Goodbye October

October is my favorite month.  Not just because of the whole pumpkin spice fad, (I'm old enough to remember life before flavored coffees), although they are pretty wonderful, aren't they?

October feels like freedom.
It's shedding of the old, to allow room for the new. 

Outside, the leaves begin to turn beautiful colors, fall from the tree, and leave the branches bare for the winter.  While the tree is bare, it rests, preparing for the spring, when new growth will begin.

Though I don't wait until October, I feel as if my spirit is often turning beautiful colors before it sheds parts of me that no longer serve my higher purpose.  Then I turn inward, rest, and reflect until new spiritual growth begins. 

This frequently occuring cycle is natural and happens to all of us.  We only have to turn our focus inward a bit to recognize it.
And embrace it.

Crotchety Coast

For so long, I've been in denial. 
Wishing for something that is not. 

This girl.
Who loathes being covered in sand. 
Who doesn't like that crispy feeling after swimming in the salty sea.
Who has fair skin, burns after an hour, and needs to get honest with herself about making a trip to the dermatologist. 
This girl makes no secret that the beach is not my happy place.

I come alive in the woods and around fresh water.  Maybe because that's where I spend my formative years - living alongside a crystal clear river that begins at a beautiful spring. 
I've been longing to return to that place and live alongside that river - we even gave it a go, but it didn't work out, so we ended up back here.
For all this time, I've been holding on to this dream that we'd be somewhere, anywhere in the woods, alongside a fresh water source. 

We live near this lovely little beach in a town that is so full of people who are unlike me. 

When we lived in the city, everyone was just everyone. 
No one judged, no one cared. 
You could drive a pinto or a range rover, and no one batted an eye either way. 
When we lived in the city, if you put on your blinker on a crowded highway, someone made way for you to change lanes. 

But this town.
In this town, you may be run right off a bridge if you would like to merge when your lane is ending.
This town is full of transplanted people who come from somewhere very different than where I come from.
 There is no melting pot to mix the different types of people, for they are all nearly the same, save for a few. 
This town is full of what you call "new money," and I have learned that "no money" is far better than "new money" in terms of kindness offered to strangers.
Many here have to be better.
I don't even know if they realize what they are.
It only takes joining a local facebook group and observing how people talk to each other to make you cringe.
I've never seen anything like it.
Driven by ego.

Joseph Campbell said, "When you get to be older, and the concerns of the day have all been attended to, and you turn to the inner life - well, if you don't know where it is or what it is, you'll be sorry."

I wrote this post to convince myself that acceptance is my key to happiness.  That this is where we are, so this is where we're meant to be, and that I should turn my attention to the present instead of dreaming for what may come one day.
I thought that putting it to words would help me pull up my boots and move on, but you know what?  I can't. 
I will always long for a place where I can be among the tall trees, and listen to the birds and the running water, but I think what I'm truly longing for is to be surrounded by different energy. 
Loving energy. 
Accepting energy. 
Putting people before yourself energy. 

Until then, I will spend more of my time in our city to the north, which has much more of a "kindness vibe," and learn to appreciate the beach more, because our little neighboring beach town truly is lovely - especially in the evenings when the sun has begun to fade.

Daily Schedule for AO Year 4 - Term 2

We're nearing the end of Year 4's Term 1 using Ambleside Online's curriculum, and it has been such a refreshing couple of months.  I cannot say enough great things about this curriculum and about implementing the Charlotte Mason method in schooling.  Watching my son make connections and really learn from the living books we're using is such a magical thing.  I've even learned a few things myself!

homeschool books

Term 1 really helped me gauge where Bent is academically, and just how much independent work he's ready for.  I've learned a few things:

1. We weren't ready to read Shakespeare. Part of it I'm sure is that I'm from the camp of "Shakespeare's plays are meant to be watched, not read," but another part was simply that Bent hadn't been exposed to any Shakespeare before, so it was a bit much to take in.  Instead of reading the scheduled play for this year and term, we decided to take it back a notch (AO's year's 1-3 style) and read from Tales from Shakespeare (Puffin Classics) which we will continue to do on Saturdays (our Friday) for Tea Time.

2. Plutarch is NOT our thing.  I see you reaching for your pitchfork, but hear me out.  What works for some does not work for all.  Some people like chocolate, some like vanilla.  Bent was dying of boredom from each passage we read about Caesar, and frankly, I was too.  He just wasn't there yet comprehension-wise.  Language aside, Plutarch read to us like overhearing a conversation about Season 3, Episode 6 of a television program which we had never seen before.  There were no connections being made, no backstory to pull from, no way to remember the names since there were no details or development of any characters.  I felt like if the aim was to learn about Caesar, another book would be a better fit for us, and if the aim was to expose him to Plutarch's writings, well....we've been exposed for now, but we will have to wait a while until we revisit. We will not continue Plutarch next term, but Ambleside Online has a handy, 3 times/week breakdown on their site, which works nicely for a Mon/Wed/Fri schedule if you'd like to add it in.

I've made the schedule available in PDF and Word formats, that way you can edit it to fit your family.

A few notes:

We've been using Easy Grammar, Grade 2 in our Morning Basket, as that's the copy I had on hand, and this is the first year Grammar is formally introduced.  We have been working through that at a pretty quick pace, so I think we will be moving up to Grade 3 after Christmas break.

We use the version of Madam How and Lady Why pictured below, so the reading breakdown by page number on the schedule has been adjusted for that version. If you are using the other version, use the page numbers listed on the AO site.

madam how lady why

Our Morning Basket will stay pretty much the same as Term 1, with the exception of a new Cursive Writing workbook, and the replacement of Khan Academy for Math with Saxon 6/5.
Khan academy didn't work for us at all.  My son made a game of it where his goal was getting points and not actually learning the material. We switched back to Saxon Math mid term, and I'm so glad we did.  It's familiar to him, the spiral method works very well for him, and he understands the material.

George Washington's World will be part of the daily morning basket to be read independently and then narrated.

Kidnapped will be read independently twice a week, while listening along to the audio on Librivox.

I've moved one of the weekly Storybook of Science chapters into the morning basket time slot. The reading is something he can handle independently, and we will read the second chapter in the afternoon the same day, which provides the perfect opportunity for him to "catch me up" by narrating the chapter he read that morning to me before we begin the chapter we read together. 

For Latin, we've been using Getting Started with Latin, and I'm so glad that we chose this program.  It's such an easy program to follow, with just the right amount of new material each lesson.  Bent has really impressed me with his retention!  Other than a little bit of Spanish when he was younger (colors, numbers, etc), this is his first real attempt at foreign language, and I'm really wishing we would have started the recommended language schedule sooner! I'm wondering if it would be ok, to begin Spanish with him after Christmas break, since 2 languages are scheduled for year 4, or if I should hold off until next year.  I'd love opinions from other CM/AO mamas, so please leave me a comment if you have suggestions!

charlotte mason education

P.S.  I mentioned in the Term 1 post that I was thinking about purchasing Bird Bingo, and I wanted to let you know, it was SUCH a hit! If you're on the fence about it, GET IT!  It's very well made, the whole family can play together, and you can't help but learn all of the birds just from playing.  I definitely recommend it!

ao year 4 daily schedule

School Room Tour

Our homeschool room has been so many things over the past few years.

When I was working from home full time, it was my office/sewing room.

It's acted as a spare bedroom for when my stepson came to visit in the summer.

Usually though, it's our school room.

My absolute favorite thing in our room is our yellow booth.  My aunt gave it to us, and while we intended to use it as a kitchen table, it has served us SO well as a school table.

Our little fern  may look kinda sad to you, but it was one of my $1 Plant Graveyard saves, so it actually looks amazing compared to the state it was in when we rescued it.  I save plants the way other people save dogs and cats.  Please tell me I'm not the only one who saves the marked down plants at Lowes.  They all look so sad, and just need a little love, I always come home with at least one!

We were gifted the bookshelf on the right from a neighbor (okay, he was throwing it away, and we asked if we could have it), and Jon built the bookshelf on the left when our book collection grew too large. 

Our closet had those old school, sliding doors, and it was so annoying to look for what book we needed, so I asked Jon to take the doors off and hang curtains instead.  Now we can see all the books at once, or just close the curtains if needed. 

I used to keep our games on the top shelf of the closet, but now that Cole is older, and I don't have to worry about lost pieces, we keep them in a more easily accessible spot for the kiddos.

If you've done a homeschool room tour, please feel free to link to your post in the comments!  It's so much fun to check out other people's spaces!!

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