Monday, January 29, 2007

Lesson Planning

Dawn has a post up over at By Sun and Candlelight, about how she plans her week :) it is well worth checking out!
If you have a post about lesson planning, please, feel free to share... we all like to hear about it!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Thursday 25th and Friday 26th January

St. Paul is lowered over a wall in a basket.

Thursday went quite well… we started out at 9:30 with our regular 2 pages of mathematics… completed in time with no extras (which is OK, but he will often do twice as much when in the mood ;)).
9:50 am Latin we rushed through with yours truly doing the writing as Rebel translated and recited. Normally I let him do some, but we had missed one lesson this week (see previous post) and therefore had to squeeze everything into the last two lessons. The timed ‘call card’ routine was a hit… we timed it and recorded the time it took.
10:20 saw a quick break (it was quick as we had gone overtime with Latin) and at 10:30 we were at the dreaded copywork. I made him finish the line from Wednesday and at 10:50 we were ready for the next Lesson.
Here I took a break from the usual… instead of history, we did the Conversion of St. Paul… I read his both a recap account and the Bible version from Acts. Then I set Rebel a rather fun task… make some cardstock puppets to put on a puppet show later.
It took the rest of the day… but he did it! His daddy was the proud recipient of a show at bedtime and M’Lady and I got to watch the next day!!

St. Paul is blinded by a light from the heavens.

Friday… 9:30am usual 2 pages of math, 9:50 saw a nice Latin lesson that ended on time at 10:10, leaving rebel with his 20 minute break. He beat the Latin to English call card time, but lost out in the other direction! After break, a line of copywork, followed by nature study. I threw out some breadcrumbs for the birds, allowed the kids to watch the birds at the feeder and on the ground. Then I read two chapters of the Burgess Bird Book, and Moon of the Winter Bird by Jean Craighead George… both of which were enjoyed. Rebel did a page about the house wren and the house Sparrow… neither of which we have seen here, although the chipping sparrow, winter wren and Carolina wren are all regulars in the garden!

You can see pictures of feeder antics over at Wortcunning, the nature blog 

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Wednesday 24th January

A recent thread over at 4Real Learning, made me think. The ladies there were sharing their ‘daily life’ blogs… the ones where you really see what we do as homeschoolers.
Now I don’t think I can really start another blog… but I am will to make a series of posts on here about it 

RECAP: This week has been a BAD one… the past two mornings started off OK… but not well. The last two weeks I have been working on Rebel getting up and dressed first thing. I have let it slip for years, but with the battles about even getting dressed recently, I decided enough was enough. So starting last week, every morning he gets up and dressed first. This has messed up my own preferred schedule in the morning, because I really like to get dressed before school starts. It sets a good example. But in order to be around when he gets up (which usually coincides with my shower), I wait until after he is up and dressed. Since we start schooling at 9:30 and he has a nasty habit of getting up at 9… well you get the idea. But back to why it has been bad.
See… the kids lack sleep. Our fault totally… we kept them up on the weekend, and for some reason we keep having errands to run in the evenings this week. While M’Lady is just going off of her naps, this is BAD news, because she needs to go to bed at a reasonable time. She’ll fall asleep in the car when we go out which can easily make her wake up at bedtime. If she falls asleep during the day, I have to be the mean one who wakes her before she goes over an hour, or she is terrible to get off to sleep.
So you can guess why they were late to bed a few times. Late to bed… normal rise time, means grumpy kids.
Grumpy kids rebel at school… and sure enough, that’s exactly what Rebel did. Monday, he spent all morning doing 2 pages of mathematics.
Tuesday, he got as far as copywork before refusing to copy a Ben Franklin saying. He just didn’t want to write… which I understand, but honestly… two lines is not too much to ask.
This morning was much better.
We started on time (although I was still in my nightie) with our regular 2 pages of math. He pushed it to the limit though, and when I took it away was very upset. That’s good, it means he had planned to go on and do more… good sign.
Next up… Latin. We just got in our new Latina Christiana II… where the first 6 lessons are reviews. So instead of the review lesson at the end of LCI, I jumped into the new one (Rebel hates review lessons LOL). Straight into recitation, then drilling call cards. We timed that, and it helped motivate him.
A quick break later and off to copywork. He was promised a computer game if he did it, so he finished quickly (no, not a bribe, he wanted to know if Jacobite could download the trial game, and he said only if he did his schoolwork today ;)). After copywork, onto Bible studies… the story of Joshua leading his people to Jericho, and Rahab hiding the men was followed by the baptism and temptation of Jesus—some of which Rebel read to me as I cleaned up the spilt water and soil from Jacobite’s new Venus flytrap that M’Lady had dropped. This was a good reading because we were able to make a nice notebook page using Microsoft Publisher… my first trial. I wasn’t so thrilled with the dove coloured to look like the American flag… and I thought that he could have drawn something more interesting than the desert, but I decided to quit while ahead.
It took me so long to customize his page, that it was already lunchtime. I rushed upstairs for my shower, discovering the kids speaking to Jacobite as I got out. Repeated shoutings (while I hurriedly dressed) eventually brought the phone to me, and I spent the next hour talking to him while baking biscuits and making egg salad biscuits (whole-wheat thankyouverymuch).
The kids were occupied with a computer game each… Reader Rabbit on the desktop for M’Lady and Sonic the Hedgehog on the Nintendo DS for Rebel. This would have been quite nice for me, if Rebel hadn’t decided to get jealous of M’Lady’s game, and tried to do it for her. She bit him, he bit her, and there were tears and recriminations. Some salve and a telling off (an apology and hug) later, I was able to get back to my work. After lunch, I decided to allow some TV for some peace and quiet. And here I am, blogging, because I am supposed to be trying to get my email up. I am not having much luck… I haven’t been able to get into the email properly for the last day or so.
I finally manage it, find the missing DVD and remote control and go to blog… only blogger is down.

Names and Questions

Pseudonyms: I have decided on some for the family.

DH = Jacobite. He chose it ages (years) ago as his handle, I see no reason to change it.
DS = Rebel… appropriate in so many ways.
DD = M’Lady. We call her ‘Ladybaby’ at home… and she is all girl. It seems an appropriate title for a DRAMA QUEEN!!

Now, Fe asked about not getting rid of naptime. Unfortunately, *I* was given that advice after Rebel outgrew it, so I never did do that with him. Luckily I was able to instigate quiet time… it works on the principle of giving him something quiet in his room. M’Lady will play quietly in her room quite happily. I just close the door… I will get interrupted occasionally, but I walk her back to it and let her sit in a small ‘reading nook’ I made for her.
A birdfeeder outside the window, quiet toys work well… and today it is a quiet TV show while I work in Rebel’s room on the computer.

Which Classical Heroine am I?

Maid Marian

Beautiful and strong-willed, Lady Marian Fitzwalter is the lady love of the dashing outlaw, Robin Hood. She is skilled with a bow, but can match the manners of any lady of the Queen. She waits earnestly for the day when King Richard will return and wed her to Robin.

Which Classic Heroine are You?

Suits me to a ‘T’… I LOVE that time period  ht to Cay at Cay’s Cajun Cottage

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Hospitable Home

So speaking of hospitality and guests… I have decided to reciprocate the first dinner invitation we received this year, and invite my guest over. There will be five guests… two adults and three children… and that makes a total of five children and four adults… around a table that only seats 6.

This hostess is in need of a few ideas… can you help???

I had thought a buffet style meal might work… but I also need dish ideas… one of my guests is allergic to dairy products.

Hospitality at Home

I know when I have been offline for a while… because I will have a number of blogs half composed in my head, and even more long forgotten!

But there is this one that has been nibbling at my subconscious for a while… and that is concerning hospitality at home.

Naturally you might be thinking that I mean inviting people over… and I do, just not all the time J that comes later.

Right now, I am thinking about hospitality for your family.

For starters, why should you treat a guest better than your family? You shouldn’t. In fact, you should use that as the ultimate guideline for a family… would I treat a guest this way?

If the answer is no, then you should probably not treat your family that way either. Now of course, there are some things that don’t apply; parenting issues and discipline are obviously not things you would bring up with guests… but those within the family behavioural boundaries are.

Just as we think about would I do this in my own home when we are out, we should also wonder would we do this in someone else’s home? If the answer is no, then don’t do it in yours (again, with a few personal exceptions ;))

But how do I apply hospitality to my family?

Firstly, you consider their likes and dislikes. When I put together a dinner, I try to have one of my husband’s favourite foods with it.

Similarly, I try to have at least one meal a week that each of the kids dearly love… and attempt to have a food at each meal I know they more than tolerate.

I would do it for a guest, why not my own family?

I make sure the table looks nice for them… clear it off, serve it with napkins and drinks in glasses. OK, we do use the ‘jelly jar glasses’ -as they are called over here- for the kids, but they are still glass.

And I might have to wash the napkins nightly… but they learn… my 2 year old already knows to put her napkin in her lap before eating.

These little touches can mean a great deal… and not a lot. The choice is what you intend to do that makes life special for your family, and brings hospitality home.

The Quiet Time

A mother’s best friend is her quiet time… that time each day, whereupon she sends the children away for an hour or so, and allows herself time for prayer, or contemplation… or just quiet reading.

What? You don’t have a quiet time?
You should.
In fact, every homeschooling mother needs one.
They are fairly simple to start… you just never get rid of nap time.
Perhaps your children are older… and they have long since outgrown naptime.
I put it now, that you should re-introduce it. Maybe for 30 minutes a day and build up to an hour. Maybe start with an hour if your kids are old enough to tell the time. Anything goes for quiet time.

So long as it is quiet.
They can play Lego, or watch a DVD in their room… or read a book… or do their computer lessons… so long as it is quiet, it really doesn’t matter.

So what is the great thing about quiet time?

It is necessary. If you remember the times you bit the children’s heads off for being too loud, or the time you desperately needed some space or maybe you really want to finish that book, or learn some Latin, or review a lesson ahead of time or even read the Bible (or some other religious text you need to study in the alertness of day), then quiet time is the time to do it.

It seems that it has been known for quite a while… for The Mother’s Book speaks of an hour spent with the child as being equally necessary as that spent alone (equally necessary for you both)… and while I do not agree with everything the book says… I completely agree with this… there is never a day I feel so refreshed as those where the kids give me some time to myself… without having to resort to the bathroom.

I challenge you, in the best sense of hospitality to your family… keep you temper by using a little quiet time each day :)

Friday, January 12, 2007

It’s Amazing

I told you about my new (old) book, The Mother’s Book and the articles in there. A great deal further into the book, and I am still being amazed.

There is the article by a Nathaniel M. Dawson (about who I could find nothing)… an extensive guide to teaching ones children all the virtues and characters you can want… I defy you to find a better character training model!

Then there are the numerous articles by Caroline Benedict Burrell… one of which caught my attention because she was speaking of the food which we should feed our young… since fruit and whole-wheat bread (not refined) topped her list, I have to wonder if we have truly learned nothing in the 100 years since her article was published.

Yes indeed… my book is 100 years old this year, and still worth its weight in gold.

The authors are not fans of corporal punishment… they rather think that we’d be better off employing that on the younger children who do not understand (in the form of small taps) and reasoning with the older children.

They like the public school system… but feel that class size should be small, the number of subjects limited, the parents involved to the point of knowing the teacher and all the lessons… and that some things are best left to the parents to teach.

In truth, I support a lot of the conclusions of the book… written in part by those who established the Parent Teachers Association… but I have to wonder what they would have though about today’s schools…

Now, in the schools defense, I have to admit, part of the problem has been the demands of parents… but in their demands, I think the parents have made mistakes… the state should not be in charge of what our children learn… we should.

Perhaps that is a good enough reason to homeschool… ;)

But still… the book is very interesting, the depiction of life from back during the Edwardian period… the realization that the advantages of the American free economy were obvious even then, that life back then really had some wonderful aspects to it.

Added to that the wonderful and numerous mentions of books I have never heard of but intend to read… I think I got my money’s worth!

If you would like your own copy of The Mother’s Book, there are a number around

And as for the books written by the authors... I have one on my desk... and the list of the treasury books:

The Young Folks’ Treasury
I. Childhood Favourites and Fairy Stories
II. Myths and Legendary Heroes
III. Classic Tales and Old Fashioned Stories
IV. Modern Tales and Animal Stories
V. The Animal World
VI. Famous Travels and Adventures
VII. Heroes and Patriots
VIII. Wonders of Science and Invention
IX. Men and Women of Achievement; Self Help
X. Ideal Home Life: A Book for Children and Parents
XI. Golden Hours with Poets
XII. Music and Fine Arts

I learned a lot more from the book about these... basically a compilation of stories and snippets from books, designed to enthrall and interest children. The aim being to ignite their love of GOOD reading (as in classics that are not twaddle).

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The things you find in a used book store...

OK, so technically it wasn't a used book store, it was an antique shop... but a bibliophile like myself is obliged to take a look at any old books there. Just ask my DH...
Anyway, I perused the bookshelves of a certain antique store, and found an interesting book entitled The Mother's Book full of wisdom and ideas from yesteryear (1909 to be exact). Actually rather head of it's time, I agreed with much the authors had to say. But I did not pick it up... DH stayed and read some more while I watched the kids and we both went home only to regret not getting the book later.
This weekend saw us back in the store, and actually buying the book (thank goodness it's gems were unseen by other eyes).
When I started to read, I could hardly believe my eyes... I felt like I had discovered another Charlotte Mason.
The book is edited by Caroline Benedict Burrell, with articles written by diverse writers, but my favourite was Annie Winsor Allen... on whom a quick google search revealed that she was Annie Ware Winsor Allen, born 1865 died 1955. A pioneer in the field of education, a teacher... a mother who homeschooled her children when she did not think the local education establishment to be sufficient... and eventually led to her opening her own school.
But back to the book... it reminded me a lot of Charlotte Mason... idea on how to keep the attention of the children, discipline, things they should be learning... and a list of stories to use as examples of behaviour and traits.
I was a little perplexed at first about the stories... they were said to be 'in the library' but no mention of which book or library they belonged to. A bit of sleuthing revealed The Young Folks Treasury (also known as The Young Folks Library) to be the referred to book series.
The MOST interesting aspect of that, is that on even deeper digging, I found these to be the very stories used by Charlotte Mason fans. I do not know if Ambleside Online did this intentionally ;) but of course I know for a fact that Ms. Mason herself suggested some of them.
What a shame such a lovely library is now out of print... I spent a good deal of the afternoon trying to find out as much about the books as I could... and realising that these would make a GREAT addition to ANY homeschool library.
So, an afternoon of sleuthing later, I have in hand the titles of the books in question... all I need now is a show of the CONTENTS of said books :)
But as it is... I will have to keep you posted!

Monday, January 08, 2007


You can read my planning post below...
and for your own planning purposes, here are two great links to help with history! :)

Read Your Way Through History

A Book in Time

The ladies at 4 Real have supplied these numerous times and they are really useful!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The 4 REAL Meaning of Christmas

A post in the very best possible example of hospitality... from Donna at Moments Like These.
How HER Christmas was transformed by the hospitality of friends from afar.

To Plan or Not to Plan

I was inspired by a post over at Dawn's place recently... to set up a filing system and use it to plan out the year ahead.
Of course, inspiration is one thing, actually doing it, is quite another.
See... I like to plan, but I don't always know where to begin.
But then you see a post like this one, and you wonder HOW someone got to be so organised!
So I started out with the basics. I told DH that I needed a filing system. Now I was envisioning something like Dawn's plastic box when I did this, but we ended up with a filing cabinet as DH ALSO wanted to set up a filing system.
So in went the hanging files, organised by month.
Into each file went about 4 folders, and into the folders will go the little tips and tricks I pull off of the web and print out (in their respective monthly areas!).
And then I got stuck. How do I get from there to Dawn's bulletin board? And what *is* the bulletin board anyway?
So off I go to ask the trusty ladies of the 4 Real Message Boards. Surely they will know?
Back in my corner, I sit and think about planning.
I have planned things out before, but it never really goes according to plan. See... there is this thing called my SON, who likes to throw a spanner in the works, a wrench in all my plans.
You see, I might plan out a nice long visit with the Romans, while DS decides that the only Roman worth knowing is Julius Caesar, and that Asterix is a much better alternative. O.K. The Asterix was my fault... I introduced him to it!
Then it comes to me... perhaps if I plan SMALL, it will help. So, I start with a checklist... this is what I will plan each week.

Homeschool Planner Guide


Sit down with calendar and note important dates:

  • Saints
  • Composers
  • Artists
  • Poets
  • Authors
  • Presidents


Special dates (2 weeks ahead to order any library books)

English Literature Stories to Read
Read Alouds
Daily poems and memory Poem
Artist Study Picture
Composer Study Selection

Science Project
History/Geography Project/Craft
Bible Pages and Related Craft
English literature pages and related Craft
Copywork for the week

Latin Lesson
Math Lesson
Copywork for the week
Maps/Colouring Pages
Memory Poem
Weekly Poems to Read Aloud

Artist and Composer Study Stuff
Relevant Library Books

Library books 2 weeks in advance.

Simple enough, right? A small list that will help me plan weekly... that way I can keep on top of the changes that occur almost WHEN they occur. If, for instance, we have a tough week and don't get all the math planned done, then I can adapt this way.

Next, I make a list of WHAT to plan:

2 pages per day

1 lesson per week

1 Bible verse per week
Part of the Memory Poem for the week.

1 Fairy (or tall) tale
1 Narration
1 Craft

HISTORY: (American and English/World)
1 Chapter from Book
1 Narration
1 Craft
Notes in Chronology book (also re: art and music)
Follow Up Books

3 Pages from the Hunt Book
1 Narration from Hunt
1 Bible Story from Golden
1 Narration/Craft

Feeder, Tree or Square observations daily
Nature journal- record observations, weather, drawing weekly

Study Picture
Craft related to picture
Read about Artist
Change Picture every 6 weeks.

Listen to music selection
Craft related to music/composer
Read about composer
Change Music every 2-4 weeks

1-2 Chapters of Living Geography Books
Mapwork for history/living geography/music/art

Read about saints whose anniversaries occur this week.
Activity or food related to feast/holiday

So far, so good. And then I implement the whole deal.
Actually, it went surprisingly well... I had to make changes, of course, it wouldn't be real life if I didn't... instead of the Little Mermaid story I had planned, I ended up reading the Steadfast Tin Soldier... our 20 minute mathematics lesson morphed into an hour :o

As ever, the 4real ladies came through... with ideas, suggestions and explanations of their own methods... of which I will shamelessly steal ideas ;)!!

I DO have a daily 'timetable' or schedule, which I try to stick to. Most days it works as written. Then there are days, like today, when I adapt... I got everything accomplished, but not in the time I wanted it done... apparently the view out of the window is FAR more interesting than mathematics!

The schedule is simple... lessons 20 minutes long, except for the 'focus' lesson of the day. It is very similar to my 'start of term' schedule, just simplified and rearranged a little!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Today is my husband's birthday.
We don't tend to do much in the way of celebration for it... it is not the most auspicious timing :) coming as it does right after the holidays.
DH tells me that people often overlook his birthday... so we try to make it as special as we can.
Today we will bake a cake and I will cook his requested meal... minus the stuffing as we were unable to get to the store in time to get any!!
Today is a day, however, that I am truly grateful for... because today is the day my DH was born.
We have been married now, for almost 8 years... and it just keeps getting better.
We are companions in life... we enjoy spending time together, and consider each other our 'best friend'.
We have different likes and dislikes... but they compliment each other. I like history... and so does he, but different eras.
We almost never argue... but often disagree... on such fundamentals as whether America or Britain is better ;)
He loves my cooking and compliments me lavishly on it... which I require in order to feel good :D
He is willing to eat most of my experiments, even if they turn out bad... which is saying something!
I couldn't imagine life without my DH... and I am forever glad that he found me and brought me here!


Tuesday, January 02, 2007


A new year… and a new blog. I hadn’t started out planning to make a new blog… it is just that the old blog and I were having a disagreement. It didn’t like me very much… I was unable to post ½ the time, and, well… my nature blog is over here. Executive decision made… I moved.

And then I had to switch my name… because apparently someone has my old one… oh well. That makes this blog a little less homeschoolish, and a lot more me-ish!


OK, so I am a little late… but I blame it on the holidays! This time of year is so hectic and busy for me… and I can’t even think of all the things I do… all I know is that the computer comes FAR down my list ;).

That doesn’t mean, however, that I do not have things planned.

For instance… a new theme. For those who have read the blog for a while… or who know me through other means, you’ll realize that I and some friends of mine, adopted THEMES instead of resolutions. Themes are much easier to keep… because there is no definitive end point… a theme can carry over. A theme extends itself and becomes a reason for being… a lifetime goal.

This year my theme is HOSPITALITY. It seems simple enough… but the truth is a little harder to swallow.

I don’t drive… nor do I live on a major thoroughfare. I have no family even in the country… and we really don’t socialize much. And I realized… we do not socialize enough. Quite frankly, my children need a little interaction… with other children, adults and more. And I worried about it…

Until Christmas.

Why then?

I had the brilliant idea of taking around cookies/biscuits (biscotti for those interested) to local friends of my DH and few neighbours. The varied reactions astonished me. The older folks took it in their stride… one gifted me with some of her own… another brought round a huge tub of popcorn a few days later.

The younger folks were surprised… and grateful. And I came to realize how far our society has fallen… when taking biscuits/cookies to a neighbour, becomes SO unusual. I always thought that it was a normal part of an American tradition… and I liked it. And it was in that moment, that my own theme was born.

I don’t aim to change the world… I can’t say that my pitiful part in it will help the world to regain the hospitality of yesteryear… but I hope that I will transform a few lives, inspire some others, and teach my children the REAL meaning behind hospitality.

A few hospitable ideas:

1. Take soup to a sick friend/relative.
2. Bring food to the recently bereaved/new parents.
3. Invite friends/neighbours over for ‘tea and biscuits’ ENGLISH style :)
4. Take a gift for your hostess when invited for a meal.
5. Reciprocate with a return invitation.
6. Offer drinks to people when they come into your house… whether they be workers or visitors.
7. Send in food gifts to people at your DH’s (or your own) place of work.
8. Hospitality is a state of mind… not necessarily an action… so even if the door to door salesman is unwelcome… treat him with respect and always be polite. The same goes for those on the phone!

More on the theme and new blog later :)

Contact Me

I can always be contacted by commenting on my blog, as the comments are emailed to me :)
I have allowed most comments, including the universal I.D.

You can also contact me via the groups listed on my 'about' page :)

Or you can email me at Spinneretta AT gmail DOT com (with the words in capitals replaced with their symbols and the spaces removed ;))

About Me and My Blog

About Me:

I am a homeschooling mother of two - a boy (8) and a girl (4). I am somewhat of an eclectic homeschooler, with preferences for the Charlotte Mason (CM), Latin Centered Curriculum (LCC) and Thomas Jefferson Education (TJE) methods. I am an irregular on the 4 Real and Well Trained Mind (WTM) forums :) and I run several Yahoo Groups based on these homeschooling philosophies.

I am originally from England, but married to an American man and living in Virginia, in the USA.

I like to read, draw, paint, garden, knit, sew, crochet, spin, tat- I love the old fashioned crafts out there!

About My Blog:

I used to blog at homeschool blogger, under Classically Speaking, but when I switched to Blogger, the name was already taken! Instead I switched to The Jacobite Rose and now I have a homeschool notes blog here on blogger too :)
This blog is about my life... homeschooling, family, crafting and reading, and all the things I love. You'll see a selection of my art (when I have the time to upload it), all of which is NOT for others to copy. Please ask if you wish to use my pictures, I am very accommodating :)
My garden/nature journal can be found over at Wortcunning, while my learning notes are over at Lighting a Fire.

My Groups:

Charlotte Mason Kindergarten

Charlotte Mason 1-3


The Potager