Here are a few photos of life around here, mixed in with some things I found encouraging. I put a photo of our dam up here last week , but I think it’s even more spectacular now. It is a frozen waterfall. It’s completely silent…….so different from itself in just a few months!
We have been hard at work around here this week. Everybody is almost caught up after our week of illness and the lack of leadership which occurred when I got sick. I think that by next Friday we will certainly be back on schedule, barring unforeseen circs.
We have so much to be thankful for as we have very nearly gotten ourselves caught up to where we had hoped to be in history. It always feels like the most preposterously undeserved gift when we are actually doing what my schedule says we should be doing. I think this is because I always find that the making of the homeschool schedule is such a joyous delight, but the keeping of the schedule very nearly defeats me. Reading in Proverbs 16 earlier this week , I got that same good reminder I have found before
“The plans of the heart belong to a man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”
I think that that bit in the middle there about the ways of my heart being pure in my own eyes, but the Lord weighs my spirit could possibly be an indicator that my plans are not all righteous. It brings it to mind that, unless I keep reminding myself to be careful, I tend to stack up the expectations I have for myself and my kids based upon what other people are doing and on pride. It’s a common pit for us home-educating moms. And once I have identified that pit which must be avoided, I have to also take care not to fall into the pit on the other side of the road. That would be the pit of laziness and carelessness.
And that reminds me of a really insightful post at Becky Pliego’s site which I found while rummaging around in the abundance of wisdom on her blog. This is a very helpful article for all of us with kids learning at home regarding the tendency we sometimes have to require less than the best from our kids. And about the aroma in our homes we create through how we live and love and train and speak to our children.
I think that for me, the answer is still that I must get up and start my day with a good quiet time of more than an hour, get the chores started before the kids are awake, and pray over the plans of the day, asking God to help me to do those things that must be done and not be sidetracked by extraneous stuff. I am a highly distractible woman, and it is essential that I pray for help in this area all through the day.
Another really encouraging read is here, a free PDF of Leigh Bortins’ book Echo in Celebration: A Call to Home-Centered Education. This link arrived in my mailbox from The Homeschooler’s Notebook , which sends out a neat and succinct little newsletter once a week, full of helpful links…something for just about everyone.
The PDF of Leigh Bortin’s book is relatively short (OK, it’s short for a book, long for a download),
but it’s full of compelling arguments for Classical Home Education. She discussed the lifestyle of a home-educating family, and gives a clear picture of how vastly it differs from what we may have expected, or the life of our more traditionally educated friends and family. It is such a radically different and beautiful life! Our approach to all aspects of family life are unique and really precious to us as families. It’s comforting and inspiring to read her experiences of how her family arrived at their educational decisions, and what the results were for her own sons.
She gets right at the heart of the Classical model, and how to train your whole child and prepare them for a full life honouring God……not just to socialize them and get them ready for a job.
I have heard Leigh Bortins speak, and remember her as being warm and genuine, but also as a woman who commands respect, and would tend to lead people into good rigorous study. This is an excellent read, and its FREE!
And here is a little taste of Leigh Bortins’ wisdom, this is a list which breaks down into quick points what our kids should be taught and when….I got this as a handout at her lecture, and then found that it is also included in the PDF on page 54-55. For a family just starting out, this is a great little tool to help get your head organized around what should happen when.
Infant to 4 years of age 4 to 8 years of age
should be trained to obey their parents
should memorize songs and stories
should learn to be kind
Should be taught to clean a house
should be taught to read phonetically
should develop the daily habit of studying math
9 to 12 years of age
should be trained to manage a household
should be trained to memorize lots of facts
should be taught spelling and grammar rules of languages
should be taught to write well-constructed sentences
should be taught to write well-constructed paragraphs
13 to 14 years of age
should be trained in vocational skills
should be taught to write well-constructed paragraphs
should be taught to write well-constructed essays
should be taught to defend ideas
should be taught public speaking
should be taught formal logic
should be taught research skills
15 to 18 years of age
should be taught leadership
should be taught to write comparative analysis of ideas
should be taught to challenge ideas
Notice that there is no mention of history or science or subjects. Classical education is different from modern education. The classical model is skill-based, not merely subject-focused. Through the acquisition of grammar, the mental gymnastics of logical processes, and the art of communication, science students learn how to:
1. memorize, sort, and retrieve scientific facts
2. read science books (there is a specific way)
3. write about science (there are expected forms)
4. enter the Great Classical Conversations about the philosophies of science
5. manage technologies while studying creation
6. think about science, any science.
We are also plugging away at memorizing the book of Philippians. I got a bit bogged down again, having briefly been all caught up and feeling a bit smug maybe. But as the volume of memorized material accumulates, so do the rich blessings, and I do find that memorizing and repeating these first 18 verses again and again does really refresh my mind, it helps me to reconsider how I am thinking about my brothers and sisters, how I view trials which seem to get in my way……I am to understand that all are given to me by the hand of God, all is for His glory, and my agenda is not the primary goal. The goal is to bring glory to Christ, to abound in fruitfulness that points to its source in Him.
I’m memorizing using the schedule at This Link , and there is a very helpful method to help memorize using a moleskin notebook here.
I find that I memorize best by writing the passage over and over again, and by repeating it aloud to my kids as often as they will stop and allow me to. They are remarkably patient with me, and will often try to out-do me, so it helps us all to commit it to memory better.
And here, from A Holy Experience, is a summary of Dr Andrew Davis’s Seven rules for Bible Memorization. These are very good, and when it’s a whole book being memorized, I need all the help I can get!
Seven Ways of Highly Effective Bible Memorization*
1. Old before New
Always take the old paths. Begin each day by reviewing the memorized verses first before learning the next verse. The goal is retention not accumulation.
2. Rinse and Repeat
And again. The only way to retain learned verses is to review them again and again over an extended period of time. Everyday’s memorization rhythm: Rinse and repeat.
3. Location, Location, Location
Like the mantra in real estate is location, location, location, so it is for really remembering: memorize the location of each verse. Memorize each verse number and don’t skip it. This is paramount and makes it much easier to memorize long passages and not inadvertently skip verses when reciting whole chapters. Location!
4. Take a Mental Screen Shot
Use your mental point and shoot and take a brain “photograph” of the verse. Read each new verse several times, hiding one word at a time, burning each word into your mind like light onto film.
5. Preach it
To yourself. Speak your memory verses to yourself aloud. Preach it aloud to the soul that needs it the most — our own — and say each verse with emotion and feeling. Whispering it while driving, walking, working not only is an easy way of reviewing and memorizing, it’s fulfilling God’s call to meditate on His Word day and night. And saying each verse aloud is a way to work the words deep into our memory: His Words never return void.
6. Repeat it for 100
For 100 consecutive days repeat aloud your memory work — all the verses, or the chapter, or the whole book. This is painless and demands no extra time: do it first thing every morning while getting ready for the day — in the shower, getting dressed, making the bed etc. Repeat it for 100!
7. Sabbath Sanctuary to see the weeds
After your Repeat it for 100, take the last Sunday of every month and make a sabbath sanctuary to read through your memory work. This will help you to “see the weeds” — any mistakes that have crept into your recitation of longer projects/chapters/books. Soak in His Word on a Sabbath — pluck out some weeds. Commit your heart — and mind —- to Him again.
Otherwise, we are enjoying the snow, and looking forward to spring. As the photos seem to indicate……And as for the thermometer here below which reads -23C……this photo was taken because Helen-The-Ever-Cheerful walked past it and called out to us at breakfast “Oh, great, guys! Look, it’s warming up! We could all probably go down for a skate in a couple of hours.”