Thursday, November 12, 2015

Closing the Shutters on this Space....

Well, friends, you've probably noticed that things have been pretty quiet around here lately.   There are a lot of reasons for that.

Most of you know that until recently, our family was living overseas.  This summer we came back to the States.  Originally, it was only going to be for a year, but now it looks like we will be settling down here for good.   This is a little bit of a sad thing, but mostly a really good thing for our family.  My husband and I are on the same page and at peace about this new direction for our family.

While we were overseas, we had a very small homeschooling community and even smaller community at all interested in Charlotte Mason or the Classical Liberal Arts tradition.  Blogging was one way that I was able to stay connected to others pursuing this way of education (the AO Forum being the other way).    My life was also much simpler and less busy in many ways, so I had the time to write more consistently.

Since returning to the States, my day to day life has changed drastically.   We have been welcomed in to a local church family with open arms.  We are part of a co-op this year, and I am teaching there which has been a wonderful experience.  I have made other connections with old friends and new.  All of these things are wonderful: I am so very grateful for the opportunities and relationships that God has given us in this new chapter and am excited to see them unfold.

 I am also a lot busier than I was.  I don't have the time to invest as much time online as I used to.  I don't think this is entirely a bad thing...actually I think it's probably a good thing.   But it does mean I've needed to prioritize how I spend the online time I have.  I've wrestled for awhile with what those priorities need to be.  My local real-life relationships come first.  Educating, nurturing and discipling  my children, supporting my husband in our new ministry endeavors here in the States, teaching my co-op class, and investing in those others that God has placed in our path.    My involvement over on the AO Forum is also high priority to me - many of those ladies have become my very dear, real-life friends as we've discussed books and life and prayed for one another online, and then offline at the conference this summer, and now back online again.  I have other hobbies that I'd like to be able to pursue: reading, crochet, embroidery, nature journaling.  And realistically, that's about all that I have time for right now. 

So that is why it is time to say goodbye for now.  I will be leaving this blog here for future reference, but there won't be any new content for the foreseeable future.  I appreciate all of you who have taken the time to read and comment here.   May the Lord bless and keep you wherever you are.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

From My Commonplace: Poetry by Sara Teasdale

A smattering of the poems I have been enjoying with my Year 3 student recently:
 
Vignettes Overseas: Stresa
The moon grows out of the hills
A yellow flower,
The lake is a dreamy bride
Who waits her hour.
 
Beauty has filled my heart,
It can hold no more,
It is full, as the lake is full,
From shore to shore.
 
 
Stars
Alone in the night
On a dark hill
With pines around me
Spicy and still,
 
And a heaven full of stars
Over my head,
White and topaz
And a misty red;
 
Myriads with beating
Hearts of fire
That aeons
Cannot vex or tire;
 
Up the dome of heaven
Like a great hill,
I watch them marching
Stately and still,
 
And I know that I
Am honored to be
Witness
Of so much majesty.
 
 
The Coin
Into my heart's treasury
I slipped a coin
That time cannot take
Nor a thief purloin, --
Oh better than minting of a gold-crowned king
Is the safe-kept memory
Of a lovely thing.
 
~Sara Teasdale
 


My Bookbag This Week:
Devotional: Job with a commentary: Job: The Wisdom of the Cross (Ash)
Theological or Christian Living:  Openness Unhindered (Butterfield)
AO Book Discussion Group: Ivanhoe (Scott)
On Education: Mind to Mind (Mason and Glass)
Shakespeare: Hamlet (aiming to read a scene-a-day alongside my daughter's Shakespeare class at our co-op.  Don't we all need a little more Shakespeare in our lives?!)
Novel/Biography/Memoir:  The Rosemary Tree (Goudge)
Read-Alouds with the Children:  The Little White Horse (Goudge), Pilgrim's Progress (Bunyan), Charlotte's Web (White)


 
Click Here for more Words
 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

From My Commonplace: Father to Son

Polonius, to his son Laertes as he leaves home:
 
"Yet here, Laertes? Aboard, Aboard, for shame!
The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
And you are stayed for.  There, my blessing with thee.
And these few precepts in thy memory
Look thou character.  Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them until they soul with hoops of steel,
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatched, unfledged courage. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,
Bear't that th'opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgement.
Costly thy habit as they purse can buy,
But not expressed in fancy (rich, not gaudy),
For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are of a most select and generous chief in that.
Neither a borrower or a lender be,
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell.  My blessing this season with thee."
 
Act I, Scene 3, Lines 60-87
~William Shakespeare, Hamlet
 


My Bookbag This Week:
Devotional: Job with a commentary: Job: The Wisdom of the Cross (Ash)
Theological or Christian Living:  Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts of An Unlikely Convert (Butterfield)
AO Book Discussion Group: Ivanhoe (Scott)
On Education: Mind to Mind (Mason and Glass)
Shakespeare: Hamlet (aiming to read a scene-a-day alongside my daughter's Shakespeare class at our co-op.  Don't we all need a little more Shakespeare in our lives?!)
Novel/Biography/Memoir:  The Awakening of Miss Prim (Fenollera)
Read-Alouds with the Children:  The Little White Horse (Goudge), Pilgrim's Progress (Bunyan), Charlotte's Web (White)


 
Click Here for more Words
 
 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

What We've Been Up To...

Out and About:
Two weekends ago we took a quick trip to Pittsburgh  for the wedding of a dear friend of our family.   The wedding was in the afternoon, so we had Saturday morning free to explore a bit.  The cold, damp weather put a damper on our plan A which involved going to a park…so we ended up at the Frick Art and Historical Center.  Michelle loved the art display – especially the 15th century tapestries in the main gallery.  She was also delighted to find a painting by Peter Paul Rubens, the artist we have been studying in our co-op class.  (Interestingly, one of the musical pieces featured in the wedding was Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, which we had also just studied in our co-op class!)   They also loved touring the restored Victorian mansion on the property and the Greenhouse that featured many exotic plants….including many familiar to us from our yard in Africa. J
 
Greenhouse Scavenger Hunt at the Frick Center in Pittsburgh

 
In the Schoolroom:
We are about 6 weeks in to our new school year.  We wrapped up our rather disrupted Term 2, and are starting in to Term 3 now.   We are enjoying participating in a weekly co-op each week.  Michelle is especially loving her drama class, featuring Shakespeare's Hamlet (they will also study A Midsummer Night's Dream and then perform some scenes at the end of the year).  I love that she is loving her introduction to "real" Shakespeare.  I am teaching history, literature, writing, and art/music appreciation to third and fourth graders and LOVING it.  While our co-op is technically a classical group, not a specifically Charlotte Mason one, the content lends itself very much to being taught with Charlotte Mason's methods and I am really enjoying applying what I've learned as a homeschooler to a classroom environment and loving what the group dynamic brings to our narrations and discussions.  That's probably a post all its own, though…
 
Phonics Lesson with Elizabeth

 
Creatively:
Creative projects?  What?  I feel like we got on a roller coaster when school started again and we haven't gotten off yet.
 
I guess I ought to make more effort to pick up my crochet or embroidery when we sit down to watch TV or a movie in the evening, or on our next road trip, rather than letting them languish in their basket.
 
The children at least are doing drama and drawing at their co-op each week.  And we've been nature journaling a little less frequently than I'd like, but still we're hitting it every other week on average.  We've done no handicrafts… but it dawned on me that right now the weather is beautiful, and the light still long in the evening.  The children have all made friends in our apartment buildings, and in the last week or so have been playing a Roxaboxen-like imaginary town game on the playground.  Who wants to interrupt that?  The cold, icky weather and early dark are coming soon enough, and when they do staying in and working on handicraft projects will probably be a lot more appealing.
 
To everything a season, right?
 
We get real cozy in our homeschool....

 
In the Kitchen:
So, the church we've settled into here in North Carolina is really big on potluck suppers.  We had them weekly on Sunday nights during the summer, and now have them every other week on Tuesday (the small group meetings always feature a potluck).   This is a great and good thing – sharing a meal with people is a beautiful and natural way to build community – but I'm finding that I need to increase my repertoire of potluck dishes.  Anyone have a favorite?
 
Sneaking in a little nature journaling time for Mama while the kids were swimming.

 
Around the House:
My house is chaos.
 
Okay, not really that bad.  I still feel like I'm reeling from the start of the school year, though.  We really aren't involved in that many activities, but maybe because of the driving distance to many things I feel like I am always doing something or going somewhere.  I've also had lots of opportunities to get together with friends new and old, which is wonderful…but whew.   I'm still learning how to balance those things that I'd *like* to do with what I *need* to do.   Not doing very well with it at the moment, but trying.
 

 
What have you been up to?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

From My Commonplace: On Sacramental Moments

"Beyond the official rites and sacraments, there are an untold number of sacramental acts available to us.  God reveals himself through the stuff of this world.  I have known God's grace while holding my daughter's hand, while feeling a cool breeze, while smelling a flower, while opening a gift, while kissing my wife, and through thousands of other ordinary moments. Each of these are sacramental.  God is always revealing himself, showing himself, and loving us through his creation.  Don't overlook even the smallest way in which our Father wants to be present to you today." (p.167-168)
 
~Thomas McKenzie, The Anglican Way


My Bookbag This Week:
Devotional: Job with a commentary: Job: The Wisdom of the Cross (Ash)
Theological or Christian Living:  Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert (Butterfield)
AO Book Discussion Group: Ivanhoe (Scott)
On Education: Mind to Mind (Mason and Glass)
Shakespeare: Hamlet (aiming to read a scene-a-day alongside my daughter's Shakespeare class at our co-op.  Don't we all need a little more Shakespeare in our lives?!)
Novel/Biography/Memoir: Between Books at the Moment
Read-Alouds with the Children:  The Little White Horse (Goudge), Pilgrim's Progress (Bunyan), Charlotte's Web (White)


 
Click Here for more Words
 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Nature Walk: First Signs of Fall

We took a lovely Sunday afternoon nature walk.  Fall is on the way!  I love fall, and since fall is sadly lacking in the eternal summer of the tropics, it's been three years since we had one.  I am so very excited. 
 
 
 
The really nice thing about taking our nature walk Sunday afternoon was that my husband was able to join us.  It was also a lovely way to regroup after a busy week (and before a new one). I'm thinking more Sunday afternoon nature walks will be in our future. 
 
 
The fruits of a magnolia tree.  Aren't they beautiful?  I've 'adopted' this tree because it fascinates me so much.
 
 
 
First bits of fall color.  There was already more today than we saw yesterday!
 
 
Some kind of fungi.  I've noticed a lot of interesting fungi around here.  Perhaps a fungi study in our future?
 
 
Goldenrod
 
 
My girls are collectors.  Elizabeth is picking a flower that we later identified as a purple mistflower….
 
 
…and Michelle an assortment of nuts and seeds.  She noted that a lot more acorns had dropped down from her adopted oak tree.
 
 
Back home for some journaling time…
 
 
Michelle's Acorns
 
 
James' Mistflower
 
 
Elizabeth's assorted finds: a lily pad with its stem, a magnolia seed, and a mace ball. 
 
 
We ended the evening with one last swim before our community pool closed for the season.  It didn't last long…the water was already too cold.
 
 
Welcome, fall!  We're so glad you're here.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Reflections on Ivanhoe, Interruptions, and Personhood

Our current book discussion over on the AO Forum is Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe.  We are only about a third of the way through it, but thus far it is (to quote one of my dear book discussion friends) magnificent.  Scott really has a way with descriptions, both in his scenes as well as in his characters.   The insights we have gained into each character have been very thought provoking.   Consider the following interaction from chapter 16 between a waylaid knight lost in the woods as night draws near and a secretive friar (the 'anchorite') who is reluctant to let him in and seems to be trying to hide something:
"But how," replied the knight, "is it possible for me to find my way through such a wood as this, when darkness is coming on?  I pray you, reverend father, as you are a Christian, to undo your door, and at least point out to me my road."

"And I pray you, good Christian brother," replied the anchorite, "to disturb me no more.  You have already interrupted one pater, two aves, and a credo, which I, miserable sinner that I am, should, according to my vow, have said before moonrise."
 
~Sir Walter Scott, Ivanhoe

This interaction immediately struck me because my gut instinct was to dislike the Friar - he obviously hiding something and skirting around it (although the knight very cleverly draws him out, as you discover as you continue to read the chapter).   And yet, how often do I respond in the same way that he does?  To my children?  To my husband?  How often do I get disgruntled when I am interrupted in what I want to do or called out on something, and justify my disgruntled response based on the "virtue" behind what I got disrupted from?  A child interrupts my devotional or prayer time to come sit in my lap and I push them away.  Or they get into an argument in the other room while I am trying to complete some 'important' task on the computer and I need to break my thought process and step away with the task incomplete yet again.  Or my husband wants to talk and I'd rather read my book.  Or whatever.  The list of 'interruptions' could go on.
 
But what if maybe that 'disruption' is something that God is calling me to in that moment?  Attending to the needs of my children.  Cultivating my relationship with my husband.  Taking time to help a friend.    I keep coming back to some of the presentations made at the AO Conference this summer.    My children - and my husband too - were born People.  I love them.  They are not just 'projects'.  As a mother, wife, homeschooler, and homemaker, I need to learn seize those 10 minutes here and there – whether that is 10 minutes to attend to a child or 10 minutes to attend to my husband or 10 minutes to attend to myself or my personal project – and not get disgruntled when I can't seem to get more than that.   And I need to continue to cultivate a habit of keeping a running conversation with God in the back of my mind, so that my communion with Him is uninterrupted even when my focused devotional time is.
 
I kinda think if I could remember those things - that my interruptions are People, that 10 minutes may be all I have, and that He is ever present with me – I would be less disgruntled when someone comes knocking at my door.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Fourth Grade in Our Home: Fall 2015


Michelle, age 9.5, is 'officially' in fourth grade this year, although the longer I homeschool and observe my children the more I find traditional grade-levels just don't really fit them.  But, that's where she falls based on her age for any kind of official purposes where that kind of thing matters...so there you have it.   I say all this again as a disclaimer than my intentions with this series is to be DESCRIPTIVE of what is currently happening in my home with my particular students.  These lessons have been planned with their needs and abilities and our overall goals in mind.  I share to give you a peek inside of our home, just as I like to get a peek inside the homes of others from time to time. :)  

You can read other parts of this series here:
 
And get the big picture of our daily routine and how all these pieces fit together here:

Michelle is a strong reader and able to direct herself independently quite well. She works through a daily independent work checklist while I work with the younger two.  Sometimes, she finishes before I'm ready for her, in which case she has a bit of time all her own. Other times, she dawdles and has to come back and finish after lunch, although that has become more and more rare.  She values her free afternoons pretty highly. :)

We left off for the summer halfway through AmblesideOnline Year 3, so have continued on from there.  We are doing it more or less as written, with the exception of the exchange of Courage and Conviction (Withrow) in place of Trial and Triumph for a broader coverage of the Reformation.  We will move on to Year 4 after the Christmas holidays.  Because of her age and ability, we have already started some of the Year 4 additions such as written narration, grammar, dictation, and Latin while finishing up the Year 3 books.

Independent work checklist:
  • Math workbook page - covering the topic of the previous day's lesson from Singapore Math 3.  Sometimes she will do a drill sheet or work from the Singapore Challenging Word Problems book in addition to or instead of the regular workbook page.
  • Two readings from the AO Year 3 reading list (she may come to me to narrate as needed)
  • Copywork
  • Study memory work (Scripture and poetry) and Latin vocabulary
  • Typing - 3x per week she does a lesson, on Friday she is allowed to do a game from the game section.  We use Typing Instructor.
  • One of the following weekly items: map work (Marco Polo or USA), written narration, add 2-3 people or events from the week's reading to her timeline
 
Together we spend an hour or maybe a bit more working on the following together:
  • Check over independent checklist work (10 minutes)
  • Math Lesson - I introduce new material or review troublesome concepts and we work together through examples. (She completes the applicable workbook exercises when she does her checklist work the following day.) (15-20 minutes)
  • One reading from the AO Year 3 list, followed up by oral narration and applicable map work.  I still read aloud our main history spines This Country of Ours and Our Island Story so that we can pause for narrations more frequently since the chapters are quite long, especially in This Country of Ours.  She reads the rest on her own or I read them to the whole group during Morning Time. (15-20 minutes)
  • Dictation - we are doing 2 passages each week this year for a change.  On Monday we study the new passage together, identifying words she is not sure how to spell and analyzing them and talking a bit about punctuation and grammar issues.  On Tuesday, she writes it from dictation.  We skip Wednesday because it's our co-op day, and then repeat that cycle Thursday and Friday.  I am pulling dictation passages from The Dictation Treasury. (10 minutes)
  • Read poetry and recite current memory work selections (5-10 minutes)
  • Latin - new to us this year!  We are using Prima Latina from Memoria Press.  It is a gentle, grammar-focused introduction, and so far it is going really well for us.  We set aside French for the time being because it was a constant struggle, so I am pleased that she is enjoying this and looks forward to pulling it out each day.  Maybe because I don't know it either and we are learning together?  Maybe because there isn't so much pressure attached to being able to speak it well?  I have no idea why Latin is going over better than French ever did, but I'll sure take it. (15-20 minutes)

And that's it.  Unless she seriously drags her feet, we are finished up between 12 and 12:30, just in time for lunch, leaving the afternoon free for other pursuits.

First Grade in Our Home: Fall 2015

James, age 7, is now 'officially' in first grade.  He has a summer birthday, and could have been 'officially' in first grade last year if we had wanted him to be.  However, he is a bright boy whose social and emotional maturity lags behind his academic ability a bit.   All that to say that we have progressed at his academic ability level at home regardless of his grade-level on paper, while keeping him in a younger age group for official purposes such as co-op, Sunday School, and testing.   I say all this again as a disclaimer that my intention with this series is to be DESCRIPTIVE of what is currently happening in my home with my particular students.  These lessons have been planned with their needs and abilities and our overall goals in mind.  I share to give you a peek inside of our home, just as I like to get a peek inside the homes of others from time to time. :)  
 
You can read other parts of this series here:
 
And get the big picture of our daily routine and how all these pieces fit together here:
 
James began AmblesideOnline Year 1 in January, and we left off for the summer at about the halfway point.  So his 'core' curriculum this year involves completing the rest of Year 1, and then moving along to Year 2, probably after the Christmas holidays.  He is a strong reader, which is reflected in my plans for him.
 
While waiting for me to work with Elizabeth (my kindergartener), James has a short independent work checklist which includes:
  • Math drill sheet or page from Singapore's Challenging Word Problems 1 workbook
  • Drawing - choosing from a drawing drill sheet or one of our drawing instruction books (2x per week)
  • Mapwork - coloring and filling in places on his map of the United States (our current map drill focus).  He adores maps and has been known to ask for blank maps to color for fun.  (2x per week)
  • Independent Free Reading: a chapter from either The Burgess Bird Book or a free reading book.  I am encouraging him to try to remember at least one thing to tell me about what he has read, as a step towards eventually being able to pass off more of his school books for independent reading.
  • Review Memory Work: He reads over his current Scripture and Poetry memory work selections, which we will later review together.
 
Together we spend 45 minutes to an hour doing the following together (depending on length of readings):
  • Buddy Read a section from the Treadwell Reading Literature Third Reader (which quite honestly he is ready to graduate from....but he loves doing it so....  When he finishes this, I will probably start buddy reading from some of his assigned school books and expecting a narration from that reading, again as a step towards transitioning to independent reading of school books) (5-10 minutes)
  • Read together a selection from the AO Year 1 list - narrating orally and doing any follow-up map or timeline work. (10-15 minutes)
  • Math Lesson - He is almost finished with Singapore Math 1A. (15-20 minutes)
  • Read a second selection from the AO Year 1 list with oral narration, etc.  We also read a bit of poetry and practice his current Scripture and poetry memorization selections. (10-15 minutes)
  • Return to the table to do copywork.  I am sitting with him while he does it even though his letter formation is good to help train him in what Charlotte Mason calls transcription - the act of copying word-by-word rather than letter-by-letter.  This helps to strengthen the visual memory and is a stepping stone to dictation. (5-10 minutes)

And that's it.  He's usually finished with all his school work for the day by 11am and free to go play. :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

From My Commonplace: On a Literary Education

"…education is for us.  For our own selves, for the children, and any interested others.  It is, in a way, citizenship.  It shows us what it means to be people, and it teaches us how to live in the world.  Charlotte Mason listed virtues that could be mined in her Aladdin's Cave: candour, fortitude, temperance, patience, meekness, courage, generosity.  Be we don't stand in the doorway of the cave, handing those things out one moral at a time.  The feast is inside: many living books.  Many ideas.  Many glimpses of the divine, of Eternity, of something beyond ourselves." (p.69-70)
 
"No, [books] show us that we have a purpose; that we can be useful in the world, and that is our pleasure.  Education gives us minds more awake, and a life that is more than just passing time.  'Leave us alone without books and we shall be lost…We shall not know what to join on to, what to cling to, what to love and what to hate, what to respect and what to despise.' (Dostoevsky)."  (p.70)
 
"And why, again, are we emphasizing literature? To what end? We don't read Shakespeare with children by giving them long vocabulary lists on which to be quizzed; in fact, we don't read it with them to enrich their vocabularies, or to teach them about Julius Caesar or what blank verse is.  We definitely don't read it because we want to show off what homeschools or private schools can do.  We read it with them because we want to give them something that already belongs to them.  We read it, as we look at paintings and stars and cathedrals, to gain some lasting 'mind furniture'. We read it because it's beautiful and true, because it helps us to understand God and people.   We read it to get beyond ourselves." (p.82)
 
~Anne White, Minds More Awake: The Vision of Charlotte Mason
 


My Bookbag This Week:
Devotional: Job with a commentary: Job: The Wisdom of the Cross (Ash)
Theological or Christian Living:  Emotionally Healthy Spirituality (Scazzero)
AO Book Discussion Group: Ivanhoe (Scott) and finishing up (finally!) How to Read a Book (Adler)
On Education: Minds More Awake (White)
Shakespeare: Hamlet (aiming to read a scene-a-day alongside my daughter's Shakespeare class at our co-op.  Don't we all need a little more Shakespeare in our lives?!)
Novel/Biography/Memoir:  The Jungle Books (Kipling) – pre-reading for AO Year 3, Term 3
Read-Alouds with the Children:  The Little White Horse (Goudge), Pilgrim's Progress (Bunyan)


Click Here for more Words
 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Kindergarten in our Home: Fall 2015

So Miss Elizabeth has finally officially joined our ranks as a kindergartener.  I don't think kindergarten is technically necessary....but when you are the youngest and are desperately wanting to be included in what is going on, and you have begged all spring to learn how to read and Mama has taken so long to get around to beginning reading lessons that you start asking your brother, and you cry on your fifth birthday when Mama says you can't start Year One until you turn six...you get the idea.

As with all of the curriculum posts I will be posting, please take them as DESCRIPTIVE of what is currently happening in my home with my particular students.  These lessons have been planned with their needs and abilities and our overall goals in mind.  I share to give you a peek inside of our home, just as I like to get a peek inside the homes of others from time to time. :)

Our kindergarten time takes 30-45 minutes each day.  You can see where it fits into our daily routine here.

Phonics (10 minutes)
We follow the basic method outlined here and here.   Elizabeth is in the word-building phase at the moment.  We occasionally mix it up by reading a bit from Run, Bug, Run.  (I don't endorse the program associated with these readers by the way.  I have just appreciated the readers for a couple of mine who have stayed in the word-building phase for quite awhile.  They are sort of similar to the Bob books, but with nicer illustrations.)  I've been trying to take photos when we are doing reading lessons and someday hope to do a series on what reading lessons have looked like in our home.

Read-Alouds (10-15 minutes)
We read each day from:
The Real Mother Goose and The Children's Bible in 365 Stories and then one of the following that Elizabeth has chosen from her kindergarten shelf:
  •  a Childhood of Famous Americans biography (currently Clara Barton)
  •  Dooryard Stories (Pierson)
  •  Faerie Gold (Hunsicker and Lindskoog)
  • Chimney Corner Stories (Hutchinson)
I also still read to her from our selection of picture books or a chapter book of her choice after lunch while the big kids do lunch clean up.

Math (10 minutes)
We are using Singapore's Essential Math for Kindergarten.  I've not used this before (actually I've used something different for kindergarten with all of my kids!), but chose this for her since I am using Singapore with the older two and it seemed the simplest thing to do. :)  Each page has a simple hands-on suggestion at the bottom with an accompanying very simple workbook exercise (so far it's just been concepts like same, different, matching sets, etc).  This is her favorite 'school' thing to do with mom by far.  (She says it's because she likes coloring the pages when we're done.)

Handwriting (less than 5 minutes)
I have a little workbook for this, which I thought she would be ready for.  But in reality she is finding it frustrating.  She knows how to form a lot of her letters (she has been writing her name and trying to write other words for some time now).   So I think we will set it aside for now and work more on getting the strokes in the right order, etc, in a more free-form way - using a salt tray or whiteboard for now, and come back to the lined pages in the workbook later.