Our School Year: Harvest Term Content



After Labor Day we start our full load. We’ve had some trial-run weeks and made some tweaks to the plans, and I think we’re ready to really roll now. After the push to finish my course, I am ready for steady rhythms and routines to prevail. Time to live it out myself (again), and I am looking forward to it. I think we’re going to have a great year.


Circle Time

We always open with prayer, but I started opening our prayer time with one of the very brief but rich prayers from Lifting Up Our Hearts: 150 Selected Prayers from John Calvin. I love it when the right time and use is suddenly found for a book that’s been on the shelf for awhile. Brandy, cover your eyes: I do amend on the fly all the thees and thous to you and your. :)

Two-thirds of our morning memory work time is spent in review, but this is our new content we’ll cover daily all six weeks:


Every day we’ll open our binders after prayer and begin with the Apostle’s Creed.

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, our Lord.

New Hymn:
  • Lord, Our Lord, Thy Glorious Name (blue Psalter Hymnal, #13)
New Memory Work Content
  • Psalm: still doing 34
  • Passage: Hebrews 2:14-18
  • Proverb: 6:16-19
New Poems
  • Me: Happy The Man by Dryden
  • Hans (11): Henry V’s speech at Agincourt by Shakespeare
  • Jaeger (9): Song of Drake’s Men by Noyes
  • Ilse (6.5): Brown and Furry by Christina Rosetti
  • Knox (4.5): Purple Cow

I never saw a purple cow; I never hope to see one. But I can tell you anyhow, I’d rather see than be one.

All-Year Memory Work

This year I’m trying something a little different. I put some new content behind the day-of-the-week tabs in our Memory Work binders that we’ll recite on that day of the week all year. It adds up to a similar number of times recited, and I’m curious to see how it plays out.

I want us to learn and internalize the 10 Commandments this year, so I broke it up like this:

The Catechism for Young Children Q&As include “What is the x commandment? The x commandment is:…” and the commandment from Exodus 20 verbatim.

Simple K-1st Lessons

In addition to the picture book they get to choose for reading aloud, I want to read through Leading Little Ones to God with Ilse & Knox. We’ve gone through bits and pieces of the book, but I want to be more consistent with it this term and next and try to read the whole thing with them before the end of the year.

What I have to remember is that if it doesn’t work out to do it during our couch time (because I don’t push them beyond having to repeat their current letter sounds – we just do what they are excited to do, because that’s when they’re in learning mode, which I can’t force), we can still do it some other time, even at bedtime. I tend to slot in too much for one block and then just throw it out if it doesn’t fit, but the truth is that I can find other times to fit it in throughout the day if I am open to it.

Elementary Lessons

We’ll be reading some great books this term:

Covenantal Catechism Book 4 - Exodus BooksStory of the Renaissance and Reformation - Exodus Books

We’ll do some simple artist study with DaVinci this term. I’m still waiting for the library books to be held for me, but in addition to simply strewing some books about him and his art, we’ll spend 5 minutes (with a timer!) looking at a famous piece then talk about what everyone saw. I was really surprised last year how much conversation and noticing they all got out of this simple, short activity. Artist study doesn’t have to be involved.

We’ll also start each class with a word-of-the-week, and this terms words are incorrigible, ponderous, solicitous, petulant, and bombastic. I can’t wait to see the kids’ sentences as we go along.

I’ll be posting next week about some of the changes to our plan I made after a few weeks’ trial run. After all, we, the mothers implementing the plan, are the ones in the driver seat, as I wrote about this week at Scholé Sisters: On Driving Your Curriculum.


Convivial Contentment, Everyday



~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

round button chicken

This week we’re doing light school as we prepare for beginning our full load and a new term next week! Because it was a shortened term already and then we were sick for a week of it, I didn’t take it all the way off. We’ll have Friday off for a long weekend break, but begin next week with a full school schedule.

These last couple weeks have given me insight into how to tweak my plans to make them more effective and manageable, so I’m actually looking forward to ironing out the details Friday & Saturday, finishing the set up for the next term, and really getting down to brass tacks.

I think we’re going to have a great school year.
everyday life classical homeschooling


~Pretty Circle Time ~

everyday life classical homeschooling 

I admit, Circle Time used to be the Hardest Part of Our Day, not the Best Part of Our Day. But in our seventh year now and we have a groove and it is just an absolutely beautiful and amazing thing. I stuck it out on faith that Cindy wasn’t wrong and that reading Scripture together wouldn’t return void, and it was so worth those hard days. Not, of course, to say there won’t be hard days this year or hard years again in the future, but our current good days have already paid for the trouble in the past, in my accounting.


everyday life classical homeschooling

~ Happy Back-to-School-Day ~

everyday life classical homeschooling

Tuesday the local schools started up, so a friend hosted a “Ha, ha: we homeschool!” pool party in their neighborhood pool. It was a blast, even though I spent the time mostly keeping a hawk eye on my little ones.

The effect was perfect, because we drove by a local elementary school during recess on our way. We had finished our school, eaten an early lunch, and were off to swim while those kids had only finished half of their day, poor things.

everyday life classical homeschooling

We’ll start our full load next week, so it was a great way to still have some fun summer this week.


~ Funny Boy ~

everyday life classical homeschooling

My oldest is getting to the age where he’s actually quite funny when he makes an original joke.

My poem this term is Wordsworth’s “The World Is Too Much with Us,” which contains the line “For this, for everything, we are out of tune; it moves us not.”

So, right after I read my poem, we sing a hymn. That hymn, on Monday, we did not have accompaniment for. As we ended and turned the page, Hans said in a “poetry” voice: “For this, for everything, we are out of tune.”

See? Circle Time is so much worth it.


everyday life classical homeschooling

~ Real Tech Support ~

everyday life classical homeschooling

This is my web developer and his fearless not-at-all-virtual assistant.

My new course could definitely not have been done without him, and I’m so happy he accepted a peach pie in lieu of a $4,000 invoice.

Happy Labor Day weekend!

Wednesday with Words: Parenting Tactics for Thinkers



This week in reading…

Current favorites at our house

Knox (4yo) has become reenchanted with St. George and the Dragon again, which makes me all sorts of happy.

Ilse (6) is still working through Pathway’s First Steps, with persistence and, most importantly, good cheer.

Jaeger (9) is reading and rereading the new Landmark series books I purchased for this school year. He says his favorite is The Story of D-Day

Hans (11) read the third Harry Potter after listening to the first two and part of the third on his trip to camp. He and I agreed it’d be best for him to wait to finish the series, though he does like the books.

screenshot-by-nimbus (5)

My Book Bag

I finished A Method for Prayer by Matthew Henry & The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean this week! I enjoyed them both. The Disappearing Spoon had several God-mocking cracks in it, but overall was a fascinating blend of history and science and strange connections.

Week’s Words

I am more and more of the opinion that learning about personality types is a great way to learn to be a better parent and teacher. Here’s a section I have dog-eared in Gifts Differing by Isabel Myers:

The thinker’s natural process is inappropriate when used in personal relations with feeling types, because it includes a readiness to criticize. Criticism is of great value when thinkers apply it to their own conduct or conclusion, but it has a destructive effect upon feeling types, who need a harmonious climate.

Both my husband and I are thinkers.

The feeling types have a great need for sympathy and appreciation. They want others to realize how they feel and either share the feeling or at least acknowledge its value. They want others to approve of them. [...] Uninhibited criticism makes life stressful for feeling types.

I have at least 2, possibly 3 or 4, feeling children.

People who are conscious of such damage and want to avoid it can improve matters. [...] Thinkers can do three things to limit the damage their criticism may cause.

To summarize the three things:

  1. Refrain from criticizing in the first place, recognizing it won’t help.
  2. Be careful not to exaggerate faults to make a point. Everything you say will be ignored because of the outrage this causes.
  3. Play by the feeler’s rules: “Remember how feeling types respond to sympathy and appreciation; a little of either will greatly tone down a necessary criticism, but the thinker must express sympathy or appreciation first.”



How shelves generally look at our house….

It means they’re being used, which is good, right? That’s what I tell myself to keep from hyperventilating, anyway.

Get more great quotes & recommendations at ladydusk!

Simplified Organization Course Tour Video: Start Organized This School Year



The problem with organization is that we treat it like a short-term project when it is actually a way of life. We treat productivity as a few tricks to read about when it is a mindset. Both begin with our attitude.

Simplified Organization: Learning to Love What Must Be Done is all about helping you recognize the truth, change your attitude, set up support systems, and make good choices about what to do moment-by-moment.

As a self-paced ecourse, Simplified Organization is always there for you, with bite-sized pieces of encouragement, action steps, and guides. You can return again and again, as many times as you need to, to continue on the journey or to get back on the path.

The course has audio messages, habit plans, action steps, a blueprint project, and many tool guides, all to help you wrap your head around your life and live it to the full. In addition, there’s a private G+ community with live chats every 6 weeks where we can chat about how we’re doing, ask questions, and get ideas from one another.

I’d like to give you a little tour of the course, so you can see what it looks like and all the content you’ll receive. Watch this video to get a peek into the course:

In this course, you will

  • learn why your attitude is the key to organization and productivity.
  • practice tools to change your attitude.
  • walk through the material at your own pace.
  • get the information you need in manageable, bite-sized, easy-to-navigate chunks.
  • set up the support tools and systems you need.
  • build the habits necessary for organization to stick.
  • interact with fellow participants and help each other brainstorm strategies for specific situations.
  • have the opportunity to live-chat with Mystie every six weeks about how things are going.

Here are what some people have said about the course so far:


Mystie has outdone herself with this Simplified Organization eCourse! If you, like me, need all the help you can get in the home – and life! – organization department, you won’t want to miss this. Not only will Mystie’s words inspire you, but her application and action points will give you the motivation and how-to you’ve been needing. – Candace Crabtree from His Mercy Is New and author of Hope: The Anchor for My Soul

“Finally. A course that teaches me how to be an effective and productive home manager while honoring my need to nurture my soul and fully live out my vocation. This is more than another system for what to clean when. It’s a paradigm shift.” – Sarah Mackenzie of Amongst Lovely Things and author of Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakeable Peace


You know that moment when every stressor in your day, every undone thing, every nook and cranny of your home and life cry out for attention and all you can do is beg God for an answer? Simplified Organization was that answer. – Amy Roberts of Raising Arrows, author of Large Family Homeschooling

Mystie combines her welcoming kindness with her razor-sharp intellect to create a program that will give you the wakeup call you need without leaving you feeling discouraged. This course is packed with life-changing insights, heavy doses of encouragement, and practical tools that you can apply to your life right here, right now. I recommend it to any mother who feels like her life could use a tune-up. – Jennifer Fulwiler of Conversion Diary and author of Something Other Than God: How I Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found It

From now through September 2, use the discount code backtoschool to get 30% off!

Find out more at Simplified Organization

Simplified Organization: Learning to Love What Must Be Done



About a year ago I started writing an ebook that I thought would simply be an expanded and improved GTD for Homemakers. The more I got into it, the more I thought an ebook really wasn’t the best way to present the material. How many ebooks do I have just sitting on my hard drive? eBooks inspire, but they aren’t handy when you want one specific piece of information or encouragement from them.

After talking it over with my husband, we turned that material (which continued to grow and expand!) into an online, self-paced ecourse: Simplified Organization: Learning to Love What Must Be Done. It was a lot of fun to watch it take shape as pieces kept coming together.

Organize your attitude with Simplified Organization

This course is about starting where you are, shifting your mindset, and taking small steps toward growth – no major overhauls, no life mission statement, no superficial changes.

Simplified Organization: Learning to Love What Must Be Done will help you recognize the truth, change your attitude, set up support systems, and make good choices about what to do moment-by-moment.

Productivity and organization talk for homeschooling moms, especially those with young children, is perplexing and often frustrating. Advice from moms who haven’t experienced it is often not applicable or practicable.

Our life at home is not the kind of world where things are often finished. You might check off “laundry” for the day, but before the day is out, there will be more dirty laundry in the hamper. You might check off “make dinner,” but dinner will have to be made again tomorrow. Not only that, but because you made dinner today, there are now dishes in the sink to wash.

How do we not sink under the weight of all the daily details? How do we lift our eyes above the mundane while still getting to the mundane necessities day in and day out?

I’ve been asking these questions for years. I don’t even know how many books I’ve read on the topic. I do know – from experience, unfortunately – that deciding housework is a necessarily evil leads to thinking housework is plain evil leads to thinking it’s not something I should be doing.

We simply must tell ourselves the truth about what we’re doing.

Get organized and stay organized with Simplified Organization.

What if repeating ourselves was actually a way we imitate and image God?

We get all frustrated as if the necessity of repetition is part of our finiteness and fallenness, but when we look to Scripture, we see that even the infinite and perfect God delights in the repeating cycle of day and night, of seasons, of sustaining the world today in the same way as He has since the beginning. On top of that, we see that He repeats Himself to us, as well, giving us story after story, example after example, admonition after admonition, patient hearing after patient hearing.

Perhaps there is actually glory in repetition, if we had the eyes to see it.

All these little, trivial details often wear us down. But perhaps that is because we are operating under a false paradigm, one that does not see how much repetition (breath in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out) is woven into existence itself.

If we want things all done, over, ended, is that not in a way wishing for death? Life is not only full of, but built with and upon, repeated actions and processes, change upon change.

Every morning when we get up and make our beds, we are making a statement to ourselves: I am the sort of person to brings order from chaos, who cares for her environment, who beautifies what she touches. Every evening when we clean the kitchen after dinner, we are making those same statements again. Every time we perform any act of housework, this is what we are saying, what we are living.

Learning to love what must be done is not only 1) knowing what must be done, and 2) learning why it must be done, but also 3) feeling affection for and delight in the what and the why.

I hope you will work through finding that delight with me in my new course, Simplified Organization: Learning to Love What Must Be Done.

It is possible. It is worth it. You can do it.


Start your journey with Simplified Organization: Learning to Love What Must Be Done today with the discount code backtoschool and get 30% off.

Convivial Contentment: School time again



~ Capturing the context of contentment in ordinary life ~

round button chicken

After a sick week, it’s good to be getting back into our school routines which hadn’t even had a chance to get normal again. September is nearly here, though, so then it will get really real and really normal. Actually, I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to jeans-and-tshirt-and-sandals weather again after an exceptionally hot summer. 



~Pretty Curls ~


Too darling, if I do say so myself. And I do, even though those curls have been spending half of every school morning in bed, where fussy babies go.



~ Happy Shown Work ~

The one writing out the work might not be happy, but I am happy with the choice to give him graph paper for showing his work. So far place value is more easily kept correct and handwriting is more neat. Worth it.



~ Funny Index Cards ~

I’ve been having the kids make their own index cards when we go over the day’s agenda before Circle Time. I think the toddler likes it the most. She always, always pulls the pink pen out of the jar and gets right to work.


~ Real Napping ~


Knox was sick over the weekend and still recovering Monday. He listened to The Blue Fairy Book in the living room for his quiet time, and this is how I found him fifteen minutes later.

Quiet time is a good thing.

Simplified Organization: Learning to Love What Must Be Done

Tomorrow Simplified Organization: Learning To Love What Must Be Done launches! If you’re on the email list, you’ll be getting an email this afternoon with an early bird offer and exclusive discount. I’m so excited! I think you’re going to love it.