15 Jun 2010

A Fly on the Wall

Man is a socially curious beast - we are all fascinated by the lives of others. A quick glance at the groaning shelves in the biography section of your local library will confirm that for you. So will the rapid rise of reality television in recent years. When we learn about the lives of others we feel that we get to know them. We can relate, and we thrill as we see our own lives reflected back at us. We can monitor our lives against theirs and we can take from them what we want and leave the rest. Through their lives we hope to improve our own.

With that, I invite you to be a fly on the wall of our Peaceful Home as Jemimah and I take you through the day that was today. We had a lot of fun taking the pictures to illustrate this post - we hope you enjoy them.

6:15 am

My Beloved wakes me gently with a cup of Twinings English Breakfast Tea in bed. This little ritual - one that he has been performing since we were married - is one of my favourite luxuries. He always makes it in a big white mug, and it is always the perfect strength. That first mouthful of tea is the best of the day.

As I drink it I think about my day. Today I read a few pages of my book, The Gourmet and then the last few chapters of I Kings. I don't usually do my Bible reading in the morning, but I am behind after my holiday and am taking every opportunity to catch up again. I am almost there.

7:00 am

Hubby comes in to say goodbye, followed minutes later by Jemimah delighted to discover that I am still in bed. She jumps in for a warm-up cuddle after accompanying Daddy outside to look at the ice on the windscreen. It has been cold overnight, and the news broadcaster on my bedside radio explains that it is still only 1° C.

Audrey, the poodle, who has been asleep at the foot of the bed decides that she needs to go outside, and as I accompany her I collect some firewood to build a fire in the sitting room. I am sure it is little warmer than 1° C inside this morning.

7:30 am

Jemimah enjoys the crackling fire as I do some stretching exercises and then shower and dress and then we both make our beds and tidy our rooms. I put a load of dark washing into the machine.

8:00 am

I do not understand why, but it is already 8 o'clock when we sit down to breakfast of warming porridge. I have mine with brown sugar; Jemimah prefers white on hers. As she finishes breakfast I make my first coffee of the morning.

My Fuku cup is a new one from Tachikichi in Kyoto and I like it very much, I do, with its Oribe style green copper glaze and interesting patterning. I also like the fact that is so well insulated that I can hold it even with freshly made coffee inside. It is the perfect size.

9:00 am

We decide to start school in the sitting room with the fire, and we start our first block of school snuggled together under a rug on the sofa. Perfect. Above you can see some of our books. Romans for the Family Hour is by Kenneth Taylor. While I am not a fan of his interpretive paraphrase, the Living Bible, I totally recommend this book. Written in 1959, Taylor's introduction says this:

The reason for this book is that Christian children and young people need the mighty truths of the Pauline Epistles. These great New Testament letters have transformed the church throughout the ages, and radically changed millions of Christians. Moreover, children need these truths in early years, not only after they have grown up.

But all too often, the New Testament letters are largely cut off from children (and older readers of the Bible too) by the bigness of Paul's thoughts expressed in few words. Often he uses technical expressions with a world of meaning for the mature, instructed Christian, but far from clear to others until explained.

In a 1979 interview published in Christianity Today, Taylor explains that the idea for his Living Bible arose through his efforts to explain biblical text to his own children during family devotions:
The children were one of the chief inspirations for producing the Living Bible. Our family devotions were tough going because of the difficulty we had understanding the King James Version, which we were then using, or the Revised Standard Version, which we used later. All too often I would ask questions to be sure the children understood, and they would shrug their shoulders—they didn't know what the passage was talking about. So I would explain it. I would paraphrase it for them and give them the thought. It suddenly occurred to me one afternoon that I should write out the reading for that evening thought by thought, rather than doing it on the spot during our devotional time. So I did, and read the chapter to the family that evening with exciting results—they knew the answers to all the questions I asked!
It is relatively likely that this little book of Romans together with I and II Timothy is a precursor to this larger work, but its simple wording and interesting devotional application passages make it an excellent book for children of Jemimah's age. This is the second time we've read through it, and we both continue to learn from its lessons. Grab it if you find it.

After devotions we do our memory work. Our system is explained here. Today's review verses included the following selections:
  • Ephesians 6:10-11 (in French)
  • Romans 6:23 (in French)
  • Ephesians 6:10-18 (in English)
  • Genesis 1:1 (in French)
  • 1 Corinthians 13 (in English)
  • Psalm 51: 10-12 (in English)
  • Philippians 4:4-8 (in English)
  • Isaiah 9:6-7 (in English)
  • Matthew 19:14 (in French)
  • John 14:6 (in French)
  • Westminster Shorter Catechism Questions 21-25

Later we worked on our new verses, Proverbs 31:10-31 and Catechism Question 65. Today I read the first half of each verse of Proverbs to Jemimah and she finished every second line. She did very well. She will soon be ready to say the selection in its entirety. Can you? Sadly it takes me a lot longer than Jemimah to learn verses of this length nowadays. As I ask the questions Jemimah turns hairdresser:

Don't I look gorgeous!!

After a quick poem from this term's terrific poetry book, 60 Classic Australian Poems we sing. Every day we sing a Psalm, a French folksong or an English folksong. It was Psalms today. We generally sing our selected song until it is known by heart, covering 2 or 3 of each genre per 12 week term. Today we sang Psalm 111A to Boynton from The Book of Psalms for Singing and Psaume 72 to Rimington from the French Psalter, Chantons au Seigneur. Eventually we will learn parts, but at the moment we both sing the treble.

Last thing in this block of school work is reading. Jemimah reads a chapter of The Saturdays aloud to me. It is a long chapter but we are both enjoying the story and so we quite enjoy this part of our morning.

10:30 am

Morning tea. Hurrah!!

I grab another cuppa and spend some time in the laundry and then check my emails. There were a nice lot of comments over the weekend. Thank you all! Another load of washing into the machine.

Jemimah pops outside to her cubby for a bit of a play.

11.00 am

We begin our second block with copywork in the study. Composer study comes next and we listen to one of the excellent radio shows about Gershwin produced by Classics for Kids. Today for a bit of fun Jemimah listens to Rhapsody in Blue whilst watching Fantasia on YouTube:

11:30 am

Back in the sitting room I read aloud from our AO text, Tales of Shakespeare . Today's play is Measure for Measure. It is nice to read a play with a happy ending for a change, although I found all the sleeping around a bit difficult to explain to my delightfully naive daughter today. I have Jemimah narrate a couple of times during this long selection to ensure that she is coping with all the twists and turns of the plot but she seems to understand very well and I am impressed by her retelling.

Bible comes next. Jemimah reads to me direct from the NIV in preparation for her doing her devotions alone in AO4. Today she read the first chapter of Ruth.We pray for people on our prayer list afterwards.

At the end of this block I read from Christiana's Story, the second part of Pilgrim's Progress. Instead of narrating she illustrates her scroll. We are nearing the end of this epic work and her scroll is really quite spectacular!

As she draws, I prepare lunch - Spicy Coconut and Lentil Soup from Donna Hay's Off the Shelf.

1:00 pm

After a cold start it is a beautiful day and we decide to eat outside. Jemimah serves hers in her new teaset bowls for a bit of fun. Food always tastes better on miniature china! We eat our soup with grilled flatbread. Yum!

Jemimah heads to the cubby for a while while I tidy the lunch dishes, but she finds it too cold and comes back inside.

She plays with blocks.

I crochet.

She knits.

I get a manicure.

I do some housework and we shop for dinner.

4:00 pm

Maths awaits. We gallop through our sheet because the first few weeks of MEP Year 4 is revision of Year 3 work. We skip a couple of easy problems and she completes the worksheet alone. (You can see how we use MEP here and here.) I wander out into the garden and pick some winter blooms for vases. Gershwin plays on the iPod, Japanese incense subtly scents the air. We both comment on what a fun day it has been. By 4:20 pm we're finished.

7:00 pm

Daddy arrives home for a quick bite to eat before his badminton match. Over tea he chats to Jemimah in French for a few minutes. Jemimah challenges him to a tickle match. Before she begins she must don her special anti-tickle protective clothing though!!

Daddy wins anyway.

Jemimah and I read some of her bedtime story, The Little White Horse. Delighfully magical work, this one.

8:00 pm

Jemimah heads off to bed. The house is quiet.

I make myself a cup of Twinings Lemon and Ginger Tea and help myself to a chocolate. A yummy big one. I head into the study to write.

And so here we are. I do hope you've enjoyed reading about our day. It has been a nice one - they don't always work out this well. Mostly I need to work, for one thing.

Soon my dear husband will be home and we'll flop into bed to read. I'll do my Bible reading; he'll read his novel - his quiet time is in the mornings before he leaves for work.

Life's been pretty good for this little mummy on this Peaceful Day.

I s'pose tomorrow I'd better do the ironing.


  1. Very cool. Your day is so... peaceful. I couldn't help but notice that not once did you have to say "inside voices, please", or admire a bug, or remind small hurtling people that jumping off of the top bunk is dangerous.
    The other thing that made me smile is that you are reading The Saturdays. That was one of my favorites as a child, and I discovered a copy in the library this weekend. I started reading it aloud just this morning to all four kids, just as an experiment. What fun to see y'all are reading it too!

  2. Lovely post! Thanks for letting us be the fly. We have 5 children so nothing close to this occurs at our house!

    Oh and that soup looked delicious!

    Mrs. H

  3. Jeanne, I loved having a peek at your and Jemimah's lovely day. Our, alas, are rarely as gently flowing, but I wish they were! _The Little White Horse_ awaits us on our bookshelf; I'm glad to hear you are enjoying it. And that soup -- lovely!

  4. What fun that was and so inspiring! I want to be a part of your peaceful home!

  5. It really does sound *peaceful*. Lovely. Ditz is not a quiet child so all her school work is punctuated by the sound of her singing or humming or tapping a rythmn. There are worse things...

  6. Wonderful! I'd love to see her Scroll! We LOVED the Saturdays--and ALL the Melendy Quartet books. They are just wonderful. That soup looks great, too!

  7. This is wonderful Jeanne! Totally love the pictures, food (I have that DH book too, learning and fun!

    You said at the end of the day you write! What do you write? Or is this private?


  8. Hi Sarah, I meant write my blog!! Nothing mysterious there at all.

  9. Aaahhh! I love this post. Thanks for giving us a vision of "life with Jeanne".

    I also love your new mug. I love Japanese pottery, but my dear hubby grew up surrounded by the famous Arita china (his little town is right next door to Arita, in Kyushu), and he is partial to that - plus I have wonderful sisters-in-law who keep us well stocked. I do always manage to have a good, sturdy, rough pottery mug for my daily cuppa, though!

    Please do show us the scroll when it's all finished!

  10. Nope, nothing like that here either! Right now we are having Morning Tea and there is screaming from downstairs and the monotonouse bang, bang, bang of the basketball on the back board! Fortunately, I like kid noise!

    Lots of great pics here! Love the soup, too. I especially like the picture of you looking back over your shoulder. Just gives a different angle and you look a little different from other pics I have seen.

    Sigh...back to the grind!

  11. How kind of you to let us share your lovely day. Jemimah continues to impress as a photographer! And I love Elizabeth Goudge too.

  12. Lovely post, what a peaceful day.

  13. Sweet, thanks for that. And you included all those links and ideas in sharing just one day. Lots of resources for me to investigate, so thank you very much for taking the time to share. Jemimah is one blessed little girl. I personally loved the tickle match, and her gorgeous armory...how fun!

    melissa m

    ps: the scroll, i've been looking for paper like that here. in the US it's called butcher paper, but here where do you find it and what's it called.

    and, on singing, are you a singer? i'd love to sing the psalms with my littlies, but i didn't grow up with them and am not a naturally gifted singer. do you know of any resources that help to teach them?

    again many thanks for sharing!!

  14. p.s Dear Jemimiah, I absolutely adore the color of your wool. What are you making? Joshua has been knitting too, I'll put up pictures soon. We are learning how to make pom poms too, they're so cool!

    Will you do plaits in my hair one day? And give me a medicure? HaHa Thanks in advance! xxx

  15. Just beautiful! Thank you Jeanne - I really enjoyed this peek into your day. *sigh* I feel quite serene now. :) And I too am off to check out some of your delicious links.

  16. What a beautiful day - sounds so lovely, just the 2 of you.

  17. I enjoyed reading about your day Jeanne with Ron peeking over my shoulder at your blog and wondering in amazement at your writing and housekeeping and home schooling abilities:)
    How do you fit work into your day?
    I do a bit of part time work from home and between that and homeschooling and general life, my plate is quite full!
    You seem to have a great routine / schedule for your day, one that I need to work on more with Rebekah or does that get better as they grow?....sigh!

  18. Melissa, the butcher's paper is from IKEA. It is about $10.00 a roll, I think.

    I'll try to give you some Psalm singing tips shortly - or in person!

    I'm so glad you've decided to join the conversation here!!

  19. Jeanne: a hit as always!! My oldest daughter and I loved reading this post. Although we two cannot imagine the peacefulness (having two boys and one lively sprite of a girl, too), my daughter loved seeing another family using the same type of home school practices, like reading, handicrafts, and narration.

    Myself, I'm hunting down that Kenneth Taylor book, gleaning the scroll idea, and begging for your luncheon recipe! :)

  20. this was lovely! You seem to have a peaceful environment. This is something I am still trying to accomplish with my three loud energetic children :)


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