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    Seven Quick Takes on Buying Office Supplies, a Free Planning Webinar, Thinking Outside the Discipline Box, and More!

    July 10, 2015 by Brandy Vencel

    Seven Quick Takes

    :: 1 ::

    I’m reorganizing our home office. I had been putting off buying bookshelves for this room until I finally had no choice. Adding the Year Eight books really put me over the edge. There is no more room in the library, nor the play nook, nor my bedroom. The only option was to replace the short shelves in the office — one of which I’ve had since I was thirteen and is still totally fine as long as you don’t touch it or look at it funny thankyouverymuch — with something taller.

    So I ordered shelves, and they are coming in less than two weeks. This, naturally, led to a complete overhaul of the entire office — not that I’m complaining. We’re long overdue on this one. I cleaned out a ton of books we didn’t need, selling them on Amazon and at our local used store, and donating whatever they wouldn’t take.

    :: 2 ::

    Also, the pencil sharpener broke. I’m really into keeping stuff from my youth that still works, so in addition to the aforementioned shelving from my teen years, I had my childhood pencil sharpener. Sarah introduced me to this replacement, and it is just as awesome as the one I had before — even more, in fact, because, unlike my old one, this one works. Which is what we look for in these things, no?

    When it arrived, my girls took it to their room and sharpened every pencil in the house — even the ones that didn’t need it. We’re good for a while.

    And speaking of office supplies, I broke down and bought a label maker. Every year at this time, I debate with myself about buying one. This seemed like a good time to do it since I’m reshelving and reorganizing so. much. stuff. Stuff that we need for school. Stuff that I want to have neatly labeled so that those putting things away are Without Excuse.

    I asked Mystie my pretend lifecoach, and she pointed me in the right direction, plus I got the same thing she owns, but way cheaper, and she’s only a little, tiny bit bitter about that, which is good of her, don’t you think?

    I wonder if it would annoy my husband if I printed out a label that says “Si” and put it on his forehead while he’s sleeping? Hmmm…

    :: 3 ::

    This week’s links collection:

    :: 4 ::

    This month in 2010:

    At School with Charlotte Masterly Inactivity and Classicism's Wry Smile

    In July of 2010, this blog was only four-and-a-half. I was blogging my way through Charlotte Mason’s third volume, and this was a lengthy study of chapter three, which is all about her fascinating concept of masterly inactivity. Click here to read it.

    :: 5 ::

    If you’re looking for more planning help, Pam is putting on a free webinar next week!


    I use Pam’s tools and forms for all sorts of stuff, and some of you might like them, too. 🙂

    :: 6 ::

    A conversation with a friend yesterday reminded me that I haven’t talked about allergies in a while. When our family was plagued by food allergies, I used to write about it a lot. It was our life, after all, and always on my mind. But that is not the point. In this conversation, we were talking about another friend that was told that her difficult child just needed more consistency.

    Now, don’t get me wrong. This might very well be true. I have seen a lot of parents be painfully inconsistent in their discipline and training of their children, and reap the consequences of that. But I think that we forget that behavior comes from a lot of places, training and discipline being only one of them. You all know, for example, that when he’s high on sugar, my youngest child is unbearable. Taking him off of sugar means that I don’t have to worry about training him because he acts just fine.

    This is something that has really been on my heart lately: persons are body-and-soul, not just one or the other. The two things work together because we’re composite beings. When the body is off, the soul can be mightily tempted, and when you’re little, the strength of will to behave in spite of how you feel just isn’t there. When normal discipline and training isn’t working, my advice is to think about causes other than a lack of consistency. Like food or sickness or something going on in the child’s life or — I don’t know. I just know that when it comes to my own children, it has been worth it every time to explore what is going on beneath the behavior. In our family, the issue has usually been dietary.

    :: 7 ::

     Answering your questions:

    • Question: I was wondering, for a new mom to AO/CM which volume of her works would you recommend reading first? I have them all, but, have not dived in yet! I have three boys ages 13, 11 and 8.
      • Answer: Since your children are all school age, I would recommend Volume 6. Charlotte Mason wrote this at the very end of her life, and it is an attempt to encapsulate all that she thought about education. It’s comprehensive in a way some of the other volumes are not. If your children were preschoolers, I’d suggest Volume 1, but because of their ages, I think the last book is the quickest way to get a big picture view of her philosophy and practices. And, of course, there is always Start Here if you need a tour guide. 😉

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  • Reply Claire July 12, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    Origami was our first handicraft, when my kids were year 0. We have since collected several origami books, including one of Australian animals. We decorate cards with origami and make holiday decorations and of course toys… Then the other day I found a book at the library called something like “useful origami”. It had a home section and garden and office… I’ll definitely get that book out next time we do origami as our official handicraft… Or before…

    With discipline and searching for causes, in addition to food sensitivities, I’ve seen the acronym HALT – hungry, angry, lonely, tired. Many people add a P for potty. I find that even in myself, if I’m losing control, fixing HLT or P can make it all much easier, and that’s a skill I think we should be using with, and then teaching, our kids in the same way CM recommends teaching them self distraction.

    Btw, if you’re confused about the A, like, of course kids will act out if they’re angry but that’s not fixable in the same way that hungry is, is it? I was too. Apparently the HALT comes from AA originally and it’s about decision making – avoid making decisions or taking action on a problem if you are hungry, angry, lonely or tired. I find that but of history fascinating. Also excellent advice. That said, in an older child anger might perhaps be an issue to address – like, if a child doesn’t like the way you’ve set up a particular school subject and is angry about that, they might sabotage it, and the solution might be a conversion, with or without a compromise… “solution” is my favorite word in the world of discipline…

    • Reply Brandy Vencel July 12, 2015 at 8:21 pm

      That was music to my ears Claire — adding origami elements to our habit of hand-making cards! Excellent. 🙂

      Your HALT thing reminds me of when I was a young mom and an older mom told me the “don’t grocery shop when you are hungry” trick, which I had never heard before, but she was right that I would more easily stick to my list when I wasn’t influenced by my hunger. So what you say here makes oh so much sense to me!

  • Reply Kate July 11, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    Love your idea of doing origami as a handicraft! It’s so simple (which I appreciate, as a not-very crafty mom), but it teaches so much precision and careful work habits, plus geometry and spatial skills. Have you ever looked at the sloyds that CM did in some of the PNEU schools? It’s a lot like origami, and there’s a free book that walks through the different forms. Simply Charlotte Mason did a post on them recently if anyone wants more info.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel July 11, 2015 at 5:09 pm

      Ha! When Jeanne shared the article with me, she actually suggested sloyd, just like you! 🙂 I *think* what I want to do is origami on regular days, and sloyd on occasion — a couple times a month. This is mainly because I know that if I’m trying to do a lot of sloyd I won’t be consistent, whereas I’m pretty sure I can buy a few origami kits and do them daily without much willpower required on my part.

      I am not crafty, either. Can you tell? 😉

      • Reply Kate July 12, 2015 at 11:50 am

        Not crafty? I never noticed! 🙂 Actually, I’ve been meaning to comment for ages and say how much I appreciated your not-so-crafty mom post. My kids and I have had so much fun making the stitched greeting cards that you’d posted about, and I’ve loved looking for real reasons to make crafts rather than just making random stuff.

        My kids have used the Dover “Origami Fun Kit for Beginners” from amazon if you’re looking for one–it has a nice range of difficulty, and good quality paper.

        • Reply Brandy Vencel July 12, 2015 at 8:19 pm

          Thank you! I hadn’t decided on a kit yet, and it is nice to hear from someone who actually liked one. I will definitely check out the Dover one! 🙂

  • Reply Sharron July 10, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    Most people don’t believe the connection between diet and behavior and until they experience it in their own household. I didn’t. But it’s as real as it gets!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel July 11, 2015 at 5:02 pm

      I know what you mean. I didn’t believe it, either, until we ran into issues our pediatrician couldn’t fix…

  • Reply Michelle Dawn July 10, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    We must have pictures and details when you are finished with the re-organization! 🙂

    • Reply Brandy Vencel July 10, 2015 at 1:47 pm

      That is a good idea. I am such a bad picture taker. I will try though! It really would be a fun project to document. 🙂

  • Reply Mystie July 10, 2015 at 7:33 am

    I haven’t had my coffee yet and I first read that sentence as “which is good FOR her.” Ha! Yes, I thought I was getting a good deal and then the price drops by half again! Not fair. 🙂

    • Reply Brandy Vencel July 10, 2015 at 9:02 am

      Ha! I was *commending* you for your good nature. 🙂

  • Reply Hayley July 10, 2015 at 7:26 am

    Thanks for the information on the pencil sharpener. I’ve read that not all pencil sharpeners do both lead and coloured pencils, and that the wax on the coloured pencils ruins some sharpeners. I’m going to assume if your girls sharpened every pencil in your house that it means coloured as well. I’ve hesitated buying one, but if you recommend this one, then I’m on it!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel July 10, 2015 at 9:01 am

      So far, so good. They did all the Crayola colored pencils, yes. Now you have me hoping that was okay! It is a lot like my old one, though, and that one always handled colored pencils fine. On that one, the engine just finally burned out from years of use and abuse. 🙂

  • Reply Carol July 10, 2015 at 6:09 am

    Hi Brandy, read your link to the Radium Girls the other day – interesting as I’ve been reading Madame Curie’s bio & another book which mentioned the bizarre ways radium was used in the early days. Horrible stuff!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel July 10, 2015 at 9:00 am

      I know! I really can’t get over how *not* careful they were, and for long — it seems like well past when they should have known better. 🙁

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