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    Seven Quick Takes on The Maze Runner, CM Conferences, Chore Mix-Ups, and More!

    May 29, 2015 by Brandy Vencel

    Seven Quick Takes

    :: 1 ::

    Last Saturday night, we watched The Maze Runner. I hadn’t heard of it before, but it was one of those movies I ordered because Netflix said that if I liked other movies {basically YA dystopian novels on screen}, I’d like this movie, too. Was it my favorite movie ever? No. But Iย liked it, and I plan to watch the next one when it comes out. It was interesting, and I’m into the mystery enough to want to watch the next one to find out what the answers are to all the questions the first movie raises. Be prepared toย not have a satisfying ending if you watch it, too. The whole thing basically sets you up for future movies. There is a resolution, yes, but not without created more need for more resolution as well.

    Good marketing tactic, I suppose. ๐Ÿ˜‰


    :: 2 ::

    Have you heard about the AmblesideOnline summer conference? This is an unprecedented conference! Ten years ago, all of the Advisory got together and held a conference. The Auxiliary Board didn’t even exist at that point. Now, all the Advisory and Auxiliary {except me …ย wah} are getting together in Indiana for an enriching weekend together in July. If you are able to go, I can tell you that it’s going to be great!

    AO 2015 Conference Flyer Final



    :: 3 ::

    In this same vein, all of you Left Coasters can join me at the Northwest Charlotte Mason Educator’s Conference outside Seattle in late September! I am looking forward to a nature walk with Naomi. I have wanted to do this forย years, and what better place than somewhere beautiful …with no drought? ๐Ÿ˜‰


    :: 4 ::

    This Week’s Links Collection:


    :: 5 ::

    We just finished the 2015 Ultimate Chore Mix Up. It’s our beginning-of-summer tradition. We still have lessons next week, but we decided to get a jump on it this year since I procrastinated last year, to the great irritation of the children {ahem}. I write a list of all the chores anyone is responsible for. I cross off anything that doesn’t need to be done anymore {like milking goats … since I sold my herd last weekend} and add anything thatย does need to be done {like mowing the back lawn … since said goats won’t be cropping it for us anymore}. The next thing I do is write everyone’s names {including mine} across a sheet of paper. I assign anything thatย needs to be done by a specific personย {for example, only my oldest can mow the lawn and only I dust ceiling fans}. Everything else goes into a pool, and the children take turns choosing the jobs they want, until there is nothing left to choose from. I make sure that all of it seems “fair” — basically that no one person is carrying more than his share of the burden — and we’re set. These lists are what we work from until the next summer, when we mix it up again.

    A-Age-10 is very excited not to have to do dishes with O-Age-Six anymore.

    And that’s all I’ll say aboutย that.


    :: 6 ::

    This month in 2008:

    Order as an Educational Environment

    It’s interesting looking this far back. I was about to begin Year One with Son E., and I was pregnant with Son O. James Taylor had taught me so much already!


    :: 7 ::

    Answering Your Questions:

    • Question:ย I have chosen to homeschool my son {6} using AmblesideOnline. I reviewed the book list for the next 12 years of my son’s education and realized I have not read ANY of those books as a child. Nor have any of the books been read to me. I have never done a nature, composer, or artist study. It was how I was raised. I suppose without class or culture. Reading the FAQs on AO website I can say that I can do this. Teach my son the CM way. But I know there is SO much more. Right now I really feel inadequate. Is there hope for me?
      • Answer:ย Yes! You can do this! There is hope for you. So many of us simply learn alongside our children. We read the books aloud to them, and when they are older and reading for themselves, we read the books on our own {we call it pre-reading} so that we can have good discussions. You can start over the summer, if you like, on educating yourself. Or you can just get a big stack of great children’s books from the library and read them aloud to your child. There is nothing shameful about starting at the very beginning, even for yourself. I learned aย lot from reading good picture books to my children. You might feel like you are alone, butย many of us were unfamiliar with some or all of the booklists. The wonderful thing about AO is that we are enriched right along with our students. ๐Ÿ™‚


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  • Reply Amber June 1, 2015 at 10:58 am

    Ooh, I am so excited about the conference in the Seattle area! I just might be able to go. With five kids and one car, I need to figure out how to get to the airport and get some additional child care support for my husband. But I have some ideas and I’ll be trying to see if any will work over the next week or so. Yay! I’ve been wanting to attend a conference like this for ages and I’m so glad to see one west of the Rockies!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel June 1, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      Oh, Amber, that would be fantastic! I hope you can. Wish you were closer because then I could just come pick you up on my way. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Reply Amber June 4, 2015 at 9:27 am

        The logistics are looking good, and I’m getting very excited!

        Are you driving up with a group? That should be a great road trip!

        • Reply Brandy Vencel June 4, 2015 at 9:34 am

          I’m flying! I haven’t flown since I was pregnant with my 6yo, so I’m a bit nervous. I have’t arranged my flight yet because I’m waiting on one more detail from my hubby to choose between two times…I’m trying to fly out of Burbank.

          • Amber June 4, 2015 at 3:04 pm

            I hadn’t realized it until just now, but I haven’t flown for eight years! My goodness, how time flies. It still seems like nothing to me though, because I grew up flying several times a year, and then after college I had a job where I had to travel several times a month. (A great job for a young single gal who loves to travel to cities, but not so great once I was in a serious relationship!)

            You and I both have long trips to the airport, don’t we! I’m about an hour and a half to the Sacramento airport. My mom is willing to take me though, so that should work out well. Yay!

          • Brandy Vencel June 5, 2015 at 8:14 am

            We do have long trips! I think I’m going to have to take a shuttle. I thought about flying out from here locally, but it was ridiculous the sort of journey I’d have to take to get there — much easier to fly from a bigger airport.

  • Reply susan in st louis May 29, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    Thanks so much for letting us know about the conference! It’s about 15 minutes away from where I went to college, so I definitely know the area and have some connections there. Yay! Maybe this will work… ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply Brandy Vencel May 30, 2015 at 2:46 pm

      So exciting, Susan!

  • Reply Anna May 29, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    I’m going to the AO conference – couldn’t pass up the opportunity as it’s only about 4 1/2 hours away – but I’m disappointed you won’t be there. ๐Ÿ™ I’m feeling rather shy because I only “know” some of the people coming through blogs and the AO forum, and as I don’t post much there, I feel like a bit of an outsider. But I’m sure it will be wonderful and encouraging and I’ll get to meet some new friends. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply Karla (clay1416) May 29, 2015 at 5:04 pm

      I will be there Anna so just look for me and you already know one person ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Reply susan in st louis May 29, 2015 at 6:02 pm

      I might go, and I wouldn’t know anyone either. Maybe we could meet up? ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply Brandy Vencel May 30, 2015 at 2:45 pm

      Sounds like you already found some friends by the time I read this. Yay! It’ll be great! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Pam May 29, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    That chore idea is genius! And I was getting really excited about the AO conference until I realized it wasn’t in MY home (ie. on the computer). So let me put in a request for a virtual conference please. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply Brandy Vencel May 30, 2015 at 2:45 pm

      A virtual conference! Sounds like one I could easily attend, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Reply Karen @ The Simply Blog May 30, 2015 at 7:58 pm

        Hey Pam and Brandi, I think a virtual mini-conference with a session from each of you wonderful ladies at Schole Sisters would be awesome! Just a thought……


        • Reply Karen @ The Simply Blog May 30, 2015 at 7:58 pm

          Oops Brandy, I mistyped your name. So sorry. *blush*

          • Brandy Vencel June 1, 2015 at 12:06 pm

            No worries. This actually qualifies you for a job at Starbucks if you need one. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Reply Karen @ Living Unabridged May 29, 2015 at 10:55 am

    I watched Maze Runner with my husband. He’s read the series and according to him, it’s not really worth it (and he thought the movie made significant alterations but what else is new?). But that’s how I felt about the Divergent series too, so obviously YMMV.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel May 29, 2015 at 12:12 pm

      Ha. I had to google “YMMV” — that one was new to me! Learn something new every day…

      I have never bothered to read any of the YA dystopian novels, but I do love the movies. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s not that I’m against reading them, only that I have to prioritize my reading so much with all the prereading I do. Maybe when my students graduate my first act of freedom will be to read them ALL. Ha! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Karen @ The Simply Blog May 29, 2015 at 8:27 am

    The chore mix-up is a neat idea.

    I’m with you on Maze Runner. It was okay and I want to see the next movie. But I liked Divergent and Insurgent much, much better as well as the Hunger Games movies. ๐Ÿ™‚ Seems we both like the dystopian and superhero movies. ๐Ÿ™‚ I guess I have a pretty eclectic taste in movies. I like a number of the Masterpiece Theatre productions….especially a lot of their productions of Dickens and Austen’s works. I enjoy some musicals….like the newer remake of Phantom of the Opera with Gerard Butler and Les Mis with Anne Hathaway and Russell Crowe, as well as classics like My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, and Mary Poppins. I also love old, classic movies. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply Brandy Vencel May 29, 2015 at 12:10 pm

      I am with you on the superiority of Divergent/Insurgent and Hunger Games!

  • Reply Mystie May 29, 2015 at 7:35 am

    To clarify, though, I’m sure it will still be lushly green and drizzly in Federal Way, as always. ๐Ÿ™‚ Do you own an umbrella?

    • Reply Brandy Vencel May 29, 2015 at 12:09 pm

      I hope so!

      No, I don’t own an umbrella. I bought one in college once when we had an El Nino year. I kept it ever after until I found it somewhere in a corner of the garage. It had died of disuse. ๐Ÿ™

      • Reply Kathy Wickward May 30, 2015 at 10:59 am

        No one in the NW carries an umbrella. Unless they’re here on their first year from California. I’m fascinated by your fascination with Catholics, Brandy, as I’ve just been reading about the Janists – a group of Catholics with startlingly Calvinist views. I cannot wait to see you up here!

        • Reply Brandy Vencel May 30, 2015 at 2:47 pm

          I like you keep you on your toes. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          Now I have to go google the Janists. That is one I’ve never heard of before!

  • Reply Mystie May 29, 2015 at 7:34 am

    Sorry, our state government has declared a drought here this year, probably as part of a solidarity move with California. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    We had zero snow pack in the mountains this winter, but two or three years ago there was so much that the river was up several extra feet, so the park benches along the path were in the water. So, nothing is dire. But it’s hip to have a drought, because California is doing it.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel May 29, 2015 at 12:09 pm

      Sorry to lead your state into error! ๐Ÿ™‚

      And zero snow pack is a PROBLEM, I know.

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