Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Khan Academy

Wednesdays with Words: A Properly Tuned Soul

I've been "off again" reading The Liberal Arts Tradition by Kevin Clark and Ravi Scott Jain in my "on again-off again" reading.  But when my reading was "on again," I marked it heavily.  It is so very good.  I wanted to share this quote from quite a while ago because it is my goal (for the third week in a row) to finish the book this week. 

Musical education is soul-craft: carried out properly it tunes the soul, and makes one receptive to truth and goodness ... At the very source of the classical education tradition, then, we find the formative and foundational importance of a properly tuned soul.
Then, they go on to expound upon The Abolition of Man by Lewis:

Lewis's argument unfolds something like this: 1) judgements about the good (ethics) and the beautiful (aesthetics) are not merely descriptions of one's personal feelings, but objective responses to reality; 2) the ability to make these judgements is not something we learn the way we learn things such as math or science, but is a function of the intuition and imagination; 3) these judgements are nevertheless reasonable because value judgements and even reason itself are upheld by the intuition and imagination; 4) the imagination and intuition are enculturated, that is, formed throug the process Plato referred to as musical education. (pg 27, emphasis mine)
What are you reading?

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Simple Woman's Daybook for August 25, 2014


Outside my window... it's finally summer-like hot. 

I am thinking... that we need new soccer cleats for a couple of kids.

I am thankful... we had a wonderful church picnic on Saturday.
In the kitchen... we're back to strange eating and grocery schedules; soccer practices start tonight.

I am wearing... black tanktop and jeans shorts.  Comfy for at home.

I am creating... just finished assignment sheets for the week.  It will be miraculous if we finish anything if the work done this morning is any indication.

I am going... to buy more laundry detergent; I'm almost out!

I am wondering... just who N-boy's soccer coach is.  I know who is coaching the girls' teams, but don't recognize his coach's name.

I am reading... A Civil Contract by Georgette Heyer.

I am hoping... to finish The Liberal Arts Tradition before next Monday.  I'm so close. I failed last week. Again. Third time's a charm?

I am looking forward to... the long Labor Day weekend.

I am learning ... about how Khan Academy works while R-girl and I take some time to slow down and refresh.

Around the house... re-instating chores and routines is painful. Still painful.

I am pondering... folding laundry.  Just pondering at the moment, though.

A favorite quote for today... 

One of my favorite things... hearing my kids play the piano.  Unfortunately, they've been playing new metronome.  
A few plans for the rest of the week ... SOCCER!

A peek into my day... 
This post is linked to The Simple Woman's Daybook.  We'd love to have you join us!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Weekly Report: August 18-22, 2014

Our second week had its ups and downs.  We had a rough beginning and middle, but the end
was much improved.  We had the best Circle Times we've ever had, right at an hour of work.  We accomplished a lot of work, but did we accomplish the best work?

I've been thinking about Brandy's post from last year (thankful she reminded me of it) that difficulties and struggles are windows into character - mine and that of the children - and opportunities to train and disciple and teach character.  I've also been thinking about her interview with Sarah of Amongst Lovely Things that is included in the Teaching from a State of Rest bundle (it's on sale! right now through September 2, follow the link.  I've not gotten into the book yet, and have only listened to this interview, but [whew] it's fantastic!)

Onto the week. 

Circle Time has been enjoyable. We've worked on our hymns, Bible, Catechism.  We finished Poetry for Young People: William Blake. We started 'The Tempest' in Lamb's Shakespeare (not loving the editing in the edition I bought [bleah]).  We haven't added all of our Memory Work, but I hope to do that next week.

 Math this week has been tough.  M-girl is working on multi-digit addition and subtraction.  MEP teaches several different ways to do that, so coming up with the right one for her has been difficult.  But we're working through it.  N-boy is in a section of lessons that are just *long* we're taking 2 days per lesson: the teaching part and the worksheet part.  There is a lot of order of operations and working with numbers up to 200.  I'm glad I can give him some extra time to learn these lessons.  R-girl is struggling.  She knows how to do the problems, but does them in the least easy way at times.  I think we're going to take a break from MEP and have her do some review work on Khan Academy.  They've added some elementary math components.  We continued to work on Calculadder drills and it is obvious that we need to work on that!

We read one section (on Jamestown, Tobacco, and Slaves) in Story of the World they got a good understanding of Triangular Trade.  We had been to Jamestown a year ago, so they were able to connect well to it.  I wish we had accomplished more History this week though.  Geography Blobbing continues to be a favorite activity - we need to start moving from tracing soon. The children did all finish reading Mystery of the Periodic Table in Science.  I wish I had held off on this book for older readers. 

In Literature, we're reading The Silver Chair. They all finished Chapter 8 and did written narrations on it this week.  They also worked on a bit of Writing and Rhetoric, studying one of Aesop's fables about stubbornness.  Perfect timing!

M-girl is learning how to diagram prepositional phrases in Grammar. N-boy is reading Grammar-Land and completing the worksheets. R-girl is working on finishing First Language Lessons 2, and doing a lot of review.  We learned about antonyms and synonyms, reviewed sentence types, and reviewed types of verbs this week.

We watched Lesson 8 in Latin and learned about the neuter nouns.  The children made their flash cards and worked in their lesson books this week.  Next week we will do Activity book assignments as well as spend some time on Headventureland.

M-girl has been doing some programming on Khan Academy, and is joining a First Lego League team this year.  She and I determined that she doesn't need as much Nitro Type practice, so she's going to switch her focus to Khan Academy.  R-girl started Dance Mat Typing and is doing very well with it. N-boy is still practicing on Nitro Type. 

All three children have continued with some copywork; M-girl and N-boy have completed the C S Lewis Quotes copywork I found, so they're going to begin copying Westminster Shorter Catechism.  I was pleased they offered a pdf and a back to school discount.

All three children have continued practicing piano, despite having no teacher for the time being.  I really need to find someone soon!

Embrace the Ordinary: Waffles and bacon

One of my favorite meals is breakfast for dinner. Delicious, cheap, easy, fun ... and, frankly, I'd rather cook it at dinnertime than breakfasttime.  Breakfast for dinner is not Jason's preference, though.

One Thursday evening a month, he has an evening meeting and dinner is just me and the kiddos. We totally enjoy our breakfast for dinner then.

We have waffles or French toast or French toast casserole or pancakes. We have bacon, occasionally sausage. We have fruit and/or fruit smoothies. And maple syrup.

Having a fun tradition the children and I enjoy takes some of the sadness of missing daddy out of the evening. The ordinary made special.

Breakfast in dress up clothes is fun too.
Linking up with Embrace the Ordinary at Someday (hopefully) They'll Be Saints. Join us!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Date Night

Wednesdays with Words: Getting Started

Welcome to the new WWW!

I'm so looking forward to reading about what you're reading and learning from the ideas that you choose to share with us! I've added a little explanation at the top of the link-up, but thought I'd also share it in the main blog post as we're getting started:

Wednesdays with Words is an opportunity to share your reading and words that have been meaningful to you in any way. Mostly participants share quotes from books they're reading, but any written material (articles, internet magazine, whatever) is great. Sometimes participants share a selection because of its beautiful phrasing, sometimes because of its intriguing ideas, sometimes because of its everyday encouragement. We'd love to have you share with us someone else's words.
Please feel free to use the lovely logo Brandy at Afterthoughts designed for me on your post and - most importantly - link back here (or I might not see your contribution!)  I hope the linky-thing works, but I've never tried this before so please be patient if the technical side is a little wonky this week!

Now onto the reading and sharing!

I'm currently reading Chasing Francis by Ian Morgan Cron.  20 years ago, I went as a leader for my church Youth Group's trip to a big retreat called "Fun in the Son" in Ocean City, New Jersey.  Cron was there as the music leader/concert giver.  I bought his CD, it's pretty good.  So when in the last few years I noticed that he was writing books I was intrigued.

He somewhat recently (the last two years?) published a spiritual memoir, Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me: A Memoir ... of Sorts and I - enjoying memoirs over the past couple of years - thought that was what I purchased.  But, no, Chasing Francis is a novel about a modern evangelical pastor who loses it and goes searching for pre-enlightenment faith.  I was very confused until I realized I wasn't reading the book I thought I was reading. Chasing Francis is pretty good so far, the info-dumps of Francis of Assi information are less show than tell, but I understand that Cron has to bring the reader up to speed to accomplish what he's doing.  Anyway, I enjoyed the following passage(s).

A conversation between Chase Falson (our main character) and Kenny (his uncle, guide, and a Roman Catholic priest).

I put my hands on the back of the pew in front of me and leaned forward, resting my chin on them. “It’s strange to look at the Bible in a painting. I’ve always thought of it as a black-and-white photograph,” I mused. “Everything in it had to be perfectly clear so no one could question it.”

“How modern of you,” Kenny said.

“What does that mean?”

“The medieval Christian perspective got beaten up during the Enlightenment. Enlightenment thinkers saw the universe less as a mystery and more as a machine where you got hold of truth by using reason, not divine revelation. The Christian worldview that had never been challenged before suddenly came under attack. Scientists replaced theologians, and the age of modernity was born.”
“I’m sure that bugged some people,” I said. I imagined groups of robed clerics wringing their hands and bemoaning their changed fortunes.

“Yes, eventually the church became so threatened by modernity’s scorn that they turned the Bible into more of a history of ideas rather than a story.”

“But why?”

“If they could make all their doctrines string together perfectly and logically, it would make the faith harder to discredit. But the Bible is less about ideas or doctrines than it is a story about people and their up-and-down relationships with God. It’s — ”

“More a painting than a photograph,” I said.

“Right. It’s not always clear, it’s not black-and-white, you can’t use it forensically in court, it’s messy — and like all art it’s open to many interpretations,” Kenny said.

“So why do you say I’m a modern?” I asked.

Kenny paused. “Sometimes when you speak about your faith, you sound desperate and defensive, like you’re afraid someone is going to come along and knock over all your blocks. That strips the poetry out of the Scriptures, out of following Jesus. I’m not surprised you woke up one day and asked yourself, ‘Is this all there is?’ ”

“You want me to start thinking like I’m living in the Middle Ages?” I asked.

“Why not? Stop asking the painting to be a photograph. It’s the story that makes sense of your life, and you don’t need to apologize for choosing it,” Kenny said. He stood up. “As a friend of mine used to say, the Bible is the story of how God gets back what was always his in the first place. People are looking for a story that can explain the way the world is. I think they’re open to being romanced by the glory of the painting. I think Saint Francis can show us how to take advantage of the moment.” (pg 55-56)
And, then, later, I just liked the way this was said ...

True holiness is so often swaddled in the simple. (pg 65)
What have you been reading?