Then we hightailed it over to Saint Barnabas School where we did our last (of four) school presentation. We spoke to 3rd and 4th graders, and I was quite impressed. I asked them who St. Francis was, and many hands shot up and the answers I got went a lot deeper than “he liked animals.” Well done, St. Barnabas!
I had wanted to take her to the Civil Rights Institute afterwards, but we finally decided it would be too much, and settled down to record some conversations for future podcasts instead, and have Ann sign lots and lots of books to leave behind.
Those books are, of course, available in the bookstore, along with others. I’ll be around all this coming week, but unable to fulfill orders Thanksgiving week..and then we’ll be in the first week of December, so start thinking about those gifts…for kids…signed picture books? Catechists and classroom teachers, perhaps the same? Mom, sister or friend, The Catholic Woman’s Book of Days?
It now seems important, as it didn’t 10 years ago, to keep things simple: to focus on the humans in the room, the literature we’re reading, the tools that help us make sense of the texts. Students experience much of their contact with other people by making things happen on a screen. What feels fresh and immediate to them now is a real conversation, in real time, over pieces of paper that can be held in the hand.
I’ve gone back to in-class writing assignments and to handouts that they can find online if they need them later, but that they first experience in print. Quiet students who hang back in conversations get regular opportunities to hand in questions and concerns that they don’t want to air out loud. I read aloud, a lot, and have become more attuned to the difference between rapt and bored silence — the way the energy in the room changes when frustration becomes curiosity or vice versa, the significance of a shared experience of the text that can become its own data point.
Speaking of pieces of paper…I read a book. Like, an entire book in one sitting last night. It was this one – it was relaxing and engaging, like reading a longish New Yorker article. Things I learned: about Sealand, North Sentinel Island and pumice rafts.
So I read it and resolutely stayed off the computer during the reading of it. Even between chapters. Afterwards, I checked back on Facebook, and saw on my newsfeed that the people who had cross-posting self-satisfied, contentless and thought-free jabs about The Others in that weird gleeful passive-aggressive pursuit of victimhood and blog hits at 10 AM were still at it at 10PM.
The Hive Mind was wide awake.
I decided I need to read more books.
I keep meaning to join in Melanie Bettinelli’s Guilt-Free Learning notes, but it’s not going to be happening for the next couple of weeks. I will tell you that I was inspired by Melanie to do some work on “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” and it went very well. Among other things, we attempted to make an Archimedes Screw – out of PVS pipe and tubing (We’re reading Archimedes and the Door of Science) – it sort of worked. Water went up, certainly, but it was taking a while, and we didn’t have the patience – at that moment – to keep turning until the tube filled up, so having it fill up by a third and dumping it out was good enough.
Speaking of Greeks, Michael has been learning the Greek alphabet, using this text, and now enhanced by online games, which are great for reinforcement – this one and the one linked on this page are very good.
What a week!
Sunday: Serve Mass at the convent
The least experienced server in our duo has, for some reason, been put in charge of the bells. He had never served when the Roman Canon had been prayed. It was prayed at this Mass. He was a little confused at Epiclesis time. But then the priest made his own unforced error later, so he was reassured that, yes, everyone makes mistakes….
Wednesday: Should have been schola, but we skipped this time (with permission) for a cub scout trip to the airport.
(Wednesday evening – 8th grader to a talk, with other boy scouts, from a US Army veteran who had been among the first to enter Dachau at the end of the war)
After-performance Q & A.
Dr. Sarah Parcak talks about the role of satellite technology in archaeology. Not very long, and interesting and quite accessible to both the 13- and 9-year old. She actually spoke quite a bit, and with considerable passion about the destruction of antiquities and archaeological sites in the MIddle East over the past few years.
And basketball starts next week…..what were you saying about “home” school????
Side note: For the 9-year old homeschooler, Thursday was an interesting day, wasn’t it? He saw a production of Macbeth, had art class, listened to a lecture on archaeology..did a page of cursive, played piano, did a couple of pages of Greek letters, listened to me read about Germany, read in one of the architectural books he checked out from the library, read Harry Potter book 7, and watched Lego videos. Not bad.
I’ve always been quite interested in how they balance their Jewish identity with being a public facility to which, er…all are welcome.
In short, the Jewish identity is strong and unapologetically lived. Anyone is welcome, but just know, of course, that they won’t be open at your convenience. You want to exercise or swim on Friday night or Saturday morning? You’ll have to go elsewhere. Do you want to come during Passover or the High Holy Days or Sukkot? Well…you can’t..but let us tell you all about our heritage and what these holy days are all about. Yes, we have food, and it’s kosher, and please don’t bring non-kosher food into these areas….and let us tell you what that means.
All are welcome and no apologies about who they are and the boundaries that identity entails because they believe in who they are and that it’s good and life-giving.
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!