Blue Monday, MLK, Jr. Day and CC Cycle 1, Week 14 Booklist

Our week was quite different from what I had originally planned. We did not have morning time most of our days, we had a few kids feeling under the weather, and frankly, I had a slumpy day or two. Has that ever happened to you? I know that some of you have reminded me to be less hard on myself. I agree, and I also think that there are a couple of things we did that allowed us to hit the “reset” button. Sharing these, especially in the bleak midwinter, might help some of you.

Our week was quite different from what I had originally planned. We did not have morning time most of our days, we had a few kids feeling under the weather, and frankly, I had a slumpy day or two. Has that ever happened to you? I know that some of you have reminded me to be less hard on myself. I agree, and I also think that there are a couple of things we did that allowed us to hit the “reset” button. Sharing these, especially in the bleak midwinter, might help some of you.

For a quick “reset”, try these 7 things (one for each day of the week):

  • Go outside – I know, it’s cold! Just one hour outside will brighten anyone’s mood, though. Trust me. If it is dark throughout the winter and your days are super short, you might want to look into getting a light therapy lamp like this one.
  • Get your blood pumping. Either by dancing, doing some good, old-fashioned boot camp style calisthenics, or playing tag with the kids outside, you can start feeling more of the happy hormones!
  • Take a mental break and write down all the things floating around in your brain. If there are tasks that you are juggling in your brain, write those tasks down. Then, get started with prioritizing. Seeing all the tasks paper will help tackling them feel more manageable.
  • If you are an “organization therapy” person (I do not think I am), then perhaps think of one place in your home you want to reorganize. Start small. It could be a linen closet or a corner of a room. Even rearranging furniture can breathe more life into your day and give you a feeling of accomplishment.
  • Talk to someone. Yes, that’s right. Just picking up the phone to dial a friend (the old-fashioned way, NOT Marco Polo or Voxer) can bring a mood boost to the day. Walking outside to chat with one of our neighbors can brighten my day. Just talk to a human, face-to-face or over the phone.
  • Read God’s Word and write down a verse to copy. Then, make that verse into a doodling masterpiece. This does not only serve as therapy, but it can help you remember the verse better.
  • Read a book of your own, just for fun. It does not have to be a read aloud book with your kids, although those can be good for uniting everyone in the middle of a rough day.

Okay, now that we’ve addressed the blues of winter, just know that you are not alone during this season. In fact, you can look up the “bluest day of the year”. According to a trusted source (ahem, Farmers Almanac), “Blue Monday” falls on the third Monday in January, each year. This year’s “Blue Monday” falls TODAY, January 17th, 2022.

A Holiday

Maybe the holiday we have here in the United States (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day) will offset some of the blues. Holidays usually help because the shared honor or celebration makes people feel more united; less lonely.

As we look ahead to this week and the booklist for CC Cycle 1 Week 14, I wanted to share a book I am looking forward to reading with my kids this week:

Hammering for Freedom: the William Lewis Story by Rita L. Hubbard

I know Dr. King stood for what William Lewis stood for. Although each man has his own unique story, 19th-century William Lewis did the back-breaking manual labor of a blacksmith and did not stop hammering until each and every member of his family was set free. Like William Lewis, Martin Luther King, Jr. indefatigably led marches to speak out against racial injustice for the sake of his children’s generation. Read MLK Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech here.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

Martin Luther King, Jr. (“I Have a Dream” delivered August 28, 1963)

I want to sit down and read the entire speech. I hope you find some time today to reflect on the way that God created all men to reflect his image, the Imago Dei. All men (and women) reflect our good God. We were all made in His image, and we are also all sinners. I am praying for the day Jesus comes again to right all wrongs and bring true justice to this broken world. Until that day comes, I will keep honoring the stories that reflect the diversity, beauty, tenacity and struggle of my black friends, who are each uniquely created in God’s image. For a more robust catalog of books to read that honor black voices, check out my friend Amber O’Neal Johnston at Heritage Mom Blog.

Classical Conversations Cycle 1, Week 14

Whether or not you are currently on Week 14 in CC, this week has an interesting roundup: linear equivalents, three kinds of rock, trade in Africa (think: Mali Empire and Ghana’s gold), geography of Ancient Africa, and Lorenzo Ghiberti. So many connections could be made, but sometimes it’s just good to not go all-out matchy-matchy on read alouds and what we’re learning in our co-op. Kids are able to make some pretty amazing connections between things that are seemingly unrelated. So, do not sweat it when you gather resources. It might be tempting to make everything matchy-matchy… but really, that is an awful lot of work for you, and it is sometimes a lot of fun to just lay the feast out and let them figure out the connections on their own (no digesting the feast for them, please!). You can find the booklist here.

Lastly, I am having some fun making “Living Projects” for families to use with each week of school. Living Projects align with each Classical Conversations week, but you do not have to be in CC or any co-op to appreciate them. I include a video link, a book to read, a fun fact about the subject of my new book, LEGO founder Ole Kirk Christiansen, and an engaging activity or project to do that is appropriate from most students elementary-aged and up. However, I make this content FREE for my most engaged audience. If you’d like to be a part of my email community, you can sign up! I’d love to welcome you in.

I am currently learning about Charlotte Mason and her principles. If you like learning about Charlotte Mason, too, then you’ll also love the art design I insert into my regular emails (they’re quotes like the one below). You could start your next commonplace book of pretty, CM quotes! Who’s with me? Pin and share, friends. Pin and share.

Looking For Stocking Stuffers?

Looking for something for stocking stuffers? Look no further! Between this Back to School supply list (link below) and the booklists on this site, I pray you find success!

I have made a few booklists you can find here, or under the Booklists tab on this site.

Are you looking for gifts that will be used throughout the year? I know I am! Some of my very favorite presents have been books. The time spent cuddling on the couch or bed has been more than worth it.

Next, I will post our favorite Christmas books.

New Christmas Resource: A Joyful Feast

I worked to create a unit study that families can use around Christmas time.  Its implementation does not depend on set days on a calendar.  Rather, it is about as flexible a unit study as you will find.

Disclosure: As an Amazon associate, I may earn a small commission from the purchase of any of these living Christmas books, at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support!

My friends!  It feels good to share something with you

I worked to create a unit study that families can use around Christmas time.  Its implementation does not depend on set days on a calendar.  Rather, it is about as flexible a unit study as you will find.

The name of my labor of love:  A Joyful Feast!  It is a 20-page Charlotte Mason-inspired unit that allows families to create lasting memories. 

In the study I have included:

  • Bible Passages
  • Poetry Recitation
  • Copy Work/Dictation ideas
  • Nature Study
  • Composer Study (internet with YouTube needed)
  • Living Books (books needed)
  • Narration Questions
  • Mother Culture ideas
  • Family Culture Ideas
  • Coloring Pages with Verses

All of these components are meant to be enjoyed together.  Even the copy work/dictation from the poems are meant to be done together.  Now, different family members might be working on writing different lines from the same poem, or different words from the same poem, or might be looking at two different poems and reciting them separately.  Nonetheless, when one family member is enjoying poetry, all the other family members are doing the same thing. Working on a common goal builds family unity!  So everything, from the read alouds to the composer study, is done together.

The only component that can be done in isolation is the “Mother Culture” element of the study.  Mother culture is defined by Karen Andreola, who coined the term in her 2018 book, Mother Culture: For a Happy Homeschool as: “the skillful art with which a mother looks after the ways of her household and herself.  In her home she creates a culture all her own with a mingling of love and responsibility.  A mother does a lot of taking care, so she also takes care of herself,” (2018, p. 1).  When considering the



3)Life-of-Ideas that become tools in a mother’s hands for creating a happy home, I hope you find some echoes of that here. 

In response to each Mother Culture idea, I’ve included a Family Culture action. 

A Joyful Feast would be great for:

This study is not meant to stress you out, which is why it’s so brief and do-able.  My hope is that you do not feel like you have to add this to any other school agenda.  This is an open-and-go, standalone unit study that you can use as Christmas School. Or, if you are hoping to squeeze in some math over break, many components in here have their places in Morning Time, as well!  So, pick and choose what you want to do.  No need to sift through pages and pages of material in a so-called “bundle”.  If you have paper and pencil and an internet connection, you are good to go. 

The books you will need to gather ahead of time are:

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski

Great Joy by Kate DiCamillo

An Orange for Frankie by Patricia Polacco

The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg (newly illustrated edition)

If I had to pick a favorite part of the feast, Poetry Study is probably going to be my favorite, since I get to work on reciting one of these timeless Christmas poems by heart. However, I know reading the living books and Bible passages will be favorites, too.

My son is probably going to enjoy the composer study the most. He already uses it in morning time with me and his younger sister.  He will enjoy finishing the Bach videos and we all will enjoy listening to Bach’s music over the Christmas season.

My daughter will probably enjoy the coloring pages, since she just loves that kind of thing, but I can already tell you that we will enjoy every single component together.  I am really looking forward to this!

How To Get A Joyful Feast

If you are interested in supporting my work, go over to my Etsy shop, Brick Schoolhouse.  There, you will find A Joyful Feast for purchase at an affordable $4.  So simple, but I think the quality rivals many of the other resources you can buy out there now!

Merry Christmas! 2021

Resources: First Half of Classical Conversations Cycle 1

Disclosure Statement: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a small commission from the purchase of these favorite picture books and read-alouds.  Thank you so much for your support!

First Twelve Weeks

In case you have missed it, I would love to share my take on a Charlotte Mason approach (READ: living books) to Classical Conversations Cycle 1, Weeks 1-12. We are currently enjoying some of the books on this list! In case you missed any, I have linked the list here. The page will take you to Week 12, so scroll up the page if you need to find a previous week.

Also, if there are any living books you have found particularly helpful during CC Cycle 1, please do not hesitate to comment here, or let me know! I love getting ideas from you all.

Life is Full!

I wish I could update you on all the things we have been able to enjoy this year so far, but alas! I have to keep up with life. If I get off the treadmill mid-stride, I will surely trip and fall. I do not like that analogy, but for now, it will have to do.

A few of the things we have been up to the first 10 weeks of our school year:

  • starting a new Charlotte Mason co-op
  • reading aloud The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (the kids and I are loving the full-color edition)
  • teaching each other watercolor painting. I (Holly) am taking this on as a thing for myself, really
  • continuing our Charlotte Mason book club (moms only) we started last summer
  • returning refreshed from a week in the NC mountains
  • reading about Martin Luther for Reformation Day
  • watching the Torchlighters Series together on Redeem TV
  • nature study in the sunshine, reading about frogs and trying to find them at our local lake (using Pond and Stream Companion)
  • getting dressed up and going to friends’ homes, where we have enjoyed crafts, games, and food
  • discovering the piano and learning to build the habit of practicing

Our lives have been full! If you’d like to stay updated in a more personal way, I invite you to sign up for our newsletter. It’s still there for you- to encourage you, give you ideas, and foster community. If you want to contribute to a future issue of the My Little Brick Schoolhouse Newsletter, make sure to sign up. I will be involving some of my readers over the next few months. Collaboration can be wonderful!

A moment in time – the family at High Falls

Cheering You On

I sincerely want to cheer you on. You are doing a great job. I trust God is using what you have and doing what He does: making a feast out of our five loaves and two fish. If you feel like a slump or burnout is coming on, you are not alone! Find something life-giving. You are making your plan work for you, not the other way around. Whatever needs to GO in your schedule, after consulting God and His wisdom, make that change. Also, if you have children and you are entering the holiday season, make the time to have some down time with your family. Events will fill up the calendar. You know it. Carve out time to just play and read and have fun together with the family, without expected deadlines or meet-ups.

I love hearing from you and look forward to the next chapter we have together!



%d bloggers like this: