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 


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:


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


In the interim

To blogging again, It truly has been a flurry the last few months since we brought home this little life.

She as been a true joy and has kept is on our toes since she got here. I thought I loved being a mother before but with another child in my home, I can’t get over the beauty of motherhood. Also, Emma loves her sister so much and has declared her the queen of babies. This queen of babies has my heart.

Alice you’ve changed me, I can only suspect for the better.

So, my first little mama is growing into a beautiful little lady, right before my eyes. It is a bittersweet thing because as a mother you will always see firstly that baby you carried that changed your life so completely in the best possible way.

Emma, my first child love, you take my breath away when I see you in the rear view mirror, My heat skips a beat when you enter the room. When I hear your beautiful little voice singing from afar, I am beside myself. You will always be my first, the first time my heart learned to love more completely than I ever had before. You turned six this month and I can’t wait for every year, every month, week and day ahead.

Yesterday was Father’s Day, and I am thankful for my Father and beyond blessed by the Father of my children. My Father (Poppy) taught me to love SciFi, comic books, superheroes, science and reading, also that it’s cool to be a square. My husband has enjoyed all those geeky things with me and has taught me so much about sacrifice.

Babe, Lets do dates like this more often, you’re cute dressed up.

That’s the Walmart parking lot, by the way, because we are classy people.

I am beginning to feel human again after a trying pregnancy. Pray to God that you never get preeclampsia, bronchitis and gestational diabetes in the same pregnancy ever and then deliver a baby with all that going on, that honestly was the worst pain I’ve ever been in. I survived and it was so worth it.

Alice on the breathing machine when she came out with complications, Thank God she is perfect now.

Kenny and I have been trying to refocus on art after years and years from art school. He’s been screenprinting a lot in the shed we got this year and we opened an [etsy](https://www.etsy.com/shop/bensonbenson) for our prints. I’ve mainly been sketching my ideas out right now, working my way up to printing a few. I have a love affair with printing of any kind and sorely miss college late nights printing etchings and wood prints in the studio all alone. Although its been a while, we will be fast friends again. I’m also working on a photography series’s that I would like showing locally in the Fall that touches on some deep things in my life. I’ll explain more as those images come into fruition, they are just images in my mind.

So now we are trying to settle into our new normal and getting this house to feel homey. Also, praying about some opportunities for Kenny career wise and more. Life is an adventure, we are attempting to take it one step at a time.

Blank Bulletin Boards


The New Year has begun and as I watched the Golden Globes Sunday night in my finally clean house after a beautiful time with friends at our belated housewarming, I couldn’t help but look around and be extremely thankful. He is so good to us. In comparison to the celebrities across the screen fancily dressed and awaiting the adoring press, my life may seem sub par, but it is far from that. Everything I desire,need is here with me, in my home, in my life. There is nothing material that can make me happier than what I have here.

My wonderful little family that is growing plus one in a matter of months, is an overflowing blessing. The way my Husband understands me and loves me, the way that we’ve spent these years just getting to know each other better than I know anyone on this planet, all of it is blessing. The way my daughter is a mirror of me in nature and in showing me what resides underneath even though she does not even know she is doing so, beautiful. She is lovely and healthy and blesses me daily, teaches me to love better, be better. Never forgetting, the way He has always provided for us when we thought we couldn’t make it through the day or week or year, yet we did. Yes, there are material things we bookmark and put aside for later but those things of the least importance, the fillers that are nice but not necessary for living right where we are with joy and gratitude. I always love hearing Ann Voskamp’s reminder to live fully right where you are. The last few years in our life has been an unraveling of sorts. The thread unraveled and we didn’t know what to do, but we didn’t truly understand that all things we’re working together for good. So the thread begins to wind the way it should have in the first place and we are blessed because of it.

This is my first post of the New Year, I took a much needed break to focus on the important parts of my life and it was really good. I don’t really believe in resolutions per se, I believe in refocusing on what is important. For more than a year I have been doing C.H. Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening and was struck by the simple request to make continuing in prayer our resolutions or focus. It’s so simple, yet we often forget. I never want to forget to bear all things to the One who has taken us through all we’ve faced so far in life. The other part of that resolution/non resolution is to simply love God and love others. I want to love all the people that come into my life, and the ones that have been here since the beginning. Most importantly let me never forget to love God for all the blessings above and below, for the gifts He gives, for everything I see He is doing and because simply, He is God. 2013 could be a very revealing year for us if we hold to these truths, which I believe it will be. Kenny painted this old bulletin board he got from the library and it is blank for us to add all the beautiful reminders of love and thankfulness in our lives. We just started filling it and I am excited to see what is made from the collage of our lives this year, while we create and love and abide.
afterglow (1)

Settling down

Mending the lace on an vintage blouse for Emma

I think I know the reason they call get married and having a family “settling down”. Even though it may seem counter intuitive to the exciting busyness we try to thrust upon our younger selves, “settling down”, is a beautiful thing. I guess it would be called boring by some, or lonely by others, and it may be both at some times, but for the most part it is peaceful and happy. The world unraveling all around us it feels, but we choose how much of that we want to let into our nest.

Settling down, to me, is the act of making your family, your family, and your home, your home. I mean that it is a refining of the things you already have been given, family and home.As a wife and a mother, the task hat I have been slated with is just as grand as any others. I don’t long for high powered business suits and the respect that it garnishes. I think I did once, and felt guilt over what was weighing on my heart to aspire to, a wife and a mother. While there is nothing wrong with those aspirations, the world doesn’t always see eye to eye in these matters, but it doesn’t bother me anymore. I’ve owned my own business and worked my mind and body to insomnia, that was a season, and this is another one that I am very thankful for. As I transition from semi-domestic to full blown domestic, I am excited to see how it changes me. Being a good wife to my husband and mother to my daughter is my first and second priorities. During the day, I am preparing the home to be comfortable for a husband that work two jobs for us, and I am homeschooling my girl, learning with her the bible and about the wonders of life, and I truly love it.

You get to a point in your your life where you look at friends in different seasons that “do it all”, I am just thankful that my “doing it all”  in regards to my family, my life, is just settling down with my family in our routines and traditions and loving each and every moment of joy it brings.

Deep Distress and Joy


I don’t believe that heart ache and joy come independent of one another, at least in my life. Some of the biggest joy times are intermingled with things that hurt and break our hearts. I so wish it wasn’t the case at times but I see the beauty in the darkness while it blends and becomes light. That is why I am not afraid to talk about what I wrestle with and what I see in that struggle.  I believe in transparency, I believe in showing our true selves over the facsimiles of perfect people we so easily pass ourselves off as in the arena of watching eyes. If that is too much for some, I do not apologize. I am imperfect and I don’t feign what I can never be in my own right, so I lift the veil that hides my bare face in hopes to see….

This year has been the one; the one where I cried the most, I felt the most, I called out the most, and felt like the vice of brokenness harm me the most. It seems (I know) as though God is teaching me through this and even though I don’t know the message on the other side of this yet, I am hopeful in the hurting. There is so much grace in the joys that we receive in the dark times, when we feel the furthest from any and everyone. We bought a house this year, thank God, and we are expecting another child, a blessing. All things that sprung forth in hurting and broken times, are beautiful. Some are easier to notice like a house and a baby, some will take some time for us to recognize. All things working together for good, and His good is beauty unending, a story in trans media. He tells it and it is beautiful, we listen and wait for the next chapter anticipating the next and the next. We know that He protects us and shows his grace and love when we feel we are at the end of what we can handle. We know it, it doesn’t make the hurting less hard but it gives hope to know I am not alone, we are not alone, He is with us, He has been with us and will be at the end and forever after that.

I have struggled with Clinical Depression for over a decade, sometimes it has gotten so deep that I truly felt I could not survive another day. Other times, it has been a soft, sad lapping over me that brings me down with its ebb a little, a little, a little at a time. Only those that have dealt with the horrors of the darkest points of depression can truly know what it feels like. The suffocating grip and soul wrenching, you can’t breathe, can’t see, can’t believe, and feel you can’t endure, all the while, putting on the joyful face of someone else’s happiness. Those that know will try and help with well meaning words, so be thankful for those that pray and grieve for you. I don’t know why some of us fight this conflict in mind and heart, but we do.  If there is one thing I know for certain is that deep despair will never defeat me, even if I woke this morning crying for the loss felt of once present people in my life or the nights I cry over the circumstances that feel like the world, there is still victory because this is just the middle of the story working it’s through all of my being, the silver strings that connect this present, to that past, to what we all feel in our broken bodies is coming.

This Poem by Isaac Watts speaks to me :

Psalm 130:2 [From Deep Distress And Troubled Thoughts]

From deep distress and troubled thoughts,
To thee, my God, I rais’d my cries;
If thou severely mark our faults,
No flesh can stand before thine eyes.

But thou hast built thy throne of grace,
Free to dispense thy pardons there,
That sinners may approach thy face,
And hope and love, as well as fear.

As the benighted pilgrims wait,
And long, and wish for breaking day,
So waits my soul before thy gate;
When will my God his face display?

My trust is fix’d upon thy word,
Nor shall I trust thy word in vain:
Let mourning souls address the Lord,
And find relief from all their pain.

Great is his love, and large his grace,
Thro’ the redemption of his Son:
He turns our feet from sinful ways,
And pardons what our hands have done.

The life change wave laps all at once

“Let not your heart be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” John 14:1
Life has bit a bit overwhelming lately, in both the good and the bad, kinda crazy, a lot awesome. There are so many things happening to us right now as a family and we are just trying to embrace every moment as it comes, regardless of the circumstance. He is teaching through these times, through the overwhelming seasons of joy and pain all mixed into one another like so many flavors of ice cream that melt together in the sun, creating a new and different flavor. I love melty ice cream. Thank God for what he is giving us.

A new baby, How blessed are we to bring a new life into the world? I pray that God will refine us to become vastly better than the flawed Parents we are now, in preparation for this little one and for the life of the one we have been loving for the past five years.

this silly one

I am 13 weeks pregnant at this date in time and have made it through a grueling first trimester. Praying for the second trimester burst of energy, I remember from last time. God knows I need it to handle some of the things coming up, like…

A new house; we are purchasing our first home, they accepted out offer this past week and we are signing papers and getting keys at the end of this week, it feels surreal. It feels like we are finally growing up, perhaps only a tiny bit, but we’ll take it. I am praying for this house to be a home that honors God first and foremost, a place of a pouring out of love, friends and family, laughter, joy and authenticity.

This is the picture from the real estate site, I will get better ones once we move in.

So thankful for God providing this for us. I am not going to lie, knowing that I was pregnant for the past 12 weeks and not knowing if we would have a place to move into before the baby came that would provide some breathing room for us, was very stressful. We are so thankful for not only a place to live for the next season of our lives, but a place to grow and love others in. We are also praying for Harrisburg, the neighborhood we are moving to, that God will allow us to love those there. If you do not live in Augusta, you may not be familiar with this area, Harrisburg is an urban neighborhood in our city that has a lot of people that need love. We pray we can just simply do that. Also living in the same neighborhood with our dear friends the Duke’s, is a plus, and we have several friends just blocks away from us. Love that they sent us this cute photo of them in front of our very soon future home. Isn’t Jessie and Nick precious? I am so thankful for Jessie’s friendship and am happy we will be so close.

So all in all these are some of the things that are going on, as well as Kenny looking for a second job to help lighten our financial burdens and searching for a new church home. We are in the process of visiting a church we really like and are praying that this will be a good place for our family. You can join with us in prayer about all these things above, let me know how I can pray for you. I want to join in prayer with you. We relish the prayers of friends and loved ones.