"THEN Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry. And the tempter coming said to him: If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God." Matthew 4:1-4

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lesson Planning

I admit it. I am way behind on lesson planning for this term. Yes, term, I have decided that I will no longer try to plan any longer than that. I admire those who do but I get so bogged down in the planning and make such amazing plans that the follow through suffers.

My friend, Christine, has inspired me with her enthusiasm for this school year to get it together, stop tossing a workbook here and there and a math video a day to the hungry children and give this year some serious thought.  She's meeting with friends and discussing Charlotte Mason methods with them. So I am browsing through the small bits I brought with me. Today's inspiration from Charlotte, who really was wise:
 "Thought breeds thought; children familiar with great thoughts take as naturally to thinking for themselves as the well-nourished body takes to growing; and we must bear in mind that growth, physical, intellectual, moral, spiritual, is the sole end of education."
-Charlotte Mason
So this term - lasting until we go home. Not sure when that we will be. Early December? Mid November? Slide into the parking lot at Our Lady, Queen of Mercy just in time for Midnight Mass on Christmas? Next week?

See my problem with planning this year? Additionally any schedule has to flex around sudden moves that sometimes require a drive of over a thousand miles. Or the discovery of things to do and see. Or fishing lessons. Snow days. Sunny days. Rainbows over a river. Walks to town. Dad coming in early. (We love this life.) We consider these adventures not inconveniences.

Still one ought to have some pegs on which to hang one's adventures.  One ought to be at least competent in Math and able to spell. We have passed the rudimentary stuff with the boys. I now live in a house (excuse me, RV) with voracious readers. 
This allows me to justify (FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!) the purchase of a Kindle reader. Oh joy. I've had Kindle on my PC, but then the internet went out and I had to restore the OS (ack!) to fix it. But I have waited for these long years to be able to afford the little reader. So many books. So many free books. But better than that, no wait AND for the sake of the (already overstuffed with books) RV, no weight.

Inspired by Chris, jazzed at the availability of resources, I set out this morning (early, really, really early) to plan the rest of this term.
I choose Ravel for our composer study (I tried a democratic method but some fellows got a little bogged down arguing between Beethoven and Mozart. And next term, I have decided on Palestrina. To offset Ravel's secular beauty. We have skimmed Beethoven and will return later. Ditto Mozart.)  And should we finish with Ravel, we will dip into Opera.

Cezanne for our artist. No reason except that I like Impressionists, already have some resources for this.

We'll finish our Sonlight Science unit on Electricity & Magnetism and Astronomy.

Keep on moving forward with good ol' Mr Demme's Math-U-See. Dave should be ready to start Algebra in January. Which in my school means you have entered the hallowed realms of High School.

Keep studying theMcGuffey Speller that Dave picked up at Laura Ingalls Wilder's house.  My boys decided that Laura and Almanzo could learn to spell with this book, so could they. And the real bonus for this? Rabbit trails through the dictionary. There are often words that are out of use, so we need pronunciations, meanings, etymology. Of course, if you give a boy a word to look up in the dictionary, he will see another word that he doesn't know and he will need to read that definition and encounter that new friend as well.  What? You never read a dictionary? What are you waiting for? There's a whole world in there!! Get busy.

We'll continue our reading: Augustus Caesar's World, things of that era. Which of course lends easily and naturally to studying the Early Church Fathers and the Martyrs of the Roman Persecution. Our Shakespeare this term, Julius Caesar. Perfect for the guys! And Caro is taking a Shakespeare course this semester and so we have a tome of the Bard's works with footnotes! With three computers, a kindle and 2 hard copies, AND five capable reader/actor, we can for the first time, read in parts. What fun! I have some very dramatic young folk in this bus...........

We are taking a couple classes with Mr. Kephart at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Resource Center: American Geography and US History. They are permitted to choose from his many offerings. They are having a good time with these classes. When we get home, we'll swap Augustus for Christopher Columbus and backtrack. And as we proceed through History, we add in saints and heroes.

Saints and Feasts this term? Every other day it seems until well, until Presentation! We just had Dad's birthday and his day now hosts Cardinal Newman! Our other cool October saints (omitting the week and a half of celebration from Michaelmas until to Dad's b'day on the ninth!) are St Jude and St Simon on whose feast God sent me to my parents. Yeah, they were given fair warning that I was going to be a hopeless case. Three birthdays in two days and then Hallowe'en signalling the Feast of All Saints and the closing of the year. The Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell. And the joyful but solemn penitential season of the beginning of the Year of Grace 2011 in Advent. (November 28, 2010 - heads up there. But, of course, you probably already know that because you probably got to Michele's site before she ran out of school year planners....Michele Quigley - if you read this, please next year, print just a few more planners!)

I've been several days on this post and on the planning.
Things I really want to do with the guys: lapbooks, a Timeline Book - I am carting two of them around and I just want them to come out perfectly so, so far they are blank... So this term I am determined to just do it. Nature Journals. Vocabulary word books - although these may morph into something electronic or maybe those tiny Moleskines that they got for Christmas last year would work for this... But they are all finally really good readers, however, they are lazy about looking up words they don't know.

Next time, more pictures, fewer words

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Today is the Feast of St Faustina

So pray a Divine Mercy chaplet and contemplate what mercy is.

More amazing than justice, mercy.

Undeserving and unworthy, we often spend a good deal of time demanding that we receive justice, restistution and our rights. 
And we often consider mercy one of those rights. But it is not, mercy is gift. Bestowed upon one by someone greater.
We need mercy. We wither away without it. And we need to bestow mercy on others - we forgive our children a million times for things. That is mercy. Occasionally we are called to forgive those who really deeply hurt or betray us. There's no real earthly reason to do so, but for the sake of our own souls and our minds, we ought to.
In the Riches of Mercy, Pope John Paul II wrote:
"The present-day mentality, more perhaps than that of people in the past, seems opposed to a God of mercy, and in fact tends to exclude from life and to remove from the human heart the very idea of mercy. The word and the concept of "mercy" seem to cause uneasiness in man, who, thanks to the enormous development of science and technology, never before known in history, has become the master of the earth and has subdued and dominated it."
The whole thing is worth the time to read it.

St Faustina's diary is available at this site.  There is much encouragement and hope within its covers. Bear in mind that Jesus died for us to want His love.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Well, hello, there

We had an interesting summer. Busy. I had the opportunity to go to work with Bud in his world. Reflecting on it, I've rarely had a traditionally female job: manage a Radio Shack, own a screen printing shop, drive a Hy-Rail railroad truck. I drove a school bus for a few years, not sure whether that's a woman's job or not.

It's different on the railroad, though. These are guys whose jobs really aren't that safe. Not as risky as say, coal miners, but trains are big. Really big and fast. And the rail bed (ballast) is not soft or forgiving. There's really nothing gentle about the environment. My job was about as cushy as it gets out there but I still had to wear steel-toed boots, safety glasses and a hard hat.
It was good working with Bud. We had a lot of one-on-one time to chat and think. We saw so many beautiful places that are tucked away from plain sight accessible by plane or train or foot.

Carolynne was our Nanny and Cym helped until she went home to go to school. The boys did some school work through the summer - a little Latin, Dave studied some Greek. They read lots of books and kept up their math under the tutelage of the Nanny.

We travelled from Galveston Bay to Miles City, Mt to Minneapolis (and the amazing Mall of America) to Lincoln, NE to Hannibal, MO and then to Keokuk, IA with dozens of stops in between in 2 months. We stopped for a couple weeks in Keokuk, IA while Bud worked on a different machine and I cleaned the camper and visited with the kids, then suddenly we had to be in Kansas City - wait, no change that to North Platte, NE.
We had just enough time to pop in at St Benedict's Abbey in Atchison, KS and visit with Father Justin Damien. He will always be Father Dean to us. Check out Fr Dean making Benedict's Brittle in the Abbey kitchen, scroll down a little and click on the video. Order some and support the monks - they are making a difference in the world by separating themselves from the world to pray for us.

We worked for a little while in western Nebraska and eastern Wyoming last month. And now we are in Glendive, Montana. Bud is working on one of the really monstrous machines and getting dirty. The kids and I are cleaning out cubbies and baking a pumpkin for pie. And of course,we'll be roasting the seeds. Dave has picked up what he thinks may be some amber! Pictures? OK, I'll try but not now. We have a trip planned to the Dinosaur museum here and we can walk to several interesting sites and parks.

Oh! We are getting things ready for the cold, too. By this time last year, we had seen several snow storms, but this year, we are being treated to changing leaves and warm, summer-like days. Even way up north here in Montana.

Carolynne is studying Shakespeare and Poetry and Film Criticism and History and Anthropology. Anthropology is a trial for her. She's so happy to have finished her requirements. And she's enjoying that she doesn't have nanny duties for a while.

We are supposed to head out to Pueblo, CO later this month. The kids are hoping we end up there in time for the Emma Crawford Coffin Races in Manitou Springs. That was a blast last year!

Friends of ours have children receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation at the FSSP church in Lincoln on November 5th and we are hoping that we can all go there then, but I may have to go alone. Those are the kinds of details we let the Lord work out!

After that, who knows?

About Me

Welcome! The most important bread is the Bread of Life. I am Catholic and do my best to know, understand and live what that means that I might "know Him, love Him and serve Him." My husband, Bud, and I have been married for 24 years and we have seven children. Because of his job, we travel the country in an RV with five of them, learning as we go.