What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bookbrained, bird brained. I am both.

Deep breath. It seems like there is a WHOLE lot on my plate today. Come to think of it: there was yesterday too and will be tomorrow, this week, and for several months ahead. It seems like I am trying to do entirely too many different things at once, and my nightstand is a prime example. Look at all the books I am CURRENTLY reading. Yes. Every single one of them. If I can't even reign in the BOOKS on my reading list, how am I EVER to reign in all the OTHER stuff?!?!

There are so many books, it was hard taking a picture that would show all of them with titles still readable. I wanted to share them with you, along with a few of my thoughts on them and I would LOVE to hear what you have thought of them, if they too have graced your nightstand. As you can see, I got my 'homeschooling books' in the mail recently. I have been having lots of fun reading them and working on a lesson plan for our Rynnie Roo. I am not done but I have a good plan in my head-now I just need to jot it down before my memory fails me. Again.

So-here is my plan thus far. I am going away from Monday to Friday of next week, the children and I going BACK up North to visit with family again and some friends that we have missed the last few visits. Primarily, so we can celebrate Halloween with my sisters' family, a tradition since the kids started coming. Besides, I am making the childrens' costumes this year and want to show them off! ;-)

Anyway- when we get BACK we will start right in on schooling. No more dawdling, no more excuses. I now have in my ownership everything necessary (maybe not the most beautiful wonderful programs that I still spend entirely too much time coveting) but working methods, nonetheless.

Naturally, with a four year old, first things come first. So the primary focus for schooling right now is going to be reading and character traits.

I am using the methods in The Writing Road to Reading ( minus the silly stuff that is totally unnecessary, like fingering letters in rice ...) Each day we will work on her phonograms; writing them, saying them, hearing them. We will start with six at a time, and when she gets those down pat, I will add six more and so on. We will do these five days a week and perhaps 'quiz' with the flashcards on Saturday too.

Along with this we will be focusing on biblical character traits, all of which I found here. Hubbard's Cupboard is an excellent resource for young children and I HIGHLY recommend it. I have been implementing ideas from there for Corynn since she was two years old. Each week we will focus on one character trait; we will read related stories that exemplify the trait or the opposite trait-both from the Bible and from other resources. Each week we will also be memorizing a verse or selection of verses pertaining to that particular trait.

Each month I am also going to work on teaching Corynn a psalm by heart. Even I, having grown up with psalms, could use more help here.

So that's it. Once she begins reading, I will begin First Language Lessons by Jessie Wise. An EXCELLENT book, one which I highly recommend. I will also begin the Story of the World Book 1. I expect those books and lessons will come with her first official year of homeschooling and so, I have a while yet to worry about them.

We are going to be teaching using the Ecclectic Classical approach...and yes, I just made that term up. Basically, I am just allowing myself some variation from the strict sense of the word Classical.

I have read and am REreading the book The Well Trained Mind by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer. Overall, it was an excellent book, however, I found it to be lacking in several areas. The main objective of the book, in my estimation, was to raise brilliant children and the NEWMAN goal is to first and foremost raise Godly children, secondarily they can be brilliant. ;-) I know that the Mother/Daughter authoring pair are Christians and it was even written within the book that they had to 'de-religionize' (yes, I am famous for making up words...) the book at the demand of the publishers they purposely chose to use. So, I give them that. I was, however, hoping to find a book that covered my needs more specifically.

I found the book Teaching the Trivium, Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn and immediately snatched it up-assuming it would be ALL I would want. Unfortunately, again, I find it to be lacking. Now, admittedly, I have only read to about page 50, leaving me about 600 more pages to change my opinion, but these are my thoughts thus far. While I WAS looking for a Classical Approach reflecting more Christian goals and this book certainly meets that requirement, it seems this book is far too much so. The Bluedorns speak of raising our children in Holiness (which I proudly affirm for myself), but that the only way to do so, is with HOLY resources. They reject studying anything from Greek and Roman literature, they refuse to study and take heed to anything from Classical Humanist Authors. I feel this is in excess, and that MUCH good can be gleaned from reading these works. No Homer and Plato, Cicero and Caesar for them. God has given even the 'reprobate' talents...common grace, people. We would be foolish to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Wouldn't it be MORE prudent to USE the information learned from them FOR HIS GLORY?

I will continue to read this book in its entirety, and will hopefully get an abundance of God-centered works to include in our studies...but I am quickly losing hope that there is one particularly wonderful book out there that represents, line for line, the approach I plan to use. I am thankful, though, that I have BOTH resources so I can glean the BEST from both worlds.

Now, enough about schooling. What about the FUN ones? Keeping House, The Litany of Everyday Life is just fabulous. I have learned mounds from such a small book and again, I am not even halfway through it. Here is a quote I found particularly interesting:

"Of course, housework is about making a home, but a Christian home, properly understood, is never just for one's own family. A Christian home overlows its boundaries; it is an outpost of the kingdom of God, where the hungry are fed and the naked are clothed and there is room enough for everyone." pg.12, 13 in PREFACE

See? Riches are in there.

The Butt'ry Shelf Cookbook is another one with great riches. The kind of 'Richness' of Scotch Shortbread and Brandy Sauce Superbe. It is a New England recipe book, illustrated by one of one of my favorites: Tasha Tudor. It is a collection of recipes specifically for special occasions. It this little tiny square of a book, I have already realized my need for a 'Butt'ry Cupboard' in my some-day house. ;-)

Let's see....I think I covered them all. Ah yes. One more. Little House in the Ozarks by Laura Ingalls Wilder. How could I forget?!?

It was discovered that the married-woman Laura, wrote for a Farm magazine and was quite the well-rounded individual! While she lived tucked quietly away in the country, she was surprising up to date on politics, government, and 'current' news of her day. This book is the collection of her rediscovered writings and so, is filled up with many smallish articles covering topics from the Goverment US Dept. of Treasury to how to have a successful orchard. Nearly every article has at least ONE particular quote I would love to share with you all, but again, my time is so LIMITED these days, I haven't been able to do it but once. It is a delicious book, that I savor, even if only in small increments, each and every night.

Those are the books that have been keeping me entertained lately. Now, for the activities? Well, it seems just as we got back from going away for a weekend, I will be going away again. There was time enough to unpack and do laundry, just to repack it all again. I have been trying to tie up all the loose ends that have been dangling from my shirttails this last month, all before I leave. The costumes are not quite done, the baby gifts aren't either. The quilt I had been working on still needs to be whipstitched, the quilt blocks need to be mailed, the apron is all cut out and waiting patiently for me to be free from all other responsibilities. And the afghan? The one for Mattie's birthday come February? It is not further ahead and hasn't even been picked up for nearly two months. *sigh* Ah well.

Remember last week when I spoke about sharing my books, recipes, and sewing projects with the world? Well, two out of three ain't bad. I have just finished boring you all with book details and if you hop on over to Kitchen Riches, you will find a few more updated recipes there...INCLUDING one for Granola. I remember too long ago someone asked for a recipe and I only just was able to find, test, tweak and adopt one as my own. I hope that, whoever you are (I am sorry I have already forgotten) and whereever you are, you discover this and go check it out. I do hope you try it and like it, and tell me then what you think. Psst. That goes for all of you. If you try a recipe, let me know what you think! Makes me feel like I am not wasting my time! Also...thank you mystery person for the Granola request. It was fun and made me go outside my comfort zone and do something I hadn't done before. I do very much like requests and I want to encourage anyone and everyone to make them, if they would like. I can't promise you'll get a recipe the next day (as I like to post photos with my recipes) but I can promise one will come! As for Mandie's request for freezer meals: I am working on that. Again, I want to post photos with the recipes but here are few ideas that I will cover as soon as I am able.

Shredded Pork/Beef BBQ
Chicken Potpie

Also-it is always super handy to have ground beef pre-browned and frozen. You can pop it in soups, spaghetti or anything requiring ground up beef.

For quick company treats, check out the Company Icecream, Biscuits and Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread.


I want to reiterate, one more time, that I would LOVE to hear feeback on the books from above. Let me know if you agree/disagree with my thoughts, if you liked/disliked the books mentioned, or just general thoughts. I would love to hear some thoughts on the subjects. Just remember: be kind! ;-)
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Anonymous said...

Interesting reads! Where did you purchase "Keeping Hous"? That sounds like something that I would enjoy along with "Little House in the Ozarks"!

The only book that I own and have read/used is the "First Language Lessons". I used it with 2 of my children. They did okay, but my 7 yo really struggled with it. She's doing much better with "Easy Grammar". I haven't decided whether to try again with my 5yo son next year.

Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Interesting reads! Where did you purchase "Keeping Hous"? That sounds like something that I would enjoy along with "Little House in the Ozarks"!

The only book that I own and have read/used is the "First Language Lessons". I used it with 2 of my children. They did okay, but my 7 yo really struggled with it. She's doing much better with "Easy Grammar". I haven't decided whether to try again with my 5yo son next year.

Thanks for sharing!

Andie said...

Soudns like you are reading some great books! I need to make more time for reading in my life. I like Christian romance novels, but I tend to get sucked in and nothing else gets done around the house. I think I'll look for the housekeeping one and the Laura Ingalls book the next time I'm at the library.
PS...have a great time on your trip! I can't wait to see pics of your kiddos in their halloween costumes. I made Andrew's this year, too.

inspired said...

I have the Bluedorn's book "Teaching the Trivium". I found it to be quite wonderful. I started out my homeschool career with "The Well Trained Mind". I liked it except it was far more humanistic than I cared for, especially for young children. What I like about the Bluedorn's philosophy is that it is the "style" of classical education held up to God's word. I had great concern with throwing my little ones into such humanism without them having a firm foundation of truth. Now, with a 10 year old and a 12 year old (almost), I have been using the classic Greek and Roman literature with them. I feel now they have the truth under their belts to help discern the fact from fiction. With my little ones, we are sticking with the truth so we do not "muddy" the waters. What I also like about the Bluedorn's is that you can use their technique with Charlotte Mason, unit studies and a number of other thing. I found Teaching the Trivium to be a very "freeing" book. Currently we use a combination Ambleside Online and classical with a bit of "unschooling" to round us out!

This was a great post!


Michelle said...

Is it too late to request that you bring First Language Lessons with you? I would love to have a chance to peek within the pages!

Are you inside my brain? Seriously. This is the same exact approach to schooling I am taking! I have both TWTM and TTT, and find the first to have a bit too much of a humanist bent, whereas TTT seems to "fall in the opposite ditch". I, too, believe there are benefits to reading some of the humanist offerings. This is not in ANY way to say that we need to worship the Greeks and Romans and their respective philosophies.

I personally can't wait to "teach" my kids Greek and Latin! I say "teach" because I am really going to learn since I have no clue about either one! ;)

See you soon!

Mrs. Pharris said...

Rebecca, we have several of the same books. The only one I can really comment on through the haze of a severe sinus infection is "Little House"

You're definietely a classcal schooler, whereas we are so very eclectic. We do a great deal of the classics in literature...will of course do Greek and Latin, but we also use Saxon for math, A/O for science and on and on. DS has attention deficit (in other words - he's a BOY) and so do I (most decidedly NOT because I'm a BOY!) so we tend to jump around a lot.

Don't beat yourself up too much if you don't adhere to a rigid schedule. Your children are quite young...we did our best at that age to keep it light and fun. Pretty much what you seem to do instinctively, on a daily basis.

Don't worry...it's be fine. Have a FANTASTIC trip. We can't wait to "eavesdrop", lol.

Mrs. Pharris said...

Duh, I didn't comment on the one book! Pain, I'm in pain!

I love the "Little House" book. What a gem it is - showing that women can 'have their mind' yet be in a godly, submissive, wifely role to their husband.

Mrs. Wilder was an exceptional woman. I surely would love to have met her if only for a moment.

Elizabeth said...

Unfortunately, dear sis, I've never read any of the books you've listed. WHEN I have time (when is the key word) I, like Andie get sucked into the Christian Fiction/Christian Romance novels. The one I am definately going to keep my eyes open for though, Is the Little House in the Ozarks! Laura Ingalls Wilder has always been a "hero" of mine and I would love to sit down and read that one for sure!!!

I can't wait to see the kids in all their glory! Everything you make is beautiful, so I'm sure these costumes will take the cake too!!! My "poor" children are stuck with storebought garage sale specials. Ah well, such is life! :)

Rebecca said...

Barbara~I got the book from Amazon.com. You may also find it at places like Half.com and ebay. It is definately worth the money, In my opinion!

Andie~I really enjoy Christian romance as well. Have you ever heard of Beverly Lewis? She is one of my favorites, writing mainly about the Amish culture. I also enjoy Janette Oke and Lori Wick...in fact the book Sophie's Heart started me off reading these types of books when I was about 13! It was my favorite book of all time for years...

Inspired~EXCELLENT point. Sometimes I am so very black and white and then don't see a compromise. What a better way to do it than to focus on the biblical truths and then later, when they are able, introduce the 'extras'. Of course, I suppose if you have conversations right along with the child, the classics could be teaching tools for teaching the truth too. Thank you for your post. It gave me a different perspective and has me looking with a bit more anticipation into the reading of the rest of the book!

Michelle~I will definately put it on my list to bring along! I had a feeling we were similar in this. It seems whenever we speak to one another or write to one another we are on the same page...I didn't figure this would be any different. I am happy to have a friend like you. And that is an understatement. :-)

Mrs. Pharris~there is absolutely nothing wrong with using different curriculums for different subjects. That is why I labeled myself an 'ecclectic classical homeschooler'. I want the freedom to ditch something if it isn't working for me or the children. I have heard RAVE reviews about Saxon math. I may look into that one when the time comes. And NO-you are not a pain. I LOVE comments, even if they are made by the same person! Mrs. Wilder WAS an exceptional woman and by her example, has gotten me to thinking I should round myself out a bit more too. I really respect her so much and WISH I would have met her too.

Elizabeth~ I am happy to report that last night I finished Andrew's costume. HURRAH! Foolish me then thought about making ANOTHER set of matching outfits out of the most adoreable pumpkin fabric I bought for just such occasion-by this weekend, so they wouldn't have to wear their costumes all day on Wed.

Am I a dork or what? I reigned in that idea almost as soon as it struck. THough...I could make a skirt for Corynn and apllique a shirt for Andrew. That would be simple enough...and then my pumpkin fabric won't go to waste...

smilnsigh said...

And you please remember to be kind to yourself, during this whirl wind of activity. :-)))

And my Daily City Photo blog is at..

Anonymous said...

I was the one who wanted the granola recipe.....I will hope over there as soon as I finish reading here...have a great trip!

Crystal in Pahrump, NV

Christine said...

Great books! I like the Well Trained Mind, I agree with the points that you made, though.It does seem to focus on brilliant children, whereas, the most important aspect of raising children is that they are to be godly! That is why I prefer Teaching the Trivium.I find that one very do-able. You have such a nice variety of books to glean from. What treasures.Blessings!