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    Seven Quick Takes on a New CM Podcast, eBay, my Phonics Curriculum, and More!

    July 3, 2015 by Brandy Vencel

    Seven Quick Takes

    :: 1 ::

    We wouldn’t be doing the week justice if we didn’t mention the new CiRCE Institute podcast called The Mason Jar. For those of you who, like me, have really missed Cindy Rollins, it is lovely to see her back and in a new medium. The first episode was fascinating because she gave a history of the modern CM movement, including AO‘s place in it.

    AO has meant so much to our family, and I am so grateful to the women who, while I was only in junior high, and things like homeschooling and educational philosophy where the furthest things from my mind, were laboring to make it what it is today!


    :: 2 ::

    I really like eBay. At least, today I do. I usually buy Pottery Barn sheets {because they fit my hard-to-fit mattress}, but I don’t love Pottery Barn prices. Our sheets — which are PB, and have lasted quite a long time — are rotting and have a continent-sized hole in them. Obviously, it was time for a replacement. I’ve bought our last couple sets from eBay, and they’ve been a bit cheaper and in the colors I need to match our room. Problem solved. I was especially thankful for them this time — I did check the Pottery Barn website first, and I really didn’t like any of the colors and styles. Three cheers for other options! 🙂


    :: 3 ::

    This week’s links collection:


    :: 4 ::

    This month in 2012:

    Don't Forget to Slay the Dragon

    I still believe this today: Don’t Forget to Slay the Dragon.


    :: 5 ::

    I can’t believe I can announce this! The first volume of my Teaching Reading with Bob Books curriculum is finally available in The TRwBB Shop! This represents years of work, and even then wouldn’t have happened without the organizational ninja skills of my {real-life!} friend, Hayley. Sometimes I think she is magic.

    Anyhow, all the lessons are still available for free on my reading site, but this is the ultimate in user-friendly and it’s printable and pretty and … I’m just so happy about it!

    We’re hoping to have the next volume out in a month or two, and I’ll announce that when the time comes.


    :: 6 ::

    Next week’s planning posts will include screen-sharing videos. If the idea of me talking while using Excel spreadsheets doesn’t bore you out of your mind, you might really like this. 😉


    :: 7 ::

    Answering your questions:

    • Question:  I was looking ahead to Year 1 thinking it would be good to know what books to be looking for and have an idea of what is coming up. The list of books is long! Which is great! I am looking forward to reading these with the kids. As I was looking through I noticed about half were available free (or nearly) on Kindle. How do you decide what books to buy, to get on Kindle or to rent at the library? Or even to upgrade to the nice hard copy edition rather than the paperback?
      • Answer: I pretty much buy all the books. 🙂 In the upper years, there are some that we get on Kindle, because AO has them all edited and available for free and even divided into weekly readings. But other than that, I love for us to have a book in hand. In Year 1, the D’Aulaire books lend themselves well to library borrowing, for sure. For me, of course, there is a lot of financial sense in buying because I have four kids that will use them — but really I have so fallen in love with these books that I am glad to own them and share them with others and keep them for my grandbabies.
    • Question:  I have a question regarding book versions. I always want unabridged, but do not always find this information listed. I’ve had some success comparing page numbers of editions on the library search page, but it is still hit or miss. Are there any clues that I can use to spot an unwanted abridged/annotated copy before buying it?
      • Answer: I honestly still have this problem. I have learned a few brands that are trustworthy {Penguin often notes if they have edited or annotated, for example — Signet Classics are usually unabridged — etc.}. Other than that, I am still learning. On AbeBooks, they have a function where you can email the seller if you are unsure, and I have used that before with good success. Other than that, it seems I still make one or two mistakes each year in this area. Thankfully, this is usually with really cheap used copies and so even if I have to eat the cost, I am out less than five bucks.


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  • Reply Amber Vanderpol July 26, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    I was so excited about the Mason Jar too! The first episode was great, and I wish I didn’t have to wait so long for the next one. As far as I know, it is the only CM related podcast… do you know of any others?

  • Reply Sharron July 5, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    The Mason Jar was great! I really enjoyed it. And yes, eBay is so nice. So far all my experiences have been good.

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