Habits of Grace

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This book, Habits of Grace by David Mathis, although not lengthy has some powerful recommendations for anyone that would like to shape their habits and disciplines on the Word of God especially in modern lives of busy schedules and social media noise.

habitsofgracebook“We might get alone and be quiet to hear our own internal voice, the murmurs of our soul that are easily drowned out in noise and crowds. But the most important voice to hear in the silence is God’s.” – David Mathis

Why I am interested in Habits? Well, because I have a lot of bad ones. As we homeschool in the Charlotte Mason method christian habits are vital and a theme that we are discussing weekly. I am confronted daily with the fact that I cannot expect good habits if I don’t model them myself. But it’s not something to fret and compare one’s self to others because that defeats the power of grace in our lives, what we can do is study and learn along with our children what a life of grace-influenced habits looks like. Charlotte Mason felt that we act on habits all through our days and we definitely fall into our habits good or bad in times of trouble. Looking at my life of habits, I tend to agree.

“And the little emergencies, which compel an act of will, will fall in the children’s lives just about as frequently as in our own. These we cannot save them from, nor is it desirable that we should. What we can do for them is to secure that they have habits which shall lead them in ways of order, propriety, and virtue, instead of leaving their wheel of life to make ugly ruts in miry places.” – Charlotte Mason,  Home Education

So let us also apply this to ourselves. This is why I was intrigued with the title Habits of Grace; What does it look like as an adult to pursue “grace-empowered” habits?

Firstly, I enjoyed the break down of this book into three primary sections: Hearing His Voice (Word), Having His Ear (Prayer), and Belonging to His Body (Fellowship), and part four (Coda) that brings it all together in terms of Evangelism and Stewardship.  

Simply put habits begin first with the hearing and meditating on his word, making time to pray and seek him and being refined through the fellowship of believers. I, myself can speak as a testament of all those things having impact in my life towards slow but moving transformation and Jesus being the center of it all, through his spirit all believers are being transformed.

“Not only is enjoying Jesus explosively transforming in the way we live; it is also essential for making Jesus look great. And that is why we have the Holy Spirit. Jesus said the Spirit came to glorify him (John 16:14). The primary mission of the Spirit—and his people—is to show that Jesus is more glorious than anyone or anything else. It cannot be done by those who find this world more enjoyable than Jesus. They make the world look great. Therefore, the ultimate aim of the Christian life—and the universe—hangs on the people of God enjoying the Son of God. But this is beyond us. Our hearts default to enjoying the world more than Jesus. This is why the hinge thought—enjoying Jesus—is bracketed on both sides by grace and spiritual.” – John Piper

Habits of Grace walks us through many practical and accessible ways to develop these habits. David Mathis even outlines how to pursue them on the “Crazy Days”, which might be every day for many of us.

“The crazy days will come. And there are seasons of life, like with a newborn at home, where all bets are off and it’s just a crazy season. But with a little intentionality, and with a modest plan in place, you can learn to navigate these days, and even walk with greater dependence on God, knowing full well that it’s not the ideal execution of our morning habits of grace that secures his favor and blessing. You can commune with Christ in the crazy days.” – David Mathis

I encourage every believer to read this book, some of the suggestions might help in cultivating your daily habits or maybe it changes your routines drastically but I believe it is very beneficial for the believer as we all center ourselves on the Cross in the midst of busy lives and worldly noise.

I received a review copy of this book from Crossway. The review is my own.

You can purchase a copy here and at Crossway.


 

elliewithgirlsEllie Benson is Mother, Artist and Lover of Jesus. She blogs here at  ellieeugenia.com about faith, art and family and shares resources for all of those things. You can also find her at Charlotte Mason Living , a large growing online inspiration community for Charlotte Mason homeschooling families that she created.

Family Gospel Rhythms- Part 1 Morning Liturgy

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Every day has it’s own difficulties, each day it’s own trials, also it’s own joys. Add a family, a spouse and loving and playful children to that and you have a whole different and new matter.  Family life is not all stress and toddler’s screams there is so much beauty in the fray but I definitely encourage centering when life is as busy and as harried as it is these days. My perfectly imperfect family needs it and I encourage families to embrace it. This two part series will talk about home school liturgy and Family Worship time. There are still truths for all families regardless the school choice that is best for your family and feel free to incorporate Gospel Rhythms that work for you.

“The Bible is the chief lesson–“But we are considering, not the religious life of children, but their education by lessons; and their Bible lessons should help them to realise in early days that the knowledge of God is the principal knowledge, and, therefore, that their Bible lessons are their chief lessons.” Charlotte Mason, Vol. 1

I call it Family Gospel Rhythms. These rhythms are the efforts we take each day to center ourselves on Christ as a family. You may have heard of the phrase Family Worship or Family Devotion before and in Homeschool circles you may be aware of “Circle Time” or “Morning Liturgy” -as I call it-. I hear the terms quite often and I run an instagram and online community called Charlotte Mason Living, so, the questions have been posed a lot lately, “what does Morning Liturgy look like?”, “What does Family Worship look like?”. So, I will show you what we do for both, not as an example but as an encouragement to find what fits for your family. Part one will be about Morning Liturgy and part two will cover Family Worship (Night-time).

“Home is the greatest of all institutions” -Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Now, let me discuss why we do both firstly. I do not think it is necessary in most families to have a morning and night time session of “worship” or “bible time”, what have you. We homeschool so part of our education is biblical, so, Morning Liturgy is part of our school day and led by myself, only. Mom is setting the tone for the school day as Mother and Teacher and Dad leads our Family in Worship at night as Shepherd of the Home. I’m only breaking them into two parts for brevity.

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Morning Liturgy

In my yearly “homeschool this year” posts I always share what we do for every subject, so you may have heard me discuss some of these resources. I consider our Morning Liturgy a subject in three parts. We do Morning Liturgy as part of our homeschool education and this includes Catechism/ Scripture Memory, Habits and Bible. I am sharing resources and what we adapt to make it fit within our homeschool educational philosophy (Charlotte Mason).

It is:

Catechism – This term may be unfamiliar to you so here is what a Catechism is

“So, what is it anyway? The word “catechism” comes from the Greek word katācheō, which means “to teach, to instruct.” The word is used in Bible passages like Luke 1:4 and Acts 18:25. It can be used for any kind of teaching or instruction, but it came to refer to a specific type of teaching very early in church history. In the early church, new converts were taught the basics of Christianity by memorizing a series of questions and answers. – North Star Catechism

A catechism is just that a series of questions and answers that teach Bible truth.” – North Star Catechism

There are many wonderful versions of Catechisms to choose from and many will be based on the Westminster or Heidelberg Catechisms. Make sure your choice lines up with your family’s belief system by pre-reading and sometimes (not always) wikipedia can be really useful for looking at the history and what’s: Catechisms. We use the North Star Catechism from SojournKids. We feel it is an excellent catechism that is accessible and built upon trusted Catechisms without dumbing down any biblical truths.

Each morning we do Catechism Review and Scripture Memory of scriptures that are listed with our Catechism.

For example:

  • God exists forever as how many persons? Three. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
  • 2 Corinthians 13:14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

So we slowly progress with our Catechism as we memorize. There is no rush to breeze through it. Excellence is a much better friend and habit than the amount or speed that your child knows. ‘

“We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”  – Aristotle

I require recitation often (every morning) and sometimes when we are reading something related I’ll ask if that reminds my oldest of something but most times she will point out the similarities on her own or will comment on the world’s circumstances from what she has learned. Like this week in Family Worship singing Holy, Holy, Holy as our hymn we recognized that this line “Who was, and is, and evermore shall be” reminded us of our Catechism verse for Q. 4 Revelation 1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” Children make connections and thankfully if we allow them to do them on their own, the thoughts are better remembered than from lectures or belaboured talks.

…we have relations with what there is in the present and with what there has been in the past, with what is above us, and about us; and that fullness of living and serviceableness depend for each of us upon how far we apprehend these relationships and how many of them we lay hold of. Every child is heir to an enormous patrimony. -Charlotte Mason

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Bible- We teach the Bible because it is the greatest living book.


That the Bible isn’t mainly about me, and what I should be doing. It’s about God and what he has done.

That the Bible is most of all a story — the story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.

That — in spite of everything, no matter what, whatever it cost him — God won’t ever stop loving his children… with a wonderful, Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.

That the Bible, in short, is a Story — not a Rule Book — and there is only one Hero in the Story.- Sally Lloyd Jones

Practically, this looks like every morning breaking open the word for our Morning Time you could do this by simply making a reading plan or following one and having your child narrate what they have heard.

Personally, we use a resource called Long Story Short by Marty Machowski from New Growth Press (LSS). This resource goes through all of the Old Testament while pointing to Christ in the New Testament. There is a second volume going through the New Testament once completed. There is the Gospel Story Bible you can use as a companion, we do, but it is not necessary.

This resource is not a Charlotte Mason resource, per say, so I modify to make it fit our educational philosophy because it was the resource that best suited our belief needs. Instead of asking the questions when I have completed the reading I have my daughter narrate (simply, telling it back in their own words) for better memory and it works best like narration always does. There is a bit of a summary following in the lesson book and I use it more as a guide for what I’m listening for in her narrations rather than something I read to her or if she has questions for me after narration, I might use it as a help for myself in answering those questions.

I use LSS as a reading plan mostly, reading the verses and requiring narration. Each week a theme such as “God creates Man” would have us reading, in this case, from Genesis 2  but also connecting New Testament verses, here specifically, 1 Corinthians 15:45-49. This is the real reason I like this resource and as we are now in 1 Kings and nearing the end of the Old Testament the next volume mimics this structure by pairing the New Testament scripture with Old Testament verses. So the whole bible becomes a living body of a book. We have been going through the Old Testament for a few years and it has been a truly rich experience, feasting with my daughter on the word. She told me recently how excited she is to move into the New Testament and that joy makes me happy, truly.

“But let the imaginations of children be stored with the pictures, their minds nourished upon the words, of the gradually unfolding story of the Scriptures, and they will come to look out upon a wide horizon within which persons and events take shape in their due place and due proportion. By degrees, they will see that the world is a stage whereon the goodness of God is continually striving with the willfulness of man; that some heroic men take sides with God; and that others, foolish and headstrong, oppose themselves to Him. The fire of enthusiasm will kindle in their breast, and the children, too, will take their side, without much exhortation, or any thought or talk of spiritual experience.” -Charlotte Mason, Vol 1

Habits- Habit training might be a new concept if you aren’t familiar with Charlotte Mason schooling but it’s an integral part. The forming of habits is an important practice and I am learning desperately needed in modern societies. We are all forming habits intentionally or not and we all struggle with bad habits. The point of habit formation is to see them for what they are and gently develop better ones. This has been as beneficial for myself as much as it has has been for my daughter.

“ ‘Sow a habit, reap a character.’ But we must go a step further back, we must sow the idea or notion which makes the act worth while.” — Charlotte Mason

We use a book from Simply Charlotte Mason called Laying Down the Rails for Children  for a help when needing relative living examples but also find beautiful stories and poems to read.

Thus, don’t begin with teaching the habit of (insert habit here)   – begin with the relationships, appropriate books, ideas, outdoor life, and all those things that fill the child with ideas that make up this living education. – Nancy Kelly

Many Charlotte Mason families study a habit for a specific set time and some families take a more organic approach. We have done both and find the latter to be a better fit for us and move through habits as we see fit. My oldest is nine and we have recently been learning about a habit of “Sweet and Even Temper”. This has been an excellent habit to cover since she has struggled recently with strong emotions that manifest in bad temper. We aren’t always covering habits she specifically struggles with but might park a bit on one if I think she could use it to fully understand. For example we stayed many moons in the Habit of Obedience and revisit it often since the temper and obedience seem to have a lot of crossover. Reading the lovely living poems and stories help her a lot to frame the habits in her mind because she sees the contrasts clearly through listening and narration that she would completely miss through me just telling her that she should do this or that. I am thankful because I also learn from these lessons, it is too much to expect my children to act better than I do myself.

So this is what we do for Morning Liturgy and sometimes days are less than smooth and distractions attempt to divide our mind but know that families learning together, teaching your children to love God and his word is an effort worth taking, my very imperfect family needs it.

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The “promises of the covenant necessitate Christian education, because they inevitably impose upon our children a heavy responsibility…for God has enriched them with spiritual treasures in order that they should administer this wealth for the honor of his name and for the extension of his kingdom. Are we warranted in assuming that they will naturally be faithful to their trust and will make the best possible use of their God-given possessions?…Surely, we cannot be too careful or too diligent in training our children for their responsible duties in life” – Louis Berkhof

Resources from above:

North Star Catechism from Sojourn

Long Story Short by Marty Machowski

The Gospel Story Bible

Laying Down the Rails for Children by Sonya Schafer

Other Resources I recommend personally:

New City Catechism

Desiring God: A Baptist Catechism

The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones

Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing by Sally Lloyd Jones

A Child’s Book of Character Training by Ron and Rebekah Coriell

 

 

 

 

Our Homeschool, This Year. (YEAR 3)

I meant to write this out much earlier and have now just gotten to it. I’ve written a homeschool plan post every year and it always helps me to think critically through our plan even if I have been teaching it for a few weeks now. It has almost been a full month since we started Year 3 and I am very excited about the selections and learning we will be doing together.

IMG_3439   Most will know that we are Charlotte Mason Homeschoolers. What this means, simply, is that we follow the Philosophy of Education that Miss Mason espoused. Charlotte Mason was a Christian, Classical Educator at the turn of the 19th and 20th century. She had a unique insight into the minds of children and was a passionate reformer of education to give all children a wide and generous curriculum. In here time only wealthy received a Classical diet or was educated at all and she wanted to not only spread the feast of education for all but make lovely and wholesome. I encourage you, if interested in learning more about Charlotte Mason to read For the Children’s Sake by Francis Schaeffer’s daughter, Susan Schaeffer Macaulay or to pick up the Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola. The wisdom and love for education that Miss Mason speaks of is something worth reading about even if you choose any different form of education. It has helped me in my every day, with my children and being innately Christian has blended remarkably well with our Reformed Faith. In fact so well, I feel like I have some great secret since Charlotte Mason is not as widely know as others. A side note: There is a Reformed and Charlotte Mason group on FB for those that love Reformed Theology and Charlotte Mason’s love for the feast of education.

Education Is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life.  -Charlotte Mason 

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So, back to our homeschool plan. This year will be in Year 3 according to our Ambleside Online ScheduleWe use Ambleside Online as a Charlotte Mason guide for each year and this year we continue that tradition. We follow the schedule exactly for everything except Bible and History, where we do some different selections that I will share.

I will discuss our daily schedule in a different post and that seems to be fluctuating because of my husband’s changing hours at work but generally we start school at 8 am and are done before lunch.

Here are our subjects and resources for each, everything unless otherwise listed is a selection from Ambleside Online:

Liturgy-

Bible: We will continue to use Long Story Short as a guide for reading through the Old Testament. We have been getting through the Old Testament for the last two years and we are now in Joshua and moving forward. By the time we are through we will have completely almost all the key readings in the Old Testament and will move on to Old Story New which is the same guide but for the New Testament until we complete the entire Bible. I really love this resource. I will say that I do modify it for my needs and to make it fit within a Charlotte Mason framework. I do not typically use the illustrations at the beginning of each week and will sometimes include narration and forego the questions. Emma enjoys a lot of the questions though and they are usually about how the story points to Jesus, etc. so I enjoy them as well. We also have a Bible that corresponds with the readings but it is not necessary.

Catechism and Scripture Memory: We continue with the North Star Catechism this year. I have a post in draft about why I think you should Catechise your children and will hopefully post later this week. We love this Catechism and are memorizing at our own pace.

Habits: Charlotte Mason was a big believer in Habit Training and we honestly all need some habits trained, do we not? We are walking through Laying Down the Rails for Children and are currently reading and discussing about a Sweet, Even Temper which covers tantrums and complaining and encourages joy instead. There are poems and stories to narrate and discuss. It is a great way to talk about these concerns. It truly is a help to myself as well.

Hymn: We follow the Ambleside Online Hymn schedule. We are on How Firm a Foundation this month and will be transitioning to I Bind Unto Myself Today for September and following the schedule the rest of the year.

History-

Early American: We are continuing with Beautiful Feet History this year and yes, are still in Early American. Last year, being the insane year it was, History typically took a back seat. Thankfully, Emma remembered a lot from where we left off and so we picked up in Jamestowne this year. We are now reading Pilgrim Stories from Margaret Pumphrey and Emma seems to be immersed in their world. What is cool that we have been able to trace back our family line to Early Colonial times and it is rumored that one member was one of the Mayflower Pilgrims but I haven’t been able to find who yet. There was definitely some Jamestowne Colonists in the line from our searches.

Church History: The selections from Trial and Triumph this year will be Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox and more.

Biography: We will read biographies throughout the year. Da Vinci by Emily Hahn, Bard of Avon by Peter Vennema and Pilgrim’s Landing by James Daugherty.

Geography: Marco Polo by Demi and Charlotte Mason Geography selections for the year, found on Ambleside Online.

Natural History and Science: We will be using Pagoo by Hollings , Secret of the Woods by Long , A Drop of Water by Wick along with Nature Studying in Nature Journals. We also do Nature in our local Charlotte Mason co-op.

Table Work-

Math: Math U See again this year, she loves the counting block manipulatives.

Reading: We will finish Explode the Code book we are in and then use the Discover Reading Lesson Plan and Activity Guide by Amy Tuttle. Emma struggles with reading and we have just been slowly prodding her toward Literacy. A little a day, I tell her and I encourage her to continue on. In addition, she reads a few pages from a reader of her choice daily because if there is no reading going on in our house then there is no screen-time either. At least that is what this year looks like.

Copywork: We use Handwriting Without Tears and it is very simple to follow and she gets through it quickly and without much drama, hence why we chose it.

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Poetry:  This year we will reading and memorizing from William Blake, Sara Teasdale and Hilda Conkling, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. We also will be reemphasizing all learning within Poetry Studies in our Charlotte Mason Co-op.

Literature: The literature selections are usually the jewel of Charlotte Mason Education and this year is no exception.  We will be reading Parables from Nature, by Margaret Gatty, American Tall Tales by Adrien Stoutenburg (Emma is loving Paul Bunyan), The Heroes by Charles Kingsley,
Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald, Children of the New Forest by F. Marryat, and The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling.

Shakespeare: Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb, selections from the Ambleside Schedule

Free Reading:

We Typically cuddle on the couch and I read aloud through these selections. It is such a sweet time of the day. As she gets older she will read independently, her free reads. Selections this year are A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley, At the Back of the North Wind, by George MacDonald, Men of Iron by Howard Pyle, Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll, The Bears of Blue River by Charles Major, Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome, Unknown to History: Captivity of Mary of Scotland, by Charlotte Yonge, Caddie Woodlawn, by Carol Ryrie Brink , On the Banks of Plum Creek, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Little White Horse, by Elizabeth Goudge , The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright, English Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs, King of the Wind, by Marguerite Henry, and The Wheel on the School, by Meindert De Jong.

Weekly Work-

Spanish: We are introducing Gouin Series’ at her own pace. We are using the book Speaking Spanish with Miss
Mason and François from Cherrydale Press.

Art Study: Along with our Co-op we will study Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Jacques- Louis David and Hans Holbein the Younger.

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Composer Study: Along with our Co-op we will study Johannes Brahms, Franz Schubert and Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina.

Folksong: We will follow the Folksong schedule for the year by simply listening to the songs during Masterly Inactivity.

Art Instruction: We will be doing simple pencil and pen and ink instruction this year. Nature Journaling also overlaps into Art instruction.

Handicrafts: Emma is learning to sew softies and doll accessories with the book Baby Stuff.  It is a Japanese Book translated to English. I like it because it is not so much a Sewing instruction book but has step by step directions for doing a project including the types of stitches you need to make, etc.

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I love the lovely thoughts and ideas on the schedule this year. I am excited to learn with Emma. I learn so much as well and Self-Education is one of the wonderful things about homeschooling and teaching homeschool. It is my goal to not forget though that “Education Is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life”. 

“The question is not, — how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education — but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?”
Charlotte M. Mason, School Education: Developing A Curriculum

I want to be wise and make an atmosphere of security, comfort and joy while we learn and live. That is so why I love a Charlotte Mason Education. The emphasis is put on the family and the atmosphere and growing together in Life. It is not how much she knows but how much she cares.


 

 

You can see our previous CM Years here: YEAR 1 & YEAR 2 and more Charlotte Mason posts in the CHARLOTTE MASON HOMESCHOOL tab.


We have an online Charlotte Mason community at CharlotteMasonLiving.com or on Instagram @charlottemasonliving. It is a beautiful space, come join us.

 

Plans and Priorities 2015

I’m slowly getting back into blogging this year after a whirlwind of a holiday season and one post last week and one this week kicks it off. I have been a bit busy organizing the new Charlotte Mason Living site and IG, and am really excited about all the wonderful Charlotte Mason ladies participating and contributing. Please check it out if you home school. Like I mentioned last week I was going to review my plans and priorities from last year and discuss my progress and then set my plans and priorities for 2015.

Over all, I think it was a really good thing to set plans and priorities last year, I was able to accomplish a lot of what I set just by naming the desire to do it and working toward it slowly. It’s not about checking everything off the list, it is more about the process. We all know resolutions most times can be pointless but if we write down the things we want and think of practical steps to get us there, the elephant doesn’t seem so big. I do like to cross things out, still. No, really, it is nice to check things off the list, I sometimes put things I have already finished on lists at home just so I can cross them out, we all know that accomplished feeling. There is reward in even working toward a goal. Well, we all know that I am a procrastinator at by nature but not wanting to be as I get older my inner self starter is emerging. Thank God, truly, because I think we can only live like uninterested college students for so long.

So, like I mentioned in my last post I have my plans and priorites set into three categories; Faith, Art, and Family.  I post all these here every year for accountability to myself and from others, so please ask me how these things are going and share your priorites as well. The key word for us this year is Resolute. It’s not about resolutions but about the resolve to do what we set out to do.

Here it is:

Faith- The only two things that matter when it comes to my priorities for Faith; Study and Pray, Study and Pray, Study and Pray. Last year I had a long list of priorities when it came to Faith and through listening to those wiser than myself and learning through last year, I know that all things faith really should spring forth from those two things. Here’s a great article on reading the word in 2015: Desiring God.

Family- My role as Wife and Mother is a priority. I am praying that I continue to make my family a priority above other trivial things, social media, etc. I am learning everyday a little bit more about how to maintain a household and care for a family. It is not easy, and even though sometimes there is an illusion of easy or perfection, the truth is that it is the hardest job I have ever had. My number one plan and priority for our Family is that we learn to show Grace and Love like Christ does to us.

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Homeschooling is of course a part of our family life and as I pointed out we are Charlotte Mason homeschoolers. Charlotte Mason says that “Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life.”. This is true for anyone not just CM families. We teach and learn and live each and every day.  As part of my plans and priorities I am going to flush that statement out more this year and try to create an atmosphere that breeds good habits, learning well and broadly, and encompasses our family values and faith. Homeschooling for us is not “doing school” at home. It is life. We do Liturgy every morning, We read aloud, We learn about artists and poets and nature. It is a generous education and I am learning so much as we progress too. We really just enjoy the time spent together and it has been a lovely experience for us. I hope to help all these to thrive even more in 2015.

Edited to add Health is very important this year for our family and will pursue it with family, I hope to write more about that later.

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Art- This of course is last on my list of priorities but it is not unimportant to our lives. While we continue to work on exciting things for bensonbenson co. and for ourselves, I hope to not let that creative part of me shrivel up. I feel like doing art is like learning a language, it’s a “use it or lose it” sort of thing, in a way, but it is also like “riding a bike”, I guess if I have to use all the cliches. What I mean is that though some things are forgotten, some always remain, I am learning to keep myself focused on art in a way that motivates me to create. I am working on a book cover and some other small projects right now and it has been really great putting to good use my Art background.IMG_1510

A pattern I made for the Book Cover project. Im really loving it.

Pray for me as we start the year, 2014 was a tough year for us and with the grace of God we kicked it’s butt, I pray the same and more for 2015. What are your Plans and Priorities for the year? Share them here and I will definitely ask you about them when I see you.

 

 

 

 

Charlotte Mason-Year 2

Added: We are in Year 3 now and also have a our Year 1 Plan blogged: YEAR 1 & YEAR 3 and more Charlotte Mason posts in the CHARLOTTE MASON HOMESCHOOL tab. 

I was tempted to name this post homeschooling-on-the-cheap-2.0, but I didn’t because I realize that because I already had a lot of the resources listed and even though it’s still going to be very cheap for anyone to do this exactly, (it’s next to nothing for us). Plus I wanted to focus on the Charlotte Mason-ness of it all. Firstly, if you do not know who Charlotte Mason is, take a look here: What is CM?. In short though, Charlotte Mason was a Christian British Educator that believed that Education was more than Education but it was a Discipline, a Life, an Atmosphere. So, In essence it’s a lifestyle over a curriculum. I’ve loved Miss Mason for many years know and am learning more through her writings and my Charlotte Mason Peers and Elders. So, there are a few things I adding this year that we didn’t get to in the last and hoping for a really well rounded CM Education this year. We will call last year our Grace Year because there was a lot of Grace given and desired, so we have got to get on it this year with a better plan of action. I am also writing out this blog post not just for anyone who cares about Charlotte Mason-Year 2 but to help me to break it all down in my head for the very soon School Year. *AO means Ambleside Online. We use Ambleside Online as a Charlotte Mason guide and substitute only a few selections. Unless otherwise stated everything is from the Ambleside Year 2 Schedule and not from my own brain, just so you know.

Bible– We are going to stick with Gospel Story Bible and Long Story Short Devotional for this year and I may backtrack a little because we grazed over a few weeks quickly last year. The Bible and the Devotional are a wonderful tool for Parents wanting to paint the stories of the Bible truthfully and make beautiful connections from Old and New Testament. The Long Story Short version is for Old Testament and there is version for the New Testament, but it will be a while until we are there, although it teaches a lot of the New testament along side the Old, and that’s what I like about this study. We do use more of a Charlotte Mason-Narration approach with the reading and I use the questions as more of a guide. We will also be using Sojourn’s North Star Catechism for our Bible Memory Work and because I really wanted to go through a Catechism for Children with Emma so she has very clear answers to questions she may have or encounter.

Character– O.k. so most Charlotte Mason families do one Character per month to Study and move on. We’ve realized that just doesn’t work in the Benson Household, Soooo…We do one Character until Emma gets it, like really gets it and then moves on. Last Year towards the end of the year we we’re doing Obedience (Doing what you are told with a happy, submissive spirit). We talk about First-time Obedience here a lot and that is what is expected of Emma. Meaning that  we don’t tell her time and again to do something, if she doesn’t listen that first time there are usually some light consequences that will come of that. TV is the first to go and let me tell that usually is enough. She has the concept down now and can tell me the meaning of Obedience and that is what is important, so we are moving on. Anyways, We will start the Year with “Contentment” (Happy with what I have), because we’ve got a bit of a whining problem in regards to not being happy with things and then move on to “Joyfulness”. The Definitions come the Child’s Book of Character Building.

our History journal from the beginning of last year

History– This is where we differ with the AO schedule quite a bit because I needed something to ease into History with the last two years and the Beautiful Feet guides are very nice and just self-explanatory for this Mom-Brain. We bought the Early American guide two year ago and held it until last year to start and we are continuing in Jamestown. I usually borrow the books or find them used. You can purchase the book pack but I save a lot of money this way.

Literature– More Shakespeare this year with about six more plays, I already own the Lamb’s Shakespeare edition and we will just continue with that version because it tells the plays in story form. We are also still going through Parables of Nature but will let her listen to the Audio Books this year so I don’t have to read yet another book aloud. We will also be reading Pilgrim’s Progress, Robin Hood, Understood Betsy, and Wind in the Willows, which I’m excited about all of those selections.

Geography– We will use these free CM and Long’s Geography for the year based on the AO schedule.

Natural Science/ Nature Study-We will read the Burgess Animal Book along with Tree in the Trail and Seabird, both by Holling. We also be Nature journaling weekly together, we do Nature study at our yearly co-op and plan to review at home as well. vscocam1 (1)

Copywork/Phonics/Reading– Emma is a slow-to-read child and that is ok, no guilt here. We do a reading lesson a day and intersperse copywork. Right now we have moved on from only doing the McGuffey’s Primer for Phonics/Reading to doing Explode the Code because she actually needed something a bit more worksheet-y, against all my CM judgement. It’s not as twaddle-y as I suspected and she seems to be really improving. We will still use readers like the Mcuffey’s Readers or Pathway Readers (just the readers, no workbooks) as we go through the year, but they are free or very cheap and I am not to worried at the cost. We will also start copywork in a copywork book, something like this from Simply Charlotte Mason. Math- We will still use MEP Math, which is a free program that is highly recommended, but I also ordered the first Life of Fred book called Apples and am considering rotating between the two for variety because the MEP math can get tiresome for us.

Poetry, Art and Composer: I combine all of these because we will be doing these at co-op and just reviewing at home. Our schedule for these are as follows (from the AO schedule): Poetry-Walter De La Mere, Shel Silverstein (this is a replacement for Witcombe-Riley), and Christina Rossetti, Art-Fra Angelico, Velasquez and Degas, and Composer- Hildegard Von Bingen, Children’s Classics (assorted classics for children), and Sergei Rachmaninoff.

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Free Reads: We definitely plan on finishing a few Summer reads like Peter Pan and Mr. Popper’s Penguins beside that (from the Ambleside site) I am not sure if we will get to all these but we will try, we also own quite a few of these books already so between those, the local library and the local bookstore I don’t imagine the cost being that high:

Heidi by Joanna Spyri, A Wonder Book by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney, Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales, Pied Piper of Hamlin by Robert Browning, Five Children and It by Edith Nesbit, Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting, Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers, Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry, Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater (currently reading), Otto of the Silver Hand by Howard Pyle, Chanticleer and the Fox (various authors), Along Came A Dog by Meindert De Jong, and The Door in the Wall by Marguerite De Angeli

Handicrafts: I did a lousy attempt at teaching Emma sewing last year because we had a baby most of the year and things like Handicrafts and Piano took a backseat to Reading and Literature. We are going to start over this year with the Mary Frances Sewing Book. It’s online and free and reads like a Story Book that has sewing projects in it. I am going to put together a dedicated Sewing Basket for Emma but that will be the only cost. The file of the book is a scan of an old copy archived digitally and has a signature in it of the author, “For all the girls who love to make pretty things.  Jane Eayre Fryer”, that’s just lovely.

Piano: We will continue with My First Piano Adventures, a fun hop through Piano basics and music reading.

Drawing: Kenny has recommended this for the year and since he’s also an atrist and pretty darn good illustrator, we are doing it. How to Draw Amazing Animals

Foreign Language: Spanish is our foreign language because Im Half-Latin and I really wished I was more fluent growing up. We will do a mixture of the Gouin Series we did successfully last year and Mango languages which is free through our local Library.

Well now that I completely overwhelmed you with all of that information I am going to tell you its not as hard as it seems, the AO schedule rotates readings and material and it really is very easy to follow. When it comes to putting my head on straight for the year and planning the order of the day, I go to this very wise post by Nancy Kelly, my favorite Charlotte Mason blogger: Our Schedule, Our Atmosphere. It’s a breath of fresh air and I’ll talk more about ordering the homeschool day as the year progresses. So take a deep breath friends and know if we cover only half of this material I think we are in a wonderful place still. I mean can you say you did half of this stuff in second grade?  It really is a lovely education and Emma will be introduced to a lovely feast this year. Posts your thoughts and comments, I’d love to hear what you are doing this year.

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You can see a visual catalog of all the resources on my Pinterest Board-Charlotte Mason- Year 2

Charlotte Mason Living

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If you homeschool with the Charlotte Mason Method you may be interested in this INSTAGRAM feed I started a few months ago: @charlottemasonliving. It’s a really lovely community of likeminded families that are homeschooling with Miss Mason’s methods. We share images of our everyday and discuss ideas and wonderful thoughts. Today we will be having a narration chat, or first group chat. Check it out if you love Instagram and Charlotte Mason.

IMG_6982 haha, look at my dying battery at 8:00 in the morning.

A Formidable List of Attainments for a Child of Six

There are so many lists out there of what children to should be doing at this age. Some of them are just plain silly, there is no reason a child should be doing algebra or able to read novels on their own at this age. We know through common sense and research that learning comes through play before this time. Here is the research: naeyc.org. This is why I love this list from Charlotte Mason because these are attainable and practical expectations for a child of six, who has just started formal learning.  Some of these we have mastered in our house already (like pressing flowers, printing from hand, adding and subtracting etc.), some we are working on organically, with little to no pressure, just through conversations. This is a great guide for those that would like a guide even if you do not follow Charlotte Mason, but do not need or want a list of common core standards to follow. Plus, these are much more fun than most lists I’ve seen. I just love this old style of learning in a gentle art, a way that creates interesting and curious children. I guarantee your six year old can already do a lot of these things and helps us to breathe a sigh of relief that we are not “screwing our kids up” if they don’t compare to all the other opinion noise out there.

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Download the above Free PDF here

 

A  Formidable List of Attainments for a Child of Six (with my notes added)

1. To recite, beautifully, 6 easy poems and hymns

2. to recite, perfectly and beautifully, a parable and a psalm

3. to add and subtract numbers up to 10, with dominoes or counters

4. to read–what and how much, will depend on what we are told of the child

5. to copy in print-hand from a book

6. to know the points of the compass with relation to their own home, where the sun rises and sets, and the way the wind blows

7. to describe the boundaries of their own home

8. to describe any lake, river, pond, island etc. within easy reach

9. to tell quite accurately 3 stories from Bible history, 3 from early English (or Early American), and 3 from early Roman history (length is not important)

10. to be able to describe 3 walks and 3 views

11. to mount in a scrap book a dozen common wildflowers, with leaves (one every week); to name these, describe them in their own words, and say where they found them

12. to do the same with leaves and flowers of 6 forest trees

13. to know 6 birds by song, colour and shape

14. to send in certain Kindergarten or other handiwork, as directed

15. to tell three stories about their own “pets” –rabbit, dog or cat

16. to name 20 common objects in French (or Spanish), and say a dozen little sentences

17. to sing one hymn, one French (or Spanish), and one English song 18. to keep a caterpillar and tell the life-story of a butterfly from his own observations

NOTE: Any mention of Early English History or French Language (substitute ex. Early American and Spanish Language) can be substituted for what you are learning, this list was specific to British Culture and may need to be different for others.

*original source: amblesideonline.org

What do you think of this list of attainments, what would you do differently, what would you add or take away? For me the one thing I am subconsciously adding to this list is for her to know and write her address and our phone numbers, I think that technically would fall under the “boundary of the home” a long time ago but not today. I’d love to hear from you.

Homeschool on the cheap (Charlotte Mason)

 

 

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Amendment to original post: We have switched to MEP for math because we like it better for a well rounded Math education. Math Mammoth is a great program still but you learn your families needs as you go. With that being said you can subtract the 16.50 from the final total.

You can homeschool on a budget, there isn’t a need to spend hundreds of dollars if you do a little research and find the best frugal options. (edit- the original curriculum post is here: Charlotte Mason First Grade) Charlotte Mason has helped with this because the resources I use are classics, we can find a lot of the books in the public domain or rather cheaply at used book stores. My number one piece of advice, is to do your research. Also, you can find free curriculum guides online at Ambleside Online and Simply Charlotte Mason. The other is an e reader or an iPad will help to condense books that are in the public domain. We invested in one last year with our tax money and it has definitely been worth the cost. Also, check your libraries, I have found most things in the Library if you plan ahead.

Earlier I posted on our homeschool curriculum for the year (1st Grade), here’s where I break down what it cost this year. I was surprised.

Bible: Free for us because we already owned it (Guide $19.99 new and Bible $29.99 new) or you can just follow a Bible plan with whatever resources you have at home, or just buy the Long Story Short Devotional, which I actually recommend not using both for simplicity but Emma likes both the devotional and the Bible so Happy with it. – Long Story Short/Gospel Story Bible.

Memory Verses: Free- Simply Charlotte Mason Memory Verses

Character: Free- Parables of Nature. We are just reading through the Parables of Nature which you can find for free in iBooks.

Literature: Free Mostly (5.00)- We are doing the Ambleside Online Literature selections, these include; the Blue Fairy Book, Aesop’s Fables, Shakespeare for young children and many others. We already owned Aesop’s Fables but there is also a free app by the Library of Congress that you can download that has all the stories as well. I found a free copy of Just So Stories for the year on iBooks but will definitely be investing in a hardcopy from our local bookstore when I can. Shakespeare’s Stories for Young Readers was my first real cost, it is 5.00 for the e-book.

Free Reads: Free- I am using the suggested reading lists from both Ambleside and Simply Charlotte Mason and the books so far are ones we already own, we purchased a really lovely copy last year because of daughter Alice being born. I started this year with Alice in Wonderland and we have since moved to Alice through the looking Glass. Next up will be Winnie the Pooh. Do not forget how valuable the Library is for these Classics.

Poetry: Free- A Children’s Garden of Verses. We own a hard copy of this book which we bought in set when Emma was a baby. You can find all the book and all the poems in the public domain with having to buy a hard copy. I would suggest it as a Library staple though for those that read it and love it. You can also find this in any Library.

Math: $34.00 for the entire year- Math Mammoth. I have only spent 16.50 so far because you can purchase the part A e-version from their site. We use an abacus I bought during Emma’s pre-K years, but you do not need one you can use anything on hand you can count with; beans, buttons, blocks, etc. So far I have no complaints about Math Mammoth and it really was the most affordable option for us that met our educational needs.

Phonics/Reading: Free-McGuffey’s Primer. We started the McGuffey’s Primer last year and we had found a free version to print and put into a notebook. We are continuing thisyear with McGuffey’s and so far so good.

Copywork: Free or $1.00- Worksheet Works or McGuffey’s Copywork Set. You can make up your own free copywork sheets to correspond with the Primer or you can use anything else you choose, a verse, sentences about the child, poetry, etc. If you don’t want to do that work there is a Copywork set that corresponds to McGuffey that costs just $1.00.

History: $15.95 but I already owned it – Beautiful Feet Books- Early American. I bought this last year with the intention of starting it in K and settled that she would get more benefit by waiting a year. So far that has been true. We check out the books from the Library so is no extra cost for us and the books are rich Living Books that fit our Charlotte Mason style nicely.

Spanish: We are using a sequence of the Gouin Series, this happens to be completely free if you can find a native speaker to translate. I translated myself and had my Mother, who is a native speaker double check the Spanish. I talk about here: http://ellieeugenia.com/2013/07/22/homeschool-this-year-first-grade/

Art, Composer, Nature, Folksong and Poetry Co-op: Free- Augusta Charlotte Mason Co-op. We started a Co-op starting in September that will use our pooled resources and knowledge to teach these subjects to our children. I am very, very excited, so is Emma.

Piano: Free because we already own it, $8.46 new– My First Piano Adventures. If you do not know how to play Piano or teach it and want your children to learn without affording a Piano tutor this is a great option. My husband plays piano but he plays from ear and that is almost impossible to teach, this way she gets real lessons in a fun way.

Handicrafts- Free- Sewing and Baking. We will just be using the things I already have here at home. She is learning hand stitching first and moving from there. Baking wise, She just helps in the kitchen, measuring and doing anything that needs doing.

Total Cost for Homeschool for us this year: $41.00

If you used this plan and had to buy a few things listed new: $64.41 or $114.39 if using the Bible sources above.

I can’t imagine doing homeschool any cheaper than this unless you just digested Living Books from the Library, which is a great option actually. Anyways, I hope this is helpful for those that are homeschooling on a budget like we are.

Please let me know if this have been helpful to you or how you have utilized this in your own home schools.

Check out other posts in the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival

Check out other posts in the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival