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    Seven Quick Takes on New Podcast Episodes, Too Many Repairmen, Summer Books Selections, and MORE!

    April 22, 2016 by Brandy Vencel

    Seven Quick Takes

    :: 1 ::

    Episode 7 of the Scholé Sisters podcast came out today! In it, I interview Amber, who hangs out in the comments here sometimes. She’s great. You should go listen. 🙂


    :: 2 ::

    Writing this take is basically therapeutic blogging. I seriously cannot believe the number of things that have gone wrong at our house lately. I guess there is a reason why we have that saying, “When it rains, it pours.” As a Californian, I didn’t pretend to fully understand the statement, but it has meaning to me now.

    On Monday, a repairman came to redo the baseboards that were damaged by the flood. I made the mistake of joking that repairmen would need to come every day this week because of how things have been going. So, naturally, on Tuesday, my refrigerator broke again. The nice part is that the previous repair was under warranty, so all we had to pay for was another new part. It is nice to have a working refrigerator, I must say.

    On Tuesday night, the screw of our garage door opener cracked. This meant the car was trapped inside the garage until someone came to fix it. My husband could not budge it even an inch. We are very blessed that my parents will do things like pick up kids at tennis in an emergency. Needless to say, O-Age-Seven spent his time watching the opener being repaired on Wednesday. Also on Wednesday, we had multiple issues with our Internet connection, which means — that’s right! — the broadband company came on Thursday.

    I am grateful for repairmen. I really am. But I would prefer to not have a reason to see another one for a very long time.


    :: 3 ::

    This week’s links collection:

    {It’s huge!}

    :: 4 ::

    This month in 2013:

    Writing Readiness

    You’ve heard of taking time off from math, but have you heard of taking time off from writing?


    :: 5 ::

    I usually try to pick fiction for my swimming lessons book stack in early summer. With that said, my good friend, Christa, went and got me all interested in her collection of books on vocation, and so I decided to ask her for a suggestion for me, and God at Work is the winner. So it looks like this will be the book that keeps me company in the shade while the children swim their laps.

    What are you planning to read this summer?


    :: 6 ::

    I got away for a couple hours on Wednesday night. This ended up being exactly what I needed to knock out the entire rough draft of my talk on atmosphere, discipline, and life that I’m giving in Dallas next month. While I always refine a number of times before I’m done, I was encouraged by how easy it was to write — it’s like it’s a talk that wants to be give. 🙂


    :: 7 ::

    Answering Your Questions:

    • Question:   would like to use MEP with my 1st grader next year and then with the kiddos that follow. He has not used a formal math program at all this year with our inconsistent K work. Would you start him with the Reception or Year 1? I feel like the Reception is a dash below him in parts from what I previewed, but I also do not want to miss a solid foundation.
      • Answer: Goodness, I really think you could go either way. With my youngest, he seemed pretty natural at math, but I went ahead and did the reception year, and I’m glad I did. I found a few weaknesses I didn’t know what there, and it really did build a good foundation. So … maybe go through the Reception Year, but skip some of it? I’m wondering if that would be best. If you find things that are easy for him he could just skip those parts in the future — there is no reason you can’t do more than one lesson per day if you are doing that. Then, you’d probably fly through Reception, but still get the foundation wherever he needs it.

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  • Reply Melissa April 22, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    Hey Brandy,

    Sorry about all the repair issues you are having. Thank God for repairmen…right?! We bought a brand new Bosch dishwasher last summer and it’s been broke more than working. It’s so discouraging 🙁

    I have not heard of God at Work, but anything by that author intrigues me. This summer I plan to begin again and finish, ahem, The Liberal Arts Tradition and Consider This for teacher training purposes. I’m also reading Anna Karenina with our CM group for Schole and I’d like to re-read The Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck, which I read in high school and can’t wait to re-read as an adult.

    We only have four official weeks left in our school year and I’m really excited about having some ‘free’ reading time 🙂


    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 26, 2016 at 6:52 am

      Melissa! I have to tell you that you are reinforcing my fear of ever needing a new dishwasher! I have heard *horrible* stories — all similar to yours — saying they just don’t work well, nor do they last. Sigh. So frustrating! I’m so sorry! I hope you are able to get it working, or get a replacement via warranty, so something! 🙁

      • Reply Melissa April 27, 2016 at 2:37 am

        Thanks Brandy…the best part is, this is my first experience with a dishwasher. For the first 30+ years of my life, I. was. the dishwasher 😉 Now, that we’ve got accustomed to having one, we think we’re going to die if we have to wash the dishes by hand. My kids have never known life without one and I’m not so sure it’s a good thing 🙁

  • Reply Tania April 22, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    I really enjoyed your conversation with Amber. My husband’s job is in social media so I am so thankful for technology (otherwise we wouldn’t have a livelihood, lol!) but I totally agree with Amber about there still being a separation from the person. Typing updates and comments are great in as far as they go, but it takes me so long to figure out the right way to word things sometimes that the effort and time it takes me to comment ends up becoming a hinderance to me joining in the conversation. I try to make more of an effort these days since I still see it as real community, but it does take me a lot longer to express myself typing than it does if I just talk with someone. I am participating in the 20 principles study that’s happening on the AO forum and am so thankful for the insight of the wonderful people there, but sometimes it takes me 45 minutes to put my thoughts into something that’s coherent to read. There is so much I don’t say because I don’t have the time to put into crafting an intelligent response ?. Actually, it’s probably just as well ?. I also really resonated with what you guys were saying about modeling to your children. I know that when I’m typing fervently I’m talking with people, but my kids don’t. They just see me with a screen in my face. I hate the idea of that, so that limits the times that I am willing to engage in online discussion that is text based. Voice and face-to-face is much better, although totally intimidating. Anyway, thank you for the discussion. I am going to have a closer look at Voxer. I am an Aussie living in Florida and I often feel the separation from the every day lives of my family back home. The time difference can be challenging to organize skype and FaceTime calls. Voxer might be a way to carry on more regular conversations about every day stuff with my family without the time difference problem.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 22, 2016 at 3:46 pm

      Oh, Tania! You might Voxer to be a miracle for your time difference problem! I know that I often Vox with Pam Barnhill, who lives in Alabama. It’s only a few hour difference, but I will leave her Voxes after in bed and she’ll reply before I’m up in the morning — it is SO much easier than trying to schedule something where we both have to be present. ♥

  • Reply Amber Vanderpol April 22, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    I really enjoyed our chat! I started listening to it this morning with a bit of trepidation, but so far I’m really pleased with how the conversation turned out. It is funny though, I don’t sound like how I think I sound, so I have to keep reminding me that it is me speaking, not just someone who strangely says things I might say. 🙂

    That article on blue was fascinating. My daughter and I have had conversations about the whole wine-dark sea thing – I’ll have to share it with her.

    And on a totally different note, any idea why I am no longer getting emails when there is a new blog post or Newbie Tuesday? They aren’t even going to my spam folder! Anyone else having this problem?

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 22, 2016 at 3:49 pm

      If it is any consolation, I think your voice sounds pretty different on Skype compared with Voxer.

      Okay, VERY strange that you are having delivery problems. I checked, and for some reason it didn’t have to subbed to blog posts, so I did that for you — I did daily, but if you want weekly instead, let me know. But you are totally subbed for Newbie Tuesday. I don’t know. I’m actually going to be switching from MailChimp to something else. I was debating because the something else is more expensive, but MC is just causing too many problems for me. I’m sorry!

  • Reply Celeste April 22, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    Loved hearing you and Amber chat! I’m so glad you had her on because I too have been so impressed at what she has taken on this year and the gusto with which she does everything. 🙂

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 22, 2016 at 3:50 pm

      Thanks, Celeste! I think we should get you on the show sometime, too… 🙂

      • Reply Amber Vanderpol April 22, 2016 at 4:47 pm

        Yes, thanks Celeste, and thanks for being my co-conspirator too. 😀

        And you should definitely have Celeste on the show!

        And thanks, Brandy, for trying to iron out my Mail Chimp problems! I really appreciate it.

      • Reply Celeste April 22, 2016 at 8:15 pm

        Sounds fun, Brandy! 😉

        I was also going to say that I heard you mention Voxer a long time ago and was intrigued, so I asked Amber about using it–and she happily agreed to try it out with me. But I totally forgot about that until I heard you guys talking about it again on the podcast! Maybe this weekend I’ll give it a try. 🙂

  • Reply Laurie Hawley April 22, 2016 at 9:53 am

    The article about Scary Stories was fascinating, gave me a new perspective. At what age would his books be appropriate? Upper elementary?

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 22, 2016 at 10:33 am

      Yes! So far, we’ve let children read Leepike Ridge {which is less scary than some of the others, in my opinion} at age 10 and see how they do. If they do okay {as in: no nightmares, etc.}, then they can start reading the 100 Cupboards series, which I thought was really creepy! Otherwise, we have them wait another year {so 11/5th grade}. With that said, my youngest *loves* all things battle and scary, and so we might do some reading aloud before he is quite that age — but not yet. He’s only 7 right now. 🙂

      What I love about Wilson is that he’s not just scary of for the purpose of being scary, and because he’s a devout Christian, I trust the way he interprets the world. I wouldn’t just generally let my kids read scary books, if that makes sense. 🙂

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 22, 2016 at 10:35 am

      By the way, Laurie, your boys might love The Green Ember books by SD Smith. There are two so far, with another on the way. My children have loved them; I think I read the first one aloud when my youngest was 6 and while he didn’t track with every single detail, he got the gist of the plot and really loved the battle scenes. 🙂

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