remembering Uncle Lorimer

Our lives are touched by many people, often in small ways and sometimes in big ways. Uncle Lorimer was one of those that impacted us greatly! This past December, he went to be with his Savior & King Jesus. He loved his family deeply- they were his world! Through the years we grew in friendship & became just like family. We almost never miss a Thanksgiving together and even though we now live in different states, we continue to visit each other several times a year.

Lorimer was a leader in his community but we knew him best as simply Uncle Lorimer. His testimony lives on through the lessons he shared with us. He lived out his faith in Christ, always opening the Word each night because he knew it was the source of life. He had a saying of "do the right thing" and he did it- quietly, not drawing attention to himself. It was enough to simply do it. He was great at getting our boys to WORK HARD. His smile & love of music brightened the room. The children looked forward to special treats from him- if the mamas said no, maybe Uncle Lorimer could make it happen. "Just this once" or "it's a special time" he would say.

Our hearts have been broken for his family. I can't even comprehend the sorrow of losing your best friend, spouse and father. But there is One who can & we pray that Jesus would lift them up during this time. In the midst of such pain, there has also been rejoicing because Uncle Lorimer is no longer in pain from cancer. For the believer of Christ, we know separation from our loved ones is temporary- we will see them again & live with them forever in heaven! There's also rejoicing because Uncle Lorimer DID finish his race well. Thank you, Uncle Lorimer, for your testimony! We miss you but we'll see you again!

If you click on the image below, it will take you to through several images:

fall term, part 2 review

I wanted to make sure I shared our fall term, which ended way back in November just before Thanksgiving. This fall term, part 2 lasted eight weeks (totaling 12 weeks for the educational year) and man, were we ready for our Thanksgiving break!

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Circle Time for ALL:

  1. Hymn: Holy, Holy, Holy
  2. Bible Memory: Exodus 20:1-17 (the Ten Commandments) & The Nicene Creed
  3. Catechism: the Children’s CatechismThe Westminster Shorter Catechismthe Heidelberg Catechism
  4. Poems: The Fool's Prayer (Patricia, Benjamin & Matthias); Persevere (Jonathan & Elizabeth); Singing Time (Abigail); The Little Man Who Wasn't There (Emily); Ooey Gooey & Celery (Katherine).
  5. Shakespeare: Julius Caesar (memorizing lines & listening to it while we read along)
  6. Folk Song: Billy Boy
  7. History & Geography: National Anthem the Southern Border of the United States + we listened to several of the podcasts about Martin Luther from 5 Minutes in Church History
  8. Plutarch: Marcus Cato the Censor using The Plutarch Project, Volume One
  9. Read Alouds: Little Pilgrim’s ProgressPoetry for Young People: Henry Wadsworth LongfellowReformation Heroes; Augustus Caesar's World
  10. Composer: George Gershwin (we listened to Rodeo & American in Paris)
  11. Artist: Winslow Homer (Home Sweet Home Snap the Whip)

Mama's Assessment of Circle Time: this part of our day has become a habit for all of us. YAHOO! We need to build in review next interval.

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Reading Aloud for ALL:

  1. Ember Falls by S.D Smith
  2. Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
  3. Poetry for Young People: Henry Wadsorth Longfellow by Frances Schoonmaker

Afternoons for ALL: I think the habit of filling our afternoons with handiwork, music, reading, outside time & projects went well. I won't lie & say we had no screen time but we definitely worked towards less of it. Our beautiful southern fall weather helped to call us outside! The constant hustle & bustle makes this mama tired, so I need to think through how to have some down time while allowing the older children the freedom to use their afternoons. Nature study still didn't happen with consistency on Friday afternoons. Actually, it just didn't happen much period. I think I need a support group for this. This is definitely an area I need to grow in!

Mama's Assessment of Afternoons: I need to think through nature study & ways to hold myself accountable to getting it done. Maybe Fridays are not the day for this? Benjamin needs to find a handicraft to work on & mama needs some down time to recharge!

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Little's Hour: (Katherine, age 4; Josiah, age 2; Timothy, baby) mostly just play & reading picture books with lots of walks & "helping" do some chores. It's grand to have time just with these little folks... even if it's crazy busy & messy. 

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Young Ones Lessons: (Abigail, age 8 & Emily, age 6) we continued our loop of Bible memory, phonics (Primary Language Arts + reading aloud for Abigail), copywork, math (we use Singapore Standards but add enrichment activities), history, map blobbing, mapwork (following our readings) & AO reading + narration from year 2. They both do their music (Agigail: piano; Emily: violin) after a different part of the day. I decided to switch to using AO for their history & we have all loved the readings, in particular Our Island Story! Abigail especially enjoys adding things to her history timeline.

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Here's a list of what they read during our Fall Term, part 2 (remember, most of AO readings are spread out for a LONG period of time so nothing was finished this term but we did begin a few new ones):

  1. The Burgess Animal Book for Children
  2. Tree in the Trail
  3. Parables of Nature
  4. Understood Betsy
  5. Little Duke
  6. A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys
  7. A Child's History of the World
  8. Our Island Story
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Mama's Assessment of Young Ones Lessons: I still need to be more consistent with map blobbing. I've delayed adding in spelling for Abigail & instead am working on reading with her plus copywork. I'm happy with Emily's progress with narration, as she seems to be paying better attention to readings.

Middlings Lessons: (Elizabeth, age 9 & Jonathan, age 11) together, we continued our loop of Bible memory, math (Singapore Standards), science experiments, writing/grammar (mainly 1 written narration per day + Language Lessons for Grammar Students: Fable & Song), copywork or dictation & reading aloud to mama, as well as going over any Latin from their co-op class. We dropped reading aloud Age of Fable. Both children continued to work on their independent lessons: history & Latin for co-op, mapwork from various readings + learning to draw the USA (Draw the USA), science (Physics, form 3-4), music (violin for Jonathan & piano for Elizabeth; both have lessons once a week), free reading for half hour & AO readings + narration from year 5. They started their Book of Centuries as part of their keeping but I think they only added one entry. That's okay- I suspect this will become more consistent next year when they transition to AO history.  Here's a list of what they read during Fall Term, part 2:

  1. Storybook of Science
  2. Wild Animals I Have Known
  3. Magnets- FINISHED!
  4. Always Inventing: A Photobiography of Alexander Graham Bell- FINISHED!
  5. The Story of Inventions
  6. A Child's Geography: Explore the Holy Land
  7. King Arthur & His Knights of the Round Table- FINISHED
  8. Free Reads (which means they do not have to narrate to me me nor are the assigned what to read when; its sometimes "fluff" and I'm good with that): Puck of Pook's Hill (FINISHED!); The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (audiobook).

Mama's Assessment of Middlings Lessons: I'd still like to see more careful work (penmanship, spelling, detailed illustrations) in their written narrations/keeping journals but I did hear more through oral narrations, which is even more important for them right now.

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Upper Lessons: (Matthias, age 13 & Benjamin, age 15) they continued their loop of independent work during the day, meeting with me most afternoons for narrations (1 written per day & the rest oral) & any help needed with grammar or Matthias' math. Eric continued to meet with them for logic & Benjamin's math. In addition to written narrations, they began their Book of Centuries. They also continued to write about a current event for science & history most weeks. Their studies include personal Bible reading & journaling + a Romans Bible study from co-op with our Pastor, math (ChalkDust), Biology & Physics science & experiments (this guide for biology; this guide for Matthias physics; this guide for Benjamin's physics), Spanish (co-op), writing & literature (co-op), grammar (Jensen's Grammar), logic (Matthias: Art of Argument; Benjamin: will begin next interval), history (co-op with Daddy as teacher: Christendom), mapwork from various readings + learning to draw USA (Draw the USA), music (Matthias: piano with lessons each week), free reading (at bedtime) & AO readings + narration. Matthias got a red-footed tortoise, which is perfect as a nature study!

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Mama's Assessment of Upper Lessons: Spanish class at co-op has been a struggle for both boys. We need to work on study habits & simply (but not really simple) put in the hours to get it done.

Patricia: (age 17) her dural enrollment classes for her second session of the fall semester where Freshman Composition II US History. It was a very challenging session, with the need to learn how to better manage her time. However, she continued to do very well, acing all four classes in her first semester. In addition, she studied music (piano & mandolin at home + she teaches Abigail piano), math (ChalkDust), ACT prep, art & assigned reading. Here's a list of assigned reading that she journals & we (usually) discuss (the girl reads way beyond this list!)- none of them are finished yet:

  1. Rob Roy
  2. State of the Arts
  3. Economics in One Lesson
  4. Lectures in Calvinism
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one second project: 2017

During 2017, I attempted to take one second of film each day. It didn't happen every single day but I kept going. I shared those films along the way & now I'm ready to share our entire year. This year, our family has learned afresh how precious life is, how valuable every second is lived together. I'm so grateful we have this film to help us remember! I love these people!

So, pop some popcorn & enjoy seeing our family's 2017 (its about 6 minutes)!

merry Christmas!

It's not been the typical Christmas here with the passing of our dear friend, a trip to Texas & then sickness but even in the midst of all this, there is reason to rejoice in our Savior being born to save His people from their sins! Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

a week of mama

Once again, Heather Robinson encouraged her alumni students to get in front of the camera for another "week of mama" project. (We did this back in March & I shared it here too. Just click the tag at the end of this post.) Capturing me in our family story is important because I was there too.... but so often forget to document that. Heather's class, Family Historian, helped me to link my photography with writing. It's helped me share my heart with my children and provide a way to leave a legacy for future generations.

Here's November's "a week of mama:"

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day 1: I'm fiercely protective of guarding your childhood, of giving you time to be a kid, be outside, time to enter the world of imagination, to build relationships with your siblings & time to create. it's not easy- it seems like so much presses in & grabs for our time, especially as you grow older. many of those things are good but so is this. so I pray for wisdom & reevaluate, making room in our busy schedule for childhood. so while your brothers were being their crazy, loud selves, I made sure you had time today to feed your soul & create. 

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day 2: my, you're good for my soul! people often comment how much you're like me & while that may be true, I think you've got a lot your Daddy in you. you both share a love for sci-fi & fantasy. (can you see me crinkling my face into icky shapes as I write that?) you both love discussing politics& cultural happenings. but your quirky personality is all you're own. wherever it came from, I'm grateful because I needed a laugh today. and we both needed the coffee after I was gone for majority of the day with appointments while you held down the fort at home with the littles. the wisdom & kindness you possess at such a young age... well, I hope it can be said that I'm like you!

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day 3: today was hard. I was far from being the mama I wanted to be, no where close to being the one you needed. you were not innocent but it doesn't matter... in fact, because of that, my love should have poured out all the more. and that's why it shook me to the core when I didn't show you kindness & patience. I had to flee to this spot- the only place I could find in a busy house where I could be alone to cry & pray. I needed to pour out my heart to my Savior before I could pour it out to you. because no matter what, I will always come to you & be honest about my own faults. I will always ask for forgiveness before expecting you to do the same. we can cling to Christ together! because that's the mama I want to be & exactly the one you need.

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day 4: almost two hours past dinner time, your daddy & I finally snuck out for a date. I always try to actually do my hair because he likes it when I wear it down. we both look forward to our weekly date! it's rarely fancy but this mama's heart needs this time just with him. making our relationship a priority isn't always easy & there's seasons when it's near impossible to have time for just the two of us. that's okay- it's the reality of living a full life with all of you. but focusing on just us helps us focus on all of you. you all don't quite understand that yet- you wonder why we're leaving you behind & sometimes you older ones buck at having to care for the littles. but I promise I still love all of you... I just don't have to be with you 24/7 to show it. 

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day 5: I love how the holidays get me in the kitchen more with all of you! these days, I've become more if a ringleader where household chores are concerned, including some of the cooking. it feels like a circus with all the hustle & bustle of running this house so I'm grateful for moments like this to slow down & gather all you littles to bake with me.  truth be told, I didn't always love cooking with lots of littles- it had to grow on me through the years. I had to learn to smile at the mess & craziness. knowing all the workload no longer falls solely on my shoulders helps. so, thanks!

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day 6: oh, I love smooching your face! it hasn't always been easy for me to slow down & savor what's in front of me. I think for a long time, I thought in order to do that, I first needed everything in order & checked off. I thought quiet equaled peace. but here's the thing, life keeps going & a mama's job is never accomplished- the next thing is always waiting. it's a blessing to have all those things to do even though there tension from a fallen world. all these tasks are the fruit of a full life lived with all of you & I've learned peace is a matter of my heart, not the volume level in this house. but it's also a blessing to let it all go & just be. with you... and usually several other children running around being loud, which was the reality outside this photo. that's okay- I'll just breath you in for a bit longer.

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day 7: teaching each of you to read is one of the highlights of my life. each of you have learned at various speeds & ages. one of you truly struggled & took years to learn- we both shed a lot of tears along the way. I still get choked up when I hear you reading aloud & I expect I'll still do that when I'm old & gray. I often tell you all that I want to be the grandmother who comes over with a bag stuffed to brim to read aloud to my grandchildren. what fun that will be! maybe I can take some pictures too. and I definitely hope I'm still getting in front of the frame with you all!

day in the life: october 13, 2017

Since Timothy was born, I've been feeling like I've been in a rut with my photos. That's no surprise because newborns are time consuming and so is home educating 6 children. All lovely things but it can make picking up my camera difficult. It's worth the effort & I'm never sad when I stop and focus on it though so I decided to shoot another day in the life. To be honest, at first I was disappointed when I culled my images. Disappointed by the zillion shots I missed. Disappointed by the lack of "good" shots. Disappointed I fizzled out & stopped shooting in the early evening.

Then I got thinking why I was disappointed. It's partly because I know where I want to be with my photography and many of these images do not meet that standard. But you know how you get there? Shooting lots and LOTS of photos. And I truly mean LOTS! I also think I was disappointed because I forgot that part of shooting a ditl is excepting the day as it is because I'm documenting real life with no directing. Shooting it and seeing a ditl takes acceptance. Lastly, I think I was disappointed because I did miss a lot of shots- it's just the reality of any ditl, especially if you're that mama who is nursing and home schooling. 

I had to wait to edit my photos and something magical happened. I came back with gratitude that I shot that day. Thankfulness that I captured our memories because I want to remember life as it is! And as I remembered these various moments, they made me smile. I have a feeling that my children and future generations will care less that this isn't my "best" work! So, here's me showing up and preserving our memories and learning to be content with what I can do now as I grow.

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around our clocks: 4pm

During the weekdays, our afternoons are filled with more free activities for the children: time outdoors, art, baking, reading, sleep or handicrafts. I'm trying to make sure we hit handicrafts at least once a week, especially taking the time to help the younger children. This past Friday, three of the children worked at the same time (& then their younger ones woke from nap time & wanted to work too) so it was busy. Thankfully, these three need little help from me now on these handicrafts:

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I can hardly believe that this is our twelfth & final post for this series! I feel honored to have joined this group of ladies this past year as we shared what one specific hour looked like in our lives. I'm looking forward to printing this project in a book as a keepsake for our family. Documenting, preserving & enjoying our images- it makes my heart happy! Be sure to visit Nicole next (if you follow the circle completely, you'll end back here)! If you would like to see all of my images from this series, click the projects button at the top of the screen.

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fall term, part 1 review 2

This is the second review of our Fall Term, part 1. If you missed the first part, you can go here to see what things we did together & read an overview of our educational approach.

To keep my sanity somewhat intact, I group various children & teach them together. Often, my head wants to explode with so much going on but very careful planning, coffee, date nights with Eric, prayer, girls nights, wine... they all help. So does keeping some of our topics similar even if each group is studying a different book. For example, we are all studying the Middle Ages for history this year. During the first two terms, most of the children are all studying Physics & Biology. Below is what each of these groups focused on learning during our Fall Term, part 1.

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Littles Lessons: my littles are Katherine (age 4), Josiah (age 2) and now Timothy (newborn). They spent a lot of time outdoors playing (older siblings rotate taking them outside so I can teach... or drink coffee in silence) and also time indoors destroying my house- I mean playing. Seriously- these two can wreck havoc in seconds & often they're helped by a few other siblings. (Any guesses who?) Just look:

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We read aloud some (again, not enough), usually at bedtime but I did not keep track of what. Picture books are so much fun though! Emily is learning the violin so I tried to meet with her consistently. It's happening more now that Timothy is here. I'll be real. These littles also spent far too much time watching movies. Pregnancy & mama's poor health - reality. Next interval, I've set aside time just with them because I've missed my little people & I want to soak in these early years before they're gone! I'm excited to try some new things & if it succeeds, I'll share next time. 

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Young Ones Lessons: my young ones are Abigail (age 8) & Emily (age 6). I meet with the girls for 1.5 hours each day (except co-op day) where we loop Bible memory, phonics (Primary Language Arts + reading aloud for Abigail), copywork, math (we use Singapore Standards but add enrichment activities), history (the girls are following our co-op history at home), map blobbing, mapwork (following our readings) & AO reading + narration from year 2. Both girls sit with me and we either do their lesson together or while I work with one, the other does some kind of independent work (or goes outside with the littles). Often, we do our AO reading at other parts of the day: nap time (want to stay up? ask mama to read!), before bed & Saturdays. (btw, Katherine is usually present for AO readings & this little girl is sharp- she follows along, remembering the storyline & narrating well. She reminds me of her other two redheaded sisters.) When I say LOOP it means we never do all these things in one day- we pick up where we left off the next day. I make phonics & at least one AO reading/narration a priority, trying to do those each day. At some point each day, Abigail meets with Patricia for a piano lesson. Yahoo! 

CM takes the approach of short lessons when children are young to help them focus. 1.5 hours isn't short but I break it up into various different lessons & alternating who I work with to help keep it short. CM also requires reading slowly so we do not plow through books. That's okay because I see the ideas soaking in when we read this way + the level of reading is much more difficult with AO. At these young ages, I'm still reading aloud everything. They're only required to narrate (tell back) orally but they often want to illustrate their narrations. Sometimes I write down what they narrate & the girls often ask to copy it into their journals themselves. Here's a list of what they read during Fall Term, part 1:

  1. The Burgess Animal Book for Children
  2. Tree in the Trail
  3. Understood Betsy
  4. Little Duke
  5. Chanticleer and the Fox (finished!)
  6. A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys
  7. Heidi  (audiobook; finished!)
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Mama's Assessment of Young Ones Lessons: I need to add in Spelling for Abigail (All About Spelling, Level 1) & also be more consistent with map blobbing. We also started a history timeline during our break & will continue that throughout the year.

Middlings Lessons: I refer to Elizabeth (age 9) & Jonathan (age 11) as my middlings. We meet for 1 hour each day (except co-op day) where we loop Bible memory, math (Singapore Standards), science experiments, writing/grammar (Language Lessons for Grammar Students: Fable & Song), copywork or dictation, reading aloud to mama, reading together Age of Fable + narrations from AO year 5. (Remember LOOP means we never do all of this in one day! My priority is math each day.) Last year, I had to read aloud almost all of their material. This year, I'm only reading aloud one AO book (Age of Fable); they read the rest independently. I'll be honest, it makes me a little sad to not be reading more together but I know it's better for them (they have to pay closer attention + there's a sense of work well done in doing it yourself- they own it) & gives me more time with other children.

Jonathan & Elizabeth have independent lessons which they keep track of thanks to Pam's student planner & handy clipboards. They never do everything every day. Math & co-op is priority. These lessons include personal Bible reading & journaling, math homework, Latin (Latin for Children, book B taught at co-op), history (from co-op), mapwork from various readings + learning to draw the USA (Draw the USA), science (Physics, form 3-4), music (violin for Jonathan & piano for Elizabeth; both have lessons once a week), free reading for half hour & AO readings + narration from year 5. They are required to do one written narration per day & orally narrate every other reading to me. Often, they choose to do more than one written narration. I fit listening to narrations & looking over their independent work throughout the day. Here's a list of what they read during Fall Term, part 1 (we did not finish any of these this term):

  1. Storybook of Science
  2. Wild Animals I Have Known
  3. Magnets
  4. Always Inventing: A Photobiography of Alexander Graham Bell
  5. The Story of Inventions
  6. A Child's Geography Explore the Holy Land
  7. King Arthur & His Knights of the Round Table
  8. Free Reads (which means they do not have to narrate to me me nor are the assigned what to read when; its sometimes "fluff" and I'm good with that): Little Women & Heidi (Elizabeth; finished both!) & Robot Wars, book 5 (Jonathan)

Mama's Assessment of Middlings Lessons: I'd like to see more careful work (penmanship, spelling, detailed illustrations) in their written narrations/keeping journals. We will add in Book of Centuries & a Century Chart next interval. 

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Upper Lessons: Matthias (age 13) & Benjamin (age 15) make up this group. They work almost completely independently, meeting with me in the afternoon for discussion & to show me their work. Eric meets with the boys for logic, theology & Benjamin's math. Yahoo! The boys also use Pam's student planner & clipboards also. They never do everything every day. Math & co-op is priority. There lessons include personal Bible reading & journaling + a Romans Bible study from co-op with our Pastor, math (ChalkDust), Biology & Physics science & experiments (this guide for biology; this guide for Matthias physics; this guide for Benjamin's physics), Spanish (co-op), writing & literature (co-op), grammar (Jensen's Grammar), logic (Matthias: Art of Argument; Benjamin: will begin next interval), history (co-op with Daddy as teacher: Christendom), mapwork from various readings + learning to draw USA (Draw the USA), music (Matthias: piano with lessons each week; Benjamin: guitar at home), free reading (at bedtime) & AO readings + narration.  

Matthias is using AO year 7 & Benjamin is using AO year 9 but I've combined several of their readings. They are required to do one written narration per day + writing/illustrations for science. They must orally narrate every other reading to me. Often, they choose to do more than one written narration. In addition, they look up one current history event each day & write a summary on Friday. They also look up a scientific discovery or news event & write a summary on Friday's. Here's a list of what they read during Fall Term, part 1- remember, we haven't finished these yet:

  1. The Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life (Matthias only)
  2. Mere Christianity The God Who is There (Benjamin only)
  3. Church History in Plain Language
  4. The Brendan Voyage: Across the Atlantic in a Leather Boat
  5. Bulfinch's Medieveal Mythology: the Age of Chivalry
  6. The Once Future King
  7. Watership Down
  8. Ivanhoe
  9. Ourselves
  10. How to Read a Book
  11. The Story of Painting (Matthias only)
  12. Dune Boy: the Early Years of a Naturalist (Matthias only; this is a favorite!)
  13. The Land of Little Rain (Benjamin only)
  14. Men, Microscopes, & Living Things
  15. Liquid & Gases: Principles of Fluid Mechanics (Matthias only)
  16. Objects in Motion: Principles of Classical Mechanics (Matthias only)
  17. For the Love of Physics (Benjamin only)

Mama's Assessment of Upper Lessons: I'd like to see more careful work (penmanship, spelling, detailed illustrations) in their written narrations/keeping journals. We will add in Book of Centuries & a Century Chart next interval. Also, their co-op lessons need more attention- I think mama being on break from baby lead to some sloppy habits that we're addressing. 

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Patricia (age 17): this year started a new journey of dual enrollment for this girl. Sniff, sniff- that came quick! The days are long for a homeschooling mama but the years are quick!!! Patricia desires to get a degree in literature & writing from Toccoa Falls College. We're grateful that Georgia provides free dual enrollment to any in-state school (they do not pay for Bible classes) up to age 19! We're hoping Patricia can complete about two years of college before graduating!

While her main focus in studies is her dual enrollment classes (Freshman Composition I & American Government), Patricia also studied music (piano & mandolin at home + she teaches Abigail piano), math (ChalkDust), ACT prep & assigned reading. Plus, lots of art. We chat about her college courses (Eric is loving talking politics for her current government class) & books + Eric helps her with math. Here's a list of her assigned books she read (the girl reads way beyond this list!)- none of them are finished yet:

  1. Rob Roy
  2. State of the Arts
  3. Economics in One Lesson
  4. The Truth About Vaccines videos
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PHEW! Home educating is not for the faint at heart but the riches to behold are beautiful & worthy of the effort! I'm sure they'll be some adjustments to make as Timothy gets older- life changes so quickly with babies in the house! I KNOW that our next interval will not happen as smoothly with a newborn in the house but that's okay- it will be much sweeter with him here!

If you stuck through this entire post, you deserve a medal!!! I'll see you at the end of our second term to give {a much shorter} update. 

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fall term, part 1 review 1

As I started to type this out, it got really long so I'm breaking into two reviews. This first part covers an overview of our educational approach and those things we do all together. Part two will cover what each child was learning during our Fall Term, part 1.

We break up our years into terms, which are usually around 6 weeks each. I plan our terms around our co-op schedule first.  In between each term we usually take 1 week off but sometimes more (3 weeks off around Christmas, an entire month in the summer, etc). These break weeks are not often vacation time (though sometimes they are & that's fun!) but instead used to catch up on life, though we try to always have a few fun activities & enjoy sleeping in. I highly recommend Mystie's blog (& courses!) to learn more about terms (she calls it interval planning). We've done this for years now & it's really helped us establish a workable "groove." 

We finished our first term of the school year & are currently on a baby break which is 4 weeks. Yikes! That's not ideal- we had just got into a good groove of lessons & I'm a bit concerned they're gonna forget everything but we've been here before & it all worked out. Besides, co-op & music lessons are continuing so their brains are not completely going numb. I thought I'd share an overview of our first term along with some pictures. I'm hoping to do so again after each term.

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Fall Term, Part 1 Review:

This first term was scheduled for 6 weeks but actually ended only being 4 due to taking one week off to visit with our friends from Texas & then Timothy's arrival. We'll make up for it by adding on 2 extra weeks to the next term. We started back to lessons before our co-op began because I wanted to re-establish habits + I knew we would have a long baby break & I didn't want to extend lessons too far into the summer. As I mentioned above, during our baby break, the children have returned to co-op & music lessons which has helped fill their days a bit but still left more free time & enabled me to not have teach {much}.

We follow a classical & Charlotte Mason (CM) approach to educating, pulling a lot from Ambleside Online (AO) though we do not use it completely. I can't recommend their site highly enough! I'm blown away that so many ladies offer so much wisdom & guidance for FREE! I didn't come to a deeper understanding of CM until recently. I wish we could have done it this way from the beginning! I'm grateful I still have lots of little ones to go from start to finish with but even my older children have benefited from this approach.

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Circle Time for ALL: From the beginning of having children, the foundation to our day has always been circle time. (It happens even we are not doing "school.") This is a set time each week day where we all gather together for memorizing & feasting on riches/beauty like music, art, poetry, Shakespeare, literature. (We do not meet on co-op days.) For years, my focus was on Bible study, poetry & memory work but CM showed me the importance of incorporating not only truth & goodness into our learning but also beauty. So we added Shakespeare, composers, folk songs, art study & reading aloud to our circle time. In addition to a bit of review each day, we spend one or more intervals focused on a set amount of work. Repetition makes it stick!  Here's the Circle Time plans for Fall Term, part 1:

  1. Hymn: O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing
  2. Bible Memory: Exodus 20:1-17 (the Ten Commandments) & The Lord’s Prayer
  3. Catechism: the Children’s Catechism, The Westminster Shorter Catechism, the Heidelberg Catechism
  4. Poems: The Pessimist & the Optimist (Patricia, Benjamin & Matthias); The Swing (Jonathan & Elizabeth); After the Party (Abigail); Ooey Gooey & Celery (Emily & Katherine).
  5. Shakespeare: Julius Caesar (memorizing lines & listening to it while we read along)
  6. Folk Song: the Outlandish Knight
  7. History & Geography: Pledge of Allegiance & the Northern Border of the United States
  8. Plutarch: Marcus Cato the Censor using The Plutarch Project, Volume One
  9. Read Alouds: Little Pilgrim’s Progress; Poetry for Young People: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; Reformation Heroes
  10. Composer: George Gershwin (we listened to Appalachian Spring & Billy the Kid)
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Mama's Assessment of Circle Time: need to be better about reviewing each day so we do not forget what we worked so hard to memorize. There are several things still to fold in next interval.

Reading Aloud for ALL: Reading has also been foundational to the culture of our home. (btw, I count audiobooks or my being read to under this category in addition to Eric it I reading aloud.) Those stories have knit us together & our imaginations have soared to places we could never travel as we laughed or cried or discussed characters & plots. Often, older children have picked up books & read aloud with no prompting from me and I especially love watching that unfold! Besides Circle Time, we tend to read aloud at lunch (audiobook, Patricia or I) & at dinner (Eric or I). I need to get the boys reading more though everyone takes turns helping to read at Circle Time. Jonathan & Elizabeth are reading aloud the Little House series to me- they get their own hardback copies as they read. (All of my older children did this also!) I usually alternate one of them reading to me each day.

In the beginning, majority of our educational lessons were completely together & I read aloud everything. I miss those simpler days because now I've got my eldest & three sets of children + littles, each working at different things. Glorious but phew- it's a lot! That's why things like family worship, Circle Time and reading aloud remain foundational- they bring us together & enable me to cover more things in a set amount of time. We only finished one book during the Fall Term, part 1: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson. (Patricia read this one.)

Mama's Assessment of Reading Aloud: We definitely didn't read the quantity of books we usually cover due to pregnancy/sickness. Get the boys to read aloud too!

Friday Afternoons for ALL: in reality, this didn't happen because I had iron transfusions every Friday afternoon during this interval. So sad! Next interval, this will be our time for a nature walk or Law's study if the weather is bad. We tried to fit nature study into other parts of our day since we couldn't do it on Fridays:

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Afternoons for ALL: Following CM principles, we set aside time in the afternoons for time outdoors (free play, walks, bikes & yard work), handicrafts, music, baking, art & crafts and reading. I require EVERYONE to get out of each other's face & be alone for at least a half hour- they usually read during that time & most take longer than a half hour. Littles always nap & often, so do several of us older ones. I'm trying to limit screen time- it slipped into our days with pregnancy & sickness. Sigh. Breaking that bad habit is not easy. Chores finish up our day before we eat & have our evening routine (dinner, family worship, reading aloud, baths, meeting with Daddy, bedtime).

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Mama's Assessment of Afternoons: I'm still learning to love this time. I'm tired after teaching & I'm not one to love crafting with children... but I'm trying to embrace the riches of these things. It helps that as the children get older, they can do more independently & clean up after themselves. It also essential for me to get some alone & quiet time- it brings much needed refreshment to my mind & body.

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Note: life with increasingly older children means their social calendars are growing + Benjamin works 3 days a week. If an older child misses one of these above group gatherings, they are required to catch up on their own. They rarely miss Circle Time but if they did, they would need to go through it by themselves. They're required to read the portions we read aloud or do a similar nature study on their free time.

Be sure to read part 2 of our Fall Term, part 1 review here!

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1st day of co-op

Four of the children attend a co-op at our church once a week. Yesterday was their first day. I usually teach art classes but since I'm due to have this baby (he will come one day, right?), I'm waiting to begin till the second semester. Abigail & Emily will take art lessons with me then and they can hardly wait! It isn't fun to be home without Elizabeth! It was a little weird to have a day with just littles (+ Patricia, who is focusing on dual enrollment classes instead of co-op). Enjoy this peek into our day!

Mornings start a bit earlier on co-op day:

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I made the children look at me & smile so I could snap a few iPhone pics:

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Bubbles & chalk help to pass the morning:

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Waiting for lunch is hard when you're starving (& mama already has hers):

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Not going to lie... it was kinda nice to have quiet time where everyone took a nap:

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This girls hasn't napped since she as two (but she does wait on her bed). She was beyond bored & ready for Elizabeth to return:

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So I had an epic mom fail... I guess I so impressed upon Elizabeth the need to be with Benjamin during study period that when she couldn't find him, she cried. Twice. Yeah, way to go me. 

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Thankfully, we were able to end the day with some cuddles, playtime with siblings & dinner:

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2017-2018 first day of school

Yesterday marked our first day back to lessons. I'm hoping to get in some work before Timothy makes his apperance and before the craziness of co-op begins. It was a glorious day. Today, has not been glorious. I'm grateful I waited till today to edit images & post this because it's encouraged me. Getting back into a groove, learning to joyfully work, remembering how to think and apply yourself after a summer break... well, that's hard. It's going to take time & I need to give my children and myself grace while still holding the line. That balance isn't easy but I pray I can be faithful as the children learn to do so also. We're in this together!

Anyway, I kept our first day short & sweet. I met with each child for a sort of "orientation"- we discussed what they would learn this year, I showed them their new books, where to store things and how their new checklists would work. We all gathered for circle time. Little ones enjoyed lots of playtime, including soaking in the lovely weather outside. I met with a few children for reading and a few independent lessons were accomplished but not much. Then I rushed out the door for a midwife appointment and quick run to the grocery store. PHEW.

We ended the day with Sonic slushies because the children say it's a tradition. Remember this one from last year? It's still one of my favorites.

Well, this year Josiah was thrilled to get his own slushie! Sugared up, we went home and tried to settle children down for bed. Yeah, that took forever. Day one in the books. I'm excited to see what this year holds... and I already look forward to break weeks. ;)

Here are some images from our Sonic run & also Emily and Katherine's chalk selfies. Also, I'm sharing clips from my Instagram stories because I didn't want to loose them after 24 hours. Not the greatest quality since it was shot & edited on my phone but I know I'll be glad I saved this! Btw, following along IG stories live on IG is much more fun.

 

 

around our clocks: 7am

Pregnancy diabetes. The diagnosis came as a complete shock and honestly, I'm not convinced it's accurate but it's in my charts & there is no changing the doctor or midwives minds. I've had a range of emotions from shock to anger to sadness. This is all new to me- a first after many pregnancies. Thankfully, my numbers during the day are perfect & my morning numbers after fasting were very close so I'm hopeful (& determined) to adjust those numbers by eating a snack before bed (something I wasn't doing) & getting in some more walking (some days easier said than done because of my anemia).

It's hard some times not to be eager to be done being pregnant. I KNOW I will miss this so I'm trying to tell myself to soak it all in. I know this is a minor thing compared to what many are facing- in fact, our dearest friends are battling cancer right now & it's reminded me again what a blessing our health is. Submitting my will and desires (even good ones like health) and resting in God's plans... I wish I could say it comes easily but it doesn't always. Praise Jesus, He is faithful and patient!

For one year, I'm joining group of fellow documentary photographers as we share what one specific hour looks like in our lives. One hour shared once a month. The project's called "Around Our Clocks." Be sure to visit Meghan Nesom Photography next (if you follow the circle completely, you'll end back here)! If you would like to see all of my images from this series, click the projects button at the top of the screen.