Friday, July 15, 2016

7 Quick Takes Friday


The children's sleep has drifted late over the summer--which drives Mama nutso because it is really TOO MUCH to have children (including a baby) still chippily wide awake at 10:00 p.m. when Mama has to get up at 5:30 a.m. regardless (with the first children rising by 6:00 because they're like bizarre creatures who function on so little sleep). Thus, almost two weeks before my start date for school, I began waking children at 7:30 a.m. every day, and then at 7:00, in hopes of making them tired enough actually to fall asleep when we put them in their beds, lights out, at 8:00.

I came across this Scripture during this two-week break-in period and felt it was appropriate:

Proverbs 6

6 Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.
7 Without having any chief, officer or ruler,
8 she prepares her food in summer, and gathers her sustenance in harvest.
9 How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest,
11 and poverty will come upon you like a vagabond, and want like an armed man.


These past five days, John spent at a choir day camp, with his Dad assisting, hosted by an accomplished musician at our cathedral. Dr. Gianfranco de Luca, with a degree in organ music from Westminster Choir College, formerly served as choir director at the Pontifical North American College in Rome and now serves as music director of our cathedral.

The daily camp schedule involved:
  • choir practice
  • snack
  • varied: 
    • scavenger hunt
    • presentation by a piano builder
    • Gregorain neume/chant intonation poster board craft
    • hand bell activity
    • demonstration of a church organ
  • music theory
  • lunch
  • Gregorian chant practice
  • composers video and trivia came (different composer each day)

Chris and I had joyful hearts to see John at nine years old thinks choir camp is "AWESOME!"

On the second day, a piano technician gave a special presentation on how to build and tune pianos. The children got to take home as souvenirs old piano parts, like the below. John was fascinated by it all and really enjoyed the technical aspect of it.

Being a homeschooling parent, I don't pack lunches for my children often, so it was kind of fun to have Brown Bag Lunch Duty each day. I got to pack food, include a napkin and a love note, and label everything so it wouldn't get lost.

On the final day, the students sang the mid-day prayer at the cathedral, then sang for the 12:10 Mass, concluding with a lemonade-and-cake celebration. I greatly wished I could have been there to hear the Mass!


Family Books of the Week (in progress or completed)

  • Read-alouds
    • "Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints" (Loreto Publications, originally published 1894)
    • "Daniel Boone, Wilderness Scout" by Stewart Edward White (1922)--quite interesting so far and quite academic for youth, e.g., 20 pages written on the mechanics of rifles
    • "The Jungle Books" by Rudyard Kipling (1894)  (audio CD)--finished. I'd never read more than the well-known Mowgli story, so it was neat to listen to the entire collection. My favorites were "Rikki-Tikki Tavi" and "Her Majesty's Servants."
    • "The Bronze Bow" by Elizabeth George Speare (1961) (audio CD)
    • "Skippack School" (1939) by Marguerite de Angeli--Finished. Read aloud to Margaret only, who loved it.
    • "Henner's Lydia" (1936) by Marguerite de Angelia--Reading to Margaret
    • "Beethoven Lives Upstairs"--Joseph (3) has recently become strongly attached to this Classical Kids audio story about the composer, such that he must listen to it both at nap time and at bedtime, and often listens to it in the morning, sitting on his bed while the rest of us are finishing getting ready. I think that is precious.
  • Mama
  • John
  • Mary
Listening to Orson Welles' radio play of "Treasure Island" in the blistering heat of the day

1. May I direct you over to the "All About Books" series at Like Mother, Like Daughter? This series is simply wonderful and I recommend catching up on the past posts.

"The way I see it, I owe it to the world to pick up where the public library left off, and perhaps someday donate these back to a library in the hopes that they’ll be rediscovered — after my family has absorbed them. In addition, I’m considering making it a point of “intellectual charity” to borrow great books from the library, if for no other reason than just to simply keep them in circulation!"

2. Also, I am super excited to learn from Shower of Roses about the American Background Series (biographical fiction about Catholic heroes in American history) recently republished by Hillside Education (see here). Those books have gone straight onto our wish list!


One day, Mary brought me the most precious Stick Family she had created to represent our family. Adorable!

Only later, when I hauled my sick self up to the Bonus Room stairs, desiring to lay down where Thomas could toddle around safely, did I discover the huge mess, like a pinata of craft supplies had exploded. Why get out a pair of googly eyes (and every other supply) when you can dump the entire bag of them? Such is the price of creative genius.


Small Moments

Observing a tree being cut down

Observing a tree being cut down

Margaret so happy to have finished a puzzle with Mama

Margaret (5) is an increasingly big helper, and is particularly desiring to help me cook meals these days.

Margaret helping to fry the glazed ham


Meals of the Week 

. . . shared to show that "My career is homeschool mother, not gourmet chef!"

  • Saturday
    • Glazed ham, (frozen) biscuits, green peas, strawberries
  • Sunday
    • Roasted turkey breast, crescent rolls, pasta with marinara, leftover green peas, green salad
  • Monday
    • Glazed ham, (frozen) biscuits, fried apples, green salad
  • Tuesday
    • Calzones, sliced apples, green salad
  • Wednesday (doubling a meal to take to a friend)
    • Baked chicken thighs, sweet potato casserole, green beans
  • Thursday
    • baked chicken tenderloins with BBQ sauce, (frozen) French fries, green beans, pasta
  • Friday
    • Home alone with my two baby boys, as Daddy takes 'the bigs' on a 17-mile bicycle trip in Virginia!!! Who knows what we'll eat? Crackers and soda pop?


After watching a handy video explanation of a method of Scripture memorization, I whipped up such a system for our family. I've plopped the box in the middle of our kitchen table and the children were surprisingly excited about it. It should have us memorizing and reviewing four pieces of Scripture per day. (I didn't end up using the free Scripture packages offered by the Charlotte Mason website, but chose ones that struck my fancy.)

I've decided that I want to 'anchor' this practice to something in our real life instead of assigning it as school work. I'm trying to instill various practices in the children because they are practicing Catholics, not because they're in school and required to do it. We don't pray grace just on school days or pray the nightly Rosary just on school days. I want us to be 'in the Word' daily because we are Catholics, not because we're in school.

My initial experiment is to have us read our Scripture (once aloud, then once listen-and-repeat by everybody) at breakfast. However, I was surprised to discover that all the children are really excited by this. I've even been asked if we can read the Scripture at every meal! That just goes to show that one should try, try again with these habits and 'see what sticks'!

Margaret reading Scripture

Margaret is an emerging reader, but she is trying valiantly to read Scripture with her bigger siblings--and is succeeding!

For more 7 Quick Takes Friday, check out This Ain't the Lyceum.

1 comment:

  1. Ugh. My kids are singing the same "can't fall asleep until it's dark" tune. I'm not brave enough to start waking them earlier though...I'm enjoying the little bit of peace in the mornings.

    That stick family is adorable! Do you keep all the kids' creations, or you dispose of them?