Breaks, books, baking, books, boards for the bored, & books

posted in: journal 4


~ 1 ~

I am so ready for our break week! This was the last week of a longer-than-usual term and I am feeling it.

I may be hosting Thanksgiving, so it’s not like it’s a week of doing nothing at all, but it is still going to be a relief to not have to direct five children into productive behaviors first thing every morning.

Shouldn’t this whole Start a School Day thing run on autopilot by now? Sheesh. We did for a few weeks, and then something shifted and the middle kids started getting ideas of their own instead of going with the flow. “Hey, hey, hey!” I’d find myself shouting, “After chores, math page, not pulling out toys!”

But, overall, it has been a productive term with progress made on all fronts, so I feel we’ve earned our rest. And I’m extra thankful for the extra-long rest, too – we’ll take all of December mostly off. We’ll do a simple Christmas-themed Morning Time and a little math and that’s it.

It’ll be lovely!

~ 2 ~

pretty * happy * funny * real

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

round button chicken

Here’s an idea for a stocking stuffer or Christmas gift if you need one: small, real rolling pins. They are inexpensive, perfect for little bakers, and they work on cookie dough, bread dough, or play dough equally well. Having as many pins as children would be a sanity-saver. I have 2, and I think I might add another to our collection just to cut down on turn-taking squabbles. :)

~ 3 ~

So, the last several years, November has been Listening Rewards month. Not so this year, apparently. I tried asking a customer service representative by chat on about the matter, but I am not sure he spoke English. The cut and paste answers didn’t quite match my question, and so I’m merely left to assume that they aren’t doing that this month. :( There are still lots of ways to get a good deal on Audible, though, including making your own listening rewards happen. If you have driving to do over Thanksgiving or Christmas, Audible is a great way to accumulate some listening material.

I’ve taken my Audible tips, currently spread throughout several posts, and created an email series so you get 1 tip a day for 7 days. Even without Listening Rewards, you can still get some great deals.

~ 4 ~

Ok, so a few months ago I pulled out all my clothes and folded them the KonMari way. That’s great and all, but my drawers are too shallow to hold my jeans that way and it take too much time in the upkeep.

I found myself procrastinating even more than usual on taking care of laundry, because now I had to fold everything the Right Way.

So I went back to just getting all the kids’ clothes sorted to be shoved into drawers by their very own selves and hanging my own clothes. Now, my closet space is pretty limited, and I’ve been devouring all of Anne Bogel’s minimal/uniform wardrobe posts for months.

I finally took the plunge and removed over half my clothes from my already pared-down closet, but tied it to my interval system for less commitment. For this interval, I will wear jeans + shirt. I have 3 pairs of jeans, 1 pair of bright pink jeans, and 1 pair of black jeans. I have 3 black t-shirts, 3 black 3/4-sleeve tees, 2 white t-shirts, and 3 tees in either purple or pure blue. Plus, I narrowed my selection down to 6 cardigans (3 black, 1 purple, 1 pink, 1 pure blue). With blue jeans & pink pants, I wear black. With black jeans, I wear a colored shirt. Add a cardigan and maybe a scarf (I haven’t pared those down, I think I have a selection of 10ish), and I’m dressed.

Some other interval I might go all-maxi-dress or all knee-length-skirt, but so far I like the fewer items and easier time grabbing clothes in the morning.

~ 5 ~

A question from my email inbox:

I was just reading one of your posts on planning and noticed that you mentioned your 5th grader chooses a history, science and story book for the week? What curriculum are you doing and if no curriculum, are these chapter books? Does he read on them each day? It seems very Ambleside (which I love but my son did not because of not getting to finish a book and only reading a chapter a week). This looks like something I might like to do, so I’d love to know how/ what you’re doing!

The post was probably this one: 5th Grade Homeschool Plans. Caveat: My fifth grader was an early fluent reader and remains an avid reader. Your mileage may vary, but for us, this works really well.

Yes, he chooses 3 books each week: 1 history, 1 science/natural world, and 1 story. My rule-of-thumb is that if I don’t need to assign reading to keep them reading, then I shouldn’t – free reading is better than assigned reading. This little plan is my compromise – he is choosing what he’s reading, but I am providing some structure to keep him from only binging on novels or easy books and to help him get in the habit of making a reading plan. He’s not naturally a planner, so this structure helps him make a plan and work it.

At the next Monday Meeting, I ask him if he finished his books from last week, and if he didn’t, then that one carries over in that category. If he did, I ask him a question or two about it and ask what he wants to read next.

And that’s it! Our shelves are stocked – crammed full, really – of books in all those categories, so he simply browses our shelves and makes a selection. Sometimes he makes a request that we look at the library for something in particular, but usually he picks one from our own shelves.

Here’s his list from this week:


~ 6 ~

The benefits of finishing school early on a Friday – a board game together before lunch.

I shared this on Instagram last Friday and the feedback I received made me think a post about favorite family board games was in order. We are a board game geek family and we have quite a selection – no Monopoly or Sorry to be found.

In this photo, they are playing Nexus Ops.

Watch for that post on Black Friday – just in time for Christmas shopping. :)

~ 7 ~

Books read in our home this week:

4 Responses

  1. Teri Pittman
    | Reply

    About two years ago, after a lifetime in jeans, I decided I was sick of them. I really wanted to wear long skirts and make more of my own clothes. I bought a couple of Folkwear patterns, made a skirt and petticoat and started from there. I’ve been getting by with three skirts and four tops.

    I think the real key to a minimalist wardrobe is either using an apron or switching to worn clothes for dirty chores. I suspect folks are doing this at and just not reporting it because things get stained and dirty. Having a “uniform” of clothes you love sure does make life easier.

    • Mystie Winckler
      | Reply

      I would change into yard clothes for gardening type chores, but I don’t find housework generally to be “dirty” work, and I hardly ever do yard work or gardening. :) I try to remember to wear an apron, but I often have a dusting of flour on the front of my shirt that a damp rag can usually brush off.

      I like dresses and skirts, too, but I don’t care much for leggings + skirt, so I’m doing exclusively jeans for the cold months, then will switch to my maxi skirts/dresses for spring again. In the summer I almost exclusively wore 3 knee-length skirts with a variety of tops, but I still had a lot of other stuff in the closet that I could have packed away.

  2. Helen
    | Reply

    I enjoyed reading through this post, so thank you for it. I’m interested to know, is it generally expected that you son will finish each of the books he chooses each week by the end of that week? Or does he simply keep one book form each category on the go at all times with out any expected finish date? Just wondering because Lord of the Rings is so long. I’m putting together a summer reading list for each of my children to work through over our Christmas break ( we are in Australia, so our summer holidays are about to start).

    • Mystie Winckler
      | Reply

      Hi Helen! No, he doesn’t have to finish each book each week – if he hasn’t finished, it just carries over in that category for next week. So, he always has one book in each category going, but he gets to pick them and read them on his own time frame.

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