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    March 3, 2017 by Brandy Vencel


    :: 1 ::

    I spoke at GHC and lived to tell about it! It was amazing — I can see why people love to go. There were so many sessions to choose from! It was fun meeting many of you who listen to the podcasts, read the blog, or use AmblesideOnline. My husband (quite literally) MANned the AmblesideOnline booth (along with the amazing volunteers to whom I am forever grateful amen). He was too funny. You would have thought he was making a commission the way he tried to sell it to people. People were often surprised when he got around to the part where he admitted it was free. Ha.

    If you live out here somewhere on the Left Coast, I’ll be at GHC Ontario in June. And, yes, I’ll be looking for volunteer AO moms to help (wo)man the booth … but closer to time. If we do a signup sheet now, I will surely lose it.


    :: 2 ::

    Charlotte Mason Boot Camp beta testing kicked off on Monday. We’ve got such a great group involved; this is going to be a fantastic six weeks. Some of you have asked about it — I know it filled up so quickly (much more than I expected). So … this is going to be a periodic thing. I have it on my calendar again for late June. Some of you want to know what it will look like next time — Will there be more slots than this time? Will it still only be on Facebook? My answer to these questions is that we really need to finish the beta testing before I can give an answer.

    For now, the important thing is to make sure you are on the interest list so that you can keep up with announcements related to camp.


    :: 3 ::

    I put this on the Afterthoughts Facebook page this week, but I know some of you either didn’t see it, or aren’t on Facebook, so I thought I’d repost here:

    This weekend, I spoke with a mom who felt guilty because of the trouble she was having with her school schedule. No matter what she tried, things did not get done in the mornings. I remember those days — for three years I had only one student and a bunch of little people running around!

    When it comes to school schedules, here are some basic principles: (1) have one, (2) limit time spent on each subject so that you (3) get in a wide variety of them, (4) alternate unlike activities in order to keep the brain fresh and interested, and (5) limit the total hours spent on lessons. There might be more, but these are the things that come to mind.

    You know what isn’t a principle? DOING IT IN THE MORNING.

    I firmly believe the morning works most of the time — makes sense most of the time. But I remember what it was like. Honestly, when you have only one student and a whole bunch of littles, doing school lessons during afternoon naps might be your one shot at a couple of completely uninterrupted hours. Going for a walk makes more sense when all your littles are awake.

    This is okay. And this is what it looks like to implement CM’s principles in a way that makes sense for your own family.


    :: 4 ::

    The latest episode of Scholé Sisters is out! This time, we interview Dr. Perrin from Classical Academic Press!


    :: 5 ::

    This month in 2015:

    Here’s some genius from Hayley, mother six and dear (real life) friend of mine.


    :: 6 ::

    This week’s links collection:


    :: 7 ::

    Answering your questions:

    • Question: I was wondering how you decide what you are reading aloud to your older kids – middle school age – and what you are assigning as more independent reading. I have 12 yr old twin boys and we school in a classical/cm way. I wonder if I’m doing too much reading aloud and want to move them toward at least a little more independent work each day. But I also love our time learning together. I haven’t been able to find a good explanation of what should be read aloud and what should be independent at this age.
      • Answer: Well … I hope this doesn’t freak you out. My high schooler reads his individual lessons for himself, and A-Age-12 (6th grade) reads her individual lessons for herself except for Ben Hur (because she gets lost in the long descriptions when reading it on her own). I say “individual lessons” because we do things like Shakespeare and Plutarch in a group, and these are read (or partially read) aloud by me. Also, anything slotted for Circle Time is also read by me. The principle I have followed in this regard is found in Charlotte Mason’s first volume:

        [S]oon as the child can read at all, he should read for himself, and to himself, history, legends, fairy tales, and other suitable matter. He should be trained from the first to think that one reading of any lesson is enough to enable him to narrate what he has read, and will thus get the habit of slow, careful reading, intelligent even when it is silent, because he reads with an eye to the full meaning of every clause.

        I don’t think it’s an absolute thing — that children must read everything for themselves. But that is how it has worked out because I still have to read all the books to my youngest. I figure when they are all able to read everything, I might choose a book here or there to read aloud. Until them, I figure they get enough of that through our reading aloud for pleasure in our spare time. The important thing is that when they are capable, they get into the habit of reading for themselves.


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  • Reply Cindy March 6, 2017 at 4:06 am

    Looking forward to the bootcamp!!

  • Reply Hailey March 5, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    I’m slightly addicted to your podcast, and the rock music anthem it begins with. Looking forward to meeting you in Ontario, CA!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel March 6, 2017 at 6:38 am

      Aw, thank you! ♥ I look forward to meeting you, too!

  • Reply Melissa Greene March 3, 2017 at 8:35 am

    Hey Brandy,

    I went to my first GHC last year in OH and I agree, it was amazing! I’m so glad you got to participate and so jealous that I didn’t get to meet you 🙁 I do intend to attend the GHC again this year in OH. Is there any chance you’ll ever travel to the Midwest? I’d love to meet!

    Also, in regard to the CM Boot Camp, is there any chance it will ever not be on FB? I’m still not on FB, but would love to participate.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel March 3, 2017 at 8:41 am

      GHC only asked me to speak at Texas and California … maybe if you requested me they’d ask me to the Midwest one next year? I really don’t know, but I’m willing to go if they want me to. 🙂

      As far as CMBC goes, I feel like I can better answer that question after doing it once. I know there are non-FB folks here, and I’m trying to figure out if there is a way to duplicate this elsewhere. It’s hard because FB can do so many things at once! But we’ll see. Once we’re done, I can write a list of all the capabilities we need and see if something else can do the same or similar. 🙂

      • Reply Melissa Greene March 3, 2017 at 9:27 am

        Oh, I will request your presence in OH 🙂 That would be fun!

        I look forward to hearing more about Boot Camp, thanks.

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