Laundry, literature, loaves, and lists

posted in: journal 8

Hm, apparently I haven’t posted for a week!

It doesn’t feel like it, because I’ve been doing “content” this week – just a different kind!

~ 1 ~

This is my real-life laundry pile I need to tackle today.

This is the week that I had to choose to be glad I had committed to accountability in homeschooling. Left to myself, I would have said, “Eh, let’s skip reading and spelling today and fold laundry instead.” But, people were showing up for those lessons and so we carried on and the lessons were chosen instead of the laundry.

My husband assured me this was the right choice.

I assured him that’s why I said yes to homeschooling with friends – so it would happen even when I didn’t feel like it.

~ 2 ~

Tracy Grossman is a new contributor to Simplified Pantry and will be releasing Simplified Lunches and Simplified Breakfasts very soon (next week we hope)!

Her first contribution to the blog is a great post on making homemade bread and it comes with a beautiful printable “recipe” – but more like a guide – for making a great loaf (or two) of bread: “How to Make Easy, Delicious Bread

Do check it out!

~ 3 ~

We’re currently reading Much Ado about Nothing in Elementary Lessons. My easy plan for studying Shakespeare includes watching a movie version (we watched the Kenneth Branaugh version, of course, though skipped the initial bare-buns scene) but starts with a picture book version of the tale.

This time I chose the picture book version in the collection called The Best Loved Plays of Shakespeare. I think I picked it up from a library sale. What I loved about it was how it made the story comprehensible and simplified while still retaining so many direct quotes! It was beautiful.

If you’ve ever been left flat by Lamb’s or Nesbit’s Shakespeare (like me), don’t give up! Covering my head for the flack this might send my way: There are better written and better illustrated versions out there that I would more highly recommend. King James doth not automatically make good writing. Shakespeare is literature, but he wrote for the common man and the sense is best and most authentically delivered in plain English.

end rant

These are my two favorite collections of Shakespeare tales:

~ 4 ~

So what content did I do this week? Two workshops that ended up being very fun and, I think, very helpful.

First I did a digital planning workshop with Melanie Wilson. Melanie is a Christian psychologist turned homeschooling mom of 6 – she’s a been there, done that mom who has graduated students and whose youngest is 10. She blogs at and she is also quite active on Periscope (that’s where we connected).

In addition to sharing about her set up and her habits for keeping things put together, Melanie also talked about how timers, reminders, and apps help her highly distracted and scattered self get things done.

You can still access the workshop replay by registering here: Digital Planning Workshop.

After you sign up, you’ll also get a follow-up email with links to many of the apps and sites and books we mentioned in the workshop.

~ 5 ~

But that’s not the only workshop I did this week!

Wednesday I talked with Kari Denker of Stone Soup for Five. Kari is a homeschooling mom with teens who has been doing bullet journalling for awhile. She gave us a tour not only of several of her journals but also of other pieces of her system.

I absolutely loved Kari’s perspective on how planning needs to be an adapt-as-you-go process and not something you have to figure out completely before you just jump in.

Find the registration for the replay here: Bullet Journalling Workshop

I ‘scoped about this workshop the next day, too:

These workshops were a lot of fun! If you know of someone else you think would make for a good planning or homeschooling conversation, let me know and I’ll try to arrange it!

~ 6 ~

I have numerous emailed questions piling up in my inbox, so I thought I’d answer them in a quick take like Brandy does. :)

This one is from Donne:

Small query regarding children’s checklists, do you recommend they use a clipboard like mom? I only started using checklists with my 7 and 5 year olds last week. They find them exciting and it keeps us all chugging along, but they get lost easily, and scrunched up. I have tried sticking them to a wall, but my 7 year old wants her list closer to her, on the school table.

Yes, my kids’ homeschool checklists are on clipboards. They each have a clipboard in their color (I found colored plastic clipboard inexpensively at Staples one year) and I have a bin on the bookshelf with our Circle Time binders where they live when not in use. Also on their clipboards are handwriting pages and any other work they need for the week (this is only my 10+ kids; the 7 & 5 yo don’t have extra work). In the morning when I pull out math pages, I put them on each child’s clipboard.

It does help the list not get lost (as often), but the 7 & 5 yo still need lots of help with reminders on where the clipboard goes when they are done and where they need to go when they are ready to move on to the next thing.

A clipboard with a checklist is a step toward independence, but it doesn’t create independence. They still need lots and lots of repeated instruction and help as they build the habits that will help them become independent as they get older.



~ 7 ~

Books read in our home this week:

8 Responses

  1. Karen @ Living Unabridged
    | Reply

    No flack re: Shakespeare stories here. I have both Lamb’s & Nesbit’s and we do use them but they’re certainly not the only choices.
    Coville’s picture books are definitely our favorites for teaching Shakespeare to children. And have you seen the adaptations by Leon Garfield? We don’t own the two collections he did, but we have them at our library. Sometimes I like his take on the tales (however, I don’t have one in front of me right now so please don’t consider this a wholehearted endorsement…)

  2. Libby Jane
    | Reply

    I am with you on shakespeare! I love the original plays, have directed them, and I love E. Nesbit and Charles Lamb, but I tried and moved away from their Shakespeare renditions. The kids just did not enjoy them.
    We have liked the retellings by Leon Garfield, as well as various picture books. And live stuff at the Rennaisance Festival near us!

  3. Megan
    | Reply

    I love peeking into the books other children are reading! My kids love to read and I am always looking for new, cool books for them.

  4. Amber Vanderpol
    | Reply

    I wish my library had some of those Shakespeare books! I’ve looked at them online in the past and I wasn’t sure I would be happy enough with them to buy them. But I’m not always thrilled with the Lamb/Nesbit versions either.

    What has worked for us is to read the Lamb or Nesbit version (I pre-read both and decide which I can tolerate more – it seems about 50/50) slowly and draw on our large whiteboard a list of characters with arrows and pictures as the story unfolds. It ends up looking a little messy, but it is a lot of fun and the kids get a lot out of it. They make their own versions on a piece of paper (either during or after) and we refer to that as we listen to the full version.

    I just finished listening to the digital planner discussion and enjoyed it. I particularly like how Melanie labels tasks as this week, this month, this quarter and then looks through those tags during her weekly and daily reviews. I bet that would help a lot with my current task avalanche I end up with, where I end up having a slew of things due on a particular day (generally Sat and Tuesday, the two days where I have time to work on stuff other than the basics of school, food and laundry/chores). Right now I review that list during my evening review and just postpone the ones I know I won’t be able to do that Sat or Tues to the following Sat or Tues. Which is better than waking up Saturday morning and having them all staring at me… but perhaps not the greatest way to deal with them!

    • Mystie Winckler
      | Reply

      I love the idea of drawing a chart! We just finished listening to Much Ado, so maybe next class we’ll try that!

  5. Kelly Depuy
    | Reply

    I make bread using the recipe in Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. Super simple. My husband likes to say “it’s so easy, tastes so good, and it’s cheaper. Why wouldn’t we do it?” I like to remind him that it is easy for him because he isn’t the one making it, but in fact, it is pretty easy.

  6. a. borealis
    | Reply

    I’m with you on Nesbit and Lambs’ Shakespeare. They usually leave my boys just confused. (Though I still used them and just soldiered through it.) I’ve found that picture books that offer a visual are more approachable – they are interested and able to stick with the story much better.

    (I’ve also been impressed with Leon Garfield, though the last time I tried reading it aloud my fellas just weren’t ready for it.)(And thanks for the book recs – I just ordered them through my library system.)

    This year, I’m reading from an actual play: The Taming of the Shrew. We read Lambs’ version last summer, then watched the film version with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, and now we are reading a half-scene (or less!!) a day during Circle Time, with a narration immediately afterward. My guys are 10 and 8 and seem to be taking to this more readily than reading them Lambs’ version over a period of a few sittings. One actually gets at the the meat of it instead of the almost-untouchable overview. I’ve been pleased.

    • Mystie Winckler
      | Reply

      That’s awesome! It’s a great way to approach Shakespeare – very similar to what we do. :)

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