Listening to my Beethoven playlist as I was cooking dinner Thursday night. Ben came in and stood on the stool next to me.
Ben: “This music gets soft and then loud. It must be Beethoven.”
I’m just blown away and so very, very impressed.That boy is so much quieter than his sisters. I never know when he’s listening or what he’s absorbing. But then I get these little glimpses. Still waters run deep.
I know his observation came from something I was discussing with Bella– in one of the books we’d read or maybe on the cd we were listening to? But Ben was paying attention. And understood it. And absorbed and remembered it. And then applied it. And he was listening to the music I was playing and thinking about it.
2. Current read alouds
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
My personal favorite book from childhood. Still one of my favorite novels ever. If you asked me what literary character I most identify with it would hands down be Sarah Crewe.
Reading this favorite aloud to Sophie and Bella is a treat. I’ve read it so many, many times and yet I feel like it’s got new life now. I’ve never before read it out loud and that’s such a different experience. Sophie likes that Sarah speaks French. They both like the doll, Emily. Bella likes Sarah’s stories.
Saint Francis of the Seven Seas by Albert F. Nevins
This story about St Francis Xavier is one of Bella’s current favorites. We’re in India now, very exciting. I’ve been hoping to do a bit more exploring in India this year and have been looking for good books to take us there. We’ve already read about Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. I’d love to find a book about St Thomas the Apostle and the Syro-Malabar Catholics in India. Is there such a thing for children?
Bella wasn’t all that eager to move on the the next book in her history series until the Activity Book came. I didn’t get the activity book last fall because I wasn’t sure it would be worth the money and because I wasn’t sure I’d have the energy to do more that just read the chapters to her. It worked out fine, but now that I’m looking at the activity book for volume 2, I’m kind of wondering if we missed out on some great opportunities. Bella, Sophie, and Ben spent the afternoon poring over the activity book and couldn’t wait to get started on the new volume. Friday afternoon found them coloring a Roman eagle, laurel wreaths, and a barbarian as well as a map of the Roman Empire. I can see that the activities will be a definite hook to get Sophie and Ben interested in history. Bella doesn’t need them because she just loves history for its own sake. I’m not sure Sophie is going to be quite so easily hooked. Though you never know. She may grow into it.
I had an interesting discussion with Bella, talking about my plans for history in the big scheme of her education. I explained my idea of going through the four volumes of Story of the World and then starting again back at the beginning and then she can go deeper and read more books while Sophie and Ben and Anthony read the books she’s already read. She seemed to be just as excited as I am at the idea that we’ll be able to go back to Greece and Rome and Egypt again in a few years.
The Children’s Plutarch: Tales of the Greeks by F. J. Gould
This caught my eye on line and I decided to go ahead and get it, even though we finished our Greece study a while back. The nice thing about history is that you can always go deeper and add to your knowledge of it and once you’ve got the basic outline I don’t think it’s confusing to read more about something you’ve already covered generally. Since Bella loves history, this seemed a natural choice. And I was right. We’ve read the first two chapters and she enjoyed them very much.
After we finished The Children’s Homer, we dived into this retelling of the stories of the heroes before Troy, also by Padraic Colum. This is not really a children’s book. At least I think most children would probably have been bored long before now. I might even have given up on it. But Bella loves it, requests it. The language is rich, the imagery is rich. I can’t keep the huge cast of characters straight.
Bella is loving Miquon Math. She took her math book to the library on Wednesday and worked on it there. Almost forgot to pick up any books to check out.
Sophie is still loving Saxon. And I’m getting better at going with the flow, adapting lessons for her needs. I can see that when Lucy is this age I’ll be so much more at ease and able to wing it with math. I’m realizing the textbooks are really training wheels for me as I learn how to teach math. I never really struggled with math in school. I wrestled a bit with geometry, mainly because the teacher and I just didn’t see eye to eye and he didn’t know how to teach to the way I needed to learn. But it wasn’t until calculus that I really hit a wall. Still, math is not a native language to me. I don’t notice math as I go about my daily life and so I don’t notice ways of making it come alive for my kids. I need this training in mathematical ways of seeing and thinking.
4. Collecting seeds
Bella has been eagerly collecting seeds in our garden. Right now we have a plastic bag full of lupine seeds and another of cosmos. I hope to collect morning glory, zinnia, marigold and sunflower too. We’ll have plenty to plant a garden next year and maybe to share as well. I’ve been gently introducing some botany lessons here and there. We’re learning to identify leaf shapes and flower shapes, to group plants into families. It’s a fun adventure for both of us. My late season garden has been a great blessing. All of us have enjoyed it so much and still in October it’s a bright spot of color with cosmos, zinnias, marigolds and even a few sunflowers, batchelor’s buttons, and coreposis?
5. Roman Catacombs
Today Bella and Sophie are looking at pictures of art from the Roman catacombs. And we found a little You Tube video someone had posted, sounds like it’s a lecture for an art history class. You can classify this time as history, art appreciation, or catechism. It’s a bit of all of the above. Of course, Bella always recognizes the Bible stories. I don’t have to identify Jonah or the three youths in the fiery furnace. And in fact she reminded me of the story of Samson and the lion he killed only to come back and find the carcass was inhabited by bees– and it occurred to me as she was telling me the story that the dead lion’s carcass with the beehive in it is a Eucharistic type. Jesus is the Lion of Judah, from his dead body comes the sweetest food. Oh isn’t that lovely? I’d never noticed it before.
Dom has a new photo editing program that automatically makes an animated gif out of any series of photos with a fairly static background. We’ve been having fun with it.