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    Seven Quick Takes on Prize Winners, Big Anniversaries, Extra Special Web Highlights, and More!

    August 14, 2015 by Brandy Vencel

    Seven Quick Takes

    :: 1 ::

    So I know you all want to know who won the three prizes, right? {I feel like we need a drumroll or something!}

    1. Winner of A Taste of Chaucer by Anne Malcolmson is … Kari Seibel!
    2. Winner of the Teaching Reading with Bob Books Printable Phonics Lessons is … Glenna Heustis!
    3. Winner of Whatever Happened to Justice by Richard Maybury is … Paola Collazo!

    As a consolation prize, there is a 15% off discount from now until 8/21/2015 for the Teaching Reading with Bob Books Printable Phonics Lessons — just type in the coupon code AFTERTHOUGHTS before checkout.

    :: 2 ::

    I found another duplicate book while cleaning out more shelves, so I guess we’ll have another contest someday. Who knows how many more I’ll find by the time this is over! I try so hard not to purchase duplicates by having a system … a system I stopped using part of this year when I got a bit overwhelmed. Whereas before I had only a couple duplicates over the seven years of buying homeschool books, this year I had a number of them. So I’ve learned a couple things. First, I can trust my system. Second, and more importantly, I cannot trust ME.



    :: 3 ::

    This week’s links collection:


    :: 4 ::

    This Month in 2008:

    Baby O.


    I had my youngest child this month, seven years ago. This link goes to his birth story. I call it The Story of the Son We Almost Lost.



    :: 5 ::

    I have been thinking a lot about the 10-year anniversary of Afterthoughts, which is coming up in late December. {Because, you know, blogs should totally be started on a whim right before New Year’s. Ahem.} How to celebrate is the question. Any ideas? I’ve never thrown the blog a party before. 😉


    :: 6 ::

    There is some cool stuff out in Internet Land that I can’t miss mentioning today.

    1. Ed in an HourSarah made her Education in an Hour training available to everyone, not just members of the Read Aloud Revival Membership Site. I’ve only heard good things. If you didn’t get in a homeschool conference this summer, this might be the inspiration you’re looking for to kick off you school year.
    2. Pam is about to launch her new Morning Basket podcast. So. much. goodness.
    3. And DawnHow could I forget Dawn? She has given a lovely, lovely gift to the Charlotte Mason community in the form of her new free ebook, which is a sort of daily meditation on Charlotte Mason’s motto, “I am, I can, I ought, I will.” Make sure you tell this lovely lady how thankful you are!

    :: 7 ::

    Answering Your Questions:

    • Question: For the memory work, do you use KJV? ESV? Do you have a preference?
      • Answer: I usually use the KJV, but there have been times where I used something else. I think the KJV has the richest language, but some passages are more commonly known in a more recent translation — like the I Corinthians 13 “love chapter” — in the KJV it says “charity” instead of “love” so we memorized it in something else. NASB, maybe? ESV? I can’t remember for sure. I think that when we choose Scripture memory work, we have to decide what our priority is. All the true translations {meaning not paraphrases} are God’s Word. So no matter what version we choose, we are hiding God’s Word in our hearts. So how do we decide beyond that? For me, I decided I really wanted good, rich language and cultural connection — I wanted us to be able to connect to Biblical allusions we came across {which are often done with KJV language}. But other people feel just as strongly about memorizing the exact version their church uses in the services. I can totally see an argument for that.


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  • Reply Amanda August 17, 2015 at 7:31 am

    And I just clicked over to O’s birth story – that must have been so scary! I’m so glad God brought him through that with the help of the talented and dedicated medical personnel. Two of my cousins are l&d nurses and one is a nurse anesthesist – I’m so glad that such caring and bright ladies (and gentlemen) are there helping babies and mamas (and daddies)!

  • Reply Amanda August 17, 2015 at 6:12 am

    Thanks for the HT! It’s a great article!

  • Reply Amber Vanderpol August 14, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    What a story about O! That is amazing.

    Thanks for the links, I’ll look forward to checking them out!

    I spent some time this morning with your videos about creating the weekly schedules and I found them helpful. I take a little bit different approach, largely because I make a few substitutions w/ AO. I download the spreadsheet from the AO site and swap out books. I try not to add anything else (although it is so tempting!) but I try to do straight substitutions – either because we’ve already read it (we only started w/ AO last year, although we’ve been “doing CM” for longer than that) or because of doctrinal issues. Then each week I go over the spreadsheet, changing the background color of the each cell to show that we completed a reading. Then I look at the next week (and previous weeks if necessary *ahem*) to create my weekly/daily lists for the kids. It was so satisfying over the course of the school year to watch that spreadsheet gradually go from a white background to a colored one!

    I do find myself wishing at times that you also had a toddler or two around the house… I’d dearly love to find someone who blogs regularly about the nuts and bolts of making AO/CM work who also has the kind of age spread I do (20 mo to 13). They probably don’t blog for the same reason I’m not as consistent as I’d like to be… 😀

    And I really miss the comment notification on your blog! 🙂

    • Reply Virginia Lee August 14, 2015 at 7:47 pm

      I miss comment notification too. Just chiming in with that, incase you did not know it was gone. =)

      Now I’m going to go read O’s birth story.

      • Reply Virginia Lee August 14, 2015 at 7:53 pm

        Goodness. Praise you Lord for O and all of our beautiful children. Each and everyone a miracle and a gift from you.

        One of mine is 7. I’m so glad Brandy that you have your sweet 7 year old today!

    • Reply Amber Vanderpol August 14, 2015 at 8:41 pm

      And I meant to add (before I lost my train of thought because I was admiring a new Lego creation mid-comment) that what I found so helpful about your videos was listening to you go through and make the decisions about what to trim, what to place in what spot, and what to modify in order to make everything work for that child as well as for the whole family. I’m certainly doing that in my mind (and sometimes out loud when no one is around) but it is reassuring to listen to another homeschool mom go through that same sort of process. That’s part of what makes these videos so valuable. Thanks for sharing them! (and this comment really should go on the post with the videos, but oh well. My apologies for my lack of orderliness)

    • Reply Brandy Vencel August 15, 2015 at 11:55 am


      1. Comment notification. I KNOW. Sorry. 🙁 I just asked a friend what she is using because my attempts to fix the old system have been total fails. I am working on it, though! Do not give up hope! 🙂

      2. I could totally envision how turning all those squares from white to colored would be satisfying! I think that sounds great!

      3. Sometimes, *I* find myself wishing I had a toddler or two around! I took me four years after Son O. was born to finally accept that I was unable to have more children {because I hemorrhaged 🙁 }.

      4. Thanks for your encouragement on the videos! I almost didn’t post them because I thought that part was BORING. 🙂

      • Reply Amanda August 17, 2015 at 6:02 am

        Not boring at all!

      • Reply Amber Vanderpol August 18, 2015 at 7:02 pm

        Sorry for bugging you about the comment notifications! But hooray, I see that lovely little checkbox below, so that makes me very happy.

        And I do admit that I watched the videos on 1.25 and 1.5 speed. 😀 But I found that worked really well although you sounded a little funny sometimes. I felt like I was able to understand what you were doing and see your planning as you did it (and I could pause to stare at your spreadsheets occasionally too) but it helped close up the gaps where you were thinking and clicking around. Not that the thinking and clicking isn’t necessary, but not quite so interesting to watch. 😉

        And I hope I wasn’t rubbing salt on a wound there – I’m not trying to make any sort of comment on family size or anything. I’m just wishing for some real life examples of homeschooling moms who are trying to do what I’m doing. I’m sorry to hear about your hemorrhaging, that sounds absolutely awful.

  • Reply dawn August 14, 2015 at 6:57 am

    Thanks for sharing, Brandy. Your kind words makin’ me cry. 🙂

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