• Books,  the learning arts


    fallishschoolcozydaviddraw hotchocolate

    It was a quiet, cozy day. There were still moments of Monday-ness, being Monday and all, but still. We pulled in, read long. We are using Story of the World, Vol 4: The Modern Age as our History spine, taking about two weeks to complete a chapter or so. We finished the (very brief) account of the Civil War two weeks ago. Today we dug a bit deeper with the recommended book list. (The book above is If You Lived At the Time of the Civil War.) I don’t put many demands on the children while I read, other than that they are quiet; some play with Legos or dolls, some sit and listen, and David- David most often illustrates what I’ve been reading of his own volition. I always find it interesting what he chooses to draw, what catches his imagination: today it was a battlefield and a flag.

    The older children will move on to engage with the text more in depth- we do map drills of the places associated with the chapter, engage in some of the activities from the Student Book. They will often narrate the chapter back to Daddy at the dinner table that evening. What we do often depends on the children’s interest- Ben, of course, has been very interested in how railroading and industry changed as a result of the war. Lorelei has focused on the bigger picture (immediately connecting our civil war back to other civil wars in other countries we have already read about this term). Isaiah and David, especially, have been interested in the emotional toll of war on both sides, and it was Isaiah, in the car on the way to pick up daddy from work, listening to the day’s news of protests at Yale and the University of Missouri, that connected dots to problems that were left unsolved at the end of the war. It won’t be the first time the children have astounded me with grasp of a subject seemingly far beyond their years.

    You never stop learning. I have studied the era in depth at least three times (as an elementary student, as a high schooler, and then undergraduate work in History). I’ve connected more dots in my own brain this time around teaching and listening to and learning from my kids than the other three combined. I’m learning and thinking right alongside them. The connections that young children make unencumbered of the emotional baggage we adults often carry will absolutely blow your mind. Out of the mouths of babes, indeed.

  • Books,  creative capers

    Reading and knitting…


    Work on my pillow cover continues apace. I had to put a lifeline in after the slippery bamboo yarn fell off the slippery bamboo needles for the third time. I love both the yarn and the needles (which continue to smooth with use) but I’m not sure the combination is a good one. I’ve found the fabric to finish it with, so now it’s just finishing the knitting portion!

    In the reading basket, oldies but goodies. Beauty for Ashes by Grace Livingston Hill starts out a bit cliche (she relies on bad guy/good guy stereotypes a lot) but then gets pretty good a few chapters in. It’s very interesting to read the nearly hundred year old story in light of all the Ashley Madison brouhaha, as the story begins with an affair. It made me think a lot about grief too, but I can’t really talk about it or I give away all the good stuff! I’ve had Keeping House by Margret Kim Peterson on my bookshelf for years and years. Someone quoted her on Instagram recently and I thought it was time for a re-read. I remember really loving it when I first got it, early in my marriage.

    Sharing with Ginny.

  • Books,  the learning arts

    Big books for little hands…


    We’ve really been enjoying both of these books at our house recently. The first is Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski. We’ve checked this out of the library so many times that it went on the book wish list for our home. The artwork is beautiful and engaging. Every time we read through it we learn something new.

    The second is Bluebird by Lindsey Yankey. The illustrations in these are beyond lovely on their own, but the story that goes with it is really sweet. Little bluebird has lost her friend, the wind, and the whole book is her journey to find it again. Truly delightful.

  • Books,  creative capers

    Knit Along

    photo (1)

    It’s been a while since I’ve had needles in my hand. I finished up the scarves and cowl and then the holiday season took over. I cast on Katherine’s Martinmas sweater in Size 2-4, using the beautiful Madelinetosh yarn she sent me. I’ve never tried anything more complex than scarves and washcloths, so this is truly a new adventure for me. I’ve done well with the first two rows but I keep having to re-do the third. I’m afraid I am missing an idea. I’m pretty sure I’m not doing the M1R or M1L right, which would mean I’d get too many stitches. I need to find a video that explains it- the pictures on knitpicks aren’t making sense to me. If you have a link, please share!

    I won the lovely A Mother’s Rule of Life: How to Bring Order to Your Home and Peace to Your Soulfrom Ginny’s giveaway last month, and it arrived just as we left on our travels. I cannot say enough good about this book. I truly have walked away from my time with this book in the last two weeks with such a deep and profound sense of peace. I am sure that must surprise one, seeing as how the word ‘rule’ is in the title, but really and truly. Lovely. I’m not even sure where to start with my thoughts regarding it. I remember being a young mother, with first one little baby and then two, in my little snug house on a hill, and how much I rejoiced in the simple tasks of motherhood and homemaking. Perhaps it was because it was all new, and such a tremendous change from my life previously, but I remember that time very, very fondly. When I think of that time, I think of peace. But as is true, another chilld comes a long, or two, or three, or four, and life gets super intense and welljust explodes! Crisis happens: a cancer scare. A lost job. The death of a child. Serious illness. Two plus years of unemployment and then under-employment. More serious illness. And we forget why we’re here and why we’re doing it.

    Holly Pierlot tells about just such a time in her own life and what led her into the practices she now keeps and shares with us in the book. And it is just so good. I think if I am ever in a position of mentoring a new, young mom, it will be this book I give and discuss with them. I appreciate her gentle, firm, loving tone (the tone I wish for as a mother myself) and how she comes and sits beside you, so to speak, and reminds you, above all, to put on love. Of course she has many practical tips regarding planning, organizing, homeschooling, finances, and the like, but the under-pinning heart beat of the book is rather our Faith, our love for God, and how that informs everything else. Our mother’s rule. I have been a mother twelve years now, with six children, and I remembered and learned so much and have since been putting it into practice myself. A keeper for sure. And I never would have read it had I not won it in the giveaway!

    What are you reading lately?

    Sharing with Ginny.

  • beautiful things,  Books

    grow like a fire…


    God speaks to each one of us only before we’re made, 

    then wanders with us silently out of the night;

    but the words uttered before each begins, 

    the misty words, are these:

    “Go you who are sent out by your senses;

    go out to the boundary of your yearning;

    clothe me with a garment.

    Grow like a fire behind things

    so that their shadows, spreading all about,

    cover me always and utterly.

    Let everything happen to you: beauty and dread.

    One must only go; no feeling is too remote. 

    Don’t let yourself part with me. 

    Near is the land

    you call life.

    You’ll recognize it 

    by its earnestness!

    Give me your hand.”

    – Rainer Maria Rilke

    Rainer Maria Rilke, [60], Prayers of a Young Poet. Trans. Mark S Burrows. Paraclete Press: © 2013.