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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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Pezze e Piselli

July Pezze e Piselli, by Tammy

Today marks the celebration of the United States of America’s 240th birthday. 2016 is also a presidential election year here. Teaching our children about government processes is important no matter where we live, so I’ve compiled a list of resources to help with that endeavor. If you can recommend a resource, especially for countries other than the US, please link it in the comments or post it in our Facebook group. (Some of these are affiliate links that benefit Sandbox to Socrates if you purchase.)

Grammar Stage:

The U.S. Constitution and You

How the U.S. Government Works

Presidential Elections and Other Cool Facts

The Land of Fair Play: American Civics from a Christian Perspective (uses a baseball game analogy)

iCivics (free games)

Logic Stage:

America’s Heritage: An Adventure in Liberty (free)

One homeschool mom’s schedule for America’s Heritage

Crash Course Videos

Written resources to use with Crash Course Videos ($$)

Rhetoric Stage:

The Federalist Papers – Federalist Paper #10 speaks to factions and much of the logic applies to the advantages and disadvantages of parties; Federalist Paper #68 speaks to the electoral college. A Kindle version is free. THIS Kindle version has a free bonus audiobook (99cents at time of posting).

The cornerstone of democracy rests on the foundation of an educated electorate. ~Thomas Jefferson

 

 

Tammy lives in the desert southwest where antelope play in her front yard, grazing among the rattlers and scorpions. She enjoys reading, scrapbooking, and crochet. She currently  homeschools one son.

Pezze e Piselli

Pezze e Piselli, by Briana Elizabeth

Did everyone make it through? Christmas is over with Easter on its tail, and poof, now that’s gone too. Suddenly it’s May!

I can’t think of anything more wonderful this time of year than to be outside. Whether you’re in fall or in spring, the changing of the seasons is perfect to be mucking about, and if you’ve not picked it up already, I encourage you to buy Exploring Nature with Children, and perhaps trying your own Book of Firsts.

Where I live the salamanders and peepers are making their trips to the vernal ponds, and at night, on a rainy evening, the roads are covered with them which is why the Forestry Service blocks off roads. However, getting out your slickers and flashlights is encouraged! Watching the wee monsters make the trek is a memory children will cherish forever. Plus, they get to stay up past their bedtime, which is always a bit of excitement.

It’s also a month for wonderful poetry. Bring a blanket and some snacks outside for a poetry reading, host a poetry tea where the kids can recite all of those memorized poems, and have some watercolors and paper for painting en plein-air. Break out the nature notebooks, and if you can get them, The Country Diary of an Edwardian LadyThe Nature Notes of an Edwardian Lady , The Country Flowers of a Victorian Lady, and Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life  are wonderful books to browse through and be inspired by, for both young and old. In my row of arborvitae, there is a community of finches and we’ve spent countless hours looking out windows as we watch them gather grasses and tufts of hair (that we put out) for nests. The chattering and goings-on are delightful, and really, is there anything better than watching twitterpated birds?

Spring is also the time that in my house we reread The Wind in the Willows. If you haven’t yet read it aloud, I encourage you to do so. Even better if you do so on a blanket by a stream.

Happy Homeschooling!


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.

News and Notes

Patches and Peas, by Briana Elizabeth

Another Christmas has come and gone, and a new year has started. Some years we’ve easily picked back up with schooling, and other years it’s been terribly hard, almost to the point of feeling like we were brand new homeschoolers, and not veterans. It’s a comforting thing to get back to routine, as much as it is to celebrate.

What really helps me with changes like that (which I forgot this year) is music. It’s so simple, but music as a transitional tool is amazingly effective. I’m a person that normally has music playing quietly in the background all the time, but this year, once the Christmas CDs and records were tucked away to wait another year, I forgot to go back to the school music standards that we always listen to. Just like when I put my apron on to start my work day (do you use an apron? You should! Voila, it’s time for business. If you’re lucky, like me, you have your Nana’s aprons.) I also put music on in the school room. Nothing modern, nothing obtrusive, but just a quiet, beautiful melody in the background that is familiar, and says, “Now is the time to work.” For us, it’s Treasures of English Church Music. If I remember correctly, I purchased it because Memoria Press recommended it for learning Latin (do you have their Lingua Angelica? It’s wonderful, truly) , and it was just so beautiful, it became a constant in our lives. Bach is another one of my favorites. Another mentioned to me is from the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles titled Angels and Saints. If you can get to a library sale, they normally have classical CDs for pennies. Grab some. Go through them, find your favorites, or last but not least, find the classical station on the radio. They might complain at first, but I promise they will grow to love it. And they will learn to love beautiful music, too.

A lot has been going on in the Sandbox. We’ve added some new authors, and we took this month to republish some oldies but goodies. Vera’s The Baby is the Lesson  is always a great reminder that homeschooling isn’t just about school, it’s about life. If you have been wanting to start a foreign language, or just need some encouragement, Lynne’s Foreign Language at Our House is a must!

Also, not that you need reminding, but if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s almost February. Which means that there could be a February Slump. The good thing is that it’s not just you, it happens to a lot of us, and forewarned is forearmed. Prepare! Rely on some Hygge, and plan on packing it all up for the day and sleigh riding, ice skating, or museum visiting. Force some cherry branches, or forsythia. Do a Winter Pond Study. Spring will come. And don’t forget to ‘like’ us on Facebook, or sign up for automatic e-mail updates so you don’t miss a post!


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.

Pezze e Piselli

November Pezze e Piselli, by Briana Elizabeth

Hopefully by this time of the year, everyone has settled into a routine, and schooling is just chugging along with some beautiful moments of grace tucked into every day. I’ve challenged myself to actively look for the beauty and grace in our every day, instead of having to have it smack me over the head, and I have to say, it’s working. Flannery O’Conner wrote about those every day graces that we pass over, completely blinded to their brilliance because our glass is so dark, but if we look, if we seek it out, we can find it, and I can say it softens my day when I dwell upon it.

Following those small graces, I’ve also tried to actively slow down enough to enter into them. It’s so much easier than I’ve made it out to be in my head. On Facebook, there’s been talk of Hygge as we settle into winter, and my feed this week has been filled with Hygge’s cousin, the Norwegian Koselig. (And for some fun, a video. We’re now calling Headbandz “Card Head” at my house. You’ll understand when you watch the video.) One thing that really struck me in this article on The Norwegian Secret to Enjoying a Long Winter ,  was the idea of creating a habit of getting outside every day, no matter the weather. It’s a long-standing European habit that you can hear echoed in Charlotte Mason’s writings, and in other writings of Europeans (Mansfield Park comes to mind). After a tough day of homeschooling (Middleschoolers. Following directions. ‘Nuff said.), I took the article’s advice, leashed my dog and went on a long walk in the cold November drizzle. It was an instant mood change. I arrived back at house with a cleared head and a happy heart. Apparently I needed to just kick myself outside. I have to warn you though, getting out the door is the hardest part of this new routine? Have you made getting outside into a daily habit? What works for you?

One thing that is pushing up like a wall against my every day grace hunt is the avalanche of holiday preparations. But I’ve made some purposeful changes to battle that, which is crafts and Advent. I realized that sometimes I need to make room for the grace. I can say “HERE, and no more.” With Thanksgiving coming, and the holidays after that, we’ve been collecting pinecones and crafting supplies. My kids make place cards for every holiday, and even when it’s just us, it seems to elevate the day into something special. Make some place cards, set the table, light a candle–instant wonder. You can make them as simple as gluing on some leaves or letting the kids draw pumpkins on them. We’ve used watercolors, crayons, and acorns to decorate them.

In following that idea of making these hectic upcoming months easier (and all of homeschooling easier), Vera shared her family’s menu-making plan. We use this system in our house, and it really reduces dinnertime stress. Another rule that I adopted from a friend was to make sure I had dinner going by 10am. Staring into the fridge at 5pm with starving kids behind you is anxiety-inducing. And always have a back up in the freezer. Not a frozen chicken backup, but, say a bag of frozen sauce with meatballs. Something that you can defrost in a half hour while the water for the macaroni boils. Do you have any tips for feeding your people that make your life easier? Vera will be following this article up with another, so keep a watch for it!

Also on the Sandbox Facebook page this article titled “This 1897 Text Gives 3 Clues Why Today’s Students Can’t Write” really gained traction, and it reminded me of the saying, “Garbage In; Garbage Out.” I’m so happy for having read my children all of those bedtime stories, with long, winding clauses and beautiful language. If you haven’t read to your children–including your older children–I encourage you to break out the tea pot, the coffee pot, and a book. As my children got older, we moved our Morning Basket reading time to an afternoon Tea Time, and it’s my teenagers who make sure it happens every day. They love it as much as I do. If you read aloud to your children, how do you deal with wiggling toddlers or scoffing teenagers?

Speaking of books – we just have to know, what have you been reading together? Or for your own enrichment? I’m going to be writing a book report on The Awakening of Miss Prim to share in the upcoming weeks.

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