Educating Our Oaks in October 2017

Like Anne, I am thrilled that I live in a world where there are Octobers. We had a long stretch of late summer that lasted half the month, followed by a string of beautiful days that we are still soaking up. October in Oklahoma is glorious.

Rejoice: We have fallen into a pattern of all getting ready for bed when the younger boys do and then spending the late evening working or writing at the kitchen table. So, I am not getting up early, but I do get the spend the evening near my husband instead of sleeping while he works by himself. We did start a new Bible plan with the boys, and I am still reading SheReadsTruth and IF:equip every morning because I am enjoying both studies at the moment.

Relate: Part of working at the table in the evening is the chance to draw Micah into our more quiet evening study time. Occasionally one of us is tutoring him in algebra or Latin or editing work for him. Most of the time, we are just all working around the table together on our own projects.

Remember:  We had our Council of Oaks meetings four times a week and did memory work each time. We are on track with the Foundation and Essentials memory work as well as our Spanish and German lessons and hymns and poetry. It feels like we are behind in Scripture memory work, but in reality, I think I had delusions of grandeur in that area when I made the Memory Work Packs for each month. I’ll update them in December and fix that.

Reason:  Math, Algebra 2, and Calculus are all on track. Logic and Latin are on track. English grammar is too. Check. Check. Check.

Read: We did a lot of reading (cataloged below). I finished up several books, including one that I’d been working on for three years according to Goodreads.

Record: Like I said, I worked on developing a habit of writing daily. I don’t know how much of it will become public, but it felt good to be writing. I wrote a series of Instagram posts for the #mybesthomeschooltip challenge at @learningwell.  I had noticed a lot of the people only had tiny children, and I thought they might need a little look at how days might be later in order to help make it through the temper tantrums and toddler messes.   That did mean that  I wrote every day and developed a better habit of writing in the evening after we send everyone to bed. My kids all did their assigned writing, and Micah is still also working on his book.  He is looking forward to the long holiday break in which he plans a lot of writing. (So do I.)

Books Finished in October:

By MicahPride and Prejudice by Jane Austin, and snippets of other books that he will read a little at a time over the year. He also internet reading of research for a large project.

By JosiahJohnny Tremain and Prince Caspian were the books of the month for the younger boys.  He also read bits and pieces of other books that he will finish over time. He also read most of the Ranger’s Apprentice again series.

By GideonJohnny Tremain and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader as well as parts of other books that he will finish over time. He feel in love with Narnia, and he read most of the Ranger’s Apprentice series again too.

By Me: I finally finished Stratford Caldecott’s Beauty for Truth’s Sake. It took me three years. He has some interesting comments on the liturgy of learning. I also read Present Over Perfect, Jennie Allen’s Nothing to Prove, Anthony Esolen’s Out of the Ashes, and a book for boymoms called Knights in Training that I highly recommend.

(Links in this post are Amazon affiliate links. Any funds earned through them go to support our homeschool.)


The end of the term

Since I last posted, we made a lovely trip to the mountains to see my brother and his family. The boys are all finishing up their math books. We haven’t had our regular school days because we have been embracing the freedom that comes with the end of the school year and the beauty that is Oklahoma in May.

I made a list of the lessons we need to finish to be where we need to be in August, when our school year starts with our Classical Conversations community.  We will work on the list as we ebb and flow through the next eight weeks. I’ll decide how to run our day in the fall, and how to tell you about it.  I have a list of “how to” articles I’d like to write and plans for next year’s Morning Meetings to make.

I just made my own work plan for the summer. I have several projects in the works, and I need to have a firm grasp on the Chemistry and Trigonometry I will study with my Challenge 3 class in the fall.  I have a list of Shakespeare movies I’d like to watch and a long list of books to read. We are working on house projects that got delayed while we were working through the late winter and early spring.

How does your school year end? Do you tie things up in a tidy way or just stop abruptly?

Spring Term Week 4 Intentions

May Hymn: “Redeemed! How I Love to Proclaim it!” by Fanny Crosby (Link to printable Hymnal)  (Link to YouTube)

April Folksong: “Blow the Man Down” (Link to printable)  (Link to YouTube)

Winter Term Poet B: Sara Teasdale (link to poems on AmblesideOnline) (One poem per Morning Meeting)

This Year’s Shakespeare: Henry V (We are reading through Henry with friends outside of our Morning Meeting.)

Morning Meeting Day 1:

  • Bible: (yr 8 week 5)  Judges 18-19
  • American History: This Country of Ours chapter 42: North and South Carolina
  • Science: Madam How and Lady Why pages 43-46
  • Picture Study: Francisco Jose Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828; Spanish)    Girl’s Head,

Morning Meeting Day 2:

  • Bible:(yr 8 week 3)  Judges 20-21
  • Myths: Age of Fable chapter 5a
  • Biography: Abigail Adams half of Chapter 2
  • Composer Study: Franz Liszt (1811-1886; Romantic) Piano Sonata in B Minor (link to YouTube)  (We still haven’t managed to complete this.)

Morning Meeting Day 3:

  • Bible:(yr 8 week 3)   Matthew 6, Proverbs 4
  • Biography: Abigail Adams half of Chapter 2

I am going to OCHEC (our state homeschool convention) on Friday, so we may not get all three Morning Meetings in this week. We also have our last CC Community Day of the year and a party and some regular stuff.

Reflections on Spring Term 2017 Week 3

Rejoice:  I am really enjoying She Reads Truth’s Bible studies. I did the Isaiah study over Lent, and I think I am hooked.

Relate: We did a lot this week. The regular stuff feels like a lot right now, and some days I struggled. It also rained a lot this week, and all of the chaos of energetic boys had to be contained inside. Several times, the more sensitive members of the house needed headphones so that the noise of the rest wasn’t so overwhelming.

Remember:  We read stories and other things, and we did memory work and had morning meetings.

Reason:  We did math and grammar, logic and Latin.

Read:  I finished a couple of books (Chasing Slow and The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street.) (Disclosure: those are affiliate links, but as I write this, Chasing Slow is $1.99 for Kindle. The author has some interesting insights. I recommend the book.) I hope to finish Willa Cather’s O Pioneers before Book Club. Josiah finished up Bomb: The Race to Build and Steal the World’s Most Powerful Weapon. 

Record:  I did some journalling and a lot of editing of work for Micah. Micah did a lot of writing because he had two projects to finish. I have a project I’d like to start, but I am not sure it is time yet.

Restore:  Josiah noticed that we haven’t had a family game night in a very long time. I think that has to be on the plan for next week.

Margin:  Here, I am very proud of myself. I did say Yes to one thing this week that I probably should have not agreed to.  However, I was asked to commit eight hours to something on Saturday, and I said, “No.” I actually would have enjoyed it, but my body was demanding rest instead.

Reflections on Spring Term Week 2

Josiah and Gideon finished their project of becoming Cycle 2 Memory Masters and spent two days hanging out with Gramma.  Micah and I went on a very enjoyable adventure to Austin with some friends. Not as much work was completed in the van as I had hoped because of some poor planning that led to technology problems. But other lessons were learned (like “Preparation is the key to success.”)

Yesterday was Week 14 for the Challenge students at our campus, so this begins the last week of work and preparation for Blue Book Exams. I like Blue Books because they tend to focus on the whole breadth of knowledge a student has acquired instead of nit-picking the little details. They allow a student to tell back what they have internalized from their curriculum. As a Challenge 1 Director, I liked to ask them to write an essay defining Freedom (using characters from course literature as examples) and explain how personal liberty effects our government and our economy. I am not the Challenge 1 Director this year, and I am grateful for that. I don’t know what my friend, who is my son’s tutor, will put on his exam, but we will make sure to have that discussion.


Reflections on Spring Term 2017 Week 1

 As you saw if you follow @educatingoaks on Instagram, we did not at all have the week that I planned. Instead, we celebrated my mother-in-law’s life, and we began a new shadowy period of grief. We did some shopping, as Mimi would have appreciated seeing her little men in suits and ties. We learned the names of some flowers that we hadn’t noticed before. We talked about Jesus and heaven and death and eternal life. We learned some new-to-us family stories about Mimi. We spent time with family. We processed.

Part of educating these boys is walking them through life circumstances. They need to know how to meet new people, but they also need to know how to say good-bye (for now) to those they love. They need to know how to love well, but great love can lead to great grief, and they have to know how to grieve well also. So, they went to say good-bye to Mimi, and since she was unconscious, they knew they went for them and not for her. There were questions and tears, and there will be more in the coming days. We sang a few hymns for her and for our own spirits. The younger boys went to Gramma’s, and Micah, Jon, and I stayed with our family until Mimi was with Jesus, waiting and praying, singing and being.

This next week, the plans don’t look different than usual, but life does. We’ll be adjusting to life without Mimi and walking through Holy Week. Next Sunday is a celebration of Jesus’ Resurrection, and it will be our first holiday without our family’s primary hostess and party-planner. But we will celebrate because Jesus conquered death in order to bring us life, and because of that, Mimi is probably planning a party in heaven.

Reflections on Week 10

Rejoice: I made it to the Y a couple of mornings, and I had my quiet moment most mornings.

Relate: The boys played outside a lot.

Remember:  We started in on reviewing in earnest for Memory Master. I have a love/hate relationship with the project. I think Charlotte Mason would hate it, but it is a way to determine mastery of Cycle 2. We require our kids to participate the last time they will cover a cycle. It shouldn’t be hard for these boys who have been hearing this information from the time they were 3 and 4.

Reason: Very little math was done here. Now both Micah and Gideon will be working longer than they would like to. I think Josiah will revel in the fact that just doing his work was a good idea.

Read: Micah read for Debate and for his research paper. Josiah worked on The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Minecraft Mods Programming. Gideon is halfway through The Candymakers and the Great Chocolate Chase. Together, we continued on in Robinson Crusoe and The Good Master. I have a crazy amount of books going, and I need to read Gene Stratton Porter’s Keeper of the Bees by next Monday evening.

Record: I didn’t write, though I have a couple of posts in the queue. Josiah and Gideon did their IEW assignment. Micah worked on a comparison paper.

Restore: I hung out with Jon after we put the boys to bed, watching TV and reading and being together. It was a good week for us.

Margin Report: This was a bad week for Margin. I was running from one thing to another nearly every day. That wears me out. This week doesn’t promise to be much better.

Reflections on Week 9

This was a week on which we originally planned to do no schoolwork at all – Spring Break. We were going to lay around and read and play with friends and have a few adventures. But then no work was done during Show Week, and most of the boys had the flu the next week, and we got behind. This is one thing that I don’t like about having our Classical Conversations Community day driving our curriculum. We need to go at the same pace as our classmates, so if life happens, we must play catch-up. Most of our fun week got postponed until May. We went on a few little adventures, but mostly, it was a work week.

A few people have told me that I sound too perfect when I write here.  I want to be clear to anyone reading – I make a lot of mistakes, and I am fairly open about them. However, I am writing these entries to celebrate the little victories that I forget so easily. They aren’t for anyone else as much as they are for me… because I get bogged down in not being enough for this job. There things that we don’t get to and the things that I laid aside because I didn’t have the energy for them and the days that chronic pain left me stuck on the couch when I wanted to take the boys to the park. This is a journal of successes. I’ve made a billion mistakes, and through those mistakes, I came to the methods and systems that are working in my house at the moment. One thing that does work is jotting down the successes so that they aren’t lost in my sea of failures.

Rejoice: I made it to the Y a couple of mornings, and I did most of my Bible study for the week, but I also slept in a little several times. The boys were still resting up and recovering from the flu the first part of the week, so I still had a little morning quiet with my coffee.

Relate: We did go on a few adventures – one to a favorite used bookstore and one to the newly remodeled Central Library. Both involved coffee and books (which make me very happy), but in both places Josiah and Gideon found things they enjoyed. We joined a group of friends to see Hidden Figures, and we also saw friends at science class. The boys played outside a lot.

Remember:  We sang memory work twice this week, and the memory master review month has started.

Reason: Very little math was done here. I actually excused Micah from several algebra assignments so that he could catch up in other subjects. He will have to finish Saxon Algebra 1 after the school year ends.

Read: I did a lot of reading this week. Some girls that I tutor are obsessed with a new series that I hadn’t heard of. It wasn’t good. I don’t recommend it, but I’m glad I will be able to discuss it with them. Micah finished The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Josiah finished The Hobbit and started on The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Minecraft Mods Programming . Gideon finished Men of Iron and a pile of picture books. Together, we continued on in Robinson Crusoe and The Good Master.

Record: I didn’t write. Gideon didn’t write. Josiah did his IEW assignment. Micah finished a LTW essay about Born Again and outlined a comparison paper.

Restore: I hung out with Jon after we put the boys to bed, watching TV and reading and being together. It was a good week for us. We went on a date this evening and enjoyed the beautiful Oklahoma last day of winter while we ate on the patio of a restaurant we hadn’t been to before. (It was 85 degrees and sunny and breezy.)

Margin Report: This was a good week for fitting in some reading and writing and piano that I missed the last few weeks.

Reflections on Week 8 and Spring Break

It wasn’t the week that I planned, but it ended very well. About the time I hit publish on last week’s post about Lion King, both Micah and Gideon woke up from their necessary naps with fevers. They joined the ranks of their friends with the Post-Show-Week flu. It lasted five days.

We missed our community day on Monday. (I left them here napping and watching a movie and ran over to teach a little Latin, but that was it.)  On Tuesday, they watched another movie while I went to Costco to buy produce and chicken. I came back and made an Instant pot of chicken broth, which became much appreciated chicken and noodles. On Wednesday, I left long enough to host the National Latin Exam (which Micah missed, but he wasn’t too disappointed.) On Thursday, we all laid around and rested and read. On Friday, they were back to normal, so we saw some of our people at debate prep. We had missed them.

Saturday was our campus’s Protocol Event (Where I caught Micah and his buddies dressed in suits and looking so grown up. We took the Challenge 1 and 2 students to dinner at a local restaurant, and then we went to hear the Tulsa Signature Symphony perform Mozart’s Requiem in D minor. It was a beautiful piece. We looked up the lyrics online and followed along with the Latin. Even the students who are behind the pace of their Challenge guide had no trouble understanding the lyrics because Mr. Henle includes a good bit of church vocabulary a long with the never-ending slaughtering of the Gauls.

Rejoice: I had a major goal this week of staying well, so I gave up my morning hour and slept a little longer. I didn’t go to the Y at all. But since the boys were low-energy, I still had a little Bible study and reading time with my coffee.

Relate: I did a lot of reading aloud and some movie watching, made many small amounts of comforting foods, and conquered the kitchen chores and the laundry. I yelled at one boy for not putting his Kleenexes in the trash can. That started a giggle fest because the trash can was literally right next to him, and he was still piling them on the couch.

Remember: We did no singing this week, and therefore we did no memory work. We did still listen to stories at meals, and the younger boys did some Foundations memory work with the app on their iPads.

Reason: We did no math or Latin or English Grammar this week. Unfortunately, that means that our sick week became our Spring Break. That’s a bummer.

Read: I think I did more reading than anyone, but I didn’t actually finish anything. We did start reading Kate Seredy’s The Good Master (aff. link) as a read aloud, thanks to a suggest from Dawn. The younger boys read a stack of picture books while they were lounging around under blankets. Micah listened to The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and to a module of Exploring Creation through Physical Science thanks to Audible.

Record: I recorded a little in my journal and Bible, but that was about it.

Restore: We are thrilled that only two of us got really sick and that all of us are healthy again. But our spring break is gone. We’ll see if we can finish up things in time to have a little one next weekend.


Show Week Reflections


Last week, the boys participated in Courtyard Theater’s version of Disney’s Lion King, Jr. It was excellently done. As much as possible, the work of the production was done by students. Make-up, masks, props, lighting, sound, costuming… they did it all with guidance and hard work.  Micah worked on lighting, and Gideon was a wildebeest. It was a fantastic week.

We were completely out of our routine, and all that happened last week was the production and some reading. We finished King of the Wind, which was a fabulous read. No one did any math or Foundations or Essentials or Challenge work. We’ll be working this week and next, though I am canceling some assignments because we also have a few projects to do that require a spring break.

I’m working on the next six weeks of Morning Meeting posts. I don’t know if they help any other families get a good variety in their morning, but those posts guarantee that I get the things done that I want for my family easily.