June was an odd month for us school-wise. We didn’t do many formal lessons. The boys read a lot, but many of the books were fun, easy reads. We were sick. The boys had a week of VBS. I had three full days of Classical Conversations Practicum while my niece and a friend watched the kids.
I’ve been thinking a bunch about the integration of subjects, thanks to the CC practicum. I’ll be posting a little more about that later in the month if time permits. But I wanted to share one experience I had recently with my almost 8 year old son, Luke.
We were reading from the MCT vocabulary book, and the author was giving the history of the word tedious, including the Latin roots of the word. MCT said that William Shakespeare used it over and over again in his plays, which were written in the late 1500s and the early 1600s. Luke immediately piped up, ‘So that was before the Revolutionary War, but after Columbus, and before the Pilgrims.’ (Thank you, thank you, Classical Conversations!!) We had a short conversation about the Pilgrims landing in Plymouth in 1620, and we wondered if Shakespeare would still have been writing plays at that time. Luke again piped up and said that if Shakespeare wrote plays from 1580-1620, then he would have been writing for 40 years!
Vocabulary, Latin, literature, world history, and math. In just a short moment. That sort of synthesis feels amazing when one experiences it! Even more so when one experiences it with their child!
Food For Thought
:: Did you celebrate the life of Ray Bradbury this past month? I enjoyed The World of Ray Bradbury by Russell Kirk @ The Imaginative Conservative:
The trappings of science-fiction may have attracted young people to Bradbury, but he has led them on to something much older and better: mythopoeic literature, normative truth acquired through wonder. Bradbury's stories are not an escape from reality; they are windows looking upon enduring reality.
:: Taming Sentences by Kitty Burns Florey @ The New York Times (about, what else? sentence diagramming):
Diagramming is basically a puzzle, and — as we all know in this age of Alzheimer’s awareness — puzzles keep our brains working. An attempt to tame a really complex sentence can oil your brain, twist it into a pretzel and make it do back flips.
:: Why Read Stories @ The Trinity Forum:
Engaging a narrative is an inherently imaginative act, as the reader must do the hard work of envisioning the characters, setting, and dynamics, creating a world seen only through their own mind’s eye. As such, reading fiction is an integrating act – requiring both the left and right brain, both imagination and reason, creativity and analysis.
:: The Argument Against Raising Well-Rounded Kids @ Penelope Trunk brings up some interesting things to think about and discuss. Do you agree or disagree with her opinion? I loved the fact that she brought up personality styles (I’m a huge fan of Myers-Briggs personality types), but I wonder if some personality types are naturally suited towards being generalists rather than specialists. I think one of the benefits of homeschooling is that it can easier to do both!
:: In Praise of Folly: Writing the SAT Essay @ Applerouth Tutoring Services:
Some people, primarily parents and administrators, have been upset when they heard my counsel to bend the truth to craft a superior essay. But I argue that as there is no expectation or reward for veracity, why fixate upon it? When I read a work of fiction, I am not upset that the content is not factual as there is no expectation of that. For the SAT essay, what is being assessed is how well you write, not how accurate is your factual base.
:: Wellesley Grads Told: “You’re not special” @ The Swellesley Report:
Like accolades ought to be, the fulfilled life is a consequence, a gratifying byproduct. It’s what happens when you’re thinking about more important things. Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.
Fitting for the Climbing Parnassus theme of the CC practicum, which brings me to the next few articles…
:: A Father Takes Up Latin by Tucker Teague @ Satellite Saint:
True education is about formation not information. In other words, to be classically educated is to be molded into the kind of person, with the kind of mind and mental habits, that can appreciate truth, goodness, and beauty. The rigor inherent in studying Latin produces minds that can think well. It also inculcates minds with capacities to express good thoughts well.
:: Latin, Math, and Glory @ Expanding Wisdom:
What if the benefits of studying the school subjects did not end with recognizing that God made that thing or this process but actually made it possible to discover tools and patterns that show us more about how to seek Him? Is it not worth it to at least ask the question, especially if the answer is possible and probable?
:: Imago Dei @ Maverick Philosopher:
The paradox is that when atheistic man tries to stand on his own two feet, declaring himself independent of God, at that moment he is next to nothing, a transient flash in the cosmic pan. But when man accepts his creaturely status as imago Dei, thereby accepting his radical dependence, at that moment he becomes more than a speck of cosmic dust slated for destruction. Thus Jean-Paul Sartre had it precisely backwards in thinking that if God exists then man is nothing; it is rather that man is something only if God exists. For if man exists in a godless universe he is but a cosmic fluke and all the existentialist posturing in the world won't change the fact.
- What is the Problem?
- Is Philosophy a Way of Knowing?
- Is Literature a Way of Knowing?
- Is Science a Way of Knowing?
- Is Faith a Way of Knowing?
- What Can We Know?
:: Speaking of the CC practicum (do I sound like a broken record?), our fabulous speaker, Pam Lee, memorized this version of The Three Little Pigs and performed it for us. So. Much. Fun. I think it is my new challenge…
And a bonus article..
:: Why Are American Kids So Spoiled? @ The New Yorker (I think my kids need to be doing a whole lot more work around here…)
Our sparse monthly lessons and books list:
The Children’s Illustrated Bible (reading together)
Telling God's Story
Life of Fred (elementary series, free reading)
You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Scientist
Swim Team practices (Levi and Luke!)
Poetry for Young People: Maya Angelou
Andy Warhol (Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists by Mike Venezia
Andy Warhol: Paintings for Children by Prestel
Lives of the Artists by Kathryn Hewitt (Andy Warhol)
Tales from the Ballet selected and adapted by Louis Untermeyer, illustrated by A. and M. Provensen (favorites!)
MCT Practice Town (4 level grammar analysis) + sentence diagramming
MCT Building Poems (poetry)
MCT Caesar’s English (vocabulary)
Writing With Ease (Levi and Luke)
All About Spelling Level 3 (?)
Latina Christiana I (lessons 6)
La Clase Divertida (lessons 5-6)
History/Historical Fiction/History-Based Literature:
The Story of the World: Modern Times (chapters 17-21)
The American Story: 100 True Tales from American History by Jennifer Armstrong
The Journal of Otto Peltonen, A Finnish Immigrant—Minnesota, 1905 (historical fiction, 168 pp, Levi-IR)
Earthquake at Dawn by Kristiana Gregory (based on a true story, San Francisco earthquake-1906, 188 pp, Levi-IR)
Julia Morgan: Architect of Dreams by Ginger Wadsworth (architect in SF during earthquake, worked with W.R. Hearst)
Henry Ford: Young Man With Ideas (Childhood of Famous Americans) (biography, 192 pp, Levi & Luke-IR)
Angel on the Square by Gloria Whelan (historical fiction, Russia—1914, 288 pp, Levi-IR)
Amelia Earhart: A photographic story of a life by Tanya Lee Stone (DK biography, 123 pp, Levi-IR)
When Christmas Comes Again: The WWI Diary of Simone Spencer, NYC to the Western Front-1917 (historical fict., Levi-IR)
The Singing Tree by Kate Seredy (historical fiction, Hungary-WWI, 247 pp, Levi-IR)
The War to End All Wars: World War I by Russell Freedman
War Game by Michael Foreman (WWI)
Truce by Jim Murphy (WWI)
The 1910s Decade in Photos: A Decade That Shook the World by Jim Corrigan
The 1920s Decade in Photos: The Roaring Twenties by Jim Corrigan
You Wouldn’t Want to Work on the Hoover Dam! by Ian Graham
R My Name is Rachel by Patricia Reilly Giff (historical fiction, Great Depression—1936, 166 pp, Levi-IR)
Book Detectives: The Biggest Bear by Lynd Ward
Levi’s Free Reading:
The Family Hitchcock by Mark Levin & Jennifer Flackett
The Rescuers by Margery Sharp
The Sword and the Circle: King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table by Rosemary Sutcliff
The Light Beyond the Forest: The Quest for the Holy Grail by Rosemary Sutcliff
Kindred Souls by Patricia MacLachlan
Tons of re-reads and easy books
Luke’s Free Reading:
The Great Piratical Rumbustification & The Librarian and the Robbers by Margaret Mahy
Henry Reed’s Journey by Keith Robertson
The Family Hitchcock by Mark Levin & Jennifer Flackett
Lots of Geronimo Stilton and Time Warp Trio
Dogbird and Other Mixed-up Tales by Paul Stewart
Kindred Souls by Patricia MacLachlan
Leif’s Free Reading:
Lots of Life of Fred and Geronimo Stilton
Miscellaneous Picture Books:
The Honey Jar by Rigoberta Menchu, Dante Liano, and Domi (ancient stories of the Maya)
Storm Boy by Paul Owen Lewis (a story from the mythic traditions of the Native peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast)
Frog Girl by Paul Owen Lewis (“)
Brave Margaret: An Irish Adventure by Robert D. San Souci
Bambino and Mr. Twain by P.I. Maltbie (Mark Twain and his cat)
DK Superguides: Swimming
The Happy Orpheline by Natalie Savage Carlson (set in an orphanage outside Paris)
The Cloud Spinner by Michael Catchpool, illustrated by Alison Jay (I love her artwork!)
The Twin Giants by Dick King-Smith
Fishing with friends
Two swim meets
A friend’s birthday party
A trip to the beach