Thursday, October 28, 2010

Look at Me Blogging...

We got home before 8pm tonight (which feels like a minor miracle) and nobody needs me at the moment (which feels like a major miracle) and my mind is working slowly enough that I feel like writing something down. All at the same time. So here I sit blogging.

It is the end of October. Do you know what your school year is doing?

Right now, we have a lot of reading going. I am reading Robinson Crusoe with Cornflower, Ivanhoe with Mariel and her literature class, and Northanger Abbey with all three girls. Robinson has given up all hope of escaping the island in his periagua, Ivanhoe lies ill at Torquilstone, and Catherine just opened the japanned cabinet and accidentally extinguished her candle. Love it!

But those are the fun, exciting novels. What else are we reading?

We all read Galatians together at the beginning of the year, and now we are reading through the Gospel of John. Mariel finished Be Ready to Answer in September and we began C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity. Aravis has been independently reading Thinking Like a Christian and The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life. She didn't expect to like that second title, but she keeps coming to me with points from the book.

She is outlining and rewriting essays by Q and Chesterton this year. A couple days ago, she finished rewriting "A Piece of Chalk" by Chesterton, and fell over herself asking if she could narrate it to me. I love thinking of G.K. Chesterton sitting on the downs drawing with colored chalk on brown paper, and I love when my child begs to narrate. You rock, Mr. Chesterton, sir!

Okay, really great narration a-ha moment story, and then maybe I'll get back to the boring book-list blog post: Aravis is doing Chemistry this year for science. She got to the dreaded Calorimetry chapter and could not understand it. (We think it is rather a mean trick to put the hardest concept in the course in Module 2!) She worked and worked, and I tried to help, and she emailed the Apologia people for help, and we asked our friend at church who used to be a chemist, and still she was struggling. She missed every single calorimetry question on the test, so I told her to reread the section on calorimetry and narrate everything she understood about it. She balked and procrastinated. After a few days I realized that she hadn't done the narration, so I told her no theater rehearsal until she turned in that narration. Trapped, she sat down to write everything she knew about calorimetry. First she described the calorimeter, then she described the equation. At that point, she realized the three q's in the equation line up with the three things used in calorimetry-- the calorimeter, the water and the object. The three q's had been a puzzle to her, so when she put the q's with their calorimetry partners, she knew how to work the problem! Sometimes we just don't put together what we know unless we are made to articulate it.

So there is my narration story, and I think I'll wrap up this post. I'd like to tell what else we are reading, and talk about geology and geography, and how poetry and Poplicola have fallen off the schedule, and why even though we aren't doing Shakespeare or artist or composer study we are still overloaded with fine arts, and how excited Cornflower is to be turning TEN, and how much I enjoy watching her learn, and which curriculums and books are high up on my wish list, and what tests I want Aravis to take this year, and my frustration with trying to teach writing, and how Mariel and I are about ready to throw in the towel with fractions but are rejoicing at the insight we find through history, and how very much I like teaching piano, and the accepting and helpful person that is my very own piano teacher... It would take a long time, though, and I would grow tired, and you might be bored, and I need to do ye next thynge, which is to get in jammies and go to sleep so I can participate in this exuberance again tomorrow.

So I will just say that I love my life. I never thought I would have something so hard and so satisfying on this Earth. And sometimes in the tyranny of the urgent it is a challenge to find the arms of the Lord, but just knowing He is there is a comfort. Good night.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Various and sundry bits of news...

I haven't written on the blog for a while. We are still here, but have a lot going on. Tonight, the Warrior Poet has taken the kids to their activity, and I have been given a luxurious five and three-quarter hours of silence at home in which to fold laundry, print lesson plans for literature class, read over my kids' narrations, correct their math and science, and listen to the gerbil shred cardboard.

It is just enough time to rejoice in, without being so long that I get lonely for them.

The latest news:

Cornflower played violin in her first orchestra concert last week. She is getting so big.

All three girls are currently participating in a production of The Magical Land of Oz (or some such name-- it is version of "Wizard of Oz"). The rehearsal schedule is beginning to get to me.

I have thirteen piano students this year, and I just love teaching them. I am also taking piano lessons every so often from a wise older woman in the next town over. She is so encouraging!

My mom is retiring in January. I can't wait. We are going to have so much fun...

My kids are studying Years 10, 7 and 4 this year. I love studying history. Churchill (Birth of Britain) isn't so difficult the second time around. And in Year 10, Aravis and I are gaining insight into the world of the 1800s-- I thought I understood that world pretty well, but I missed a lot.

I have put off my reading of Poetic Knowledge and Norms and Nobility again. I don't think I have enough background in the ancients to know how they line up with the Bible and how they do not. So I am reading more about the ancients right now. I will dip back into those books in the next couple of months, probably during Christmas, and see whether they make more sense. I was really floundering.

The girls like to help with different things during Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I like to know ahead of time whether someone had set her heart on helping with the gnocchi or the pie. Otherwise, I invariably start the mixing/roasting/baking process without the interested girl being present. I asked the kids to sign up this year, so I don't forget. They write down what they would like to help with, and I make sure it is on the menu and that I involve them in the cooking process. And I do not lose the sign-up sheet. That's the theory, anyway. If we lose the paper, we can always make another one...