Where Am I?

Testing, testing…Is anybody still out there in blog-land? I feel like I need to apologize for not being here myself. But supposedly, you’re not supposed to do that, at least according to the blogging gurus. Well, I gave up doing things according to them a long time ago. SO…..sorry I’ve been AWOL! There are reasons, and I want to explain.

Last time I posted, I was getting ready to go to the AmblesideOnline retreat. I thought I would come back and be able to write a post about all I learned. But life got so busy that I just haven’t had the time to do that. But I can say that it was an amazing time. I am still processing and recalling to mind some of the things I heard and learned at the AO Camp Meeting. I am so grateful that I had the privilege to attend!

One of the main reasons I have not had time to get back to blogging again is that at the retreat I started working with some new podcast clients! I am so blessed to be able to serve homeschool veterans Angelina Stanford and Cindy Rollins with their new podcast The Literary Life. They needed someone to build a website, create show notes, and help with other behind the scenes technical work. My husband is taking over their audio editing after Episode 4, but I plan to start doing it myself as soon as I am able to afford a new laptop. It is such a joy to get to work with these two amazing women, not to mention getting to listen to their content before anyone else! 😉 And getting to bless my family by contributing to our finances is a gift, too.

Another thing that is taking up more time these days is homeschooling and building local homeschool community. My son has taken some local enrichment classes at the nature park in our town this spring. We try to attend park days with other Charlotte Mason families a few times a month. And now the kids are both in swimming lessons a couple of times weekly. Plus, I am trying to start a Charlotte Mason moms’ fellowship and study group in our part of Middle TN. Real life community always takes precedence over online life, so I have to make time for that.

But as with many good things, there is a downside. In this case, the more time I spend working online for other people, the less time and creativity I have left for my own blog. Since both of the podcasts I am currently working on drop early in the week, I can no longer keep up my commitment to Wellness Wednesdays, even on a monthly basis. I hope that in some future season, I can come back to that, but right now I just can’t. I am also going to take a break from posting our monthly memory work plans. I have a good year’s worth (maybe more?) of those in the archive, so I feel like it is time to move on from that for the time being.

My hopes is that I can continue blogging on a sporadic basis, and probably most of those posts will be about our homeschool or Charlotte Mason/classical education or books, because those are the areas in my wheelhouse in this season. I hope that if those things interest you, you will hang in there with me even in these quiet times. So, all that to say, if you’ve been wondering where I am these days, that’s what’s going on! See you here again, maybe soon!

April 2019 Memory Work Plans

Spring is officially here! But I know that many of us still have cold snap or two in our futures before it really feels like warmer weather is here to stay. Nonetheless, in our area the fruit trees are blooming, the birds are singing before sunrise, and the grass weeds are turning green. This year, with Easter Sunday happening in April, and two family birthdays before that, we have a month full of celebrations and busyness ahead. But I couldn’t forget to create new memory work plans for us, and for you! This is not a particularly thematic set of pieces, so if it isn’t spring (or even April) when you find this, I think you can use it any time of year!

April Memory Work:

Prayer: a portion of “A Song of Creation” (Canticle 1) from The Book of Common Prayer
Hymn: Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us
Folksong: Star of the County Down
Poetry: Barter by Sara Teasdale
Scripture: I Thessalonians 5:16-18
Catechism: Questions 15 and 16 from the New City Catechism (children’s version)
Motto: Family Way #9 from Our 24 Family Ways

March 2019 Memory Work Plans

Here we are, marching into March already! I must say that February simply flew by around here, excepting the part of the month in which it seemed to rain for a week straight. (We did get over 13 inches of rain here in Middle TN in February, so I didn’t exactly imagine all that water!) I had to scramble to get this month’s memory work in order for today, though to be honesty, we won’t actually use it until next week. No need to start a new batch on a Friday, in my opinion! But I wanted to get it out semi-on time for you all anyway. I do want to apologize that this month there will not be a free printable, though. I have been thinking about the fact that several of the texts I am using this month are not technically in the public domain, even if they can be found online. So I am just going to link to what I can and leave it at that. I hope you enjoy learning some of these songs, hymns and texts along with your own family this March!

March Memory Work:

Prayer: a Morning Collect from The Book of Common Prayer
Hymn: What Wondrous Love is This
Folksongs: Leatherwing Bat, My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean
Poetry: Spring by Harry Behn
Scripture: Colossians 3:12-13
Catechism: Questions 13 and 14 from the New City Catechism (children’s version)
Motto: Family Way #8 from Our 24 Family Ways

February 2019 Memory Work Plans

Hi there, friends! It is coooold in 80 percent of the continental US at the moment, and Tennessee is no different! But the end of winter is coming, albeit slowly. February marks that time of year in our lives when we are weary of winter and waiting for spring. It also frequently marks that tired time of the year for homeschool families when everyone just wants to quit. So I offer you some brand new memory work to liven things up a little bit!

If you have been following our memory work plans for a while, you may notice that this month’s Scripture memory portion is a lot shorter than usual. That is because we have started using the Scripture Memory System recommended by Sonya Shafer of Simply Charlotte Mason. I wanted to have time to be reviewing the passages we had already memorized without making that portion of our morning time together seem like a burden. As a result, we are probably going to keep our passages in the 1-3 verse range for a while.

February Memory Work

Prayer: God Be in My Head from The Sarum Primer

Hymn: Crown Him with Many Crowns

Catechism: Review Questions 11 and 12 of the New City Catechism (shorter version)

Motto: Family Way #7 from Our 24 Family Ways by Clay Clarkson

Scripture: Ephesians 4:29

Poetry: The Wild Flower’s Song by William Blake

Folksongs: Walk That Lonesome Valley, I Love You a Bushel and a Peck

Free Printable Plans

I am including a free printable version of these memory work plans for you all! I went back to the landscape layout for the smaller binder pages this month, as well as changing up fonts and doing a little embellishing. Let me know if you are using these memory work plans, and if you have any questions or suggestions. Until next time, have a happy homeschool day!

What I Wish I Could Tell My Younger Homeschool Mom Self

Recently I have had a few conversations with younger mothers who are eager to embark on their homeschool journey. These chats have reminded me of all the things I wish someone had told me when I was considering homeschool in those preschool years. Since this is on my mind, I thought I would share here on the blog in the hopes this advice helps out some other mom who wants to make the most of the early childhood years! Before you go out and buy some expensive preschool curriculum or fill your child’s days with endless workbook pages, read on…

Tip Number 1:

My number one tip to you as you consider learning at home in the early years (up to age 6), is this:

RELAX!

Seriously. Just take a deep breath. It is easy to get caught up in the current cultural ideas of early academics. But the research does not back up the push to get kids reading, writing and doing math drills at a young age. The best thing you can do with your young children is to enjoy them being little and not worry about skills that will be easier to teach/learn later when they are more developmentally and behaviorally ready. Instead of stressing about curriculum, why don’t you spend some time researching different homeschool styles and philosophies. Take the opportunity to educate yourself and consider what sort of educational philosophy most resonates with you.

Tip Number 2:

But, you may ask, what can I do to add some intentional learning and structure to our days without going overboard? My first advice is to read aloud. A lot. Every day, multiple times a day, sit down and read a picture book to your child. Read the best books you can get your hands on. Get a library card and go as often as you can. Borrow audio books off Hoopla or Overdrive, and listen to them in the car. Look at AmblesideOnline Year 0 book lists for some great suggestions. Sign up for the free book lists from Read Aloud Revival for seasonal picture book ideas and family read alouds (not all for preschoolers, but still a good resource.) Or get your hands on a copy of the book Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt, which has a great book list, as well as inspiration for reading with your children!

Tip Number 3:

Other than reading all the time, go outside as much as possible. Take advantage of the good weather whenever you can and get outside. If it is cold, bundle up and go for a nature walk to see if you can spot migrating birds or find interesting seed pods or look at beautiful frost flowers. If it is hot, turn on the sprinkler or fill up the kiddy pool and get wet. If it is rainy, put on your boots and go splash in the puddles. Go to any scenic parks and nature centers you can find locally, not just playgrounds. Notice animals, birds, leaves, rocks, sticks, bugs, clouds, flowers, etc. Get dirty.

Tip Number 5:

For indoor play, look up sensory activities to experience together. Sand, water beads, “clean mud,” plain old water, pouring beans/rice, play dough, cloud dough, etc. (Google and Pinterest are your friend here!) Listen to beautiful music. Sing children’s songs (I have a list of good ones here —> 100 Songs to Sing with Children.) Look at beautiful art. Your library should have some books with collections of art prints to flip through. Let them paint, draw, color, stamp, and paint some more. Teach basic household chores like folding washcloths, matching socks, wiping the table, sweeping the floor with a little broom and dustpan, setting the table, and washing produce.

I’ll say it again…

Most importantly, I want to reiterate my first point. Relax. Enjoy this precious time with your young child. Embrace the wonder and curiosity that he or she naturally has right now. Don’t sweat the academics. There will be time for that later. Slow down. Don’t rush. They will grow up so fast, even though I know it doesn’t feel that way right now. Trust me…you won’t regret holding off on those workbooks and curricula, momma. Just love on your kiddos. It will be okay.

Further Reading and Resources:

The Homegrown Preschooler is a book that comes highly recommended and has lots of ideas for learning in the early years.

A helpful blog post by one of my favorite homeschool mentors, Brandy Vencel: Looking Back: What I Wish I’d Know About Homeschooling in the Early Years

Another of my virtual homeschool mentors, Mystie Winkler, also wrote on the topic of the classical kindergarten: Dear Mom who wants to give her 5-year-old a classical education

Sarah MacKenzie of Read Aloud Revival’s blog post on the early years: 6 Ways to Early Years You Won’t Regret