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Stitching WIP

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I’ll update more but with short posts, deal?

I have been working on this cross stitch for a while. It is a kit that I acquired from my mom. She passed several to me and I just happened to start this first. It isn’t hard, I just want dedicating much time to it. Now it feels so close to its finish and it is hard to out down!

Term 1. Week 1.

I’m homeschooling a first grader.

I feel like that’s legit homeschooling. We’ve always homeschooled. Living education as a life. But first grade? Oh man. It FEELS like a huge step.

We’ve just completed our first week of our first term. Our first term is going to last four weeks long. Then we’ll take a less focused week, do some review, evaluate for our next term. Our next term looks like it could be five weeks long. So while I’d love something steady and regular, I need to accept that our path right now needs to be taken one chunk at a time. We could end up with a dozen terms in one year, y’all. This is all an exercise of giving myself permission to remain at peace.

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I have a pretty blue Leuchtturm1917 to use as a bullet journal for our homeschool. This makes my third bullet journal–I love the process that much. Also, I have discovered that I need to segment my life in order to have better focus and these pretty little books are just the thing.

Most of August was spent in thinking about which subjects we would cover, what skills she needed to focus on, what habits I needed to insist upon now, and which books were going to be tools for us. We’re quite eclectic around here with bits of a lot of different methods informing how we homeschool.

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Teaching the skill of narration is very interesting. I really need to practice this skill myself. Narration is hard! When filler words start appearing in her speech (or sentences that say “the next day, she woke up in the morning that was the day after the day before”), I tell K is to stop and think about what she wants to say. She dictates to me and I write it down. Here she is drawing a picture to go along with her narration.

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K made notebook covers for each of her four binders that we will fill as time goes on. I wrote down the titles so she could copy them but then she made additions. Deciphering her spelling is quite a job but I’m pleased as punch that she’s making a big effort to sound things out. This is progress. (Note: Explosion, S[cience] Stuff, S[cience] Goggles)

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Our formal homeschool work is in the mornings but I admit that it I feel some pleasure when it becomes a springboard for further work whether or not it was related to what we did together. K independently made mystery goo in the afternoon.

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Art has never really been my thing. Kaelyn draws better than I did at twice her age. I’m not very creative but I think there is something important about becoming familiar with different works of art and artists. Everyone’s gotta start somewhere. K has an interest in art and so I stuck it in. I showed her the picture and had her look at it quietly for a few moments before talking to me about what she saw and asking any questions. Well, we attempted the quietly aspect. All about progress, right? We had a rich conversation about boxing, about whether it was real, and some of the detail in the art. I learned some things along the way! That evening, Jared was brought into the conversation as K had some unanswered questions still.

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The next day art was on the schedule, I gave K a coloring page and she was so excited to see Dempsey and Firpo. She requested to see the art work while she colored. This is the first time she has done any sort of shading. I just had to capture it!

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Fridays is field trip day. I have no idea what this will look like but I really want to get outdoors a lot of the time so I see exploring hikes and a lot of the area. K wants to visit some museums as well so we’ll get to this when the weather is cold and I don’t want to be outside. K also likes to explore nurseries (garden stores) so that will probably show up sometime.

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Today we went to a nearby park. Some moms from church were getting together for a playgroup there midmorning so we headed out before then and played disc golf. It’s a lovely course in the woods. I’m terrible at throwing frisbees and so K and I were pretty equally matched.

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One of us landed our frisbee in the water twice. And it wasn’t the first grader.

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We’re loving this cooler weather for sure! 

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I find myself in semi-conversations where people make excuses for why they can’t homeschool. I get it. Not everyone wants to or can homeschool. No judgment here! However, many of these excuses are things that homeschooling parents have to handle. We don’t have children who magically want to learn when they’re told or do the work right or listen and obey promptly. We aren’t always organized. We lose our tempers. We bicker with our kids.

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There is something vital about how we view and approach education. Is the goal to get the kid through the books? Or to get the knowledge into the child? Are we insisting upon behaviors because it is right as God has taught us? Are we at odds because we’re expecting a behavior from our child that they aren’t prepared to give? Are we humbling ourselves to be directed by the Holy Spirit to what our children needs best at that moment? Are we setting up habits and desires to live a lifetime of learning? Are we modeling what we want to see?
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Are any of those questions specific to homeschooling? No. It’s about our children. It’s about looking in their eyes and in our hearts to find the path through life. It is about finding what is best and then supporting that. It is about recognizing seasons and sensitivities. It is about nurturing. It is about love and relationships. It is about seeing the truth, beauty, and goodness that fills this world.

Alexandre Dumas: The Count of Monte Cristo

The Count of Monte Cristo and I began our journey together on January 4, 2016. By the end of the month, I was 48% through. February hit me like a whirlwind and I hardly touched any books and I began March at 63%. On March 30, I turned the final page and shut the cover.

To a happy man, a prayer is a monotonous composition, void of meaning, until the day when suffering deciphers the sublime language through which the poor victim addresses God.

pg 132, Robin Buss translation

During the course of the journey, I made comments on Goodreads like “Oh boy. I made it to Chateau d’If. So far I am surviving my fear of this book.” “Oh, Faria! ::sob::” “In other news, this book isn’t so bad.” “99 pages to go. It is so hard to put down my book.”

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What’s wrong is that this human being who is about to die is furious because his fellow creature is not dying with him and, if he were allowed to do so, he would tear him apart with his nails and his teeth rather than leave him to enjoy the life of which he himself is about to be deprived.

pg 393, Robin Buss translation

When I began, I was afraid. Would it be hard to follow? Were there going to be graphically unpleasant scenes? Would it drag? There’s so many pages. Was I up to this?

On the whole, they have one great shortcoming, which is that they have not yet had time to become old masters.

pg 535, Robin Buss translation

Is this one of my favorites? Hmm, perhaps not. Did I find value in it? Definitely. Will I read it again? One day.

‘So he must have spoken?’

‘He did better than that: he made himself understood.’

pg 669, Robin Buss translation

I led a discussion in my in-person book club about The Count of Monte Cristo. A few of us read the unabridged version, a few read the abridged, a few watched a movie version, and some had no exposure to it. I knew leading this discussion would be tricky because of that so I prepared questions like:

  • Is it revenge if you let someone hang by their own rope?
  • Did the Count stop when he did because of the death of an innocent or because everything was in motion and nearly finished?
  • Why did the Count test Morrell instead of telling him Valentine was alive?
  • Should the Count and Mercedes tried to rekindle their love?

These questions all led to application in our lives and everyone was able to participate.

I devoted three years of my life to reading and re-reading one hundred and fifty volumes, so that when I was arrested I knew them more or less by heart.

pg 156, Robin Buss translation

Our discussion ended with this quote and the merits of re-reading. Many people don’t see the value in re-reading and I think that could be due to the quality of literature they are consuming. They are all about reading all the things rather than reading the best things. Others re-read a few favorites. Some re-read for the same reason they read: to learn.

C.S. Lewis said that you shouldn’t  read a new book until you have read an old one in between. Abbe Faria (Count of Monte Cristo), Helene Hanff (84, Charing Cross Rd), and the San Ireneo community (The Awakening of Miss Prim) are all very inspiring and make a good case for re-reading. I’m not at 50/50 but I am aiming for a 75/25 this year. My reading used to have 4-8 books in play at any moment. I loved it! Now I am more like 4-5 books at a time (audio, religious, non-fiction, fiction). I love it this way too.

There are two ways of seeing: with the body and with the soul. The body’s sight can sometimes forget, but the soul remembers for ever.

pg 850, Robin Buss translation

On a long drive with Jared, Kaelyn, and my mother, I was tasked with talking. The topic Jared came up with was the last book I read which was, at the time, this book. My mom said she hadn’t read it before and didn’t really know the story. I summed it up for her. It only took 1 1/2 hours!

The friends whom we have lost do not rest in the earth, they are buried in our hearts, and that is how God wanted it, so that we should always be in their company.

pg 1187, Robin Buss translation

My thoughts of The Count of Monte Cristo haven’t ended. I find connections. I feel bits stick to my soul. I look at the book with a bit of fondness. I read that. I understood that. I learned from that.

Tell the angel who will watch over your life, Morrel, to pray sometimes for a man who, like Satan, momentarily thought himself the equal of God and who, with all the humility of a Christian, came to realize that in God’s hands alone reside supreme power and infinite wisdom.

pg 1242, Robin Buss translation

Until the day when God deigns to unveil the future to mankind, all human wisdom is contained in these two words: ‘wait’ and ‘hope’!

pg 1243, Robin Buss translation

When Charles Dickens Became Important

“Mom, can we read more Charles Dickens books?”

Oh boy. That’s when it starts. When your child expresses interest. Then the dance begins between fanning the ember but not dousing the flame. We want a burning hot fire!

Continuing in a family tradition of mine, Jared and I have read The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens almost every Christmas season since we’ve been married. Kaelyn has heard it probably 4 times now. She watched A Dickens Christmas by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and John Rhys-Davies with me and the combination got Dickens in her head.

On a trip to the library, she was perusing in the children’s non-fiction section and looked at all the Dickens biographies. We ended up with “Charles Dickens: A Man who had Great Expectations” and… she loved it.

That leads us back to her question. “Mom, can we read more Charles Dickens books?”

I’ve spent a long time not reading Charles Dickens. It isn’t that he wasn’t important. His books haven’t become classics for no reason. I just hadn’t made him a priority in my reading yet (and we have loads of read alouds going on right now). I know enough to know that I’m not going to pick up Great Expectations or A Tale of Two Cities to read with my 6 year old. I’ve received a few suggestions for Dickens for young ones but I’d be happy to hear your vote!

The only response I could give is “yes, of course”. Have we done it yet? Nope. It’s been a mere month. Learning is for our whole lifetime.

New Tripod!!

I’m super excited! I got a nice tripod in the mail today for a new venture I’m taking on.

Good news: I can use it to take pictures of my apartment! Bad lighting pretty much requires a tripod to get nice pictures.

Bad news: I have to clean first. Haha! So it may take a while…

Good news: I can take pictures of projects I’ve finished!

Bad news: There’s really only one project I can think of… and technically it’s not complete until I go to the store to get some more yarn.