Monday, May 14, 2018

{This and That}

I think it's way past time for a little catch up!

First: I have an article up at the Charlotte Mason Institute blog: Sunday-Keeping for Children. I share a bit about Mason's vision for Sunday observance and practical advice from the Parents Review.

I've already been asked to share a follow-up here about our family's personal Sunday traditions, and I hope to get to that soon! So let me know if you read the article and what other elements of Sunday observance you would like more details on.


We have been busy lately with springtime festivities...

Luckily, we finished up OUR school year at the end of April, so we have had extra time for these kinds of events!

We did exams a couple weeks ago, which I'll share about here soon. I also finished up my school filing last week, including surveys, audits, exam scanning, and more. It always takes a good few hours of time, but it's worth it to have everything finished and books closed on the school year. It also helps me in prepping mindfully for the year to come.

Up next on my list: the summer clothing switch out (prayers appreciated!), school planning, conference talk writing, and a big stack of books. :)


Some CM West news:

First, if you're not signed up for the announcement emails, please head over! But we have three future events now formally on the calendar:

CM West :: Retreat at Warm Beach in September 2018
Registration is now open for this event in the Seattle area this September. The theme is Mother Culture, and I'm sure it will be a lovely time of handicrafts, nature journaling, living books, and more. I won't be able to attend this event, but I'm sure it will be a great opportunity to learn and grow with other Mason mamas.

CM West :: Retreat at Old San Juan in February 2019
We just signed the contract to return to the location of last year's retreat: Saint Francis Retreat Center in San Juan Bautista! Registration will open this fall.

CM West :: Conference at Puget Sound in September 2019
No details on this yet, as it's a year and a half away. :) But the Seattle group has secured this lovely venue to host next year's retreat. So feel free to mark your calendar!

We also have two videochats going for western mamas: Amber and I have an ongoing dicussion of Volume 5, and Amber will be hosting a new discussion beginning on Volume 1 using Brandy's Home Education study guide with our good friend Brittany Lindvall. For more information, sign up for the email list!


Speaking of Amber, our family had the rare and delightful opportunity to spend the day with her family at the beach last week!

I won't see her again until February, likely, so there will be lots of Voxer chats and Evernote collaboration until then!


I am hosting a few weeks of Mother's Notebooks @keepingcompanycm. If you want to see inside the notebooks of Mason mamas of all ability levels and interests, head on over! It's a publc account, so even if you aren't an Instagram user, you can still read along.


I'm in the middle of writing a big {What We're Reading} round-up of Easter books, birthday books, and more. Coming up later this week!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Keeping Company :: Spring 2018

Is it strange that I measure time partly in notebooks? A few pages in my nature journal, a third of my pre-reading commonplace, several new drawings in my Book of Centuries...and here we are, over three months into the year, at the start of a new spring!

Starting the Discussion
What changes does this spring bring to your notebooks?

Spring usually sees a refreshed interest in nature journals for all of us, as we start weekly wildflower hunting and watch trees re-leaf. It does in your homes too, based on what I see in the #keepingcompanycm feed!

I have also started a new notebook for my book club study of Norms and Nobility with online friends. I didn't want to mash up the quotes from this book and my Charlotte Mason commonplace, and I also wanted bigger pages for this particular read.  It's working great so far. I definitely think writing and outlining is helping me understand the book better.

We have also all been busy in our Books of Centuries, which is our new addition for 2018. It always feels exciting to start making connections in a new form.

As I mentioned on Instagram, the Book of Centuries is my personal goal for this year -- to get mine started and actually get some ink in there! ;)  I have done the first faithfully (lots of entries so far, including a couple drawings), but no pen yet. Baby steps. :)

From the Community

On Instagram, @keepingcompanycm has featured lots of mama-keepers as well as student work.

We spent a few weeks discussing keeping goals for the new year...




The ever-keeping Mariah shared about her "keeping hour." (If you'd like more info, check out the follow-up post she did at Ladydusk!)


And a few other fresh ideas I wanted to highlight...

favorite quotes -- like a Book of Mottoes? by @owl_creek_homestead

the start of a family Calendar of Firsts - a poster on the wall, by @lauren.keptandkeeping

embroidered phenology wheel, by @northlaurel

mama as "detailer," by @accidentalstars

From the Charlotte Mason blogsosphere...

Annie Kate is hoping to strart a Book of Centuries in earnest, but in the meantime, she shares her nature walks in winter. (This reminds me of the science journal entries we have been doing alongside A Drop of Water.)

Carol tracks the idea of "interior riches" through literature to inform her understanding of Mother Culture -- fascinating!

She also has fabulous examples of science journals from older students up. (Side note: she kindly let me use some as examples in my notebook talk for CM West! They really show the mark of interest, observation, and skill.)

Amy hosts a fascinating discussion of work and leisure...spurred on by a commonplace quote from Swiss Family Robinson.

I did a post on getting started with lettering recently. If you (or your kids) are wanting to add a bit of extra style to your notebooks, take a peek!

And one last thing I'd like to highlight from this quarter: my talk on keeping at the CM West retreat! Dozens of beautiful examples from a variety of families.

And now it's your turn!

The Link-Up

:: For BLOGGERS: Leave a link to any blog posts related to CM-style keeping in the comments section of this post all quarter.  I will be sure to click over and read so I can highlight them here in the next edition!

:: For INSTAGRAMMERS: Tag related photos with #KeepingCompanyCM.  You can also follow my new account: @keepingcompanycm. I will be re-sharing daily on that account from posts tagged!
:: Any posts about CM-style Keeping are welcome.  Your post can be as simple as a photo of your commonplace book or your kids' drawing.
:: You can grab the button over there on the sidebar if you'd like to add it to your post or site.

Thanks for your participation, friends!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Pre-Reading as Schole, or a Mid-Year Update on My Reading Journal

Happy Easter! I hope you had a blessed weekend.

I'd like to start off the week with another peek into my Reading Journal in honor of my chat with Brandy and Pam on Schole Sisters about pre-reading as schole and how keeping can transform your teacher prep time. (Go have a listen!)

In case you missed my last post on this personal keeping assignment, here it is! I explained what I keep in this particular notebook, why I started it, and what products I'm using.  I also shared inside the first half of my book.

The short version: this is part of my pre-reading for AmblesideOnline Year 6. I keep other notes too (more teacher prep stuff like lists of proper nouns, notes, and potential discussion/exam questions), but this is a creative twist on a commonplace book that invites me to adopt the posture of a student as I do my weekly prep work.

I can't tell you how this has revolutionized the way I think about my weekly pre-reading. By adding elements of keeping, little by little, over the course of the past couple years, I have seen so much fruit in my engagement with the material and with my students.  It has made my teacher prep time much more enjoyable, ordering my attitude toward those tasks from busy mama trying to keep up to delighted co-learner.

And besides that, it's just a lot of fun. :)  I'll definitely be keeping another of these next year. And every year!

Just to be clear: it is not as if a notebook like this (or keeping of any kind, really) is required for pre-reading to be schole. But if you're a box-checker like me and find that as much as you LOVE the books, your temptation is just to "get it done" and not fully engage, then maybe this strategy will help you as much as it has helped me.

We're not halfway through Term 3, so it's an awkward time to peek in: I'm only five pages from the end! I'll probably pop some final pages up during some end-of-the-year round-up.

For now, here is a look through my pages from where I left off last time, as well as a look back at some in-progress pages from that first batch that I have added to since then (like my timeline and maps)...

in progress :)

I hope that gives a sense of the variety that this format has enabled and the organic approach that is possible with this assignment. Adding little by little each week has really created something meaningful to me.

And I talked all about this on the Schole Sisters chat, but just a reminder: none of these drawings are out of my own head. They're all "drawing copywork": finding a drawing I like in one of our books and copying it into my book. And I have a personal goal to have something colored and something drawn on each page since my default mode is just ink + words.

Side note: I have been excited by all the moms who have told me they have started keeping a book like this after reading my post at the start of the year! You can see a couple here: MacKenzie's at BRC Banter and Arenda's at The Upcast Eye. If you keeping a pre-reading commonplace like this, let me know! I'd love to take a peek. I'm currently scavenging ideas for next year's iteration. I am always on the hunt for fresh inspiration. :)