Narrating CM Peoria, Part 1

Hello there! I was privileged to attend CM Peoria Gathering this last weekend and boy! did I learn a lot! It was really inspiring and insightful and I thought I would share the things I learned. A narration, if you will. :)

Nicole Williams, Dr. Carroll Smith from CMI (I wanted to bring him home with me! What a kind, humble and wise man!), the TBG Community (I wasn't able to atttend the immersion, unfortunately), and Dr. Jen Spencer were all there... just to name a few of the great minds! What an incredible blessing it was. It was a last minute decision for me to go (thank you, Husband!) and I'm so glad I did!

The first talk I'd like to narrate is "Scheduling" by Nicole Williams. *swoon* I love me a schedule! (ENFJ here, with an emphasis on the "J"!)


One of the most important things I learned from this talk was respecting everyone's time in the family. To quote Nicole,

"We aren't the only person affected by the rhythm of our school day." 

"The rhythm of our day should incorporate 'Atmosphere, Discipline and Life.'"

This means, that just because *I* love a schedule (and I do!), there may not be children (or a husband) who appreciates it as much as I do. It doesn't mean that we shouldn't have one, however, but I'll get to that. I can't just schedule out our whole day and, like a drill sergeant require everyone to adhere to it. I have one daughter in particular, who appreciates un-structured time.

Nicole talked about her mom and how scheduled she liked to be; she said even her family vacations were completely scheduled. Her mom just didn't function well without one. (I'll interject here and say that knowing your personality type would be very beneficial! What kind of person are you?)

Nicole's sister, on the other hand, can't stand to schedule anything to this day; Nicole said she falls right in the middle. She doesn't actually love having a strict schedule. Which is ironic, because I'd guess that's one of the most popular series' on her blog! :)

BUT! She said that in order to successfully "do" a Charlotte Mason education, a schedule is necessary. At least for the morning studies. The afternoons, then, were left to Masterly Inactivity, or no scheduled activities. But there are still things we are to do in the afternoons.

Bottom line, if we want to get the subjects all of the great feast in that a Charlotte Mason education requires (and we do!), we must have a schedule for "school" time, and stick to it!

This means that if we have math scheduled at 10am, and at 10:05 our 3 year old needs us (potty emergency!) and we aren't able to return to school until 10:30, we are to move on to the next subject scheduled at 10:30. Sounds crazy, right? You might be thinking, I'll never get anything done! But au contraire!

To quote Nicole from her blog

When you are done with your 30 minutes of math you leave it behind and focus on dictation, for instance, but if you are late starting dictation, then you begin feeling stressed. You will either have to shorten your time for dictation, or you will have to be late to the next thing on your list.  It’s better to just move on to the next item and leave the last item behind. It will be there tomorrow, or next week, or whenever if shows up on your schedule again.

It is, in fact, freeing! So you didn't get to math today. You'll probably get to it tomorrow. It's not throwing the rest of your day (and week!) off by trying to "catch up." 

I've actually been trying to do this for the last month or so (after listening to the DE Podcast and re-reading Nicole's blog series), and I have to say, it's working pretty well. Our afternoons are more free. The clock is dictating our school day, not Mama. It takes so much pressure off.

Basically, there is a time for everything and we need to respect that time. In "real life" we can't always go back and have a re-do. We must keep moving forward and it's a good lesson for our children. :)

Important things I learned:
- Each family's timetable/schedule will look different. Some might have to start math right away, some might have to do it during naptime. Outside of Mason's principles, there is no Right Way to schedule.
- There needs to be a schedule posted where everyone can see it.  (Nicole said this was the first rule Mason had in regards to scheduling! Fascinating!)
- The schedule may (will?) need to change often, depending on life and babies and what not. Nicole said that she's had to change her schedule twice in one Term once! So, take heart, Mamas!  You're not the only one! :D

Things that I'm changing after attending her talk:
- Instead of having an hour long Circle Time, I'm going to incorporate those "cookies", as Nicole kept calling them, into the rest of our day. *That* is a Mason principle--we need those "cookie" subjects interspersed throughout our days to give our kids' brains a break. Makes total sense, right?
- I'm going to move our Quiet Time from 1-2:30 to 3-4:30, so those few hours right after lunch can be spent playing, doing handicrafts, nature journaling, drawing, etc. Read about afternoon activities here on Nicole's blog.

Here's the Delectable Education podcast on scheduling and here is Nicole's scheduling series. 

And here are our new schedules; maybe you'll get some ideas! They aren't perfected yet. I'm still in trial and error mode, but I tried to spread out the "cookies" in our day as best I could. :)


- The subjects in BOLD are those we all do together.

- For the Afternoon Activites, I do have certain things we do on certain days, because I am needed for those things (drawing, Shakespeare). The rest of the activities can be done when the child wants to.

- We are going to use the videos by Children of the Open Air for our Solfa lessons.

- I'm trying to read up on Swedish Drill, because I think that would be a nice addition to our day. Especially for my wiggle-worm children! Here's the series on Brandy's blog regarding Swedish Drill.

Now, just to keep it real here, this schedule is my goal, it's certain very possible that we're not going to get to all the Afternoon Activities every day. I'm completely fine with that. If there's one thing I've learned in my very short time of homeschooling (and have to keep re-learning!) it's that I need to remain flexible!

I'm so thankful for all of the people out there dedicated to getting more of Mason's philosophies and principles out there (to all us little people)! The more I learn about CM, the more I'm convinced that it's the best way for our family to educate. <3

Do you have any thoughts on scheduling?


Nature Walk September 2016

I've mentioned this before on my blog, but we live near some really beautiful hiking trails and state parks. About a month ago (takes me forever to post here!) we took the kids on one of these beautiful trails. :) It's about 20min from our house.

 Buddies :)

 I really love these kids. 
See the cool root system behind them? :)

 SO many fabulous mushrooms!!!

 I can not believe how athletic this girl is! Doesn't get it from me or her father! She can literally climb a pole. Or at least a tree that is very pole-like. :o)
 I tried so hard with my phone, to get a good picture of this plant. I had no idea what it was--just thought it was pretty! And such a bright, cheery orange!

We're reading "Fall Is Here" during our Circle Time right now, and in that book, weeks after our hike, we learned that the above orange flower is called a Touch Me Not (or Jewelweed) and according to the book, if you touch Jewelweed, it will actually shoot out its seeds! So cool! #connections

We've been meaning to go back to the trail and see if it works. :)

Do you love her outfit or what?! :)

 Love that man. <3 #nexttimeheshouldcarryme

We only have a few more nice days coming here in good ole' Wisco. This Mama HATES the cold. I'm hoping we can make the most of them!


Glimpses and Snippets, Oct 17, 2016

Welcome to Glimpses and Snippets! Where I share a little bit of what's going on 'round here. :)

- I woke up at 3am this morning with a(nother) headache. I don't have too many complaints about this pregnancy so far, but the headaches! Grr. I've spent way too much money at my chiropractor the last few months. I'm not even sure alignment is the issue right now; I think it might the pregnancy? Anyway, several times a week, every week, I get a horrible headache that keeps me from sleeping and may or may not go away with OTC meds. Pray for me, if you think of it! :)

- I've started Nesting. I'm fairly confident that this will be my last pregnancy (unless the Lord intervenes) so I've been getting rid of things faster than you can say Bob's Your Uncle! And my energy is back (Hello, Second Trimester!), so finishing up a few things each evening is taking top priority! The only downside is my husband and kids have to participate in Let's Keep this House Clean, much to their dismay.

- That leads me to my next point... what kinds of things are you getting rid of, you ask? BOY things! Yep, that's right!  

It's a girl! :) 

The girls are very excited! They can't wait to have a little baby girl to play with. It's really quite sweet. I'm a little nervous about the amount of estrogen that will be floating around up in here, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there!

20 weeks prego

- We've taken sugar and gluten out of my 6yo's diet. We were having some issues in regards to her behavior; lots of emotional responses (beyond normal childlike behavior), forgetting EVERYTHING, and not being able to fall asleep well, among other things.
These two are such good pals :)

The good news is, we've noticed a difference! :) She's been much more manageable and reasonable since removing sugar and gluten from her diet.  For the first two weeks, she had absolutely NO gluten or sugar, because I wanted to see if it would have an effect. After I noticed, that yes, it was making a difference in her attitude, I talked to my husband and we decided that as a rule, we'd be mostly SF and GF at home and let her have a little of either for special occasions, like birthdays, even then though we'll still limit the amount, "No, you may not have 2 pieces of cake." :)

Surprisingly, she's taken it very, very well. I first explained to her that we would take sugar and gluten out of her diet to see if it would help her feel better. I think she could understand that something wasn't quite right. And now that she's noticed a difference, her response when I tell her she may not have something is pretty good! It helps that I have alternatives for her--we've made lots and lots of black bean brownies. We've also had GF crackers and pasta.

Of course, this has meant that our whole family has lowered our sugar and gluten intake, which has been good. We eat pretty healthy in general, but too much sugar isn't good for anyone! I'm thinking it might be good to figure whether it's the sugar or the gluten that is making the most difference, but I'm a little nervous to try it at this point. Things are going pretty well and I don't want to shake it up!

- I've added my weekly planner and traceable calendar to my Free Printables page. Go check it out! :)

- Every year a good friend of ours has a wonderful birthday party, complete with a bouncy house and face painting. The girls love the face painting.

- We live in an area where there are lots of art fairs, festivals and fests. #artsyfartsy
I love it. :) Last weekend was the annual "Farm Art D'tour." There are lots of fun things to look at and cool places to visit, along with yummy food!

- The following weekend, after the Farm Art D'Tour, is the Fall Art Tour! We were able to see a local artisan at work, which was really fun.

 - Last school year, the girls each started an embroidery project as a handicraft. Well, we've finally finished them! :)

 More pictures:
 Circle Time shenanigans.

Drawn narration of different kinds of bees, from Christian Science Reader #2.

 Keeping Littlest busy with a rice and bean sensory bin. :) It lasted about an hour or so!

 Our small town has a yearly Fire Department open house, complete with firetruck rides!

Reading lessons with Middlest.

That's all I have for now! What's new with you? :)


Our Circle Time Binders (My first vlog!)

I love reading what others are doing in Circle Time/Morning Time. I get so many great ideas from those that have shared their selections. I hope you get a few ideas here as well.

Instead of writing a super long and confusing post with a thousand pictures, I thought I'd try a video. I think it went well! My first vlog! EEK! 

A few things about this video.
  • It was fun to make and SO MUCH EASIER than typing it all out. I can see a future for me in vlogging! Maybe.
  • My voice sounds super nasily. (Is that how I really sound?!) 
  • I also really sound like a Yooper. #heyyadontchaknow
  • I have fat, pregnancy fingers. #sausagefingers 
  • I pause a lot to think of hard words like, "section" and "plastic sleeve."I'm blaming the pregnancy again.
  • I say, "I'll talk to you later" at the end, but the truth is I might not actually talk to you later. Sorry about that.
  • My 3 year old also has his own binder. His has a lot of the same things in it, but I need to make him a complete one, because every morning he wants to be on the SAME EXACT PAGE as the rest of us and he gets frustrated when he can't find it! :) 
  • When I watched this video on my blog is was very blurry--sorry about that!! Hopefully you can still get an idea of how the binder is organized. :(

I forgot to explain a couple of things:
  • Before the school year starts, I make a chart (again, thanks Mystie for the inspiration!) with the entire year's CT work on it like this: (click on it to enlarge).
  • We don't know ahead of time the Shakespeare passages because that is a part of our CM group, Excelsior Guild and one of the other moms picks a play out each term. And I have an "Other" section in case I think of anything else later. 
  • In the video I couldn't remember how many passages we memorize each year and it's 6; 2 per term. Our CM community meets once a month so we do 1 hymn and 1 folksong each month all year. 
  • IF we don't have something memorized after 6 weeks, I play it by ear. If it's a poem, I move it to the review section anyway, but things like the Apostle's Creed, we'll work on till we've got it down. If we've memorized something earlier than planned, I move it to review.
  • I made all the printables myself. Yes, it takes forever a while, but I enjoy it. I love finding the poems and pictures to go with them. :) Call me crazy! (I'm happy to share any, btw)
  • Instead of having a "Daily, Even, Odd and 1-31 days" tabs like the Simply Charlotte Mason memory system, (I started out that way) I've done a "Daily" and each section (Passages, Poems, Bible, etc) tab. This takes much less time to go through and isn't as tedious.And honestly, we don't need that much review--once every week or so is enough!
Here's a close up of our Circle Time schedule:

Here's a link to my calendar printables: (let me know if the links don't work)

Links to resources mentioned:
And resources I use but were not mentioned:
If you have any questions, please ask!

What are your favorite resources for your memory work/Circle Times?

And here's a preview of my calendar.

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