Pressing On

It’s really hard, sometimes, to keep moving forward. Discouragement happens to everyone. Right now, I’m struggling to put one foot in front of the other and accomplish all my tasks. My husband suggested starting a bullet journal. He shared this link with me, so I will share it with you.

Bullet Journal Joy – You Are Not Alone is a blog post that describes a bit about bullet journaling and how it really helps organize and prioritize your day, week, and month throughout the year. It looks like an easy way to keep everything at your fingertips and it’s creative enough for someone like me to add in words of encouragement in fancy lettering, or a small vignette.

He also sent me a video which I have not been able to watch yet. I’ll be doing that some time today. Here’s the link for that if you’d like to check it out.

I wasn’t able to purchase a new portable calendar like the one I had last school year. This might just be the answer to filling the void left on my desk. I think it will help me beat the regret of “getting behind” where I’d like to be in our school work and also in my writing. I hope to be able to post at the end of the school year how it worked for me. If you are using a bullet journal, feel free to share your thoughts on how it works for you. If you try it out, I’d love to hear about your results.


“Sometimes you have to forget what’s gone, appreciate what still remains and look forward to what’s coming next.” – Unknown — My husband graciously created this quote picture using one of his photographs. He holds the copyright for this photo and its derivative. I’m posting it with his permission. If you’d like to see more of his awesome work, check out @jdkittlesphotography on Instagram.


Growth In Home Education

When I think of the word “growth,” one of the first things that comes to mind is shopping for new shoes. Of all things, I think kids must grow out of their shoes several times during a year, or at least it seems that way. And if they aren’t growing out of them, the shoes are bursting at the seams from outdoor activities and constant wear.

Teaching your children at home is not much different. Until you find the best method for your family, you’ll need to be willing to grow and change. Sometimes, it seems like you’ll never find the right one. You just need to keep shopping until you do!

When I officially started home schooling our oldest back in 2000-2001 school year, I was expecting our oldest daughter and not really sure I’d be able to do this “home school thing.” A friend pointed me in the direction of Christian Liberty Academy (CLA), a satellite school. I don’t think there were very many satellite schools like CLA at the time but now there are several.

The satellite or online school is a great way to go if it fits your budget and you feel you need the extra help. They send you all the books and materials. If you have a reliable internet connection, your student can learn through an online classroom. The school keeps a report card or similar record of the grades so you know how your student is progressing. We used the satellite school method until our son finished 1st grade.

For 2nd grade, we needed a change to fit our budget. We bought our materials from CLA but I no longer sent my tests away for grading. I did all that work myself. I did notice he didn’t like the books very much, but he did the work.

For 3rd grade, we allowed him to attend a public school. When we had to move in the middle of that school year, we started home schooling again. This time, I was completely on my own. But by now, I had a better knowledge of what lesson plans were like, how to keep good records and a decent computer to keep all that information in. I also discovered there were other methods of teaching besides sticking them in a chair at the table all day.

“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” – Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein said, “Intellectual growth should commence at birth and end at death.” I believe he was right. Consider for a moment how much your child learns from the time they are born until they reach the age of 5. Consider how they learn those things. They don’t write. They don’t read. They are learning through things like trial and error, or music, or hearing a story. We are constantly learning throughout the course of our lives. To make a child learn in a way that doesn’t fit their personality teaches them to hate learning, and by extension, to hate life. We needed a change, not only to improve the mood of learning in our home, but to increase the love of learning.

I started reading aloud to our children regularly when our son was old enough to understand the words. It’s a great way to take a break from the routine, or even for calming down at the end of the day. If you choose the books well, they not only entertain but teach. I knew that, but around the year 2009 or 2010, I heard about the Charlotte Mason Method. It blew my mind that you could teach so many subjects from well-written literature.

There is also such a thing called ‘interest based learning.’ The student chooses a topic of interest and the parent finds books and activities related to that topic which teach the different subjects. Unit studies and notebooking fall under this category. Notebooking never worked for us. I found out about it too late to really get the benefit from using it in our classroom. Unit studies do, though, and I use them whenever possible.

Unschooling is a method I never considered for our family. I don’t think it’s a good fit for us but I do believe it works for some. The home school naysayers truly hate this method, but they don’t really approve of any method in which children learn at home. When that happens, point them to this quote from John F. Kennedy:

“Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” – John F. Kennedy

We now use a blend of text books and Charlotte Mason Method. I teach literature, history, and sometimes science as joint courses for both our daughters. I simply assign homework and activities which are appropriate to their ages and abilities. Just enough to nudge forward without frustrating them is my goal. Sometimes I hit the goal and sometimes I miss it but we’re still walking the path of the Magniflorious Home School Life.

Just remember, you are not alone. Chances are good there’s another home school family nearby who can answer questions or point you in the right direction. Also consider searching for home school organizations in your area. This type of group provides excellent opportunities for field trips, group activities, co-ops and socialization. So if you think you can’t do this “home school thing,” then please think about it one more time before giving up on it completely.

Proverbs 2: 1-2 (CJV)

My son, if you will receive my words and store my commands inside you, paying attention to wisdom, inclining your mind toward understanding…

Also, verses 3-5 are the conclusion and full of good stuff, if you’d like to read on.

LPL 100 Book Challenge

The Lafayette Public Library is hosting a reading challenge again for 2017. The girls and I have decided to bury our noses in books this year as we strive to meet the goal. I find it interesting how each of us decided to tackle the challenge in different ways.

TheRo Method (Reluctant Reader)

Our youngest isn’t a strong reader, though she improved a lot over the last year and half. She enjoys being read to and also reading aloud. She just doesn’t find it easy to sit still with a book. She also said,

“One hundred books?! That’s a lot! I’ll never be able to do that.” -TheRo Kittles

We decided to set a goal she could easily reach. I think she’ll find it easier than she thinks to read 12 books. It also helps that audio books are accepted ‘books’ for this challenge, as well as manga volumes. She’s starting with those listed below and we’ll work our way up. (A * indicates completed books, a ~ shows books in progress.)

  1. The Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl*
  2. Firefly Hollow by Alison McGhee~
  3. Scooby Doo Mystery Series: The Case of the Seaweed Monster by James Gelsey~

TheShi Method (Avid and Advanced Reader)

Shi loves to read and speeds through books faster than I ever thought of doing in my youth. She was all over this challenge from the moment I suggested it. Her immediate course of action included listing her favorite book series, tallying the number of volumes in each and calculating how many days she’d have to read each one. She’s added 38 books to her list and decided to start with the easiest one first. I’ll list these by series to save you from Death By Word Count. (A * shows completed books, a ~ shows books in progress.)

  1. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket (13 books)***~
  2. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (7 books)
  3. Divergent by Veronica Roth (3 books but not the 4th because, “I’m not really interested in that one right now.”)
  4. Percy Jackson and The Olympians by Rick Riordan (5 books)
  5. The Phoenix Files by Chris Morphew (6 books-It’s the US set.)
  6. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart (4 books)

“I’m not really interested in that one right now.” ~TheShi Kittles

Melody’s Method (Avid Reader who is too busy to read…)

I have to be honest and say I also did the math. And then I thought, “I’m going to kill myself reading.” I honestly don’t know whether I can manage to read that number of books with my full schedule and particular hobbies. I’m also thankful I can count manga volumes. They’ll help me fill in the blanks. I have a few books in my tablet I’ve been trying to work my way through and this challenge is exactly what I needed to push me along. So far, I think I’m in the lead. I doubt it will last, though. Shi has much more time to read than I do. She’ll probably pass me up at some point and I’ll be happy if she does!  Here’s my starter list. (A * indicates books completed, a ~ shows books in progress.)

  1. Pathfinder Tales: Winter Witch by Elaine Cunningham~
  2. Pathfinder Tales: Plague of Shadows by Howard Andrew Jones*
  3. Good Omens by Niel Gaiman and Terry Pratchett~
  4. Too Long In The Sun by Richard M. Rives~
  5. The Demon Prince of Momochi House series by Aya Shouto (7+ volumes)**
  6. Oiran Girl series by Hibiki Wataru (5 volumes)**~
  7. Holiness: It’s Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots by J.C. Ryle~
  8. Blood of Requiem: Song of Dragons 1 by Daniel Arenson
  9. The Blackgloom Bounty by Jon F. Baxley
  10. Brinn and the Dragons of Pallan Cliffs by Diana Metz
  11. Call of the Herald by Brian Rathbone
  12. Eon’s Door by J.G. McKenney
  13. Gifted by Liz Long
  14. Hidden Dreams by Kristah Price~

You can find all the unlinked books in my starter list on Amazon in the Kindle section.

“I’m going to kill myself reading.” ~Melody Kittles

Literature Books Count!

We’ll count the rest of the books we’ll be reading for 2017, as well as those we read during the first half of the next school year. Right now, we’re working our way happily through Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne. We’re using the Kindle version.

Does your library or another institution spur reading with a cool challenge? Would you take the challenge if they did? What would your top 3 choices be? Feel free to comment below. We’d love to know!


Video In The Classroom

I’ve been swamped with activities and holiday happenings lately. I’ll resume regular blog postings next Thursday. Thanks for stopping by and reading! In the interim, please enjoy these videos on various topics that we’ve used in either our regular school studies or art club presentations.

Music Appreciation

I used this video to introduce our music appreciation course this year. I found it fascinating, though it is long. Active students will need it broken down into smaller blocks.

Geography and Cultural Studies

Have you ever wondered how to tie an obi? This is the sash worn around a kimono or yukata in Japan. This video is pleasant to watch and easy to follow if you want to give it a try.

Fine Art

I used this video to introduce our art club members to different ways of creating a background for artwork. It’s easy to understand and while some of the materials she uses are specialized, there are several techniques students could practice applying.

Language Arts: Composition: Creative Writing

Katytastic was easy to watch and easy to understand. The girls and I truly enjoyed her videos. We started with the video on creating characters and outlining but this one is my favorite. I love creating new worlds for the reader to visit!

I hope you find these videos helpful. I’m sorry I haven’t been able to post during the holidays but I’m looking forward to getting back into my routine of posting on Thursdays. See you next time!