Monday, October 9, 2017

Keeping Company :: Fall 2017

Welcome to Keeping Company for fall!

First: an announcement!  I'm going to be changing the format of Keeping Company a bit from here on out. Over my blog break, I had some time to think about the most effective way to host this community of keepers, and I feel like the platform for this kind of sharing has shifted largely to Instagram. Almost all the participation in this link-up happens over there with a few (very notable, very wonderful) exceptions.  And I understand why: with its visual emphasis, Instagram makes the sharing of photo examples seamless.

I, however, still love blogging and the flexibility and permanence it affords, so I want to maintain the community for those that blog also. I think I've figured out a way to do that. Here's how the opportunities to share will look moving forward:

:: I will put up a quarterly/seasonal Keeping Company post here (rather than monthly) where I will share posts from the blog world that have been linked up, update on the keeping going on in our family, and select a couple favorites from the Instagram tag to highlight.  In the comments of that post, I'd love for you to link up your blog posts and relevant articles for me to spotlight in the next edition.  (That will be in lieu of the blog linky tool that I have been using.)

:: On Instagram: come check out @keepingcompanycm!  I plan to use this new account to respost the photos tagged by the community daily-ish. This will allow you to like, comment, engage, and chat with the original posters of the images.  It will also allow me to repost people's images along with their captions, which are often just as helpful as the photos themselves. I'm hoping it will be a wonderful resource both for newbies and for moms with experience and wisdom to share.

If you're not on Instagram but still enjoy looking at the keeping photos: this account will be a public account, so anyone can view it. I will put a link to it in each Keeping Company post here, so you can hop over and take a look through with a hot cup of tea every so often. :)  But rather than rounding up Instagram photos to share here, I'll be sharing them on the @keepingcompanycm page.

I hope this will be an effective way to cater to the various needs of the Charlotte Mason keeping community. If you have further organizational suggestions, feel free to let me know!  Thanks for bearing with me as I tweak. :)


And now on to our FALL keeping conversation...

Starting the Discussion

I shared this over on Instagram, but I thought I'd include it here as well...

I reserved one little corner of our new art wall for our Weekly Paintings, which is something I instituted this year. Each week, each student chooses one thing to draw + watercolor from any of their readings for that week. It is always fun to see what they pick -- they go back and forth all week deciding what their subject should be. It is a form of narration as well, though it doesn't take the place of oral narration for us.

I encourage them to use small cards (these are artist trading cards) so that the task feels simple and pleasant rather than overwhelming. It also requires them to thoughtfully cull as they work in a small space. I have a slightly larger card available too that they can use if they insist. 😊

For the week pictured above, Xavier drew the Little Duke sitting on the King of France's lap, Cate painted a sea slug from Pagoo, Gianna copied an illustration of Judah and his mother from our copy of Ben Hur, and Vincent replicated a drawing of a centurion from Augustus Caesar's World.

This week -- well, can you guess?

Cleopatra about to drop her pearl into her goblet - from Augustus Caesar's World
Lake-Town - from The Hobbit
Mona Lisa - from Child's History of the World
Perseus and Andromeda - from Kingsley's Heroes

Just adding a little more fun and beauty to our week! (And it's great scaffolding for our other keeping too!)

I also shared the reading journal I have been keeping for our Year 6 studies.

Both of these new "forms of vitality" have enlivened our keeping routine. Are you trying out any new notebooks or notebooking habits this fall?

This Month's Round-Up

Nancy shares a collection of aphorisms from "a mother" straight from the PNEU miscellaneous archives.  I think you'll find that many are commonplace-worthy!

Carol has a bit of everything: poetry, Shakespeare, architecture, and science -- all from one student in one week!  I love snapshots like this. They help to remind me of the bigger picture.

I've been watching Amy read Anna Akhatova poems over on Instagram, and here she shares one with us.  (And some words from Miss Mason too!)

Melanie and her daughter "keep" a beautiful collection of pressed flowers for display. A wonderful handicraft!

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!  Happy to be in community with you. :)


  1. I love the weekly painting idea...I might just copy that idea from you! :)

  2. LOVE the weekly painting. I'm so glad you shared that here. I'll use that when I start AO in January as our first bit of keeping. Looking forward to nature journaling, but I'm not quite ready to jump right in yet, so the weekly painting will be perfect! What do you use for watercolors? I have a couple of pans I got while abroad that I really like but need to replace and one from Walmart here in the US that I really dislike, so any recommendations are appreciated!

    1. The weekly painting is a great opportunity to build skills for nature journaling because it allows you and the kids to get comfortable using paints (controlling the amount of water, mixing colors, etc) outside of trying to be hyper-realistic like you would in a nature journal. And, of course, it is fun also. ;)

      We each have a set of these pans: I have used these suggestions over time to make it even better: But it's great to use straight out of the box also. It is a great little paint set -- high quality and very portable!

      Hope that helps. :)

  3. Also a fan of the weekly painting idea - your kids are so talented! I used to do weekly watercolor with the boys before our lives got busy selling/moving and I long for that! I'm starting a mother's journal this week - Thanks to CM boot camp :) and want to improve my pre-readning keeping, right now I make notes on loose leaves to keep on a binder but not finding it very helpful. Now that the busy summer is behind us, I'm scheduling keeping time for myself for nature journal and commonplace. Thank you Celeste for making this community possible. It's been a huge blessing for me, I've got to meet some wonderful moms over Instagram :)

    1. It has been a huge blessing for me too! I'm glad you are finding practices and building habits that are bringing you joy, Mariana. :)

  4. Thanks for keeping non-instagrammers in mind. I mostly just lurk here, and don't have a camera phone or easy way or instagramming or posting photos right now, but have been inspired and sustained by these beautiful posts!
    Though I can't easily show them, we have really taken off this year in our Nature Notebooks, Commonplacing, and new History and science notebooks, as well as a Weather Tracker for some of the middle aged kids. I've started Notebooking in my pre-reading as well. Thanks for all the great ideas and explanations! This has really helped me to implement some of the practices I was so excited about in The Living Page!
    And, your notebooks and other Keepings are just delightful!

    1. I'm happy to hear you have been reading along and enjoying, MamaBear. <3 I love hearing about the varied keeping you have been doing -- sounds like it has really become part of your family culture. :) If you ever wanted to share any photos with the community, you could always email them to me and I'd be happy to "host" them in my next link-up. :)

      I have other practices I read about in The Living Page that I haven't yet implemented either, but slowly and surely they are becoming part of our days, one by one. Sounds like your experience has been similar. :)

  5. Yes! I wanted to do nearly everything I found in the book, and it is so helpful to see it incarnated in different families.
    In our local coop, I am coordinating nature studies talks, and am just beginning a time for the mothers to share our keeping, and also a little nature study inspiration , with some resources. I also want the kids to see more other children's work--perfectionistic students can have a hard time if all they have to compare their work to is adult's!
    I don't know that I had seen any other mothers really keeping notebooks themselves before Joyous Lessons. Sometimes we need to see it in real life--I hadn't realized I was not leading the way myself, but the kids couldn't see my studies, before. It's really exciting!


    1. So inspiring, MamaBear! Thank you for sharing this. <3

  6. I saw your post on IG about the assigned drawing/watercolor of something from the week's reading and love that idea because I haven't been very good about encouraging my kids to draw/paint outside of their nature journals, which I'm not sure they enjoy quite yet. :) But my question is : What will you do with these? Will you save each one? Will you only save favorites? With them not being very big, I'd think they could get lost in a binder of 8.5x11 paper... And I'm one of those who struggle with wanting to keep everything :)

    1. There are plastic pages -- like baseball card holders -- that you can keep the cards in to file them or keep in a binder. I plan on buying a few of these for each child and we can keep them in a family binder or in personal ones. I'll need to figure that out before the end of the year. :)

      And yes, assignments like this are great for practicing drawing/painting skills that can then be put to use in assignments where you are trying to paint from a 3-D object. That is much easier to do when you have those chances outside of nature journaling time to practice with the medium. :)

  7. Sounds like a great plan for KeepingCompanyCM, Celeste! Looking forward to continuing to share and grow in keeping. My children are a little more shy about sharing their stuff, so unless they give it to me or give me permission then I don't share theirs as much. So you are stuck with my stuff, usually. ;) LOL! I'll commonplace ya to death. BAHAHA. Anyway, is one commonplace entry.

    1. You are one of my very favorite keepers, Amy -- I always love your commonplace posts!! :) Thanks for being such a faithful contributor!

  8. Uh, yes! Going to grab that commonplace now for those aphorisms!

    1. Right?! I have been pondering them ever since I read that post. :)

  9. Hey Celeste, today, I posted on the blog regarding our Morning Time study of Chemistry for Middle School, using AO's Year 6, The Mystery of the Periodic Table and The Elements. We are notebooking through them this year. You can read and see more here...

    I will be sharing some pics on IG as well. Thanks for keeping both platforms. I still like to blog too :)

    1. Thank you for sharing this, Melissa! I just took a look and you are doing some of the same things we are with these books in our science journals. They really are very fun selections. I am so glad I am getting to experience (and keep!) these. :)

    2. You're welcome...Oh, how I love learning with the kids!