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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.

Aristophane: Clouds, Lysistrata

Welcome to my introduction of Greek plays. There’s depth here, I’m sure, but the first reading isn’t when you’ll uncover it (unless, of course, your mind is much more used to depth than mine is).

Reading 3: The Clouds

Guy doesn’t want to pay the debts his son has acquired and decides to learn logic to get out of it. There’s a conversation about flea wax, gnat farts, and lizard poop. Decides logic isn’t for him and sends his son instead. The Chorus of Clouds goes on and on and on and on. Son uses his logic to beat up his dad and wants to beat his mom. Guy figures out he made a mistake and goes and sets fire to the university.

I know, right?

Reading 4: The Lysistrata

The women go on a sex-strike to force the men to stop war.

And it works. And just a hint but the Spartans made way more sense in a Scottish accent. Pretty sure this was meant as a comedy. One I didn’t need in my life.

Back to Plato! This time to The Republic. Now, the 10-year reading plan has books I-II in year 1 and VI-VII in year 4. And that’s it. I’m pretty sure I will just read the entirety of The Republic now even though that pushes my yearly reading plan out. No big deal. I have the rest of my lifetime.

Plato: Apology, Crito

Last year I was gifted by a wonderful, generous, loving soul my very own set of The Great Books of the Western World. I read The Great Conversation (vol 1) and the introduction to the Syntopican (vol 2) and decided to follow the 10-year plan outlined in the back of volume 1 despite knowing that it wouldn’t not take me through all the works contained in my set. That is okay. The 10-year plan is built chronologically within each year’s reading as well as increasing in difficulty from year to year. Perfect for this extreme beginning to the great works.

Reading 1: Plato’s Apology

I hadn’t read Plato before and was surprised by how very easy he is to read. I do assume that not all his works are as readable but it felt like such a gentle start that it helped me get over my anxiety and increased my confidence.

I am reading Paul’s epistles in the New Testament as well and Plato and Paul sound very alike.

Passage that made me laugh:

When I began to talk with him, I could not help thinking that he was not really wise, although he was thought wise by many, and still wiser by himself; and thereupon I tried to explain to him that he thought himself wise, but was not really wise; and the consequence was that he hated me, and his enmity was shared by several who were present, and heard me.

Passage that gives me hope:

[It is] not by wisdom do poets write poetry, but by a sort of genius and inspiration; they are like diviners or soothsayers who also say many fine things, but do not understand the meaning of them.

Passages I enjoyed:

Happy indeed would be the condition of youth if they had one corrupter only, and all the rest of the world were their improvers.

A man who is good for anything ought not to calculate the chance of living or dying; he ought only to consider whether in doing anything he is doing right or wrong–acting the part of a good man or of a bad.

If you think that by killing men you can prevent some one from censuring your evil lives, you are mistaken. […] the easiest and noblest way is not to be disabling others, but to be improving yourselves.


Reading 2: Plato’s Crito

I have often heard the phrase “Socratic questions” and figured out what it meant. Between a section in Apology and all of Crito, I’m really beginning to understand what Socratic questioning entails.

I’m happy as punch that I followed the logic of Socrates. I’m equally pleased that I was not Crito because my eyes would have gone huge and I would have shrunk into a corner. I don’t do well on the spot like that.

A favorite passage:

You, Socrates, are breaking the covenants and agreements which you made with us at your leisure, not in any haste or under any compulsion or deception.

He who is a corrupter of the laws is more than likely to be a corrupter of the young and foolish portion of mankind.

Leave me then, Crito, to fulfil the will of God, and to follow whither he leads.

Books Read in 2015

As I mentioned 5 posts and 7 months ago (yikes), I’ve been reading a lot! I marvel that I ever let my reading habits die away. There was college and then work and then motherhood… and I was reading sub-par writing and had holed myself into a corner that just didn’t bring any desire to keep going. My passion and love for reading is in full force.

I love using Goodreads. This year I made bookshelves for the different types of reads throughout the year: for myself, with Kaelyn, with Jared, and as a family. Goodreads also has a cool “see your books in 2015” feature where it tallied up your book pages (28,806). Since some of my books were audio books, many books were re-reads (I’m looking at you, picture books) and you can only count books once in Goodreads, the number may not be accurate but close enough and pretty fun to see anyway.

If you want to see all 250 books that I read this year, you can click here. (And if we’re not already friends, make it so!) Here’s the books I read by myself (for better or for worse).

  1. It’s Not About the Broccoli: Three Habits to Teach Your Kids for a Lifetime of Healthy Eating by Dina Rose
  2. The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful by Myquillyn Smith
  3. Make Your Own Rules Diet by Tara Stiles
  4. Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
  5. Cybele’s Secret by Juliet Marillier
  6. Slim Calm Sexy Yoga: 210 Proven Yoga Moves for Mind/Body Bliss by Tara Stiles
  7. Entwined by Heather Dixon
  8. Fearless Passion: Find the Courage to Do What You Love by Yong Kang Chan
  9. Everneath by Brodi Ashton
  10. Taken by Erin Bowman
  11. Eat Like a Farm Girl: 3 Ingredient Plant Based Recipes by Jennifer Prince
  12. Cleaning House: A Mom’s Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement by Kay Wills Wyma
  13. A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-first Century by Oliver DeMille
  14. Matched by Ally Condie
  15. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
  16. Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning by Oliver DeMille
  17. Thomas Jefferson Education for Teens by Oliver DeMille
  18. Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers by Ralph Moody
  19. Clutterfree with Kids: Change your thinking. Discover new habits. Free your home. by Joshua Becker
  20. Theory Time: Medallion Series – Theory Fundamentals Comprehensive by Heather Rathnau
  21. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  22. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
  23. A Thomas Jefferson Education Home Companion by Oliver DeMille
  24. The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
  25. Bendigo Shafter by Louis L’Amour
  26. The Young Elites by Marie Lu
  27. Life of Fred: Apples by Stanley F. Schmidt
  28. The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
  29. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
  30. Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
  31. The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by Gary Chapman
  32. Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling by John Taylor Gatto
  33. The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman
  34. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  35. The Child Whisperer: The Ultimate Handbook for Raising Happy, Successful, Cooperative Children by Carol Tuttle
  36. Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
  37. Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  38. The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease
  39. The New One Minute Manager by Kenneth H. Blanchard
  40. In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce
  41. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  42. Laddie: A True Blue Story by Gene Stratton-Porter
  43. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  44. Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  45. The Book of Mormon
  46. Home Education by Charlotte M. Mason
  47. The Chosen by Chaim Potok
  48. Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr.
  49. Belles on Their Toes by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr.
  50. The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
  51. The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley
  52. Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan
  53. Turn the Page: How to Read Like a Top Leader by Chris Brady
  54. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
  55. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
  56. The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street by Helene Hanff
  57. Q’s Legacy by Helene Hanff
  58. The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
  59. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
  60. East by Edith Pattou
  61. The Great Conversation: Vol 1 of The Great Books of the Western World by Mortimer J. Adler
  62. Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie
  63. The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera
  64. Montessori Today: A Comprehensive Approach to Education from Birth to Adulthood by Paula Polk Lillard
  65. How Far to Bethlehem? by Norah Lofts
  66. Theory Time: Medallion Series – Early Intermediate Comprehensive by Heather Rathnau

For the first time in my life, I made a list of books to read in 2016. Check it out! It’s not a complete list but they are the ones I know for sure.

Why I Homeschool

I get asked a lot why I homeschool. Kaelyn has reached the age where her peers are all in kindergarten and first grade. I don’t mind the questions. I have a lot of reasons and I always hope that people have the stamina for such a conversation. I need to learn to be more succinct, so here goes.

My educational ideas and the current public educational system do not match.

There are many sub-reasons here but ultimately, it is simply this. If I want to eat minestrone, my grocery list needs to have the necessary ingredients or I may end up with lasagna instead. Additionally, if I intentionally shop for lasagna while intending to make minestrone, well, that’s not going to work out either. I don’t need to convince anybody that they should have minestrone when they want lasagna. Nor do I need to argue why one is better than the other.

I know I’m on the right path for us when…

  • learning work is out everywhere
  • she is thrilled to demonstrate a new level of proficiency
  • I get excited over learning something new
  • even though we spend all day together every day she begs me to stay home my occasional evening out because she loves our time together
  • our discoveries are shared with each other and Jared first and foremost
  • the light in her eyes are bright and cannot be dimmed
  • the questions ever flow and she is passionate about finding answers
  • our individual learning inspires each other on despite how different or far apart that learning is
  • her beautiful soul shines bright

I’m so grateful for the flexibility we have. Math when we want it and science when we want it. Books for all occasions. Breaks when we’re drained. Cuddles for pick-me-ups. Random expressions of love. Real work and real jobs. No separation between life, play, work, and learning.

Being a mentor is draining and exhilarating. I’m much more willing to face my deficiencies when it’s directly going to affect my child’s knowledge. She sees me struggle through difficulties, she will learn to attack her own. When I’m excited by understanding a paragraph, she wants that for herself. When she delights in a hypothesis, I’m reminded of the wonder everywhere.

It is not easy. It is richly rewarding. It feeds my soul. It fuels my life. It challenges my abilities and intellect.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.