ambleside curriculum, Poetic Homeschooling

Lovely Randomness

This is the corner of a counter that separates my dinning and kitchen table from my living room. I love those feathers and candles, and snail shells from Malta. To the left, my oldest coke bottle and rose that a grandpa at church, a lovely man, gave her. That made her day.

We have finished week 21 of school. The more we study, the more we follow Charlotte Mason’s principles, the more delight we experience, and the more connections my daughters make.

It was quite amazing to study this week about Sicily in our Plutarch life of Timoleon, in Madam How and Lady Why, and in Fabre’s chapters of Catania and The Story of Pliny. We were there, we saw the volcano, we saw the lava rock landscape, the vineyards and fertile land. We came back home two weeks ago, and it looks like an eternity though.

Last week, while reading history with my oldest (who is studying 1700 to French and American Revolutions), my youngest (studying the Middle Ages), said, “mom, I am also learning about the British”. Yes, “I responded”, but in your times they had not come to America yet. “True”, she added, “but they used cannons for the first time at the battle of Crecy” (which we had just read).

We had been keeping a book of centuries together, but today I bought one for each that I need to get ready. There is much we do together, but I never saw that combining history was to any advantage. Let me rephrase. I did not see that at all myself. I am very ignorant of content. I have never learned or retained any history, geography, science, math, never read the best literature… my education was very poor. So, instead of trying the impossible feat of learning all the “content” I wanted my girls to learn, I tried to find principles of how to teach so that they could learn. When those principles and true learning happens, the content comes along. And for it, I look to those who really had a rich and liberal education, they are those who know the content that those principles drive home. And they are the Ambleside Online ladies, who look to Charlotte Mason for that wisdom.

Every week we look at a painting by our term painter. But the girls want more, so we got this Metropolitan Art Museum calendar we saw at Amy’s blog. Today’s painting is titled The Music Room by the Hungarian painter Mihaly de Munkacsy. Just adorable.

Jeanne introduced us to James Thurber, and this is the result, Thurber’s titles all over, lol.

The girls never stop working on their comic drawings, specially the oldest and her Twist comic girl.


Friday we had our 4th Book Club meeting. It was Anne of Green Gables. What a fabulous book that was. The girls had drawn this some months ago, when we read that chapter in which Marilla does not want Anne to wear dresses with puffed sleeves, as it was the fashion.

The next two are by my youngest daughter, who is eight.


Below it’s a view of our “art” table, at the very left, our painting for the week, Juan de Pareja, by our adored painter, Velázquez.

On the right, on the shelf, a lady in green, painted by Heather’s girl, Dorothy. A present to my daughters.

We still have our lavender from last year, dried, but nicely smelling. The apples are store bought, but the lemons are ours.

Another Thurber title, this one for grown ups. It’s from his vignettes that were initially published in the New York Times.


My daughter keeps a doll house in a three ring binder. Notice the Smaug’s wings she made for her doll when we hosted our Hobbit book club.

Frozen continues… my youngest drew about this sociological reality, Anna is not quite as popular as Elsa. She has field observations to prove this. In the States and in Spain alike, children dressed as Elsa in the supermarkets got all the attention, and the Elsa dolls are by far better accessorized.

And my nightstand and reads.

I finished and enjoyed profusely Through the Language Glass.
It might be that since I am in love with language, that is why I am coming to need poetry every day. I read poetry in Spanish, poems that now speak more to me, as an older person with more experiences and references from where to converse with the poems. I also am realizing how I cherish books and authors that play with language, like Lindsay in The Magic Pudding, Lewis Caroll, and now Thurber.
That may also explain why I like literature that has its share of poetic flair, like the prose translation of The Odyssey I just read, because The Odyssey was a poem, and it’s surely full of metaphors, and evocative language, even though it has action and a riveting plot.
I am reading How to Read a Poem, by Hirsch. It is not a “how to” book, despite of the title, 🙂 Those books don’t speak to me. It is a book by a reader of books, and most specially, of poetry. It’s like having a conversation with another poetry lover who is by far much wiser and knowledgeable than me.


And this is my attempt at sketching myself. Inspired by Heather, I am sketching and keeping a nature journal, and common place books… this is a beautiful life.


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