Bit of an update - Written several days ago and just now posted :-)

So I'm a little bit behind on updating this old blog. In case you missed it, we shared this on Instagram/Facebook a couple weeks ago.

Yep, baby #4 is on it's way, due to arrive in August. Still had no nickname so feel free to suggest something. Norah just calls it "baby tummy mama tummy." So that's big news. You haven't missed much else because I've basically been laying low. I actually came here to do a life/pregnancy update and realized I'd never done an actual announcement! Bad blogger!

But I'm almost 11 week now* and it's early for me to be feeling better but I do think my good days are getting better. My bad days are still bad, earlier this week I threw up 5 times and literally only moved from couch/bed/bathroom in a rotation. But the next couple of days Lucy and I did some school and one day I started laundry and folded the baskets that had been sitting there two days and even did the dishes. Doing the dishes is actually huge because our dishwasher for some reason thought now was a good time to break (seriously, loading and unloading the dishwasher all by herself was one of the most helpful things Lucy could do for me and it was taken from me!) and I had to stand at the sink for about 10 minutes. HG means you measure success is standing for a significant amount of time or being able to brush you teeth. I'm not sure here to complain. I actually had a great trip to Texas to see family and friends and while I had 1-2 bad days, I did much much better than normal which was really nice.

And I'm starting to plan for when I won't be sick. I'm making a list of things I need at Target. I haven't been to target since November and my list is growing. It's not particularly exciting but when ones  laundry baskets keep breaking and you just live with it, the idea of getting a couple new ones does give one a bit of a thrill.  I also ordered the last few Year 3 items for Lucy because we should finish Year 2 next week! We had an abridged term so we'll have abridged exams too then take a brief break while we settle our new puppy in.  Yes, we're getting a puppy. Because yes, we ARE crazy. But February is looking pretty awesome and I'm really looking forward to it. Hopefully I'll be able to write before then but if not, I'm sure I'll at least share puppy pictures.

*Okay, 10 weeks and 5 days but when you're desperate to get to that second trimester, you round up!


Back to the Classics Tentative Reading List

Ah, the new year. When all your book lists seem possible and the time in unending. Alas, I always seem to add more books to my tbr year than I end up actually reading but I guess that's not a bad thing. What if I actually ran out of books I wanted to read?! I used to worry about that when I was a kid, poor little worrier that I was. But I still love the challenge of making lists and reading hard books so here we are, back at it once again. I haven't picked for all the categories and I'm sure half the books I actually pick will change over the course of the year but at least this gives me a starting place.

1.  A 19th century classic - I use this category for my yearly Dickens.  I'm going with Pickwick Papers this time. 

2.  A 20th century classic - Howards End. I'm not actually thrilled with the idea of this book but my favorite podcast Close Reads is chosen it for January and I can't say no. Putting it in this catagory gives me double motivation. And maybe it will surprised me (basically, I'm imagining this as depressing and I don't tend to like that in a book but I have no real basis for that over than Anthony Hopkins is in the movie and he just makes me think dark and depressing. Maybe it's super funny and lighthearted! I don't know!)

3.  A classic by a woman author. Not normally a hard catagory for me to fill but all the choices are leaving with no firm answer. 

4.  A classic in translation.  I will read it this time. 

5. A children's classic. The House of Arden by E. Nesbit. My kid's love Nesbit but I'll confess that they've always listened to them as audiobooks so I don't have much experience with her myself. Time for that to change. 

6.  A classic crime story, fiction or non-fiction. 

 Over at Close Reads podcast, they've talked a few times about murder mystery versus spy novel and I'm definitely a murder mystery fan but my one attempt at a spy novel didn't end well. I want to give it another go.  Maybe The Spy Who Came in from the Cold? If I abandon it, I'm sure I'll have one (dozen) murder mysteries to choose from my read in '18 list that I could plug in here. I think one of the Close Reads selections this year might fit and some hand holding is always nice. 

7. A classic travel or journey narrative, fiction or non-fiction. 

Kon Tiki

8. A classic with a single-word title. Beowulf. This might get moved to A classic that scares you. Because...poetry! But for now, it stays here. 

9. A classic with a color in the title.  Maybe Agnes Grey? Still undecided. 

10. A classic by an author that's new to you.  Again, too many choices! I'll probably end up with some Close Reads or Ambleside Online selection here? Maybe another Russian Novel. That could go in  the scares me catagory too. 

11. A classic that scares you. This category is getting smaller now that I've spent the last two years really pushing myself. But I could put The Holy Way by John Bunyan here. Lucy and I have been reading Pilgrim's Progress and she loves it but I'll just say its not my style. So the idea of more Bunyan is not appealing. But I've committed to it in my year 8 plans and that is a bit scary. 

12. Re-read a favorite classic. Jane Eyre. I read this in high school and thought it was okay. I re-read it a few years ago and maybe it was just the right time for me because I loved it. I've been scared to re-read it for fear I won't like it as much this time  and ruin that memory (hmm, so maybe it should be "a classic that scares you ;-) but I want to try anyway.

Wanna join in? It's super fun! Go visit Karen at Books and Chocolate to find out more. 


Classic in Translation - Don Quixote

I made it! Back in October I only had one book to go with my classics challenge list which should have made it really easy to finish up. Until I picked Don Quixote as my last book! Nothing like 940 pages of translated 16th century Spanish lit to push you to the brink of your deadline. That said, I am really glad I read it.

I choose the Edith Grossman Translation. I don't have anything to compare it to but I did find this translation to be quite readable and her footnotes to be quite helpful. It's actually two books. Most of what you probably know about Don Quixote from cultural references (the windmills!) is from the first part and I was very tempted to stop there. But the second is really where it shines. The relationship between Quixote and his sidekick Sancho deepens and you get past the "crazy guy doing some crazy thing and calamity ensures" repetition. Well, kinda. I mean, crazy things keep happening but its a little more involved.

This is so hard to review. It's so many things. It's lighthearted and funny, sometimes weird, sometimes confusing, often sad. There are stories within the story and sometimes another story mixed in. It's ridiculous and then, there will be this great deep quote or idea. I did get bogged down in parts and finished this mostly because I choose to read two chapters a day no matter what, rarely more. If I was in a hard spot, I knew that even I could manage two chapters. If I was in a good spot, I couldn't read more because after two chapters my brain was full and I had to stop and think. I guess my summary would be - It's worth reading. But really, you didn't need me to tell you that.

Don Quixote is my Classic in Translation for the Back the Classics Challenge. 


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!


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 ;-)