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    Thoughtworthy (Meet Angelique, Narration Read Alouds, and MORE!)

    March 2, 2018 by Brandy Vencel


    :: 1 ::

    I want to introduce you all to our newest Official 2018 Afterthinker, Angelique! I think you are going to love her thoughts. I asked her to contribute here after hanging on her every word during Charlotte Mason Boot Camp last year. She always took the ideas deeper; it was wonderful. You’ll get a chance to read her very first post next week. Until then, here is her biography:

    After many years of globe-trotting and home-educating with her three children and Berliner husband, Angelique and her family have finally settled in her African homeland, Zimbabwe. She’s a passionate Charlotte Mason educator who desires to see Godly principles of education in her homeland and beyond. She’s an incorrigible bibliophile, loves dark chocolate, all things yarn and homemade Romany Creams.


    :: 2 ::

    Homeschool tip of the week: once your children are writing their narrations, have them read their work aloud to you. Someone gave me this advice early on, and it has proven a jewel! I cannot tell you how many mistakes are caught without my saying a word. They figure out that certain words are spelled incorrectly, or certain sentences are run-ons. That is huge. It also prepares younger children for when they will do edits and rewrites. In those early days, I don’t actually require any rewriting — it’s enough that they catch the flaw and we briefly discuss how to fix it. But planting the seed of rewriting by catching a few mistakes prepares for the future.


    :: 3 ::

    I finished a whole big bunch of books last week. Okay, it was only three, but still … I felt accomplished. What I discovered is that

    1. I think Victor Frankenstein was very selfish. He should have chosen to live a life offering friendship and companionship to his creation. That would have been a logical consequence of his bad behavior, and also an noble way of taking responsibility for his actions.
    2. I adore Frederick Douglass’ writing. In addition to his life narrative, I read a couple articles he wrote for the Atlantic. I think I need to move on to his speeches. I’m putting them on my wishlist.
    3. I had no clue what a hero John Adams was. I think I always categorized him as a snobby, European-type president. I don’t even know where I got that idea, but I repent! I put on my sackcloth and ashes! He was a great man.


    :: 4 ::

    School supply I’m loving:

    I chose kraft paper Moleskine Cahier ruled notebooks this year for my personal Latin study. This turned out to be the perfect choice. I like the size — 5″ x 8.25″ — and I love that it lays flat. It’s also got a nifty little pocket in the back.

    What has me thinking about this? Well, I just about filled mine up and had to buy another! This feels like a great triumph to me — after taking three years off of my personal Latin study, I’ve been consistent enough that I’ve filled an entire notebook. It’s amazing what 15 minutes per day can do.


    :: 5 ::

    This month in 2016:

    I wrote this when O-Age-Nine got his very first pet. I still love pets, and I still think they provide all sorts of opportunities to develop character and practice responsibility. ♥


    :: 6 ::

    This week’s links collection:

    • Prop 1: California Water Commission Kills All 12 Proposed Reservoirs from Breitbart
      • When you’ve lived here long enough (my family has been here for generations), you come to understand that California exists in a cycle of drought followed by abundant rain. Just like a business that is seasonal, you can only survive if you save up in prosperous times to use when the time of scarcity hits. It’s basic economics.
      • This foolishness is a form of stealing from the populace — we voted on a bond so that we could store water. Just build the dams already. I have an idea: start with one.
    •  House Minority Memo
      • I almost missed this one because I was out of town.
      • I can tell you this much: I am so very glad that I homeschool my boys. Even my bookish oldest child would have been too wiggly for many school teachers. Both of them have gotten the chance to be fully, thoroughly boyish — narrating upside down, using cars to act out their books, and school breaks on the trampoline or in the garden or with the dog.
    • Broward State Attorney’s Opened At Least 66 Cases Of Criminal Misconduct Into Sheriff’s Office by Sara Carter
      • I think all the distracting conversation about crisis actors has been exactly that: a way of taking the attention off of all of the people in authority who failed to act in ways that might have prevented this school shooting. The incompetence looks pervasive and systemic.


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  • Reply Lynda March 3, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    Sorry but the fact that there are crisis actors at almost all these shootings IS relevant.  There is an agenda and it is to disarm America.  Every tyrannical leader throughout history (including in biblical times) knew that if you disarm a country, you control the people. Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini all said it. Go and do your research on the supposed shooting at Sandy Hook.  There is mountains of evidence that points to the fact that nobody died at Sandy Hook.  The school had been closed since 2008, a fundraising campaign for the victims was set up days before it even happened, most of the supposed parents of the “victims” have been outed as crisis actors and on and on and on. 

    I’m not saying that all the shootings that happen are fake, but there is enough evidence to suggest that many of them were and the ones that are real ALWAYW take place in a no gun zone by same mind controlled puppet/s who are on some psychadelic, mild altering drugs and are usually taken out so nobody can get to the bottom of why they did it.

    If we want to raise homeschooled children who can think critically, who know that there is an agenda out there to usher in the anti-Christ and enslave the population, who realise that the entire main stream media in America is controlled by 6  major corporations and so the majority of what they report is garbage and completely anti-God we had better know what is going on ourselves (believe “lame” stream media at your peril). Otherwise they are going to end up just as brainwashed and brain dead as everyone else.

    • Reply Lms March 4, 2018 at 6:09 pm


      As one who lives within 5 miles of Sandy Hook School and is connected to more than half of those who died within one degree or less of separation; who had to lock her doors and stay inside for hours on that awful day as they searched the area by helicopter and on foot; whose children played with one of the kindergarteners who died; who attends church with the parents of one of the teachers who was killed; whose friend lived next door to the shooter and his family; and who has family friends who were luckily spared as well as have assisted and worked side by side with others whose children had to live through this massacre and the trauma, I find your comment insensitive to say the least. It is utterly abhorrent to me that you suggest no one died. If only that were true. Certainly this tragedy and others have been hijacked for political purposes. And while even I wonder about crisis actors, please don’t diminish the losses of these families.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel March 5, 2018 at 12:27 pm


      Please note that just because I think the crisis actor discussion is irrelevant and distracting does NOT mean I think they don’t exist. Since this is your first time commenting, I’ll assume you haven’t read my article on homeschooling high school in the age of fake news or you wouldn’t have said some of the things you did above.

      It was Antifa in Long Beach (not far from where I live) that started the rumor that David Hogg was a crisis actor. Call me crazy, but I always doubt the motives of a group like that. I think the crisis actor debate became a HUGE distraction and allowed the “common sense gun laws” narrative to gain traction — because “crisis actors” sounds crazy and “gun laws” sounds sensible.

      If the opposing narrative was instead focused on incompetence — as in how about the FBI and County Sheriff actually do their jobs and also take real responsibility for NOT doing them — we (meaning those of us in favor of the 2nd amendment) would have won the day. Crisis actors or no crisis actors, they aren’t the reason there was a shooting — incompetence on the part of the law enforcement at many levels is. This particular shooting was preventable.

      I don’t know what shootings you think are fake, but I find your thoughts on that distressing. LMS above is my friend. Real people died in Sandy Hook, and your conspiracy theory is disrespectful of that. My cousin’s cousin died in Vegas. I know real people who were in the Vegas shooting, who were hospitalized. That wasn’t fake, either. My sister-in-law knows people in the Parkland shooting. That wasn’t fake, either.

      By the way, if you are trying to red pill people, I would work on your technique. And *being* red pilled doesn’t meant you have to swallow disinformation from non MSM sources.

  • Reply Brenda Faust March 3, 2018 at 8:31 am

    My daughter and I just read & discussed Frankenstein together, and it was my first time reading it too. We had some great discussions! At one point, she made the comment “It seems like Victor is really more the monster.” I had to keep myself from practically jumping up and down, because it has been a process to get her to think deeply about books and characters! Josh Gibbs had a post a while back on Circe about teaching Frankenstein that you might want to check out.

    I was looking at the list of read-alouds you have already finished this year, and wondering how you have gotten so many books done? When do you do your read-alouds? And are they typically done with all your kids?


    • Reply Brandy Vencel March 3, 2018 at 11:36 am

      OH my goodness! I *love* your daughter’s observation on Frankenstein! So true. I will look for that Josh Gibbs post. We are reading soon, so I’m excited for that.

      I wrote about our read-aloud habits here. 🙂 Right now, the read alouds are done with all of my kids, yes. But back when my oldest was away for tennis a lot, we had a number of different read alouds going — one for when all of us were together, one for when it was me and the kids but no husband, one for when it was three kids and me but no oldest, etc. It sounds like a lot to juggle, but it actually worked out really well. 🙂

  • Reply Betsy March 3, 2018 at 8:10 am

    We use the grid Cahiers notebooks in the bigger size for history and science notebooks. They’re especially awesome for science notebooks because the grid helps with our drawings. Bonus: they hold up amazingly well given the abuse my 10 yo boys can administer to their school supplies ;-). Oh–and I used to have my high school students read their rough drafts aloud to their editing partners. You’re right–reading your own work aloud as a first step in editing is the best!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel March 3, 2018 at 11:31 am

      You know, I hadn’t considered using the grid notebooks for science, but that makes perfect sense — thank you! I think I’m going to do that next year!

  • Reply Becky Aniol March 2, 2018 at 9:18 am

    What do you use for your personal Latin study?

    • Reply Ritsumei March 5, 2018 at 7:02 pm

      This is exactly what I’m wondering, too! We started doing Latin a few months ago – finally found our stride just a week or two ago- and there are no notebooks involved at this point, though I do have one for Japanese, and I agree that 15 minutes is pretty remarkable stuff. So what are you putting in your notebook?

    • Reply Brandy Vencel March 6, 2018 at 7:15 am

      Good question! I guess I should have mentioned that!

      Okay, so I chose to take Getting Started with Latin for a test drive this year, partly because it looked like I could fit a complete lesson into my 15 minute time slot, and partly because I wanted to review it.

      I’m not prepared to make my final judgment, but for now I’ll say that yes it *does* fit in my time slot, but it also has its weaknesses — namely not much time spent translating English to Latin (all but a handful of exercises are vice versa). With that said, I think it’s true to its title: it really does get one started with Latin. 🙂 It’s been a bit too simple for me as I’m doing it as a refresher, but I wish I’d had it when I was first starting because I think it’s the best starting place I’ve seen for moms who don’t know any Latin. It doesn’t assume that you know anything at all. 🙂

      • Reply Becky Aniol March 6, 2018 at 7:25 am

        Thanks! I’m doing New Saint Andrews Latin online this year, and it moves VERY fast and is primarily translation (both ways). I’m enjoying it so much, but I think getting a book like this might help my brain keep up.

        • Reply Brandy Vencel March 6, 2018 at 8:47 am

          Oh, I really think it might! I feel like it was a good way to ease back into my Latin study, reminding me of the different cases, giving me only 1 or 2 new vocabulary words per day, etc. So fun that you are doing NSA! ♥

  • Reply Tania March 2, 2018 at 8:40 am

    I loved the article on ADHD. This quote is what would have happened to my 5 year old December born son (we are Canadian) if I hadn’t removed him from school after 4 months:

    ‘ One of the most shocking studies of the rise in ADHD diagnoses was published in 2012 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. It was called “Influence of Relative Age on Diagnosis and Treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Children.” Nearly one million children between the ages of six and twelve took part, making it the largest study of its kind ever. The researchers found that “boys who were born in December”—typically the youngest students in their class—”were 30 percent more likely to receive a diagnosis of ADHD than boys born in January,” who were a full year older. And “boys were 41 percent more likely to be given a prescription for a medication to treat ADHD if they were born in December than if they were born in January.” These findings suggest, of course, that an errant diagnosis can sometimes result from a developmental period that a boy can grow out of.’

    He was in Kindergarten all day, every day and hated it. It was ridiculous and I’m so thankful we were able to return to home educating and CM!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel March 2, 2018 at 2:58 pm

      Oh, I am so glad you pulled him! ♥ What an amazing testimony to the truth of the problem!

  • Reply Tanya Stone March 2, 2018 at 7:02 am

    “Frankenstein” is one of my top favorite classics. I can’t wait for my kids to read it. The ideas in it are astounding. I liked the Brannagh movie version, it was closest, but even he deviated and went Hollywood-crazy with it at the end. Still a decent adaptation, if you want to check it out. I wouldn’t call it kid friendly though. 😉
    I just finished a Stephen King novel about the Kennedy assassination, not quite the same lol. But fascinating nonetheless, and also holds the honor of being the ONLY book on my large list of current reads that I DID finish. 😀

    • Reply Brandy Vencel March 2, 2018 at 8:34 am

      I can see why you love Frankenstein! I feel like it’s such a precursor to the conversation people like Michael Crichton tried to carry on later — the just-because-we-can-doesn’t-mean-we-should conversation.

      Now you have me curious about this Stephen King Kennedy book — did the aliens kill him??? 😉

      • Reply Tanya Stone March 2, 2018 at 8:46 am

        LOL No, this guy discovers a hole to the past that always comes out on Sept 9, 1958. He gets it into his head that he wants to stop the assassination, because he thinks the world would have been better if it hadn’t happened, but before he can he gets sick and so passes the torch to a young teacher friend. The whole time travel thing is of course interesting, and he goes into the butterfly effect. And obviously explores the conspiracies and who “really” did it (I’m still an “Oswald was set up” person but King is a “He did it” person lol). But more than that it raises the same kinds of questions: even if you can, SHOULD you? And how do we know things would be better? In fact the little things he changes don’t exactly equal better futures.And as a Christian, it really raised those ideas that God is ultimately in control even when our fallen world causes “bad things” to happen. So, its really fascinating. Hulu made a mini series of it, but the book is, of course, better. 😉 King uses some foul language, so that’s a caveat lol. But I’ve read a couple others and was expecting it. 😀

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