Archive | January, 2013

Journey to the Charlotte Mason Approach Part II

30 Jan

Continuing with my previous post, I would like to continue to take you on my journey to the Charlotte Mason method. As I previously stated, my husband was not as much on board with the unschooling approach as I was. I needed a new plan, so I went back into research mode, armed with the knowledge that my husband desired structure (this is still funny to me). During this second round of research I stumbled across the book “Teaching the Trivium” by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn, which led to my second method of choice, the classical approach.

This method offered the structures atmosphere my husband wanted, and was based on one of my favorite activities, reading. I figured I could place some activity, such as drawing or coloring, in front of Danger Girl as I read. That would keep her occupied enough to pay attention. In fact, the Bluedorns encouraged giving children hands on activities in the book.


More Info about Classical Education:

Memoria Press has an article about what the Classical Method is here

There is also information about the history of education at Classical Christian Homeschooling

You can also find Q & A’s and other articles about this method at Trivium Pursuit


As I read about the three stages of learning, I began to embrace the classical method as a viable option. I could read the classics to Danger Girl, and give her leave to play in the afternoon where, knowing her, she would incorporate these stories into her games.

(There is obviously more to the classical method than my brief review can do justice. If you would like to learn more, I would recommend reading “Teaching the  Trivium”)

Not wanting to make my decision on the basis of just one book, I decided to do a little more research on the classical method of teaching. I scoured the internet for articles or blogs. From these searches I learned the name Susan Wise Bauer and became interested in her books. The classical method did not offer as much of the freedom that had attracted me to unschooling, but I felt it would lend itself to some flexibility, and I could hopefully instill a love of reading in my topsy-turvy child. I was almost ready to go to my husband once again.



*** I would provide a link to find out more about Susan Wise Bauer, but for whatever reason, I cannot get the sites to come up. I do not want to provide a link to a site that will not open.***

HMJ- Getting Organized Again

25 Jan



  • In my life this week…

After a little unplanned break from planned blogging, I am getting back to organizing my blogging efforts. I have several book reviews planned for the near future, and I am also sharing my story of how my family came to use the Charlotte Mason method. The first part of this story can be found here.

This week I also got my transcripts sent to three colleges I am applying to. I also looked into the community college I just got my Associate’s degree from about getting my ADN. I am now taking time once again to pray about this decision and decide which choice will be the best one for me and my family. If you are willing, I ask for prayers to help me make these decisions.

  • In our homeschool this week…


I have started adding more notebooking to our school day this week. I had been eyeing the Notebooking Success book from Jimmie at the Notebooking Fairy for some time, and I finally broke down and bought it. I was not disappointed.

There is a lot of great information in this book, and I was encouraged by her suggestions. I am even toying with the idea of making my own notebooking pages to use so I can specify them for our needs. Until then, I am making use of the notebooking resources that can be found online (there is tons of stuff out there).

artist writing

We are continuing along steadily right now in the rest of our endeavors. Danger Girl has been more pleasant, and actually seems to be enjoying school more than she had been. This has made my job much easier.

  • Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

I have been taking advantage of Pinterest more lately in collecting information for our homeschool use. I am learning that this is a great tool for collecting printables and curriculum ideas, and I hope to use this as another organization tool in our homeschool.

  • Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

Friday we are travelling to go see my step-daughter in a play. Some friends are going with us as they have wanted to see one of her plays for a while.

I am also toying with the idea of taking Danger Girl on a field trip to a Jewish synagogue to learn more about Jewish culture since we are studying Israel right now. I have found a couple of synagogues near us, so I will be making calls next week to see where we might get a better reception for this trip. Has anyone else done something like that before?

  • My favorite thing this week was…

My favorite thing was a display of Danger Girl’s humor. During math I asked “what do you take 7 away from to equal 7?”

Her response: “Nothing, it already equals 7.”

She knew the answer, but I love her sense of humor sometime.

  • My kiddos favorite thing this week was…

We have been talking about Solomon in our history lessons this week. Danger Girl is very interested in the things that Solomon has done, so I think history has been her favorite thing this week. She was particularly interested in the story of Solomon and the two mothers fighting over the child. Danger Girl has decided the mother that rolled over on her child must have been drunk. I don’t know where this idea came from but she’s sticking to it.

  • Things I’m working on…

I have downloaded several free books on web publishing and on using WordPress more effectively, so I hope to start making my blog more useful in the coming weeks. I have decided I want to make more resources available, and in order to do that I thought it would be worthwhile to get a better understanding of what I am doing.

  • A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…

from mom

I found this on Facebook, and thought others might get a good laugh out of it.

My Journey to the Charlotte Mason Approach Part 1

23 Jan

As a fairly newbie homeschooler (this is our second official year), I continue to learn and grow as I go along. I am always looking for new information that can help me make informed decisions about such things as methods, curriculum, planning etc. With that in mind, I thought I would share the journey that led my family down the Charlotte Mason path (with eclectic tendencies). My hope is that my story can help newbies such as myself evaluate their homeschool needs, or even encourage veteran homeschoolers in their decisions. Today is part one of my journey. Just to be clear before I go on, I am not advocating Charlotte Mason as the only choice for any homeschooler. Her methods seem to be the best fit for my family, but another family may have different needs than mine.

When I began to seriously consider homeschooling, there were three methods that I was really leaning towards. Keeping in mind that I have an active child with an equally active imagination, I found myself gravitating towards unschooling (delight directed), the classical approach, and Charlotte Mason. My original first choice was actually the delight directed approach.

Unschooling appealed to me because, as I have mentioned, I have a very active child. One of my original reasons for wanting to homeschool is that Danger Girl cannot sit still for very long. She has to be moving around or she will not stay focused. I felt unschooling offered the best approach for her as we could pursue activities that offered movement and look for teachable moments in these activities.

I firmly believe that children learn more readily when a subject particularly interests them, and this is another reason I originally leaned towards unschooling. My thought was that I could present subjects/activities, and if they caught Danger Girl’s attention we would continue. If she showed no interest we would put it away until another time.

My other big reason for leaning towards unschooling was that I felt it would offer the most frugal option, and since I was leaving work to teach my child this was very appealing to me. Another, smaller, thought was that I did not want to stay with the same system of teaching that Danger Girl would get in a public school setting. I figured why not go to the other side of the spectrum if we were doing this.


For more info about unschooling:

John Holt’s Unschooling site

Home Education Magazine Unschooling Site

So You Call Yourself a Homeschooler did a series in the summer on the different homeschooling approaches. You can check that out here.


Armed with my well thought out intentions, I approached my husband with the method I had already decided I wanted to use, thinking he would love the idea as much as I did. I held this delusion because of the two of us, I am the planner of the family. When we go on vacation I am likely to have our fun scheduled out and pre-paid where possible. I figured if miss has-to-have-a-plan-for-everything was coming to Mr. go-with-the-flow with the idea he would have no qualms. I was wrong. He was not at all comfortable with an “unstructured” setting, and I was not going to convince him. When he so easily rejected my plan, it was time to take a detour and start the journey over.

The Legend of the Monk and the Merchant by Terry Felber

20 Jan



This book reads as a story, but is really a guide book for how to be both a Christian and a businessman. There are clear lessons on how to apply business principals in a way that do not lead to compromising your beliefs, and yet allow you to make a profit. This book dispels the belief that to be a Christian means you should never be wealthy. The story is of a man who grows up in a monastery, but then when he comes of age decides to become a merchant. The lessons are given as every three years the man meets with his mentor and friend to learn from him how to be successful. He keeps a journal of these lessons, which he is now preparing to pass down to his grandson.

The story itself was interesting, as you got to see how this man applied the principles he was learning to his life. It was a great way to show many of the ideas from Proverbs in action. The 12 principles are good principles to live by for anyone who wants to maintain their Christian beliefs in the business world. It is good to show Christians that they can make money ethically, and that there is nothing wrong with making money. While reading some of the principles, it is important to keep in mind that the principles when applied will work, but that God isn’t just going to make you wealthy because you are a Christian.

The problem I have with this book, is in regards to some of the scriptures used to make their point. There were a couple of scriptures taken out of context to make points that could have been made with more appropriate scriptures. An example is the use of Matthew 6:33. He uses this to make the point that God wants us to have our desires, but this scripture kept in context is actually about God taking care of our daily needs. There were only a few examples of this, and overall the book had good Biblical advice for those in the business world. I would recommend this book to anyone who has doubts about Christians and money as long as they keep their Bible close by to check the scripture references.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

HMJ- Finding Dishes and Renewed Motivation

18 Jan


In My Life This Week:

This week I have been working on getting back into school myself. I was going to start back in the fall, but life happened and I wasn’t able to. My degree plan has been in psychology, but my husband is not as excited about this as I am which had some to do with the break.

Last week my friend came to me with the idea of us going back together and getting nursing degrees. She thought this would help both of us because she would be able to use the certifications she already has to go along with this degree and I could do something I am interested in that my husband would not scoff at. (When I first went back to school it was going to be in nursing, but then I switched to psychology soon after).

So now we are applying to schools together and plan to motivate each other through this. I got my applications in this week to the 3 schools we chose. Now I have to get my transcripts sent and wait to get accepted so I can apply to the nursing programs. Be praying for me during this please.

In Our Homeschool This Week:

This week we finished up with our reading in Flying Creatures. I decided we would go through and do the reading, then go back and work on the experiments, giving us the opportunity to review information this way. Next week we will begin doing the experiments and journaling. Danger Girl is very excited about getting started on the experiments.

We have also been working on handwriting, and Danger Girl is getting so much better with her writing. It helps that she has been more cooperative the past few weeks than she had been before we took our break.

I am trying to plan our next field trip right now. I am not sure what we will do, but it has been a while since we did a field trip, and I think it’s time to do something out of the house.

Something I Need Advice On:

Chatterbox has started back to school with us, but she comes very irregularly. Her parents send her over to do school with us hoping it will prepare her for starting school next year. Right now she will not be quiet during school, especially during reading, and they hope she will get better about this. My problem is that she doesn’t come regularly. Some weeks she will come every day, others she comes 2-3 days.

If she is not going to be here regularly, it makes it hard for me to plan and it makes it hard to work with her on this. My question is, should I insist on her coming more regularly so I can actually work with her like they want, or should I just leave it alone? Any advice here would be greatly appreciated.

My Favorite Thing This Week:

A couple of years ago, we went to Moody Gardens for vacation, and while there my souvenier was a coffee mug. A couple of months ago my mug dissapeared, but yesterday my husband found it in his car (he accumulates clutter very easily). I know it may sound silly, but I was very excited to find my personal coffee mug.

Danger Girl’s Favorite Thing This Week:

Danger Girl has not been able to go over to see Ma-Ma and Grandaddy recently because they have both been sick. This week they were finally both better, so she got to go over and have luch with Grandaddy. She was very excited about this because that has been their tradition for a while now.

I am Praying For:

Right now I am praying for God’s guidance as I look into going back to school. I want to make sure I do what He wants me to do.

I am Grateful For:

It looks like I am going to be able to get a couple of scholarships for school, which will help tremendously. I am grateful that we will get some financial help for this endeavor.

Something Funny to Share:

I saw an article on the internet about the zombie appocalypse. Apparently it is inevitable. I was telling my husband about this article, and I didn’t realize that Danger Girl heard anything about it.

Later as we were getting ready to go out, Danger Girl turned to me and asked “What’s going to happen in the zombie potluck?”

I hope that cracks you up as much as it did me!

HMJ- Back to School Again

11 Jan



  • In my life this week…

My friend contacted me at the last minute to see if danger Girl wanted to enter something in the county fair. When she called we had just run out of milk, so we had to come up with something that did not need milk and could be done in little more than an hour.

Danger Girl ended up entering bark candy, and she won first place in the candy division and reserve champion in the food division; very cool for her first time. She is already planning what she will enter next year.

  • In our homeschool this week…

Our first week back went very well. We managed to get through the week with no complaints. Hopefully this momentum will keep up.

I added more copy work and handwriting practice to the lesson plans. I also added more reading to the day so Danger Girl is getting more practice.

Our first week back was full of rain, so no nature walk this week, but we did observe our fish and discuss the different body parts of each.

We also got our other student back towards the end of this week. I have found plenty of busy work to keep her occupied while I do things with Danger Girl, and I think I am getting to a point where I can set Danger Girl up with something so I can work with Chatter Box.

  • Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

This week we are going to see the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit. We are going with a group from our congregation, and I am very excited. I’m not sure Danger Girl is as excited, but I hope she will enjoy our time anyway.

  • My favorite thing this week was…

I loved seeing Danger Girl get excited about getting to make something on her own. I also loved her face when she found out she won something.

  • My kiddos favorite thing this week was…

I think it would have to be the county fair. Kids always like winning right?

  • Things I’m working on…

Right now I am working on getting more nature walks in our day. I have not done as well as I had planned, and I really want to get better at this.

  • I’m cooking…

This week I made a chicken and rice stir-fry with a honey ginger sauce. It was very yummy. I also plan on making Shephard’s pie, which is one of my husband’s favorites.

  • I’m grateful for…

I am grateful for my husband’s knowledge. I can go to him with many questions I have concerning the Bible, and he answers me without making me feel as if I am stupid for having to ask. I’m grateful for that as well.

  • I’m praying for…

My mother-in-law and father-in-law are both sick right now. I am praying that they get better soon.

  • I rewarded my kids this week by…

Danger Girl’s reward for a good week was getting to go out to eat. She loves to and I don’t like to spend the money as often as she wants to go. It was a nice treat for her.

  • Something I am ogling or have my eye on…

I mostly have my eye on books. There are several living math books I am interested in for our home right now.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…

G- Bark Candy

Danger Girl’s prize winnning bark candy

Coming Back from the Break

7 Jan

Danger Girl and I are coming back from our Christmas break today. We took a couple of weeks to do no school, and I am always nervous after coming back from a full break like that. Sometimes she does well because she has had a chance to relax, but sometimes she is not ready to be done relaxing. We shall see how this time goes very soon.

We spent our break not fully unocupied. We did plenty of Bible study during this time. Danger Girl is a Christian, and I have noticed we are very lacking in Bible study outside our school reading. I decided this break I would make a conscious effort to do study with her, and I am proud of how well my daughter is able to grasp concepts that some adults don’t easily grasp.

That being said, she does not initiate Bible study, and I hope to instill that desire in her. Each evening before bed we went through scripture, and had her tell us what she picked up from the reading before my husband or I said anything about the scripture ourselves. Sometimes she was spot on, picking up things we hadn’t noticed. Sometimes it was obvious she didn’t have a clue what it was about.

Anytime she didn’t know, she would automatically say it was about Jesus. I guess it is good that she knows most of the Bible is about Jesus, right? We actually had an amusing argument with my oldest step-daughter one time because, in her exasperation, she asked “Why does everything always have to go back to Jesus?” That is another story all together though.

We also took time during the break to let Danger Girl ride on her new bike. We have worked with her on a bike before, but she debunks the theory that once you learn how to ride you always remember. We could not get her to peddle on her own. If she even thought we were going to let go of the bike she would quit peddling, which caused my husband plenty of frustration.

G bike

During the break we finished reading “Five Little Peppers” as well as “Pride and Prejudice”. Danger Girl liked the first book best. My husband started reading “Swiss Family Robinson”, and on the nights he’s not here to read Danger Girl and I are re-visiting “The Hobbit”. I think this is one of her all-time favorites. Afterwards she wants to read “The Lord of the Rings”. My husband thinks this may be too scary for her, but I think she will be okay.

We did not end up going to the Chinese Lantern Festival, which I’m bummed about, but all in all I think we had a good break. We spent time with family, spent time in the Word, and Danger Girl did plenty of crafts all on her own since she spent a good portion of her time making ornaments for the tree. We also spent some time during our break working on Danger Girl’s book she is “writing”. It is supposed to be a collaboration, but since she doesn’t like my ideas it has become her own book. It will definitely be interesting. Once we finish it I will have to look into getting it published for her. But that was our break, and I think it was a good one.

What did you do for your Christmas holiday? I hope everyone had a great break!