Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ambleside or Veritas?

I have to admit that despite never using Ambleside as written for more than 1 year, I don't think that I have ever gotten their ideals out of my head.

I like the idea of enjoying great literature, nature, artists and composers slowly and thoughtfully. I love the way that Ambleside manages to drop out the busywork and let us enjoy what is good.

 I miss that approach when it is gone really miss it. Any mention of Ambleside or Circle time sends me scurrying back and wondering how to put back what I am missing in my approach. And since combining two approaches is never really a good thing, that usually is enough to send us over the edge. Yet in the middle of a year that has become in many ways an uphill push I am back considering the Ambleside approach.

The only problem is considering it using the Veritas materials. Yep as much as I love the Ambleside and Charlotte Mason approach the book-lists used in Ambleside always send me hurrying back. There is along the way too much that pushed the boundaries of what we believe without explanation. Since its hard enough for my daughter to read the likes of Luther and have to think through his ideas in terms of her beloved, it really doesn't take much to have us all cringing that something is off, liberal, faith challenging. And while there are only a few books in the selections, a few music pieces they always leave me scrambling back to

Veritas takes the other approach. When something isn't of a reformed evangelical American persuasion you know about it. Which is good at least then you can disagree with them and move on. They do however manage to put the goodness or at least show why there is shadow in all of their books and that is soul filling and refreshing. (Ok yes they can also be repetitive, but we don't mind that again..."Been there done that!" move on.)

So my question comes back to am I about to take the CM philosophy as a framework and infill it with the Veritas selections and study guides. (Yes I realize that CM would object to the study guides - but somehow that search for background material seems to be the most frequent question of the Ambleside lists.)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Humanities or Grammar School at Home ?

For a long time there has been discord in our home-school, we started this journey step by step, looking into a vista of discussion, learning, truth , beauty and consideration of what is good. Wonderful lofty ideals.

But to often it seems more of a daily grind to get through our blocks of time before the end of the day. The endless struggle to keep my turtle on track, to slow down my hare and to keep lifting up the fragile flower that unfortunately is my guinea pig.

Amongst it all it the realization that all of this is uncharted territory. Not necessarily difficult, but non the less territory that we have never walked before. Bible College and their introduction to Church history, Veritas press and classed make it possible, but they don't of themselves make it easy.

For the last few days we seem to have wandered a little more as we struggled with the colds and flues, we have played more simply because that's what holidays mean and holidays are getting closer, and slowly there it a little more hope, a little more joy in our studies a lot more forgiveness. 

 I haven't yet gotten to terms with what it will look like I guess it will continue to change. But I like the idea or enjoying the journey, and appreciate that when the pressure comes off a bit my trio is much more willing to investigate the rich diet put in front of them. I can say the colds and the approaching holidays have been a breath of fresh air around here.  Now only if we could stop the sore throats and keep what we have learned.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Welcome, and please say hi as you wander

As a homeschooling family down under in New Zealand, its always interesting to see all the people who visit from all around the world.

It seems that we have visitors from the most interesting places.

So please feel free to say hi, leave a comment, or let us know something interesting about your
country. We would really enjoy hearing from you.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Catan, Warm Fires and Colds

As a family we seem to have all come down with our second round of colds within a month, and everyone is at some stage of sniffling or sneezing.

Its been good to be able to grab a couple of lemons through them in the food processor, add a tablespoon of grated ginger and a pottle of honey and whiz until we have honey and lemon syrup. About 2 tablespoons in a mug of hot water seems to keep the sore throats at bay for a while.

And in between there is always Catan Seafarers to keep us occupied.


Laid back kittens

It's clear these guys are very relaxed Burmese, Jan over at Radinka did a good job ..

Pippin Relaxing while we watch a movie


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Thanksgiving revisited

We're moving into the reformatiion in our studies, and for the older two that means Omnibus has picked up one of Luther's writings, on the Bondage of the Will. Officially the Veritas worldview notes suggest a focus on our free will vs the sovereignty of God, Christ's Lordship. Underneath though it raises another issue, one that I desperately feel the need for a reminder, to be grateful for eveything, because God made it.

In reading the background notes I kept coming back to the idea that we  need to recognize our achievements, and our failures are God's gifts to us, not our own successes to receive praise for.  They are the things that we do because a good and loving God created us, redeemed us, gifted us and and loved us.

Even where we haven't received the redemption bit and are still a long way from knowing this God who made us, the truth remains. Our feel good moments are not in what we achieve, but rather in the love that God has for us.

Now if I could only  step away from my insecurities and live that. That would be life changing!


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Early winter

As I wait for news of snow on the mountains, I keep wandering back to these pictures we took last year on our Mid year break and a small lake called Waikeremoana The early morning frosts on the lake were beautiful.


Joys, Struggles and Successes

The Joys,

Ending the Week with a family viewing of "A Knights Tale" admittedly we had a couple of scenes that we fast forwarded through, but we all had fun watching it and recognizing the bits that seemed like Chaucer and the obviously modern takes.

The Struggles

Tiredness, definitely a week of feeling tired, there is always something about the middle weeks of a term, productive or messy that simply make us feel blah...and this was very much in need of being sorted this week.

The Successes 

Latin and Greek are finally starting to make sense again without me sitting on the answer key. Its been a while since we have had a routine that makes regular space for each of these, and the truth is they can't be done as a block, we really really need the repetition of a little each day.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Patchwork Daybook

Outside my window...

Grey skies and the last of the autumn leaves, we're waiting for winter...and for snow on the mountains. So far the snow has stayed down south, and we're still waiting..

I am listening to...

An album called Focus on  the Prodigal, its a collection of songs based around the the story of the prodigal son.It suits what I need to be reminded of today.

I am thankful for...

Changes in the schoolroom, while not complete the move change the order of our subjects and simply to think about what we are trying to achieve rather than push on through our work is paying dividends, so far its been good.

I am praying for..

That we will continue to find our rhythm for the year and find ourselves on the same place. What to keep what to drop, and how to bring the fun, beauty and joy back into our over busy days
From the learning rooms...

I spent my free time consolidating my home-school planning blog with this main one.  Mostly these were my road maps through our afternoon studies.  Blocks of study, either Science, Literature, History or Bible. In the last year or so I stopped planning these out, just winging it, time to focus our studies again.

From the kitchen..

Soup, lots of soup recipes that we are trying out, as well as the old favorites. Last week it was Leek Potato and Bacon from the Foodtown magazine, this time trying to see if I can find a good base for a Beef and Barley Broth style soup.

I guess I also need to make the fruitcake to go with Tolkien...

I am reading..

The Return of the King and finishing up Chaucer. It should be a good week lots of good writing, fruitcake, and thanks to hubby lots of wood to keep the fire burning in the lounge.

 A few plans for the rest of the week..

Art Lessons for the bigger two this week. One of the Mum's in our home-school group has enlisted a friend to take art for 4 weeks, a quick overview of drawing and painting from still life through to an acrylic on canvas. For my Artist it gives her a chance to fill in the gaps and sit under a real teacher.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Pheobe is our elderly moggy, she was left in the cattery to long as a kitten and so she doesn't really know the niceties of being a lap-cat. She has a really hard time when Zeke disappeared, followed by a worse time when Merry and Pippin came to keep her company. Slowly she's learning to share. What's neat is seeing Merry behave just like Zeke would, quietly determined to wait out her tizzy's and make her part of his family. Its a good think he's patient and has Pippin to play with!

A Daybook post in the tradition of  A Simple Woman's Daybook 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Joys, Struggles and Successes

The Joys,

 I've really enjoyed reading through Chaucer and the Canterbury Tales. I was really worried from the way they are presented, but the tales we have read under the Veritas Omnibus have been reasonably light hearted and fun.

Having The Return of the King along side that for everyone could only be fun as well, now I just need to make the fruit cake and pour the tea!

We started this week re-thinking the structure of our school days, and hopefully moving towards a more relaxed, more productive day. All our skills subjects are now in the mornings and the afternoons are free for us to read and discuss.

The Struggles

 Lots of fine tuning still needed to have this work and to weed out the things we do just to make the auditor in me feel like we have ticked the boxes. Along the way we've had our misunderstandings on what has and hasn't changed, um..that audit training again, still some de-bugging to happen.

The Successes 

We managed to finish a week or at least most of a week, a short 4 day week, but a week of school! For the last few months having a houseful of teens, ballet, a home-school movie project, and a host of one off interruptions this really seems like an achievement.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Why I shouldn't start posts and leave the computer unguarded


This Quote, and its various offspring have had me thinking over the last weekend.

 It's from the Knight's Tale 
by Chaucer 

 " Alas, why is it people so dispraise 
God's providence of Fortune and her way's 
That oft and variously in their scheme 
Includes far better things than they could dream. "

Guilty, although I wouldn't always have seen it, but it occurred to me after talking about the latest set of dreams shelved for this homeschooling thing, and the difficulties that we face that all in all there would have been a choice.

To wander headfirst into something that  I wasn't ready for and which without support would never have withstood, or to walk forward in setting a new foundations, to build a second generation of Christians upon our new foundations and provide them with the tools either to add another stronger layer or to move forward in service as God directs. The bigger picture is just that bigger than my small hopes of  "grand service" destined more than likely to crash under the pressure of lack of support around us.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Blessings on the Soccer Field

In a small town, choices for sports available for our children can be limited, and even more so once you add home-schooling into the equation. For the past few years we have signed up an made our way to the local soccer field to give the kids a reason to get fit, and a glimpse into playing as part of a team.

Each year we start the season wondering what teams we would be in, what friends we can enjoy the season with, what new friends are there for the making, whether the coach will share our goals of positive fun, or just want to win... we have seen both.

Yet recently the teams have been positive, and the memories good. This year we have enjoyed all three kids playing in good teams with positive coaches. But this team building exercise has to be the icing on the cake...

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Remembering why I used to Blog

Its been a long time since I posted, and perhaps a longer time since I knew why I was blogging, life's been busy and writing isn't necessarily my strong point.

Yet each morning I look at the blog and hope for inspiration in a busy day, direction, and then life goes crazy.

In the last few days I've remembered why I started this blog, not to be famous, not to be able to share my faith, not to advocate homeschooling, there are lots of blogs who do each of these better than I do.

I started blogging so that in each day week or moment I could focus not on the piles of washing, marking to be sorted, or incomplete schedules but on what we was good, noble and true in our lives. What we need to hang onto to remember that God is in control and that his blessings, even the ones that come in disguise are good.