Slow progress on the whole broken-roof thing. Adjustor came, finished his work, and that check’s in the mail. Now I’m just waiting to hear from the roofer to schedule.
I say it once a month: I like my house a lot, and love my neighborhood, but after this, I’m done with home ownership. After these boys are up and out, it will be time to pack it in and become a renter again – wherever. Homeownership is vastly overrated, especially if you’re not handy and don’t have a maintenance staff at the ready.
Speaking of home and homes, please check out Emily Stimpson’s new blog on The Catholic Table. It looks wonderful and will be, I can already tell, a wonderful spot to read and reflect about food and Christian values of friendship and hospitality that are applicable to everyone in any stage of life.
For me and for the friends who sit around my table, food does what it’s supposed to do: It creates family. And it does that not because I’m some Cordon Bleu trained chef. I’m not. I’m just a woman who wants people to know how precious they are—to me and to God. Because God shows us that truth every day by feeding us with his Body and Blood, I do the same by feeding everyone who walks through my door.
That’s really all I do. I love, so I cook. And it works. In a world wracked by loneliness, where more than half of all Americans claim to have no close friends, a little love and a lot of cooking go a long way.
Today was fire day here at the home school. No, don’t call Allstate again. We have been following a basic 4th grade science curriculum, so the past weeks it’s been all about matter – first what it is, then states of matter and now the difference between physical and chemical changes. What better chemical change than fire? Did lots of demonstrations, some of which we’d done a couple of years ago with brother, but they were worth repeating. If you’re interested:
One of the things I like about the Naked Scientists site is that the explanations of the demonstrations come with diagrams, which is quite helpful, and not something you see very often.
as well as the see-how-CO2-puts-out-a-candle thing.
(Also watched this video on the nature of a flame and read about the chemistry of matches. I’m so stupid. I didn’t know that the strip on safety match boxes was actually a chemical needed to ignite, hence the “safety” designation (since it won’t combust just by striking on anything.))
We’ve settled into a habit of daily watching of videos from one or most of the following:
Science Dump (be careful here, because they do have videos on sex-related matters – I’m saying, it’s not a site in which a kid should roam freely)
And then the various divergent paths on which these particular links lead us.
Which then, of course, led me to explore the whole history of the Christmas Lectures at the Royal Institute-
There had been afternoon lecture courses for adults at the Ri since 1800 and probably some people brought their children along, but in 1825 someone had the idea of putting on lectures during the holiday breaks aimed at ‘ a juvenile auditory’ to introduce a young audience to a subject through spectacular demonstrations
You can read his Christmas lectures – on the candle – here.
Random school-related stuff:
- Satisfied with knowing the Greek alphabet, and having applied it to various Christian-related minutiae (chi-rho, Alpha Omega) and some scientific applications, we’re onto Latin now. We’re starting with this, and then once he gets some basic grammar, we’ll go into Visual Latin – we already have it from the 8th grader, so why not use it?
- Finally finished Archimedes and the Door of Science. We used it as an inspiration for some science work, some history, and, using Brave Writer, copywork and dictation. It took a long time..why? Partly because we’d stop and do activities related to the material in the book, but it wasn’t that simple because I never had the proper materials, and it would take me days of remembering and forgetting to finally gather them, and then it was Christmas…etc. I have Galen and the Gateway to Medicine, so we’ll do that next.
- One more chapter in Beast Academy 4B and it’s a doozy – logic. It’s not super hard, but every section is, per usual, a bit of a challenge at first. What’s fascinating to me is that despite initial protests, he pretty much gets it within seconds. He was doing these Minesweeper puzzles and got to the point at which he could look at the most challenging ones for maybe ten seconds and then fill it in properly, while I’m still staring dumbly at it.
- Well, I never said I was logical.
- Learned about the Dewey Decimal System. Here’s a good quick review game.
- We do a lot of science and engineering-related stuff. We were somewhat obsessed with DaveHax over the past couple of weeks.
- Together, we are reading Alice in Wonderland. Revisiting this book is worth a separate blog post. You should take a look at the book again, if you have a chance. I probably should go read some analysis, but boy, it’s trippy. An almost uncomfortably accurate expression of the subconscious and dreaming – all about anxiety and feeling out of control.
- Michael finds it weird and amusing and we do things like pick out subjects, verbs and direct objects from the sentences.
- Spent some time this week with “All the World’s a Stage.” We read it, listened to readings of it (Morgan Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch were handy online), discussed it, looked up unfamiliar vocabulary (quite a bit!), he memorized a couple of lines and did some of it for copywork.
- Talked about limericks, read a lot, and he wrote a few.
- (Other poetry – we have plenty of poetry books, but I checked this one out from the library, and like the selections. They are different.)
- No travels this week. We’re still adjusting to the basketball schedule and the 2-hour art class which was supposed to be on Mondays got moved to Thursdays, but then they called and said they might not have enough to run the class, so just sit tight until next week, at which point I’m thinking..you had enough when it was on Monday, right? So that messed us up as I set aside not just one, but two afternoons for that, only to see it cancelled.
- We did a bit of art ourselves this week – played around with rubbings over various textures with various media. (The best texture was the underside of an unused tile, which has a raised honeycomb texture). Then I pulled out this plastic zip bag I have with dozens of random words I’d cut out from magazines, and he used the rubbings as background for some found poetry.
- I tried to do this type of found poetry with him – to circle words on the page of an old book. I just liked the idea. It didn’t work out very well, though, perhaps because he’s a little young and thinks rather literally, but also perhaps (I thought later) because the only book worn out enough to use up on this was a Beverly Clearly Ramona paperback that was falling apart. As I looked back at the pages he’d tried to use, I saw the the language was so basic and flat (although entertaining!) – not a lot more than names with “said” or “asked” and various nouns..it was probably not the best choice for that kind of exercise.
- Oh, there was the Science Center class this week – topic: geology. Core samples taken from cupcakes, I understand.
- Reading of library books on animals, Honduras…other topics that strike his fancy.
- This is very, very good: Nix the Tricks. Take a look, and forward to people who need it.
I don’t watch Downton Abbey. Sorry. I’ve got nothing on that score.
I was talking to yet another person considering homeschooling the other day, and I said, rather forcefully, I’m afraid, something like this:
The caricature is that homeschoolers do this in order to protect children from the world, to insulate and live within a bubble. Perhaps that is the case for some – but who of us does not seek to create some sort of bubble for our children? The bubble of privilege, the bubble of the Road to College and Success, the bubble of materialism. Bubbles.
But my motivation was the opposite. I was frustrating with the way that institutional schools contract the world. It didn’t matter that the worldview of the schools my children have attended – a Catholic one – is one that I share. A Catholic worldview should actually be diverse and vibrant and alive with culture, so that’s not the issue.
The short version: I didn’t take up homeschooling because I wanted my children to see less of the world. No, I did so because I wanted to help them encounter and engage with more.
And I have the means, the time, these are my last two – and my conscience finally wouldn’t let me say no any longer.