Another quiet week at the homefront. Basketball, roof repair (finally!), brick-n-mortar school schedules and coldish weather keep us close to home these days. But in a couple more weeks….we’re free! (-ish)
This week, I’ve been reading Captive Paradise, which is a history of Hawaii. No, we’re not going there (although I’d love to!) – I’m just on a kick. I read a history of the leper colony at Molokai, and this was on the “new releases” shelf at the library. And then, as I started reading it, I noted that the author was talking about charging up against politically correct interpretations of history, and I was all in.
I adore revisionist history – from any angle. I’ve always been just as interested in historiography as I am in history – may I blame my 9th grade history course at Knoxville Catholic High School which used a curriculum that was all about primary sources and interpretation? Perhaps. I’ll have more about it when I finish, but at this point, I’m really interested in the various interpretations of pre- and post-contact island life.
Although since everyone’s – seriously, EVERYONE’S – name begins with “K,” I admit that I’ve given up on the details. Big Picture, people. Big Picture.
Speaking of historiography, tonight while I was running , I listened to this week’s In Our Time, which was about the 4th century BC Indian king, Ashoka. Ashoka is famed for converting to Buddhism and attempting to shape his kingdom according to Buddhist ethics. What was fascinating about this program was the straight-up disagreement between the historians. First we had two (young female) historians who told the story of Ashoka pretty straightforwardly, admitting a bit of ambivalence about the sources, but really not too much. Then comes the Old Boy who basically says everything that’s been said so far is BS because reliable primary sources are non-existent. Awkward! It was a fascinating listen, not only for that but also to learn about later (and present-day) Hindu-dominated India’s neglect and outright ignoring of the Buddhist king who abhorred the caste system.
Speaking of my exercise…
I run/walk in a facility that has a track floating above a gym.
(Running around a track is certainly rat-in-a-maze-like, but it strikes me that doing a treadmill would be worse. So 80 laps it is!)
Last year, during intramural basketball season, I took note of a particular team and a particular coach, and I’m stupidly happy to be able to have them in my sights again this year as I run in circles above their games.
They are teenagers, and their coach is one of them – they’re maybe 16/17 years old. But the thing is – and this is what I noticed last year – the kid who coaches…wears a tie, every single game. Sometimes he sports a jacket it with it, and other times a sweater vest, but whatever, it’s hysterical. I love it. He stands at the sidelines like he’s Rick Paterno in his jacket and tie, coaching his friends, while the other side is coached by some dad being all casual in shorts and a t-shirt, and tonight, when they were losing by a lot, he grabbed someone’s jersey, threw it over his vest and tie, and put himself in the game for the last two minutes.
Everyone thinks they’re doing it like an individual…but only some of us actually are.
I was thinking I would try to do a learning post for Melanie this week, but with a writing deadline, basketball on Saturday and a birthday party on Sunday, that’s not happening. So for now, I’ll just mention a couple of things:
This past week, Michael read this book, which is part of a 3-book series: Michael at the Invasion of France. I am a firm believer in the “living books” pedagogy of history, either with non-fiction or historical fiction, and this was a great example of how well this works It’s an excellent book (Joseph had read it a few years ago) about a boy involved in the French Resistance. Her “author’s note” at the end about the role of children in the Resistance actually made me choke up a bit as I read it.
(My) Michael read it and then we’ve spent a couple of days working through the study materials Calkoven herself provides – background material as well as questions that (my) Michael discussed with me and wrote about. Ample opportunity to discuss, not only the specifics of history but also issues of loyalty, authority, and resistance as well.
Last year at some point, I had let our subscriptions to the Cricket-group magazines lapse, but I recently renewed them – we subscribe to Muse, Dig, Odyssey and Calliope. Well, they all came this week…so there was a lot of “Go read some of the magazines.” And I don’t even have to add , “And come talk to me about them,” because it’s like a tic with him. As I’ve written before “narration” is a central aspect of the Charlotte Mason pedagogy, but with this one, I don’t even have to try. I get narrated all. Freaking. Day. Long.
So this happened this week:
I had purchased this book – Gods and Heroes in Art. We have a couple of the saints-related titles in the series, and they’re good, so since Michael is deep in the Percy Jackson books (again), I thought I’d add this to our considerable mythology collection. I have lots of historical material, but nothing else specifically related to art.
We were leafing through it, and he paused at the “Perseus” entry.
“Wait,” he said, “I’ve seen that. Isn’t that at our museum?”
Find the credits.
If you had asked me? Not in a million years would I have remembered ever seeing that painting before in my entire life.
I mean…what? 10. Years. Old. Barely.
Now. Can you please remember to put your shoes in your closet?
Lent is coming! Full list of resources here, but take special note today, if you don’t mind, of these Stations of the Cross..and pass it on to your parish!
John Paul II’s Biblical Way of the Cross, published by Ave Maria Press. This, again, is available as an actual book and in a digital version, in this case as an app. Go here for more information. (The illustrations are by Michael O’Brien)
A few years ago, I wrote a Stations of the Cross for young people called No Greater Love, published by Creative Communications for the Parish. They put it out of print for a while…but now it’s back!