It's PiBoIdMo 2015-  have you signed up??

Well, the week was NOT productive in my writing....but pay a babysitter for an hour and a half today and ....  WOW!

I got to read the whole week of posts and this week they were AMAZING!  I have several pages of notes, a list of activities to work on (buy a notebook for my purse, purchase some index cards and index card boxes, rethink my daily goals, etc.), and added some actual picture book ideas to my incredibly short list (no, I do not even have a list of 14, but I have quite a few more than I did when I woke up this morning).

So I've decided the babysitter thing just may need to be a habit.  My son had a blast.  My only restriction to them was no TV.  I can plug him in front of that brain killing machine myself if I need to.  But a mere $8 got him total undivided attention.  While a little distracting since I placed myself in the dining room (in the middle of the rooms where they were) I also got to listen to him be creative and laugh- a LOT - which is music to a mother's ears and pretty inspirational for a writer to boot!

I can't decide on my  favorite post for this week like I did last week.  But I would say that the words of Janna Matthies, Denise Fleming and Julie Gribble were the most helpful to me at this point in my writing.  All for various reasons, though perhaps it's the insight of Denise Fleming that might keep me going for the long haul....  she reminds us that not only for every good idea are there probably about 50 'stinkers', but that we really should keep EVERY IDEA-- even the ones we think are bad or totally ridiculous.... because you never know where even years from now, that ridiculous, bad idea may lead to the inspiration of your best idea ever. So hold onto them- and keep going back to them to revisit and you may just be surprised one day.

I've been thinking more about the whole twaddle vs. living books as I discussed again in last week's post.  I spend much too much time on Facebook, and have been gradually cutting back (I do not want the most vivid memory of me by my children to include me holding my phone to check Facebook, Words With Friends, or even PiBoIdMo) on using my phone-  but if I do find myself on Facebook, it's usually to check out what's going on at the Ambleside page.  So many really good discussions. One constant discussion topic is the whole twaddle vs. living books debate.  Obviously this is tied into my writing life.  As I discussed last week- I worry about the children's market being so much more geared to twaddle and 'entertaining' kids rather than truly filling their minds with living books - quality books that feed the mind and ignite their passions.

Always on the Ambleside Online page there are questions posted stating , "Is this book twaddle?  What should I do if my child loves to read twaddle?  Should I let my beginning reader read these books she loves if it's twaddle?"  I am always a little shocked at the tone of those telling these mothers to take all the twaddle away.  These kids, they say, will not develop good taste for real literature or a sound vocabulary if they fill their minds with twaddle.  But personally, I'm thinking, why would you take away a book that makes a child WANT to read???  Why would you risk killing that desire to read a book by FORCING them to only read the books that YOU consider LIVING?  Isn't one of the concepts of a living book is that it entices the mind of the child?  If a book is enticing your child to read....makes them hunger for more words on the page....why would you ban it?  If it's not filling up the mind with something immoral, why would you take it away?  Wouldn't it be better to make sure you are reading them living books and giving them choices that include living books rather than insisting they never read something that YOU consider twaddle?

I will not read Scooby Doo to my son.  But I will allow him to bring one home from the library for him to look at himself (or allow someone else in the family to read it to him once in awhile).  Nor will I  buy a book that I consider to be totally twaddle...well- there might be an exception here and there. But if there's a book that makes my child WANT to read on his own (and it's not immoral in any way) then I WILL allow him to read it.  It does not mean that's all he's ever going to read.  I'm not going to go through my bookshelves and immediately throw out all that might be considered twaddle by the ladies on Ambleside.  I think they mean well....but I also think they are missing the point.

Well- enough of my ramblings on twaddle today.  I need to throw out my cold coffee and get some things done (including revisiting my PiBoIdMo notes and my idea page) now before my Movie Night with my youngest son today.  It will be the first time he'll get to watch The Wizard of Oz - my desire to offer him classic movies rather than the twaddle of today and reinforce his infatuation with tornadoes!  Pray with me that the green faced witch and flying monkeys are seen as funny and not scary!

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It's PiBoIdMo 2015-  have you signed up??

So here I am at Day#7.  I was already feeling overwhelmed this morning with so much to do but was determined I was not going to fail my goals in the first week!  So while I'm surrounded by house clutter (my computer barely fits on the kitchen counter as I sit here with my now cold coffee attempting to write this post)and house clutter really drives me crazy, I was determined to finish reading and taking notes on this week's posts!  If you are new to the concept of PiBoIdMo, be sure to click on my posts (see the tag) about it and also hop on over to Tara Lazar's website where all of this is happening!

Honestly, I have really mixed feelings about PiBoIdMo this year for so many different reasons.  I guess the biggest reason is that I just know I don't have the time in my life right now to really dedicate to my writing time the way I dream of and feel is necessary to really put my words on the page and edify them enough to make them publishable let alone take the time to find the right editor/publishing house that would be interested in it!  But I don't want to completely give up on it (my dream) either.

I also have an issue with today's market.  You see, I've spent so much time learning about Charlotte Mason and the difference between living books and twaddle, that I'm realizing that the stories I want to write, don't necessarily fit into today's market.  And the more I look at the books that are selling like hotcakes in today's picture book market, the more I kind of want to cringe.   Today's stories are funny, creative and highly entertaining, and for that they have value. I love the imagination, dedication, and work by the authors and illustrators to put these creative ideas into book form and into the hands and minds of children.  But I now wonder if they really ignite the mind to learn and hunger for more like the Living Books I'm reading to my young son or are most of them truly twaddle?  I think there is a need for books that are entertaining- they have merit- but as I go through the library now and look for quality books that will edify my child's mind, I realize just how much twaddle there is out there.  While I think books that are just for entertainment and a few laughs are fun and not necessarily bad, I'm realizing the majority of today's market is that....   they are not full of rich vocabulary,  high literary quality, or truly leaving an impact on my child's mind that leads him to learn more about a subject, person or time in history.  And that's frustrating to me.

I  think now of my personal favorite manuscript that I have submitted to critique groups....  the biggest common factor they tell me is they love the language of my story but I need to cut it out as it doesn't fit for today's market. Really? We're not allowed to have rich vocabulary that entices the child and challenges their thinking and , gosh,  shame on us for trying to actually teach them some new words???

Sigh.

So I'm torn.  Maybe I'm not cut out for the picture book world of today.

Or maybe I need to stick with non-fiction?

I don't know.

But I do know that when I finally  finished reading the posts for the week this morning (I started earlier in the week while sitting in the ER....but we won't go there...lol...don't worry- all is completely fine), I really enjoyed listening to what most of the authors had to say...  though I did have that word 'twaddle' in the back of my mind for some of the ideas discussed....  and I really LOVED the post for today by Jessixa Bagley! Jessixa wrote about making lists...and I am a HUGE list maker.  Though often poked fun of by my daughter and her friend for all of my lists, they keep me on track and my mind a little more focused and organized and a good habit I refuse to give up- so poke all you want- I love my lists!

So now I breathe a sigh of relief that no matter my mixed feelings, I have at least accomplished my goals for the week for PiBoIdMo (I'm saying that even though I only have 3 ideas listed rather than 7-  it's my prerogative to do so)...  and now I'll go off and try to do some housework....and work on making up for those 4 missing ideas.

Thanks for taking time to listen to me ramble on about PiBoIdMo 2015...

What do YOU think of the books in today's children's market?

 

 

Wrapping It Up:  October

I've only been able to get a few extra stolen moments downstairs in my "office" and while away on vacation to try to get out a few posts this month.  I  again would love to say this is my new habit but I have no idea what each day or week to come will hold for me so I'm just taking it one day at a time....and hoping for the best- whatever that may be.

My Writing World

Once again it has been sparse, but I've still managed to work on blogging a bit.  Have you seen this month's posts?

Peaceful Reflections - October

Cold & Flu Season

Reflections on Homeschooling

Vacation In Florida

I did manage to catch up on critiques for my writing group while on vacation, but I still have not touched a manuscript of my own - not even on vacation- but an idea for one certainly sparked in my mind just today as I sat reading to my five-year old. And since I haven't even thought about a single idea for at least a month or two,  that's really something!

I had ignored the reminders on Facebook that PiBoIdMo 2015 is coming up. I just don't see myself being able to commit to the time at all. But once that idea sparked in my mind this morning for a  picture book, I thought about it.  Maybe I can take part? Just not to the full extent I have tried in past years. I guess there's no harm trying...except for the possibility of getting my hopes up and then frustrated.  So I really need to reconsider my goals. ...continue reading "October Wrap Up"

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I wear a lot of hats with homeschool these days as the homeschool mom of a college student (she still asks my opinion on some things), a high school student and a kindergartener! And there's so much going on in our homeschool year now.  Being that I haven't really posted much about homeschooling (or anything else for that matter) for so long that I don't really know where to begin!

Hmmmm.... so let's start with the oldest child- she's not even home any more so that will be short! LOL.  Our daughter just started her junior year at our Alma Mater!

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/20/IUP_logo.svg/252px-IUP_logo.svg.png
Picture by wikimedia.org

...continue reading "The Many Hats of an Orthodox Homeschool 2015"

Book Title:  From Little Acorns: A First Look at the Life Cycle of a Tree(First Look: Science)

Author:  Sam Godwin

Genre: Picture Book,  Science

Illustrator: Simone Abel

Publisher: Picture Window Books

  • ISBN-10: 140480658X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1404806580

Pages: 32

Age: 4 and up

Why Did I Choose It?  It is fall and we (my son and I) found it in the seasonal book display at our library.  Eager to read and discover more about nature to start on our journey with the Charlotte Mason methodology, I found it to be a great accompaniment to our nature walks!

A Bit From The Back Cover:  Take a walk through a leafy forest and join some curious woodland creatures as they find out how a tiny acorn becomes a giant oak tree.

My Review:  This was a delightful read!  It is a wonderful Living Book for this age group!  From Little Acorns was a wonderful introduction for my son to understand more about the hundreds of acorns spread about our yard as well as motivate him to look for seedlings and saplings.  He enjoyed the illustrations and hearing what the squirrels in the story had to say to one another.  I enjoyed that he was able to absorb so much factual information within a nicely illustrated story.  This was the perfect book to read at the beginning of fall when the leaves and acorns began to fall.

Other Books By This Author: A Seed in Need: A First Look at the Plant Cycle,  The Trouble With Tadpoles: A First Look at the Life Cycle of a Frog,  Which Switch is Which?: A First Look at Electricity,  and several others!  Find his page on Amazon.

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“Self-education is the only possible education; the rest is mere veneer laid on the surface of a child's nature.”  ~ Charlotte Mason

One of the biggest things I find attractive about the methodology of Charlotte Mason is the self-education.  I find that in all the methods I've tried or researched or discussed with others, it is the method that seems best able to offer a child the ability to learn self-education. This is so because it focuses on developing a love for learning using methods involving all five senses without methods that kill that love.  It is not a methodology like our public schools where they test to see what a child does NOT know, but gives 'examinations' to determine what a child does know.  There is no dry boring textbooks with countless questions to answer, no weekly quizzes or tests to memorize the information for and forget the following week,and no lecturing.  The child develops a true love for learning in Charlotte Mason's techniques involving the heavy emphasis of LIVING books and short lessons with a large variety of subjects taught each and every year.

I'm really enjoying  reading A Charlotte Mason Education (A Home Schooling How-To Manual) by Catherine Levison.  It's providing a great overview of teaching various subject matter with the Charlotte Mason method. It's  a quick read and is covering lots of subject matter that I won't necessarily use just yet (my son is only 4) but gives me a great resource to determine when I might start introducing things and a book I can turn to over and over again for review and ideas.

The book is broken down into 20 chapters.  The first three chapters focus on an introduction to Charlotte Mason, the basic methodology and narration.  The remaining chapters all cover how to cover basic subject matter:  literature, poetry, art appreciation, music appreciation, science, math, history, etc.  I'm about halfway through.

Just last night I ordered a sketch pad for my son and I to use as a nature journal.  I have some ideas on how to introduce this concept to him this year in a basic way.  I'm really excited about developing a habit of nature walks and nature observation outdoors.  We

This is an acorn, something we observed quite a few of the other day on our walk. The picture isn't mine - I borrowed it from the internet this morning I'll either start taking my phone with me on our walks (I really should buy a new camera and learn how to upload my pictures) or use the computer to show him how to find pictures and print them out for our notebook.

started last week but without a notebook.  My plan is to simply spend time outdoors with him (my goal really is 5 times a week but I'm not sure I'll be able to keep up with it in winter - I'm a true sissy when it comes to the cold so if you have pointers on this, I'd love to hear them!) and allow him to pick something new several times a week to come back and either draw a picture of something we discovered or find a picture on the web to print, cut and paste into his notebook so I can label it for him.  He's four, so I won't have him write the words in his notebook unless of course, he wants to in which case I'll write the word somewhere else for him to copy.  It won't be something forced.  If there's a day he doesn't want to do the notebook, we'll let it go.  This is just our introductory year - for him and for me.

Are  you using the Charlotte Mason method?  Feel free to share your favorite resources or favorite activities.  I'd love to hear about them!

 

“...my object is to show that the chief function of the child--his business in the world during the first six or seven years of his life--is to find out all he can, about whatever comes under his notice, by means of his five senses...”  ~Charlotte Mason

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"As parents we are concerned about building whole people- people who are alive emotionally, spiritually, intellectually.  The instruction to train up a child in the way he should go has enormous dimensions.  It is to teach a child to think, to influence character, to give high ideals, and to encourage integrity.  It is to provide largeness of thoughts, creative thinking, imaginative wondering."  ~ Gladys Hunt in Honey For A Child's Heart

I am reading Gladys' book Honey For A Child's Heart.  It's a wonderful guide for parents to assist in finding quality books for their children.  I am only part way into the book and yet I can tell that Gladys shares my zeal for the importance of reading to children and what quality literature can offer to the child.

The above quote struck me as truly of utmost importance.  I think that too often in this hustle and bustle focused on earthly cares world in which we live, we as a society miss what is important in the training up of a child.  We forget that it does include teaching the child to think and that emotionality and spirituality are IMPORTANT! Indeed, I deem these things, especially faith and spirituality, to be the MOST important.  When one reaches the end of one's life - be it at age 89 or 9, it does not matter what one gained academically, what job title you held or how much money you made- it only matter's what one gained in life on an emotional and spiritual level which one applied to their relationship to God that is of the utmost importance.

Quality books are  part of  this training.  A quality book can be the gateway into more wonder and beauty in a child's world.  Books give a child a very large view of the world and can fill a life with truth and goodness.  It opens the door to experience and gets their ideas flowing!  Offer your child a quality living book today...read it with them...talk about it.  If you don't have any children at home, be your own child 🙂

Random Thoughts For Saturday:

  • Beatrix Potter books and A. A. Milne Books should be read to every child!  You don't recognize the authors?  Tsk. Tsk.  Silly Old Bear!  None other than Peter Rabbit and Winnie-The-Pooh
  • Life is short....enjoy chocolate!
  • Do the right thing....because it's the right thing.
  • Just how on earth do you fold a fitted sheet?  I've watched videos...they make it look so easy...but how on earth do you really do it without it taking up a great deal of time?  LOL
  • My husband is the best husband imaginable... I know I'm biased...but...IT'S TRUE  🙂

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I think the most important aspect of education is quality books.  And by quality books, I mean LIVING BOOKS.  So...what is a 'living book'?

                Thank goodness I was never sent to school...Beatrix Potter quote at DailyLearners.com

Living books are those books which make the subject 'come alive'.  They are generally written by one person, versus a textbook written by several authors.  The book reaches out and pulls you in.  It's a book that makes you feel that you are there with the characters.  They are generally written in a narrative style rather than a dry style of writing typically found in most textbooks which usually only present facts in a summary type form. With the right sources, you can find living books that cover most school subjects  -  even math!!

In our homeschooling years, I have tried to use Living Books whenever possible.  Now that I am researching the Charlotte Mason method to use with my toddler, I have found a plethora of sources and would like to share them with you!

Source List for Living Books:

All Through The Ages

The Ambleside Online Curriculum

Beautiful Feet

Books of Wonder

CM Bookfinder

Five In A Row

Greenleaf Press

A Literary Education

Honey For A Child's Heart

Living Books Curriculum

Newberry Medal and Honor Books

Sonlight

Charlotte Mason teaches that you are to select books that will cultivate your child's taste for good literature and words fitly spoken.  A quality book will cultivate imagination and nourish their mind. Charlotte Mason homeschoolers do not usually spend their time using books consisting of 'twaddle'(nonsense or 'dumbed-down' literature).  I don't,however, think an occasional book that is not categorized under high quality literature is a waste.  As long as it isn't the only type of book your child will read, it's not against your morals or values, and it leads your child to reading, then it is a book worth it's price!  Happy Reading!