Hoge with my bright repurposed yarn on our way to the mountains to camp. The yoke kept me company through the afternoons by the riverside watching the girls splashing in the water. I really think sweaters are my favorite thing to knit so I get excited about seeing it unfold. I am using the beige color for the main body and the contrast color will be that bright pink. 

I finished Circus Mirandus by Carrie Beasley this morning snuggled in my sleeping bag waiting for the fire to be roaring outside, thanks to my mountain man. I really loved the book. Lyddie is dying to read it but I think she will be more able to understand and appreciate it around age 9-10 so I'll put it on the future-reads list for her. It's not that there's anything inappropriate but there is some death and grief and she is a bit sensitive about those topics.
I'm still listening to The Shepherd's Life by James Rebanks. It makes me want to roam a hillside with lambs and dogs. 

Joining with Ginny for Yarn Along at www.gsheller.com