Monday, October 31, 2011

Creativity & Imagination

We hit a fantastic book sale this week-end. Pick and donate. Love that.  In the piles and stacks of books I found a small book on Creativity and Imagination by Jacolyn Mott. It is full of simple and fun activities, excerpts about people who have changed the world- an idea book of sorts. The first chapter devotes itself to developing a mind that is creative. Great stuff for artists and educators.  Here's what this author had to say:

There are 4 stages to the creative process

Preparation -a time of action, gathering facts and seeking answers. Trial and error my require detailed experiments, and pacing may be involved. At times preparation takes just a little while, and at others, it is a long and tedious process.
Incubation- Your mind continues to work, though once the preparation has been exhausted, the situation may look bleak. Your mind considers and organizes the material that you've gathered. It combines it with the material that you have gathered and stored throughout your life.
Inspiration- this is the "flash" of genius- a sudden solution to a problem.
Verification- the solution that comes from inspiration needs to be verified. It is easy to recognize in science and industry (does the Wright Brothers plane actually fly, does Edison's light bulb illuminate?). It is less obvious in other forms of creativity.

"Imagination comes from the Latin word, imago- which means likeness or picture. Imagination is the ability to form in the mind a picture or idea of something that is not present. Such pictures or ideas are like the images of a kaleidoscope. They constantly change and dissolve...only to begin again.  We make demands on imagination- for example; to recreate the past; to wonder about unfamiliar people or places; and to toy with ideas about the future."

One of my goals for the year with my drawing and writing students is to impart to them that creativity nurtures creativity. Being an artist in one field does should not limit or define you, though it often does, rather, it should challenge you. I used to own a book called, Doubly Gifted; The Author as Visual Artist and this intrigued me. So many brilliant authors were also profound visual artists.
Along those same lines, I just checked out a book of poetry by Bradbury. F451 is a must read, along with the Martian Chronicles and poetry is just another form of writing, but Bradbury's wit and humor, his eloquent use of just a few words to create stories and images is terrific. It's a totally different form of writing and Bradbury excels at it with as much distinction as the narrative.

The truly creative people that I have known personally are polymaths. They are constantly searching, wondering, seeking, creating with texts or symbols or wood or food. Their creative minds are not limited by one thing, such as a drawing pencil or piano or flour. Their minds are challenged by one thing to go to the next thing and the next and the next. It's an unending adventure.

How do you nurture creativity in your home?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pagan Madness

An interesting discussion in Bible Study yesterday regarding the church today and the passivity, and even at times, intimidation, that is nurtured by the buildings and the service of the present day church, vs. the synagogue. The synagogue of old had benches around the perimeter of the room. The text would be read, the word expounded on. And then the dialogue and discussion would begin. Disagreements were normal, expected, encouraged. Questioning was de rigeur. The participants were all educated, informed and invested in their fellow church members, whether or not they like or agreed with them, and deeply invested in The Way (Ha' Derech).  Of course, they'd been educated in an environment that was based on memorization, inquiry and exploration. They were expected to question, to mull, to read, to inquire, to find out, to wrestle with information, the text and each other intellectually. It was the culture.

Sharp contrast to the modern methodologies of the way most of us have been educated and the way most of us approach our faith walk and church community. There is little tolerance for questioning, with the expectation that paid ministerial and educational staff is deferred to.  Children and adults who know "too much" are considered know-it-alls, or show-offs, and those who question are considered disruptive trouble makers. Churches and our educational institutions are not places of discussion, interaction and intense debate amongst people who devote themselves to study, learning and each other. Most often they a places of passivity, entertainment, lectures and sermons that, while they might inspiring for the moment, do little to change lives. Perhaps that's because they are stand alones in a setting that does not value or emphasis community, mutual accountability, humility and growth. Educational institutions the country over are struggling to instill the basic of education (check out our national rankings among developed countries), while churches struggle to instill the basics of faith (just look up the stats on porn useage or divorces among church members/ pastors to be convinced) perhaps because we've given that part of our lives over to the "experts"; the people that we pay, as a community, to do the church thang or the academic thang, to know the religious stuff or the academic stuff; to be our collective archetype of faith and intellect.

My  husband, professional counselor and dedicated theologian, says that we all suffer from Pagan Madness. I love those words because they keep me remembering that I am not yet Christ-like, I am ever being sanctified, and my walk needs to be just that, active, constant and current. I need to be present on my faith journey and moving forward or I fall, once again, full bore, into Pagan Madness. ("Hi, I'm Lisa, I'm a compulsive pagan.") My experience in the church is that we forget this truth and think that somehow if we show up on Sundays, if we tithe a bit, bring bars for fellowship hour and take our kids to Sunday School, then we've done "enough," we're saved, it's finished. And yet, we are still not transformed, our minds still not renewed, our lives still not laid down.

And,  there is this expectation that people will look, smell, and act nice in church. Those that disagree are rejected. Those who know too much are held at arms length. Those that don't know enough are fondled, rather than taught, held accountable  and expected to grow up to be leaders in the church. Catch phrases and words are thrown around like candy, with the expectation that those who "get the language" have gotten faith. The reality is that hipsterism has replaced maturity and wisdom in our pews. The church is in a crisis, theologically and politically because of our pagan madness, and our inability to question, grow and expect more from ourselves and each other. We have become passive, rather than receptive. Entitled rather than grateful. Full of ourselves, rather than full of the Spirit.

Oswald Chambers writes: "I am put right with God because prior to all, Christ died." This flies in the face of our modern way of thinking which seduces us into believing that we are the ones in control in of our destiny, that we came to Jesus because we found Him. We are saved because God wooed us, initiated, died. Only after His sacrifice could we hear, responded and obey. Our salvation is only ours because we saw that He found us.
Our faith, which we are called to work out with faith and trembling,  is one that demands we question, seek, and find. We have to work the program (Christianity 101) or our Pagan Madness wins.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hard Work U

Bouldering. It's climbing, without a harness.

 In our homeschool this week:
Flower got started on Singapore Story Problem 4. She just gets it. I keep trying to get her to draw a graph cause I know she'll need it later but right now she just doesn't see the need. We started on long division. She's like Feeche, mathematics is just her deal. Even with that, IEW Fairy Tales and Fables is her new favorite thang. She wrote her second story this week and did it all on her own. She loves our little writing group (and so do I!) and IEW makes it so do-able. Latin is cruising along, history and science. Feeche spends hours a week writing and it shows. His organization and cohesiveness has improved greatly.

House Work: Dr. Fix-it installed a door, a real door, a real wood door,  (maple, pre-hung, stained and beautiful) in the basement bathroom (our only working shower right now so this room sees a lot of traffic!). This sure beats the torn and tattered, duct taped shower curtain that was there before. Tomorrow he'll be putting a ceiling in the bathroom. This week-end we'll get the rest of the mudding done on the upstairs bedrooms and then next week-end we'll texturize ceilings and walls, paint and then, maybe, just maybe, we'll move up there, despite the missing trim.

By the Books: We finished the Wrinkle in Time quartet, (including Many Waters) and went back to Laura, picking up  By the Shores of Silver Lake. We went to the pageant at DeSmet this year and were sorely disappointed, more so because our day there a year ago was delightful. Our literary friends, the Enak's have suggested the Betsy Tacy series and we are looking forward to delving into them. I picked up The Left Hand of Darkness by LeGuin this week.  I'm not loving it- it's not a book that you love. But the plot and theme is intriguing enough to really capture my imagination. It's one of those books that is hard to wrap your imagination around. Hopefully I'll get a review up when I'm done. I'm curious what LeGuin will do with what she has started.

What's cooking
Sweet potatoes, winter squash and pumpkin. Mmmm. Love the smell of fresh squash being cut open. I like it plain but KB drizzles butter and brown sugar on it. I cooked some pumpkin today and this week-end we'll be eating a pumpkin pie. Just because.

On the homestead
 Hauled manure from Green Acres (you wanted to know that, right?!- thank-you, Cyndi and Stan! You get the best neighbor award again!) for the garden and spent an afternoon getting beds dug in. We are on the look-out for more cause we plan to open up a couple of other areas to make a bigger squash bed and to put in sweet potatoes along with the russets and reds. Harvested Brussels sprouts and more parsley. Dried pumpkin and squash seeds and lemon verbena. Love, love, love lemon verbena. I purchased a way too twiggy potted and pitiful specimen at the end of season clearance and have been transplanting it and gently pruning, along with lavender, basil and rosemary. Scents and greenery to get us through the long winter on the Territories.

Words for the week
Voluble -Marked by a ready flow of speech; fluent
obdurate- Hardened in wrongdoing or wickedness; stubbornly impenitent:
specious-Having the ring of truth or plausibility but actually fallacious, deceptively attractive
fecund-Capable of producing offspring or vegetation; fruitful, marked by intellectual productivity
pertinacious-Holding tenaciously to a purpose, belief, opinion, or course of action
perfidy-Deliberate breach of faith; calculated violation of trust; treachery

Field Trip: Rock Climbing. It's hard work, on many levels. Wish there were a wall closer cause my kids would live there. They got in the car starving, exhausted and complaining that their fingers and fore-arms hurt, slept the whole ride home, woke up and asked when we were going again. Our kinda fun.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

Chronos, Kairos & House Fires

Saturday was the 2nd anniversary of our house fire. It's been 24 months that have dragged on and whizzed by. Portions of our house are beautiful and yet our bed still resides in the living room. It's an odd life we lived, made even odder by the circumstances of the past many months. We are so busy some weeks it feels like we are whirling dervishes and yet the work that we have left to do seems never to diminish. It feels, at times, like a logarithmic list of tasks; the  more we do, the more we have to do.

This date that marks the anniversary of the fire, this chronological date, will be one of those dates on our calendars that will show up every year, like our anniversary, our kid's birthdays, the dates on which my parent's and sister died. It's one of those dates that is just part of our lives now, a fact,  a remembrance, an acknowledgement that the stuff in our lives is just that; stuff and that certain stuff occupies certain seasons of our lives, but not others and that each season is specific to itself in space and time.

I've been reading lots of books by Madeline L'Engle lately and she is fascinated with time and space. In one interview the questioning touches on this: "What do you think about when you look at the stars?" L'Engle responds, "Sometimes I think about time. That the star I am looking at is that star as it looked a hundred or four hundred years ago. That when I stand here, in this time, and look at that star, I am not just looking at space. I am looking at time- at another time. That fascinates me." It's this juxtaposition of Kairos and Chronos time that L'Engle addresses over and over in her writing. That the small, seemingly random acts that we perform, create ripples of effect. That our lives are not for naught, but for something beyond what we can, often, see or know.

I love how L'Engle differentiates between Kairos and Chronos- it's an important distinction- the word Karios means the right or opportune moment- the supreme moment. Chronos means sequential time, a time in between, a moment of indeterminate time in which something happens. Chronos is quantitative whereas karios has a qualitative nature.

I think about these aspects of time as we educated our kids. Montessori talks about "windows of opportunity" that are available to teach students specific subjects. Developmentally, children are most receptive to learning at certain times in life.  We were with some kids this past week and my husband and I observed one young person whose parents have seemed to miss one of these windows - kairos- in which to shape and form their child's character.It's not that this kids is bad or indelilibly warped. It's that the window of opportunity to teach diligence and the value of work rather than slothful or shirking behavior, is closing. He has learned irresponsibility rather than putting his hand to the plow. While we believe it's never too late to parent well, lessons learned out of kairos are more difficult to teach effectively, more difficult to absorb. Kairos and Chronos time seem for us anyway, to blend well together under the rubric of classical education. We don't have it down to a science, but we do have a framework that takes into account both ways of understanding time, and the people who live within it. . Education, parenting, character training, living is comprised of both. "Opportune" (Kairos) moments set within a framework of the  chronological moments of our lives.

The fire was, for us, a kairos moment. One of many in the chronology of our lives. One that has shaped us and molded us since. We can, for instance, all drywall now. We have compassion, in a way that was distant and impersonal before, for those who have suffered a devastating loss or displacement. We know more about insurance claims, adjustor's and contractors. We know more about ourselves, our limits, our levels of patience, our faith, our desire for stability, our hurt at the loss of stuff. We know, and trust, in a deeper way than before, that God captures every one of our tears and that he holds every one of our memories. That photo albums are bound by chronos time and will fade and burn but that the Master of the Universe never forgets the Karios moments of our lives, that He stores and cherishes our memories even when they are lost to us. We know, further up and farther in, that things take time and that chronological time is a safe guard for us, keeping our own ambition or drivenness to get things done, to achieve tasks and to accomplish, in check and in perspective.

It's been an interesting and busy time in our lives, both chronos and kairos. We thank God for the fire. Which is odd and yet true of so much in our lives. The hard things, truly hard and painful and difficult things, shape and mold us in ways that we couldn't fathom or consider before thier occurance. "For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison" (2 Corinthians 4:17)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Math WOOP, Reading, Latin, Listening

In Our Homeschool This Week: Math with Cub- major WOOP. We've been doing Singapore Story Problems for 2 years and LOVE them. I mean, not in a love, love way, but more in a, we are working our heiny's off and making our brains grow kinda lovey way. You know, hard work love.  Usually I read the solutions and then coach Cub on how to do it. On Wednesday he got through 4 story problems in about 20 minutes, drew the graphs with no prompts and got the problems absolutely CORRECT. We were both so thrilled, and his smile was HUGE. He said, "Thanks, Mom! I get it." Happy, happy dance. Love Singapore and LOVE my happy boy ; ) Latin- it's our other big win this year, after years of puttering around with it. Flower is LOVING Leigh Lowe (and what's not to love?!) and LC I. She thrills to throw around Latin phrases and words and told me last night at bedtime, "Good-night, Feminine" (instead of feminina. Thus ensued many calls of, 'Good-night gynokose (Greek for Woman) as well as other terms of twisted endearment). First Form rocks. Latin for the lingua-phobic, that takes you far, fast.

By the Books: We read more L'Engle, finished  Many Waters and started A Swiftly Tilting Planet. (Meg, dear Meg, please stop whining!). The notsolittles are still fascinated by the time travel, the social and theological implications and just how it would all work. I'm fascinated by L'Engle and read a quick YA bio of her this week. Much of the info was contained in A Circle of Quiet, and better written. I did get a couple more books from the Crosswicks series for the nightstand. L'Engle read 2-3 books a week. Makes my 1 seem paltry.

Things I'm Working On: One BIG, huge, thang which is cooking my grits cause it's related to everything else. And writing- not so much cause I'm trying to get the aforementioned organized.  And teaching writing- which makes me very happy; partially cause I have really rock out students, and partially cause words rock. And getting another room DONE this week-end (fingers crossed).

What's cooking: Friend Gala gifted us with a huge bag of kale, which made it's way into chicken, rutabaga, carrots, fresh large leaves of parsley, onions, garlic and kale soup. It was so healthy and delicious we all felt like Popeye after dinner. Paired with Challah bread toasted with Parmesan. Plus Spike. Spike makes everything wonderful!

Glory Revealed II [Audio CD]
What's playing: We've been listening to "Glory Revealed II" every time we get in the car. Our good friend Laura sent it to us years ago and it is one of my all time favorite CD's. My favorite track is 7. 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show us that the power is from God. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

A Quote to Share: I saw this earlier in the week during moments of doubt and discouragement. Sometimes when I hear myself telling someone else about my life (they asked, really, they wanted to know) I sound like a lunatic to me- kwim?

The Americans Creed by Dean Alfange:
"I do not choose to be a common man.  It is my right to be uncommon.  I seek opportunity to develop whatever talents God gave me - not security.  I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me.  I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed.  I refuse to barter incentive for a dole.  I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia.  I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout.  I will never cower before any earthly master not bend to any threat.  It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations and to face the world boldly and say - 'This, with God's help, I have done.'  All this is what it means to be an American."

And yet, this sums it up. Beautiful, yes?

A Blog to Follow: I found a lovely blog this week: Sage Parnassus. The author, Nancy, is a CM advocating homeschooler. Her blog is gently inspiring, to the point that I re-visited Andreola's A Charlotte Mason Companion Guide. While I'm still happily ensconced in the  classical camp, CM has strongly influenced our homeschooling and Nancy's blog has inspired me yet again. For example:

Get thy tools ready,
God will find the work.

How'd your week go?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Education in Asia

Tough Love: An Education is another look at education in Asia. It's tough, it gets results, and frankly, it's totally lopsided. Crafting geniuses who have few emotional or social skills and zero spiritual skills is concerning at best. Crafting geniuses who parents sole purpose is to get them into a better school, to get a better job, to make more money is crafting a house that is built on self, not wisdom.
Money, money, money can only buy the temporal.

Not that I don't think the American Educational System can't use a good overhaul. There's much we can learn from Asian schools regarding discipline and excellence. Mediocrity and average is highly overrated. Our obese sense of self esteem in the light of poor academic achievement is an embarrassment.

Back to study as worship. We were given talents, skills, abilities to serve the One True Living God, not ourselves or our pocketbook. Study as worship acknowledges our limitations, acknowledges our abilities and keeps us from thinking more of ourselves than we ought.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Celebrating Sukkot

We had a great time of fellowship and feasting on Saturday as we studied and celebrated the Festival of Succot.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wrinkles & Wind

In our week....Ever have weeks when your brain is mush. Uh -huh. This week. I want a room with a door for Christmas. Then when details threaten me I can go to my room, shut the door and cry, sleep, sit, stare out the window re-group.

In our homeschool .....we kid sat 3 extras all last week-end;  non-stop fun, evening camp fires and drywalling equated to exhausted moi kids by Monday and Cub and I have been fighting some kind of bug every since. Monday consisted of getting stuff ready for TC and then one big long read aloud.  A Wrinkle in Time was passed around like candy, and KB, Feeche, Cub and I all took turns, and finished the book in one day. The kids loved it. We started A Wind in the Door, late at night, ending where Mr. Jenkins is sucked up in to nothingness. Both notsolittles were freaked out concerned; Flower to the point of nudging her way into my bed at o'dark:30 to ask about just how real that whole thing was. She spent the rest of the night snuggling rilly, rillly close. We finished Thursday evening with the kids outraged that the Mrs. W's, Louise and Prognoskis fates are not duly explained to thier satisfaction.

I am loving my class of 3rd grader girlies that I am teaching writing to. They are so wiggly, giggly and eager to read and know. We are using IEW's Fairy Tales and Fables; good stuff.

On the homestead...We cleaned up the garden this week, and have big plans to visit our friends at Green Acres and haul some organic fertilizer back. We're expanding. The more we read about mass produced food the more concerned we grow; did you know that bananas are now considered a manufactured product? Oy vey. 

We're celebrating Sukkot this Saturday with our weekly Fellowship group. Apple Cake and Challah bread filled the house with their delectable aroma today. We tested one of the loaves of challah with homemade chicken vegtable soup, chock full of garden veggies and fresh parsley.
Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share Freedom.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Dr. Michelangelo

We have 9' ceilings. Dr. Michelangelo is up high, on home-made scaffolding, mudding away, whistling, making puns and singing 70's songs.  (Can you believe this man is kissing 50?! Dang, why is he aging soo very much better than me??!!)

This is the room leading to the attic that we took the closet out of that Jack built. It was a huge closet but made for an awkward L shaped room that wasn't fit for man or beast (well, that's only cause we don't let the beasts not counting children inside, but I digress). We sacrificed the closet and now have a really decent sized/shaped room that leads to the walk-up attic room, complete with dormer window. There is lots of talk about who gets it and room trading going on and I've strongly considered pulling rank and claiming it and turning the attic into a writer's loft. It's gonna be awhile though till we get stuff moved up there 'cause this room alone needs sanded and more mud where the plaster board and drywall meet. KB did an awesome job of seaming the ceiling along the east wall. That's where we put in more structural support and created a huge wall length sized closet. (I had more pics  but Blogger's not loading very well today). I did a great job of laughing at the puns (no small sacrifice) and butchering the words to the 70's songs.  (I did work on mudding a bit but then made the mistake of getting up and down a ladder at which point my leg rebelled and demanded sitting and more ibuprofen.).

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Problem with Freedom

I've been thinking about our homeschool. My homeschool. I've homeschooled for 21 years. I know what I want to accomplish and why. I know how to do it (mostly). These things have not always been true. What has always been true is that I wanted for my children something that I, as a child, and even young adult, did.not.have.

What did I want that freedom to entail? Time. Time alone. Time for my kids to grow in to themselves without the stupidity and maturity stopping labels of too smart, too stoopid, too rich, too poor, too whatever. Time to follow bunny trails and embrace passions and learn and develop as spiritual beings along with their intellectual and social selves instead of being stunted and baby believers all of their lives. Freedom to hear the still small voice of God instead of being drowned in a cacophony of belligerent electronic and emotional and social distractions.

We've failed in a lot of things but in this one area, the area of giving our kids freedom, I believe that we have succeeded. Our kids have spent hours reading, listening to teaching and music CD's, grown in wonder and awe, understand how to create and learn and grow and have developed their belief in the concrete, the mystical, and the divine.

In that, dissatisfied creature that I am, I am content. I am not proud. I am satisfied. I have offered 5 people in the world something unique and fulfilling and awe-inspiring and, I believe, eternal.

What they choose to do with it, however, is not something that I can control. And that leads me to the point of this post. Freedom is easily lost, frittered away and unappreciated. Two things crowd out freedom, lawlessness and legalism.

Freedom is oft mistaken for lawlessness. True freedom is anything but. True freedom points the way to something greater but those who are free and aren't disciplined end up rebellious and ungrateful, entitled and lacking the self-control necessary to maintain or to create.

On the other hand, freedom is often, because of our very human nature, tied up in a box and restrained. We want to set controls, make rules, define, clarify and develop. Everything is created twice and those who envision something extraordinary and beyond the norm frequently get hung up on the nitty-gritty necessities of making a way in the world, the nuts and bolts, tpaying the bills. Nitty-gritty snuffs out freedom just as fast as devil may care lawlessness.

Because we are not raising children, but adults, and ultimately eternal beings, we get to a point in our parenting where we let go. The kids, adults, souls that we've stewarded make their own choices, their own mistakes, and live their own lives. Outcomes are not my responsibility, faithfulness is. I've faithfully, along with the dedicated care and provision of my husband, given my kids freedom. Freedom to think and feel and live how they are called. And if they stumble in to lawless rebellion or legalistic life-sucking forms that diminishes their call, it is their choice and ultimately, their responsibility. Perhaps they did not understand the gift they they've been given, the sacrifices made, the hardships endured to offer them this precious gift. Perhaps they wanted something else. There are voices, and  always have been, that have ridiculed, badgered and scoffed at what we've offered our children. The voices, loud and bitter, were loud andoften enough heard that my children noticed. Perhaps the siren songs of other wooed them.  It's not mine to speak to.

My vision for homeschooling has been that my kids would embrace  freedom, revel in it, dance unabashedly because of what they've been afforded. In that hope, despite the lack of assurance of outcomes, we continue. We continue to steward well what we can give.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Memory Monday

 Memory work this year hasn't been as draconian as in years past.  For one, the 3 scholars I still have at home have done enough memory work that they"get"  it when it's required. For another, their classes require lots so that's our focus.
photo courtesy of The Conscious Life

Here's what we're memorizing this year:

Latin vocab, conjugations and declensions, phrases, songs
Choral and worship music
VP Bible Cards.
Math facts
Cub is memorizing the periodic table.
Poetry. To date we don't have one poem under our belt for the year (unusual for us). This is partly due to the fact that we continue to haul everything up and down the stairs as we work on mudding, floor re-finishing and sanding the 2nd floor and actually living in our house. It has caused no end of disruption, and lost poetry books.
Feeche is going to participate in POL this year and he'll be memorizing 3 poems for that.
He'll also participate in the Festival of One Act Plays and memorize his play for that.

In addition to that we'll review CC Cd's and SOTW Cd's and begin to learn MoH Cd's (it amazes me how much of SOTW my notsolittles have actually memorized!).
And, true confessions, my kids continue to memorize entire Charlie Brown DVDs as well as entire comic books and graphic novels, including but not limited to Calvin and Hobbs, Garfield and the aforementioned Charlie Brown.

What are you memorizing this year? What are your resources?

My bloggie buddy Miss. Moe hosts a Memory Monday link-up and you'll find lots more inspiration over at the Hop Hip Homeschool Moms Button

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Logosphilia & Learning

Word love, baby.  I love tropes and poetry and lit and foreign word lists. More fodder for word play and manipulation, which we work to make an art form 'round here.

My new words for the week (with thanks to the imitable Ms. L'Engle):

iconoclast; One who attacks and seeks to overthrow traditional or popular ideas or institutions
widdershins; In a contrary or counterclockwise direction
hubris; Overbearing pride or presumption; arrogance
ontological; Of or relating to essence or the nature of being
fulsome; Offensively flattering or insincere.
soporific; Inducing or tending to induce sleep. Drowsy
poniards; A dagger typically having a slender square or triangular blade
perfidy; deliberate breach of faith, treachery
gauche; awkward, lacking social grace, crude
peutile (french); capable of panic or disorder
lugubrious; mournful, dismal or gloomy
diaphanous; vague or unsubstantial
sarxy; fleshly, pollution of the spirit

I love the word sarxy. Anything with a "x" in it deserves special mention, dontcha' think?

Over at the Hive there was a whole discussion about what home school parents are learning. I think it's an important question. If we are not learning as teachers, how are we keeping the material fresh and engaging for our students? This fall I'm teaching high schoolers Creative Writing and Drawing. I'm also teaching a group of 3rd graders writing. It is so fun to teach the very beginner writer as well as the more mature, serious writer. It jazzes me. I'm challenged to really "get" grammar so that I can engage the notsolittles with it and help them realize that it's just an engaging game, not something to be intimidated or threatened by (which I was for years, hence my struggle in foreign language study). I'm challenged to keep writing and reading myself or the high shcoolers will trounce me. Oh yeah. These are sharp kids. Their writing just thrills me. I would not, at all, be surprised in more than one of my few students ended up being a published author.

My dh, the polymath and voracious learner, is tucking another language under his belt (his 4th) and goes around waxing lyrical in Hebrew. It's is enchanting. Far more enchanting than all of the 70's songs he sings to me, (but not as funny : ).  He is always learning something and can engage intelligently with a plethora of subjects. I can engage intelligently about a handful of subjects. I figure all of the recipes and kids birthday and personal  info that are filed in my brain is taking up quite a bit of brain space. Still, with that, I am intentional about learning all of the time in certain areas: my faith, writing/lit, gardening/landscaping, relationships (human development/therapy/sociology, creativity and education. Our house fire/ re-build has forced us to learn about building and construction among other things. Which has been an exhausting blast.

I love the idea that to study is worship. Thinking of it as such expands the meaning and forms of worship.

What new words have you come across lately? What are you learning? What jazzes you most?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Rose Ensemble

The kids and I had the singular pleasure of attending a concert given by The Rose Ensemble last night at our fair cities newly restored Cathedral. The music- divine. The setting- fabulous. My only regret of the evening was that I purchased one, not two, Cd's.
 The concert that we heard was the Life of St. Francis in story and song. Il Poverello: Medieval & Renaissance Music for Saint Francis of Assisi. A perfect tie-in to Feeche's Midieval History study.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fall Lovliness

Lots of park time this week, taking advantage of the gorgeous fall weather.
 In our homeschool....We got a lot of school work done this week. Feeche is cruising through First Form. Cub is puttering close behind and Flower is happily engage with Ms. Lowe twice a week watching Latina Christian I DVD's. The workbook is challenging to her but she loves throwing around Latin words. Each night she calls, "Good-night, Mater!" "Good-night, Pater." We are still very happy with LoF. Singapore Story Problems still cook our grits. I actually came across one in "5" that I knew how to do all on my own! Woop! History, Science, Lit, and Read Alouds.
We are working on hosting a Poetry Outloud competition for high schoolers in the area.

Good News!...My Sister made it through back surgery just fine. The docs removed a grapefruit sized cyst from her spinal column. Now for recovery!

Words...Loving L'Engles Crosswicks Journal #1, Circle of Quiet. The life that she wove was so rich with art, friends, science, faith, community. Her words are nourishing. We're reading "Wrinkle" next, I was appalled to realize that Cub had never read it.

Books....Finished "Little House on Plum Creek" with Flower. This family goes from trauma to trauma. Honestly, I'm thinking they were walking around with PTSD. They get out of life and death situations over and over by the skin of their teeth. This is my 4th time reading the series out-loud. I know it's fiction. But seriously, I have the greatest respect and admiration for this family while holding in my head, at the same time, the thought that they were a bit whacked. We're taking a break from this series to read a Wrinkle in Time, et al. I need some mystical to balance the stark reality of pioneer living.

Mud works....My leg is getting better after days and days, hours and hours of keeping it elevated and sucking down Ibuprofen. The plan is to tackle the bedroom going to the attic (walk-up) this week-end and get the mudding finished. I'm going to stay earth bound and Viking Man is going to work on the ceiling (we have drywall abut plaster board. So we have to tape and made and smooth the seam.)

Dirt Indoors....Why were my kitchen counters laden with dirt? We dug the last of the potatoes, and the carrots. I don't really like potatoes. They are so bland and starchy. But homegrown are better. They actually have flavor. And carrots from the ground? Taste like a vegetable; clean, slightly sweet, full of fresh air and health.

If you are looking for something wonderful to do with your family this fall, check out my article on Celebrate Sukkot: (and why you should) for some great ideas about incorporating this joyous festival!

Yesterday was a wind-storm. The tramp sashayed across and around the yard. The wind was followed by a thunderstorm and I was awakened by rocking-n-rolling a couple of times. It's defiantly fall, heralding the coming of winter.

Thursday, October 6, 2011



I've been having a great time reading A Circle of Quiet by Madeline L'Engle. I love the definition of
"Responsibility" - "To Respond."
Elegantly simple and magnificent.

She goes on to write, "There is a beautiful Talmudic story that when the Children of Israel reached the Red Sea, and Moses struck his staff on the shore, the waters of the sea did not part to let them through. The Israelites stood there at the edge of the water and nothing happened until one of the men plunged in.The the waters fell back.

This certainly flies in the face of our culture that makes a studied practice of showing a deplorable lack of curiosity about most everything.

Lots of thoughts brewing about this.  Yours?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fall Festivities

It's clearly fall 'round here. The fields surrounding our valley residence are being harvested, the birds are flocking in our south pasture (the one bordered by the river) and the air is dry and crisp. We love all things fall and are getting ready for a Sukkot feast with friends, Thanksgiving and girding our loins for the long winters of the Territories.

We are learning about the Old Testament festivals this year. It has been eye-opening, the amount of richness and meaning that we are finding. For a basic start on Sukkot, (beginning the evening of October 12 through October 19) check out my article on How to Celebrate Sukkot. And here are some beautiful, simple chair tie-backs KB made over the week-end.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Small World

We went out to dinner Friday evening after seeing Courageous as a family. It is just as good the 2nd time around! Feeche and I ordered fish, which reminded me of summer days at my grandparent's cottage. Fried fish for breakfast, caught fresh, and apple pie with milk. Breakfast of champions Germans, yeah, baby. Magical and delicious!
The cottage was on Lake Winona in Indiana, about 1000 miles from where we were dining. KB starts looking at the pictures on the wall and notices that the wall is a tribute to the military. The bottom picture is of a military camp. Guess where...Lake Winona, Indiana.

I loved that place. I loved the cottage; my grandparents, the lake, my aunts and uncles. Croquet on the lawn that was so green is was dazzling. Board games at night. Aunts and Uncles whose eyes shone when they looked at you because you were their tribe, their people, and they loved you that much. Grandparents who didn't say much but made you apple pie and let you eat if for breakfast and took you fishing at 0'dark:30.
Good times. Sweet memories.

A blessed Sabbath.