Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pork or Beef Stew Freezer Kits

Put meat in freezer bag.  Add the flour, salt and pepper, then seal the bag and shake to mix up.  Add all the remaining ingredients except the potatoes and the chicken broth.  (I used garlic powder instead of the clove.)  Mix this up and seal the bag.

On the bag, write instructions (or put them on a piece of tape or a label to put on the bag).
"Add 1 can (1-1/2 cups) of chicken broth and 5 diced potatoes.  Cover; cook on Low 10-12 hours (High 4-6 hours). Stir stew thoroughly before serving."

Put this bag in the freezer.  It does not have to be thawed before cooking, just thawed sufficiently to get the mixture out of the bag.  If it is still frozen, cooking time may be an hour longer.

I am thinking that a couple of cans of potatoes might work so that you don’t have to dice potatoes at the last minute.

After trying this once, make lots of these kits at the same time and freeze them.  This is also handy when needing to take a meal to someone.  You can take them the kit even so they can make it at their convenience.

Year 0 Introduction

There is an update here.

The early years with Charlotte Mason require a bit of a different focus than most of us are used to.  Instead of academic goals, we focus on the "many relations waiting to be established; relations with places far and near, with the wide universe, with the past of history, with the social economics of the present, with the earth they live on and all its delightful progeny of beast and bird, plant and tree; with the sweet human affinities they entered into at birth; with their own country and other countries, and, above all, with that most sublime of human relationships–their relation to God." (Charlotte Mason’s Original Homeschooling Series, Volume 6, pp. 72-73)  The rest will come!  I do know that even this sounds like a lot, but I think the key is that they will get these relations through the living books we’re reading and the time (lots and lots of time) spent outside.  We don’t have to plan out a scope and sequence!

The most important Year 0 goal, according to Charlotte Mason, is time spent outside.  “. . .[T]he chief function of the child––his business in the world during the first six or seven years of his life––is to find out all he can, about whatever comes under his notice, by means of his five senses; that he has an insatiable appetite for knowledge got in this way; and that, therefore, the endeavour of his parents should be to put him in the way of making acquaintance freely with Nature and natural objects. . . .”  (CM’s OHS, V1, p.96)

A close second in priority behind outside time is habit formation.  “. . . [T]he education of habit is successful in so far as it enables the mother to let her children alone, not teasing them with perpetual commands and directions––a running fire of Do and Don’t; but letting them go their own way and grow, having first secured that they will go the right way, and grow to fruitful purpose.” (CM’s OHS, V1, p.134)  CM has much to say about the why, what, and how of habit formation, which involves far more than just establishing a routine.  CM refers to such habits as obedience, attention, imagining, cleanliness, and more.  Suffice to say it is the key to CM’s methods.  Take the time now to learn about it and implement it.

As for scheduling, that depends on the age of the child.  Many moms (or dads, grandparents, etc.) on this list have one or more children in Year 1 or higher.  For those children they are probably planning 2 or 3 hours (or so) of formal lessons each school day.  Sometimes when a post talks about scheduling and planning, it’s referring to children in that age range (6 or 7 and up).

Year 0 is sort of a kindergarten year, so some moms are using it for a 5 or 6 year old.  Those moms may be beginning some formal lessons, like reading. Generally those wouldn’t be more than 1 hour a day.  Year 0 doesn’t require this sort of structure, but as long as it is kept short and lots of time is left for time outside and other non-academic pursuits, it’s still in line with CM.

Year 0 also encompasses the preschool years, below the ages of 5 or 6.  Those years should not have formal academics, but some moms may plan short activities each day.  The most important objectives at this age, though, are lots of time outside and habit formation.  Reading is good, but select only the very best books, and don’t let reading keep you from time outside and habit training.

If you want to cover academics, the best thing to do is read a few really great books.  We have some booklists on the Yahoo group site (see below).  Children in these early years should be working with concrete objects from the real world, like planting a flower and watching it grow. Between reading great books and spending time with nature, you’ll be amazed what they’ll learn.  For more learning goals for the preschool years, look at the items on the Formidable List of Attainments for a Child of Six, an excerpt from a curriculum outline from one of CM’s schools.  You can read it at the bottom of the page here:  Remember that this list was meant to be addressed after a child turned six, not prior to the child turning six.

In my family, we do the Ambleside art appreciation, hymn study, folk song, and classical music (although we sometimes don’t use the assigned selection).  We work on Spanish and sign language on an occasional basis.  My dd’s know quite a few folk songs, including lots of patriotic songs and a few obscure ones.  They recognize some classical selections and musical instruments.  They know a handful of hymns at least.  They can recognize several of the art selections from previous terms.  They memorize Psalms and other scriptures, not through drill but through my reading it every morning and then after a few days of that we all try to say it together.  We read some of the Ambleside poetry selections, particularly AA Milne and Robert Louis Stevenson.  They have (infrequent) tea times.  The older dd is learning to sew and draw.  We play card games and board games.  These are all CM friendly activities for the Year 0 ages.

Check out our Yahoo group site at . Look in the Links section, the Files, and the Database. All three sections have the content categorized by subject, so be sure to look at more than one category.  You’ll find many helpful resources.  Then read Charlotte Mason’s writings.  They are the key to implementing a Charlotte Mason education.

***UPDATED to reflect a new understanding of the relative priority of outside time versus habit formation.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Even More Book Closeouts

Here are some books curently at that might interest you.  The key to shopping here is to spend at least $35 and use a coupon, which will offset the shipping charges.  You can Google for coupon codes or get one here:

Look up reviews on for more information about specific titles.

The FeederWatcher’s Guide to Bird Feeding
The Giving Tree
The Giving Tree
Gluten-Free Baking
God’s Kids Workshop (Orange )
Good Enough To Eat: A Kid’s Guide To Food And Nutrition
Goodnight Moon Board Book & Bunny
The Guide To Good Manners For Kids
A Handful of Beans: Six Fairy Tales
The Harpercollins Concise Atlas of the Bible
HarperCollins French Concise Dictionary (Third Edition)
HarperCollins Spanish College Dictionary (Thumb Indexed, 5th Edition)
HarperCollins Student Notebook Webster’s Dictionary
HarperCollins Student World Atlas
Henry The Christmas Cat
How to Paint Like the Impressionists
 The Illustrated Book of Heraldry
A Kids’ Guide To America’s Bill Of Rights
The Kings & Queens Of England (Don’t Know Much About)
Laura Ingalls Wilder Country
Letters From Father Christmas
The Life Of Our Lord
Little Bear’s New Friend
Little House In The Big Woods (Special Read-Aloud Edition)
A Little House Traveler
Math Magic for Your Kids
Medieval Lives
Miss Lady Bird’s Wildflowers
Monet (Artists in Focus)
My Map Book
New York Post Difficult Sudoku
The Night Before Christmas
Norway (Frommer’s, 2nd Edition)
The Old Dog
The Owl and the Pussycat
Ozma of Oz (Books of Wonder)
Parenting: From Surviving to Thriving
Paul Bunyan
Pete’s A Pizza
The Portable Pediatrician (Revised and Updated)
The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life
Scrapbook / Photo Album – 006 White Flower
Scrapbook / Photo Album – 007 Sunflower
The Secret Garden
A Separate Peace
Seymour Simon’s Book Of Trains
Seymour Simon’s Book Of Trains - Library Binding
Seymour Simon’s Book Of Trucks
The Shrub Identification Book
Simple Stargazing
The Slow-Cooker Ready & Waiting Cookbook
Solar System Observer’s Guide (Firefly)
States (Time for Learning)
Strawberry Girl
Stuart Little (Special Read-Aloud Edition)
Sugar Snow (My First Little House Book)
The Ties That Bind…
Tik-Tok of Oz (Books of Wonder)
Toads And Diamonds
The Two Towers (50th Anniversary Edition)
The Way to Christ
Webster’s New World Dictionary
Wheelock’s Latin (6th Edition)
Wheelock’s Latin Reader (2nd Edition)
When Children Grieve
White Fang (Aladdin Classics)
White Tiger, Blue Serpent
The Wizard Of Oz (Aladdin CLassics)
Workbook for Wheelock’s Latin (3rd Edition, Revised)
The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn
Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland (The Classic Tale)
Bard Of Avon (The Story Of William Shakespeare)

More Book Closeouts

Here are some books curently at that might interest you.  The key to shopping here is to spend at least $35 and use a coupon, which will offset the shipping charges.  You can Google for coupon codes or get one here:

Look up reviews on for more information about specific titles.

The Audubon Backyard Birdwatcher
Anno’s Mysterious Multiplying Jar
The Bee-Man Of Orn
Big Red Barn
Black Beauty (Aladdin Classics)
Black Beauty (Charming Classics)
Canterbury Tales
A Child’s Anthology Of Poetry
Collins Atlas of 20th Century History
Collins Atlas of Military History
Collins Italian Dictionary (Express Edition)
Collins Robert French-English Dictionary
Cubes, Cones, Cylinders, & Spheres
Days With Frog And Toad (An I Can Read Book)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Book Closeouts

Here are some books currently at that might interest you.  The key to shopping here is to spend at least $35 and use a coupon, which will offset the shipping charges.  You can Google for coupon codes or get one here:

Look up reviews on for more information about specific titles.

The Children’s Treasury Of Virtues
The Chronicles of Narnia
Cook Once, Eat Twice Slow Cooker Recipes
The Remarkable Journey Of Prince Jen – Probably not Year0, though
Fields Of Fury – Definitely not Year 0
In the Garden Activity Book
The Pledge Of Allegiance
Companion to Narnia
McGraw-Hill’s Spanish for Educators w/Audio CD
McGraw-Hill’s Spanish for Educators
Our Solar System
The Big Red Book of Spanish Idioms
Spanish Around the House
A Notebook of Trees
The Nativity

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church

Our church observed IDOP last Sunday.  I used the Powerpoint from the VOM website, with "This Road" by Jars of Clay playing behind it.  I timed it to take up the whole song, leaving enough time on each slide so people could read it and pray for it.  I added slides at the end, with no music, with some of the points from a VOM doc called How to Pray for the Persecuted.  (That doc was the front side of the bulletin insert I made.  The back side of the insert listed some web addresses and also some prayer items from a recent VOM prayer update email.) I intro’d the Powerpoint, let the slides with music play on their own, then prayed aloud through the remaining slides, leaving time after each for people to pray silently.

The whole service, from announcements to special music, focused on IDOP.  The sermon wasn’t about persecution per se because we’re in the middle of a series, but the pastor went to pains to tie it in anyway.  The bulletin cover had an IDOP graphic and in addition to the insert I had a note with a shortened form of this IDOP devotional.  I set up a table with literature in the foyer as well, and the Children’s Church had a mock underground church meeting.