Thursday, August 21, 2014

Morning Time Reorganization Sheet

Morning Time 

Read Bible 
Memory work

Repentance and Prayer:
Discuss areas we have failed. Pray. Pray for requests

Meeting Elements:
Discuss day, Composer, artist

Diagram and discuss sentence
Use MCT books to work through sentences

Memory new and review
Read aloud 100 Best Poems through discussing.
Farnsworth discussion or Other Rhetorical Device source

Shakespeare/ Plutarch:
The Tempest/Brutus 

Read Aloud:
(Nature Notebook)

The King of Ireland's Son (Need to finish this up quickly)

Tom Sawyer

The Lord Bless You and Keep You (Michael Card) or Doxology

Mama: The Lord Be With You
Boys: And Also With You

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Using MT to Promote Discussion

One of my key sayings is that I don't just want to have books, I want to read books.  It doesn't make me happy to think of having a houseful of books if no one is reading them. Therefore, I am happy to report that since we went to the book sale on Tuesday, several of the books have already been read and several more are in the process of being read. Alex is working on his 2nd William O Steele book and he is pretty satisfied with his choice.

I am finding that both, Alex and Andrew, are willing readers but it doesn't always do to point to the shelves of books we already have. They still love to go to the library and book sales and their reading is rejuvenated by those trips.

But that is not what I want to talk about today. I felt like it would be profitable to go through one of our MT sequences pointing out the places where we stopped for discussion.  I will repost the bulk of this post on the MT Moms site.

Yesterday, very late, 10:45, I finally called everyone together for MT. We began with prayer concentrating on Nathaniel who is apprenticing in an nuclear plant this month.

Because Christopher, my senior, needs to get the show on the road, I decided to go straight to grammar after prayer.  I pulled out my vintage Mother Tongue II and we discussed transitive and intransitive verbs. We orally analyzed several sentences together and then individually.  Then I let Christopher leave to finish up That Hideous Strength by CS Lewis.

One of the reasons I skipped several items during the morning is that I had been away last week, and I just wanted to reassert things slowly. Therefore, we did not sing. We sound terrible, so it is always a temptation not to sing but I am determined that we WILL sing on most days. Today we will sing 2 songs. Yesterday's Coram Deo by Judy Rogers and today's Crown Him with Many Crowns.

Then I read EX 20:1-17 as our review passage.  Plenty of fodder for the mill in that. We first discussed the idea of taking God's name in vain and how God will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. We also discussed covetousness.

 Then we headed over to review and relearn Gen 1:1-5.
Which reminded me of my Morning and Evening devotional so I pulled that out and read it.  It was based on the verse Ezekial 34:26  "I will cause the shower to come down in his season: there shall be showers of blessing."  I used this as a socratic jumping off spot and we defined the terms in the verse. Everyone participating. We defined Cause, Season, Showers and Blessings.  In the end we concluded that since we are not God and cannot control the weather, it was a sin to complain about the weather but maybe not a sin to be disappointed in the weather. My real goal was to stop the baseball players in the family from being dramatic weather watchers for the next few months. Weather can wreck havoc on a baseball season and I just wanted to establish where it came from. By the way, Christopher was not far off reading and he participated in this discussion.

We then went on to read Worldliness edited by CJ Mahaney. We are on the end chapters on modesty so it is more pointed at Emily. Not too fun for her, so I make sure that I make connections to masculine modesty also.

I am continuing to read through 101 Famous Poems with the children. We discuss one poem a day and the poem we discussed yesterday was:

Abraham Lincoln Walks at Night (In Springfield, Illinois)  by Vachel Lindsay

We are not huge Lincoln fans here so I wasn't sure how the poem would go over but it turned out to be an excellent poem in which to discuss modernity which is the time period my high school students are studying. 

We concentrated on these three verses from the perspective of the time period the poem was written in which was 1914. Significant. We discussed Lincoln, the Civil War, the beginnings of WWI,  The League of Nations and mostly all that was meant by :The Workers' Earth. We discussed 'The little man" the "working man" etc. We discussed socialism at great length noting that we know more about it now than they did in 1914. We were able to bring most of this discussion down to a simple concept that Alex could understand. We ended our discussion on the topic of self-government.

The sins of all the war-lords burn his heart.
He sees the dreadnaughts scouring every main.
He carries on his shawl-wrapped shoulders now
The bitterness, the folly and the pain. 

He cannot rest until a spirit-dawn
Shall come:--the shining hope of Europe free:
The league of sober folk, the Workers' Earth,
Bringing long peace to Cornland, Alp and Sea. 

It breaks his heart that kings must murder still,
That all his hours of travail here for men
Seem yet in vain. And who will bring white peace
That he may sleep upon his hill again?    

At this point the remaining High-schoolers were dismissed, after I decided that we would not read Coriolanus in either Shakespeare or Plutarch during the morning.
Alex and Andrew and I continued reviewing All the World's a Stage and I had Alex act out the 7 seasons as we read. He balked at sighing like a lover.
We also reviewed Breathes by Walter Scott which we are relearning.
I reviewed the US Oath of Citizenship which they mostly know and told them to write it out for their narration for 2 days and then Friday I would test them on it by having them write it from memory.
We reviewed the 1st Amendment and discussed the 5 rights guaranteed by it.  We also discussed the Constitution and what the Bill of Rights actually were. This came in handy as while we were reading aloud America Grows Up we learned about the 1st Continental Congress. We decided that it would be fun to visit Mount Vernon on our trip to Washington this summer.
We then went on to read aloud The Light Beyond the Forest which details the search for the Holy Grail.

America Grows Up which I already mentioned and:
The Silver Chair (Narnia)  by CS Lewis
I hope you can see the richness of having these sorts of discussions every single day. The thing I absolutely love about it is that the younger students are being stretched while the older students are learning. I let all participate equally and of course, I draw out those who are quiet. We do laugh a lot and our family can be a bit brutal sometimes. We all love to hear what Alex, the youngest, has to say before any concept is defined. Andrew seems to have a better grasp of grammar than my high school students but then again he has had 3 years of Latin at a younger age. I say 3 years of  Latin for Children but we only get through 2/3 of a book a year.
The one other beauty of this method is that it helps children learn how to make connections which is the heart of intuition.
As you can see, I did not let the schedule dictate the time. I dropped things off in order to fully grasp the moments that arose naturally.  Finding this balance is often difficult. If you are the type that must get through the LIST then teach yourself to embrace the moments of discussion that arise. Don't ever rush those until they deteriorate into frivolity which they inevitably do.  That is some part of the art of teaching, I think.
The Light beyond the Forest: The Quest for the Holy Grail (Arthurian Trilogy, Vol 2)

Monday, August 11, 2014

25 Days to Handel's Messiah: An Advent Devotional Guide

Over the years many people have asked me for a Messiah schedule. Here it is. I like to keep it less than 10 minutes a day overall because as you know I am all about the little moments and I also firmly believe that what you do is better than what you plan.

I used the 1743 libretto for this set which is a bit unusual. It is the Neville Marriner with St. Martin-in-the-Fields Chorus recording. You can easily substitute any recording based on the opening lines of each selection. Some of the recordings will have different voice ranges on the solos.  You can even get on Spotify or another app and compare different recordings each day.  All the times are approximate.

Please forgive the formatting. It did not translate well from Word. I will upload and link to the original document  for a cleaner copy soon.

Use the comments to share your favorite recording of Messiah.

25 Days of Christmas with Handel’s Messiah

Day 1 (11 minutes):
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 40:1-5

1. Symphony
2. Recitative (Tenor) “Comfort Ye…”
3. Air (Tenor) “Every Valley…”
4. Chorus “And the Glory …”

Day 2 (6 ½ minutes)
Scripture Reading: Haggai 2:6, 7, Malachi 3:1-3

1. Recitative (Bass) “Thus saith the Lord...”
2. Air (Bass) “But who may abide…”
3. Chorus “And he shall purify…”

Day 3 (6 minutes)
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 7:14, 40:9, 60:1

1. Recitative (Alto) “Behold, a Virgin…”
2. Air (Alto) “O, thou that tellest…”
3. Chorus “Arise, Shine…”

Day 4 (10 minutes)
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 60:2-3, 9:2, 9:6

1. Recitative (Bass) “For behold, darkness…”
2. Air (Bass) “The people who walked in darkness…”
3. Chorus: “For unto us…”

Day 5 (8 Minutes)
Scripture Reading: Luke 2:8-14

1. Pifa
2. Recitative (Soprano) “There were shepherds…”
3. Recitative (Soprano) “And, Lo, the angel…”
4. Recitative (Soprano)” Ad the angel said…”
5. Recitative (Soprano) “And suddenly…”
6. Chorus “Glory to God in the highest…”

Day 6 (4 minutes)
Scripture Reading: Zechariah 9:9-10

1. Air (Soprano) “Rejoice greatly…”

Day 7 (7 minutes)
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 35:5-6; 40:11, Matthew 11:28-30

1. Recitative (Alto) “Then shall the eyes of the blind…”
2. Aria (Alto) “He shall feed…” and “Come unto me…”
3. Chorus “His yoke is easy…”

Day 8 (3 minutes)
Scripture Reading: John 1:29

1. Chorus “Behold the Lamb…”

Day 9 (11 minutes)
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 53:3, 50:6

1. Air (Alto) “He was despised…”

Day 10 (7 minutes)
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 53:4-6

1. Chorus “Surely he hath borne…”
2. Chorus “And with his stripes…”
3. Chorus “All we like sheep…”

Day 11 (3 minutes)
Scripture Reading: Psalm 22:7-8

1. Recitative (Tenor) “All they that see him laugh…”
2. Chorus “He trusted in God…”

Day 12 (4 minutes)
Scripture Reading: Psalm 69:20, Lamentations 1:12

1. Recitative (Soprano) “Thy rebuke has broken…”
2. Arioso (Soprano) “Behold and see if…”

Day 13 (5 ½ minutes)
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 53:8, Psalm 16:10, Psalm 24:7-10

1. Recitative (Tenor) “He was cut off…”
2. Air (Tenor) “But thou didst not leave…”
3. Chorus “Lift up your heads…”

Day 14 (2 minutes)
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 1:5, 6

1. Recitative (Tenor) “Unto which of the …”
2. Chorus “Let all the angels…”

Day 15 (4 minutes)
Scripture Reading: Psalm 68:11, 18

1. Air (Bass) “Thou art gone up…”
2. Chorus “The Lord gave the word…”

Day 16 (3 minutes)
Scripture Reading: Romans 10:15

1. Duet (Soprano, Alto, Chorus) “How beautiful…”

Day 17 (1 minute)
Scripture Reading: Romans 10: 18

1. Arioso (Tenor) “Their sound…”

Day 18 (3 minutes)
Scripture Reading: Psalm 2:1-3

1. Air (Bass) “Why do the nations…”
2. Chorus “Let us break…”

Day 19 (6 minutes)
Scripture Reading: Psalm 2:4, 9; Revelation 19:6, 11:15, 19:16

1. Recitative (Tenor) “He that dwelleth in heaven…”
2. Air (Tenor) “Thou shalt break….”
3. Chorus “Hallelujah!!”

Day 20 (5 ½ minutes)
Scripture Reading: Job 19:25-26, I Corinthians 15:20

1. Air (Soprano) “I know that my Redeemer…”

Day 21 (2 minutes)
Scripture Reading: I Corinthians 15:21-22

1. Chorus “Since by man…’

Day 22 (10 minutes)
Scripture Reading: I Corinthians 15:51-53

1. Recitative (Bass) “Behold, I tell you a mystery…”
2. Air (Bass) “The trumpet shall sound…”

Day 23 (5 minutes)
Scripture Reading: I Corinthians 15: 54-56

1. Recitative (Alto) “Then shall be brought…”
2. Duet (Alto, Tenor) “O Death, where…”
3. Chorus “But thanks be to God…”

Day 24 (5 minutes)
Scripture Reading: Romans 8:31-34

1. Air (Alto) “If God be for us…”

Day 25 (6 minutes)
Scripture Reading: Revelation 5:12-13

1. Chorus “Worthy is the Lamb…”


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Little Way to Morning Time

I borrowed a book for Kindle called Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results . I liked the title because it rang true for me. My own journey to fitness, a journey I have not completed, began very much like the author's. He started with one pushup. I started with an App and a check mark.

As I was reading the book which is very short, I realized that Morning Time began in our family as a mini habit. It did not start out as a full blown plan. It grew slowly over time. It started with a hymn.

I am very against grand schemes as longtime readers must know by now. We should never have a goal to eat an elephant and according to Mini Habits we should only have a goal to take one bite today. Maybe we will take two or three but we will have succeeded when we have taken that first bite. 

I am all for using the tools of modernity which help us create and succeed at mini goals. In fact, I suspect that our fragmented lives have helped us rediscover this old truth.  As a mother of many children I lived a very fragmented life. Any large goal was quickly overwhelmed by reality, especially in homeschooling, but small successes bred more small successes.

This is why I used to say stop planning your school and go do it. If you are frustrated about something not getting done in your home or school, get up and go do a tiny part of that...Right Now! Read a chapter of a book to your children Now. Pick up your Bible Now. You don't need a plan to read through the whole Bible in a year all you need to do is pick up your Bible and read a chapter today, pat yourself on the back, and do it again tomorrow. Do this for a lifetime and you will have read through the Bible many times, far more times than your grand scheme would have allowed.

One day I was so frustrated with our inability to fit in nature walks that I took the kids to Lookout Mountain in the rain. We had one of our most difficult and most memorable hikes ever that day. We may not be able to hike every week next year but we can hike one day.

Many of you have read through my Morning Time posts and have written me. Sometimes you get frustrated because you try to birth your MT as a full grown adult. If that is not working for you go back and try doing a couple of small things consistently together in the morning because that is the heart and soul of MT. It is also the heart and soul of written narrations. The power of the written narration is in the dailiness of it-the lifetime habit of writing. There is no power in a grand scheme for writing which never happens.

Most of us are involved in planning our school year right now. I hope you will remember to schedule your days in small increments which Charlotte Mason calls short lessons. There is tremendous power in doing something for a short period of time consistently.  I hope you will schedule in rest steps. The Grand Scheme is a recipe for failure. It is the little things done daily that add up to an education and a life.

Toddlers and Teens (MT Addendum)

I just can't give this topic a rest. I hear the frustrations that many of you face as you deal with the daily realities of children who do not cooperate with your well-laid plans.  For the most part the non-cooperators are either toddlers or teens.

I have tried to think back and remember how I handled my toddlers during the intense years. For about 2 years I did that thing where I scheduled out all my children's hours during the day and evening and always had the toddlers assigned to an older child. This was perfect for that short but intense time of my life. That was around the time I skipped Morning Time one year. I regretted skipping it later but things were pretty desperate and I didn't have the confidence that about Morning Time that I do now.

We also did not have a TV. This probably changed things considerably for me. I am not critical of those who have a TV and use it with their toddlers only I am sure that not having one changed the dynamic for me.

It helped that the children were born into MT and eased their way into participating. I remember my now 21yo son peeking up out of his bassinet every morning. I kept his bassinet in the living room during MT and he drifted in and out, sometimes peeking his head over the edge to smile at us. Most of my babies were more high maintenance than this though. 

I strongly believed in toddlers taking naps and conned most of my children into taking them well into their first grade year. 

I happen to think that one of the main selling points of MT is that the younger children are being stretched to understand things far beyond the usual toddler fare.  The best I can say is deal with the interruptions and keep a goin'. 

I made all the children sit quietly through the Bible time and I think this was good preparation for sitting in church,  but after that I let the toddlers play on the floor. I did not have twins but I don't imagine it would work to let them play together. They must play quietly by themselves or else chaos and fights ensue.

I really feel badly that I don't have any magic answers about toddlers but I did have MT with toddlers for years and years and years and somehow we muddled through.  Sometimes I melted down. Sometimes I cried. Sometimes they made me laugh when I should not have been laughing. Sometimes I spanked them.  Sometimes I asked all the children to pray while I dealt with one particular child in another room and sometimes that took up the entire morning. As a matter of fact, take the time you need to take to make sure your children obey you.  If your children do not obey you then you cannot possibly homeschool in any meaningful way.  You will have times of peace followed by times of testing. Keep a goin'.  It still is going to add up.

If I only had toddlers I would add things to MT very slowly when they were ready keeping it joyful.

As for teens, I used to let my high school students go very early in MT. Now MT is geared only to the 2 I have at home so that is not as necessary.  My high school students might be doing their own work in another room but often they would hover within earshot and throw out comments or run in to prove they knew the names of more presidents.

If I was starting MT with a group of kids and had an older, disruptive teen, I would probably not bring the whole house down trying to get cooperation from that child. I would try to let that child see that I would work with him by letting him out of MT but I would still make sure that child had a challenging amount of school work.  It is always sad to let a child go like this but sometimes it has to be done and you know that child may still grow up to tell you how helpful MT was.

Children are born persons. Treat them with respect but keep your standards and expectations high because having low standards is demeaning and insulting to the personhood of your child.  Expect obedience and make it happen. Don't have a lot of rules but make sure you follow through on every single rule you do have. OR Else. Or else your life will be miserable and you will not find the joy you were meant to have in your children.

Once Upon a Time...Morning Time

Day 31~

25 years ago, about last Friday, my oldest son was 4 almost 5.  I was pregnant with my 4th child. I was nauseated. I remember it well. I sat on the couch with my three little boys and we read nursery rhymes and practiced for Awana. Sometimes I fell asleep. Once, as the little boys played on the couch and I slept, an electric candle tipped over and burned a hole in the couch. Thankfully, God gave me a good sense of smell which our whole family learned to trust over the years. 

 I didn't like that dark house we were living in but we were soon going to move to a little blue house on a pond where many happy memories would bud and bloom, but I didn't know that yet. I just woke up each morning, felt nauseated, and read to the boys. Then we acted out nursery rhymes and took long walks which usually ended with me carrying two and sometimes three people home. So much for strollers.

25 years in the future was unfathomable. My life was pregnancy, nurse, repeat. Read-aloud. Read the Bible. Pray. Sing. Say poems. Learn speeches. Talk. Play. Draw. Read-aloud.  Morning Time. Day after day after day after year after year after decade after decade. Little tiny moments captured in such a way that they would never be forgotten. Not by me, not by them. 

Not all family memories are happy ones. Eleven sinners in one house can make a mess of trouble. Not all memories are happy ones but some are.

Someday, not long from now, you may visit me in my old age as I sit and rock and perhaps you will catch a hint of the voices in my head. I put them there one grain at a time. Perhaps if you could live long enough you would see other old men (and one lovely woman) in other rocking chairs and you would hear those same voices echo in their heads too. "Old men forget but all is not forgotten."  

Once upon a time we had Morning Time.

The voices in my head:

"Little boy kneels at the foot of the bed
droops on little hands, little gold head.
Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares!..."

"Wynken, Blynken and Nod one night sailed off in wooden shoe..."

"James, James, Morrison, Morrison, Weatherby, George Dupree...."

"The sun did not shine it was too wet to play...:

"Once upon a time their were four little rabbits Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and..."

"Christopher Robin has wheezles and sneezles they bundled him into his bed..."

"In the great green room..."

"Clam chowder for lunch!!!!"

"In all of France there was no mouse more beloved than Anatole..."

"It was very early Christmas morning, and in the stillness of the dawn, with the soft snow falling on the housetops, a
little child was..."

"Little Black you are the best pony in the whole world...."

"Listen my children and you shall here of the midnight ride of Paul Revere..."

"I never really knew Father very well until we moved to the ranch..."

"For God so loved the world..."

"Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents..."

"They tell us, Sir, that we are weak unable to cope with so formiable an adversary..."

"Marley was dead; dead as a doornail..."

"The Lord is my shepherd..."

"Where is he that wishes so? My cousin Westmorland?.... If we are marked to die we are enow...."

“When the fiddle had stopped singing Laura called out softly, "What are days of auld lang syne, Pa?"
"They are the days of a long time ago, Laura," Pa said. "Go to sleep, now."
But Laura lay awake a little while, listening to Pa's fiddle softly playing and to the lonely sound of the wind in the Big Woods,…
She was glad that the cozy house, and Pa and Ma and the firelight and the music, were now. They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now. It can never be a long time ago.”

Thank-you for joining me on these 31 Days of Morning Time.

Psalm 126:6

"He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."<