Wednesday, March 25, 2009


by my daughter:

Sketched in pencil, then inked in, colored with colored pencils, scanned, Photoshopped to brighten colors, and filtered to give it that rough papery texture.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

So, where were we?

When I left for Houston last month we were talking about how I use AmblesideOnline’s curriculum, and I had about three posts planned in my head, but unfortunately I didn’t write them down anywhere, so I lost them. One of them, I think, was probably to encourage other moms not to take anything I’m writing here as The Way To Homeschool, but rather as food for thought — what is working for one family at this point and hopefully will give you things to think about about as you come up with your own ideas.

I say “at this point” because the way we homeschool has changed a lot over the years and what worked well when I had only little ones isn’t doable now that I have older ones too, and what we’re doing now probably isn’t much like what we’ll be doing in ten years when I have only older children.

It’s funny thinking about how much our reasons for homeschooling have changed over the years. At the beginning we did it because I wanted to give them a certain kind of childhood which wouldn’t have been possible if they’d been in school all day. Originally we meant to put them into public school at the beginning of fourth grade, but the year our oldest would have started was the year we had moved to Virginia and were expecting Baby #5 — a long-expected baby, given that there were nearly four years between her and the next oldest — and decided it would be best to keep her at home that year too so she could enjoy the new baby along with the rest of us. She used the Robinson Curriculum that year, and I think it was just right for the time, but after that year I only continued using a few elements of that method.

That year saw a pretty major shift in our thinking such that we decided never to put our children into the government schools (note the not insignificant change of terminology), but the next year we considered putting the two oldest into the school run by our church. For various reasons we decided that it didn’t fit our ideas of how children learn and what they should be learning, so we continued teaching them at home for the next two years (and had another baby).

The year after that, we moved to Texas, had another baby, and looked into the Lutheran school for the three oldest. That school fit better with our ideas, but honestly it would have been a huge financial burden, and I admit being very discouraged because I was feeling so overwhelmed. That year our children were 14, 12, 10, 8, 4, 3, and 7 months, and I was, to put it mildly, exhausted.

Well, I’m out of time for now and we’re having out of town guests this week, so I might not be able to continue this right away, but I did want to check in, and ask y’all what I’m supposed to be blogging about.

Monday, March 2, 2009


by George Herbert

Welcome deare feast of Lent: who loves not thee,
He loves not Temperance, or Authoritie,
                But is compos’d of passion.
The Scriptures bid us fast; the Church sayes, now:
Give to thy Mother, what thou wouldst allow
                To ev’ry Corporation.

The humble soul compos’d of love and fear
Begins at home, and layes the burden there,
                When doctrines disagree.
He sayes, in things which use hath justly got,
I am a scandall to the Church, and not
                The Church is so to me.

True Christians should be glad of an occasion
To use their temperance, seeking no evasion,
                When good is seasonable;
Unlesse Authoritie, which should increase
The obligation in us, make it lesse,
                And Power it self disable.

Besides the cleannesse of sweet abstinence,
Quick thoughts and motions at a small expense,
                A face not fearing light:
Whereas in fulnesse there are sluttish fumes,
Sowre exhalations, and dishonest rheumes,
                Revenging the delight.

Then those same pendant profits, which the spring
And Easter intimate, enlarge the thing,
                And goodnesse of the deed.
Neither ought other mens abuse of Lent
Spoil the good use; lest by that argument
                We forfeit all our Creed.

It ’s true, we cannot reach Christ’s fortieth day;
Yet to go part of that religious way,
                Is better than to rest:
We cannot reach our Savior’s purity;
Yet are bid, Be holy ev’n as he.
                In both let ’s do our best.

Who goeth in the way which Christ hath gone,
Is much more sure to meet with him, than one
                That travelleth by-ways:
Perhaps my God, though he be far before,
May turn, and take me by the hand, and more
                May strengthen my decays.

Yet Lord instruct us to improve our fast
By starving sin and taking such repast
                As may our faults control:
That ev’ry man may revel at his door,
Not in his parlor; banqueting the poor,
                And among those his soul.