Watching Love Grow

I love watching love grow.
And with these two it has!
Renly and Piper hit it off right away since Piper was overjoyed at having a baby in the house to mother.
Taitum was the typical two year old that didn't really care that much one way or another.
But gradually I've seen a friendship develop.
And it is sweet.
They are best buds when Piper is doing her school work and this time together has really cemented things between them.
I watched them giggling and cuddling together this afternoon.
It made me so terribly grateful for this moment and for the blessing of being their Mom.

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Growing Together

With our first official year of homeschooling nearly complete, I've been doing a lot of evaluating - what worked well, what should we change, etc.

Doing this has made me realize that many of my views on education have changed significantly.
Although I understood theoretically that learning should happen naturally and as a part of everyday life within our home, I just couldn't shake what I knew best - worksheets, sitting at a desk, memorizing facts.
That gave me a sense of control and direction and assurance that my children were indeed learning and measuring up to society's expectations for their age group.
However, reading various books, conversing with experienced home educators and delving into the Charlotte Mason philosophy of education has helped me dare to let go of what is normal and comfortable for me. 
It's been one small step at a time but I'm beginning to feel more comfortable with this path we've chosen.
I'm making some big changes for next year, namely embarking on Year 1 of Ambleside Online with Piper.
I'm immensely excited and a tad bit terrified by (what is for me) a radically different way to approach education.
I've also been trying to be more relaxed with Taitum and attempting a more gentle and natural way of teaching her.
We've lightly touched on various things like colors, letters, numbers,etc. but nothing too intense.
Mostly, we've read together and talked about things, played and had fun.
This is hard for me.
I want to haul out the worksheets, demand that she memorize each letter both uppercase and lowercase and their sounds. 
I want her to be able to count to 20 in three languages and know how to write her full name perfectly.

Get a few really good books, and read them together aloud. Set aside a good regular chunk of time. This will be one of the most rewarding and stimulating relationships in your life. Guess what? If you have the courage to be honest, that youngster's comments and questions are really going to make you think, think hard. You can throw away all the manuals. That child has an awful lot to teach you. Your mind is probably in a worse state than his. After reading together, go to a really nice place outside for a couple of hours at least. Don't rush. Turn a rock over and watch the beetle run away. Throw rocks in the stream and slide down a hill.
Talk together. You'll find yourself enjoying it!
It isn't all as hard as the experts make out. We are human beings, persons, created to live. To have life more abundantly. Wonder together; grow together.
~Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

She is three!
She has a beautiful, perfect mind capable of learning and growing and progressing exactly as it should.
She is a child that needs to move and laugh and play and discover the world first hand.
Me, I need to slow down and sit back and enjoy the learning that happens naturally, spontaneously, amazingly!
This evening, I was so blessed with a moment that affirmed to me the direction I am choosing to take with my little ones.
Piper had picked out snack: almonds and crackers.
I was doing dishes and not paying much attention as they sat at the table and fiddled with their food.
(Even snack time is hugely composed of imaginative games involving whatever they find before them!)
Suddenly, Taitum calls for my attention - "Mama! Look!"
She proudly points out her work on the table....cracker, almond, cracker, almond, cracker, almond, etc.
I was impressed. I've never taught her anything about patterns.
"That's a beautiful pattern you've made, Tait!"
"Thanks, Mama!"
She grins from ear to ear.
A cracker falls to the floor and breaks.
Taitum jumps down and grabs it - "Oh, no! I needed it to be a square like the others!"
Um, I didn't know she knew what a square was!
I suggested she eat the broken one and pull out a new 'square'.
Soon, she is happily back to adding to her pattern joined by her sister who is inspired and makes a circle/square pattern by biting some of her crackers into circle shapes.
And this is one example of thousands that happen every single day often without me even noticing!

The most prosaic of us comes across evidence of mind in children, and of mind astonishingly alert. Let us consider, in the first two years of life they manage to get through more intellectual effort than any following two years can show....If we have not proved that a child is born a person with a mind as complete and beautiful as his little body, we can at least show that he always  has all the mind he requires for these occasions; that is, that his mind is the instrument of his education and that his education does not produce his mind. 
~Charlotte Mason

Education Is A Life

"Education is a life. That life is sustained on ideas. Ideas are of spiritual origin, and God has made us so that we get them chiefly as we convey them to one another whether by word of mouth, written page, Scripture word, musical symphony; but we must sustain a child's inner life with ideas as we sustain his body with food." 
~Charlotte Mason

Our first shipment of books for next year arrived today.
Piper and I were equally excited.
I was even a tad jealous that she got to dive into them right away while I got lunch together and changed a diaper!

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Another Celebrated Dancing Bear {FIAR}

This was one of the few books I purchased since it was unavailable from our library.
I generally don't buy books I'm unfamiliar with but really wanted to do all the FIAR Volume 1 books.
In the end, I was very pleased with this story and thankful that we have it for 'keeps'!

Social Studies:

Piper colored the Russian flag and we found Russia on the map.
We also perused through some books on Russia and learned to count to ten in Russian.

We had our own tea time, just like the bears, and discussed friendship.
We took note of how Max responds to his friend's jealousy with kindness and even sacrifice.
We talked about ways we can be a good friend.

Language Arts:

We talked about occupations.
We thought about what Boris and Max's occupations would have entailed (Boris worked at a hospital, Max was a performer in a circus.)
The girls drew pictures of what they want to be when they grow up.

We did a lesson on characterization (that I found here).
For each character the girls answered what the character looked like, what the character did in the story and how the others reacted to the character.


Finally, Piper colored a set of printable matryoshka dolls.
We used these as a means of talking about categorizing things by their size - small, medium, large.
We read the story The Wooden Doll by Susan Bonners, too.
I randomly came across it at the library and picked it up since it featured matryoshka dolls.
It refers to Poland rather than Russia but it didn't really matter because the girls were completely enamored with the story and the dolls!
I plan to find them some matryoshka dolls of their own for birthdays or Christmas!

Delightful Learning

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Three Little Kittens {Letter M}

Painting with mittens!

Hanging mittens to spell her name!

Eating a mini pie!

Letter M craft for our letter wall!!

Friday Favorite Things {12}

"You don’t get to keep. You get to witness."
~Ann Voskamp (from this post)

Mathematical magic.

Joyful observer.

Swing set ecstasy.

Times two.

Simple pleasures.

Complete concentration.

Post playdate fatigue.

A perfect pose.

"There are times to stand on sidewalks and hold signs, but holding a sign isn’t what makes a mother pro-life. Being pro-life means putting the life of another ahead of your own. It means being daily grace to the small souls nearest to you. It is not just an opinion or a position or a lobbyist group. It is the glory of maternal self-sacrifice that begins at conception and runs through labor and midnight feedings and diapers and sandwiches and crayons and homework and flu seasons and graduations and on into grandkids. It is an avalanche of small and large sacrifices. It burns bright in kitchens and bedrooms and backyards. It is the real life of the pro-life movement, and it will change the world."
~Rachel Jankovic (from this post - a must read!)

friday favorite things | finding joy

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I love motherhood.

We're a smiling family.

I'm a covenant keeper.

I love my husband.

I am above self pity.

I am a nation builder.


Worth more than rubies.

“I am more convinced than ever that even in the midst of the mundane, burdensome, and oftentimes frustrating tasks of life allotted to me as a mother, God wants me to find his joy. He wants every single day of my life to be a celebration of his blessings, whether large or small. He wants me to celebrate life ~ the life He has given me.”

~ Sally Clarkson

My Hubby

My Hubby
He's my bestest.


She is my compassionate, dramatic, fun to be around 6 year old. She loves to shop, get dressed up fancy and anything else that screams girly!


She is my goofy, snuggly 4 year old who loves to sing and dance and smile all day long!


She is our one year old smarty pants! She does all she can to keep up with her older sisters and to keep them in line!

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