Sunday, November 2, 2008

Gifts of learning together

Part of my 1000 gifts list this days includes...

248. New friends for the boys in co-op. Such a great group of kids who learn and have fun together.

249. Moms who really pour into our learning life together in co-op, who care deeply and pray fervently.

250. Help from outside, especially one very generous AP Government teacher at a top notch private school in town who has been so generous with her time and resources.

251. Joel's love of writing this year.

252. The opportunity for Coty to teach in co-op. Our co-op families are also thankful for a great pre-calculus teacher.

253. Labs, microscopes, hands-on learning.

254. Diligent sons. They make being a homeschooling mom such a joy.

Someday soon I'll write more about our schooling life this year. It is unlike any previous year and I am loving it. We were invited to join a wonderful co-op and that has made a huge difference. It has been above and beyond expectations. I'm so thankful.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Playing outside

For a post on playing outside, which includes a lengthy quote by my son, Jonathan, on his childhood play in the woods, visit the ChildLight USA blog.

Quiet over here

I apologize for my long silence here, but it is summer after all! We are enjoying our summer with lots of time in and around various water spots - the lake, the ocean, a mountain stream, and of course, the pool.

This morning as I laid in bed thinking about the day ahead, I heard a strong breeze and then a short, hard shower of rain. The air was cooler and I detected the slightest hint of fall. I felt sad all of a sudden. Summer will be coming to an end soon. The long days of warmth and being outside, of wearing shorts, or skirts and sleeveless tops will be over for this year. I'm not ready. I want to eke out every last bit of summer sweetness, to delight in the smell of sun warmed tomatoes, to dive in a cool pool on a hot day, to sit on the pool deck at night and look at the stars. I want to keep going to the Farmer's Market, picking fresh basil, reading on the porch swing. I am not ready to hear the honking of geese, flying in a V overhead.

And I'm not ready to start our structured schooling yet. Like most homeschool moms at this time of year, I have more preparation to do, a couple more books to order, a classroom to clean up and organize. But not this week.

This week is for boys. For a day at the lake. For finishing a wall. For swimming and reading and being outside. Yes, I do have some tasks to take care of at my desk, a meeting with some co-op parents, soccer practice. But I plan to stay in summer mode a little longer. Fall and structure and routines and schedule will come soon enough.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Packing my bags again

I got back yesterday from the 4th annual Childlight Conference at Gardner Webb University. It was a full couple of days of plenary and breakout sessions and some more relaxed time with homeschoolers, private and public school teachers, academicians, and others who embrace the educational philosophy and methods of Charlotte Mason. It was a rich time.

My favorite sessions at the conference were John Thorley's presentation on the early correspondence of Charlotte Mason. John is a classicist, educator, and historian and his humor and engaging style drew all of us into the life and times of CM as a young teacher.

I also loved getting to meet and hear Tammy Glaser who is a homeschool mom applying CM's philosophy in her work with her autistic daughter. Very, very inspiring and encouraging.

I'd love to write more, but I need to pack my bags again! I'm heading out this afternoon for a week as a dorm mom and lab assistant for 30 high school girls who are attending an Anatomy and Physiology Camp at Appalachian State University. I'm excited about it, but a little daunted at the prospect of spending the week in the dorm with that many high school girls!!! Yikes. I'm used to high school boys. This will be interesting...

I'll be taking a break from the blog for a bit. See you when I get back.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Charlotte Mason Educational Conference

The 4th annual Charlotte Mason conference is coming up next week at Gardner-Webb University. The conference this year is focused on the learning environment. For more information, schedule, and speaker bios, visit the Child Light USA website.

A trip to the Mint

The boys and I took a trip to the Mint Museum the other day and spent a couple of hours gazing at paintings, woodcuts, and more. What a treasure of a museum we have in our city. We didn't talk much as we walked through. We just wandered, mostly separately, at our own paces, looking at whatever we wanted.

I loved the current exhibit, "Quiet Spirit, Skillful Hand: The Graphic Work of Clare Leighton." Just the title of the exhibit drew me in. Here's what the Mint website has to say about the exhibit:

Born to an artistic family, Leighton studied wood engraving in Great Britain before moving to the U.S. during World War II. Settling first in Baltimore, she moved to Chapel Hill in 1943 and served as a visiting art lecturer at Duke University from 1943-1945. During her career, she wrote 15 books and created more than 700 prints. The natural world and her surroundings were a continuous source of inspiration. Her timeless images reveal an abiding interest in and respect for the earth and those who tend it, advocating the virtue of hard labor and the rhythms of nature. On the surface, her subjects are simple working people -- the ploughman, the washerwoman, the net mender, the cotton picker -- but Leighton portrays them and their labor with dignity and reverence.

Scything by Clare Leighton
Woodcut, 1935

The exhibit is up til September 14. If you're in Charlotte, go!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Update on the decision

I mentioned in that last post that Andrew was down to the wire on his decision making process. Well, he's crossed the wire and the deposit has been sent in. He's headed to Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina next year. We are very excited with him and his grandparents (my parents) are delighted since they live nearby, participate in learning activities on campus themselves, and look forward to more frequent visits with their grandson!