12.02.2017

Mason for Me - Winter 2017/2018



Wow, we got so many great links for the fall link-up and really great comments and feedback. I'm so glad that so many of us are interested in using Charlotte Mason's methods on own minds!

We've also got a good representation across the forms. I always forget to go back and see what links have been added to carnivals so I assume at least some of you are the same way and I'll be recaping them here unless that gets too unwieldy.

The Fall Posts:

Jenna talks about her plans and initial weeks of AO Year 1.

Blossom over at North Laurels is also starting at the very beginning (it is a good place to start :-) but she's using AO for Groups. She's got more than one post over there so be sure to find both.

Moving up to Form 2, we have Nelleke from Education as Life with her journey through Year 4 and both the joys and the hard decisions it brings with it (like the struggle with handing over books and letting our children be independent - because we like the books too!)

I just recently posted my plans for Year 8.

In other mother (and father!) culture links, we have Dewey's Treehouse sharing her Christmas Countdown and some very cute but simply craft options.

Caleb adds a unique perspective as a homeschooling Dad who's making Charlotte Mason work for his Orthodox family.

And Anna shares her current book choices and goes beyond with music and nature.

More Mother Culture Links:

Once you start looking for it, the Mother Culture ideas are everywhere in the CM community, even if they aren't labeled directly as such. I loved the Schole Sister's Podcast #28 Education is a Life because if you realize what Charlotte Mason meant by that and truly believe it, you can't help but see that you need it is well. And if you don't, go listen and you soon will.

On a practical level, The Mason Jar episode #48 with Mary Jo Tate gave me a good example of what I want to be in 20 years - a mom who can talk about books for as long as they'll let me!

Erin is a good source of inspiration  if you're not up for a full AO year but still want to prioritize Mother Culture. She shares her how and her what in her post a over at Raising Veggies and Humans (I'm jealous, I am raising humans but the veggies part never seems to work out how I plan).

Over on Instagram, #MasonForMe is small but growing so do check it out - and use it! I love looking at a pretty stack of books.

Now for this winter's link up: We've made the plans, now we got to put them into action! And keep sharing!



11.20.2017

Mason for Me: Planning Y8 (on a budget)!

I think I've got my plan guys! When I did year 7 last year I pretty much took the literature and history options, cut everything that I had already read or that wasn't public domain or available at my library and called it a day. But for year 8, I really wanted to do the whole thing, or at least more of it.

 Lucy, my oldest, is only in her last term of year 2 right now so I don't have any experience with planning the higher levels with all the choices. It was a little bit overwhelming at first and I just couldn't wrap my head around it until I printed out the detailed list from the website and started marking it up. Then I pulled up the basic/lite version online so I could kind of see what they thought was most important to keep which helped me come up with a that I'm really happy with.


 I did end up cutting some stuff but  not much and it's definitely more well-rounded than last year. And I'm less likely to panic when I have to start planning upper levels for Lucy so that's a big win too!

Now that I've said I'm not cutting much - I am cutting all Bible/Devotional, Government and Logic reads because I have my own bible study plan I like and I read all the others back in high school. What can I say, maybe my mom knew what she was doing back when she planned my highschool :-) I'm also cutting Health and Art. Somethings gotta give and better those than laundry. Or at least I feel like that's what a responsible mom would say.

I'm keeping all the History and plugging away at Churchill. And I'm going to buy Churchill this year even thought I could get it from the library because I have come to love it and I don't love having to keep checking it out so many times. Although I might keep checking it out every once in a while because our library culls books like crazy! I consider it my civic duty to keep those good books used so they don't leave the system.

I'm only cutting The Voyage of the Armada from biographies because it's not public domain. I was torn between A Coffin for King Charles and Queen Elizabeth but our library has the former so that settled it. I'm buying A Man for All Seasons and reading the rest online.

For Geography I'm getting Kon Tiki from the library and using the public domain Columbus biography. I will be adding in Ourselves and the Bacon Essays but I've already read Utopia. For Ourselves, I didn't read it in Y7 so I'm doing the Y7 schedule plus a bit of Year 8. I won't be adding Plutarch. I've liked the Plutarch that I've done already but I'll wait for Lucy to do more. She'll be in form 2 in just over a year (what?!how!?) so I won't have to wait long.

There are a few selections of Literature and Poetry that I've already read but everything else will stay as schedule dictates. I'm also thinking of adding in Beowulf because I read the big Y8 poetry back selection in Y7 but I just realized that as I'm writing this and I forgot to actually add it to the schedule. Oops.

I went back and forth about science/nature study books. As someone who studied and worked in the biological sciences field, I don't really feel like I need the science selections and most of these texts are ones I'd need to buy but I do obviously enjoy studying science. So I'm compromising. I'm cutting a few, relying on the library and using the excuse that I'm pre-reading for Lucy. Which isn't really just an excuse. As much as I love the idea of living books, I do get skeptical when it comes to science. I tend to think of science as being more like math in that it has it's own language and needs to be taught that way. But maybe a few years of CM science will change my mind on that.

*And just when I decided to do The Chemical History of a Candle, this post showed up in my feed. What timing! Now I'm even more excited about it.

I didn't get to very many free reads in year 7 and I have a feeling I won't get to many of the y8s either but I've read many already and I will try and use several from that list as books in my yearly Back to the Classics Challenge if possible as well.

I've updated the schedules although in a few cases I just said "spread book evenly" because I haven't checked it out yet to see how many chapters. For keeping, I bought a nicer notebook and will try keeping everything together in one reading journal like Celeste did. I'll also have Book of Centuries and hope to add lots of entries into that but for things like lists and maps, I think this will be nice. I've put the schedule for term 1 into the front of the notebook and copied my year 7 timeline into it, both so I have it as a reference and so I don't lose it because it was just a loose piece of paper before and I'd like to know where it is when the kids hit this year 7 and I need a refresher. Next up I need to downloaded and organized the books. I've got a few left to purchase but I'm getting there. 






I had a pretty small budget for this because I need to make my Y3 purchases by January and I hope to add a couple bigger curriculum choices for us in the spring and to be honest, I have a lot of non-curriculum mother culture books that are really calling my name (Karen Glass's new book about narration! Cindy Rollin's morning time book! Megan Hoyt's A Touch of the Infinite!..I could go on). I did manage to tuck away about $100 for this year 8 project. Then I dropped my kindle for what was apparently the last time. The screen froze up and I cried. So most of my school budget went to replacing that. It's totally worth it because I use it for both me and Lucy and while I have the kindle app on my phone and a fire, if I'm doing ebooks for educational purposes, I really like having an old school, does nothing but ebooks kindle. That left me just a tiny budget for the hard copy books for now, but one of the great things about AO is does not force one to choose budget over quality.

So here's my budget breakdown:

-New (refurbished) kindle = $60
- Flexbook Reading Journal = $17
- Ourselves $13.50
-A History of the English Speaking People: A New World = $4.50
-Beowulf = $5
-A Man for All Seasons $8.50

Total = 108.50

Not bad! Now that stuff is coming in, I'm really excited to start reading. I had planned on waiting until January but I'm might start a bit sooner. I'm pretty sure it's gonna take me at least a year to get through all this. And I can't start my classics challenge books until January and too much waiting is bad for your soul. Or something like that ;-)

11.11.2017

Mother's Daybook - November 11th

Drinking - Disappointment. Really. I don't get Starbucks or fancy drinks. like. ever. I think my dad bought me a drink when he was here last Christmas. But it's b1g1 week and I just happened to find a gift card in my van from when I needed two for teacher gifts on the way to an event and all they had was a three pack. So Craig picked up drinks after he ran errands but what was supposed to be Praline Chai Latte was just a Praline Latte....that is not the same! One is tasty tea goodness and the other tastes like coffee! Blech. Coffee! I know most of y'all probably like the taste of coffee but pretend you don't and imagine my sorrow. I think we'll try again tomorrow.

Watching - Things on our new tv. I'll be honest, losing my "we don't own a tv" hippie superiority card stings but it is really nice to watch something on netflix with all three kids on a screen bigger than our laptops. I also put Pandora on a couple times for them when they are just playing down there but I'd go to check on them and they'd be watching the screen. All it shows is the cover of the cd! How is that interesting? I'm thinking that interest will fade in time.

We (as in Craig and I, not the kids and I) finished Stranger Things 2 last night even though we still don't have much furniture down there. Is this a man/women thing? I would have preferred small screen + couch but he wanted bigger screen + uncomfortable chair/pouf thing. I also just got Lark Rise to Candleford and now that Stranger Things is done maybe I can find more time to watch it. It just wasn't even Craig's choice - and that definitely is a male/female thing :-)

Being Thankful - for no fleas. We had a weird flea infestation the last two weeks. Weird because we don't own any indoor/outdoor pets. And neither the chickens nor the guinea pigs even showed signs of flea bites. So heck if I know how we got fleas but one look at poor Norah and Jonah and we clearly had some problem. Craig and I had a few bites each too.I couldn't figure out what it was then after racking my brain and feeling like I was going insane, I saw one. And I knew. We only saw a few fleas themselves even after all the cleaning so I started out thinking I'd go back to my undercover hippie roots and try and solve this problem the natural way. I threw all sorts of stuff at them - diatamaceous earth, borax, dawn, essential oils. I felt like I was in Hawkins as I sprinkled salt all over my hard floors, de all over my carpets and put bowls of soapy water under my lights. They laughed at me and kept biting. So I called the bug guy. Well, whose laughing now because those things are gone! The bug guy comes back again for one more spray but I think the problem is solved. I'm still recovering from all the work though. Even with the spraying, I still had a ton of vacuuming ad I washed every single throw pillow and blanket in addition to all our bedding. We have eight beds in this house which at this point in time seems excessive. I mean each bed comes with sheets and a duvet and duvet cover, a blanket or two, a couple pillows. I was putting things straight from dryer to garbage bag to keep it safe unless it was absolutely necessary. It's been a long couple weeks is over but I think the worst is over and I can breathe again.

Looking forward - to a week with no appointments. It's also been appointment season over here. Or maybe I just need to realize that between my chronic health issues that need monitoring and three kids that need all the basic dentist/doctor stuff and being a fostering family that will have social worker visits, we'll just always been in appointment season. But one more crazy week and then we take a break. Yay! I know I'm a homebody but a few really busy weeks proves how much of one I am. Just let me be world! Now this post is ending up more vent driven than I intended so we'll end on a happy note...

Wearing - These slippers. I've never really been a slipper person. I liked the idea of them, especially since we don't wear shoes inside and I'm cold natured, but I've never been able to find ones I really liked and get in the habit of wearing them. But I was thinking of trying again and someone recommended this specific style/brand so when I saw Target had all shoes/slippers 20% off, I grabbed them. And I love them. So much. I tried on a few other styles that were okay but they didn't have the cozy all the way inside, just the trim. I think the combination of the full fluffy comfortable inside and the bootie style that won't come off just does the trick. They're actually inside/outside soles but very flexible (and I'm kind of intensively crazy about shoes and I wear minimalist shoes) so I've even worn them in the backyard because I think its a healthy shoe. But also very hygge. And I'm all about the hygge right now. I don't even care if I'm just following the masses. There I said it. I own a tv. I watch Stranger Things. I use chemicals on my house to kill bugs and I like trends like fall and hygge obsession. Man, I better have another home birth soon before people think I've gone all mainstream!

11.10.2017

Classics Challenge: Freckles

Oh my, this was my draft from way back in May that I never posted but thought I did! It's a good thing I have been keeping a list on my pages or I might have thought I had one catagory more than I did. I'm actually on my last book. I did pick Don Quixote as that last one so it's still gonna be a close call whether I can finish by the end of the year but I think I can do it. 

After Anna K., I needed a little bit lighter read so I went with Freckles. I read it's sequel, Girl of the Limberlost, last year and really enjoyed it but didn't realize until later that this one was supposed to come first. That said, the stories are only loosely tied together and I don't think it hurt me one bit to read them out of order.

This is another great nature lore book by Gene Stratton-Porter. I challenge even the most city-loving person to read this and not want to spend an afternoon outside, at least at a park if not out on a hike or remote quiet spot where one could find some unusual specimens to observe.

I wasn't sure at first if I was going to like this one as much as it's sequel. It didn't tug at my heart quite in the same way and the romance part was actually my least favorite part but overall, I like it a lot. They are very similar in their sometimes too high level of sugary sweetness and number of coincidences but I'm okay with that. I liked that the plot of this one was a little more unexpected. And one can hardly go wrong with an enduring red headed freckled orphan (but not the same as Anne Shirley, this one's a boy :-) Yes, it's dated and their are some sentiments, especially in the ending, that make you go, "Hmm...not so sure about that" but if you need a little bit of happiness in your reading pile, I don't think you can go wrong. Just be prepared to spend the next weekend hiking or sitting with your nature journal!

Freckles is my Romance Classic for the Back to the Classics Challenge. Go check out books and Chocolate for more info on the Back to Classics Challenge.

10.31.2017

Moana, Belle and a Tiger for for a walk...





Norah and her Beast. Jonah was supposed to be the Beast but, as he has done before, he changed his mine at the last minute and really wanted to be a tiger. So I spent the last Friday and Saturday hand sewing stripes on orange pajamas in time for a Saturday afternoon party. And then he lost his mask at the party! But they found it in time so trick or treating wasn't ruined. I wasn't going to let the Beast costume go to waste so we made it work for Craig. 



I went as the Moana's ocean. My saturday version was cuter with some sea creatures and a treasure chest taped on as well but tonight was cold and I wanted to bundle up more. 


I was just happy I finally convinced Norah she could wear some layers with her Belle outfit. It was a tough sell but once I pulled out the "No candy without a jacket" she caved. I love Trick or treating with a 2 year old. They have no idea what's happening at the beginning but it doesn't take long for them to figure it out. Norah added two new words to her vocabulary today: Candy and Thank You. I'm not into rewards as a general parenting principles but you can't argue that positive reinforcement doesn't work in the short term! Plus, they can't count so my parent tax can be higher.


And  my little tiger was much more adventurous this year.  He was saying Trick or Treat to everyone and even told his joke about 50% of the time (still freezing up the other half but that's progress!). Luckily Lucy's always on hand with hers and he knows if he just stands next to her, he'll manages to get some candy anyway.