Day 28: Song #write31days2018

If you have been following my blog for a while, you know that music and singing are important in our family. Not only is my husband a music pastor, but we both majored in music in college and have both led choirs of various ages. In our homeschool, as well, music has a prominent place.

Each day during our morning time, my children and I sing a hymn and one or two folk songs. We also listen to instrumental pieces by important composers weekly. My son has to practice piano every day, and I have also gotten back into the habit of practicing a couple of piano pieces daily!

Song is such an important part of our family culture. It expressed praise to our Creator. It gives us a creative outlet. It forms a basis for shared family memories. I don’t know what we would do if we couldn’t sing or play music together.

As I think on the importance of music in our home and homeschool, I realize that it is nearly the end of October. That means that it is time for me to get another set of Memory Work Plans posted here! So I will take this opportunity to share those as an addition to this post. We are going with a Thanksgiving theme, of course!

November Memory Work Plans

Due to the demands of writing daily for the Write 31 Days challenge, I am not able to offer a printable plan for download this month. I did include links to everything, though. I hope that next month I will be able to continue the printables, though. Thanks for understanding!

Prayer: For our prayer this month, we will be using Ralph Waldo Emerson’s poem “We Thank Thee.”

Catechism: This month we are reviewing questions 7 and 8 of the New City Catechism.

Hymn: The AmblesideOnline hymn for this month is All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name. We have not previously done this one in our homeschool, so we will be doing it as scheduled.

Mottos: We are learning Way #5 from Our 24 Family Ways (affiliate link) this month.

Scripture: Our scripture passage this month is Psalm 100.

Poem: Last month we learned the first two stanzas of “When the Frost is on the Punkin,”so we will continue and memorize the final two this month.

Folk Songs: I just realized that I mixed up the scheduled AO folksongs for October and November, so we will be learning “Freight Train” and “Over the River and Through the Woods” this month.

Day 27: Whole #write31days2018

I’m going in a slightly different direction with this prompt that maybe does not connect as well with my theme, but this is an idea which I have been contemplating lately. So maybe it does fit somewhat!

As I’ve mentioned a few times lately, I just started a Charlotte Mason book study group for homeschool moms in my area. Last night was our first official meeting, and we discussed Charlotte Mason’s first principle: Children are born persons. When I think about what this means for our educational practices, I see that we need to be educating a whole person.

Following the Charlotte Mason philosophy of education means that we do not just try to get our kids to memorize random facts or regurgitate information for a test. We instead, lay before them a wide and varied feast of ideas: life-giving books, Biblical studies, beautiful art, excellent music, and time spent in nature. Every day we tend to the mind, soul, heart and body of the child, nurturing the whole person.

This is a demanding task, especially when you consider that the homeschool parent is also trying to keep the household running smoothly and possibly working another job on the side. But it is such a blessed role to have the opportunity to educate our children in this way that respects them as persons. May God give me the strength and grace to do it well!

This post is part of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and Write 31 Days blogging challenges. Find all my posts in this series under the tag “write31days2018.”

Day 6: Belong #write31days2018

Ever since I was a little girl, I have struggled with finding where I belong. It’s not that I didn’t have a loving family or good friends. But I have always felt like I was a little different and didn’t quite belong to my peer group. Even as an adult l struggle to find a place where I feel like I am really more than just a curious outsider that the “in crowd” tolerates having around. 

The difference is that now I know that I am not alone in feeling this way. Especially in this age of online comparison in which people see carefully curated images of others’ lives, I know that many moms like myself feel like they are missing in-person community to which they can really belong and be truly themselves.

So this month I finally decided to do something that is way out of my comfort zone. I am starting a little book study group of homeschooling mom to study through some of Charlotte Mason’s 20 Principles together.

I am hoping that this group will become more than just a book club, that it will become a little tribe of likeminded women who belong together, who support each other and lift each other up when we fall. I want this to be a welcome place for other moms to be honest with each other and to encourage one another, because we all need to belong somewhere.

This post is part of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and Write 31 Days blogging challenges. Find all my posts in this series under the tag “write31days2018.”

October 2018 Memory Work Plans and Printable

It looks like I’m a bit behind on planning for the month of October. September was unusually busy for our family, and the end of month was the culmination of everything with the CiRCE Conference at New College Franklin yesterday. (It was so good, but also exhausting! So many deep thoughts to ponder!) So here I am, not a day too soon, quite literally, with our memory work plans for the month of October.

October 2018 Memory Work Plans:

Prayer: I am excepting a few lines from Douglas McKelvey’s “A Liturgy for Students & Scholars” which is one of many excellent liturgies included in his book Every Moment Holy.

Catechism: This month we are reviewing questions 4-6 of the New City Catechism.

Hymn: The AmblesideOnline hymn for this month is Like a River Glorious. We have not previously done this one in our homeschool, so we will be doing it as scheduled.

Mottos: We are learning Way #4 from Our 24 Family Ways (affiliate link) this month, in addition to the following motto from Mystie Winkler’s collection: Respon cheerfully, politely and promptly.

Scripture: Our scripture passage this month is Psalm 119:1-8.

Poem: I wanted to teach my children “When the Frost is on the Punkin” by James Whitcomb Riley, both because it is seasonally appropriate and because he was one of our poets this year. It is a longer one, however, so I decided we will just learn the first two stanzas this month.

Folk Songs: We just learned the scheduled AO folksong in August, so I picked “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and “Loch Lomond” for October.

Free Printable Plans:

If you need some quick last minute memory work plans, here is the free download link to print and use in your own homeschool morning time! Enjoy!

Setting Intentions and Atmosphere in Our Home

I sat at the dining room table Sunday afternoon, notebook open in front of me and pen in hand, waiting for some ideas to come. After weeks of growing discontentment with our current routine and the attitudes in our home, especially surrounding chores and school, I was ready for a change. 

But what kind of change? I knew I had to set the tone with more positivity and a fresh atmosphere, so I set down a few ideas for adding positive reinforcement and a little more loveliness into our day. 

One of the problems we have been struggling with is in the area of completing our morning routine without dawdling and complaining. I created a little extra incentive chart for my son to do his morning jobs in a timely manner without my constant nagging. I also decided to back up the time I expect us to “start school” each day to stop us feeling so rushed. When I talked to my son about these changes, he was very excited and ready to try to get his tasks started in the morning.

Since my own attitude is really the only one I can change, I also wrote down some very different priorities for the week in my planner. Instead of usual top 3 tasks for housekeeping and work, I wrote things like “Smile, laugh, and have some fun every day,” “Create something with your hands,” and “Love God and your family well.” I also reminded myself of the importance of getting my personal Bible study and prayer time in before the kids wake each day, so I set my alarm a little earlier for Monday morning.

Finally, I resolved to infuse some fun and beauty into our homeschool routine so that we all have something special to look forward to each day. Over the past few weeks we added “Poetry Tea Time” back into our schedule once a week, and it had become a highlight for me and the kids. In my notebook, I wrote down plans for daily “tea time” at the beginning of the school day: light candles, set out the tea things and snacks, and gather at the table with smiles and anticipation of the good time we are about to have learning together. 

Finished with my brainstorming session, I pushed back the notebook and set down my pen with a satisfied sigh. I knew that none of these changes were big on their own. And I knew that none of them was a magic formula for success. But I also knew that because I was setting my intention to make positive changes and have a joyful attitude myself, things would be better. Because I was going to set the tone and prepare an atmosphere of beauty and goodness, our day would be different. I was hopeful.

And, you know what? Today was the best day we have had in a very, very long time. I hope it is not the last… I don’t think it will be!