Saturday, May 28, 2011


When you think back to school, do you remember the methods used to test your grasp of the information passed on to you? My memories are of tests with lots of multiple choice, True/False, fill-in-the-blank, and Q and A. My mind was pretty good at coming up with pneumonic devices to remember answers for a test. But it also knew that it would quickly forget the info once the test was over. I used to think I was really good at "school". But since I've started homeschooling, I suspicion I was actually a lazy learner. Many devices were in place to help me get good grades, but I did not learn (not during "school time" anyway) for the joy of it. Not for the life enrichment knowledge can bring.

Narration is a key Charlotte Mason element that helps a person cement information in the brain and make connections. A great introductory article can be read here. I wish I had loads of wisdom to share on this subject, but I feel sadly lacking in this area of home education. Elizabeth has gotten much better at narrating, especially since her brother began narration this year, and she enjoys a little competition. Jonathan is much better at retelling a story we've just read as opposed to a poem or Bible passage. Quite expected at his age though.

I really should change things up a bit: ask for a drawing or skit or something instead of the same ole' "Tell me what we just read about". Elizabeth did recently choose to do a simple Keynote presentation on a book she just finished. It was 4 slides long. Not as detailed as I would like, but narration isn't about what I want her to remember. It's about connections she made with the material. Some of her best "retellings" are when she'll stop me during a reading and make a comment which leads to an impromptu discussion. Love that. At any rate, our narrating is not perfect. But the knowledge is there for life. Not a temporary flitting to pass the test.

Time Together

Phillip and I were able to spend a couple days alone since Mimi and Papa were here to take care of the kids overnight. Phillip started the day by taking care of the kids and giving me a bubble bath and breakfast upstairs (read "alone"; "without kids"). :-) There were several gifts along the way. We dressed up for a fancy lunch at The Secret Garden restaurant, spent some time on a stretch of mostly deserted beach, and walked down the streets of Old St. Augustine. The only picture I got was of us at Sonic. Sad. By this time I was feeling pretty sick. We went to see Thor at the theater. That was kind of fun. That night and the next day we just were worn out. Too much sun at the beach. A virus or something from Harrison. Uuuuggghhhh! It was fun to spend time together alone though. And the virus was short-lived, thankfully; it only lasted a day and a half. Phillip planned the whole trip, sha baby. He's so good. My contribution was bike riding, but we couldn't do it because of how we felt. Phillip wasn't too upset by that. I'll get him on a bike yet! Fun times, babe.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Mimi and Papa Visit

We're having a good time with Mimi and Papa visiting. We've done birthday shopping, ice cream, lots of projects, visiting, eating.... and a little sickness. I think we're passing it around. Harrison started it.

We're so glad they are here though, sickness or no!

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Our neighborhood recently put in a pet-free zone which we have put to almost daily use. I love the woods behind. You can hear the sweet sounds of birds in the evening.

A sandbox for the olders.

Harrison gets parked in some shade. I wish these were real flowers. We were told there would be a flower box. I guess it is a flower box, fake though they may be. And the kids, putting a positive spin on it, are glad they will not attract bees.

Here's my bench where I can sit and read books and watch birds and occupy Harrison. See the book my parents got me for my birthday? "The Story of Charlotte Mason". Very enjoyable.

He's Just So Darn Cute!

Is it because he's the baby? Or is he really that much fun and lovable? I don't know, but we sure love this boy. And he certainly gets more pictures taken than anyone else. :-). Not just by Mom and Dad either. The kids are just as crazy about Harrison.

Jonathan's Cotter Tens Fractal

It's now his turn to make the Cotter Tens Fractal for Right Start Math! He is doing so well with mathematics. He's in the first grade book already and we're making good time with it. He loves to talk about numbers. They just click with him.

By the way, you may notice a difference in this Fractal as opposed to Liz':

Elizabeth's Cotter Tens

For hers we colored the little triangles, cut out all the little ones and big ones, and glued the little green triangles to the big white ones. And then taped them to the wall. Dad had an AWESOME time-saving idea which he implemented for us this time around. In Pages he made the triangles with the ten smaller green ones inside, placed four on a page, and sent them to UPS to be printed. So we only had to cut out 100 bigger triangles and tape them to the wall. Jonathan enjoyed the taping part. And we shall keep them safe for Phoebe when her time comes.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Working with Natural Tendencies

From "The Story of Charlotte Mason" on the formation of habits:

Almost anything may be made of a child by those who first get him into their hands. We find that we can work definitely towards the formation of character; that the habits of the good life, of the alert intelligence, which we take pains to form in the child, are, somehow, registered in the very substance of his brain; and that the habits of the child are, as it were, so many little hammers beating out by slow degrees the character of the man. Therefore we set ourselves to form a habit in the same matter-of-fact steady way that we set about teaching the multiplication table; expecting the things to be done and done with for life. But fitful efforts after a habit - say of tidiness, or of obedience - are of very little use, and are worrying to child and parents.

The list of habits to be established in your children can make habit training seem to be a daunting task. One thing that eases my mind is knowing that each child has natural tendencies. Some are negative and some positive. Jonathan is naturally neat and tidy. He likes to put things back in their place. (Oh how thankful I am for that tendency!) But he also likes to take his time in the tub while bathing. So I make sure that he continues his tidiness while working with him on dawdling. Noticing these places where work is needed for each individual child and then mapping out a plan (seek advice, especially from your spouse who is a necessary part of habit training) makes more sense to me than simply choosing habits from a list. I also don't have to remind myself to train in these areas because their sneaky faces show themselves often enough to bug me to remembrance. Over and over again - making sure the good habit is being done. Soon it will be established and will take more effort for them to choose the "old way" than for them to just do what they've been trained in. And what a better life your children will have because of the time you've taken though it is hard work right now.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ladie Green Eyes

A nature study entry from Elizabeth. We learned about a flower called "green eyes" from a guide on a trail walk (on which I was bitten by many sand bugs, by the way; and I had to carry Harrison for an hour since the sand didn't allow the stroller to roll. But I won't complain since it's for nature study. :-).

The poem she wrote to go along:

Ladie, ladie, ladie green eyes
With golden red hair
And long green dress.
And I always wonder why
Even with her noble rank
When the wind comes by
She bows like everyone else.

Monday, May 9, 2011

No Pictures

Would someone be my personal photographer? Or at least remind me to take a camera with me?

We've been to a fire station, the zoo, an Easter party, and Kingsley plantation. And I've forgotten the camera every time! So please imagine Jonathan in a big ole fire hat holding an axe. Phoebe laughing with the monkeys. Elizabeth trying to hide from the camera or run from bees or perhaps hold Harrison.

And I will see what I can do about the mom of the house and her forgetfulness.