Incorporating the practice of Gathering in our days has been one of the most natural processes we have undertaken. In large measure, the ease with which we have done this is due to the addition of our Gathering placemats. As they are always out on the counter for breakfast, ready to be devoured along with the cereal and cinnamon toast of our mornings; they constitute a simple feast.
They drive conversations in the early part of our day. Much to my delight, they are also lovingly shown off to pretty much anyone who comes by our house. And they have become precious to me.
As I have developed a set for each month of the upcoming school year, I have had private celebrations. There is a moment of glory when just the right piece of art lines up perfectly to just the right quote from Shakespeare. A blessed sigh of relief is exhaled when there are just 4 boxes left. Followed by an internal dance party when a full month’s set is complete.
We are back after a short hiatus for varied adventures around the country involving more rental vehicles than I care to mention. And what a refreshing passage to come back to!! We were even able to come up with a song to help us remember the testimony of John!
A note about the formatting for this and future posts: I previously created a conversational outline of the teaching time we have for each day. It looked just the way I wanted it to look. Then I went away and my post editor changed; and I cannot figure out how to edit it the way you (and I) are used to seeing it. Please bear with the change. It will hopefully be something simple I can figure out soon.
Since I finally settled on the idea of creating placemats for our Gathering (our morning time) a few months ago, we have enjoyed them as a family immensely! I toil on them as often as possible in an attempt to get all of this coming school year’s placemats created and ready to go…before the first day of school.
We are a modified year-round schooling family, so it is busy around here even in the summer. And June was a CRAZY busy month, filled with lots of unexpected adventures. I created our June placemats knowing that most of the time we would not be at home to enjoy them.
I am a relatively organized person. And I would have thought that would extend into my homeschooling experience. But in the midst of starting homeschool for my girls I had two little ones underfoot. Add to that the fact that homeschooling can be a complete upheaval of all homemaking routines. I spent the first 2 and a half years of homeschooling floundering without a sure foundation to ground us. Every once in a while, we would settle into a homeschool routine. And then life would shift and I would no longer have my feet underneath me.
It was, in short, a struggle. Some things would get done regularly. Other things would get put off for another day (Ahem…1st grade math…ahem). And my kids knew that if they worked me hard enough, the whole day could be put off. Often I felt like a homeschool mom failure.
As if the internal struggle wasn’t real enough, I also had two students who put up a MAJOR fight on most days just to get through the little bit we were getting done. I understood that the early years of elementary learning are supposed to be loose, but this was not exactly what I pictured. I needed a solution – on some days I thought I needed magic. Continue Reading
This entry is part 30 of 33 in the series Baby Days
We joke around that babies are SO sweet…until they start to say, “NO!” But there is a short period of time in baby’s life when she simply doesn’t have words (not even, “No”). The inability of our little ones to fully communicate what is going on in their heads can lead to various outbursts that look like tantrums or frustration. But it IS the earliest form of communication for them – we just can’t quite understand them.
Figuring out a way to communicate effectively with baby at this crucial early time in her life is life-changing! If you are like me as a mom, you cherish the littlest moments with your sweet child; savoring each “Goo” and “Gah.” But, you often struggle when it comes to the not-so sweet moments. The grunts and the growls, the screams and screeches are likely the last thing you were looking forward to while gently caressing your pregnant tummy and dreaming of mommy-hood.
That is why I am so thankful for baby sign language.
I am not a child development expert and I have no credentials other than being a mom of four. But I highly recommend learning some very basic baby signs and teaching them to your little ones, starting at a very early age. We have practiced simple baby sign language with all four of our little ones with great success. Continue Reading
This book may have taken us over a year to get through. I can’t even remember when we started it. Our slow progress through this book is not due to boredom or disinterest. Rather it seems life got in the way even as it was becoming a part of our lives. Through this book we, together, have learned beautiful words, interesting conversations, and simple morals. We have delighted in language for its structure and its beauty. And we have gained confidence in public and private speaking.
All that in one little book!!
We just completed Level One of First Language Lessons by Jessie Wise. It is part of a series published by Well-Trained Mind Press. And it is WONDERFUL for kids in early elementary! Approaching instruction classically, it is full of simple lessons for parents and children to work through in just minutes a day. But it is so rich with language, that it can be enjoyed long after the book is closed. Continue Reading