Thursday, July 5, 2012

TUAR Tea Room

Well, it's coffee today, not tea, and solitary musings, not tea time chat : (.    Chari is having a very busy month, with visitors literally every day in July, she tells me, so blogging is up to me for the time being.

Since I haven't blogged for a while, I thought I would try to get back my momentum by just listing a few of the things going on in our lives at the moment.

I.  Comings and Goings

We have two kids home that aren't usually home, and one kid gone that is usually gone, and one kid gone that is usually home.   To translate -- Brendan and Sean, who spent last year up in Oregon, are now here, and Clare, who is usually away at college, is now away again visiting friends, and Kieron, who is usually home, is now up in Oregon visiting his oldest brother Liam.     Confused?  So am I. 

II.  Morning Time with Mole, Ratty and a Nine Year Old

Since Kieron isn't here, we haven't been having our regular Morning Time.    I wanted to keep up the habit, though, and I badly wanted to read The Wind in the Willows this summer, so I decided to make that the focal point of our Morning Time during this week.    Kieron has already read the book, though he probably could have stood to hear it again.  Maybe I will bring it up to Oregon with me. 

"There is nothing--absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats."

III.   Morning Time and the Liturgical year

We are also reading Saints and Feast Days.   I saw this book at Chari's house and since used copies are not very expensive, I ordered a copy which arrived after we got back home.    It struck me as ideal for our Morning Time because it is arranged by date and each entry has something about the life of the saint, with a list of suggested discussion topics and activities which are simple enough even for me.     The entries are written at a middle school level, I would say, which makes it comprehensible for Paddy without being too youthful for Kieron.   So I think this will be a useful resource for the year.

IV.     Boys of Summer

Paddy really regretted missing this baseball season (we were in Alaska during the sign-up period and first practices).  So he has been trying to work on his skills and has been following various family members around trying to get them to pitch or throw to him.

Sean and Aidan

Aidan is still on a car photo-coloring spree and has about 40 pictures of his favorite types of cars that he has colored.   He finds his favorites by typing the makes and brands into Google and when he finds one he likes, he asks me to "Make it into a coloring page!"   Now that Picnik is gone, I use this Photo Pencil Sketch to convert the photos into coloring pages.   He spent several happy minutes quizzing Sean on types of cars, feeling smug that he knew all the answers and Sean didn't.

IV.   Designing a Work Folder for a Highschooler Away from Home

In order to continue the momentum of our light summer term, and give Kieron something to work on in Oregon while his brother is at work, I made a folder for him to take with him.   I like getting those 3-prong folders you can find at Back to School sales, and putting a few page protectors in them.  That way I can easily slip papers in and out of the folders.  It makes a sort of self-designed flexible workbook.

The folder -- I usually color-code so I can easily match folder to student -- Kieron is green.

First Page -- checklist where he can check off subjects as he does them. 
I assigned him a chapter of chemistry on measurements and converting, a chapter of World History on medieval Asia, Fulton Sheen's Victory over Vice (it has an odd title, but it's about the Seven Capital Sins correlated with Jesus's last words on the cross), and a couple of Kindle books on Asian history (Historical Tales: Japan and China, and Japan: Peeps at History). 

Inside -- assignment list for each subject, one subject per page, enough for 4 days

 some pages of World History
V   Children's Literature is for Every One.

One of my favorite classes ever, taken in junior high school, was about Children's Literature.  I am reminded of that while reading a really good book called Mysteries of Life in Children's Literature by Mitchell Kalpakgian.  (sample chapter here)    Maybe I will write about it some other time, but right now I just wanted to share pictures of the pretty interior of the book. 

I am also revisiting childhood by listening to audios at Circe Institute. Especially, the one by James Taylor is on a similar topic as Mysteries of Life, but the others are really fun to listen to, and reaffirm at least some of what I'm trying to do here in our corner of the Sierra highlands.   I am so glad that classical homeschooling theory has been developing towards these more "poetic" lines recently, as it accords with my own intuitions so much.


  1. Hi Willa-

    Can you tell me more about the Saints and Feasts book? I just bought a bunch of the Vision Saint books that the boys are reading through (one faster than the other) but I love the idea of focusing on a Saint each day. I was going to use the Once Upon a Saint stories again but the book you mentioned has me intrigued. I am NOT an activity person but you mention that there are discussion questions. Are these useful?

  2. Now you've done it, Willa! I just bought Kalpakian's book on Children's Lit and also his book on modern manners (an issue I'd like to focus on this year).

  3. Hey! Is Aidan using the new drawing book I gave him? If not, remind him......and you may have to model it for him and with him to help him get it.

    Tell him to draw pictures to share with me :)


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