Monday, June 25, 2018

Our Homeschool Plans for 2018-2019

Way back in March, W was insisting on starting Kindergarten.  I asked him to at least finish his Pre K year first, then we could start Kindergarten once the baby was born.  Although he was hesitant, he eventually agreed that this might be the best approach, although he did try catching me out for a few weeks.  I ordered all his books at the beginning of April just to reassure the little guy that this was happening! He may regret his actions, hahaha!

It's fun trying to plan out a kindergarten year for a child who academically could more than handle a 1st grade curriculum, but who is still a bit wiggly and enough of an old man to feel patronized if you treat him like the 5 year old he is.  While I was planning I kept going back to just doing a play based kindergarten; it's what's best for that age, after all! But I know my son, and I know that after a day full of play-based learning (that only commenced after a blow-out argument to even get him outside), he'd be begging to learn to read, or do math, or he'd want to write a story.

Ultimately, I settled on Mater Amabilis for the core of his Kindergarten year.  Here's what we'll be doing:

Religious Education
We're using the recommended children's Bible, but I swapped out their "First Book of Saints" for the "Saints for Young Readers for Every Day" that we already own.  I ordered the Rosary book that is recommended, but we also have the Holy Heroes Rosary CDs and corresponding coloring books that I'll break out on rainy days.  I've even got copies of 'Virtues in Practice' printed out and ready to go! I won't lie, I'm intimidated and a bit scattered here.  I was catechized pretty poorly, and W has expressed multiple times that he really want to learn about our faith so I'm guilty of throwing everything and seeing what sticks.  Hopefully it doesn't devolve to watching episodes of 'Brother Francis' on repeat!

Ray's Arithmetic and Life of Fred.

I'm trying to keep this as simple and as cheap as possible! Plus, I don't really know what W is capable of mathematically, so I hesitate to invest into anything at this stage.

Reading and Writing
All About Reading Pre-Reading
Writing our Catholic Faith

We'll be reviewing AAR Pre-reading and then moving on to Teaching Reading with Bob Books.  I'm anxious to see how quickly we move through AAR, given that it's probably just a review of everything he'll have done at Pre K this past year.  I'd like to continue with level 1 of AAR, and if I can snag the books at a steep discount we will, but I have everything I need for TRwBB, so that's what the plan is for now!

As far as writing, we'll probably be doing some workbook work, some copy work, and I'll have him help me with shopping lists and thank you notes and such.  His handwriting is pretty terrible, which is not surprising since he's basically never held a crayon until September of last year!   I'm not stressing over it though, we'll get there.

Story Time, Nature Study, and History
All the MA recommendations!
Our optional free reads and picture books vary a bit according to what I had on hand.  The picture books are mostly MA recommendations for PreK prep level and since we didn't get very far with that last year, I don't want to 'waste' the purchases.

I scrapped MA Geography in favor of using our "Little Passports" gift subscription that we received a couple years ago.

Artist Study/Composer Study
Following Ambleside Online recommendations for this, generally speaking.  I ordered the Artist portfolios from Simply Charlotte Mason, and almost all of the recommended music was available via our Amazon Prime membership! Yay!

Hymn/Folksong Study
We're following along with Traditional Catholic Living for hymn study, although I'm not 100% sure if it's something we'll stick with.  We attend NO Mass and most of the selected hymns I've never heard in my (admittedly) brief time at our parish, which is a bummer all around.
For folksong study, we're using this book of American folk songs, plus selections from AO.

Foreign Language
German.  We don't like to do things the easy way, haha!

We'll be focusing on 'circle time' auf deutsch a la Joyous Lessons, combined with some folksongs and nursery rhymes I've found online, and a Pimsleur set I scored at a deep discount on eBay.

We'll be baking in Term 1, needle felting in Term 2 (to go along with reading Charlotte's Web), and Term 3 will be Origami and knot tying!  I'm really excited about doing some projects with W and I hope he doesn't get too discouraged in the process.

Nothing is set in stone, but this is our general plan.  We'll see how it goes!

Monday, April 16, 2018

4/16/2018 - We're still here!

I can't believe it's been 3 months since I last popped by!
Actually, no, I can totally believe it's been 3 months.  So much has been going on and changing for our family, but through it all I'd be lying if I said this blog has been far from my mind.  In fact, I've thought about what I want for this space almost daily.
I feel like blogging in this style has been in flux for a couple of years; I routinely see blogs I love and am inspired by asking whether or not they should continue blogging? Do people even read blogs anymore? And so they move mediums but as we see facebook and instagram evolve for the worse, I am hoping that there will be a resurgence in basic blogging.  Which leaves me wondering what to do here.

I'll be blunt: it's going to be a while before I hit my stride again (whatever stride I may have had in the past, anyway).  Being 37 weeks pregnant and in the middle of a move, with a full on commute to get your kid to pre-K 2-3 days a week has this effect on things.
Crafting has been almost non-existent for me, the morning basket/home school supplement I was trying to maintain for the kids has fallen by the wayside, a very cold/snowy winter kept us indoors more often than not.  Excuses pile on top of excuses and here I am, checking in on my blog 3 months after promising I'd be around more often.

This space has never had much direction; it was always very journalistic, and will continue to be in the future, but as my kids are starting to get older (my eldest is 5 so feel free to laugh at that statement) I feel like the pieces are starting to fall into place that will give this blog a stronger, more coherent voice.

Some of the highlights of where we'll be going include:

non-traditional living (or is it ultra-traditional living?)
home schooling
liturgical living and the domestic monastery
crafting and handwork
mother culture
radical homemaking
small time farming

So if you've stuck around, thank you! I greatly appreciate it! and if you're new, awesome, hopefully we'll have something worth reading posting more frequently than every 3 months :-)


Thursday, January 4, 2018


It's hard to believe that I last posted way back in September.  Hard for me to believe, anyway, since I always have such good intentions but the road to Hell and all that.  Right now I am sitting at my 'desk', also known as our over-cluttered dining room table, staring outside at the grey sky meeting the white earth while snow flurries blow by in a whirlwind.  Yesterday was a wonderful relief from the frigid temps we have been experiencing - a whole 21 degree high to make up for the single digit suffering.  It's been alternating between too cold for salt to work and just warm enough to vaguely melt walked-on snow into a sheet of ice.  Needless to say getting out of the house has been interesting.  Mostly, we're just bundled up inside with honey-do lists a mile long and accomplishments thin on the ground. 

So much has changed since September.  Only a week or so before I hit "post" on my last entry, I discovered that I'm pregnant again. Then we decided it was in our best interest to consider building a larger home for ourselves.  Having 6 people share 1 bathroom isn't much fun and sweet V is stuck in the smallest bedroom which she'll be sharing with A shortly and if new baby is a 3rd girl...well...I'm not looking forward to kicking W out of his room.  Change is not his strong suit, and he's hardly fond of V in the best circumstances.  I doubt he'd be falling all over himself to help her. 
After long conversations and some hard questions we ended up deciding against building new and settled on moving in with Chris's mom and adding on to her place.  If all goes to plan I'm going to have a library of my very own.  If it wasn't smack dab in the middle of the house I'd put locking doors on it and never leave!
In November we baptized all 3 kids and W turned 5.  Then came advent, Christmas, New Year and now here we are, all rosy cheeks and cold toes and tight fitting jeans!

I'm mostly on Instagram now, but I have a handful of projects in the works that will be shared here and I'd love to be more intentional about posting in this space, but I won't make promises.  I hope if anyone is still out there reading that you and yours had a lovely, blessed holiday!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


Bare feet padding across hundred-plus year old hardwood floors, desperate to hide a newly-acquired stash of chocolate chip cookies.  It's about 9:30 in the morning, but I guess it's cookie time somewhere.  I can hear giggling and whispering as V shares her stash with A, who is currently sick with some kind of a respiratory/sinus issue.  I want nothing more than to sink into the worn-out couch and read, or knit, or take a nap but instead I find pick myself up, grab a cup of hot coffee and head down to the field.  I've been putting off cutting goldenrod for days and it needs to be done today before more rain comes.

I used to dye yarn, about 5 years ago I picked it up right as W was born which turned out to be a terrible time to start such a hobby.  Now that he's older, indeed old enough to help me with the plants themselves, I've been itching to pick it back up again.  This batch is being harvested to dye some fabric for a baby gift.  Is there anything sweeter than a baby wrapped in natural colors?
I may also dye up some cotton squares for a quilt, but one step at a time.  This moment is one of those points in time of near perfection.  Swaths of gold, sways in the crisp, nearly-autumn breeze under a blue sky.  Trees rustling in the distance.  I love it here, in this moment, trying not to be stung by all the bees buzzing about me.  Cutting stalks carefully, so as not to disturb the spiders as they sit on their webs.  Keeping my eyes and ears open, knowing there are coyote out here.  They're my biggest fear - bigger still than the bears that use this field as their personal thruway down to the river.

I turn to go back to the house and stop to assess the wide strip of yard that we'll be turning into our mini-orchard in the spring.  Mentally planting fruit trees and berry bushes, I try to imagine what this place will look like a a year, 3 years, 5 years time.  The wind is changing so much and bringing with it more than a new season of the year, but a new season in life, perhaps? We'll see, but now it's time to get inside and enjoy a couple cookies before they're all eaten.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


The best part of birthday and Christmas gifts? The boxes they come in, naturally! 
Baby A's present for her 1st birthday arrived yesterday and the box was immediately commandeered by her elder siblings.  Much as expected.  This massive box has been a house, a rocket ship, and (my personal favorite) a shipping container.  I've felt a bit like Garfield with my very own Nermals! Anyone know what it costs to ship about 70 pounds to Abu Dhabi? 

Monday, August 21, 2017


W has changed so much in a few short months.  Watching him zoom around on the trike, pour over guidebooks of reptiles and birds, happily color and draw - none of these things he had any interest in until this summer.  No, he was quite content to sit indoors and play trains, avoiding outside play and refusing to do anything even remotely artistic.
Three weeks into PreK  has been enough time for him to expect the rhythm of coloring and painting days, and to look forward to the outside play breaks we get between out oh-so-long "lessons".  Today we read our Bible story and a handful of nursery rhymes, took a break, then reconvened for 3 readings of "Angus Lost" and a reading of "Brother Bartholomew and the Apple Grove" while W and V played with their blocks.  I'm such a taskmaster.

Summer continues to roll on; we're starting to harvest zucchini and the tomatoes are ripening.  Our garden went in very late this year, so it'll be interesting to see what we manage to get before Autumn sets.  Our watermelons (all 4 of them!) are about the size of marbles, so I'm hoping for a hot September, much to Chris' dismay.  I've grown watermelons off and on through the years and I've yet to get an edible one.  Praying that this will be the year!

Thursday, August 10, 2017


My sweet baby A is one! My little miracle baby, my rainbow baby.  A pregnancy that couldn't have come at a more inopportune time and taught us to trust in Him, with post delivery complications that brought us to our knees and me back to the Church.  Sweet A, who isn't so little anymore but is full of vim and vigor! With a personality to match her huge toothy grins and sparkling eyes! She's adventurous, she loves her kitties and her siblings, and her first word was "mumumumum".  
Watching her grow slowly, but surely, from a tiny newborn into a force to be reckoned with has been such a blessing.  She's certainly changed my view of what mothering is and what it can be.  She has shown me both delight and tedium in my days with her and taught me that "this too shall pass" is a very appropriate sentiment for parenting! 
She's my first baby to nurse a year, and the first to sprout teeth before 11 months.  She also became mobile months ahead of when her siblings did.  
And if I had to do over all the sleepless nights, stress over weight checks, rough recovery and post partum - I would because I know it would bring her to me just as she is.  A little slice of heaven on earth.  
I look forward to what this next year brings us!