Thursday, September 30, 2010

Soccer Star

M6 before her first soccer game.

M6, soccer star.

A Step Back?

It's official, my husband has taken a new job, resigned from his old job and the wheels are turning.  Slowly now, but soon to turn more quickly.  A few posts ago, I prayed that I would know when to begin.  Inevitably, change has begun.  Ready or not.

When R and I began to discuss the state of our union in the spring and summer, we knew that his job travel was taking a toll.  We talked about moving closer to the east coast, to the beaches I loved.  We also talked about moving to the country and buying a farm.  While I was focused on my beach chair, my husband was walking his fields.  The resumes went out, the prayers went up and the farm won over the beach.

This week the kids and I traveled to the new area to look at farms.  The sweet part is that this is a land that we know.  We lived there for seven years and loved it.  The difficult part is that this is that I thought we'd moved on.  I loved living here before but had no intention of returning.  Moving backward, reverting, that's not really part of me.  I move forward to what's next.  Retracing is not really in my vocabulary.  I'm not known for taking the same route twice.  That's a gift from my father.  If there's a different road to get to the same place, why not take it.  If there's a different road to get to a new place, that's even better!  I was ready and counting on a new place, preferably one with a beach.  It's a good thing I've learned to be flexible.

My challenge now is looking as the next step as more than a step back.  I've changed, my family has changed, our situation has changed, the place has changed and the people have changed.  Nothing stays stagnant.  Even a familiar place offers new possibilities.  I pray that I am open to each new possibility and am able to feel warmed and welcomed by all that is familiar.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Weekly Recap 9/20-9/24

This week I'm finding it difficult to focus on school.  There are so many distractions and all of them seem worthy of our attention.  Despite my lack of focus, everyone seems to be learning something. 

I'll hit the highlights as they come to mind:

The "Quid Agis?" game has become really popular here.  We need to learn more answers than "Sum optime", "Sum pessime" and :Sum bene" but we still have fun asking and answering. 

We've learned a lot about pigs and piranha.  I guess you never know where interest will take you and I certainly never thought much about either animal.  I'm not quite an expert yet but I know a couple if you want to learn more.  I think the neatest thing about the dc pursuing their own interests is how they share their knowledge and enthusiasm with each other.  Who knew pigs could create closer relationships?

We enjoyed listening to The Cay by Theodore Taylor.  It gave us a lot to talk about including an explanation of why I was crying at the end.  It's amazing to me how my motherly point of view can break my
heart with very little provocation and almost no warning.  I suppose that fact is impossible to explain to children, even perceptive and caring ones.

We also played music, practiced soccer and football, talked about Beowulf, the decline of the Roman Empire, Islam and China.  We learned about verbs, punctuation, quotation marks and practiced our reading.  We even managed to straighten the house, mop the wood floors and catch a mouse.

Last, but not least, we celebrated Miss M's first birthday.  Her dad's birthday is actually before hers so Uncle K got his fair share of the cake and candles.  Happy Birthday to both of you!

We never miss an opportunity to turn family members into Buckeye fans.  Miss M probably won't be wearing these in public.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Knowing When to Begin

All of the changes and challenges of life begin somewhere.  Some begin accidentally.  Others begin with great planning and anticipation.  Whatever the beginning, change and challenge are part of the world we inhabit and I usually am able to embrace change and challenge and roll with it.  In fact, normally, I can work up to jumping into situations with enthusiasm and optimism.  I'm a planner but not a procrastinator.  Waiting even for a good reason does not come easily to me.

If you've read some of my past post you know that we've been waiting for some life changing decisions to be made and to make some ourselves.  In one sense, our waiting is over.  We have plans to change locations, job paths and lifestyles.  In another sense, we are still waiting.  DH is in Australia for a month and I am home with four children.  We're anxiously waiting for his return.  We have a house to sell and a house to buy.  We're waiting for relocation information to begin sorting through what must be done and with whom so we can receive all of our relocation benefits.  We are waiting and praying for direction concerning homeschooling our oldest dd. 

I'm hoping that all this waiting won't have dulled my sense of knowing when to begin.  I've set idle for so long I'm afraid my ability to move with purpose may have atrophied.  I've been collection farm information and unwanted items and storing them neatly for later use.   I know my new found knowledge will be helpful as we start our farm.  I know that lightening the load we move will make things less complicated and time consuming later. Both tasks are necessary but they don't truly feel proactive.  I desire to do something that will bring us closer to our next stage of life.  I want to search out the perfect realtor and then the perfect house.  I want to clear this house of all that won't be making the transition and watch it pass happily into its new owner's possession.  I want to pick paint colors and plan new rooms and spaces for my family to fill.  I want to pour over seed catalogs and breed information. I want to move forward.

I'm praying that the time to begin is soon and that all will fall into place quickly and easily.  But most of all, I'm praying that I know when to begin.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Book Review: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

I have been waiting for this book since I finished Catching Fire.  I pre-ordered it and then regretted doing so because my copy didn't arrive until August 30.  To say I was eagerly anticipating it is understatement.  I devoured the book in an evening and found myself left frustrated and irritated.  Now, I want the real Mockingjay and not this.

My three main complaints are the change in the nature of the characters, the lack of relationship between the characters and the side stepping of issues that have been raised throughout this series.

The characters changed in ways that made little sense, death reigned on the just and unjust in ways that seemed contrived rather than the result of circumstances and the plot seemed to be forced through one set of implausible events after another.

Too often the reader was expected to accept a change as so without adequate support from the story.  Gale turned from revolutionary thinker to terrorist.  Katniss changed from champion and protector to hysterical basket case.   Peeta becomes the only one with a reason for his transformation and even that doesn't ring true because it ends too quickly and simply.  The deaths that were meant to invoke feeling and lend meaning ended up feeling contrived and irritating.

As with Katniss's publicity promotions, I only felt like I was seeing the real Katniss when she was put in a position of action.  Maybe because of the nature of the Hunger Games and the two previous novels Collins didn't know what to do with a Katniss that wasn't under that kind of constant pressure.  I think the situations presented in the Mockingjay gave Katniss plenty of opportunity to get up and get moving but rather than seeing action we saw self-absorption and total disregard for anything that wasn't in her face.  I also felt that Katniss hadn't learned anything about politics and power or rather she'd forgotten all she'd been taught.  The scene with Snow in the greenhouse and her vote about the Hunger Games seems to demonstrate her cluelessness.

The relationship between Katniss and the cat, Buttercup, takes up more of her time and energy than any other relationship.  Gale drops from the picture, Peeta is written off, mother is too busy as is Prim, some of the other champions become more central and a new relationship with the guard develops.  Throughout the series, Katniss has shown a talent for connecting with others.  In this novel she isn't able to connect with anyone.  Perhaps this is a reflection of all she's been through but now, that she's relatively safe, shouldn't the best of her shine through?  I also found in frustrating that none of the other characters had any connection with each other.  I suppose since Katniss was inward focused we weren't able to see what was happening around her. 

The issues raised by this series, government control, personal responsibilty, humanity, resourcefulness, contrived reality as entertainment, self sufficiency, globalization, revolution and terrorism, aren't answered.  Really, how could they be?  Rather they are ignored.   What remains is a new world about which we know nothing and a flightless mockingjay.

In this book, I felt the author went for the movie ending in an assigned number of pages rather than being true to the characters and situation as set forth in the previous novels. While I am relieved that this ending wasn't as bad as the made for t.v. ending, which would have involved the death of Gale and the crowning of Katniss and Peeta as king and queen, I am not satisfied with what is left.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Recent Addition

Since we've begun to home school high school I felt that creating a blog just for that adventure might be a good idea.  I purchased a copy of The Well-Educated Mind by Susan Wise Bauer a few months ago and read it along with a stack of other high school prep and advice books.  Not surprisingly, the techniques and purpose resonated with me and I came back to it and The Well Trained Mind almost exclusively when getting down to the nuts and bolts of planning.

As we've begun our journey and are attempting to put my plans into practice, I found myself re-reading The Well-Educated Mind and realized that I'd completely neglected to begin my journal as suggested in chapter three.  This blog has been very motivating to me in regard to accountability.  I imagine a blog devoted to our journey through time and literature will be equally motivating.  And so, I've created just such a blog called A Commonplace Book.  Come join me there sometime.

Weekly Recap 8/30-9/3

This week was a bit busier than usual because we had company.  On Tuesday, Grandmomma and Grandpap came.  Wednesday brought an aunt and cousins.  It's hard to enforce school time when there is more important work to be done.  What a blessing to be able to rearrange and accommodate the things that truly matter when the need arises.

We did get some of the learning in by focusing on the basics and putting the rest on hold.  S8 got his new Latin course in the mail and was thrilled to get started right away.  While there are two hymns to learn, he seemed much happier with this program. 

K14 and I listened to the first book of Augustine's Confessions in the car on the way to the airport on Tuesday.  Her iPod is already being put to good use.  The language and writing were much less tedious than I thought they might be.  She seemed to understand the main ideas.  Now that we've gotten our feet wet, we will be going back and following the guidelines outlined in The Well-Educated Mind

With that in mind and to encourage my own accountability, I've started another blog to chronicle our journey through a rhetoric level education.  Check it out and let me know what you think.


Algebra, French and Band at the high school
Community Bible Study - The Acts of the Apostles
Analytical Grammar - Unit 2
Writing Strands 5 - Lesson 6
HOTMW - Chapters 6-8
TMW - Lecture 3
Physical Science -
First Form Latin - Unit 1 Lesson 2

Community Bible Study - The Acts of the Apostles
Reading together - Beowulf
Analytical Grammar - Unit 2
Writing - Writing Strands 4 - Lesson 11
Math - review of multiplication facts 0-12
History - SOTW2 Ch 4
Physical Science -
First Form Latin - Unit 1 Lesson 2
Music - Flute

Community Bible Study - The Acts of the Apostles
Reading together - Aesop's Fables
Writing - Writing Through History
R&S Grammar 3 - Lessons 10-14
Math - review of multiplication facts 0-12
History - SOTW2 Ch 4
Physical Science -
Latina Christiana - Lesson 1
Music - violin

Community Bible Study - early ed. program
Reading together - Aesop's Fables
OPGTTR - Lesson 28-33
First Language Lessons - #75-78
Abeka - Writing Lessons 8-11
Math - fact families
History - SOTW2 Ch 4
Physical Science -
Song School Latin - Ch 2