What I’m Reading Wednesday

I’m still waiting for my labwork results. One result came back and it’s definitely indicative that something else may be going on; but what depends on the rest of the labwork results. Some of the tests had to go across the state for analysis and my guess is that’s where it’s all being held up at. It’s rather agonizing to continue to feel unwell, have a little idea of what may be going on but not the complete picture. I’m working on being patient, and trying not to refresh the lab results page too many times a day. 😉

It’s quite hard to do anything thanks to how poor I feel. Each day we just take as it comes, and I try to do things when I have energy. Some days are better than others.

(If you want to make bets about what’s going on/play armchair doctor/if you’re Googling around; here are just SOME of my symptoms: brain fog, losing hair, breaking nails, weight irregularities, poor appetite, heart palpitations, sleep disturbances, exhaustion, hard to concentrate, random hand tremors and more! And nope, not pregnant; although that would be a welcome reason to feel like trash.)

THAT BEING SAID, I’ve been attempting to read, when I can actually concentrate.

I found this book in a local thrift store for $0.50. I like it because no matter how brain-drained I am each day, I can read a little sentence or two from it and have something meaty to ruminate over. It’s the perfect low-energy book, at least for this stage in my life.

This book is my book when I’m feeling a little more with it in the energy department. Honestly, don’t let the title fool you (you can tell on the Amazon reviews who has read it and who hasn’t) – it’s not what you think it is. It’s a lovely book, written very light-hearted and self-depreciating at times; but does a great job of discussing that whole “submission” thing and how it relates to marriage. This isn’t a ‘let your man beat you’ or ‘say good-bye to having a life!’ submission books, but rather what submission IS and why it’s needed in a marriage. And if you’re curious; there’s one for the men (which I’ve not read) called Marry Her and Die For Her (just in case you were wondering what the men are called to do in a marriage…).

This is quickly becoming one of my favorite marriage-related books I’ve read in a good, long time.

* * *
Say a prayer my bloodwork results can be posted soon and they show something conclusive, either one way or the other. I don’t like the whole “welllll you have symptoms of X but the bloodwork doesn’t agree so it’s probably not X, but we don’t know why you feel so bad.”

AO Year 4, Term 1, Week 7 | AO Year 2, Term 1, Week 9

This week has been an eventful week, with snow (!) and scheduling changes and “going with the flow”.

I was optimistic that my doctor would have figured why I feel so horribly bad. I’m not really any closer to figuring out why, and I’m waiting on bloodwork results to come back. He didn’t really seem to think how I’ve been feeling is too out of the ordinary, and perhaps it’s not; but it’s nice to double-check and make sure. In the meantime, I’ve been adjusting school as needed in order to get done what needs to get done and still make sure I’m not burning the candle at all possible ends.

Moose will finish up his school tomorrow; as today was shot in the ground with homeschool swim class, sleeping in, and my issues. He was quite happy to have a relaxing day today, and I used my energy to get Peanut through her work for the week (including a Latin quiz and spelling quiz). She did wonderfully on her Latin and we’re almost ready to move on to the next lesson in Phonetic Zoo, so I’m quite pleased.

We shook up how we do Shakespeare and Plutarch by hooking that back into the Afternoon Tea Time. I found a Librivox recording of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, so I can relax as well and save energy during the afternoon slump. Plus, a variety of voices makes it WAY more interesting than me reading it all. I’m still trying to figure out where Tea Time will sit during the week, I’m thinking Wednesdays since that’s the new “light” day. Moving Robinson Crusoe to an audiobook was also a great idea, it’s become Peanut’s new favorite book and she’s almost finished it up for the term. 🙂

Moose is still fascinated with knights, and uses his free time once his lessons are finished to watch knights documentaries, play Lego knights, play Playmobil knights, look at books about knights, play knights outside, KNIGHTS KNIGHTS KNIGHTS.

Tomorrow the plan is to finish up Moose’s week 9, finish up loose ends on the housework and overall take it easy. Hopefully I’ll have more news regarding my bloodwork, when I had bloodwork last week I had results posted over the weekend. One specific test has to be sent across the state for analysis so that will take a couple days; but the local ones should (hopefully) be posted soon.

What I’m Reading Wednesday

Well, it’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve done this, right? Lots of stuff going on, watching the hurricanes roll in and make sure my family is out of harm’s way, medical stuff, and more. But it’s nice to check in with what’s going on in my book world, yes?

I started reading Cardinal Sarah’s book, The Power of Silence last week. It’s a lovely, meaty book that really is challenging me as I tend to like “background noise”. Like most people, I’m rather uncomfortable with silence. There’s so much to deal with in silence that it’s easier to just have the background noise on. But, as we know; God is not found in the noise (or the earthquake, or in the fire…) but in the silence.

I suspect this will take me some time to get through, as it is rather meaty like I mentioned above as well as uncomfortable. 🙂

I like to think that I have a good handle on organization, in terms of getting my stuff done (homeschooling, homemaking, etc) and still having time to do All The Things. A recent confession determined that I’m not as organized as I thought (or said) I was. There were still plenty of time-sinks, and a lot of procrastination simply because I felt overwhelmed about what to do when the day gets off track and the like. Providentially, I won a copy of the book, A Plan for Joy in the Home. I’ve already read it and have been working on implementing it. It’s a lot like A Mother’s Rule of Life but I’m finding this way of approaching things more realistic for me, for whatever reason. Maybe it’s because it’s a short book, and it gets right into getting down to business. Maybe it’s because of the handy worksheets included in the book (or printable from the author’s website). Whatever the reason, I am enjoying it and hopefully can reign in a lot of my procrastination.

I visit the doctor tomorrow and hopefully can start moving in the right direction of getting answers to some health issues that I’ve been having as of late. It’s been impacting my energy levels, and so my book reading has been sparse as of late. Kindly pray for me!

(Book images are Amazon affiliate links, thank you for your support!)

AO Year 2, Term 1, Week 8

This week was one of those crazy weeks.

Monday
We began the week with {yet more} heat. We also had the first meeting of choir today, which went quite well. The kids will be taught solfege as well as hymns and other songs. One of the kids is a little reluctant but we’ll see how things go as we get into the swing of things.

Tuesday
A regular day, we finished our work early and spent the rest of the day gallivanting and playing around. This day was probably the most normal of the week! 😀

Wednesday
Our special needs child’s therapy was moved to this day, so our lighter day now happens in the middle of the week instead of towards the end. We did some read-alouds since our mornings are now eaten up by the appointment. Okie-dokie. Wednesday was also the last day of MEGA-HEAT and so I encouraged the kids to go outside and enjoy themselves.

Thursday
We were going to have a nature walk but it started raining early Thursday morning and hasn’t stopped. We moved the nature walk indoors and looked at bugs in books and field guides. The rain did let up slightly so the kids (mine plus some of a friend’s) all went outside and found a bug wrapped up in a spider’s web, pill bugs, seed bugs, and some beetles. We wrapped up our nature adventure with kids playing and moms chatting.

Side note: if you’ve been following along on my Instagram; you will be happy to know that this precipitation is putting a massive dent on the wildfires that have been plaguing Montana. Pretty sure the fire season is finally O-V-E-R. 

Friday
Rain changed into snow in upper elevations, although the snow line on the mountain behind my house is almost level with the road. I had a fasting blood draw at noon this morning for my health insurance program, after that I went to the grocery store to get a bite to eat. By the time I came back home we had just enough time to pick up kids from Grandma’s and head down to homeschool swim class. Swim class this year is MASSIVE, with extra sessions scheduled in order to accommodate everyone. I saw a lot of familiar faces.

Despite the snow, the blood draw, and swimming lessons; we still managed to get done all of Moose’s work without sacrificing quality or scrimping on lessons. As we are 2/3rds of the way through the term, I’ll need to start thinking about exams for Moose soon.

* * * *

Peanut did well with her break week, her handicraft project is to make a skirt that is appropriate for Mass for her (as in, the appropriate length). She’s rather petite so finding age-appropriate clothing that fits her is getting harder as she gets older. All we have left to do is put in the waistband, iron it, then wash it and it should be ready for Mass this weekend!

AO Year 4, Term 1, Week 6 | AO Year 2, Term 1, Week 7

This past week, I had both Peanut and Moose working again. I’m finding that the rhythm is getting easier, and the shifting of subjects isn’t a surprise to anyone, as are my request for narrations and discussion. I’m finding more conversation happening with Peanut, especially in relation to the term’s history tales book (about Benjamin Franklin). She was very surprised to learn that Ben Franklin had slaves, as it (obviously) wasn’t discussed in Liberty’s Kids. We did some extra digging regarding this topic and discussed how Benjamin Franklin reacted to one of his slaves running away, his thoughts about slavery, cultural norms, and so on. You could see her wrestle with this knowledge and discover that not everything is so nice and black and white.

Moose is making great connections regarding the kings of England and discussing why some of them weren’t exactly nice and noble – beginning to introduce that tension that Peanut is experiencing – that just because someone says they’re going to do something good doesn’t always mean that they will. And we’ve had many good discussions about just and unjust behavior, especially by people in positions of power.

This week, Peanut will be on break week and I’ll just have Moose in lessons. Peanut will have some handicraft work to do in order to keep herself occupied as well as get something specific for her. Hopefully I’ll be able to post her results soon. 🙂

AO Year 4, Term 1, Week 5

Moose is on break week this week. Peanut has one more week of work before her first break week.

Last week I mentioned several things that I was going to use with Peanut this week:

I’m happy to say that those three changes really helped out around here. Peanut finally had that light bulb moment that if she finishes her work before the time limit, then she has the rest of the time off to do what she wants to do.  Needless to say, she’s been extra motivated all week as she knows that if she has “elastic time” then her break time is extremely shortened. Or even not at all!

I had Peanut create paper doll type figures for A Midsummer Night’s Dream and we act out the scenes with them. I think that is really helping her see what’s going on, combined with the fact that we already know the play from the retelling we read last year.

We also put Robinson Crusoe on an audiobook which has also made a considerable difference. My copy (in addition to having no chapter markings) has unique spellings (walk’d vs walked, cloathes vs clothes), which I’m not used to reading. In the interest of actually reading the book vs getting bogged down in the spelling, we’ve been listening to it on Librivox. I could read the Project Gutenberg copy but it’s kind of exciting to switch mediums for one story. And we can listen to it over the hubbub of the house without me straining my voice.

Her favorite book currently is Minn of the Mississippi after not really feeling it for the first few weeks. 🙂 She is quite good at plotting Minn’s travels on a blank map and labeling appropriate states and other features.

Next week both kids will be back at it. Peanut has enjoyed the one on one time with me and I was able  to troubleshoot some issues that I noticed had been going on. When Peanut goes on break week I suspect I’ll be doing the same with Moose, figuring out what exactly is working and what needs some adjustment. 🙂

Homeschooling as a Cross

“And he said to all: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
~ St. Luke 9:23 (DR) 

As we settle into yet another year of homeschooling, I’ve been thinking about the whole art of homeschooling. Blessedly, it is becoming more common and less “weird”. Much work has been done by folks when I was still a small child to ensure that I can homeschool my kids without interference from the government.

I am one big cheerleader for homeschooling. If you ask me about it, I’ll talk your ear off (although I’ll try not to). I try not to hype it up, it doesn’t need it; it hypes itself. There is one aspect that I don’t talk a lot about for a variety of reasons. Most of the time is because I don’t want to hear “well, maybe you shouldn’t homeschool then.” And yes, someone had the audacity to tell me that once.

Homeschooling is hard. It’s really, really hard. In fact, it can be considered a cross most days. Think about it. Curriculum is your choice. How you teach is your choice. When you teach is your choice. All that choice is overwhelming at times. It gets dreary, it gets tedious, it gets tiring. You have to report to someone (in most states) on some level. There’s always something to be done (grading/evaluating/planning/pre-reading/etc). There are no breaks – if you’re sick, you can’t call in a sub who will take everything for a day or two. Planning for the school year happens around meals and bedtime. Let’s not even think about homeschooling and keeping the house running. Teaching kids isn’t easy, and troubleshooting is on you. Extra fun if you have a special needs learner. You’re mom, teacher, housekeeper, chef, driver, and more.

It’s a cross, for sure. But crosses aren’t something to be feared or run away from. The Bible verse at the top of this post – note how it says daily. Every single day. Pick up that cross and follow Him. I find that my crosses are the heaviest when I’m not focused on Him.

Our crosses are what sanctify us. Our crosses give us an opportunity to give everything to God, rely fully on Him, and be shown our vices and imperfections so we can begin to work them out of our lives and grow in virtue. God knows I can’t do it alone, so I beg Him daily to come and be with us, to make up what I lack.

Homeschooling is hard, it’s a cross; but it’s also a way to sanctity.

AO Year 4, Term 1, Week 4 | AO Year 2, Term 1, Week 6

And now, for this week’s work! 🙂

Year 4

We had the return of “elastic time”. I gave Peanut one of my Happy Planners that I had no use for and wrote out her assignments, breaking them down into “by yourself” and “with Mama”. I came across this post on Afterthoughts, and I will be definitely incorporating that into our days. It should help Peanut begin to manage her time better.

Some things I’m noticing this year with Peanut:
– copywork has drastically improved her cursive writing.
– math is coming along really well. We use Math Mammoth and Simply Charlotte Mason’s Living Math. I use Living Math to explain the concept and Math Mammoth for practice problems.
– Latin had a giant leap and not only is she learning it well, she’s correctly spelling everything
– English spelling is also improving and I suspect it will take a giant leap forward when we start dictation and written narrations

I’ve found some problems with introducing the actual plays of Shakespeare and beginning Plutarch. My plan is start Plutarch again but use Publicola instead of Julius Caesar. I’m also going to either go back to Shakespeare retellings that we did last year or perhaps s l o w l y read the play of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as we read the retelling of that last year and the kids really enjoyed it.

Year 2

I am absolutely loving this Ambleside year. Moose is growing and learning so much through it, it’s exciting to watch him grow. Based on his excitement in narrations, Understood Betsy is his current favorite book. I’m really enjoying it as well. I was the spoiled youngest of my family so I definitely relate to Betsy, especially as she begins to stretch her wings, so to speak. 🙂

Moose finished six weeks of work which means he gets the next week off for a break week. He won’t be left feral, but it will be good for him to take a week off the books and have some relaxation time.

His major accomplishments so far:
– handwriting is massively improving. We finished the cursive Handwriting Without Tears book and went to printing.
– math is also improving. I’m the same setup that I use for Peanut – Math Mammoth and Living Math – and it’s been the key to unlocking math for him.
– his narrations are really developing well, and I’m quite pleased with how he’s doing. He used to just repeat the last sentence, then he pretty much told me back word for word everything I read. He’s understanding that I’m not looking for a regurgitation, but rather in his own words what he’s heard. What’s impressive that he completely GETS that he has one only one listen through and I think only once or twice has he been not paying enough attention to give any narration. Way to go, Moose!

***

The biggest event this week was, of course; the solar eclipse. We saw about 93% of totality, and it was awesome. We had our solar glasses on and watched everything from the beginning up to peak. We saw crescent shadows on the ground, we felt the temperature get cooler, we saw the surreal haze – it was excellent. The kids were a little disappointed that it didn’t get really dark – but it’s a good lesson that a smidge of sun is still really bright. The kids drew the stages of the eclipse in their nature journals, and even Wok (five next month) has been drawing little eclipses on pieces of paper since Monday. 🙂

AO Year 4, Term 1, Week 3 | AO Year 2, Term 1, Week 5

A little late in getting this up, as this is last week’s work. It languished in drafts until now!

***

There was a lot happening this week, with the excitement of the upcoming solar eclipse and a day off to celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary. Moose resumed physical therapy to keep working on recovery from his leg break (seriously, don’t break your leg – we’re four months away from the one year anniversary of leg-break and here we are, building up muscle still). We had a lot of flexing and bending to our schedule but we still managed to get everything accomplished that we needed to and I didn’t need to turn into a drill sergeant in the process.

There are many forest fires in the vicinity, and a cold front has blown in so much smoke. Several times visibility dropped on the interstate to 5 miles or less, simply from smoke. We have had ash falling from the sky on multiple occasions. The kids eagerly check out the Air Quality website, if the dot for our city is yellow or green they can go out and play. It’s been orange and red, which is not conducive towards people with lungs. We’ve talked a lot about air particles and measuring that, why it’s not a good idea to go outside when the air is rated orange or red. Naturally everyone has a bit of cabin-fever and it hasn’t been pretty. We’ve watched some nature and military documentaries; but mostly the kids play with Legos, Playmobils, or other toys; read or draw, or end up doing extra chores around the house.

God willing we’ll get some rain in here and help put out the fires. Needless to say, we are all looking forward to cooler temperatures as Autumn slowly arrives.

The biggest excitement this week was finally getting to “the main event” in Robinson Crusoe. The copy I found in a thrift store has no chapter breaks and unique spelling for some words, so it’s something I’m reading aloud to Peanut. The lack of chapter breaks and figuring out what words are (walk’d vs walked, for example) makes it pretty tiring for me to read. I was unsure if my copy was even acceptable, as I kept waiting and waiting for the shipwreck and finally we got to that point. Things are picking up now and it’s becoming one of Peanut’s favorite read-alouds. 🙂 (The spine is really pretty, so I was concerned that someone had taken a random text and stuck it in there and sold the book as a decorative book. I checked it against Project Gutenberg and it’s the correct text and it looks to be unabridged. Score!

‘What I’m Reading’ Wednesday

Two weeks ago my spiritual reading book was the book pictured above. It’s a very quick read, written by Fr. Carney about the people he has met as he walks the streets of St. Joseph, Missouri; as well as his motivations for doing so and his plans for the future. I enjoyed it greatly, Fr. Carney writes very simply yet profoundly, and you can feel his enthusiasm for souls leap from the page. I’m extremely glad Amazon’s algorithm recommended it to me, and I’m sure I’ll be rereading it again and again.

This week, I was WAY! TOO! EXCITED! to see that Formed has Cardinal Sarah’s new book available to read.
I read his first book, God or Nothing and was greatly moved. The African church has gone through so much (and continues to do so) and yet the joyfulness they have is amazing.

I also needed some mental candy lately, on a whim I checked this book out from the digital library:
It’s quite a cute book as well as informative. I’m about 2/3rds through it, and so far it’s discussed things like capsule wardrobe, femininity, eating and enjoying it, using the best you have (because saving it for later means that it never gets used), and so on. Delightfully refreshing and still informative at the same time. Hopefully the digital library will purchase the other books that Ms Scott wrote about her time in France, as I’d like to read those next!

The links above are Amazon affiliate links, which provide me a little commission at no extra charge to you when you do your Amazon shopping.