As we press our way towards Spring, here are a few things we’ve been enjoying:When we started homeschooling, one of my goals was to raise adults who were comfortable with, and somewhat knowledgeable of, the arts. Two problems-I, their teacher, am appreciative though not well educated in such things, myself. Culture, to me, is defined VERY loosely as “classical music, great art, poetry and Shakespeare”. (We’ve dabbled, over the years, in all but Shakespeare.)
The other problem is my students inherited, from their respective parents, no musical or artistic ability that might make Monet or Bach’s accomplishments personal or interesting. They did, however inherit lots of testosterone. Boys, especially pre-teen boys, are not generally concerned with Juliet’s plight, or begging for more Mozart. So I needed to go about introducing these subjects in a way that didn’t feel too much like “school”. This month we started with Hamlet-they moaned a little at first but after a few chapters of fencing duels, intrigue, ghosts, betrayal and death? They were hooked! After reading it, we watched the DVD version with Mel Gibson. Later, I casually left a few Shakespeare (but kid-friendly) books laying on the coffee table and didn’t say a word. It was like flies to honey. Yesterday I heard Caleb begging Sam to finish a chapter so he could have a turn…”I want to finish Macbeth!” and Sam replied-“That’s nothing. Just wait until you get to King Lear! wow!”
Music to my ears, I tell ya…
The boys write in their gratitude journals everyday, right before we do “Read-Alouds”. Caleb is always doodling and drawing on his notebook throughout the History reading. Look at the back of this thing! It looks messy in the photo but up close they are very detailed Lego mini-figures, in various escapades. Even his daily entry is a drawing, with his 3 “thankful” items for the day pencilled into, and around, his art. We found an online site that lets you make your own comic makebeliefscomix.com
and he is really enjoying that site. Bill Watterson has had a very lasting effect on this child.
Josiah inherited a tendency towards pyromania from his Dad. Part of the thrill in being 13 and-a-half years old? Is in new duties that are seriously close to adult-like behavior. His chore this Winter has been to keep the woodstove roaring until Dad comes home at night! I have given the duty over completely, and Josiah is as dedicated as a firstborn child can be-which is VERY. We never run out of wood. He controls the damper like an old pro. Our bellows broke and so he blows and blows to get those coals glowing! And he just loves it when I grin and I hug him and say “Aaahhh! it’s so warm and toasty in here. It’s just so nice to always have a man in the house!”
We are mailing and receiving fresh books every week. Have you checked out Paperbackswap.com
yet? I’m telling you, it’s the best resource for a book hungry home! You trade books with people all over the country. Getting the mail now is always a treat-the boys rush in, “we got a book, we got a book!”
Although John has pointed out, after getting the post office receipt-free books
, yes, but each trader covers shipping. But Media Mail is still a good deal, and it all averages out to about $2 a book. Since I always round costs DOWN, that’s “free”.
The cat and I share a similar internal bodily temperature gauge. Both of us would happily climb up and INTO the woodstove, if possible. Without central heat we have adapted the house to be, nonetheless, cozy. We have mattress warmers on the beds. Electric oil-filled heaters for cold spots. A fan near the woodstove to disperse warmth beyond the living room. Thick and fluffy socks, fleece sweatshirts and a warm lap blanket for every chair. My struggling immigrant ancestors must have left strong traces of their struggles in my DNA because it is imperative that No one goes cold or hungry on my watch.
Not even the housecat. When Sam covered Zuzu in this throw blanket and she did not protest but curled up and dozed happily.
other things we are enjoying?
—Thursday nights we make popcorn and watch “Planet Earth” DVDs together
—I am planning my garden, ordering seed and dreaming of filling the freezer and pantry with wholesome, organic food
—Grandpa Lee is working with the boys on elaborate plans for a special treehouse in the pasture
—lots of Library trips
—I have a friendly competition going with Anne and Aunt Hilary. The first one of us to lose 25 lbs gets the $100 pot. I took the saran wrap off a new exercise DVD yesterday. I am on my way to winning, for certain.
—We hosted our first Superbowl party in order to justify John’s new TV as “for hospitality and fellowship purposes”
—Our church has Women’s and Men’s Retreats this month. It is so exciting to be going with Claudia this weekend, and in three weeks John is taking both his father and his oldest son, with him. The blessings of sharing both family and faith just keep popping up!
—I am going to learn how to knit! A dear friend gave me an early birthday present and I am SO excited. Pretty soon everyone I know will be stuck with an ugly scarf.
And you better wear it, too.
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