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Plan Your Days: Monthly and Weekly Planning

Plan Your Days

Monthly and Weekly Planning


Hi, There!
As educators, mothers, housewives, employees, church members, ministers, friends, daughters, sisters (Oh, the many hats that we wear!) it can be downright overwhelming to keep track of all.of.the.things. Below is a photographic tour, and step-by-step explanation, of how I manage my life through monthly and weekly planning. I surely don't have it all together, but what I do have is a system that has been fleshed out over several years, and which I rely upon when I just don't think I can juggle it all. Here's hoping that it gives you ideas, inspiration, or even just encouragement, as you plan YOUR life. 


Planning Procedures
I keep a list of my planning procedures in the front of the planning section of my Home Management Binder (tour of that binder coming soon). I have used this system, with little change, for years now and I don't need the procedure list. However, it's important to have anyway. When a tired brain is planning for busy days, decision fatigue is avoided by having procedure lists.


Quarterly
  • Master Calendars
In my Home Management Binder, I keep a set of Master Calendars for the entire year and part of the next year. This is a Master Calendar because it is a calendar "rough draft". This allows me to (physically, by hand-that's important) write in any future events far in advance. It is the place where events get marked out when they are cancelled, and moved around when they are changed. Quarterly, I fill in all that I know for the coming few months, and then make a copy for the other locations in my life that I may need them- my Eagles (Eagles is the homeschool support group that I operate) binder and my Lesson Plans Binder.



Because these are master calendars, they allow for future planning. As you can see, the calendars of the current quarter are far more full than calendars in the future. They get fuller as times passes, and then they get edited and finalized before being copied into my planner.

Monthly
  • Planner
Every month, I edit and finalize my Master Calendar and then copy it (physically, by hand) into my Planner.  I then color code every event.(You can see my color code on my Planning Procedures, listed above) I also color code my days with that day's primary color focus.
 (So, if I have two events on one day, the event that is that day's priority is the color that I use for that day's date. This helps me keep priorities in line when days don't go as planned.) 
This planner is from the Plan Ahead brand, and is the See it Bigger planner. 
 (See the notes below on why I prefer a simple planner rather than something elaborate,
 such as a Happy Planner. )

As you can see, I use stickers to satisfy my urge to go "planner happy". There are stickers for decoration, stickers to indicate things like birthdays, and stars on all school days.
  • Wall Calendar
I then copy only the basic events onto my wall calendar, so that I have a visual at all times of the major things going on.

  • Weekly Spreads
I then take the monthly events in my planner and put them on each weekly spread. This planner stays out on my desk at all times (unlike my master calendars, which are in a binder on my shelf, so both are necessary.)
Then, I schedule my school days for each week.

Weekly 
  • Brain Dump
Each week, I sit down to take the broad plan that I have into place and manage my hours to fit it all in. The very first, non-negotiable step in this process is to do a Brain Dump. This means that I (physically, by hand- are you seeing a theme here?) write down everything that has to be done, even things that I do every single week. I have my brain dump forms categorized by the major compartments of my life. (The week after I am typing this is started here for you, for reference, but it will be much more full when I sit down to plan.) Everything that is in my brain gets dumped onto the paper. Then, anything that isn't reasonable gets erased, and then either let go of or migrated to next week's brain dump form. This is vital to functioning without complete mental fatigue, to not over-scheduling, and to having reasonable expectations.

  • Weekly Plan Sheet and Daily To-Do Lists
I then refer to my monthly planner and my brain dump and fill in a weekly plan sheet, and color code it. This is a vital step as well, as it allows me to see where I have over-scheduled and over-extended myself. We tend to think that we have more hours in day than we actually do, and placing events and tasks into those hours in a visual way eliminates this problem. The color coding also allows me to see where most of my time is going that week, and to ensure that every color is on the page in its proper proportions.
                     (Example...no pink? No schole? Not an option. Must rearrange schedule.)
From this point, I can take my Brain Dump and place every single item into my planner as a To-Do list for each day. If it won't fit anywhere, then it isn't a reasonable expectation and it needs to be erased or migrated.

  • Command Center
I then copy a brief version of my weekly plan into my kitchen Command Center so that my husband can refer to it if needed and I have a reminder in the place where I spend the second most amount of time (first, office/schoolroom. second, kitchen). Then, I plan that week's meals from right in my Command Center.

  • Schole and Mother's Education
Next, I schedule out my SCHOLE and give myself reading assignments for the week. I use the Delightfully Feasting Schole Trackers for this. These stay in the Mother's Education tab of my Home Management Binder, which I pull out every day to track this and other things.

  • Phone
Finally, I clean out and update my podcast playlist for the week, and set timers on my phone for that week's events, school schedule, and anything that I need help making a priority.
(vitamins, 10 minute brain break, etc).
That's it...that's how I plan this crazy, wonderful, full life.

A Few Notes:
  • Paper VS Digital
This is a mostly paper system. If you are a digital gal, then not all of this system will appeal to you most likely. However, I would like to point out a couple of things- 1. Any digital planning involves looking at a screen. We all have different ideas of how much we should be looking at screens, but the evidence that shows how terrible it is for us can't be denied. I struggle enough with looking at screens for so many other things (some of them quite worthy things, and even some school lessons), so I don't want to be staring at a screen in order to plan and keep up with my life.
2. Physically writing things out (more than once), implants them in our brains and forms a connection to and ownership of them that typing them into our phones simply can.not.do. I can't keep up with everything digitally, no matter how carefully I place it into my device...because I wasn't created and wired that way. And, the truth is: neither were you.
So, whether you prefer digital or paper planning...consider which parts of your planning should be on paper regardless.
  • Easy VS Thorough 
This is a multi-step system that has been fleshed out over years. It definitely isn't the most direct and "easy" system, and it may not be for everyone.
But, again, I wanted to point out a couple of things.
1. Easy doesn't necessarily mean useful. You can have ease in your planning, but unless it's working for your life, then it doesn't really help you. If you're losing more time trying to figure out what to do when and scrambling about all day long than you gain by not spending it planning....then you probably need to be spending more time planning.
2. Most good things require investment, and I have found that managing a full life requires investment. I can invest time weekly to be a manager of my time, or I can have my time managing me all week long. I don't always choose well, and your investment may look differently than mine...but the truth is: a well managed life requires planning investment.

  • Simple VS Pretty
This system isn't necessarily the easy way out, but it IS simple. Yes, I know all about Eric Condren and Happy Planners. Yes, I am drawn to them. Yes, I love them. But, I resist the urge. Because, beautiful papers do not a useful system make. I can spend hours putting together a beautiful, fun, colorful planner with pretty pages for everything.... and then never use it. (Ask me how I know). Or, I can simply plan in a functional way. Stickers are a great way for me to add beauty to my system, without making beauty take precedence over usefulness. Far too often, when systems aren't working, instead of addressing the issues and habits within ourselves that are keeping us from USING a system....we just create a new system. We escape the reality of our bad habits by giving ourselves the illusion of being productive. Creating a new system FEELS productive. But, being productive actually comes through USING the system we have created.

So, find what works for you, and then repeat it over and over and over and over.

I hope this tour helps you in finding, adjusting, or inspiring what works for you for planning your life.

May All Your Days be Spent....Delightfully Feasting <3

Peaceful Homeschooling: 12 Ways to Pursue Peace in Your Homeschool

Peaceful Homeschooling:

12 Ways to Pursue Peace in Your Homeshool

 

Peace can often be a moving target within homeschool hearts, and homes. Sometimes, we achieve a limited sense of peace that comes from temporarily letting things go, not pursuing any specific set of goals or ideas. Other times, we achieve a temporary sense of peace that is a result of buckling down and achieving goals, marking things "complete" on our list. Neither of these is wrong, and they each have their appropriate season, but they are both short lived and not sustainable.We, as homeschoolers, tend to teeter between these things, never being able to maintain either for any extended period of time.  What is elusive, then, is a peace that comes from operating within a plan and the framework of routine, knowing what it is that we are working toward and having a grasp upon the habits that best contribute to that work, while also holding loosely to all secondary and lesser things. We have peaceful homeschools when we develop habits that allow us to continually seek peace, and when we have routines that do not lord over us, but that we master and utilize as tools to maintain the peace that we seek and work for. 

Following are 12 things that have contributed to peace within my homeschool, and the homeschools of those that I admire and have worked closely with. Every one of these things plays a part, small or massive, in the peaceful way in which our homeschool is carried out. None of these things are personality specific, although some could be more challenging for some personality types. More challenging, but altogether worth it. ALL of these things take effort, and none of this is a secret or magical formula. Our attitudes, and our habits, absolutely hold the key to the peace in our homeshool, and peaceful days aren't something our children hold the responsibility for. I wholeheartedly believe that peaceful days are our responsibility, and that we can work to achieve them. Everyone is different, and these things may look or work differently for you, but to some degree, I believe each of them can play a part in the peace of every homeschool. 

1. Prioritize Relationships 
When in doubt, always choose people. We can be peaceful when we continually realize, and choose to remember, that our children are people and that our relationships with them are more important than any goal, objective, milestone, test, math problem, assignment, book, grade, or achievement. As such, we should cherish our relationships more than any of those secondary things. When we evaluate our time, our attitudes, our goals, our materials, and our priorities, we can measure each choice that we are making up to our relationship with our children. If we were forced to choose whether, when they are grown, our children were well educated, or whether they had a good and active relationship with us, we would all say that having a relationship with them is worth sacrificing everything else for, even their education. We don't have to choose between those two things, but we DO often have to make small decisions that temporarily favor one or the other. And, we can, and should, always choose relationship. Out of relationship, their education will thrive. Without relationship, even the most well executed of educations will fall painfully short. I often say that if you've driven your child to tears, then you need to stop and put away whatever is at hand. Your child is more important than the algebraic equation. Choose people. YOUR people. 

2. Don't Be a Pinterest Mom 
I am opening a can of worms here, but, here goes: Activities don't really teach much. Salt dough maps, and paper mache statues, and cut and paste projects, and coloring pages, and mini books, and the million and one cute and torturous fun activities that are available on pinterest, and in our social media feeds....the truth is, they are a waste of time. They can be fun, and fun is a valuable pursuit. But, choose wisely, and choose sparingly. Good books, discussion, narration, observation, exploration: these things make quality use of our time. Every activity that every homeschooler you know is doing, and posting, is not only not quality use of time, but it also quickly robs a mom of peace. Resist the urge to "help" or "supplement" your books. Resist the urge to "connect" ideas to other ideas through carefully planned and orchestrated activities. Resist the urge to crowd out grand conversation about ideas with paper mache and coloring pages. Don't be blown about by every wind of philosophy, and by every idea, curriculum, book, concept, system, tool, resource and method posted about by every homeschooler that you know. While you're resisting these urges, also carefully limit your comparison of yourself to others. Compare yourself to a few homeschoolers that you respect and admire, long enough to learn from them and to grow and then go about the business of implementing what you've grown and learned in, rather than lingering over your pinterest boards and your Instagram feed thinking about homeschooling more than you're actually doing it. 

3. Don't Stop and Start 
Running full steam ahead, and then abruptly halting, changing, adding, removing or tweaking what you're doing in your homeschool does anything but contribute to peace. Yet, we so often do just that very thing. We dive into what is new, and fresh, and exciting and then we change systems, books, schedules, and ideas as soon as something else new and fresh and exciting comes along. Sometimes, a system or the schedule needs changing. Sometimes, an idea isn't working. Sometimes, a book isn't capturing the mind of our child and we need to drop it (read: not because it's hard. Many living, and worthy, books are hard.). However, there is a sensible and a responsible way to implement change, and watching us model that is a vital lesson for the maturity of our children. Unfortunately, we often don't model it. I am certainly not saying that in order to have peace, you must continue upon a path that isn't working for you. I am saying, however, that abrupt stops are chaotic, and they don't allow time to make a reflective, rational choice instead of an emotional or flighty one. So, to avoid stopping and starting, choose blocks of time that you will make plans for (for me, 6 weeks {half a term} is perfect) and then stick to those plans. Take note of what isn't working, and then sensibly and carefully change it when it is time to plan again. During these "pause points" of your year (it doesn't have to be a school break, it is just a point at which you plan for the next block of time), reflect upon what didn't work and why, and then implement a change into your new plans. Don't stop and start, no matter how tempting that may be. You owe it to your children, and to yourself, to implement change peacefully, not chaotically.

4. Manage Your Mornings
It's no secret that I am a fan of becoming an early riser. However, whether you wake up hours before your children or 5 minutes before them, your attitude is within YOUR control. You can, and should, take calm control of your morning, before it runs away with your entire day. A bad morning is often at the helm of a bad day, and good morning lays a foundation for a day that follows suit. No matter what assault your morning brings upon you, learn to take a deep breath and seize calm control over this important part of your day. Seize control by tidying what you reasonably can, smiling even when you don't feel like it, bending down to look each child in the eye and greet them warmly, providing some direction for the day ahead, checking your plans and your menu, and being a source of calm, not chaos. If YOU can't be calm, and in control, then it surely isn't fair to expect much else from your children. Put into place small rituals that you can carry out no matter what your morning holds, that signal to yourself and to your children that it is the beginning of a new day, with new mercies within it. These small rituals could be turning on an oil diffuser, opening blinds or windows, putting on music, lighting a candle, etc. In addition to these small rituals, have a non-negotiable starting point in your school day. This isn't a time that is non-negotiable. This is a point in your schedule at which you will begin whether it is 8 am or noon. For us, this is Treasure Time. If you're running behind, begin at your non-negotiable starting point, no matter how you currently feel, and then you can make rational decisions about what to cut from, or adjust within, your day. Don't expect these decisions from yourself in the midst of morning madness. Seize control, perform small rituals, and then start where you've determined you will always start. From there, you can adapt and adjust accordingly. 

5. Don't Multitask
Contrary to our nature, and to what seems to be popular advice, I don't think that we can have true homeschooling peace if we are multitasking throughout our homeshooling day. The truth is: you can only do one thing well at a time. If you are doing 10 things, then each thing is only getting one 10th of you. If you are paying bills online, scrolling your newsfeed, answering a text, making a grocery list and overseeing your child's lesson, then your child is getting what is left of your attention after you've given much of it to your bills, your friends, your social standing, and your tasks. This leads us, day in and day out, to feeling pulled in a dozen different directions, scattered, and frazzled. All of these things are antithetical to peace. We tend to think that because we have so much to do that we should try to (partially) do several of these things at one time. This, however, simply doesn't work. If homeshooling is worth doing, then it is worth your attention. Do the next right thing, and do it well. When it's time to clean, clean and clean well. When it's time to interact with your friends, interact with your friends wholeheartedly. When it's time to homeschool, homeschool like it's important. You won't get to everything, no matter how hard that you try. You can get to many of the things, however, with a peaceful and effective presence, if you do them one at at time. 

6. Use a Timer
At first glance, this tip could seem better suited to certain personalities. But, the truth is that whether you are an easy going free spirit or a type-a list maker, you will always be chasing time down unless you manage it. Each thing has a suitable amount of time that should be devoted to it, so there is no reason not to stop chasing down your minutes, and instead use a timer that assists you in giving each thing its due time. If 20 minutes is a reasonable amount of time for math, then 20 minutes is reasonable whether 1 problem has been completed, or 100 problems. Your child (and yourself) doesn't become any more capable of processing information for a longer period of time than is reasonable simply because they haven't completed enough for you to be able to check your box. So, why would we let math drag on, and begin to chase all of the following minutes and hours that we have now wasted trying to complete a certain amount of material, even though the suitable time for that lesson had passed? Stop chasing time,and stop nagging about time that is being spent, and wasted. Instead, set a timer, give each thing its rightful place and rightful portion of your day, and then keep moving.

7. Fence Your Heart
When it comes to influence over your heart and your ideas, quality is to be desired so much more greatly than quantity. A homeschooling heart that is influenced by every person, every idea, and every philosophy with which they come into contact is a heart that is constantly riding the waves of homeshooling trends and fads. Protecting your heart from this roller coaster is not only a great source of your peace, but it is also being a good steward of your emotions and your time. Every moment that you spend researching every new thought, latest trend, what so-and-so swears that you should do, and what you see the homeschooler next door doing well, is a moment that you don't actually spend homeschooling. So, for the sake of peacefully implementing what is worthy of your time, attention, and energy and to implement it well: build a fence around your heart and carefully choose who gets a key to the gate. Choose some sources of inspiration (and conviction) and curate your newsfeeds, your inboxes, your time, and your thoughts in order to allow those things inside your fence and keep all others at bay.  

8. Be at Home
It is my firmly held belief that the true benefits of homeshooling occur AT HOME. Friendship, fun, and fellowship (along with resources and access to a multitude of lessons and projects) are icing upon the homeschooling cake. They are wonderful, but they aren't the main thing. Keeping the main thing the main thing means prioritizing time at home. Whether you (and your children) are introverts or extroverts, social butterflies or hermits, they (and you) need ample time at home. They need empty, unscheduled hours. They need a schedule that isn't interrupted by 3 clubs, 4 lessons, and a play group every single week. They don't NEED play group and co-op and sewing lessons. They NEED good books, great discussions, and time to explore and narrate and digest what they are learning. The clubs, the co-ops, the sewing lessons...they are important, but they should be kept in their rightful place. Peace won't be found in over-exhausted moms and children running to and fro frantically, eating in the car, attempting to be 3 places at once. Peace will be found at home, calmly and excitedly discussing what was read. Peace is found exploring, climbing, building, creating, growing, and spending time within a space that is completely safe emotionally and mentally, in which children can work out with fear and trembling who they are, who they are becoming and what they think with those who truly know and love them. 

9. Build in Margin 
If every minute is full, they are already overfull. Your schedule shouldn't contain everything that can possibly fit within the hours of your day. Washing machines will overflow, packages will be delivered, technology will fail to cooperate. Toddlers will create disasters, babies will wake up early from naps. We are educating in the midst of a full, and real, life. This is a blessing, but it can quickly seem a burden if we fill every moment of every day with something that is "supposed" to fit within those moments. Between lessons (especially those which require use of technology, transition to a different place, the use of several materials, etc), build in margin. You can't finish math, put away math materials, collect materials for drawing, open a drawing video on the computer, AND move to the table at precisely 9:45 am. You need margin for transition, and you need margin for life to happen. Build in transition time, build in breaks, build in free afternoons, build in calm evenings, build in suitable time for meals and cleanup, and build in relaxed weekends. Know, from the get go, that you need margin, and give it to yourself peacefully, rather than by force when life moves about as it was always going to, outside of the control of your jam-packed, color coded schedule. 

10. Don't Be Mastered by Resources
Just because 36 out of 36 lessons have been completed in the (supposedly) 4th grade level of a particular math program, doesn't mean that anything has been learned, much less, mastered by the student that has completed it. And, just because 20 out of 36 lessons were completed, leaving 16 undone, doesn't mean that a child hasn't learned and mastered more than plenty of material for that school year. Even if they haven't, they couldn't do so in extra evening lessons, Saturday lessons, doubled up lessons, rushed lessons, and lessons given by a frantic and crazed mother who simply wants them to "finish" the book and to check off "Math Level 4" from her list. That madness doesn't create peace, and it doesn't accomplish anything. What would be much more reasonable, and effective, is faithfully completing 20 minute math lessons on each day of school, moving on from material only when it's been mastered, and moving forward peacefully, never frantically. The first scenario doesn't cause math to be mastered any quicker, and nothing that you do really can do that anyway. The second scenario leaves you in calm control over what you've been given to be a steward over, without being mastered by resources written by people who have never met your child. If your child knows how to read, and has mastered phonics, it's silly to continue their "First Grade" level of language arts just because they are (supposedly) in first grade. Use resources as ways in which to serve your born person, by spreading a feast before them. Don't use resources to bind fetters around yourself and to create a false sense of something resembling peace because you're increasing your completed page count.  

11. Be a Marathon Mom 
Homeschooling is a marathon, not a sprint. Homeschooling is a long game, and you must be in it for the long haul. There will be fruit that isn't borne, but is being cultivated, for years to come. You will not get much instant gratification in homeschooling, and if you're dependent upon seeing "results", then you will quickly burn out. Instead, take the long view. Continually correct your focus upon the future and upon things that matter far more than the memorization of multiplication facts. If your peace hangs upon this particular set of lesson plans or this particular math curriculum, then you are set up for inevitable failure. Your peace is within God's power to do what you can not, and His faithfulness to work your meager efforts together for the good of your child. Your peace is within the fact that their character matters more than their GPA. Your peace is within the fact that THEIR peace won't be tied to their ability to cite sources in a research paper. There is more at stake than their mastery of exponents, and you are not consumed by small things. You have peace because you have a long view of the long game, and are ready for the long haul. You're running a marathon, Momma, not a quick sprint. This mile won't make or break the end result. This mile is one of many, many miles. So, don't let it break you. Run, run, and keep running. Faithfully, patiently, peacefully.  

12. Don't Neglect Yourself
A mother who is spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and relationally starving can not peacefully meet the demands of other humans. It is unequivocally counterproductive to fail to properly care for our basic needs in order to check more things off of our never-ending lists. Any moments gained by not spending them on the reasonable and necessary care of your mind, soul, body, and relationships is a moment that is wasted because they are spent meeting demands and checking boxes with half a heart, a mind devoid of ideas and inspiration, a weary body, and without the continual support of godly friends. We were created to need physical, mental and emotional care. We were created for relationship and community. To neglect any of these things isn't a badge of honor, and it doesn't make us more selfless or more well respected. It isn't selfless to give a worn down, beaten up, barely functioning version of ourselves to our children, when it is withing our control to instead choose to care for ourselves so that we bring our best to the table. You can't get everything done, no matter how much you sacrifice of your body and your mind. But, you can get a lot done with a mind that is well fed, a spirit that is well nourished, and a body that is cared for and with the support of your community of friends. Make your care of your self and your relationships non-negotiable, and make lesser things the things that you get done if they happen to "fit" instead of starting with a plate full of lesser things and hoping for the best with your needs and your relationships. A spotless house, volunteering for everything that is asked of you, your facebook feed,a junk drawer that never gets disorganized, towels that are folded perfectly instead of in the sloppy way of little hands.... those are all lesser things. Reading a book before going to bed, coffee with a friend,  plugging away at your own handicraft or hobby, taking in the beauty of creation, and nourishing your mind with ideas clothed in truth and goodness and beauty....those are non-negotiable. Don't neglect yourself, and instead come to the table filled with the peace that comes from being well nourished so that you, in turn, can nourish others. 
Homeschooling is hard. There will be sleepless nights. Your heart will ache, and you will fall flat upon your face. You will make mistakes, you will leave gaps, you will miss important things. You will be stretched thin, you will be exhausted. You will sometimes wonder why in the world you thought that educating your children at home was a good idea. It can never be easy, but it CAN be peaceful. You will have moments where your peace seems to have vanished, but over the span of weeks and months and years and a lifetime, you can continually pursue peace and maintain the habits that allow you to maintain it. A frantic, harried, distraught homeshooler who second guesses her every move and is consistently run rugged and run over by the clock, her chosen resources, and her lack of good habits is not a source of peace for her home and her children. The good news, Mommas, is that you can choose the things that contribute to your peace right now, and that you can keep choosing them. 
Your homeschool can be peaceful, and it isn't nearly as elusive as it seems. 

May All Your Days be Spent....Delightfully Feasting <3 
Crystin  


 

The Dish: A Mother's Review #9

The Dish: 

A Mother's Review #9


Knowledge of God

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things." Philippians 4:8


Do you have a homeschool litmus test? Do you have something up to which you hold all resources, scheduling ideas, books, projects, clubs, curriculum, etc? If you don't, let me offer you Phillippians 4:8 as the foundation of a litmus test. Whether you're at the beginning, end, or smack dab in the middle of a homeschool year, chances are, you have resources and curriculum on the brain. At the end of a homeschool year, you begin to think over what didn't work and what you'd like to try instead. At the beginning of a homeschool year, you are making choices for the coming months. In the middle of a homeschool year, you are tempted to ditch some things and try yet another resource, once again changing course mid-stream. This is the ever-present coming and going of the tide for a homeschool mother. Then, of course, you open your internet browser and are overwhelmed by the onslaught of options, ideas, and information. Even after you've made your choices, every time you open your news feed you encounter yet another resource or idea that someone swears by. These things will never cease to flood your days, no matter how you guard against them. Hence, the need for a litmus test. Here's the truth, Momma: we often spend more time choosing, preparing, researching, and pondering books than we do reading them. We spend more time building the perfect schedule than we do following it. We spend more time contemplating how best to teach our children all that we believe that we should be teaching them, than we do in forming and fostering the relationships that are necessary for teaching anything. My advice? Stop the madness. Hold everything up to a litmus test. Ask yourself, "does this fit a need that I currently have for something true, honest, just, pure, lovely, good, virtuous and praise worthy?" First of all, is there a need for this thing? If you already own and are using something that is good, true, and beautiful for a certain subject, then you needn't be spending your time examining and contemplating yet another book for that subject. Your time would be much better spent actually using what you have and have planned. Second of all, if there is a true need, does this book or resource meet my ideas of truth, goodness, and beauty? It doesn't matter one iota if the book or curriculum is the current fad, everyone's latest favorite thing, what your mother used, what your best friend insists is the best, or what a stranger in a facebook group says. What matters is that it will meet the need of your children for truth, goodness, and beauty in each and every course in the feast. What matters is that it is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, good, virtuous, and praise worthy. Use a litmus test, Momma, and then keep your eyes on the course ahead of you, not on all of the shiny things on the sidelines. Trust the God who will work all of your efforts together for your children's good.

Knowledge of the Universe

Nature Study in Winter 

Winter is a wonderful time for nature study, despite our natural tendency to huddle indoors and only emerge when the first signs of spring appear. Each season offers so very much to behold and observe of God's design of the world around us, and winter is no exception. Here is a little roundup of things to assist you as you bundle up and go study Creation in its most dormant, but nevertheless thrilling, season.

Nature Study Ideas

Simply Charlotte Mason has this wonderful list of Winter Nature Study Ideas. Browse it, choose a few, and get outdoors!

Winter Bird Myths and Facts
Bird Study is perfect for winter, and here is a list of some myths and facts about birds in winter to springboard your discussions and observations of birds.


Getting Started in Nature Study 
This post, as part of Brandy Vencel's 31 Days of Charlotte Mason series, is about nature study in general,but it has some helpful ideas about studying nature in winter, and it's a wonderful read about nature study, no matter the time of year. 

Winter by Dallas Lore Sharp For your nature lore this winter, consider reading the classic book Winter

Exploring Nature With Children 
If you don't own or use Exploring Nature With Children, you should. It is a wonderful curriculum all year long, and the winter weeks do not disappoint!

Also, the Phenology Wheel Guide  is currently on sale for only $6!! Winter is the perfect time to begin the practice of keeping a phenology wheel. Here is some info from Lynn Seddon on the phenology wheel guide:


"A phenology wheel is a visual representation of what is happening month by month, in the natural world around you. A super quick and easy way to incorporate nature study into your home education, keeping a phenology wheel is a smashing way for you and your family to connect both with nature and each other. A way for all the family to gather together to spend time nature journaling; it's perfect for families who have children of different ages and stages. Everyone can work together, but at their own level.
If you'd like to find out more, the Raising Little Shoots Phenology Wheel Guide is a 33 page, photograph heavy guide, to help you step by step, set up your own phenology wheels for the year.
It's currently on sale at $6, no code needed."

Knowledge of Man

Gap Minder 
For cultural studies, I recently discovered Gap Minder's Dollar Street. This is perfect for examining the lives of people around the world, and understanding the differences and more importantly, the similarities, between people. There is an abundant amount of possessions that can be examined all around the world through picture, and this can provide hours of cultural study and discussion.

If you don't already use Material World and Hungry Planet, then you will love them both if you love Dollar Street.



Food for the Mother's Soul

Commonplace Quarterly and SCHOLE

Have you seen the news about this fabulous new magazine for Mother Culture? The magazine will contain both inspiring and practical content about the Charlotte Mason method, contributed by an all-star list of Charlotte Mason royalty. Not to mention, it is simply beautiful! The first edition can be pre-ordered now.


Also, are you a member of the Delightfully Feasting- A Mother's Feast facebook group? Each week, we discuss a different aspect of SCHOLE, share our commonplace entries, talk about books, and share what we've gained from our schole and mother culture.

If you don't yet have a SCHOLE tracker, bookmark, or planner, contact me to purchase one. 

 S- Scripture and Prayer 
C- Commonplace and Keeping
H- Handicrafts and Hobbies
O- Organization and Preparation
L- Life Giving Nourishment (for body and mind) 
E- Exercise  

 

Around the Table  

What is Happening in the Charlotte Mason World?

Christmas Gift Round Up

Just like everyone, Charlotte Mason homeschoolers are trying to determine what to gift their children with this Christmas. As our educaton is living, so can (and should) be our possessions. Who truly needs more plastic toys, right? Here is a round-up of some Charlotte Mason Gift Guides. 

 

The Ultimate Charlotte Mason Christmas List

Charlotte Mason Inspired Gifts for All Ages

Mega Charlotte Mason Gift List  

Gifts for Other CM Moms (Or Yourself!)

 

Delightfully Feasting Merchandise

Did you see the exciting news?!?! You can now purchase Delightfully Feasting coffee mugs, t-shirts,car decals, and tote bags! You currently have to be a member of our facebook community to order, however, so join us in our pursuit of a living education, and grab your DF swag!


Something to Chew On

 

"The question is not 'how much does the youth know?' when he has finished his education-but 'how much does he care'? Infact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet?And therefore how full is the life he has before him." ~Charlotte Mason




When you feel tempted to attempt the utterly impossible task of teaching your children all that they need to know, remember that this isn't your task. You are not about the work of teaching everything, and it could be argued that you aren't about the work of teaching at all. You are facilitating the feasting upon ideas and the encounter with truth, goodness, and beauty. You wouldn't truly want your children to feel as if they have learned all that there is to know, because that can never be. And he who doesn't realize how very little that he knows forfeits the wonder of what else there is to discover. You are raising wonder filled learners. You are raising those who will always know how little that they know, and will also seek to discover truth, goodness, and beauty. This means that you aren't attempting to finish every page of your math curriculum, read every book on a topic, or check every box on your list. The closing of the back cover of a book, with all pages completed, doesn't mean that anything has actually been learned. Encounters with the best ideas, through the best books, meeting the best minds and having grand conversations about all of these things guarantees that much is being learned. More importantly, it guarantees that much will continue to be learned for a lifetime. Practice what you say that you believe, friend, and stay the course. Don't attempt to teach everything, attempt to raise those who continually learn. 

May All Your Days Be Spent.....Delightfully Feasting
Crystin <3

Exam Questions Form 1A: Term 3

Exam Questions


Bible
1.Tell me something about Abraham.
2.Tell me about God's character and covenant in the book of Genesis.
3.What have you learned about Jesus' life so far?

Copywork
Copy Autumn Fires:
In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!

Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The gray smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!

Handwriting
Write each letter of the alphabet in print, using perfect formation and sizing.

(**My son has dysgraphia/dyslexia and he struggles with writing, creating the need to work on basic handwriting in a remedial fashion, combining it with copywork. Many students by this age will not need both, and you can simply assign copywork.)

Composition : Personal NarrativeWhat was your favorite book, topic, or lesson this term and why?


Tales

Tell me about the most exciting or most interesting tale that we read this term.

Poetry
1.Tell me about how the poems we read were used to tell a story. 
2.What different types of poems did you observe?

Biography
What kind of man was Martin Luther, and how did his life impact yours?  

Nature Lore
Which baby animal were you surprised to learn something about?

 Literature
1. Compare the character of Joseph and the character of Asinus,
2. What do you admire about Sam's life in the mountains?
3. Which of your books do you think is forming you or teaching you the most, and why?

American History
1.What woman from American history were you most impressed by, and why?
2. Tell me about a contribution from our country's history that you feel impacted by today.

British History
1. What have you learned about the life and character of a knight?
2. Tell me about either a historical knight or a knight from legend, and why you admire their character.

Ancient History
1. What is archeology?
2. Tell me about the Reformation and its impact on the Church.

Geography
1. Describe your photgraphic "trip" across the United States.
2. What location did you find most fascinating and how would you describe it to someone who is thinking of traveling there?

Geography: Mapping
Draw the basic shape of Texas and show some places and things that you know about. 

Picture Study
1.Which f Audubon's works is your favorite and why?
2. Describe Carl Larsson's work and its connection with his family.

Zoology
1.Describe life in a coral reef?
2 Tell me about how God designed coral.

Natural History
1.Tell me about the life of Blacky the Crow.
2. What lessons has Blacky learned?

Citizenship
1.What is the Constitution and why was it written?
2.How is the US government structured to distribute power?

Math
1. Choose two exercises from your Math Notebook to tell me about.
2. Tell me about telling time, as if I am your student.

Dictation
1. Choose a line from Autumn Fires to have dictated.
2. Choose a line from the Love Chapter of Scripture to have dictated.
(**My son's dyslexia means that we are still learning to read, and could be for several more years. Our exams look differently, as a result, and yours can just include reading aloud for this age.)

Reading
Read The Pancake.

Composer Study
1.Tell me about one period of classical music, and its impact on the world of music as a whole.
2. Which group of orchestral instruments do you like the most, and why?

Nature Study
1.Which object lesson did you find most interesting this term and what did you observe from it?
2. Choose an entry from your journal to tell me about and to draw or diagram  here.

Shakespeare
1.What about Shakespeare's life do you find intriguing?
2. What do you think supplied or contributed to Shakespeare's love for and unmatched ability to use words?

Hymn Study
1.Why do you think Martin Luther called God a Mighty Fortress?
2. How is God YOUR Mighty Fortress?

Folk Song
Compare two of America's patriotic songs and tell me which one you like better.

Architecture
Choose three of the unique architectural elements present in the Library of Congress to describe.

Christian Studies
1. What is temptation and how can we handle it?
2. Tell me about each of the 5 Solas of the Christian faith and what they mean to you.  

Word of the Day
Choose a quote from the Poor Richard's Almanac, define its words and tell me what the quote means.
(Repeat on days 2 and 3)

Recitation/Memory Work
1. Recite Autumn Fires
2. Recite the "Love Chapter"
3. Recite the first 3 stanzas of "If".
4. Recite 1 Corinthians 13:11
5. Answer catechism questions #s 15-18
6. Recite the first 3 sections of the Nicene Creed.
7. List the fruits of the Spirit. 

Music/ Solfa
Sing I Need Thee Every Hour
Sing Yankee Doodle
Sing each note you've learned on the solfa scale, and show me the hand motions.

Drawing
Draw birds from different viewpoints.

Painting
Paint anything that you believe will display your painting skills.

ASL
1.Count to 20.
2. Introduce yourself.

French
1.Count to 10.
2. Speak the question words: who, what, when, where, why, how
(**Because of dyslexia, language instruction of all types must be taken extremely slowly. Your questions might look different or be more difficult.)

Handicrafts
Complete 3 sloyd envelopes and then make Christmas cards to go inside. 


Exam Week Schedule


Day 1 
Bible
Copywork
Biography
Recitation
Word of the Day
Singing
Geography
Handwriting
American History
Ancient History
Picture Study
Zoology
Citizenship
Math
Composer
Nature Study
Dictation
Folk Song
Christian Studies
ASL

Day 2
Personal Narrative
Shakespeare
Recitation
Singing
Nature Lore
Literature
American History
British History
Picture Study
Geography
Citizenship
Math
Natural History
Composer Study
Nature Study
Dictation
Hymn Study
Christian Studies
Zoology
French

Day 3 
Bible
Literature
Hymn Study
Recitation
Shakepeare
Singing
British History
Ancient History
Mapping
Picture Study
Natural History 
Reading
Architecture
Nature Study
Drawing
Painting
Handicrafts

May Your Day be Spent...Delightfully Feasting, 
Crystin <3

My Friend, Charlotte: Who and What Am I Talking About?

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