Saturday, April 30, 2016

Our Weekly Amble for April 25-29, 2016

It's been a while since I've written about Our Weekly Amble. While it's one of my favorite posts to write, sometimes when I get to the weekend things are moving too fast and I'm too tired to get it written.

We had a good week this week. Back to Circle Time - which I've decided to call Whatchamacallit because it's a catchall name for a catchall time of day - after a couple of weeks in a slump, we accomplished it the four days I expected to.

Because we had been in a slump - and the advice I had received included, "It's all in your attitude mama.  ... The problem is you (me). ... wake up and drive that train or you are just going to miserable and frustrated." Or, get off your duff, Dawn, and just do it, already. Spot on. Exactly what I needed to hear.

The children almost have all of Romans 8 memorized; and since it will stay in our loop, it's likely close enough. We've also learned 'This is My Father's World' sufficiently in April to move on.

The Beauty Loop is working really well. We didn't do it on Monday, but on Tuesday we read an act of 'The Taming of the Shrew.' Our Index Card characters help follow the story better.
Wednesday, we did a drawing lesson:

On Thursday we read a chapter from Opal Wheeler's Franz Schubert and His Merry Friends. Yay! 

We have a new "fun read" for the end of Whatchamacallit: The Good Master by Kate Seredy. We all enjoyed her A Tree for Peter. While the tone and story of The Good Master seem more light-hearted, the excellent writing style continues. I'm sure we'll all enjoy it.

Pam asked, on the Homeschool Snapshots podcast interview, what book our homeschool was like and I replied with Swiss Family Robinson because my children sometimes do things singly, sometimes together with either just two or all three of them. I write out their assignments in spiral notebooks (to the right is a sample day from this week, a relatively light day at that).

Anyway, our day probably looks a little chaotic with children, or groups of children wandering from this room to that to complete their assignments. There aren't any smooth transitions. I may be working with one child on math when another is ready to narrate, so I might listen to the narration while the first is doing a problem set on their workbook page. There's generally some piano going on in the background.

On Thursday, R-girl did a narration about her geography reading while M-girl played piano and N-boy was (in theory) reading an assignment, but was really "video bombing" with his voice. Things like that can be frustrating, but we learn to move forward and accomplish the work that needs to be done.

Everyone did math this week. M-girl has been killing it at fractions; all that cooking and piano have paid off. N-boy is working on estimation, which he hates, but is doing fine with it. R-girl finished the first section of Y3 math - which has a lot of review - and got to do Khan Academy math on Thursday. Always a treat.

We finished a big review section in Latin that included a lot of translation work and sentence labeling. The sentence labeling crossed over into our Grammar lessons and sentence diagramming. I love those connections! We really need to practice our chants better. Time to put the CD back in the van and practice whenever we go anywhere!

We read, this week, about New York City and Washington D.C. in The Book of Marvels. The children also read about Abraham Lincoln's family moving from Kentucky to Indiana in Abe Lincoln's World.

We had several soccer games and practices to attend as well as our regularly scheduled organ and piano lessons. Monday and Tuesday evenings we enjoyed taking the dogs for a walk as a family. Good exercise and good company. Glad the weather is beginning to cooperate.

On Friday, we had the opportunity to participate in TeenPact for our state. It's extra fun because our cousins (and their teachers - my MIL and SIL) come too. It just so happened, that yesterday was the anniversary of the day that President Lincoln's funeral cortege came through Columbus and he was laid on view in the rotunda of the Ohio Statehouse. This was reenacted yesterday.

But TeenPact itself was a lot of fun! We had the opportunity to go through the statehouse, pray for our elected officials, and learn about what they do. The children were all to bring a bill to be put before the children's legislature and worked through them first in "committee" and then before the entire "house" (of children), learning some of Parliamentary Procedure as they went. It was a long and successful day.

Overall, an excellent week. It felt good to be back in the groove.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Attend! Serving Others

This winter and spring, on Instagram, I've often been posting our breakfasts -- when I've cooked. For several weeks, I consistently posted ideas or suggestions, then I stopped.

Because I stopped making breakfast. 

Admittedly it was because I got sick, but I didn't pick the habit back up when I felt better.

I started back up this week -- and am working on lunches, too. Instagram makes for good accountability: to come up with new, appealing ideas and share them. I'm not trying to be all "look at me" rather to force myself to consciously think about serving my children and encouraging my readers to do likewise.

I'm thinking about how I serve my children because over this period of waxing (preparing meals) and waning (not doing so), I've noticed some things.

  1. Our day goes better on full, nutritiously filled bellies. It just does. An infusion of both protein and carbohydrates in the morning affects all of our attitudes.
  2. When I'm bustling about in the kitchen - emptying the dishwasher, cooking, cleaning up - models better than sitting on the couch reading a book or surfing the web.  Showing that I'm serious about getting ready for the day, that I'm prepared to do the work of the day, matters to all of us.
  3. My kids feel loved when I make breakfast. Even if it's just oatmeal. They know I've taken time to consider them and their needs.They miss it - and not just the food - when I slack. They're capable of making breakfast - scrambled eggs, cereal, even oatmeal - on their own, they just like it when I take the time. In Cincinnati, Sarah Mackenzie reminded us to "Always choose your child." over challenges, difficulties, and our own wants.
  4. The whole household runs more smoothly the more often I'm in the kitchen. For me to want to cook breakfast and lunch, the kitchen has to be clean the night before. The pots and pans and knives are washed (and my CiRCE coffee mug). The coffee maker is prepped and set so I get up to brewed coffee (which entices me to get up at 6!) If I'm cooking breakfast and lunch, the dishwasher needs to be run so there's room for dinner dishes. Our dishwasher can hold a large capacity, but does better with lighter loads. While I'm in the kitchen, the counter and table are cleared more completely. Oh, and I eat meals rather than snacking on whatever I find.
  5. My attitude about serving is so much better when I'm in the habit. I'm more satisfied by the job I'm doing as a wife and mother when I'm actually doing the work and not having the children fend for themselves. My children are more encouraged to participate in meals, straightening the house, and the work they need to accomplish when I'm not slacking on my own work. That makes a happier mama.
I'm certain there are more benefits to serving others better. These are just off the top of my head.

We don't only serve because of these benefits. Our world encourages us to think we want to be served, not to serve.

Our example, Jesus came not to be served but to serve. I have to pay attention to that. Our culture ought to.

The Online Etymology Dictionary says 'attend' means "to direct one's mind or energies" and the Latin meant "stretch toward." In the early 14th Century it came to mean "take care of, wait upon." There is a sense of Attend! that means to serve.

Of the 9 uses of the term "attend" (not attended, or attention, but simply attend) in the scriptures (in the ESV), three of them are used in the sense of service. There is instruction to attend to the tabernacle, the sons of the Aaron, or Queen Esther.  They were to care for, do the bidding of, in some way serve some object or person.

We are called to Attend! to our duties. We pay attention to them and stretch our minds and energies to do the work before us. 

To Attend! means to serve others.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wednesdays with Words: Excessive Awe; Excessive Bias

Jason and I are reading Josef Pieper's Leisure: The Basis of Culture together.

This is a book I ordered for one of Cindy Rollins's book club lo these many years ago but never read. I finally got it into my head that I really ought to did want to read it and the most likely way I'd accomplish that was to read it with Jason.

Or to him. Whatever. Just so we can talk about it and stuff. He's much better at hearing and learning than I am. I'm pretty good at reading and learning, but I take notes because ideas have to enter my mind through my eyes or I don't Attend! to them well.


When I ordered the book - lo those many years ago - I ordered a used copy. It was probably cheap. My copy is the Alexander Dru translation which has its detractors and supporters. But, it is a 1952 copyright and has an introduction by T.S. Eliot.

Yes, that T.S. Eliot.

I read that part to Jason first.

I think I've mentioned here that I've been thinking about the ideas of specialization and generalization a lot (my schole group all just groaned) and how that fits with multa non multum and Charlotte Mason's grand feast. I plan to write more in detail about that some other time.

In Eliot's introduction, he comes close to touching upon it and those words are ones I've been considering for a couple of weeks, now (if you follow me on Instagram, you've likely seen it ... )

Now I am quite aware that to the philosopher no field of knowledge should come amiss. The ideal philosopher would be at ease with every science, with every branch of art, with every language, and with the whole of human history. Such encyclopaedic knowledge might preserve him from excessive awe of those disciplines in which he was untrained and excessive bias towards those in which he was well exercised. But in an age in which every branch of study becomes more subdivided and specialized, the ideal of omniscience is more and more remote from realization. Yet only omnicscience is enough, once the philosopher begins to reply upon science. (T.S. Eliot, pg 13)
Wow. Every time I read it, I think about how carefully crafted this is. Look how he balances excessive awe and bias. How he shows the modern over-reliance on science to bring about the necessary omniscience to rely upon science. How he shows that the more specialized fields of study become, the less we can generalize. Oh, you can read it, he says it better than I.

He goes on to continue describing the way that philosophy as a study has become marginalized in our day is not simply because of this minute specialization but also because philosophy has become unconnected to it's partner: theology.
The root cause of the vagaries of modern philosophy -- and perhaps, thouh I was unconscious of it [as a student], the reason for my dissatisfaction with philosophy as a profession -- I now believe to lie in the divorce of philosophy from theology.
Only God is omniscient - only God can specialize in everything - yet because He does have that complete knowledge, and philosophy has thrown him aside, science becomes a god in His place and philosophy itself becomes unsatisfactory in T.S.Eliot's view.

I think we can leave the high thinking aside and consider how this affects us in our homeschools. We may not give precise, minute, specialized knowledge. We may not give our students a complete 'encyclopaedic knowledge,' but we certainly wish to 'preserve from excessive awe ... and .... excessive bias."

I lean toward the feast.

Wordless Wednesday: Working on Mornings Again

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Podcast Addicted: Cultivating the Kingdom

Allison Burr of has three excellent podcasts. My favorite, and the flagship podcast, is Cultivating the Kingdom.

In Cultivating the Kingdom, she speaks with experts in their fields about theology and its impact on our daily living. Whether discussing how to read and teach the Bible with children, the place of lament in the Christian life, or family discipleship, Allison asks excellent questions and draws out deep ideas of how to live out a theologically rich Christian life.

My favorite episodes was #10 with Dr. Jack Beckman. He was interviewed by Cindy Rollins for The Mason Jar which I already claimed as a favorite. I hope he continues to grant the occasional interview because his wisdom and knowledge of CM philosophy has been helpful. Allison's discussion with him did not disappoint.

I think she must be on hiatus with a recent house move, which she has been documenting on Instagram, but I very much look forward to the return of Cultivating the Kingdom.

The Straight Stick answers questions about how her family thinks about and reacts to modern cultural issues. While we don't always come to the same conclusions or decisions about those issues, I always appreciate her perspective and thoughtfulness.

My children love their third, family oriented, podcast: Melody, Mystery, and Mayhem. I loaded an app on their kindles and they have listened to all of the episodes multiple times, enjoying the stories, songs, and jokes. If you know any other good podcasts for children, please comment and let me know. They're looking for something to add!

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Simple Woman's Daybook for April 25, 2016

For Today...

Outside my window.... I hear birds, I see the glow of the sun, it's going to be a beautiful day.

I am thinking... about getting back in the Circle Time groove. I think I'm going to start calling it "Whatchamacallit" because it's a catchall term for a catchall time.

I am thankful... that I have friends who remind me that the atmosphere in my home and the getting it done is really up to me. If I'm in a slump, like I have been, I need someone to kick my pants and tell me to get in gear. Thanks, Pam!

I am wearing... jammies. I'll get dressed soon.

I am creating... readers. Some books arrived yesterday (I forgot and ordered from Amazon on Friday argh). M-girl is halfway done with Dandelion Fire by ND Wilson and N-boy is halfway done with the new last week Outlaws of Time. Fun!

I am going... nowhere today.  Just what I like.

I am wondering... what's for breakfast?

I am reading... Pieper's Leisure: The Basis of Culture aloud to Jason some evenings. It's fun to have something we're working on together without the chldren.

I am hoping... to have a better week of school. We've a lot to get done!

I am learning... to breathe, relax, repent, start over.

In my kitchen... tonight we're having baked potatoes, brussles sprouts, and grilling steak. Yum.

In my garden... lalalalalala

In the homeschool... this is the final week before the Homeschool Showcase at church. Need to polish those poems and the music for Saturday.

A favorite quote for today...

A peek into one of my days... This is actually more than a week old, but here are M-girl and N-boy's organ recital pieces. I have a new YouTube channel where I moved all my old scopes (all 9) and can put children's music performaces.

One of my favorite things... Having kids who read. R-girl is reading Ramona Quimby, Age 8. Again. Hoping she isn't getting any ideas ...

From the board room... I enjoy Myers Briggs (MBTI) and pin a lot about INFJ (me) INTJ (Jason) and general types on this board which is one of my most popular:

Post Script... My friend Amy from Busy Boys Brigade along with some of her friends hosts a Homeschool Linkup every Monday called Homeschool Nook. If you have homeschool posts, check it out!

Linking up with The Simple Woman.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Wednesdays With Words: Celebrating 15 Years of Blogging - Balloons, De-Lurking, Your Favorites

Today is all about me. Or my blog, anyway.

I'm so excited to celebrate my blog's 15th anniversary. My blog which started with the ignomious words:

I've managed to find some things to say over the years.

I even wrote an eBook. I never expected to write a book. (It's entirely free, although I'd love to hear what you think about it if you read or use it!)

When I started, blogging was a "web log." It was exactly what it sounds like, a list of interesting links that you tracked in a log on the web. Sometimes you commented upon them. Sometimes you commented extensively upon them. Sometimes you didn't.

Blogging has changed.  Images became of the utmost importance. Ideas found greater explication. It began to have its own writing style. That style, which I've been loathe to adopt preferring to ramble on conversationally, makes reading and skimming and gleaning ideas easier.

When I asked my kids about how I should celebrate, M-girl said I needed balloons ... so you get balloons.

When I asked blogging friends, Pam invited me to be on the Homeschool Snapshots Podcast, which I did and it was published yesterday. (I never expected anyone to interview me, either!)

Another celebratory idea was an old-fashioned de-lurking party. If you are a regular reader or subscriber of ladydusk via email or feed reader, I'd love it if you commented here or on Instagram or on Twitter or on my new Facebook page and let me know you're reading. For me, blogging is a lot about community and the friendships I've made over the years. I'd love to meet you or greet you!

Finally, since it is Wednesdays with Words today, I wanted to ask those of you who participate to choose your very favorite WWW post ever and re-link it here. If you've been with us for a few weeks or if you've been with us since Cindy Rollins started the linkup on Ordo-Amoris, I'd love to have you share the words which still resonate as they echo through your mind.

I'm even going to link mine in the link box. When I decide what it is. Nothing like procrastination.

Thank you for celebrating with me!