Being Mom

Just a day in the life of Mommy

Flashback Friday – Written 3 Oct 2011

As I look around my kitchen this morning I shudder to what any stranger walking in would think. As I turn around I see play dough, orange skins, dirty dishes, workbooks, my laptop balanced on a corner flickering information on making paper from a mulberry tree – hmm interesting info but don’t think we’ll get to do that today… or ever… I see pencils and magnets scattering the floor, papers strewn across the kitchen table and three of our 5 little people scrambling on and under the table.

As I tune into the noise I hear “Mom I need an orange, Mom my sister has my crayon, Mom she drew on my page, Mom this mulberry paper is so cool, Mom I need  you to help me do this work….”  It’s raining outside – has been for the last 3 days and it’s predicted to rain for the next two. Suddenly I’m feeling overwhelmed and as the rain falls outside “I can’t do this” soaks through my skin.

Yesterday I was sick in bed so today everyone really needs me! We tried reading books earlier but the energy levels were through the roof. We’ve done some book work, we’ve done our maths and I’m not up to doing crafts today – I don’t feel like being Mommy right now! No, I’m not Super Mom. I’m just a mommy and right now I just want to escape!

Pitter, patter, splash it’s still raining. I look outside and see my seedlings I bought at the garden show desperate to be planted. Pitter, patter, splash a good Mommy would never let her kids get soaked in the rain! Pitter, patter, splash they would all need to stay inside safe and warm……

Changing from my warm clothes into shorts I grab my raincoat, not taking time to find shoes I dash out into the garden. As an after thought I yell back, “It’s wet out here no one is to follow me!” As I work the soil with rain pelting down my back, my feet and hands covered in fresh, wet soil I hear the cries and chaos resonating inside the house. I see a face poke out into the rain and quickly send them trotting back indoors. Out here I am free to reconnect with the earth, my thoughts, God and life.

As the last tomatoes and peppers are planted I know with satisfaction I have at least one job well done today. As the rain continues to pour onto these new seedlings they are receiving better nourishment than any tap water will ever give them. Cold and ready to return indoors I take one quick trip around the house to see my son’s new baby pigeons – that hatched while I was sick in bed yesterday. I’m just in time to see the mommy rearrange her feathers and an ugly chick wiggle his way back under her warm protection. So special.

Wet and now freezing yet rejuvenated and revitalised I can return to my orange peels and “Mom, Mom,Mom…” knowing that even if we spend the rest of the day watching movies I have at least got one job done well and I am content to just be Mommy and let the day go on as it pleases.

Should we keep readings short?

I saw this question online today. A mom asking why we would possibly want to stop reading if children are enjoying the story? I thought this was a great question so here are some thoughts on just that.

For enjoyable free readers that they can just read or if we reading a story for the story’s sake we just read chapter after chapter. I do however find when we talk about the book say a year later they do remember very little besides the plot. The idea around slow reading is so that a single idea is introduced and digested through narration and the science of relationships builds layer upon layer year upon year. When we started with CM 10 yrs ago I felt the same however now I see and understand it. I see how the little by little has let my children not simply know the info and the story but rather they have a deep understanding of complex thoughts and ideas. They are able to discuss, with references, why they hold a certain point of view. The older 4 are now 17, 13 and 12 yr old twins. Lessons are still short – maybe 20 min. They listen attentively and all want to narrate first. I remember a friends daughter reading about Gregor Mendel’s pea hybrids. She’d done her single reading of only a page or so for that week. Days later on fetching her daughter from ballet she exclaimed – “I know why little sister has blond hair and we are all brown. I was thinking about my reading and……” had she read this single idea amidst a whole story – the book was short enough to read in a sitting or 2 – she would never have pondered this single idea, developed the science of relationships for herself. This way, instead of information passed from teacher to pupil the child is required to do the work and in so doing so they gain knowledge.

Besides this Charotte Mason encourages us to stop before their minds drift off and they loose concentration as part of reading to them is to build the habit of attention. We want to stop when they still excited and want more so that the next day is a treat all over again.

Drawing while listening to a reading.

I’d encourage you to give it a try with just 1 or 2 books and give it time for you to develop the rhythm of a short reading followed by a narration and see at the end of the year which books they have retained more memory of.

Dandelion Days Level 1 Video 2

Today we will be using the Expression Primer with the Expression Primer Narration workbook. You can download the primer off Archive and the narration workbook is part of the Family Feast Literacy ebook pack.

Dandelion Days Level 1 Video 1b

Today’s lesson uses our letter blocks to build on from the words we learned to read in the previous lesson. You will need your letter blocks, some sand or mielie meal to write in and a book to record words into. Enjoy.

Dandelion Days Level 1 Video 1

Here is the first video that Links to the Family Feast reading program. It uses the Charlotte Mason method of integrating sight words and phonics. You could create your own resources to read along with us or you can order our ebooks. The pack of 5 resources that we have created and use in this reading program will be on special as ebooks / pdfs for R150 or $9 (for the next few weeks.

Please fill in the form below if you have any questions or would like to order any of the resources.

Corona Virus Reading Special

With so many families now stuck at home alone we are going to put as many of our reading lessons online for free.

We will try to post a reading lesson everyday. You can make your own resources to follow along or you can purchase the pack from our literacy page.

You can follow along for free all purchase the pack of 5 resources that we have created and use in this reading program will be on special as ebooks / pdfs for R150 or $9 for the next few weeks.

Look forward to you joining us.

Free Reading Lesson – Level 1 Intro.

This is an intro to our Dandelion Days Level 1 reading program. With so many families now stuck at home and their children needing to keep up with their reading we are going to put as many of our reading lessons online for free.

Dandelion Days Level 1 is for children who already know their letters and can already build 3 letter words for fun.

You can follow along for free and make your own resources or you can purchase the 5 pack ebooks / pdf that we use in the lesson this pack will be on special for the next few weeks.

Beginning Form Art

As a new mom I ensured I had lots of cheap, preschool paints and brushes on hand for my little people to mush around with.

As the years rolled by and I learned more about form art and dry brush painting I became more and more intrigued. Soon I began painting myself and the first thing I discovered was how frustrating it was to use a fat brush over which I had no control. Secondly how absolutely shattering it was to paint a picture with paint that wiped off and smeared into powdered dust once it dried. I realised then and there that just like Charotte Mason had always said….

Boxes of cheap colours are to be avoided. Children are worthy of the best.

Having good quality art supplies – even for our littlest people in the home – so I’d say from as soon as they stop wanting to just eat them and pull them apart and are now interested in using the crayon, pencil or paint brush for what it is – has made all the difference to our approach to gaining creative skills. Once a week we have a 10 min skills lesson where we practice how to put paint on the brush, not bend the bristles, dab off water, look carefully at the object and try to create a curved or straight line. These are often not works of art but like handwriting lessons they are building muscle memory and are not created to keep but rather build a skill.

In another lesson we may play with other mediums such as pencils or clay, we may look at colour mixing, shading or how to work and shape the clay. Once again not to create an art work but to simply experiment, explore and build skill upon skill.

These are special times that allow for your child to have the freedom to make huge mistakes and have lots of fun but yet to have good quality tools that set them up for success before they even sit down.

Nature Study

When we fist began using Charlotte Mason 15 yrs ago I was intrigued with her huge thrust on nature study. She really expected the children to really know their birds, plants and all about the world around them. The interesting thing however was that it was not don’t simply knowing about them but it was done through building a relationship with the world around us.

As children spend time outdoors they create connections that no book or lesson could ever dream of creating. Charotte Mason does infact advocate for children to spend 6 hours a day outside whenever possible. That is however another discussion on its own so we’ll keep that for another day.

Never be within doors when you can rightly be without.

Charlotte Mason

As children spend these hours outdoors they see creatures, feel the wind, they maybe bitten by an ant, taste the necture of a honey suckle and smell that fresh rain is about to fall. All these memories are stored and when it comes to later years to learn the sciences it’s these old memories and familiar friends they call into the lesson with them and it is from these that they learn the wonders of the world yet again.


A Family Feast would love to welcome you to our table. This journey through family, life, marriage, learning and growing together is something that entwines within each of us a story of grace, hope, dreams and faith.

What a privileged to journey with our children at home while they explore this beautiful – wide-eyed wonder world. Many years ago Charlotte Mason was introduced to us and since then she has become entwined within our DNA. Her practical philosophy blending with the outplaying of scriptures which under girth all of who we are and how we live. By practically applying her philosophy of education into our everyday existence we have been able to not only grasp a fully delight centered learning life style but we have also embraced beauty, excellence and a deep love for our saviour and all we’ve been called to as his ambassadors upon this earth.

We do hope that you enjoy joining us for this journey and learn as much as we have along the way.