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    Home Education, Other Thoughts

    Seven Quick Takes on Leftover Schoolwork, Making Changes, N.D. Wilson, and More!

    April 10, 2015 by Brandy Vencel

    Seven Quick Takes

    :: 1 ::

    Some of you asked about leftover work from the week when I blogged about our Enrichment Friday tradition. While I try to leave Friday open for these special, extra things, it’s true that sometimes not everything is completed during the week like it should be. My solution is to note those things on a white board that I keep in the dining room as we go along. As things that were skipped earlier in the week are completed, I erase them, and whatever is left is what will have to be done on Friday morning.

    So, yes: sometimes there are things left that we need to do, and so we do them. I try to get them done first thing so that we can get on to the merry making. 🙂


    :: 2 ::

    Sarah started a membership site for her Read Aloud Revival. I recommend it, especially if you’re looking for a push in that area. The reason why I’m mentioning it now is because those who register now are entered to win $498 worth of great prizes, which is always fun. The part I’m most looking forward to are the video workshops! Well, the live author events look pretty great, too…


    :: 3 ::

    We’ve been thinking and making some changes around here. The children have been in 4H for a few years now, and we’ve decided not to sign up again next year. We’ll see how it goes; we might be back after a year off. The big thing is that we want the children to have some other experiences, and the limits of time and especially finances mean we need to choose, rather than just adding more to what we are already doing. The children have been taking tennis lessons, and we’ve decided they will continue for a while, along with some other opportunities.

    Some of this is connected to me trying to iron out our high school vision in my head, which is far from an easy task.


    :: 4 ::

    Here’s this week’s links collection:

    :: 5 ::

    Okay, this is a super awesome video! A big shout out to Heidi for sharing it.

    I narrated almost all of it to my husband because I was so excited. {I wonder if that was annoying??} I haven’t read any of N.D. Wilson’s more recent books, but Boys of Blur was already on my list, and now that I know it is a football/monster story retelling of Beowulf, I’m intrigued enough to buy it! The Ashtown Burials never appealed to me before, but the connection to Brendan the Navigator — after studying him for two terms this year in The Brendan Voyage — has caused me to put those on my list as well.


    :: 6 ::

    Compass Classroom is having their Big Spring Sale! I use Visual Latin and Grammar of Poetry with my oldest child, and I use Old Western Culture as scholé for ME. And all of it is on sale 25-30% off! So if you’re in the market for these things, now is a good time. The sale is going on now and lasts until March 15th.


    :: 7 ::

    Answering your questions:

    • Question: How do you stay encouraged?
      • Answer: There are two things that help me maintain this marathon we call homeschooling, and when either of them are lacking, I start to drag. The first is relationships with other Christian, homeschooling moms. I am always ready for my next meeting for my study group, or planning meeting with the study group’s leadership team. When it’s been too long, I start to ache for these sisters of mine! Not do we commiserate, brainstorm, learn, grow, and troubleshoot together, these sisters constantly remind me to rely on God in this journey. The second thing is reading and learning and growing. Around here, we tend to call that scholé, or mother culture. Either way, I feel stagnant if I don’t have something good coming in to balance all I’m pouring out day to day.
    • Question: What is the best way to get going with preschooler?
      • Answer: It’s really hard to answer such a big question in this small space, but I will tell you what I would do, knowing what I know now, if I had a preschooler on my hands today. First, I would get my hands on a copy of Charlotte Mason’s book Home Education and I’d specifically focus on all the possibilities — she gives loads of information on what can be taught out of doors. Then, I’d spend lots of hours outside each day, and try to do the things Mason listed in her book. I’d be very child directed, following their lead and interests. I’d read aloud a lot, and I’d learn to tell stories {yes, without a book}. I’d sing with them, read poetry with them, and let them help me with lots of chores.


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  • Reply Michele April 11, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    That interview with N.D. Wilson is phenomenal. I think we need to read some of his books!

  • Reply Julie Z April 10, 2015 at 8:02 am

    What are your thoughts on Grammar of Poetry? This was your first year using it, correct? I know that might deserve a post itself, but I am debating whether I buy it or not, and wondering what your experience has been.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 10, 2015 at 8:07 am

      I have really, *really* liked it. I do plan to devote a post to it. My opinion on the videos {which are considered optional by AO} is that they were very good FOR ME because I really didn’t know much about poetry — to the point where I might have even mispronounced some of the technical terms unknowingly. {Breve? Trope? Hmmm…} I think if someone knows poetry fairly well, they don’t need the videos. But we’ve used them and liked them. I’m very glad we did it, for sure! 🙂

      • Reply Julie Z April 10, 2015 at 9:13 am

        And I ordered it…no time like the present to begin planning for next year! I look forward to your post though on how to use it! 🙂

        • Reply Brandy Vencel April 10, 2015 at 9:36 am

          Yay! I hope you love it much as I have. I’m learning so much! Oh, and my child is, too. 😉

      • Reply Karen @ The Simply Blog April 10, 2015 at 11:23 am

        I’m looking forward to reading your post about Grammar of Poetry. I had thought about adding it to my daughter’s senior year next year as part of English IV. Is it time intensive?

        BTW, you had commented on my post about the Churchill series how you thought the cover of The Birth of Britain was pretty. I just posted about the other books if you’d like to see the covers of each of them. 🙂

        • Reply Brandy Vencel April 10, 2015 at 12:36 pm

          I haven’t found it time intensive at all. I scheduled 45 minutes per week for it, and honestly it hasn’t taken that long — well, unless I include a few times on actual poetry writing when he was stumped. But the lessons and little exercises are short and sweet. At 30 lessons, you also can skip a few weeks throughout the year, if your year is 36 weeks like ours is…

          I look forward to checking out those covers! 🙂

  • Reply Mystie April 10, 2015 at 6:57 am

    I *loved* Boys of Blur! And I’m not going to read Ashtown Burials until the series is finished because it was terrible waiting a year for the third 100 Cupboards book and I’m not doing that to myself again. The real benefit of old books: The series are complete. 🙂

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 10, 2015 at 7:40 am

      Good point! I will wait on those, then. Do you know how many books there are supposed to be in the series? Waiting a year WOULD be hard, yes!

  • Reply Kansas Mom April 10, 2015 at 5:31 am

    First of all, feedly pulled your post for me this morning! (Yay!)

    Secondly, I love your answer on preschool. I still have a preschooler (just one more year next year, oh my) and would add that IF you cannot prevent yourself from doing “math,” please make it games and real life. (Real life meaning count the forks as you set the table. Make cookies and let the child do the measuring.) Play games like Uno and Sleeping Queens (whatever you have). Or sing along to a skip counting CD (I love One Hundred Sheep), which counts as poetry and math. Please do not buy a math book or a math curriculum for your preschooler.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 10, 2015 at 6:07 am

      Oh, I’m glad Feedly is working now! And: I *love* your additions to the preschool conversation. Yes. Playing games is a really good idea! And yes…NO math curriculum yet. 🙂 I completely agree with you!

  • Reply Carol April 10, 2015 at 1:56 am

    Re Vitamin B12 – I’ve seen the effects of B12 deficiency in an older person – Parkinson’s disease & stroke-like symptoms; came on suddenly as the article mentioned it does with children. Seems to be that the very young & the elderly are similar in their response

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 10, 2015 at 6:06 am

      That’s interesting! Parkinson’s disease is one I have no experience with…

      • Reply Laurie April 10, 2015 at 9:23 am

        My son is Autistic and we tried B12 (a lot!) in different ways (there are 4 types) and different doses and had no luck as far as seeing any progress in his condition. He also became very aggressive and fussy each time we tried it. It could be some sort of detox I suppose, but things became too difficult to continue on.

        There are some compelling videos out there though of Autistic children making amazing strides with just the addition of B12.

        • Reply Brandy Vencel April 10, 2015 at 9:36 am

          Really? Honestly, I have never heard of this until I read this article. Now I guess I should google around. I mean, I’ve read about autism and special nutritional suggestions, but B12 isn’t anything I recall.

          If he gets fussy, I would try adding methylfolate — folate and B12 have to be balanced — if you haven’t already. Our family has some B vitamin issues, and one of my children especially cannot sleep with B12 alone — she has to have the added methylfolate or she gets off balance. I totally understand why you couldn’t continue! And honestly, it is probably very simplistic to think that all autistics need B12 supplementation. 🙁

          Nutrient science is so interesting to me!

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