27 December 2012

Miscellaneous Musings on Monday {Thursday Edition}

I almost took the whole week off. Most of you know that we have a New Year's Eve birthday in the house, so we jump straight from Christmas into birthday mode. Today, I'm starting the cake and shopping for party paper goods like napkins and plates. It'll be fun, though admittedly I'd like to take a nap {or two!}. I've still managed to collect a few links for the list, so here goes.

In the news...

  • Michigan boys unearth 13,000-year-old mastodon bone in backyard dig from Fox News. Talk about having an adventure in your own backyard!
    Many people in childhood have this very same fantasy, to dig in their backyard and unearth a fossil of some sort or artifact of some significance. And this was authentic, the real thing.
  • Top 5 Aussie Living Books from A Peaceful Day. I asked Jeanne for an Australian reading list for those of us who are foreigners. I thought Son E. would enjoy a romp through Down Under, but I obviously can't purchase every book she uses for her curriculum. Here is her list of must-reads!
  • How 'Cliff' Talks Hit the Wall from The Wall Street Journal. Pray tell how increasing our debt will help us avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff." And how exactly does a minuscule increase in taxes make up for wild overspending habits?
    The White House's first formal offer, presented Nov. 29 left Mr. Boehner incredulous. It included a request for $1.6 trillion in additional tax revenue over 10 years, a permanent increase in the debt ceiling and money for road projects and other year-end priorities.
  • Hungary bars foreigners from buying farmland from France 24.
    "The constitution will guard Hungarian land as a national treasure, our common inheritance and basis for our living, and protect it from domestic and foreign speculators," a statement from the rural development ministry said.
  • Economic reality marries age-old idea -- apprenticeships -- with college from US News. Shudder. Apprenticeships are great. Fantastic even. But the fact that they are equating technical training with college makes me ill. That colleges are taking their direction from "local industry" is disturbing. Education is prescriptive. It teaches us what what we need to know--what we must know to be free men--not what we want to know in order to bring in a lot of cash.
    The colleges typically work with local industry to design their classroom programs.
  • ILLUSTRATION INSPIRATION: LISBETH ZWERGER from Tiny Yellow Bird. Zwerger is a new favorite. Get to know her, friends!
    It is interesting to think that many of our tastes are formed by first impressions. When I became interested in art and illustration as a teenager, I went to the library for inspiration.
Have a great week!

20 December 2012

Masterly Inactivity

[T]he mother who is not up to children is at their mercy, and need expect no quarter. But she must see without watching, know without telling, be on the alert always, yet never obviously, fussily, so.
In her third volume, Charlotte Mason includes an entire chapter on the concept of masterly inactivity. This is, to some extent, parenting by doing nothing. Lest you think this is akin to laziness or carelessness, I refer you to the above quote. The struggle for me is in feeling that I must be actively doing something in order to effect any purpose. But yesterday I once again made the conscious decision to engage in masterly inactivity, and the result was that I had to pretend that I was not laughing.

Q-Age-Five was playing with some glass figurines on the kitchen bar, and she had balanced one rather precariously on top of another. My masterly inactivity is always encouraged by the complete overbearing nature of E-Age-Ten in times like these.

"It's going to fall!" he declared.

"No it isn't!" she retorted pridefully.

This is a very common sort of interaction between these two know-it-alls.

I'm sure you can imagine the no-it-isn'ts and yes-it-ises that flew back and forth after that. A-Age-Seven looked up to me with pleading eyes, but since it didn't seem to be escalating, I decided to step back and see who God would teach through this. Would it be Q-the-Careless {to say nothing of her pride}? Would it be E-the-Enforcer {how many times have I reminded him that I, in fact, am the parent}?

They both needed correction, but I knew only one would get it because only one would be proven right and whoever was wrong? Well, whoever was wrong would be the one corrected.

I was amused, what can I say?

Finally, Q-Age-Five went too far.

"No! It! Isn't!" With each word, she pounded her little fist upon the bar.

Really, I couldn't have planned it better myself. With the last pound, her little figure fell from grace and landed on the bar, split into three or four pieces.

Daughter Q. disappeared to the floor. Being on the other side of the counter, I couldn't see her, but I could hear her breathing. I knew tears were imminent.

She came plowing around the corner, her face in her hands. I admit it: I was trying not to laugh at her.

"Mom, I'm so embarrassed," she whispered in my ear, wetting my face with her tears.

Still, I said nothing, but just held her tight.

Pride, they say, it goeth before things like this. My hope is that it leaveth this child in time.

17 December 2012

Miscellaneous Musings on Monday {Evening Edition}

Well, I didn't think I'd get this out today. As it is, I'm barely scraping it in. For some of you, it may already be tomorrow! We are well into the Advent season here, and I foretell that it won't be slowing down for the next two weeks or so, seeing as we have a New Year's Eve birthday to celebrate, of course. {To say nothing of the New Year.} As usual, I shall celebrate my blogoversary {seven years, baby!} by disappearing from the internet {for the most part} for a few weeks.

But I've collected links, and I still have some posts haunting me, so I'll be around...

  • The Gentler Side of St. Nick from CiRCE. Saint Nicholas Day is already past, but I just adore Nicholas of Myra!
    Nicholas, the bishop of Myra, lived during the tumultuous fourth century, when both false teaching and the Roman Emperor continually assaulted the Church. Fascinating stories swirl around the life of Saint Nicholas, and while we face some difficulty in distinguishing the tall tales from the true tales, they all combine to create the portrait of an inspiring man.
  • French star Depardieu moves to lower-tax Belgium from myfoxny.com. When we were voting on the new tax hikes here in CA, I mentioned to people that a "tax on the rich" is likely to mean the rich leave, and they often acted like I was crazy. Um. People? The rich leave when we start treating them as if they are the trees upon which money grows, and we're the annoying teenage daughter with a craving for new shoes and extra money for Friday night.
    A Belgian mayor says famed French actor Gerard Depardieu has bought a home and set up legal residence in his small town, lured by the food, the people, the lifestyle — and lower tax rates than back home.
  • More gospel-centered than thou from Gospel Shaped Living.
    What I read on one side of this debate is pretty much advocating an endless monitoring of the state of my heart. Am I resting in Christ’s work for me? Am I feeding on my justification?

    This seems to be a new legalism, an internal one. It is getting the functional Gospel right in my heart. I dare not do anything until I do so.
  • 526,421 family farms threatened by new death tax from The Examiner. The Government wants your stuff. Various taxes? That's how they take it.
    Farm values are largely tied up in non-liquid assets like land, buildings, and livestock. Many farm and ranch families would be forced to sell their assets to satisfy Washington Democrats' insatiable appetite for tax money.
  • Newsweek vs. the New Testament — It Must Be Christmas by Al Mohler.
    Newsweek’s agenda is clear, and it has chosen to feature a cover article denying the historical basis of Christmas as one of its last print editions.
  • Discovery raises new doubts about dinosaur-bird links from Bio-Medicine. This whole article is worth reading!
    The implication, the researchers said, is that birds almost certainly did not descend from theropod dinosaurs, such as tyrannosaurus or allosaurus. The findings add to a growing body of evidence in the past two decades that challenge some of the most widely-held beliefs about animal evolution.

    "For one thing, birds are found earlier in the fossil record than the dinosaurs they are supposed to have descended from," Ruben said. "That's a pretty serious problem, and there are other inconsistencies with the bird-from-dinosaur theories.

    "But one of the primary reasons many scientists kept pointing to birds as having descended from dinosaurs was similarities in their lungs," Ruben said. "However, theropod dinosaurs had a moving femur and therefore could not have had a lung that worked like that in birds. Their abdominal air sac, if they had one, would have collapsed. That undercuts a critical piece of supporting evidence for the dinosaur-bird link.

    "A velociraptor did not just sprout feathers at some point and fly off into the sunset," Ruben said.
  • 7 Foods You Don’t Need to Buy Organic from Mark's Daily Apple. Save a few bucks!
    Avocados are another safe food that ends up with some of the lowest pesticide residues around. Maybe it’s the scaly skin and the way they just kinda “lurk” there up in tree tricking pests into thinking they’re up against alligators. Maybe it’s the fact that a bug got burned one too many times with a beautiful looking avocado that turned out to be stringy and brown on the inside. Maybe pests just hate waiting for an avocado to ripen (who doesn’t?) and give up. Actually, even though a somewhat significant amount of chemicals can be used on avocado orchards, they just don’t make it into the fatty, delicious flesh we crave and consume.
  • Court Says Gay Rights Trump Religious Rights from Fox News. This is an old article, but the decision is beginning to cause some trouble for believers in various lines of work.
    In 2008 the New Mexico Human Rights Commission found Elane Photography guilty of “sexual orientation” discrimination. The studio is owned by a young Christian husband and wife who based their refusal on their religious beliefs.

    The Court of Appeals determined that a photo studio is considered a public accommodation – much like a restaurant or a store. As such, the photo studio may not refuse services based on sexual orientation or gender identity – even if doing so would violate the religious principles of the owners.
  • The Christian Origins of Islam from First Things. Well, now, this was interesting.
    Near the bottom of the pit of hell, Dante encounters a man walking with his torso split from chin to groin, his guts and other organs spilling out. “See how I tear myself!” the man shrieks. “See how Mahomet is deformed and torn!” For us, the scene is not only gruesome but surprising, for Dante is not in a circle of false religion but in a circle reserved for those who tear the body of Christ. Like many medieval Christians, Dante views Islam less as a rival religion than as a schismatic form of Christianity.

    A handful of Western scholars now think there is considerable historical truth to Dante's view.
  • Intermission: Here's What Happens When a Piano Is Abandoned on the Streets of Manhattan from GOOD. If you've heard John Hodges tell that story about barbarism and the piano in Africa, you'll know why this video made me tear up.
  • I am Adam Lanza’s Mother from The Blue Review. I know this went viral and you've probably already seen it, but I think she makes a valid point and ought to be heard. The people out there hollering about gun control are really in denial about the fact that violence long precedes the existence of guns.
    At the start of seventh grade, Michael was accepted to an accelerated program for highly gifted math and science students. His IQ is off the charts. When he’s in a good mood, he will gladly bend your ear on subjects ranging from Greek mythology to the differences between Einsteinian and Newtonian physics to Doctor Who. He’s in a good mood most of the time. But when he’s not, watch out. And it’s impossible to predict what will set him off.
Have a great week! And I wish you a merry Christmas...just in case I don't have time to drop back by here before the festivities begin.

12 December 2012

My Apologies

I've been having some issues with my archives. I'd love to be able to blame this on Blogger, but unfortunately it is my own editing and tampering that has been causing these problems. If some of you have old--and I mean ancient posts coming across your readers {and I know some of you do because you've told me so}, I apologize. Just ignore them, if you please. I am not particularly interested in what I wrote in 2009, and you probably aren't either, but I did so want my dropcap styling to be just so, which is the root of this great error of mine.

10 December 2012

Miscellaneous Musings on Monday

Well, my Christmas shopping is almost done. I like to have most of it done before Thanksgiving, but this year that did not happen. I don't think I really even started before that. Oh well. I suppose I should just thank the Lord for my free Amazon Prime trial, which is what is getting me through this! In other news, I bought a new set of cups this past summer, and the children are already whittling away at them with their typical efficiency. They broke another one this morning. The offending child complained that his mid-morning smoothie was served in a plastic cup. That'll teach 'em.

In the real news...

  • Homeschool Highschool Carnival: Math in the Homeschool from Take Up and Read. As you know, Willa made a wonderful contribution to Math Week with her two installments on teaching Euclid. This post, likewise, is not to be missed.
    The thing is that in the homeschool, teaching is not everything (though being a support and guide is important, and sometimes that does mean teaching or at least finding the right teaching materials or outside resources).

    Learning is the thing, and realizing that it's the learning that is key can streamline things for the homeschooling mom who doesn't remember all her high school math and science courses.
  • Megastorms Could Drown Massive Portions of California from Scientific American. It's hard to take stuff like this seriously. If they aren't predicting massive earthquakes or global warming {and cooling}, it's storms. Where can I go to escape the weather?
    Was the 1861–62 flood a freak event? It appears not. New studies of sediment deposits in widespread locations indicate that cataclysmic floods of this magnitude have inundated California every two centuries or so for at least the past two millennia.
  • Happy Birthday, Somebody from The Duchy of Burgundy Carrots.
    No, the traditional Christian holidays are not commanded by God, nor are they untainted by any outside influence. But neither is anything that is going to be made up to take their place. And I, for one, am thankful for the chance to join hands with the saints of all times and places and throw a big party because God came here.
  • The God of Men—and of Elves: How C. S. Lewis became a Christian When people tell me faerie is "dangerous," I think of this.
    Lewis came not only to accept, but embrace Tolkien's view of Christianity as a true myth. And it was through this that, in his own mind, the True and the Beautiful "met and fused."
  • 19 Year-Old Woman Wakes Up As Doctors Ready to Harvest Her Organs from Gateway Pundit. I remember reading an article about this sort of thing a couple years ago. Unfortunately, organ donation is fraught with ethical dilemmas, and situations like this are more common than we realize.
    But Carina Melchior did not die after her respirator was removed. She is now undergoing rehabilitation and may make a full recovery. About 500 people immediately removed their names from Denmark’s organ donor register.
  • BOEHNER, GOP LEADERS PURGE CONSERVATIVES FROM POWERFUL COMMITTEES UPDATE: BOEHNER SCOFFS from Breitbart. Don't worry. The Republican leaders--including my dearly beloved Kevin McCarthy--are going to take care of this Conservative Problem.
    Huelskamp said in a Monday night statement. “The GOP leadership might think they have silenced conservatives, but removing me and others from key committees only confirms our conservative convictions. This is clearly a vindictive move, and a sure sign that the GOP Establishment cannot handle disagreement."
  • San Bernardino city attorney to citizens: “Lock your doors and load your guns” from Hot Air. Are you armed? It really does reduce crime.
    San Bernardino isn’t letting police officers go. It’s not like things are going to immediately get worse than they are now. The point is not so much that things will change, with the new budget, as that things won’t change. San Bernardino has all the police officers it’s going to have for the foreseeable future. If crime gets worse – too bad. The city can’t afford to do more about it.
  • Balancing Normative and Analytical Thinking from CiRCE. This reminds me a bit of what Kingsley says about Analysis and Synthesis in Madam How and Lady Why.
    Normative and analytical inquiry are not of equal worth. The one has to serve the other. If the normative serves the analytical, then we are thinking like slaves or at least we are enslaving the normative. And the analytical has no way to know the place of the normative so it will eventually throw her into a prison.
  • School District Owes $1 Billion On $100 Million Loan from NPR. I get terrified that this will happen in our school district someday. It has leveraged the neighborhood like you would not believe and not only ourselves, but our grandchildren will be paying off these debts--and this assumes they won't add more. I think we fail to realize that our "free" public education costs us more than most private schools.
    Lockyer is poring through a database collected by the Los Angeles Times of school districts that have recently used capital appreciation bonds. In total, districts have borrowed about $3 billion to finance new school construction, maintenance and educational materials. But the actual payback on those loans will exceed $16 billion.
  • Astronomy in the Hobbit by Jay Ryan. So. Very. Interesting. A fascinating read from the author of my favoritest astronomy book, Signs and Seasons.
    Most people in today’s modern world are not familiar with natural astronomical timekeeping, and the astronomy of The Hobbit usually goes unnoticed. The measuring of months is determined by seasonal variations of the Sun, and time of the month can be found by following the cycles of the Moon’s phases. If we know what to look for, we can find quite a number of references to astronomical timekeeping throughout The Hobbit and Tolkien’s other works

Have a great Monday, everybody!

07 December 2012

Book Club: Sayer's The Mind of the Maker
{Chapter 5}

I read this chapter twice, and I just found it all very fascinating. One thing I have been realizing is how much has been written about the act of writing, and how little of that I have read. In other words, it is being driven home to me that I do. not. know. That is what education does for us, though, right? It reminds us of all we didn't realize we didn't know, right?

It does me, anyhow.

Ahem.

There are so many directions a discussion on any chapter from this book could go, but this time I decided to pick out and share what I learned about writing. I'm sorry if some of this is a simple summary. Basic narration is always the first step to learning, no? Yes!

Three Basic Ideas

The chapter is formed around three ideas: free will, the law of nature, and miracles. I will quickly try and define them based upon the reading, and if you think these definitions need refining, please tell me in the comments!
  • Free will: In writing, the characters we create will have free will. What this means is that even though we made them and have absolute authority over them, they will tend to take on a life of their own. There is an extent to which even though they are inside of our heads, they have their own, separate existence. They are a part of us and made by us, but they are not us. As we develop our characters, they will start to "act" in accordance with those natures, sometimes to the point that is causes trouble for the authors because they no longer fit the roles for which we invented them. {I don't know why I am saying "we" when we all know I have only ever invented bad fiction...}
  • The law of nature: There are different natures that Sayers believes must be respected in writing. The first is the nature of the medium. Writing for a play is different than writing for a book. Each type of writing has its own nature, which we must respect. Likewise, the characters we create {as mentioned above} have their own natures, which we must respect. When we violate these "laws of nature" the results are either bad writing {when we violate the nature of the medium} or unbelievable characters/plots {when we violate the natures of the characters}
  • Miracles: Again, she is discussing writing, and yet there are applications to our relationships with God and to our theology. We commit miracles {I say this because she made them sound like a crime against nature} when we change our character {Sayers calls this "conversion"} and/or our plot {"coincidence"} from their natural courses using divine intervention as the author of the situation. It is assumed that what happens would never have happened had it not been for this intervention--and this, of course, makes the story less than believable.

What Good Writers Do

This is one those books where I identify more with her description of what is "bad art" than her description of the opposite. It is like reading a book about sin and seeing yourself in it. My writing transgressions are multitude, it would seem.

Good writers respect the law of nature. They do not transgress their characters by doing miracles in order to take their plot in the direction they want their story to go. They do not arbitrarily kill off characters or otherwise do violence to the plot in order to accomplish their will in the story. They also respect the law of nature for their medium. A play is a play, a novel is a novel, a fairy tale is a fairy tale, and so on.

I kept coming back to this tension between characters and plot. Why is it that so many of us write ourselves into corners? Why are so few of us seemingly able to develop the right characters to accomplish--naturally--the plot we desire? Sayers points out that the idea is to conceive of the character and the plot together in one unity. We allow both to develop together, which naturally eliminates this tension.

My question is how in the world that is supposed to happen? Are there things that we can do to foster this? Or is this what separates the dabblers from the artists? My hunch is that part of this--at least for me and my crazy ideas--is commencing with the writing too soon--not letting ideas marinate for a long time, even for years. When I think back to the immature writing of my youth, much of my problem was likely that I jumped too quickly from idea to page rather than thinking things through.

This is one possible implication when Sayers says:
Too much attention should not be paid to those writers who say {holding one the while with a fixed and hypnotic gaze}: "I don't really invent the plot, you know--I just let the characters come into my mind and let them take charge of it."...Writers who work in this way do not, as a matter of brutal fact, usually produce very good books. The lay public...rather like to believe in this inspirational fancy; but as a rule the element of pure craftsmanship is more important than most of us are willing to admit.
This reminds me of when I read about the very detailed outlines that Dickens made. There was a lot of work that went into his books before he put pen to paper for an actual draft.



Read More:
-More posts linked at Ordo Amoris
-Buy the book and read along!
-Get Mind of the Maker for free from Willa's Readlist

04 December 2012

The Progym Plan: Narrative Stage

We zipped through Fable Stage, spending only twelve weeks on it. Obviously, we didn't get through the entire book. However, comma, by the end of the term, E-Age-Ten was completing the assignments entirely on his own {save for the editing, which I helped with of course}, and I was satisfied with his work. If I had him spend another term on this, I'm sure his writing would have improved a bit more, but I felt like he had gained most of what could be gained from Fable Stage alone, and moving along would get me nearer to our goal of marrying the Progymnasmata to AO instead of using a separate program.

Poor E-Age-Ten is always my guinea pig. I doubt my other children will need as many steps from A to B because, frankly, I think so many of the steps we take are for my son when in reality they are for me because these are the steps I need to become the sort of teacher he needs me to be. My younger children--since he is, after all, three full years ahead of his next-in-line sister--reap all the benefits of my already-having-become for his sake.

If that makes sense.

Not that I ever stop adjusting and learning and growing, of course, for I'm still perfecting phonics lessons, after all. But there are short cuts that I just don't see the first time through.

Ahem.

If you recall, I tinkered with the Fable Stage to make it more CM-friendly. I don't think the best use of our time, for instance, is spent getting caught up in minutia--such as looking up synonyms in the thesaurus. It isn't that I don't want to build vocabulary, but that I have already seen huge vocabularies built through alternate routes, so I'm not using the Progym stages to build vocabularies. I see a lot of evidence that Miss Mason used the Progym to encourage writing development in her own students, and I see no evidence that a thesaurus was part of that process. According to Miss Mason, her students built broad vocabularies through wide reading.

With that said, I still need a teacher, and once again I turned to Mr. Selby, who has kindly held my hand through all of this so far, and for that I am greatly indebted to him. To be clear, I need his Classical Composition curriculum in order to pull this off, for my tiny brain has difficulty encompassing the task on its own.

My plan for Narrative Stage is similar to my plan for Fable Stage. My adaptation of Fable Stage for Term 1 worked wonderfully, and I think that spending only one week on any one tale--compared with the two weeks that are planned in the curriculum--was a good idea.

So, without further delay, here is my five-day weekly plan for Narrative Stage.

Day 1

On the first day, we'll read the assigned narrative. Because we probably won't make it all the way through the curriculum, we do not need to touch on every single tale, and so I will pick and choose the ones I think will work best. My student will read the narrative on his own, and then come to me to narrate orally and have a brief discussion. In a CM education, oral narration is considered the foundation of good writing, so we will always do this first.

Day 2

In Fable Stage, I had my student write an outline on Day 2. I found that this worked really well, and we did this consistently throughout the term. However, comma, I'm going to experiment with the order and see what I think. I'm curious, and now that I'm more comfortable with what we're doing, moving the order of things around isn't so confusing to me.

With that said, my student will work on his Reduced Variation on Day 2. What I'm going to have him do is more in line with the curriculum as-written than it was during Fable Stage. He will take his copy of the narrative and cross out all of the unnecessary words--adverbs, adjectives, descriptions, and so on--and then basically copy the reduced variation, which is what remains after all the crossing out. I'm doing this before outlining because, as you can see, this doesn't require much actual writing, but is more of an analysis tool, where the student is taught which words are nonnegotiable, integral to the telling of the story.

Day 3

On the third day, my student will outline the narrative. I am not sure, but I think that having reduced the story prior to this will aid him in boxing out his outline. This is speculation on my part, but I'm going with my gut, and I will come back and tell you if I end up being wrong. Outlining is, I think, my son's weakest point in the process. Though he does it weekly, he doubts himself, often coming to me to ask if I think he boxed correctly. This is, as I said, why we'll try reducing first. My instincts tell me that the act of reducing will clear out enough of the ancillary information that he'll be able to see the bare bones structure of the narrative.

Which is, of course, the goal of Day 3.

Day 4

On the fourth day, my student will choose his variation. The way I've been doing this, I have a list of options for variations {one of which will not transfer from Fable Stage to Narrative Stage because of the difference in genre}. He chooses a new one each week. Once he has used each variation once, he begins choosing again from the full list. This is a nice balance between letting him have some control over the process and making sure that he actually tries his hand at the different variations.

The variations he'll be choosing from for Narrative Stage are:
  • Write it longer: This is an attempt to retell the story with great accuracy, but adding in descriptions. Essentially, the student adds in the sort of things he took out when he reduced the narrative. Selby suggests effictio {describing the character's body} and geographia {describing the landscape}. The latter contains a lot of options, I think, such as describing the season or physical objects in the setting.
  • Change the point of view: Here the students rewrites the tale in the first person, from the perspective of one of the characters in the tale. At least once in Fable Stage, we tried writing from the perspective of an object in the setting, which was extra fun.
  • Invert the sequence: In this variation, the story can start from the end and move in reverse chronology, or start from the middle and jump to the beginning and end at the end. The idea is to retell in a non-chronological manner.
  • Write as a poem: This is not part of the rotation, but what I consider to be a "standing option." I am not pushing poetry writing at this point, but I want this to always be an option of expression. If something strikes his poetic fancy, he may forgo the three other variations and write a poem. Just to clarify, this is always an option, but never required.

Day 5

This last day is for editing and revising, after which he'll write out a final draft on a separate page in his journal {I purchased a notebook for him which we devoted to just his writing lessons} in his best handwriting. This time of editing and revising has also given me opportunities to discuss with him the formation of paragraphs, the need to indent the first line of said paragraphs, and other basic English writing rules which are so easily implemented when working within this larger process of learning to write well.

The Long Term Plan

What I just listed out is the plan for Term 2. It is my hope that, after doing Fable Stage in Term 1, and then Narrative Stage in Term 2, we will be able to do as I mentioned above and marry these steps to Ambleside Online in Term 3.

This means that each week of Term 3, I will pick one of the assigned readings {probably alternating history and literature} and we will go through our five days of steps using those readings. For longer readings, we'll have to pick just a portion of a chapter to rewrite for varying a lengthy passage would take entirely too long. But as you can see, my goal is to incorporate these two parts of the progym into my regular curriculum. This would set us up for having daily "creative" narrations in Year 6 {next year}, in which he chooses--or rolls a die, perhaps--a different variation for the narration that day. If, one day per week, he outlines a reading instead, I think we'll have a nice, working writing plan for AO for that year.

The Long, Long Term Plan

Do I plan to purchase the Chreia-Maxim Stage? Well, I'll tell you the truth and say that I haven't decided yet. Part of me is very, very tempted to do so. But my goal here was two-fold:
  1. To build a bridge between written narration and Lost Tools of Writing {which is what I plan to use beginning in Year 7}.
  2. To use the progymnasmata to improve and vary written narrations from the AO curriculum.
As you can see, Goal 2 is easily accomplished by completing the Fable and Narrative Stages alone. Goal 1, however, may be helped along by using the third stage. I've not yet decided because we haven't even begun Narrative Stage, so I don't consider myself informed enough to make the decision. I think that time and money will also play a part. With that said, what I've read about Chreia-Maxim sounds wonderful.

03 December 2012

Miscellaneous Musings on Monday

Guess what we did this weekend? We played kickball. I am not making this up. It was quite fun, even if I did try to catch the ball with my face one time. One of my girls did the same, which has my husband thinking there is a genetic issue involved here. Either way, who knew revisiting Kindergarten could be such fun? I certainly didn't.

In the real news...
  • U.N. to Seek Control of the Internet from The Weekly Standard. Am I the only one thinking government officials everywhere have far, far too much time on their hands?
    The idea is technically impractical because unlike phone networks, the Internet doesn't recognize national borders. But authoritarians are pushing the tax, hoping their citizens will be cut off from U.S. websites that decide foreign visitors are too expensive to serve.
  • MARIJUANA!! The Truth! from FOX Nation. Marijuana: building a culture of stupid one child at a time. Or: law as a moral tutor.
    Comedian Steven Crowder uncovers the truth about the legalization of marijuana in some states and the war on drugs ...
  • Pascal and Delayed Formal Math from Trivium Pursuit. Who knew?
    His father didn’t think any subject should be taught until the child could easily master it. So he removed all the math books until the children were at least 16 years old. At 12 years old Pascal studied math (in secret) and figured out that the sum of 3 angles in any triangle is 180.
  • A Sharing of the Effort to Know from Sage Parnassus. I cannot agree with this post enough.
    I'm sure I would have burned out long ago if the method we used wasn't as living and engaging for me as it is for my students. Indeed, I've seen more than one home educator happy to be done with what they see as the "chore" of home education. Not me. I'm just getting warmed up.
  • EARLY CHURCH FATHERS ON SOLA SCIPTURA from Credo House. In case you thought the solas were relatively new.
    While it was definitely articulated a great deal through the controversies during the Reformation, its basic principles can be found deep in church history. Take a look at some of these early church fathers who seemed to believe in the primacy of Scripture...
  • Churches Increasingly Rent Out Steeples As Cellphone Towers from CBS SF Bay Area. Heartwarming.
    At Canyon Creek Presbyterian in San Ramon, the pastor said they make upwards of $30,000 a year for putting the site in his steeple, and many others are doing the same thing. They lose part of their tax exemption, but still make money on the deal.
  • What the Research on Habit Formation Reveals About Willpower (And How You Can Apply it to Your Life) from Lifehacker. More research reveals that Charlotte Mason was right. Again.
    It is possible to strengthen your ability to exert self-control and habit formation. In all the studies, participants that worked on developing new habits, whether going to the gym, controlling spending or studying better, saw improvements in their ability to "recover" willpower and perform well on tasks that required self-control.

    One of the struggles here is that, like any muscle, growth of willpower happens slowly.
  • Mind of the Maker Book Discussion: Writer, Work and Reader from Take Up and Read. This is Willa's book club post from last week. I fell in love with it and just had to link it!
    Makes me think--if I love Toad, can't I try to love my sometimes annoying neighbor or relative? If Flannery O'Connor loved some of her unattractive protagonists, like Tarwater, can't I imagine that God might be ruefully affectionate towards some of His less appealing human creations, and even might really, really love ME in spite of my laughable or gruesomely disappointing moments?
  • GAPS Kids: Ellie’s Story from GNOWFGLINS. This is one of the more amazing GAPS stories I've read.
    By 10 months old she received the diagnosis of Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome, or F.P.I.E.S., which I was told meant “allergic to all food”.
  • The Elf on the Shelf, An Advent Rant from Rosie from Like Mother, Like Daughter.
    But Christmas gifts aren't a reward for good behavior; like grace, they come whether we deserve them or not, because we are loved.
Have a fabulous Monday, everybody!