fiance, student, homeschool retiree, preschool teacher wannabe, Senior Living Coordinator, writer of many things unsaid, blogger, lover of the creative, most cheerful depressed person, devourer of books, crafty wanna be, amateur tech support, internet junkie, facebook stalker, tweeter of tweets, Pagan, friend, sister, daughter, aunt, karaoke super-star

The Creative Process

I loved this image from murraythenut.com about the creative process...it is so true-brilliant!

Spring



I just LOVE Spring, don't you? It seems like the world just comes alive-literally. After a long winter of reflection and often drudgery, Spring inspires us to get moving and look at things in a new way. I know most people make resolutions in January during the new year. It always feels so unnatural to me. I have always seen April as my true New Year. Helps that it is also my name. Did you know the name April comes from the Latin aperire which means "to open"...like flowers? Well I think it can also mean to be open to change and new things,which I'm not always so fond of. Change can be hard. New things can be scary. I've learned in the last 10 years that sometimes change and new things can be very, very good especially if your open to them. The more you fight it the worst it can seem.  God works in strange ways and often you feel like your life is spinning out of control when really if you'd just let go and let God-amazing things are in store for you.

New Converts

Changing over to Charlotte Mason has been like a spiritual conversion. Many an 'ah ha!' moment accompany reading her ideas. Most of it you instinctual know is true, but you'd never had a name to call it before. Charlotte Mason herself seems to have been very in tune with the Spirit, her thoughts on the nature and nurture of children are very inspired and Christ-like. One becomes passionate and zealous about these new ideas for learning. Jokingly, I've begun to win over new converts. A few friends are also learning more about Charlotte and being inspired by her ideas and methods. Don't be surprised if there is some sort of Charlotte Mason revival stirring up in Idaho. Can't you just see it now? Book stores frantic just to keep classic books on their shelves. Every afternoon mothers and children out frolicking, sketch pads in tow, in yards, parks, and fields. In the immortal words of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady " Oh! Wouldn't it be lovely."

“You know it's a bad day when you put your bra on backwards and it fits better.”



So as not to repeat what happened today I have placed the following post- its about to remind me:



Just for Fun: Cannibals

Thought this was funny. 
Check out more funny creation at the Bent Objects blog.

Book Notes: Charlotte Mason Study Guide-Topic #1 Part 1

These are notes from my reading of Charlotte Mason Study Guide by Penny Gardner



Study Topic #1
Charlotte Mason: A Woman of Wisdom page 1

Charlotte Mason
  • born January 1, 1842 in England
  • was an only child to parents who were only children
  • had no extended family
  • at 16 her parents died and left her poor
  • at 18 she went to teachers college
  • She taught at Davidson school in Sussex for 12 years, quitting due to poor health
  • she wrote and published a popular geography book about England
  • At age 42 she began to give lectures
  • She published Home Education from these lectures and continued her carreer lecturing
  • in 1887 she starte the Parents Educational Union
  • in 1890 the Parents Review newsletter was started
  • in 1892 she founded the Parents National Educational Union and House of Education (a governess training college)
  • she dies in 1923
  • at the time of her death every public school in Gloucester county and a few others throughout Britain used her methods
  • Coal mining children as well as affluent were given a good education per her ideals
Children are Persons
  • Charlottes example
    • she treate all with courtesy and respect
    • gave dignity to others by first treating them with dignity
    • never prone to 'mood' (I am so bad at this...must change!)
    • radiated gaity and affection
    • serene happiness
    • " Always rememeber persons matter more that things. Don't say anthing that will leave a sting." ~ CM (AMEN!)
Masterly Inactivity (this is SO hard)
  •  do not step in to tak iniative from the child
  • CM never appeared anxious
  • she simply stated her belief in a principle and awaited for other to learn them on their own
Bringing Out the Best in Others
  •  she inspired all who knew her-bringing out the best in them
  • "Her power to  inspire deep personal affection in the hearts of many who never saw her was remarkable." (hence the name for my blog)
Words of Wisdom
  • " Education, like faith, is the evidence of things not seen...The only fit sustenance for the mind is ideas... Our business is to give children the great ideas of life, of religion, history, science; but it is the ideas we must give, clothed upon with facts as they occur, and must leave the child to deal with these as he chooses." ~CM

Spiritual Sundays: It's a Tilt A Whirl Life Out There


 Whoa! Someone stop this thing and let me out!

I haven't done a Spiritual Sunday post in a while. I getbusy and forget and I also kind of feel guilty about posting and not having time to read and comment on everyone's great posts for Spiritual Sunday. That is kind of what my post is about.

Sometimes we get a little overwhelmed, busy, and ahead of ourselves...especially women. We think we should have and do it all. We hear about what others are doing in their lives and feel guilty that we are not doing those things too. These are usually good things like serving others and beautifying the world. How can all these good things be bad for us?

An old friend send me this poem a while back-


"The Girl in a Whirl"

Look at me, look at me, look at me now!
You could do it too, if you only knew how.
I study the scriptures one hour each day,
I bake, I upholster, I scrub, and I pray.
I always keep all the commandments completely.
I speak to my little ones gently and sweetly,
I help in their classrooms, I sew all they wear.
I drive them to practice, I cut all their hair.
I go to the temple at least once a week.
I change the car's tires and fix the sink's leak.
I'm taking a class on the teachings of Paul.
But that is not all, oh no, that is not all!

I play the piano and work on my talents.
My life is a wonder of fullness and balance.
I read to my children, I help all my neighbors.
I bless my community, too, with my labors.
Our family home evenings are always delightful,
The lessons I give are both fun and insightful.
I do genealogy faithfully, too.
It's easy to do all the things that I do.
I have a home business to help make some money.
I always look beautifully groomed for my honey.
My visiting teaching is done the first day.
I exercise, and I cook menus gourmet.
I can garden produce each summer and fall.
But that is not all, oh no, that is not all!
"It's easy," she said,
And then she dropped dead!

 WOW! Are you exhausted reading that? I am.

Do you remember the time Jesus visited Mary and Martha?

Luke 10:38-42

 38Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
 39And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.
 40But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
 41And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
 42But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.


These verses are sometimes hard to understand because what Martha was doing was not bad, but what she wasn't doing had more eternal consequences.

I'd love to think that I would have been Mary soaking up the Saviors words. But my personality dictates that I would have most likely been Martha whirling around making sure everything was just perfect for our honored guest. I struggle daily to be a more like Mary and to put the most important things first. It's a battle though that I keep fighting within myself.



How do I avoid the whirl? How do I  know what things are most important? There is huge power in personal revelation. Praying, scriptures, and asking God what HE wants from your life, not what the world demands of it, is the easiest way I know of staying focused and balanced. The moment I start whirling around like the lady in this poem, I lose track of what is really important-the needful things. Everyone is different and everyone circumstances, talents, and purpose is different. The things others can do I cannot, letting go of this guilt and letting God direct my path is so important to me.

Anyway...the Girl in a Whirl  poem has always been a great reminder to me, to stop whirling around and make sure I'm on the right track and I thought it might inspire you too.
 

A trip back in time...

I was cleaning up my Outlook email program today and I came across this really, really old email from 2004. 

 boys and their cousins 2004


At the time we just had 3 kids-Josef was 6, Ian was 3, and Kaleb was a baby. You can tell from the email I was a young mother and worried and also how nice I was. I would not apologize for the poop thing now. After all everyone poops. Right? And if you don't, you should go to the ER immediately. 


It also illustrated how much more laid back I am now (is that a good thing) and how much I have learned. Both Kaleb (6) and Oliver (5) have some speech issues-I know so much now I could rattle them off for you. I am not overly alarmed, because I know more now. Most kids do not develop all the necessary speech sounds till age 8-10.  Many will have problems with 'r' and 'th' and enunciating constants. They will usually pick these skills up without intervention, just like late walkers or crawlers catch up to their peers.  There are also many things you can do at home to assist them, like reading aloud, talking to them, making them communicate (not giving them a cookie until they say cookie or attempt to say it), and speech therapy activities and games. Ian's speech issues were very severe back then so the hearing testing and speech therapy was needed and well worth the cost. But I think I would not have been so panicky if I had known then, what I know now. 


Anyway, I thought this email was a fun flashback to 2004.




Hello, everyone!

As most of you know Ian has suffered from a speech delay for quite some time, he had gone from barely speaking even one word, understandable, to now, speaking in 3-4 word sentences. He is still having problems with pronunciation of some consonants sounds, but this is normal since pronunciation skills are not fully developed until age 7. He has come a long way and we are so happy to have him talk to us no matter how silly he is! Ian sat on my lap and told me a story about animal (his favorite tiger toy). I wrote it down for him and repeated it back to him. Here is Ians story...in his own words!


Animal

One nice little animal.

One animal outside.

One animal inside.

Two animal outside.

But mama Animals outside too.

One animal outside.

One animal inside.

Animal outside poop.

The End


Sorry if the poop part offends anyone. We are also working on potty training Ian ,so poop is a topic in our home daily.

Anyway...I hope you enjoyed his little story as much as we did. Having him say that many words consecutively is such a blessing.

Love,

The Mitchells

Levi, April, Josef, Ian and Kaleb

CM Subjects

I'll be teaching 4 children next year and I like to be organized and prepared. Some people can wing it and be calm, cool and collected. Not me. I need some kind of order just to function properly. I need it all to make sense before I can begin.

I wanted to have pretty detailed plans so that our days run smoothly and easy. I have been going through the subjects taught so I can get all the materials organized. It has been more daunting than I thought. So far I have the following subjects down as suggested to be taught. I'm sure this list will be edited many times over, but for now it helps me to see it all typed out.

  • Scriptures
  • Geography
  • History
  • History Biographies
  • Science
  • Science Biographies
  • Natural History
  • Nature Study
  • Outdoor Nature Walks
  • Language Arts
    • Poetry
    • Literature
    • Free Reading Time
    • Grammar
    • Phonics
    • Handwriting-Copywork
    • Spelling-Dictation
    • Narrations-oral and written
  • Languages-Latin and other
  • Math
  • Art
    • Art Lessons
    • Artist Study
  • Music
    • Composer Study
    • Instruments and Music Theory
    • Hymns
    • Folksongs
  • Handicrafts
  • Memory Work
  • Shakespeare
  • Plutarch
  • Family Read Aloud
  • Life Skills
  • Unstructured Play time- outdoors and indoors
  • Fitness, Health, and Safety

Planning and Learning

 
“A truly good book teaches me better than to read it.
I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint.
What I began by reading, I must finish by acting. ”
Henry David Thoreau


I am planning to use mostly an Ambleside Online curriculum next year. The benefits are it is largely planned out for me already. I simply need to make sense of it all for myself, create a doable schedule, gather materials and stick with it. Simple. Right?

I am also new to CM methods and I hear that's the key to making a reading list into an education.

I've got all my CM books out and am reading a bit from that one and a bit from this one. I'm soaking up the inspiration and trying to get a feel for how to do it.


Habit Revisited by Mary Woodis- This is a very inspirational book with many scriptural references. We are working on her first habit suggestion right now-OBEDIENCE. Who couldn't use some help in that department?

Charlotte Mason Study Guide by Penny Gardner - This is a quick read, but gives a great overview and some practical ideas.

Charlotte Mason Companion- A truly thoughtful book that I am soaking in bit by bit.

The library just called and said Home Education by Charlotte Mason is waiting for me on hold.  I tried reading online but I wanted the book so I could read while the boys had their outdoor time each day. I plan on doing my own written narrations on the book.

Handicraft- Felt Mini-Pocket Pattern

Ian (age 9) made this cute little pocket today. It took him about 20 minutes.
 This was his very first sewing attempt.




He has been wanting to learn to sew. I came up with this quick and easy project with some left over felt. We used a blanket stitch, but you could practice other stitches with this project.

Materials:

  • pattern (below)
  • stiff felt
  • scissors
  • needle
  • thread (we used thick thread and a larger needle point needle)
  • large button

Printable Pattern for Felt Mini-Pocket @ Google Docs
download here!

Rob and I

I was so hesitant to jump into reading Robinson Crusoe for book group this month.



I was afraid it would be dry and awful and too detailed like Swiss Family Robinson. After I spent a little time reading it today, I love it. The language is great. I wish we all still talked like that.

*sigh

Well, Levi is home tonight. I picked him up around 8pm. Wohoo! We just watched Julie and Julia (Levi's idea) and it was nice. I am not a foodie though so apparently I don't really get it-the whole love affair and relaxation of cooking. But what I do get is how a book can change your life. I also thoroughly enjoyed Julie's melt down and tantrum in only the way that someone who has had one also can enjoy it. Needless to say- it did not inspire me to cook French. It did make me very hungry though. Good thing we had picked up Rocky Road at Fred Meyer on the way home. Levi is off again tomorrow morning- headed to Salt Lake.



Off to cuddle!
Rob and I will have to hold off on our growing relationship till my husband has gone off again.

Flying high while eating french fries at the Library with bologna in our pockets and horse manure on our shoes.

....yes that is the kind of Saturday we have had.

8:45 am

Took cub scout Ian to the Nampa airport for a cub scout activity-The Young Eagles Program. I was thinking he would be looking at airplanes and maybe get to taxi around in one. Nope, they were gonna actually take them up flying. I really should read those permission slips more carefully. My baby high above the ground in a bitty-bitty plane...make that two babies because they said Kaleb could go too.

Waiting patiently in the freezing cold hanger for their turn to FLY.
WAITING *read in an ominous tone (I'm foreshadowing)

The guy in charge tells us one of the pilots was very experienced and he flew in WWII. I thought for a moment. Didn't Levi's Grandpa fly in WWII and he is now deaf and blind. Not reassuring to parents AT ALL!
Their pilot in above picture( he looks like a capable guy....right?) and the boys about to board.

 
 Yes, that is the little plane they flew in and they loved every minute of it! While down on the ground, I tried not to worry and Oliver whined that he was cold and hungry and wanted to go home (After all HE wasn't going in the airplane so why should he suffer needlessly?)



noonish 
LUNCH @McD's
 and a
visit to Grandma and Grandpa Mitchell's to pick up Josef. 

( I know they are so evil...but SO good) 



1:30 pm
Trip to library



2:30 pm Call from Tanya (my bff) and invite to watch Kelsi show her horse @ the Canyon County Fairgrounds. After being lost 3 times trying to find it from the freeway we FINALLY arrived then we waited, and waited, and waited. 


We went outside in the grass to let the boys run around a bit. Tanya and I were talking and Oliver walked up and had a slice of Bologna in his hands and was eating it. I asked him where he got it and he pointed down and I freaked because I thought he had found it on the ground. I made him drop it and was telling him how we NEVER eat things off the ground, when he explained it had been in his pocket. Then I was almost even more grossed out, because I had taken those pants from the dryer that morning. So it must have been in his pocket though the whole wash and dry cycle  and come to think of it I haven't bought Bologna in months and months. He could have taken it from Levi's parent house...that it what I am choosing for the official origin. He shoved a slice of Bologna in his pants pocket to take home and eat later. Really none of these sound all that great. Yuck!



Then Kelsi got a turn to show her horse in a trail ride event. It was tough. I was on the edge of my seat as each rider did their thing. Kelsi did really well for it being her first time doing this particular event. She had no training and her horse had also never done this event. Her horse was also being a pain and rearing up a bit. I think she did as good as she could have. Look at me trying to sounding all knowledgeable when I have no idea about showing horses. I learned a great deal about waiting today...I mean showing horses. They even have their own horse show fashions and if you are not wearing the 'in' thing you can loose points. It's brutal.




7:00 pm
( I told you we waited FOREVER)
So dusty, tired, and our shoes surely covered in manure we took everyone to Primo's for dinner. 
That place is amazing. Where else can you feed a kid till he is literally oozing pizza and salad for only $3.75?
We do not leave hungry that is for sure.



10 pm
 I'm exhausted. Goodnight! 


 





Enthusiasm


I am so excited to start homeschooling using ideas from Charlotte Mason next year!! I am planning on using Ambleside Online for our curriculum. We may substitute a few books, but will stick to what AO has outlined for the most part. I will be using Year 0 (which is their version of kindergarten)with Oliver(5), Year 2 with Kaleb(7), Year 3.5 with Ian (9), and Year 6 with Josef(12).

I  am most worried about affording all the books for 4 years of AO. I already own a few of the necessary books. There are also many available online which is helpful, but I would much rather have a book in hand than a screen to look at. We'll have to see what I come up with over the summer.


This weekend I am clearing out all the items from our charter school and returning them. The boys have ISAT tests and the Idaho Reading Indicator to take at the end of this month and in May and then we are officially DONE! I had thought it was a good fit for us and have stayed with it for 3 years now. I just got to feel very bogged down and was beginning to feel 'school' taking over our lives and the joy of learning was just being leached out of us. It will be a refreshing change.

I feel really good about our choice and even my husband mentioned the change in my countenance. He said that we all seemed less stressed after we had officially made the decision.  I will miss many things about using the charter school but they do not outweigh the benefits of using CM methods or our general freedom.

Going Wild at the Zoo

Levi's cousin Stacy was in Boise visiting for Spring break and invited us to join her at the Boise Zoo. We haven't been in a while so it was a nice day out with 7 boys and 2 girls (I had Tanya's girls). The new African addition to the zoo was great. We loved the lion enclosure!

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Hope you had a blessed Easter!

Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won't stay there.  
~Clarence W. Hall



 Happy Easter from the Mitchell Family!
 

I know it's Easter weekend...

...and we should be donning fuzzy pink bunny ears




but we'd all rather be Vikings today.