Sunday, November 30, 2014

Lydia's Grade Eight: Homeschooling in December, and the questions I ask myself

Some homeschool families take December off, or do Christmas unit studies. We did some of that when the girls were younger. But the trouble with trying to squeeze about 39 planned-out weeks of school between Labour Day and the end of June, and include March Break and a few other days off (planned and unplanned), is that you can't really do all that and not do at least some school work in December. So we will get started this Tuesday with Term Two of Year Eight, then take our two weeks of holidays with the public schoolers. (Monday is going to be a finish-exams day.)

I'm thinking...I'm always thinking about this, but I have varying degrees of can I take this list of mostly readings, and make it more of An Atmosphere, A Discipline, A Life? And still be a little bit relaxed, because it's December after all?  If I were doing Charlotte Mason consulting for some other family, what would I add or scrub? Where is Mrs. Dowson's unity of thought? Where is the thing that engages attention? How do we encourage delight? Where is Lydia the person, and Mama Squirrel the teacher, and Mr. Fixit the principal, and the rest of the family, and the community and the world (physical) and the universe (spiritual) she lives in? What relationships are we building?

And how does one do this most effectively with just one eighth grader who enjoys doing most of her work independently?

Some ideas, things we might do: Re-emphasize a certain kind of routine or "horarium," one that offers both discipline and atmosphere--for instance, having readaloud times in front of the fireplace upstairs, instead of shivering in the basement. (It's only an electric fire, but we like it.) But also maintain quiet, non-distracting spaces where a person can focus on math and grammar. Make things graphic where that helps (using notebooks, visual organizers). Give her enough opportunities to use her power of choosing.

School goals for December (three weeks' work):

Read The Bible Through the Ages, begin the section on the New Testament
o 10 pages/wk, starting at page 132: The World of Jesus; Life and Ministry of Jesus; Spreading the Good News
o 10 pages/wk: Apostle to the Gentile World; Letter writing; Thessalonians, Galatians; Corinthians, Philippians

Bible Study
o 2 Samuel 10-13:20; Matt 17:19-18:14; Psalm 119:123-136; Proverbs 10:12-21
o 2 Samuel 13:21-15; Matt 18:15-19:15; Psalm 119:137-155; Proverbs 10:22-32

Celebrating the Christian Year
o  Look ahead to Epiphany on January 6th.

December hymns and carols: "Wake, Awake" (Nicolai); "All My Heart This Night Rejoices" (Gerhardt)

Donatello, Madonna Pazzi
Art History / Christian Studies
Read Seeing the Mystery: Exploring the Christian faith through the eyes of artists
o  Preface: What do artists really show us?
o  Chapter 1: The great paradox, pages 13-26.  Works featured in this chapter: paintings from the Roman catacombs; Correggio, Adoration of the (Christ) Child (1520); Madonna and Child on a Curved Throne (Byzantine icon); Donatello, Madonna Pazzi; Caroline Hamilton, "Mary and Baby Jesus"; Inuit carving, "Mary and Jesus"; Gentile de Fabriano, The Adoration of the Wise Men (Magi); El Greco, Christ Driving the Money Changers; James Ensor, Ecce Homo (Christ and the Critics); Christ Pantocrator (icon).

A little more Picture Study:
o  Introduction to Albrecht Dürer (see references at the end of the Renaissance book from last term)
o  Dürer's woodcuts for Martin Luther's Christmas Book

Composer Study: Jean Sibelius - Finlandia. (Chapter in Modern Composers for Young People, by Gladys Burch.) From Wikipedia:  Finlandia, Op. 26 is a symphonic poem by the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. It was written in 1899 and revised in 1900. The piece was composed for the Press Celebrations of 1899, a covert protest against increasing censorship from the Russian Empire, and was the last of seven pieces performed as an accompaniment to a tableau depicting episodes from Finnish history. A typical performance takes anywhere from 7½ to 9 minutes.

The Twelve Teas of Friendship
o  Read pages 88-89, Gifts of Friendship.

Handicrafts / practical skills
o  Make something decorative or useful for the holidays.
o  Help with holiday baking!
o  Make notes in your Enquire Within notebook.

Outside classes: weekly drama class.

Keep a calendar of current events in the back of your BoC.

Read Whatever Happened to Justice
o chapter 16, Political Law.  "It is made up law, created out of nothing."
o chapter 17, Discovery vs. Enactment

Read Ourselves Book II, Part II, THE WILL.
o  page 137-middle of 138,  Chapter III, "Will Not Moral or Immoral." Before reading, review the idea of putting a "dividing line" between people who have acted with Will, and those who have acted with Wilfulness. "The wilful person is at the mercy of his appetites and his chance desires...without power or desire to control the lead of his nature..." But Will "implies impersonal aims...[it means] the power to project himself beyond himself and shape his life upon a purpose." There are also those who do not call upon Will, who "think as other people think, act as others act, feel what is commonly felt, and never fall back upon their true selves, wherein Will must act...Life is to such persons a series of casualties..."

This is the whole section to read:
To 'Will' is not to 'be Good'––Perhaps what has already been said about Will may lend itself to the children's definition of 'being good,' and our imaginary dividing line may appear to have all the good people on the one side, and all the not good on the other. But the man of will may act from mixed motives, and employ mixed means. Louis XI., for example, in all he did, intended France; he was loyal to his own notion of his kingly office; but, because he was a mean man, he employed low means, and his immediate motives were low and poor. An anarchist, a rebel, may propose things outside of himself, and steadfastly will himself to their accomplishment. The means he uses are immoral and often criminal, but he is not the less a man of steadfast will. Nay, there are persons whose business in life it is to further a propaganda designed to do away with social restraints and moral convictions. They deliberately purpose harm to society; but they call it good; liberty to do as he chooses is, they say, the best that can befall a man; and this object they further with a certain degree of self-less zeal. It is the fact of an aim outside of themselves which wins followers for such men; the looker-on confuses force of will with virtue, and becomes an easy convert to any and every development of 'free-thought.'
It is therefore well we should know that, while the turbulent, headstrong person is not ruled by will at all,––but by impulse, the movement of his passions or desires,––yet it is possible to have a constant will with unworthy and even evil ends. More, it is even possible to have a steady will towards a good end, and to compass that end by unworthy means. Rebecca had no desire but that the will of God should be done; indeed, she set herself to bring it about; the younger, the chosen son, should certainly inherit the blessing as God had appointed; and she sets herself to scheme the accomplishment of that which she is assured is good. What a type she offers of every age, especially of our own!
The simple, rectified Will, what our Lord calls 'the single eye,' would appear to be the one thing needful for straight living and serviceableness.
Shakespeare: begin The Merchant of Venice (you have already read about this play in History of English Literature, Chapter 47).  A thought for this play: can we decide which characters have Will, and which ones are just Wilful?

Read Mythology by Edith Hamilton, ten pages/week.  Alternatively, read Till We Have Faces.

Read Part One of Don Quixote, John Ormsby translation, adapted for schools by Mabel Wheaton (we have a copy of Ormsby, which I've edited temporarily using a pile of Post-It Notes).  This will probably be a readaloud for us, at least until Christmas.
o  Mabel's introduction
o  Chapters 1-5 (pages 1-18 in our copy)
o  Chapters 6-10 (pages 18-54, following the Post-It Note skips)
o  Chapters 11-15 (pages 54-92)
(Homework over the break: finish Part One, chp. 16-19, pages 104-199 in our copy, with omissions)

Read History of English Literature
o  chapter 52 Bacon--New Ways of Wisdom.  "'I have read in books,' he wrote, that it is accounted a great bliss to have Leisure with Honour. That was never my fortune. For time was I had Honour without Leisure; and now I have Leisure without Honour. But my desire is now to have Leisure without Loitering.'"
o  chapter 53 Bacon--The Happy Island. (About Atlantis)

Read Rawley's Life of Francis Bacon (printout) (read this after the History of English Literature chapters)

Poetry:  Read Fierce Wars & Faithful Loves (Spenser's Faerie Queene Book I with contemporary explanations and footnotes)
o Read the Introduction and "Beginning"; then read Cantos 1, 2, and 3.  I would say let's read it aloud, but there are so many notes and things that it seems to make more sense to read it to yourself.

Fun Christmas readaloud, maybe: Dorothy L. Sayers, "The Necklace of Pearls"

Read Journey to The Source of the Nile, by Sir Christopher Ondaatje
o  Prologue: A Song of Africa.
o  Read pages 27-49 (Chapter One).  What led up to this (1996) journey to the source of the Nile? Compare with the reasons for beginning the Kon Tiki expedition. What did Ondaatje hope to achieve?

Science and Nature Readings
Keeping a Nature Journal
o  pages 90-91, seasonal changes in winter
o  page 92, "Seeing Signs of Winter"
o  page 97, "Combining observation and research"
o Spend time outdoors and make entries (written, drawn, lists) in your nature journal

Ecology and Nature Study: Read Exploring the World Around You
o Chapter 7, Food. "Hydrogen atoms [are] neither created nor destroyed [in photosynthesis], but just rearranged. That's an expression of one of the most fundamental laws of science, the law of conservation of matter."

Human Physiology and Health: Read Exploring the History of Medicine
o  Chapter 1, The First Physicians
o  Chapter 2, Medicine Goes Wrong. "If the corpse and the book don't agree, the error is in the corpse!"
o  Chapter 3: Fabric of the Body,  Andreas Vesalius
o  Chapter 4: Father of Modern Surgery, Ambroise Paré.  "I treated him. God healed him."
o  Chapter 5: The Living River (William Harvey). Supplement: "William Harvey and the Discovery of the Circulation of the Blood," by Thomas Henry Huxley (printout).
o  Chapter 6: The Invisible Kingdom (the microscope)

History Readings
Keep a Book of Centuries with all history studied (Bible, English, Canadian, etc.)

Read The Story of Mankind
o 13. Meawhile the Indo-European tribe of the Hellenes...
o 14. The Greek cities that were really states

Read Canada: A New Land
o England on the Atlantic Coast (spread over two weeks), pages 160-178
o The Dutch Claimed the Hudson River District, pages 179-183

Read Churchill's The New World
o Chapter 11, pages 115-124, to "...Spanish match." (Guy Fawkes, James I, Charles, 1605)
o  pages 124-130, beginning 'In the midst of these turmoils,' ending with 'London greatly aided them in this.' (Mayflower; James's children betrothed; Jacobean Charles I crowned)
o  pages 130-138: last half of chapter 12.

French and Latin
o  Unit 7: The Party.  Demonstrative adjectives.
o  Unit 8: Where, when, how?

Latin: catch up on the lessons we had started earlier.

Reading and Writing Stuff
Commonplace Books, Copywork, and Recitations (Memory Work)
o  Copy passages from poetry, plays, and the other books read
o  Practice Scripture passage(s): (choose which you will memorize)
o  Practice poem(s):
o  Other memory work:

Narration (all subjects)
o  Oral narrations of readings
o  Reader's Journal: one page, twice a week, on any of your readings (choose which you will write about)
o  Keep Book of Centuries and/or other notebooks handy as you read or listen; make entries at the end
o Other kinds of narrations: dramatic, musical, artistic...

Easy Grammar Plus (workbook), pages 188-205

Write with the Best Vol. II
o  Unit 4: Persuasive Essays.  Day 1 (read "Common Sense" by Thomas Paine), 2 (look at definitions of essay, thesis statement)
o  Day 3 (reread Common Sense and look for arguments, main point, conclusion), Day 4 (consider topic and thesis statement for a persuasive essay)
o  Day 5 (5 Objectives), Day 6 (Begin writing essay)
Homework over Christmas break: continue working on your essay.  Look at Day 7, 8 etc. for guidance.

Read How to Read a Book, Chapter 10, Criticizing a Book Fairly (this is the point where the reader gets to talk back)
o  Teachability as a virtue, pages 137-140.
o   Read The Role of Rhetoric, pages 140-141.(Note: this is a short section, but I think we might need to explain about the Trivium a little more than Adler does here)
o   Read The Importance of Suspending Judgment, pages 142-145

Mathematics:  Mathematics: A Human Endeavor.  Chapter Three, Functions and Their Graphs

Lesson Three
o  Introductory problems
o  Functions with Line Graphs, Set I, Questions 1-23 (workbook)
o  Functions with Line Graphs,  Set II, Questions 1-21 (workbook)

Lesson Four
o  Introductory problems
o  Functions with Parabolic Graphs, Set I, Questions 1-18 (workbook)
o  Functions with Parabolic Graphs,  Set II, Questions 1-16 (workbook)
o  Optional: Set III: the price of a pizza

Lesson Five
o  Introductory problems
o  More Functions with Curved Graphs, Set I, Questions 1-16 (workbook)
o  More Functions with Curved Graphs,  Set II, Questions 1-14 (workbook)
o  Optional: Set III

Lesson Six
o  Introductory problems
o  Interpolation and Extrapolation: Guessing Between and Beyond, Set I, Questions 1-13 (workbook)
o  Interpolation and Extrapolation: Guessing Between and Beyond,  Set II, Questions 1-15 (workbook)
o  Optional: Set III: racecars
o  Summary and Review, Set I, Questions 1-15 (workbook)
o  Summary and Review,  Set II, Questions 1-14 (workbook)
o  Further exploration, as time permits

Friday, November 28, 2014

Lila: A Novel, by Marilynne Robinson (book review)

Lila: A Novel, by Marilynne Robinson. Farrar, Straus and Giroux (October 7, 2014)

If you've read Marilynne Robinson's earlier books Gilead and Home, you know who Lila Ames is; she's the second wife of an elderly, widowed, small-town preacher named John Ames. Gilead is his own memoir, written to their young son who will, presumably, read it when he's older. Home concerns John Ames' friend Boughton and his family. And this book is Lila's own story: where she came from, how she wandered into the old man's church, risked trusting him, and became an inseparable part of his life.

Without trying to give away too much, Lila had a very rough beginning, an alienated upbringing, and a mostly-horrible young adulthood; it's a miracle that she survived at all.  Soon after her arrival in the town of Gilead, somewhere around 1950, she "borrows" a Bible from John Ames' church, and begins reading from the book of Ezekiel: "In the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to cleanse thee...No eye pitied thee." As she explores Ezekiel and, later, the book of Job, she discovers more images of loss and abandonment, and then redemption, large ideas that resonate with her own experiences. By the end of the book, life for Lila and "the Reverend" has changed in many ways; "she could make a pretty good meat loaf now and a decent potato salad." They have settled into their own version of "normal," which includes their new baby. But many questions remain, both spiritual and everyday ones; there are things that will never be known for sure, including the fate of the woman who raised Lila.  The time they will have together is also uncertain. Does it matter what can or can't be known, as long as love and grace are there? 
Recommended for those interested in thoughtful fiction by Christian writers. 

Education is a discipline: shopping with mother, and the end of the series

(All posts in this month's Education is a Discipline series)

Charlotte Mason defined "Education is a discipline":  "By Education is a discipline, is meant the discipline of habits formed definitely and thoughtfully, whether habits of mind or body."

Purposefully. Intentionally. The opposite of automatically, thoughtlessly--which sounds like a paradox if you're talking about habits, letting your feet take the path they have always walked on. But it's the formation of the habits themselves that needs to be definite and thoughtful. There's nothing wrong with a habit if it serves a purpose. I've used this CM quote before:  "Shall we live this aimless, drifting life, or shall we take upon us the responsibility of our lives, and will as we go?" (Ourselves Book II)  
And also this one:  "Before she goes 'shopping,' she must use her reason, and that rapidly, to lay down the principles on which she is to choose her dress,--it is to be pretty, becoming, suitable for the occasions on which it is to be worn, in harmony with what else is worn with it. Now, she goes to the shop; is able to describe definitely what she wants...judgment is prompt to decide upon the grounds already laid down by reason and what is more, the will steps in to make the decision final, not allowing so much as a twinge of after-regret for that 'sweet thing' which she did not buy." (Formation of Character)
These could be restated from the adult's point of view: Shall we allow our students/children to take upon themselves the responsibility of their lives, and will as they go?  Will we allow them to learn to use their reason, to choose, to know definitely what they want, to make decisions without regret?
So let's talk about shopping. A couple of days ago, Mr. Fixit and Lydia went to a thrift store which was having a half-price sale, so it was quite busy. In whatever other respects my girls' education may have failed, they are at least good clothes-choosers. Lydia came home with a lovely pair of two-tone pumps, which she actually needed to go with a dress, and she bought a couple of other things. She told me that in the change room next to her there was quite a lot of drama going on between a girl about her own age and a mother. The mother didn't like what the girl was choosing, the girl didn't like what the mother was suggesting. The mother kept bringing skinny jeans and trendy clothes, the girl wanted more casual sweaters. The mother said, "You're too fat to get into these anyway. You should lay off the Christmas cookies." (Lydia says the girl did not appear to be overweight.)
Obviously, none of us want to act like that, for quite a few reasons. But particularly in the teaching of Will, that mom gets an F.

Remember the House of Education student who got the comment from Miss Mason, "You have come here to learn to live?" You can interpret that in different ways, but in this context I think she meant living with purpose. Having a sense of who you are, what you're doing, and why you're doing it. 
What's the "real world," anyway, and who's to say who is or isn't living in it? Is education just what a teacher tells you to memorize, and information just what comes at you over whatever gadget you carry around? Do we have to rebel so hard, trying to get whatever knowledge is out there, that we frighten ourselves? Or do we allow the hard work of learning to turn us into computers wearing tennis shoes? -- Dewey's Treehouse, 2010
Teaching discipline does not mean making them scrub the latrine with a toothbrush.

It does not mean parents always telling our children what to wear.  It does not mean teachers laying down meaningless assignments (especially under the rationale that hard work builds character).

This is what I think it means: teaching I am, I can, I ought, I will.

And this is also what I think it means:
 14so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:13-15, ESV)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Quote for the day: how to love a person

"For when you come to think of it, the only way to love a person is coddle them and bring them soup when they are sick, but by listening to them and seeing and believing in the god, in the poet, in them. For by doing this, you keep the god and the poet alive and make it flourish." ~~ Brenda Ueland, If You Want to Write

(Christians might prefer to say "the image of God in them," but you get her point.)

More holiday things

 Cocoa can cover number two (we used a lot of cocoa this year.)
I cross-stitched this little wreath last year (a kit I found at the thrift store, while we were still volunteering there).  I had made it into an ornament, but it really looked awful.  So this morning I picked that all apart, salvaged the embroidery, and turned it into a card. (The window cards came with another kit. Have to love thrift stores.)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A craft that's not a secret

What can you do with an empty cocoa can?
Crochet it a holiday jacket.
Yarn:Red Heart Super Saver.  Ribbon and squirrel pin from my "stash."

Craft thing of the day

Today's best craft/sewing idea came from Sew Mama Sew. But because it's less than a month until Christmas, I'm going to have to send you (non-Squirrel people) over to Mama Squirrel's Christmas page, and I'll post a link there. (Scroll down to the very bottom of the page.)  Easy sewing, lots of fun, very versatile. Curious?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

What's for supper? Cold day warm-up

Tonight's dinner menu:

Lentil-vegetable soup, with diced leftover beef for meat eaters to add to their bowls

Mashed-potato scones, with ketchup, salsa, or applesauce

Salad if you wanted it.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Frugal finds and fixes: my new stereo

Take one Sport Walkman. Add a pair of Skittles-box mini speakers that The Apprentice was done with.  Result: one cassette-friendly little stereo for Mama Squirrel.

Listening to: Medieval Carols, by the Oxford Camerata.

Education is a discipline: Mrs. Dowson follows up and finishes off (Part Two)

Mama Squirrel:  How can we recognize a developed and effective mind?

Mrs. Dowson:  I suppose we shall all agree that first and foremost stands as its mark, good judgment. No undisciplined mind shows good judgment in regard to the narrowest sphere except by something like an accident....Given the habit of mental construction by which the separate living stones of knowledge are fitted as they come into their right places in relation one with another, and then, but only then, a survey of the whole as an intellectual and intelligible structure becomes possible, a disciplined judgment finds its appropriate sphere, and the true mental king comes into his own.

Mrs. Dowson:  Once the mind's building process is set going, new stones, new walls, may be added as fresh material accumulates, without producing any confusion or distress, but rather with an increase of power and of scope for the advantageous use of power. Good judgment exercised in such a sphere deals with each thing that comes as in certain respects a familiar thing through the known requirements of the structure, and the manifest relations between the part and the whole to which it belongs.

Mama Squirrel:  You're saying that once we have really begun this sort of education, we are going to find it easier and easier to keep adding on new information?

Mrs. Dowson: Nothing, I suppose, is more surprising to the higgledy-piggledy person than the ease with which the trained man, whose knowledge is in some sort unified, deals with an entirely new fact or group of facts.  The great test of mental discipline and organization is the judgment shewn concerning new things, and new situations or conditions of old things. It has been said, too, that every new bit of knowledge we acquire should make a difference to every other bit we possess, and should itself, in its turn, be modified by all the rest; but obviously this, like good judgment, is impossible if knowledge is in scattered heaps or separate pigeon-holes.
M.S.: How else can you distinguish an educated person?

Mrs. Dowson:  Another mark of the effective mind is the power to select what it requires for any piece of work and to reject what it does not require, the power to sift as it goes along the wheat from the chaff.

M.S.: So, discrimination.  Adler describes this in How to Read a Book; that there are key terms, key sentences, but that there will also be sentences that are not important to the overall argument.

Mrs. Dowson:  The scope of memory, too, is enlarged by an education of this kind. A man whose native memory of unrelated facts is not beyond the average may display a wonderful memory for facts that have been brought together in a rational system. The schemes of artificial mnemonics, memorizing schemes, are all based on the principle of association....An artificial means of linking may fix them in a poor memory, when rational connection is wanting, but the memory itself remains as bad as it was before.

M.S.: Can we actually improve our memories?

Mrs. Dowson:  The only legitimate way to extends its operation is to build every fact into the mind's structure of knowledge, to give it a place and a function in reference to other facts, to show its real meaning and value in relation to the world of intellectual interest to which the mind most readily and easily attends. Illegitimate methods may fix facts for a time; but the artificial string sooner or later gives way and the beads are scattered, possibly without even being missed, since the man content to hold them in such a fashion cannot have perceived their worth or the message of beauty and truth they might have brought into his mind.

M.S.: So, running over the "mental furniture," the vistas and so on that Charlotte Mason describes as being built up in our minds as we look at paintings, memorize poems and so on.

Mrs. Dowson:  The improvement of memory is really an improvement in thinking, and in the weaving of the tissue of our knowledge. We remember what we are vividly interested in, but our interest in anything depends upon the number of links it has with our general stock of interesting facts, on the number of 'hooks' in our stock for which we have detected 'eyes' in the new thing. When its eyes find their hooks it becomes attached to our mental structure, and we think it over and through with all the advantage of the context to which it really belongs and in relation to which it is both valuable and interesting.

M.S.: We also say "pegs to hang things on."

Mrs. Dowson: Both for teachers and the taught, it is only a call to better thinking--thinking more careful and critical, more reverent and humble, more truth-loving and persevering, more free from the bondage of intellectual convention and prejudice, more courageous and devout before the opportunities give us to use the powers we possess.  "For the vast majority," says Lessing, "the goal of their reflection is the spot where they grow tired of reflection." The call to philosophy is a call to set that goal a stage farther on, and to be less easily tired of thinking as we ought to think.

The full article can be read on the Ambleside Online website, here.

Lydia's Grade Eight, Term One exam questions

These examination questions are in the format used on the Ambleside Online website, and some of the questions are from the Year 8 examinations.  Others were drawn from original PUS programmes, and some came from our own term's work.

Bible and Christian Studies
1. Tell about something new that you have noticed or learned from this term's Bible reading assignments.
2. Explain the roles of the oral and written traditions in the writing of the Old Testament books  (The Bible Through the Ages)
Write 8-10 lines of poetry from memory.
1. Write a scene for acting from Hamilton's Mythology or Westward Ho! (this was found in one of the Form III PUS programmes)
2.  Choose something that you've found or that you see outdoors. Write about it, using words that are "resonant...carrying meanings that go beyond the literal." How is a poet's lens "more like a kaleidoscope than a microscope?"  (from The Roar on the Other Side)
English Grammar
1. Write the "Cumulative Test, Adjective Unit" on pages 25-28 of the Easy Grammar Plus Student Test Booklet.
English History
1. "'You know,' Grant said, 'from the police point of view there is no case against Richard at all. And I mean that literally. It isn't that the case isn't good enough. Good enough to bring into court, I mean. There, quite literally, isn't any case against him at all.'" (Daughter of Time) Explain this in as much detail as you can.
2. Explain the disagreement between King Henry VIII and Sir Thomas More, and tell how it ended.
3.  Describe briefly (a) the preparations made i) in Spain ii) in England for the Armada, and b) why the Armada failed. (from a PUS programme)
World History
1.   Tell what you know of the Renaissance, and how it affected life in a) Italy, b) England.
1. Summarize a day at sea on the Kon Tiki.
2. Describe Easter Island.
3. Describe a Polynesian Island. 
Ecology and Physical Science
1. Tell what you know about light and the rhythms of life.
2. Explain these terms: ecosystem, biotic and abiotic factors.  Name and describe some terrestrial ecosystems.
3  In the section called "Global Warming," Dr Wile says, "Although the fear that too much carbon dioxide in the air could lead to global warming is based on sound scientific reasoning, reality is...more complex than that." Explain in as much detail as you can.
4. Write the test for Exploring Creation Through Physical Science, Module 3.
Citizenship/Government (Plutarch)
1. Plutarch's Life of Crassus Why does Plutarch say that Crassus "shewed greater courage in this misfortune [the death of his son], than he before had done in all the war beside," or in Dryden's words, "outdid himself in this calamity?" 
2. "Before the terrorism, I used to carry a heavy bag to school, and I used to learn every day, but I did not know how important education is until we were stopped, because I realized the terrorists are against education, and especially girls' education, because they are afraid of it." Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize winner, in a 2013 CBC interview.  Tell as much of Malala's story as you know, and write your thoughts about the above quote.
3.  "Then, when conscience says nothing we are all right? you ask.  By no means, for the verdict of conscience depends upon what we know and what we habitually allow." (Charlotte Mason, Ourselves Book II)  Explain what is meant here; give examples.
Reading Skill
Father to choose an unseen passage, giving marks for enunciation.
1. "The 100th term of the arithmetic sequence 1, 2, 3, 4, 5... is obvious; it is 100.  The 100th term of the arithmetic sequence 2, 5, 8, 11, 14... however, is not obvious at all.  One way to find out what it is would be to continue writing the sequence until we arrive at it.   There is an easier way, however."   Explain.
2. Deductive reasoning:  If there's a big cube made out of a lot of little cubes, and each side is 12 little cubes across, how many little cubes are in the big cube, how many corner cubes, how many edge cubes, how many other outside cubes, and how many inside cubes that you can't see?  
3. Explain what you know about two of the following: a) functions, b) the Cartesian graph, c) binary numbers, d) the Fibonacci sequence.
1. Translate the following: a) La bonté de l'Éternel remplit la terre.   b) Mon bien-aimé est descendu à son jardin... pour cueillir des lis. c) ...un temps pour planter, et un temps pour arracher ce qui a été planté... 
2.  Tell the story of Maupassant's "The Necklace."  OR translate the following paragraph:
C'était une de ces jolies et charmantes filles, nées, comme par une erreur du destin, dans une famille d'employés. Elle n'avait pas de dot, pas d'espérances, aucun moyen d'être connue, comprise, aimée, épousée par un homme riche et distingué; et elle se laissa marier avec un petit commis du ministère de l'Instruction publique. 
Picture Study
1. Describe "The Three Ages of Man" by Titian, OR "The Madonna of the Rabbit" ("Madonna and Child with St. Catherine and a Rabbit.")
Father should choose a poem, two Bible verses and/or a scene from Shakespeare learned this term for student to recite.
Music Appreciation
What a) operas b) other works by Richard Wagner have you heard? Write notes on one of each. (from a PUS programme)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

What's for supper? Pub Night

What's for supper? It's Mr. Fixit's Pub Night menu, what some people call Takeout Fakeout.

Frozen cheese pizza, with our own toppings added

Frozen chicken wings

Carrot fries

Chow mein noodles

Reheated rice and beans, with a bit of sliced sausage added.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What we had for supper: finish off those packages

Last night's dinner menu:

Ukrainian-style pork dumplings, which look like big tortellini. We got them frozen from the Eurofoods store.

Macaroni and cheese, made with very small farfalle (bowties) that we needed to use up.  I used The Boy's Smack 'n' Cheese recipe that I learned years ago from Coffeemamma, and let it sit to thicken towards the end rather than overcooking the small pasta.

A skillet vegetable mixture of (reheated) butternut squash, red pepper, and corn, heated with honey and water (that is, the end of a honey bottle swished out with water), salt, pepper, margarine, and nutmeg. I thought it would go well with the pork dumplings.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A fun way to dress up no-flour peanut butter cookies

See, I told you that you miss out if you don't click on the Sew Mama Sew links because they don't apply to you (today's theme is Boys, and we don't have any except for Mr. Fixit). The recipe link today is for Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies, which turns out to be the old standby sugar-egg-peanut butter recipe stacked with frosting.  It's obviously not something you can take to a nut-free classroom or church potluck, but if you don't have peanut problems it sounds like a winner.

Education is a Discipline: Mrs. Dowson Follows Up (Part One)

Abridged and adapted from this Parents' Review Article:  The Discipline and Organization of the Mind. Pt II, By Mrs. Dowson, L.R.C.P & S., I., in the Parents Review Volume 11 1900, pages 137-148. Mrs. Dowson is having a conversation with "Uncle Eric" (Richard J. Maybury) and anyone else who wanders by.
"And then, of course, there is 'A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste.'  Today, Y&R joins UNCF in celebrating its 40th anniversary -- 40 years and still going strong. The line, as you know, has seeped into our culture’s vernacular. It’s been appropriated, copied, parodied and mangled in the retelling. Who of a certain time and place can forget former U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle’s tongue-tied tripping over the line, which he recalled as “What a waste it is to lose one’s mind”? The real line was so ubiquitous and so beloved, that his faux pas was banner news that day and struck a note of blasphemy that was heard around the world." ~~ David Sable in Advertising Age, March 3 2011 
Uncle Eric: Sometimes I think the connection between law and economics was better understood two hundred years ago than it is today. An economy is en ecological system every bit as much as an ocean or a rainforest. (Quote from Whatever Happened to Justice?)

Mrs. Dowson: We are so accustomed to scrap knowledge, to mental powers wasted for want of discipline and organization, that it takes time for us ordinary parents and teachers to see the crying need for a better intellectual economy.

M.S.: What do you mean by intellectual economy?

Mrs. Dowson:  Economy in the sense of not misspending our intellectual resources, or wasting the opportunities we have. There are wise people who tell us that not only in the higher forms of higher schools, as in Italy, but all through the process of education after the primary state is passed, children should be taught about thinking and reasoning, about knowing and not knowing, and even something concerning the deep problems of existence.

M.S.: Are you talking about philosophy? That's not something we study systematically in our curriculum; we are not directly studying Aristotle, for instance.

Mrs. Dowson: But you are teaching them, through their other studies, to think and reason, and that they can know, that it is possible to know.

M.S.: Yes, we were talking about that yesterday.  How to Be Your Own Selfish Pig uses an analogy of finding the right key that unlocks a door to truth, and I said that in today's culture it's more common to question not only the existence of the key, but of the door as well.

Mrs. Dowson: Learning to "think" is not a separate subject. The children should be led... into the art of organization, the art of bringing all they learn, science, letters and what not, into some approach to a unified, inter-related whole. If we can effect this, we shall be able to put into the hands of a child an instrument of moral as well as of mental discipline, and a piece of work to do that nobody else, great or small, has done or ever can do for him.

Charlotte Mason: We begin to see light. No one knoweth the things of a man but the spirit of a man which is in him; therefore, there is no education but self-education, and as soon as a young child begins his education he does so as a student. (source)

Mrs. Dowson: However wide may be the territory of knowledge over which, by grace of other men, he wanders, a child who has acquired power to do this organizing work will not be likely to become an intellectual tramp or to fancy himself a king. However carefully he may have learnt to observe and to define, it will not be the fault of his education if, in after life, he loses sight of the many considerations that qualify the value of his results, and limit the scope of his operations.  He at least will not be likely to make the mistake so frequently made by men one would expect to know better, the mistake of regarding a simplicity of method in study for a simplicity of the one subject of all study, human experience.

Virtual (book) flea market?

Mr. Fixit makes regular trips to the antique barn, looking for cameras and radios to fix. Sometimes I go with him and look for interesting books.

If you're snowed in or don't have an antique barn, this vintage-books page is almost as good. Oldsters like me: did you read any of these when you were little?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Quick, easy, cheap, low-sugar dessert

Tonight's dessert: a variation on James Barber's mother's Steamed Pudding, from his book The Urban Peasant.

Baked Applesauce Pudding

In a bowl, combine 1 cup flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, 2 tbsp. sugar.  Mix in 1 or 2 eggs and 1/2 cup milk "to make a  lumpy batter."

In a small greased casserole that has a lid, spread a cupful or more of applesauce.  If it is unsweetened, you can add a little sugar (I used brown sugar) and cinnamon. Spread batter on applesauce, cover and bake at 350 degrees until set and turning brown; it should look like a big pancake.  Be careful taking the lid off, because of the steam.  Actually when I took this one out, the lid was on so tightly that it was a few minutes before I could do anything at all with it.  Then I slipped the edge of a dinner knife under the lid, and the seal popped.

Good with yogurt.

(Steamed Pudding can also be made with other fruit or with jam, and can be made on the stovetop.)

Quote for the day: on words and writing

"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug." -- Mark Twain.

Lydia's Grade Eight: Last week of Term One

Quote for the day:  "The danger today is that we who believe in the God of the Bible often go on living like everybody else....We should be bold enough to say, 'If the Bible is true, then I can act on what it says.'" ~~ Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, How to Be Your Own Selfish Pig
Things to finish up this week before exams:

How to Be Your Own Selfish Pig, last chapter. "What is human life all about? Can we find the key to its meaning? What is there that makes life worth living?"

The Golden Book of the Renaissance. "[Wealthy merchants and lawyers] were the new men, and it was they, rather than the nobility, who were important in English society....The times were dangerous, and a man needed a fierce spirit to rise in the world."

Westward Ho!  "''But, master Yeo, a sudden death?' 'And why not a sudden death, Sir John? Even fools long for a short life and a merry one, and shall not the Lord's people pray for a short death and a merry one?'"

Exploring Creation Through Physical Science, review questions for Module 3.

Kon Tiki.  "Good day, Terai Mateata and your men, who have come across the sea on a pae-pae to us on Raroia; yes, good day, may you remain long among us and share memories with us so that we can always be together, even when you go away to a far land. Good day."

Plutarch's Life of Marcus Crassus, last two lessons.

Composer studies: Wagner

Artist studies: Titian

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Another lunchbag scrapbook

The first scrapbook I made is here.

I made this one from Debbie Mumm's "Spring" book/kit (bought at a rummage sale for a dollar), a few folded lunch bags, and a lot of Elmer's Glue.  I did the folding a bit differently on this one, and I like it better (more pockets, no thick flaps).

Front cover
Back cover.

Friday, November 14, 2014

What's for supper? Italian this and that

Tonight's dinner menu:

Cannelloni (a frozen package)
Carrots, spinach, and chickpeas, stir-fried with garlic and flavoured with marjoram and thyme
Garlic toast

Stovetop fruit crisp, and yesterday's muffins

Sometimes I make other things: A paper-lunchbag memory book

Last summer I went to a rummage sale and picked up a couple of like-new Debbie Mumm scrapbooking sets: books of page backgrounds, stickers, and diecuts.
Today I cut one of them up to make a paper-lunchbag mini memory book. (Something like this tutorial.)
The front cover
The first set of inside pages (the one on the left is a pocket)
Another set of inside pages
A pocket page where I slipped in the leftover stickers
The back cover
An inside page that uses the bag openings as a pocket for more pullouts
View that shows the bottom edge (I trimmed that bit of white after I took the photos)
My favourite page again, the one with the egg-shaped pocket
The side edge.  I glued down the side of the front cover a little better after I took the photo.
(I am not a scrapbooker. I don't have the right adhesives or paper cutters. I just used scissors and glue, and yes, I know it shows. On the other hand, to paraphrase Pigpen, I didn't know it would turn out as well as it did!)

Education is a discipline: Mrs. Dowson and the great realities (Part Three)

Part One is here.  Part Two is here.

Abridged and slightly adapted from "The Discipline and Organization of the Mind,"  by Mrs. Dowson, L.R.C.P & S.,I. (Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Ireland), in The Parents' Review, Volume 11, 1900, pgs. 83-92

Mama Squirrel: You said that we are standing in peril if we either believe "excessively" everything we see, or if we disbelieve everything we don't see; that in fact "overbelieving" is a kind of superstition. Do you mean that we are trying to say that there is no meaning beyond the bare facts? How is it too much to believe in what you do see?
Professor Hinkle: You silly children believe everything you see. When you grow up, you'll realize that snowmen can't come to life.
Karen: But we...
Professor Hinkle: Silly, silly, silly! ( Frosty the Snowman)

Mrs. Dowson: It can get out of focus, out of right proportion. We need to offer science that includes the truths of experience as a whole...yes, they do need to be using their intellectual powers to be able to describe a thing with precision and with clearness, to say all that needs to be said about it and no more, to seize its characteristic differentia from similar things, and the essential points of its likeness to them, and to express the whole notion about it in just the right words. This too, like the power to observe accurately, is an accomplishment and will reveal, in its use, a pedant or a prig.

M.S. I have heard that somewhere else recently.

Mrs. Dowson:  We do need analysis, yes! It has its proper uses. It is only by a process of abstraction, by taking a thing out of its full context in the universe of things to which it is related, by cutting the bonds that tie it to all else and to its true meaning in relation to all else, that we are able to give it precise definition at all. But Nature--our experience of reality--defies our exactness and makes a mock of our descriptions; and unless we know she does our power to impose definitions upon the superficial bits of her that we gaze at in the contracted field of scientific sight must give us a false conception both of her and of ourselves and of our intellectual gains. The great realities of human life, moral and spiritual facts, are entirely beyond the reach of any such precise definition.

M.S.: So there is a danger of concentrating too much on only what is right in front of us?

Mrs. Dowson: There are also things that have their very being through mutual inclusion; and thus, they limit their mental field of view by an artificial horizon shutting out the most precious truths in the possession of mankind. But even greater than this danger is the rather lofty idea that our science-centred students will achieve the the splendid mental qualities developed, for example, in Darwin and Newton.

M.S.:  Isn't that a good goal to have?

Mrs. Dowson:. But the fine qualities displayed by Darwin and Newton are no more to the point in this matter than is the greatness of Caesar or of Wellington in connection with the educational value of learning the date of Waterloo or the successive stages of the Gallic War. Students do not acquire Wellington's powers of generalship by having a school acquaintance with his campaigns, or even by 'getting-up' his admirable Despatches; nor are they in the least degree more likely to gain the power of mental concentration and selection, and the sound judgment and untiring intellectual patience of Newton or of Darwin, through learning physics and biology even by a better method than that in vogue at the present time.

M.S.: You've named several points of both of character and of intellect: courage and wisdom; then sound judgment, intellectual patience and power. But as you say, knowing the facts of science does not give one the qualities of a scientist. So, that makes me think...are we being presumptuous when we encourage young children, or teenagers, to think of themselves as writers, or artists, or scientists? Doesn't that just give them a sense that their own thoughts and ideas are valuable? And isn't it good that the ground has already been so much broken for us?

Mrs. Dowson: On the contrary, the very fact of being able to roam over vast territories in the kingdom of science conquered and opened up by other men not rarely turns the weak heads of those who follow, and makes them, like lunatics at large, think themselves potentates when they are only tramps.
M.S.: So is it humility that we're lacking?

Mrs.. Dowson: Perhaps humanity. If we were tied down to a choice between science and letters, in the name of all that is human and living and universal, we should choose letters....those great organizers of our chaotic democracy of knowledge--the subjects which treat of the mind of man, of his knowing, feeling and acting, and of cause and purpose and meaning in the great whole of things.

M.S. But we don't have to choose between science and humanities.

Mrs. Dowson: No, we may safely make use of both, if we employ, as a necessary corrective to their separateness and their peculiar limitations, those subjects by means of which alone we can shew their fundamental relations.

This is the end of Mrs. Dowson's Part One; but she wrote a Part Two, still to come.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Use-it-up Cranberry Blueberry Bran Flake Muffins

Use-it-up Sweet and Crunchy Cranberry Blueberry Bran Flake Muffins

Dry ingredients:
A lot of crumbly bran flakes from the bottom of the box (at least a cupful)
Enough flour to bring the total up to 2 to 2 1/2 cups of cereal and flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder

Wet ingredients:
1 cup of homemade cranberry sauce that also had some blueberries stirred into it
1 egg
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup milk, or enough to moisten

Mix the dry and wet ingredients separately, then combine gently. Don't mash the fruit too hard. Don't worry if the batter starts to get that strange greyish-purple blueberry tinge, it will mostly bake out. Bake in sprayed or lined muffin tins, at 375 degrees F or whatever your preferred muffin temperature is. Makes 1 dozen regular or 2 dozen mini muffins.

Education is a discipline: Mrs. Dowson and Synthetic Thinking (Part Two)

Part One is here.

Abridged and slightly adapted from "The Discipline and Organization of the Mind,"  by Mrs. Dowson, L.R.C.P & S.,I. (Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Ireland), in The Parents' Review, Volume 11, 1900, pgs. 83-92

M.S.: How would you describe a good school environment?

Mrs. Dowson:  Is provision made there for giving a child's mind the discipline it needs to enable him to overcome the difficulties of the general distracting intellectual disorganization? Is the need, not only for giving him knowledge, but for giving him the chance to organize it as it comes, practically recognized? Do his teachers always recognize that, only if he has this chance and acts upon it, will he be in a position to overcome the troubles that are sure to come upon him in consequence of the prevailing specialism and the lack of unified knowledge in those with whom he will have to deal?
M.S.: Have you found this to be true of many schools?

Mrs. Dowson: We shall hardly go too far if we say that most teachers and most students are sadly wanting in this respect. We may even venture to say that many teachers would be hard put to it to tell us how the fullest possible organization of mental powers and mental possessions can be effected; and what form the necessary discipline should take.

M.S.: Why is this so?

Mrs. Dowson: The art of education lags behind the science; and the science is not listened to, nor heeded when it cries aloud.  The leaders in educational science are applying the lessons of personal experience, and they are telling us how we may bring its benefits to bear in the mental discipline of our children; but, unless I am doing them a grave injustice, the practical teachers of England remain, for the most part, either opposed or unconvinced.

M.S.: So you're saying that the evidence is out there, but it's not acted upon?

Mrs. Dowd: In some places it is. We hear that in Italy young people in the highest classes of the Lyceums are taught about their own minds and the way they work, are shewn how to reason well and find out when reasoning goes ill; they are led on to know when they do not know, and to discern the difficulties of knowing at all and of knowing what knowing means; they are made aware of the oneness of things in their apparent diversity and of the steps men take in trying to get at the heart of the simplest of those things and of the whole.

M.S.: Let me see if I understand this: bringing the "scraps of knowledge" together is like synthetic thinking. There needs to be more unity of thought in education, some way of organizing knowledge. Is this the only approach that seems to work?

Mrs. Dowson: It is true that there are other instruments of discipline--a good piece of Latin prose is one; but I doubt whether there is any other way, except one which is outside the range of 'practical politics,' by which knowledge can be redeemed from the evils of specialism.
M.S.: What about science? Wouldn't it work to emphasize scientific training, teach the students to approach any question with the scientific method?

Mrs. Dowson: The cyclone of science with its practical application sweeps regularly over and through the midst of us, right into our mental lungs....but for the most part, what is taught in schools in the name of science is the thing aptly called 'the brute scientific fact.'

M.S.: What do you mean by "brute fact?"

Mrs. Dowson: The brute scientific fact is of little more educational value than the equally brute historic date, or king, or battle, in which our grandmothers took pride. Botany, for example, is usually taught in schools just as the lists of kings and queens and ware were taught to our grandmothers: it is taught as a more or less cooked-up arrangement of brute facts about plants, their characters, their structure and their functions, served with a sauce of scientific moralizing about heredity and environment and the like. Its chief advantage over the strings of royal names and the glib questions and answers of a Child's Guide, accompanied by historical platitudes about the 'greatness' of one person and the 'cruelty' of another, lies in the fact that the plants are not dead and buried out of sight like the kings, but are alive and may be looked for, and picked, and brought into the schoolroom. Botany may be taught in a way to train the mind to accuracy of observation, a power the value of which, for the wise person, it is difficult to over-estimate. This is one of its advantages; but even the advantage brings a danger.

M.S.: What sort of danger?

Mrs. Dowson: I repeat with some emphasis that, for the wise person, or for the child whom his teachers are seriously and intelligently trying to develop into a wise person, the power of observing accurately is of enormous value, but for the foolish person and for the child taught by foolish persons of a certain type, there comes with it a grave intellectual peril, never more perilous, perhaps, than at the present time--the peril in which a man stands who has the essentially superstitious habit of believing excessively what he sees, and either disbelieving, or posing to himself and other people as disbelieving, everything he does not see.
(To be continued tomorrow, and I promise it is going to be very interesting.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Education is a discipline: Mrs. Dowson weighs in (Part One)

Abridged and slightly adapted from "The Discipline and Organization of the Mind,"  by Mrs. Dowson, L.R.C.P & S.,I. (Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Ireland), in The Parents' Review, Volume 11, 1900, pgs. 83-92

M.S.: What is the immediate purpose of discipline?

Mrs. Dowson:  It is, in every case, that process by which, in the opinion of those who apply it, a given material may be induced to take a certain form and display certain qualities and powers. 

M.S.: So, something like a dancer who builds up certain muscles?
Mrs. Dowson:  Whatever our material may be, success depends upon our following its laws. We choose one element to be repressed and another to be encouraged and brought out in form and in function; but if, instead of obeying laws and trying to work with them, we employ, as our ordinary method, arbitrary dominance and ill-considered force, we must always fail in the long run, if not in the short. 

M.S.: So it doesn't work if we try to fight nature; it works better if we co-operate with it.
Mrs. Dowson: The material with which we deal has laws of its own, powers and qualities, springs of activity, which we cannot do without if our end is to be attained, and which, in the case of a human being, assert themselves sooner or later in their native independence, frustrating any purpose their owner has not been led on to share. In other words, it is a necessary and a good thing that we cannot force nature, human nature or whatever other nature, to do whatever we like with it! It is only frustrating when we try to work against the laws of nature.

M. S.: What does this have to do, exactly, with the education of children?

Mrs. Dowson: We have to consider, some time or other, as everybody does who is in earnest with the matter, what we think a child is really meant to be, whether, in fact, we have found out, or are taking due pains to find out, not what we ourselves admire and wish, but the real truth about the chief end and good of man. Without full knowledge, all our discipline may be wrongly directed, all the pains and trouble may be worse than wasted, all our children's education may be drawing them along the way in which they should not go.

M.S.: How do we avoid wasting this time and causing this trouble?

Mrs. Dowson: The specialism of modern intellectual life, of scientific research and social and political inquiry, the diversity and incoherence of the claims upon our attention and the attention of our children, cut up the field of mental activity into isolated bits, and draw lines between one kind of knowledge and another that do not correspond with any real division between the corresponding kinds of things. Nature is a whole; we are obliged to cut the whole into parts for purposes of examination and study in detail, and for economy of our mental powers; but we do it, even when it is done most wisely and most carefully, at a certain loss.

M.S.: What sort of loss?

Mrs. Dowson:  There is a danger of loss of grip over the problem of the whole, and of mental confusion due to our acquaintance with a multitude of facts without an acquaintance with the rational links between them; and there is the very serious danger of mistaking a descriptive and abstract knowledge of one or more subjects for a knowledge of their true meaning in connection with the great problems that most vitally and permanently concern mankind.

M.S.: So they can have information, but without meaning.

Mrs. Dowson: The necessary imperfection of our knowledge brings with it, and always must bring with it, its own consequences; but the artificial divisions between one branch of study and another bring dangers against which educational discipline might protect us, and which it might do much towards removing altogether. Unnecessary mental confusion, mistakes and misunderstandings, might be removed if the unitary parts of our knowledge were brought into relation one with another in the course of our education.

M.S.: If we understood better about the science of relations?

Mrs. Dowson:  Our mental powers and the contents of our mind are both too often like an unorganized democratic people, free and independent indeed, but not interlocked together, nor disciplined to act efficiently as a coherent whole and to be treated as a whole.

(To be continued tomorrow.)

All Arthur illustrations from the PBS Kids website.

Quote for the day, by William Dean Howells

 "In school there was as little literature then as there is now, and I cannot say anything worse of our school reading; but I was not really very much in school, and so I got small harm from it. The printing-office was my school from a very early date. My father thoroughly believed in it, and he had his beliefs as to work, which he illustrated as soon as we were old enough to learn the trade he followed. We could go to school and study, or we could go into the printing-office and work, with an equal chance of learning, but we could not be idle; we must do something, for our souls' sake, though he was willing enough we should play, and he liked himself to go into the woods with us, and to enjoy the pleasures that manhood can share with childhood." ~~ William Dean Howells (1837-1920), My Literary Passions
Photo of the Nauvoo (Illinois) Printing Office (1840's) found here.

Lydia's Grade Eight: Wednesday Morning

Some things to do for school today:

Out of the Silent Planet, chapter 20.






That enough for you?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Education is a discipline: Aspects, not subjects?

I'm going to send you over to JavaMom's blog today for a back-a-few-years post. Check out the vintage Parents' Review ads! But this is the part that I really liked.
... I'll share a quote by Monk Gibbon from the Parents' Review magazine that I've shown you today, which puts my thoughts on this matter into a nutshell.
He says, "Literature is not a 'subject.' Music is not a 'subject.' Drawing is not a 'subject.' Religion is not a 'subject.' Rather, are they all activities of the spirit, valid in themselves. And yet, they become 'subjects in the hands of the pedants."
pedant - a person who pays more attention to formal rules and book learning than they merit. 
1. One who pays undue attention to book learning and formal rules.
2. One who exhibits one's learning or scholarship ostentatiously.
3. Obsolete A schoolmaster.
Ouch! (for some). Sorry about that. Well, not really. My whole point of home educating (and guiding our children to self-educate) was to get off the track of "standardized education" and allow them the time to truly learn; to form relationships with great minds and with real things, FIRST hand, to seek wisdom, be led by the Holy Spirit, and to value learning. I'll stop there for now, or I may become preachy.
Thank you, JavaMom (and Mr. Gibbon)!