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September and October at our House

Our lives are filled with miracles, the ones that recur every day and seem almost normal, like sunrise, electricity, digestion, relationships, and forgiveness, and the ones we pray and give special thanks for like impossible cures, unexpected successes, and mind-blowing coincidences.  When these happen, we need to be grateful, not proud; we need to see our hard work as a blessing from God, not a sole cause of the result.

This is a good reminder for us homeschooling moms.  I learned similar things from Mere Motherhood (to be reviewed early next week).  Yet, because it can be such a temptation to take credit, here it is again, “When things go well, we need to give thanks instead of becoming proud.”  The converse, of course, is that when things go poorly, we need to pray instead of becoming discouraged.

Yes, we had a successful beginning to the year’s schoolwork.  The girls learned a lot and did a lot, and progress is steady, though slow.  I am so grateful for progress!

We are working on Bible reports, Apologia’s Biology, math review in preparation for switching to Saxon (something I would never have imagined!), BJUP literature, Canadian history, Dutch and French, grammar (Rod and Staff as well as Jensen),  logic (James Madison) and accounting (Professor in a Box).  As well, we have catechism, work, animals, and volunteering.  For various reasons our homeschool focus on the Reformation in church history had to be postponed.  We also are reviewing a decade of poetry reading and learning before we move into this year’s poetry—what a trip down memory lane that is!

We also harvested our garden, travelled an enormous distance through snow north of Lake Superior to visit family (beautiful but nerve-wracking), started all our fall activities, and planted hundreds of crocus bulbs.  Miss 15’s fluffy chicks have grown up enough to lay eggs, which is always a miracle.  We have eaten so much delicious food from our garden!  The best crop this year was undoubtedly the orange cherry tomatoes, hundreds of mouthfuls of tangy sweetness, but the leeks were also amazing and the rutabagas are unusually tender and sweet.

I finished a surprising number of books these months, and dipped into a few others.

Embodied Hope by Kelly Kapic, a theological meditation on physical pain.  Insightful and helpful.

Selections from various books of nature poetry by Mary Oliver—beautiful, beautiful!

I was a Spy by Marthe McKenna, Exciting, startling, true, and recommended by Winston Churchill, this World War 1 tale is one of the best.

All Saints by Spurlock and Windle, Modern church history miracles.

Mere Motherhood by Cindy Rollins wisdom, humility and humor from a mom who’s been there.

Luther by Those who Knew Him by Charles, a delightful devotional look at Luther in novel form.

Katharina, Katharina by Christine Farenhorst, a peak into Luther’s days through a fictionalized account of the girl who married Strasbourg’s first reformer.

No Christian Silence on Science by Margaret Helder, a splendid little book about science and Christianity (to be reviewed on the Curriculum Choice in a few months).

I skimmed through many of the wonderful church history books I’d read years ago, while compiling a resource list about Luther and the Reformation.     That was my big project this fall, and I encourage you to see if any of these books might be helpful for your family.

I also skimmed through Mistakes Were Made But Not by Me by Tavris and Aronson, a book about the psychology and practice of self-justification.  I think this book’s concepts will prove invaluable in apologetics, conflict resolution, and marriage counselling.  There is a good reason, besides simple kindness, not to back others into a corner in arguments or to discuss conflict unnecessarily:  once something has been said—and especially defended— we tend to want to justify it.

We’ve also read the Bible regularly, as usual; with the girls I just started Jeremiah, on days when one of them is away we go through Psalms, when my husband is home we are reading in Genesis again, and on my own I’m continuing to meander through the epistles and Psalms, repeating sections over and over and pondering.

In my blogging life I have done something almost crazy.  I bought the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit.  After blogging for almost 10 years and as my teens near the end of high school, I’m exploring the idea of maybe, perhaps, becoming a serious blogger.  No commitment yet—there are many other options—but blogging combines writing, being at home, part-time work, and flexibility, all of which are important to me.  One side effect of all this is that I’m thinking of setting up a Facebook page for my blog.  Although I’ve muddled around a bit with Facebook in everyday life, it’s not really how most of my family and friends connect so there’s a steep learning curve.

As for my resolutions for 2017,

  • I am not at all walking 10,000 steps a day but have added some other simple exercises to my life. Once the garden is completely harvested and I’m no longer coping with the energy management that requires, I plan to increase my daily steps in a systematic way.
  • I am keeping up with most of the notes I write but my desk is a disaster anyhow because so much else ends up on it. This is not good.
  • I took some time off in the summer but am again working on memorizing Romans, although I spend a lot of time on other parts of the Bible as well. There’s something very powerful about trying to memorize Bible passages, and I think it’s related to what is discussed in this article about biblical meditation from the Puritans.  (Mind you, I cannot recommend this article whole-heartedly—it really seems to over-emphasize spirituality and downplay the everyday world that God has placed us in, following the age-old problem of separating the physical from the spiritual, described carefully by Nancy Pearcey and her mentor Francis Schaeffer.)

Now winter is on its way and our fire is roaring.  This is a good time for the girls to focus on schoolwork before the holidays arrive.  I’m having to work hard, too, since we are switching a few aspects of our curriculum.  Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, things change.

How was fall at your house?  Are you pleased with your homeschooling progress so far this year?

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