Let's talk about Chapter 1.
Funny thing happened on the way to this first installment;-).
The Podcast Take 1 had some glitchy audio. I didn't hear it when we recorded because, well, I don't hear at all in my right ear, so with headphones on I sometimes miss things. Big things. Christian tried to fix it. Joy tried to fix it. James (Joy's husband) tried to fix it. I got tired and frustrated and the whole household was talking about Mommy's podcast and The Little Oratory. At one point, Sarah Annie was listening to it with headphones. Such is life around here sometimes.
The next morning Leila was very gracious (really, very, very gracious) and we agreed to re-record it late in the afternoon. In the meantime, a conversation began with my children.
"What exactly is a Little Oratory?"
"Should we do it?"
"Do we already do it?"
"Why is it beneficial?"
And off we went, discussing the first chapter and more. It's a discussion that continues today.
The Second Take is better than the first. But there are still audio glitches. This time, Sarah jumped in and cheerfully helped me to polish it in post-production. Bear with us, the sound does improve right around the 2 minute mark.
So, without further ado, here's our little chat for you.
An aside that is a bit off topic but not really: Towards the end, it is 5:00 in my house. My cellphone was on silent, but I forgot that muting one's phone does not mute the alarms. You will hear "chapel bells" chiming to remind me to pray for my husband on the hour. They go off all day long, each hour designated to pray for something specific: his friends, his health, his job, his role as a father... It's probably very "unprofessional" to have the chimes go off, but, well, it's sort of fitting, too, isn't it? Those are not prayers of the Liturgy of the Hours, but they are most definitely the prayers that go with the Hours to pace the rhythm of my day. So, yes, the chimes are part of the real life "charm" of this particular recording. Unintentional, but there you go...
I'd love for you to listen in and then to talk to us about your own prayer space and how you envision bringing this life of prayer into your home. And, if you don't yet have your very own copy of The Little Oratory, it's not too late! Order away, listen in, and join us anyway. Just to make my point that it's absolutely not too late, I'm offering a fresh, lovely copy of the book to one of you who comment below with your own thoughts about the topics we've discussed in the podcast.
As you listen, you'll hear Auntie Leila refer to these posts on Like Mother, Like Daughter:
Please let us know what you're thinking about The Little Oratory. Leave a link to your post below. and please, please, let's talk! We can do this together this summer.
I'm not sure how (or if) I'll keep this log this year, so for today, I'm just taking notes as we go.
::Mama up really early to get a little quiet time and then a little computer time.
::Breakfast for little boys and Mike.
::Daddy took little boys to soccer before 8. Granddad will meet them there, take them to lunch (no doubt), and bring them home. Thanks, Granddad, for this unexpected gift of the day.
::Breakfast for everyone else. Sarah Annie likes plums. She signs "more."
::Kitchen clean up. Laundry switched.
::Made up a name sign for Sarah: Make an "S" with both hands and sign "dimples" with both hands. Perfect, I think. Little girls watched Signing Time.
::Paddy deep in Washington Post.
::Mary Beth at work on Sunflower basket.
::Mama folding laundry and singing the rainbow song. Will it ever stop annoying me that that song has the colors in the wrong order?
::T-Tapp Walking Workout
:: Lunch to Christian who is working a ridiculous 11 hour shift at the pool today
::Sarah Annie nap; Katie & Karoline movie; Mama writes an essay
::Mary Beth- more Sunflower basket
::prune basil. Make Pesto with Patrick.
::lots of in-and-outting with neighbors through the backdoor.
::sit with Sarah on the front steps and watch a hummingbird in the petunias
::research Red Rose school in Kenya with Stephen and Nicky
::drive Paddy to Herndon
::dinner to Christian at the pool
::check in with Michael on the phone when he finishes training.
::discuss book with Danielle, while making dinner, and trying to identify wild animal in neighbor's backyard.
::more neighbor children in the house
::dinner with Mike (surprise! he's home early)
::Mike watched movie with everyone while I helped Christian look into a job opportunity and basketball possibilities for the school year...
::Sarah and I nurse to sleep
Post By: Mary Beth
Today was a VERY busy day. We didn't do all that was planned but we did some fun things that were not planned. Last night at baseball Karoline started collecting things such as stones and dead leaves. Katie joined her and they together got enough supplies to make a beautiful fairy house. So this morning began with Karoline waking me and Katie up excited about FAIRY HOUSES! We went out and made a beautiful fairy house (soon to be posted at Blossoms and Bees) along with Karoline's steps leading to the fairy house and Katie's Water Hole for the fairies to bathe in. Then we came inside and cleaned a bit. After that, Katie and Karoline wanted to make fairies to have in their house (pictures will be in the post at Blossoms and Bees) and I realized that we don't have any fairy kits or the Klutz book anymore (too many fairies have been made and we have run out of supplies) so I made up a way to make them (ask me now and I wouldn't be able to tell you exactly how we made them). Nicky joined us and made a boy fairy for the fairy house, Karoline made a purple fairy (you can guess what her favorite color is), and Katie made a light blue one.Light blue is not Katie's favorite color but she wanted to make one in my favorite color since I was helping Karoline make hers and I didn't get to making one for myself. Here's a list of what everyone has done today so far...the day really slipped away but was so much fun!
Christian: Studied for the Lifeguarding test all day today with mom. He will be taking that this Sunday!
Patrick: Went to the eye doctor and came back with contacts. He has now learned how to put them in. He started his Sonlight reading. He is now at soccer.
Me (Mary Beth): I have helped make fairies and fairy houses, I have taught the virtue of Hope to Katie and Karoline through The Little Flowers program,. We made notebook pages. I have cleaned and watched Karoline and Sarah while mom T-Tapped.
Stephen: Cleaned, did Math, Native American main lesson book, and went to soccer.
Nick: made a fairy, did Math, listened to the Native American read aloud and cleaned.
Katie: made a fairy, did Little Flowers (led by me) the virtue of Hope, listened to the Native American read aloud, and made a Fairy House.
Karoline: Helped me make a beautiful purple fairy, learned about the virtue of Hope and St. Monica, and made a fairy house and listened to the Native American read aloud.
Sarah Annie: Ate her first solid food today, mushed avocado.
Late addition: Mom read Romeo and Juliet at bedtime. Dad sang Karoline to sleep with the Dire Straits version. He knows all the words to all the songs ever sung.
Below is the first post I wrote on this blog set aside to record our daily learning. During the time I kept this blog, productivity was pretty high in our home. and accountability was very high. It served its purpose well. But it was cumbersome to record it all, and far too time-consuming. Now, I have children who are capable of helping me to record. I'm a firm believer in teaching children how to journal. So, we're back. We'll post when we can and we hope you benefit from a peek into our days. Pretty much everything else is just as it was nearly three years ago. I've highlighted any edits new to the post below.
I'm re-committing to a Charlotte Mason education. In the course of writing about Michael's home education experience and talking to him at great length about what has stuck with him, I'm more determined than ever to provide that for his younger siblings.
I've spent the past few weeks filling once again the baskets of books and reminding myself of the great gift I give my children when they have a mother who is so excited about the contents of those baskets that it is contagious. And, admittedly, I'm tweaking a bit. I think I'll take more seriously Miss Mason's Latin requirement. I've been persuaded that such wisdom was not confined to her time and place.(Need a sheepish blushing icon here, and a Latin tutor wouldn't hurt either.) [Still looking for the perfect Latin book.]
I am also more determined to keep good records. I envision the sidebars detailing books and resources and then saved for when my feeble brain has to retrieve them. Right now, though, I don't have time to do the sidebars. (Incidentally, Mary Beth has designed the sidebars at Real Learning.) [Mary Beth is still doing sidebars and I don't have time NOT to do sidebars. Reading lists are crucial to reporting to authorities and colleges. Be assured of reading lists.]
For the moment, this blog will just be a daily recap, a means for accountability, a chance to record and maybe reflect.Honestly, I don't know if this will work. This blog has been sitting here for a month, waiting to become a record of a Charlotte Mason education. But I have been worried. I don't want something else that pulls me to the computer, so I am concerned that having to run over to the keyboard to record the little things might be a distraction to faithfulness. On the other hand, I see the merit of a "living record" and the threat of accountability to you all. We'll see how it goes.
For now, though, I hope to be able to report on narrations--lots of narrations. When Michael was in grade school and everyone else was very little, it was out of desperation that I would send him off to read and then to narrate. Reams of paper became a detailed Book of Centuries. Squirrelled away in his room, hiding from the chaos, he devoured the Redwall series and fashioned himself into a writer after Brian Jacques.
Read it. Write about it. That's all. It's inexpensive too (but that's the "abundance" thread on the big blog, isn't it?). [Well, this is a little different. We've infused our narrations with color and dimension, incorporating what I believe to be the best of Waldorf and Montessori methods. Charlotte Mason is still the queen, though]
What made this method of education work? Masterly inactivity on my part, just because I was so darned "active" elsewhere. A nearly total lack of television and no video games. And there was something else, something I cannot replicate here. Michael had no local friends. When we moved to this neighborhood, there were fewer than 100 families residing here. Almost all of them had no children yet (the neighborhood was brand new) or had very young children. Michael had friends, but they were children in homeschooled families in the next town over. There was no town school here. Now, there is one two blocks away. And the rhythm of that school, those children, draws my children. Suddenly, we are on their calendar, their clock. And it's a problem. Those teachers don't stop for dirty diapers and nursing babies. If they need to take maternity leave or sick leave, someone else steps in. Frankly, I'm not thrilled about our world being invaded by the neighbors. I liked the sense of life on our own. I wanted to get the children to work hard at chores today before Daddy comes home tomorrow. Instead, there are nine adolescent boys in my family room playing video football. But moving is not an option just yet and so we offer it up and strengthen our resolve to buck the culture and do what we know is right.
A Charlotte Mason education is simple. That's why it is so do-able for a large family and only one "teacher." It's "living." That's why it adapts to the demands of real life. And it is sound. That's why children educated this way not only "know their stuff," but they appreciate what they know.
This time around, as I commit again to the educational principles of Miss Mason, I KNOW it works. I've seen it work under my own roof. And, this time around, I have lots of support. In the beginning of this grand CM experiment, God blessed me with a handful of women who were thoughtful and brilliant and very willing to talk and talk and talk about it. And I am still so grateful to have bee educated by an intimacy with them. That little circle has widened though--and the internet world of CM-inspired Catholic education is a hopping place! Praise God for the blessings He has so abundantly bestowed on us. We can adapt the educational theory of an Anglican pedagogical genius and steep ourselves in the Catholic faith with the support and encouragement of colleagues all over the world. And then all He asks is that we are faithful over the little things. The little souls. Please God, grant me the grace.
In an effort to use the Serendipity plans in a peaceful and organized manner, I made a master list of all the activities in all the lesson plans for this week. This might not be useful for anyone but Katherine because you'd have to be with us in every area for it to work for you. But, theoretically, I am going to make eight copies of this master list. Then, I will write the name of a child across the top of each list. I will underline everything that is to be done on Monday in red, Tuesday in orange, Wednesday in yellow, Thursday in green and Friday in blue. Not everything will be underlined on any one child's list. Hopefully this will not utterly confuse them or me;-). I plan to print all the dowloands for the week on Sunday night. My sincere hope is that all the prep will allow me to be away from the computer during our morning time. I'll let you know how it goes.
Gnomes and Gnumbers
12 Ways to Get 11 (Whole to Parts, Addition)
Teaching Textbooks- Lesson : M T W TH F
Oak Meadow Math Lesson M T W TH F
Books for Read-Alouds and Narrations (These are to be narrated both verbally and artistically.)
Follow the Drinking Gourd
Aunt Green, Aunt Brown, and Aunt Lavender
The Grouchy Ladybug
"G" is for Googol: A Math Alphabet book
G is for Galaxy: An out of the World Alphabet book
Read section in "Merry-Go-Round" on singular and plural nouns.
Using four different colored Lyra Pencils, analyze a writing assignment from this week and underline Rule #1 in red, Rule #2 in blue, Rule #3 in green and Rule #4 in purple. Challenge: If you have a collective noun, circle it in gold Lyra.
Add -s to end of noun.
Add -es to nouns ending in -s, -z, -ch, -sh, and -x.
If a noun ends in -y, drop the -y and change to an -i and then ad -es.
If a noun ends in -f or -fe, change
the -f to a -v and add -es.
Monday Night Football Geography:
Read and narrate E is for Evergreen
Our weekends tend to be very busy. On Saturday, I went from ballet, to George Mason to get Michael, back to ballet, to the craft store, the sports store, the yarn store, back to ballet, home and then to football. Michael took Christian to a homeschooled teen event that night.
Sunday was even busier, if that's possible.
We spent hours outside at soccer.When my children reach the end of the weekend, they are happy but they are tired. Monday is always tough, particularly since, by Monday, my husband's been gone three or four days.There's weariness all around.
So this week, I decided to stop trying to make Monday very academic. After beginning with prayer and reciting our September poem, we spent the morning making fairy houses for our seasons table. The nice thing about spending weekends out at soccer is that usually we're in parklike settings. Lots of collecting can happen there. So, the children brought their rocks and their acorns to the scene. A craft on Monday morning engages their hands before their heads are quite awake. By the end of our crafting time, they were more into the indoor rhythm.
Then, we had lunch. After lunch, we dedicated about an hour and a half to geography work. We all worked together after that to put the house in order. By 5 or so, it was time to drive to ballet, and soccer and football again. The little ones listened to books in the van while I dropped off and picked up. After nine o'clock, I collapsed into bed.
Today is our twentieth wedding anniversary. We took a leisurely breakfast in bed this morning. Then, Mike will have the boys all day at the studio, followed by RFK Stadium, a tailgate party, and a big soccer game. I will have the girls. We're planning to pursue our fairy trail and then go to the knitting store and then on to ballet. Not exactly a conventional twentieth anniversary celebration, but more than I could have ever imagined oh those many years ago.