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My Daybook: July 8th, 2015

Outside my window…
it’s a miserable overcast day. Forecast tells us it’s going to snow up on the mountains this weekend, the children are begging that we drive 2 hours up the Range just to see snow. We’ve never seen snow, it could be an experience, guaranteed to be a cold one at least

I am thankful…
to have nearly all of our children home. Einstein arrived home on Monday night, it’s wonderful to have him home for a couple of weeks. I always find it fascinating how dynamics change as our ‘children come in and out’ of our home

I am thinking…
about the importance of habits, about modelling and about ‘helping’ children flex their ‘habit muscle’. Parenting involves vigilance and it’s hard work and we can’t afford to relax. Talking habits I’ve been listening and reading Gretchen Rubin‘s insights on habits, really thought provoking. PC, I and our older children took some of her tests and found it totally insightful, lots of discussion material there

Learning all the time…
well it’s holidays here in Australia, though as we postponed starting starting until Einstein arrived home, which he did on Monday we started later than our school contempories. I do however have plans to try to fit a little Sacramental preparations, some reading and spelling in, we’ll see. Thus far the days have been full of birthday celebrations, dune buggy drives and playing on the new drum kit.

Celebrating the liturgical year…..
our focus has been more on birthday celebrating this week.  We’ve just celebrated our way through our Mega Birthday Week, the annual ‘three birthdays in seven days’ celebration. We went for banana splits instead of cake, by the third birthday the children were over ice-cream and we haven’t even had the party food for the third birthday. Birthday lad declared he really wanted a break from lollies and chocolate and we’re saving for when the Biggest Bro comes home

From the kitchen…
experimenting with broths, gluten free baking and kale juice with great success.
Our biggest conundrum at present is whether we need to buy a new oven or not. Our birthday lad asked for a baked dinner for his birthday celebration last night, two hours later the potatoes and meat were barely baked, we ended up ‘steaming’ them in frying pans, not eating until 7.30pm!
Why is it when you want your son’s 16th birthday to be totally special all sorts of glitches appear. He was a trouper and rolled with it all, special boy.
We think the problem is the thermostat but we’ve already had repairs on this oven (a 6 burner Smeg) a few times, the last time our repairman indicated it’s only economical to repair to a point. Have we reached that point? The thing is it still cooks cakes and quiche fine, it just seems to be a problem with baked dinners. Perhaps I should allow 5 hours for baking instead of 2

I am creating…
labels on our toy and dress up boxes. Don’t know why I didn’t do this over a year ago, I love them! The children and I now know where toys and dress ups go without pulling out the whole box to see. I had plans to make fancy labels with picture cues, in the end PC suggested I just use my label maker, which I did. Planning on labeling the boxes in the learning room  next, all the stationary and craft materials. Mmm wonder what I can label after than?;)

I am working on…
collating a mega booklist using Classical Christian 1000 Good Books List, Ambleside Online, Mater Amabilis and Jen’s Considered Booklist. I’m cutting and pasting books into an excel spreadsheet, the older children have noted in ‘their column’ which books they have read, next I shall delete the books we don’t need to read and select the books I’d like the children to read, being influenced by the books we or our library has I’ll collate a final mega list. Want me to share?

Also planning for Gr 11 using AO as my base, as I tweak ‘a little’ for: Faith, Australia, what I have on my shelves and the free read section, so I probably won’t be able to say “we’re doing AO” by planning end, but starting from there will give me a confidence my 11th Grader is ‘up to standard’

I am going…
to take Michelangelo to town at the end of the week to sit for his Learner driver’s Test. Can’t believe we are about to have our fourth child on the road, where have the years flown!

I am hoping…
to sort out an ongoing bureaucratic nightmare with Einstein and then take him to get his Green P’s. We went to town this morning resolved the bureaucratic nightmare, then Einstein sat for and passed his drivers test. He now has his Green P’s! (Provisional P2 licence) and is ‘pretty stoked. Win, win!

I am praying…

  • for our older children; lots of decisions to make, college choices, career paths, and jobs desperately needed
  • for our teens at home, that we make the best of the ‘years we have left’, oh these years are slipping through our fingers fast
  • for this young mum, 22 years old and mumma of 6!! Chloe and her husband Ro, already blessed with three young boys, 3, 2 & 1, last Sunday were blessed with the arrival of their triplets!! Born by Caesar at only 28 weeks and 3 days and doing well thus far, their little girl Pearl is only 1.5 pounds! Please pray as they are so tiny

I am pondering….
anew the ‘big picture’ as I ‘touch up’ my plans for the next term. Whilst considering any plans for Michelangelo between now and when he graduates in 18 months time, I always keep focus on; what virtues, skills and knowledge do we want him to graduate with? This helps immensely in decision making.

I am reading…
through our own home library, plan is to only read books on our shelves whilst I take a hiatus from our town library. For many months my independent reading has mainly been twaddle, I ask myself ‘how much impact does my personal reading choices have on our family reading?’ Embarrassingly I believe it must have a major impact, not only in modelling but in my motivation to keep the children’s reading level ‘up to snuff’, my standards ‘slip’ everyone’s slip. Since I’ve ‘picked up my game’ I’ve also noticed I have more ‘head space’ my ‘big picture’ motivation is returning. I’d be interested to know if anyone else has experienced, observed this?

I am listening to……
the drum kit frequently being played throughout the day. We had a moment of insanity and bought the children a drum kit for their birthdays. Everybody’s enjoying having a ‘bash’, from the toddler right up to the parents:)

I am hearing…
silence oh blessed silence whilst the baby sleeps and the three teens at home entertain themselves quietly. This afternoon my mum and stepfather have taken five of the children out for a birthday celebration. Lunch with Marnie and Timpa and then off the the ice-cream parlour, not sure who was the most excited, the children or the grandparents

I am struggling…
to be a strict mama, to help children flex their ‘habit muscle,’ tough call for my personality but I know I’ll be doing them a favour in the long run

Clicking around…
Homeschooling the Early Years, agree with Ginny and I’m most intrigued with the handwriting books Ginny is considering
Inside Our Form Binder, love Celeste’s ideas for mapping, thinking I should do something similar.
Her handwriting form is a great idea too
12 Things Every Mom of Many Wants You To Know, concur with Lydia totally! Yes, yes and yes!

Around the house…
I dream of an uncluttered home, however I don’t think we’ll ever achieve a minimalist look, at least not whilst many children of many ages and interests live here. So I’ll settle for ‘out of sight’ as much as possible I guess

One of my favorite things…
photography. I’ve finished my course, which I loved and I’m pretty proud of myself for achieving. Now though I’m wondering, ‘what next?’ I want to continue to grow in my photography skills, though not planning on starting another course at this stage. I’d like to join in a photography challenge or two. Know of any great photography challenges that suits mamas?

A few plans for this week…
whilst we enjoy a break from lessons I’m thinking we should do something a little different whilst Einstein is home, not sure what though, as it’s too cold for the beach. Mostly we’ll just enjoy time together

A little peek at my day…
this morning Einstein and I had two major ‘wins’ in town.
This afternoon Marnie and Timpa have taken five of the children out celebrating.
My plan was to begin labeling those stationary boxes, whilst the house is mostly empty, I’m blogging instead

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  • Renee Wilson

    You really are a very talented photographer, Erin. I'm glad you got so much out of your course. Sorry I've not dropped in for a while. I'm glad to see you keeping busy as per usual and see the kids thriving.

  • Angel

    Your booklist sounds like an enormous undertaking… but of course you should share! LOL Last year I had to do something like that in a much more limited fashion; there were so many choices for modern literature and history, which my oldest studied, that I had to make a spreadsheet just to keep track of them all. Then I whittled it down to what he was going to read last year. There are so many lists out there, though, that I think you could spend all your time collating lists! Not that it would be a bad thing, of course. 😉

    We use AO in sort of the same way, too. I take a lot of books from their year lists, but we never end up following a year exactly. Still, we've had good luck with the books we've read.

    • Erin

      Well I've made a start on the booklist, bought a new barcode scanner, and an updated version of Readerware, decided to start with the list from the books on my shelf. Yes a temptation to spend hours collating lists:)
      Part of my problem with lists is many books are American and whilst I have many of them I also have many English books and they don't get as much attention, I'd like to change that with my list, and Australian too of course.

  • Zoe Williams

    Please do share your booklist when its finished. I have the AO, Mater Amabilis and an Australian classics list compiled from various blogs (including yours) all saved to my desktop, but a combined masterlist would be a real treasure.

    • Erin

      I'd love to know which australian classic lists you have found! Please share.
      And do you have a blog? I will be sharing, though the project is growing bigger than I started with;)

  • Anonymous

    I especially love that top photo. The babies grow up too fast. I am starting children back at school (and homeschool) this week after a 2 week hiatus, really struggling to get motivated. Our Winters here in North Qld are idyllic, I'm tempted to extend the holidays and only focus on a few subjects, and catch up in Summer when it's simply too hot to be outside during the day. If I did that though, I worry that I won't have the discipline to jump back in if I don't start with a bang. I'm a fairly relaxed person and find I need structure or everything goes to pot.
    Having said that, I have just read a few Beverly Lewis novels which inspire me to work hard and live simply. (Her novels are set in Amish communities). Not everything relaxing you read need be "twaddle". Enjoy your break, cheers Sherelle.

    • Erin

      I love that one too!!:)
      It is hard to get motivated after breaks, I totally understand. I've been thinking about your taking a break in Summer, and normally it could easily work, the only thing is in your situation with older children and husband on holidays at that time it could be very difficult to motivate children and yourself to work with the distractions around.
      I do sympathise I'm naturally relaxed too and have to force myself at times to be disciplined.
      All the best in discerning{}

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