Pezze e Piselli

Pezze e Piselli, by Briana Elizabeth

I am big on plans. I’m not big on following them to the letter of the law, but I do think they help us aim well, and that’s the most important thing. If you’ve followed us for any amount of time, you know I love a good Bullet Journal. Why? It’s inexpensive, it doesn’t need battery backup, you can’t lose it in a crash (my iMac recently crashed, and we had to wipe it. I did not have an external hard drive for backup, alas). You can set it on fire, but that’s another post. (I do have friends who set theirs aflame after the year is done as a marker of a new year to come and a goodbye to the last. An interesting way to mark time, no?)

Anyway, that time is upon us. If you’ve put off planning, don’t worry, you can still write a few things down to order your mind and days.

Here are some links I collected for you.

Why Bullet Journaling works.  How a Bullet Journal might work for you.  An interesting way of prioritizing our work.  How the Ivy Lee method is working for Jen of Viking Academy.  Jen from Wildflowers and Marbles has free printables to help you organize. She also has a page specifically for planning, with printables, helps, and ideas to help your year go  more smoothly.


If you’re setting up a seasonal table for your littles and picking books for a Morning Basket, here are a few wonderful titles with lovely illustrations. The Year at Maple Hill Farm  and Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm both by Alice and Martin Provensen.
I loved this beeswax snail tutorial from Frontier Dreams and this felted pumpkin from Hinterland Mama. For olders, one of my favorites is always A View from the Oak. And you really must follow Lynn on Exploring Nature with Children because her watercolor journaling videos are so encouraging and beautiful.


For older kids, this time of year is harder – at least at my house. Marching band camp is over, practices have started, football is all over my schedule, and choir is starting back up, which leads me back up to the bullet journaling in the beginning of the post. It keeps my head on straight and my people fed. The days of morning baskets and nature tables are long over at my house, and I miss them, but these older student days are so filled with new and beautiful things. I am trying to hold onto afternoon reading this year, but this may be the year we bid a fond farewell to that also. Older children…they have to be given their own leisure time. Time to build, discover, learn in very different ways than the younger children. It’s also a quieter time because they need their privacy about studies and accomplishments. Finding the balance is tricky and a daily tension, but growing like this is a part of being a homeschool parent.


Happy Schooling, all.

Briana Elizabeth has been at this homeschool gig since her 23 year old son was in 7th grade, and his psychiatrist told her that he had to be homeschooled. Her son never went back to public school that year, and the following year, she pulled her 4th grade daughter out of public school. Her five other children have all been homeschooled entirely. It was baptism by fire, but she wouldn’t trade it for the world. Through the years, she has in the end, not only educated her children, but herself, and homeschooling has brought about a whole paradigm change of living for her family. The education that had seemed only possible for the elite was possible through classically homeschooling.


Summer fun

Languid Summer Learning, by Briana Elizabeth

Dear readers: we will be moving to a weekly schedule this summer, so expect to hear from us every Monday.  Happy summer!

I’ve mentioned a few times that I live in an 1880 Victorian home, but what I often fail to mention is that we’ve made the choice to live without air conditioning. Now, I think that’s only possible because I live in New Jersey, as I’m sure if I resided in Louisiana, I would live in the air conditioning.

I won’t lie – that first year was hard but made easier because we are blessed to have a gorgeous pool, and we were in it every single day. In the evening, we would have a salad al fresco for dinner, and at dusk I would make sure everyone was bathed and cool, crisp nightgowns would be slipped over tan shoulders. The window fans would help them sleep soundly.


What had slowly happened living like that was that we found this long rhythm to our days. Kind of like when we were kids, and the summer days lasted forever and ever. You learn to do things like make your macaroni for salad first thing in the morning, so the house isn’t hot at night, and that you really were too hot all day to eat anything of substance, so ‘cooking’ becomes an assembling of ingredients.

fishing with grandpa

A slowness took over our days which gave us time for the luxury of leisurely reading. Now knowing how slow and languid our summers are, I make stacks of books for each child to read and some schooling goals to accomplish. Nothing heavy, but things that are easier to do without the school year’s outside obligations. And, surprisingly, we get so much accomplished without having to have tried at all. You can read an awful lot floating around in a pool (this is not a Kindle friendly exercise).


So my suggestion to you: put everything aside and set out for some long, languid days of dipping your toes in the river or fishing off docks. Enjoy catching critters in the creeks. Fill a jar with fireflies to be a nightlight. Pick up a book, lie on a riverbank, and read for the day. Pack up a picnic, go to a lake, and skip rocks. Take a trip down the shore (<–that’s a New Jerseyism; we don’t go to the beach – we go down the shore) and jump waves.


Here are some favorites we’ve enjoyed over our summers.



Huck Finn

The Seaside Naturalist

The Penderwicks

Swallows and Amazons series (companion nonfiction Ships, Sailors and the Sea)

Five Children and It

The Wouldbegoods (I howled in laughter reading this one, I’ll admit)

The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles

Little Britches

My Family and Other Animals

For older children:

Horatio Hornblower series

Anything by PG Wodehouse

Anything by Jane Austen


So, what’s on your summer reading list?

Botany, Nature Studies

Student Spotlight: Botany Studies Through Drawing, by Sydney

Art and Science Collide

My name is Sydney, and I live in the rural area of southeastern Ohio. In addition to my daily studies, I’m also involved in a local school of martial arts. I plan to finish high school this spring and join CollegePlus in the fall.

I’m the proud owner of two ponies and two dogs. My hobbies include my pets, sketching in my spare time, and reading books. Old books, sappy books, exciting books, historical books, mystery books; I love them all!