Wednesday, March 22, 2017

What We're Reading :: March

It has been a long while since I shared What We're Reading!  Here's a peek at the books on our desks and nightstands this month...

Rolvaag's Giants in the Earth (just finished for my local book club)
Evelyn Waugh's Helena (on its way to me via Amazon right now)
Hicks' Norms and Nobility (trying to keep up with the read-along on the AO forums)
Charlotte Mason's Volume 3 (for a local study group) and Volume 2 (for an online study group)
Bestvater's The Living Page (dipping back in here and there after writing this post)

As a Family:
Collodi's Pinocchio (from the Year 1 free read list -- we have one chapter left!)
Ransome's Peter Duck (from the Swallows and Amazons series on audio -- delightful)

Vincent, age 10:
Rifles for Watie (from the Year 5 free read list)
Stratemeyer's The Minute Boys of Bunker Hill (he goes back to these again and again)
Spalding's The Cave by the Beech Fork and The Sheriff of the Beech Fork (fun Civil War era reading!)

Gianna, age 10:
Fleischmann's Bull Run (she's on a historical fiction kick)
Enright's The Saturdays (revisiting this free read series from Year 4)
Dodge's Hans Brinker (from the Year 5 free read list -- just started and already engaged!)

Cate, age 8:
Giggling over Amelia Bedelia (again and again)
Milly-Molly-Mandy and More Milly Molly Mandy (she switches between the two, chapter by chapter)
Ichikawa's Nora's Duck (one of her birthday books that she adores for the sweet story and illustrations)

Unshelved by the Littles (ages 6, 5, 4, 2, 1) just this morning:

In the Mail:

Spryi's Mazli (by the author of Heidi -- out of print but easy to find used or on Kindle)
Saint Francis of the Seven Seas (for our Vision books collection -- in print in paperback)
The Harvest Feast (a Thanksgiving collection that we'll try out next year)
The Swiss Family Robinson (a prettier version that what we already have -- ready for Year 6!)
Chute's Shakespeare of London (I already have Stories from Shakespeare so am happy to add this one too)
Newman's Stories of the Great Operas and Their Composers and Cross' The New Complete Stories of the Great Operas (looking forward to adding these to Morning Basket at some point)

Wallace Stegner's Angle of Repose (a gift from a friend)
Windham's Saints Upon a Time (a gift from another friend -- out of print, but re-published in various volumes)

A pretty harcover copy of Hawthorne's Tanglewood Tales (one of our favorite Year 2 free reads!)

The Treasury of Saints and Martyrs (I love the pairing of summaries with classic works of art!)

Not my usual: 1001 Things to Spot Around Town (I bought it for $1 to use for Italian lessons!)

Burns' Bird Watching (another for our bulging non-fiction shelves)
Lubell's The Tall Grass Zoo (this is going to be a fun one for summer!)
O'Dell's Island of the Blue Dolphins (oversized hardcover to replace the paperback we have)
Mickelthwait's I Spy Two Eyes: Numbers in Art (I like this series for littles)
Pick, Pull, Snap! (a great first nature study book)
Hoss' The How and Why Wonder Book of Stars (another for my collection of this series)

What are you reading lately?  I have so many TBRs on my list, but I'd still love to hear what you and your kids are enjoying this month.

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Monday, March 20, 2017

{This and That}

First up: I have been quiet here but not elsewhere!

I have a post up at Charlotte Mason Living about keeping, one of my very favorite topics.  I was aiming at something a bit philosophical, a bit personal, and a bit practical.

Head over to CML to read more.  I hope you find it helpful, whether you are a beginner or just need an extra boost in your long-standing notebooking habits.

Second, over on Instagram...

I'm pleased to join some other wonderful Charlotte Mason mamas as a curator/contributor to the new Charlotte Mason In Real Life.  We hope it will be an encouraging community showing how Charlotte Mason homeschooling might look in the daily lives of diverse families.  We'll have weekly themes where we round up practical-and-inspirational posts on Charlotte Mason methods or principles -- not just by us but by you too!  Even if you aren't on Instagram, you can click over to view photos shared by community members and those featured by the CMIRL collaborators.


Since I don't think I mentioned it here: our tiebreaker baby is a boy!

This will bring us to five boys, four girls -- with three boys in a row at the end (so far).  I keep thinking what our homeschool will look like five years from now, with three little boys in elementary school!  I imagine a bit different than it does now.  :)  Other good news: baby is measuring right on track despite my feeling gigantic.  I keep telling myself that this is my ninth baby, so my looking nine months pregnant at only six isn't a huge surprise.  And that, like last time, I hit my biggest point a bit earlier than normal and then just kind of hang out with that belly until the end.  (Right?  I hope so.)

He is moving quite a lot these days -- all the siblings have had a chance to feel his kicks from the outside.  Drew camps out at my side with his hand resting on my tummy, waiting for kicks!

Around the web...

The official conference recap is up at Charlotte Mason West.  I'll be posting my own recap here soon, but if you'd like the scoop on speakers and schedules, head over to read more!

Karen Glass has two fantastic posts lately that illuminate how principles and practices work together in a Charlotte Mason education: The Spirit and the Letter and The Quote and the Context.  Not to be missed!

I really appreciated Nancy Kelly's description of using Ekphrastic poetry with older students.  I actually think this could work quite well for my Form II kids with some small tweaks, and we just happen to be studying Winslow Homer this term.


Happy First Day of Spring!  After the wettest winter I can remember, spring has sprung in our area.  We are enjoying it immensely.  We have done a couple beach trips in the past couple weeks to take advantage of the sun.  It will be raining again here this week, but after a long stretch of lovely days, I can't complain.

dune wildflowers

close up of all that yellow on the hills: western wallflower



I've got a couple posts all ready to go this week: What We're Reading for March and the conference recap.  I'm excited to share them with you -- starting tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Keeping Company :: March 2017

Welcome to the link-up for March!

Starting the Discussion

John Muir was crazy, but he totally speaks my love language.

I mean "beauty-making love-beats of Nature's heart"?  Swoon.

His words here remind me of Madam How Lady Why, which is funny because I consider these two men to be total opposites in style and belief.  But they both claim an intentionality in Nature and see "disasters" as the world being formed and shaped -- whether by its own hand (Muir) or by the hand of something higher (Kingsley).  The two were living and writing at the same time, so the connections probably speak more to "modern" advancement and the intellectual climate of the time than to the men themselves, but it's still interesting.

Speaking of John Muir, there was a conversation over on AmblesideOnline's Facebook page and Yosemite tangentially came up.  I was born and raised (and still live) about three hours from Yosemite but have never been there.  This year we are reading both The Wild Muir (as part of our California history cycle) and Halliburton's Book of Marvels, in addition to covering the "discovery" of Yosemite Valley in our history readings.  Talk about getting an itch to visit!  Muir lived and breathed Yosemite, spending most of his adult life there doing all kinds of amazing exploration that no one else would consider. Halliburton relates an inspiring account of his own adventures there and paints a living portrait of the valley.  We have been marking some maps of the park as we read and I've got The Muir Ramble Route on my list to look through with the kids this summer.  (Muir's Trans-California trek on foot ran right through our town and he describes camping in our local county parks, which is a neat connection.)

And one sidenote: I love keeping maps.  I didn't think I would enjoy it so much, but I really do!  I haven't tried anything particularly lovely or exciting with them yet, but I know the possibilities are endless.  This is one aspect of keeping that is under-appreciated and under-mentioned, so expect to see more chat about it from me in the coming link-ups!

From Last Month

A collection from over on Instagram...

lylyfreshty - curatingknowledge
mariasugiyopranoto - adventureadaycm

catieredhead - vlcjrogers - angelaboord
aolander - oneripetomato - sarahjokim

ashleyweakley - tillberrytales - magistramama - convincedofwonders
brc_mackenzie - frannieruth19 - windymorning_3 - littledrops5
rjnsix - hazelnuthatch - obispo98 - raisinglittleshoots

tillberrytales - jeffsjessie - ruthjtd
sarah_jonna - - ladydusk
And to highlight a couple accounts in particular:

Bestvater's THE BIG THREE from athena_amidstthereeds: time tools, nature journals, and commonplace

LOTS OF VARIETY from amyofhearthridge: nature list, bible + book of centuries, calendar of firsts, and science journal

LOVELY LETTERING from happylhomemaker1
From the February link-up here on the blog:

Carol let us peek into the notebooks of her Year 6 student: science journal, nature notebook, poetry copywork.  These exemplify how in the Charlotte Mason vision for keeping, the notebooks are individual to the student.  You can see her daughter's stamp all over these and very inspiring.

Freely Learned has some fresh tips for nature journaling.

Amy quotes Faith Baldwin on finding hope and beauty in the midst of suffering.

Lots of projects for Lucy's family, including keeping in wood, with cloth, on paper, and more!

And now it's your turn!

The Link-Up

:: For bloggers: Click on the "Add my link" button below, and it will prompt you to include the information for your post.  Once you submit it, your link will be added to the list, and others will be able to click over and read what you have shared.
:: For Instagrammers: Tag related photos with #KeepingCompanyCM.

:: Remember to link to a specific post and not to your blog's homepage. 
:: Any posts about CM-style Keeping are welcome!  The prompt is optional.  Your post can be as simple as a photo of your commonplace book or your kids drawing.
:: Feel free to add more than one post.  The link-up will be open for a month, so you can come back and add more if you are so inclined.
:: You can grab the button over there on the sidebar if you'd like to add it to your post or site.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Nature Study Outing :: A Tale of Two Hikes

As I've mentioned before, I am thankful for our nature study group, not only because it includes a BIG group of enthusiastic kids of various ages and interests, but also because it includes a group of eager and thoughtful moms.

Our usual schedule is a Friday morning group nature outing together.  But one week, we decided to go back the next morning to the same spot and do a moms-only hike!  It was so much fun to explore without the kids around.

This outing was at a county park that begins at a field and ventures up into the foothills on a 4-mile loop that circles back down to the field at the end.  With the kids, we made it an out-and-back of about a mile, with lots of stops for climbing and exploring.  With the moms, we did the whole loop...with lots of stops for climbing and exploring. ;)

Friday morning, with the kids:

xavier said, "it's the tree in the trail!!" :)

a very moody-weather day: cold, windy, alternating between bright and dark

vetch leaves -- no flowers yet

part of the group


And from the moms' hike, early the next morning in the same county park:

the first miner's lettce blooms!

taken by my friend Malgosia

taken by my friend Malgosia
love these ladies <3
The star of both outings was the fungi, which were present in all kinds of awesome forms and made their way into my nature journal...

Once the nearly-incessant rain clears, I'm going to put out the call for another moms' hike -- I think we need to make it at least a quarterly event.  If you haven't done one with your group yet, give it a try!