Get the exclusive (almost) Weekly Digest.

    Other Thoughts

    Seven Quick Takes on Wrapping Up Summer, Podcast Recording, Read Alouds, and MORE!

    August 5, 2016 by Brandy Vencel

    Seven Quick Takes

    :: 1 ::

    Well, summer is almost over. It’s hard for me to say that because, to some extent, it hasn’t felt quite like summer to me. But on the other hand, I’m starting to have that back-to-school itch. I’m starting to feel ready to return to routine and structure. My hope is to finish everything but pre-reading on Saturday. I mean all of it: the printing, the loading of clipboards, all of it.

    And then?

    Then I want one final week of true summer. Usually, I’m organizing up to the last minute, but I’m doing it differently this year. Next week, I want to do one more time swimming at Great Grandma’s house, one more day trip to the beach, one last movie night. I think that’s a better way to start the year off.


    :: 2 ::

    I get to record a few podcasts in the coming hours and days. It’s a little crazy, actually. I’m doing a Your Morning Basket episode with Pam this afternoon. Tomorrow, Mystie and I are recording an episode of Scholé Sisters. And then early next week I get to be a guest on Cultivating the Lovely with MacKenzie Monroe! The latter is a podcast I haven’t been on before, so I’m pretty excited!


    :: 3 ::

    This week’s links collection:


    :: 4 ::

    This month in 2012:

    Educating for Heroism

    I can’t believe it’s been four years since Mystie and I had our Ideas Have Consequences book club. This is one of my entries.


    :: 5 ::

    I’m reading The Johnstown Flood aloud to my children right now. We finished The Wonder Clock and I decided to do something completely different. I’ve been sitting on this book for years, waiting for my youngest child to be old enough to not hate it. After the first chapter, I thought maybe I had made a mistake, but I persevered and now we’ve just finished chapter 3 and things are looking up. They are {mostly} interested. Only Daughter Q. made the connection between this and the traumatized fisherman in Captains Courageous — and she was only about five when we read that book aloud! But she remembered that the man had lost his family in a big flood, and asked if this was the one {it was}.

    The children are now debating who the flood should be blamed on.

    And have I mentioned that I love David McCullough and I’m collecting his books? I have four or five so far…


    :: 6 ::

    Have any of you ever read this?

    Pepper and Salt by Howard Pyle? How I have made it all this time without knowing this book existed is beyond me, but now I think it’ll be my next purchase. I mean: Howard Pyle! I pretty much can’t go wrong.

    If any of you own it or have read it, I’d love to hear a review.

    :: 7 ::

    Instead of a Q&A here today, I refer you to my final AfterCast video of the summer, in which I answered some scheduling questions — one of them might even be yours!


    Get the (almost) weekly digest!

    Weekly encouragement, direct to your inbox, (almost) every Saturday.

    Powered by ConvertKit


  • Reply Ann-Marie August 6, 2016 at 11:17 am

    I hope you enjoy your last days of summer, Brandy! I know you have been hard at work this summer. I enjoyed the AfterCast and it was the first one I have seen. Very happy to hear that there are more Schole Sisters being recorded. Just love them! I listen to them while my boys are swimming in our pool. It is nice to listen to you, Mystie and Pam while my boys are playing (and arguing, lol!). While you are getting the finishing touches in place, do you have a clipboard for yourself as well, or do you print them out and place the spreadsheets into a binder or write the info out elsewhere? Anymore thoughts coming around for us low energy mommas? I have to thank you again as you were my very first venture into CM/AO land about six years ago. This is where I first read about Circle Time and it is the crux of what we do these days. You have helped me so much over the years and continue to do so 🙂

  • Reply Carol August 6, 2016 at 4:34 am

    Thanks for the Rosaria Butterfield link. I vaguely remember hearing about her conversion but couldn’t remember her name. I found her blog from that article and passed it on to a person I’d been talking to about some of the issues she addresses. Also hadn’t heard of the Cultivating the Lovely podcasts. Super!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel August 6, 2016 at 6:42 am

      You’re welcome! She has two books and I hear such good things about them all the time, but I still haven’t read them. 🙁

  • Reply Melissa Greene August 5, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    I actually own Pepper and Salt, but have not read it. However, you prompted me to go pull it off the shelf. It appears to be collection of eight short stories with poetry sprinkled in between. The illustrations are fabulous and the whole book is just super cute!

    I also have the McCullough books, but have not read them either. I’m encouraged to hear you say you are using them as a read aloud. I was thinking about using them at the high school level. As a matter of fact, I have duplicates of a couple that I hope to sell. Thanks for the review 🙂

    • Reply Brandy Vencel August 6, 2016 at 6:43 am

      High school would work well for independent reading! I know that in Year 9, AO has his John Adams biography as a possible option. I don’t know about the other years yet.

      Thanks for looking at Pepper and Salt for me! It sounds like something we’d like. My children really enjoy the snippets of poetry in The Wonder Clock.

      • Reply Melissa Greene August 6, 2016 at 9:22 am

        Oh, I didn’t realize that AO used McCullough’s John Adams bio in year 9…thanks!! …and you’re welcome 🙂

  • Reply Dawn August 5, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    I have never heard of it either. Now I need it. Sigh. All the worse timing because we’re reading Pyle’s Men of Iron as a read aloud right now which we naturally love. You’re a bad influence on me – in the very best way Brandy. 🙂

    • Reply Brandy Vencel August 6, 2016 at 6:44 am

      I am a good influence on YOU. I’m just a bad influence on your bank account. 😉

  • Reply Jeannette August 5, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    First of all you MUST move Mornings on Horseback to the top of your TBR pile. It is excellent. After I read it I went to Roswell,GA to visit the house where his mom grew up and to NYC to see a replica of the house where he grew up. He is a hero of mine. Secondly, I have Pepper and Salt but have not read it however it looks really good. If you loved the Wonder Clock, you will like this one as well.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel August 5, 2016 at 3:39 pm

      Oh wow! What a trip, to go to see the places you read about in the book. I love that! And yes. You’re right. I should move it up. 🙂

      And I really need to buy Pepper and Salt…

  • Reply Heather M August 5, 2016 at 6:51 am

    I LOVE David McCullough! John Adams has shaped me. I want to be Abigail Adams when I grow up. ? Ha! I haven’t read this one I’ll have to check my library.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel August 5, 2016 at 6:54 am

      Ha! I actually named one of my goats Abigail because we ended up admiring her so much — I totally understand! 🙂

  • Reply Tristan August 5, 2016 at 4:40 am

    Okay, tell me a little more about the David McCullough books. I just looked them up on my library’s website and see quite a few. Are any a series that needs read in a particular order? Do you have one you recommend to begin with for myself? I have 9 children ranging from age 15 down to 9 months old, what age would I begin to consider reading one of these aloud after pre-reading it myself?

    Thank you for your 7 Quick Takes, I always enjoy reading them!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel August 5, 2016 at 6:53 am

      He is a history writer, so they don’t need to be read in any specific order. My affection for him started when my youngest child was about 5 or 6 and really interested in the founding of America. We decided I’d read 1776 aloud to the whole family — it took forever, but it was so good, and I don’t remember needing to leave much out. I edited on the fly. We followed that up a year or two later with his biography of John Adams, which is quite good, but does have a couple places that I remember skipping. We are only on chapter 3 of this one, but so far totally fine — the only thing that might be a concern there is intensity, I would think, because the emotion around big disasters is really charged and I could see sensitive children not being ready for it. I have Mornings on Horseback, but haven’t read it yet — it’s about the Roosevelts, I believe. Anyhow, I’m rambling. Sorry. What I can say is: so far, it has been perfectly fine to just edit on the fly as I go because the need for editing has been few and far between. 🙂

      • Reply Tristan August 5, 2016 at 7:05 am

        Thank you Brandy, that is very helpful!

    Leave a Reply