10 Jan 2012

Back where we belong

And so we're back where we belong. I felt disorganised and not up to par, but Day One went well. I did feel, however, that I really should complete my planning of at least Term 1 before blogging about it, and so I made myself finish writing my timetable and term plans last night. Well, okay, and this morning. Anyhow, so now they're done and I don't need to feel guilty any more. Tra la la.

We ate doughnuts for breakfast - our Back-to-School tradition, and took First Day photographs. I'll show you those when we manage to get them off the camera - the new year has not brought with it an improvement in our computer issues, malheureusement. Jemimah unwrapped her presents - some pretty stationery, her new cartridge pen, a Molskine nature journal, a very fine set of Dickens and an equally lovely leather bound version of King Arthur, the 2012 Sing Songbooks. Stuff like that. She was very excited.

Kinda makes it fun having Back-to-School traditions, don't you think?

We took the day slowly, introducing her new Devotions program and moving straight into Copywork. A certain young miss couldn't wait for this, strangely enough. Amazing what a special pen can do. Peer Gynt on the iPod. Yummy.

Oh, what deliciously wonderful new books AO brings to each new year. Howard Pyle's The Story of King Arthur and his Knights for me to read aloud to Jemimah, and she chose Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper to read aloud to me. The 21 Balloons is our Newbery Challenge book, but I haven't told you about that yet and asked you to join me, so that probably doesn't make much sense. The beautifully illustrated Bushland and Seashore is our Australian natural history book. I'll review this soon. It is terrific, despite being written from an evolutionary viewpoint. I'll either edit, or we'll discuss why we don't agree with the author's statement. That's okay. Today's lesson reminded Jemimah and me of Pagoo and her narration was great. That's always a sign of a Living Book, I reckon. If you can't narrate from it then it ain't alive.

We started Mission Monde French and restarted MEP maths. Both went well. I'm so glad I took a break from MEP last term and did something different because this week she is finding the work easy and interesting. Hurrah!

At the start of each new level of my Australianised Ambleside Online I'm always bubbling over with excitement. Both of us are. Each day brings with it new delights and new friends. We have a whole list of new Free Reads to choose from. Anne and Marilla are there this year, along with Jo and her sisters. We have another Billabong book to read. Laura and Almanzo are back. I'll be able to introduce Jemimah to Helen Keller and Tom Sawyer, and together we'll meet Mr Bowditch and Colonel Wattie. Indigenous Australia gets a look in with Stradbroke Dreamtime and Sally's Story, and we learn about bushfire in February Dragon and Ash Road.

It's at times like this that I am reminded why we chose to homeschool our daughter. It is her father's and my hope to equip Jemimah to be a citizen of the Christian community in contemporary post-Christian Australia. We want her to be conformed more and more to the image of Christ, and we hope she will become a mature Christian woman capable of living a full and rich Christian life as a wife and mother, but also maybe as a doctor or a geneticist or a teacher or a nurse or a business woman. It is our hope that she might come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as her Lord and Saviour at an early age, and we want to equip her for doing this. We want to give her the tools for professing and living a Christian life, directed and enlightened by the infallible word of God. We want her to have the Christian perspective of contemporary issues as they apply now, but also of those that are not yet dreamed of.

To us, the liberal arts curriculum of Charlotte Mason and Ambleside Online gives us the scaffold on which to hang our lofty aims. It provides an education that nourishes the mind to accept and test ideas. It encourages individual curiosity to feed the desire for more and varied knowledge. It stimulates the mind by using only the best - the best books, the finest composers, the most beautiful and uplifting art. It provides the medium to retain the knowledge and to manipulate it to make it applicable to the problems of every day life. It teaches character and initiative and a sense of responsibility. It teaches children to be the best they can be.

And as we begin again in this new year of 2012, that's what we want for our daughter - for her to be everything God wanted her to be.

We don't half aim high.


  1. What a lovely introduction to your year :) I'm glad to have a few friends who share the same goals for our children, in a world where everything seems so fleeting and material, impulsive and vain.

    Your new books and familiar traditions sound just lovely. We shall start our first term in two weeks, and I am still arranging things on shelves and sneaking special stationery into hiding places, to be opened on the first day.

    I am currently reading Anne of Green Gables, for my own pleasure and also to decide at what age to read it to the children (as I'm doing with a whole stack of books ... and gee it's fun!)

    Here's wishing you a wonderful year!

  2. Sounds like a delightful start to the year!! I love Anne, she is my childhood favourite, I have the full set of books and they have survived every culling even when Jaden and I only had 1 room to live in at my parent's house, to me they are friends :-)

  3. I love your start to the year, it sounds so perfect. I also love your dreams for your daughter, I like how you haven't narrowed her options.

  4. WOW. This post is so inspiring to me! :) Thank you!!! Sounds like such a great start! Anne of Green Gables is such a treasure! I even named my oldest daughter Anne (with an "E", of course ;) )


  5. So So sad to see the achievements listed are what YOU want for her - what about being happy and just trusting that she is well enough grounded to make her own free choices?
    This seems a somewhat controlling form of education.

  6. Jeanne,

    I've been to Mrs. Rachel Lynde's house (the one in the movie). Is that a little bit cool?

    Sounds like a great start to your year.

  7. I love you Jeanne and those are fantastic goals! You are doing a phenomenal job homeschooling Jemimah and she is getting a top notch education. WEll done!

    AS for the Anonymous comment, funny how when one has criticism they want to be anonymous about it. I say be bold and sign your name unless you really don't intend it as constructive criticism.

  8. Newberry Challenge! Love that you seem to be starting my favorite sport--competitive reading--with a great book list! I may have to read tat one myself.

    Love the beautiful new nature journal and all the other inspiring gifts. It makes me think of what I wrote in my Commonplace Book yesterday: "I can't live in a space without something lovely to look at," from the novel I'm currently reading!

    I am living vicariously thru your homeschool and loving it!

  9. Hi Jeanne! We LOVE Howard Pyle's King Arthur stories. I've a feeling you will, too. :-)

    Jemimah's gifts sound lovely, especially the cartridge pen. Perhaps we'll try that, too...

  10. Just went to Melissa Wiley's blog. Guess what HER children listened to this morning? Yep, Peer Gynt http://tinyurl.com/6ve2mvq

  11. We won't be back for another few weeks. We are going to actually take a break.

    I think Jemimah will love writing with the cartridge pen. Star, who had some serious writing issues [dysgraphia] actually loved it when I moved her to a variety of different writing implements. She likes *pretty*

    Mine was the last year to learn cursive with the old pen & ink. How I loved the whole inky thing! Pity ball points have done away with it.

  12. Welcome back! It is wonderful to have you writing again! You are an inspiration to all. Oh yes, Anne and Marilla, such a sweet memory! xxx

  13. Jemimah is so very lucky to have parents who help to put her feet in that broad room that will open possibilities for her in her mind, heart & body. You obviously have a great relationship with one another that shines through your posts and I know she has the opportunity to talk freely with you should she struggle and dislike anything that is on such a rich platter a food for the mind and heart. Freedom for each family will differ and i would hope that my unshooling friends will always accept our family choices. I think that the philosophy of freedom in anything should allow for individual family choices, that is freedom to me. Relationship with my children is of utmost importance and I always try to make sure they have freedom to discuss anything with me/us, so we can do what we can to solve anything that comes up.
    Much love to you Jeanne, Renelle

  14. This may sound strange, but I *smelled* your doughnuts when I walked in the house this evening, from running errands. I told my husband: "It smells like doughnuts!" We've had no baking or patisserie here in several weeks.

    I then opened your email and knew I just had to read!

    It is another inspiring post, reminding me why I am so excited to delve into Ambleside and more Charlotte Mason with my weee ones.

    Bless you and yours ...

  15. I'm so wanting those donuts.


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