Meal Plans

The DHM wrote a meal plan for this week, and it’s a lovely one. It would be even nicer if I didn’t rely completely on my memory when following it. I checked it this morning to see what was happening for lunch: Hoppin’ John and Bacon, with cornbread. Yummy. I got busy cooking the black eyed peas and starting the rice and then moved on to other domestic tasks like catching up on dishes and washing laundry.

I was really feeling quite pleased as I finished making the Hoppin’ John. What a productive morning it had been! And I was still somewhat on time with lunch.

And then, oh dear… it hit me. I had forgotten to make the cornbread. Hoppin’ John without cornbread is a sad thing indeed.

So, Common Room Family, I apologize. May your cornbread-less lunch be somewhat palatable.

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“The Jolly Miller of Dee”

This is a link to most of the Common Room scholars and the DHM singing the aforementioned folksong.
Jolly Miller of Dee
I appologize. We have colds, and sore throats. *coughs convincingly*
The DHM is actually sitting as far away from the microphone as she can with out being in a different room, while FYG, JennyAnyDots, and Pipsqueak are almost standing on top of it. Still, the voices that come through the clearest are the DHM and the FYG, who is nine, and noisy.
Words to the song:

There was a jolly miller once
Lived on the river Dee ;
He work’d and sang from morn till night,
No lark more blithe than he.
And this the burden of his aong
Forever used to be
I care for nobody, no, not I,
If nobody cares for me.

The reason why he was so blithe,
He once did thus unfold
The bread I eat my hands have earn’d;
I covet no man’s gold ;
I do not fear next quarter-day;
In debt to none I be.
I care for nobody, no, not I,
If nobody cares for me.

A coin or two I’ve in my purse,
To help a needy friend ;
A little I can give the poor,
And still have some to spend.
Though I may fail, yet I rejoice,
Another’s good hap to see.
I care for nobody, no, not I,
If nobody cares for me.

So let us his example take,
And be from malice free;
Let every one his neighbour serve,
As served he’d like to be.
And merrily push the can about
And drink and sing with glee;
If nobody cares a doit for us,
Why not a doit care we.

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Narration Jar

Narration is an important part of a Charlotte Mason education, and a deceptively simple one. Do not be fooled by its simplicity. Narration is the bones for essays, critiques, and all other sorts of more formal writing later on. Narration seems so simple, but it really gets the brain working on all sorts of complex tasks, reviewing, reasoning, comparing, contrasting, organizing, selecting, and summarizing. Once the brain has done all this work then the child tells back, which is also an important skill in communication. With such a simple, yet complex task, some try to make it more complicated than it is, and others find that their children are surprisingly reluctant to begin. Perhaps these ideas will be helpful to those who wonder where to start.

Beginning narrators typically narrate after listening to (or reading) a single paragraph- or, in some cases, even a single sentence. This is to help develop the habit of attentiveness as well as to gently accustom the child to the skill of narration. Gradually, as the child shows readiness the length of the reading increases. Over a period of years the student makes a slow and steady transition to the point where he is able to write his narrations as well. However, written narrations will never completely replace oral; there is a place for both in the Charlotte Mason method.

The narration itself should not ever be interrupted or corrected in mid-narration. However, once the narration is completed, you may ask questions or point out areas the student might have missed, make corrections, and discuss further.

For those new to narration, the oral narrations generally begin with “Tell me what you remember.” Sometimes, “Tell me what you remember about….” is used. For reluctant narrators I might ask, “Tell me anything at all about something we just read.”

My understanding of how Charlotte Mason applied narration is that in order for it to be a truly effective tool, every book, every reading, and every lesson must be narrated- but don’t despair. You can do this. In Miss Mason’s schools every single reading was followed by a narration, but that didn’t mean that every child always narrated. Because of the dynamics of the classroom setting, the children always knew they might be called on, so they listened to the readings with the attention required if they were going to be called to narrate. Knowing that they stood a good chance of being called on to narrate probably gave an edge to their attention skills.

In the homeschool it requires a bit more effort to help the children gain this same edge, but it can be done. If you have more than one child reading the same book they can alternate narrations. One narrates from the first book, the next narrates from the second book, etc. Their attention will be just a little sharper if they each realize they might be called to narrate at any time, so you could instead simply draw names for each narration, or pick a number between one and ten. Sometimes this may mean the same child narrates four times in a row, but that is fine. You can also have one child start a narration, interrupt him midstream and have another finish. You should _not_ have one child narrate the whole story and then another child narrate the same story. Repetition of narrations is, like repetition of reading, frowned on in a Charlotte Mason education. Repeating narrations from the same reading dulls the attention.

You could have one narrate and ask the next to fill in any missing details. Sometimes you might narrate, asking the child or children to fill in any details you missed. You might also try something we use which has come to be called a narration jar. I have written down a variety of styles of narration individually on slips of paper. I put all those slips of paper in a jar. After the reading, one child draws out a slip of paper from the jar and narrates in the manner indicated- and sometimes he draws out a slip of paper and then several of the children end up narrating.

Here are some things in our narration jar:
Draw a picture of a scene from your reading.
Set up a scene from the story with your blocks.
Model something from the story using play-dough.
Narrate into the tape recorder.
Narrate orally to Mama.
Write down five sentences about what you read.
Tell me about another story or event that reminds you of what you just read about. Write down three sentences about what you read.
You have 10 minutes to plan a short skit from what you read.
If you were giving a test on this reading, what are three questions you would ask? Skip the narration today.
Write a letter (or e-mail) to Grandma about the reading you did today.
Tell me what you think is going to happen next, and why.

I do not have the same number of papers for each style- there are several ‘narrate to Mama’ slips but only two play dough and skit suggestions. After the children draw the slip, they return it to the jar, so the next narration has just as many choices. As the children grow more comfortable with narration, more complicated tasks and styles of narration can be added.

The narration jar is not our only form of narration. Rather, this is for when Mother is busy or having trouble thinking. At other times I might ask them questions more specific to their reading (what kind of person is Frodo, give me some examples that show his character; tell me about how Edison made his discovery; Draw me a map of Marco Polo’s travels).

To read further about this remarkable educational tool, try these webpages:
We Narrate and then We Know
Concerning Repeated Narrations
Some Notes on Narration
Thoughts on Narration

If you have suggestions for creative narrations that could be added to the narration jar, leave them in the comments.

Used with permission. This article is copyrighted to Wendi Capehart and may be reprinted and shared freely, providing you credit the author and include this notice. AT no time may this article be included in any publication for resale.

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The FYB and Girls

The FYB has just pronounced that “Girls are disgusting.”

His daddy laughs and says, “No, they’re not.” His mommy laughs and says, “Your daddy married one.”

The FYB looks at his mommy and explains in tones indicating that he’s explaining the obvious, “Yes, I know, but you are not disgusting because you are my mother.”

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Meal Plans

The DHM wrote a meal plan for this week, and it’s a lovely one. It would be even nicer if I didn’t rely completely on my memory when following it. I checked it this morning to see what was happening for lunch: Hoppin’ John and Bacon, with cornbread. Yummy. I got busy cooking the black eyed peas and starting the rice and then moved on to other domestic tasks like catching up on dishes and washing laundry.

I was really feeling quite pleased as I finished making the Hoppin’ John. What a productive morning it had been! And I was still somewhat on time with lunch.

And then, oh dear… it hit me. I had forgotten to make the cornbread. Hoppin’ John without cornbread is a sad thing indeed.

So, Common Room Family, I apologize. May your cornbread-less lunch be somewhat palatable.

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An Indiana Country Year

“In Indiana we have at least nine seasons in an average year, built around an average annual growing season of 188 days. To move away from this abundance to a place that has only four seasons i s like moving out of the big rambling farmhouse you were born in to a small city apartment. Hoosiers thus moving admit homesickly, “I really prefer a change of season.”

Indiana’s climate is classified as mild, dispersed over:
Early summer,
Real summer
Unusual summer
Record summer
Pre-Autumn
Indian summer
Autumn
Pre-winter
Winter
Spring-in-winter
Deep winter
Blackberry winter
Sudden spring
Spring fever spring
Real spring
Perfect spring

Indiana people like having so many seasons because it gives everybody something to complain about. Whatever you ought to do that you don’t want to, you can leave undone and blame it on the weather.”*

I guess we’re in pre-autumn, because it’s been cloudy, wet, and cool enough to turn off the air conditioners and fans and put on socks and sweaters. It’s even been cool enough to turn on the oven, so Pipsqueak and JennyAnyDots made banana cake last night. I hope we’re through with the dog-days of summer, when it was so hot we’d open the window after a shower and the steam would come in. The change in weather reminded me of Blackberry winter- a period of cold frost after several days so mild that you think spring has come. I first heard of Blackberry winter in Indiana, although I read elsewhere that it is a southern term. There may be Blackberry winters down south, but we have them up here, too. It’s a pretty turn of phrase, and that reminded me that pretty soon we’re due for Indian Summer, another Indiana season. I suppose it’s not just Indiana, though. Click on the link and you’ll see the article the Chicago Tribune publishes every fall. I have a large wall hanging of that article and illustration, and my grandparents had a copy on their wall as well.

I’m collecting seasons this morning.

*From Speak to the Earth: Pages from a Farmwife’s Journal, which happily appears to be in print again.

I’ve previously blogged about Peden’s writing here.

When I read her writing it makes me feel close to my grandmother, as my copies of Peden’s three books are my grandmother’s, and Mrs. Peden and my grandmother corresponded once or twice.

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The FYB and Girls

The FYB has just pronounced that “Girls are disgusting.”

His daddy laughs and says, “No, they’re not.” His mommy laughs and says, “Your daddy married one.”

The FYB looks at his mommy and explains in tones indicating that he’s explaining the obvious, “Yes, I know, but you are not disgusting because you are my mother.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

An Indiana Country Year

“In Indiana we have at leat nine seasons in an average year, built around an average annual growing season of 188 days. To move away from this abundance to a place that has only four seasons i s like moving out of the big rambling farmhouse you were born in to a small city apartment. Hoosiers thus moving admit homesickly, “I really prefer a change of season.”

Indiana’s climate is classified as mild, dispersed over:
Early summer,
Real summer
Unusual summer
Record summer
Pre-Autumn
Indian summer
Autumn
Pre-winter
Winter
Spring-in-winter
Deep winter
Blackberry winter
Sudden spring
Spring fever spring
Real spring
Perfect spring

Indiana people like having so many seasons because it gives everybody something to complain about. Whatever you ought to do that you don’t want to, you can leave undone and blame it on the weather.”*

I guess we’re in pre-autumn, because it’s been cloudy, wet, and cool enough to turn off the air conditioners and fans and put on socks and sweaters. It’s even been cool enough to turn on the oven, so Pipsqueak and JennyAnyDots made banana cake last night. I hope we’re through with the dog-days of summer, when it was so hot we’d open the window after a shower and the steam would come in. The change in weather reminded me of Blackberry winter- a period of cold frost after several days so mild that you think spring has come. I first heard of Blackberry winter in Indiana, although I read elsewhere that it is a southern term. There may be Blackberry winters down south, but we have them up here, too. It’s a pretty turn of phrase, and that reminded me that pretty soon we’re due for Indian Summer, another Indiana season. I suppose it’s not just Indiana, though. Click on the link and you’ll see the article the Chicago Tribune publishes every fall. I have a large wall hanging of that article and illustration, and my grandparents had a copy on their wall as well.

I’m collecting seasons this morning.

*From Speak to the Earth: Pages from a Farmwife’s Journal, which happily appears to be in print again.

I’ve previously blogged about Peden’s writing here.

When I read her writing it makes me feel close to my grandmother, as my copies of Peden’s three books are my grandmother’s, and Mrs. Peden and my grandmother corresponded once or twice.

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Sunday Hymn Post

In Christ there is no East or West,
In Him no South or North;
But one great fellowship of love
Throughout the whole wide earth.

In Him shall true hearts everywhere
Their high communion find;
His service is the golden cord,
Close binding humankind.

Join hands, then, members of the faith,
Whatever your race may be!
Who serves my Father as His child
Is surely kin to me.

In Christ now meet both East and West,
In Him meet North and South;
All Christly souls are one in Him
Throughout the whole wide earth.

Click here for Cyberhymnal’s version- Because of a thunderstorm our computer was down most of the afternoon and night, and now we have a shaky connection restored, but no sound, so I don’t know what this sounds like.

“Out of one blood, God made the nations of man”.
Acts 17:26

Ephesians 2:14-22, He Himself is our peace who made both groups (Jew and Gentile) into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall…so then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit…

“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9–10; see also Revelation 5:9–10 and 14:6)”

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Sunday Hymn Post

In Christ there is no East or West,
In Him no South or North;
But one great fellowship of love
Throughout the whole wide earth.

In Him shall true hearts everywhere
Their high communion find;
His service is the golden cord,
Close binding humankind.

Join hands, then, members of the faith,
Whatever your race may be!
Who serves my Father as His child
Is surely kin to me.

In Christ now meet both East and West,
In Him meet North and South;
All Christly souls are one in Him
Throughout the whole wide earth.

Click here for Cyberhymnal’s version- Because of a thunderstorm our computer was down most of the afternoon and night, and now we have a shaky connection restored, but no sound, so I don’t know what this sounds like.

“Out of one blood, God made the nations of man”.
Acts 17:26

Ephesians 2:14-22, He Himself is our peace who made both groups (Jew and Gentile) into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall…so then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit…

“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9–10; see also Revelation 5:9–10 and 14:6)”

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