First of all, I apologize to the readers and subscribers of this blog for receiving weird posts, or for last week’s featured post in Spanish… as I’m cleaning and figuring out the ins and outs of WordPress, sometimes I press the wrong button, and the wrong things get published.
November is passing by quickly for us. We are in the middle of a busy season, and, thanks be to the Lord, much better health wise. We have some follow up doctor appointments, and the usual November buzz (Thanksgiving celebrations at the co-op we attend, a last series of classes and events, and our usual lessons). And in the middle of all this, we’ve been able to ask our dear friends who live in Cameron Texas, if we could visit them soon, they said yes, and to Cameron we’ll be heading soon.
Lessons are very different to what I’d have thought they’d be at this stage in life, but there’s many good days or moments, and if I look at the whole picture, I see them growing, learning, and that’s what matters. These are some things we are into right now:
- We are in the last part of A Merchant of Venice, and both girls love this play.
- We’ve finished a book of poems by Carl Sandburg, and it’s also been a very interesting poet to read.
- We are still reading a hilarious book by T.S. Eliot, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, and we laugh hard with each poem.
- We finished Archimedes and the Door to Science, and though I know they’ve gotten some ideas from that book, I cannot say they’ve liked it. Some chapters were better than the others, but in general, it was not their favorite. Let’s hope that the next books in tow, The Mystery of the Periodic Table/The Elements, are better fits (I’m sure they’ll be).
- We continue reading The Bronze Bow, and that’s a book that the oldest loves, and the youngest tolerates.
- For history, we continue reading from The Story of Mankind by Beaupré, and hopefully, next year we’ll be able to add Augustus Caesar’s World, by Genevieve Foster. They enjoy history very much.
- At church they are studying the Epistles, after they learned about Acts.
- At co-op their classes are going well, they are both very responsible with their homework. My youngest knows what to do, and does it by herself, while my oldest needs help for her Mock Trial class, because she needs to practice her speech with me, and her cross examination questions for their mock trial.
- My geography class is wonderful! I did not start it this well. I didn’t know the students, they didn’t know me, we did not have any routine established. But now they’re thriving, and liking it. They are doing some reading and a bit of homework between classes, and they come ready to share and to learn more. The places we are visiting with Halliburton’s book are fascinating. Good content presented in an interesting manner, and asking for their retelling (through questions they ask each other, or that I ask, and through narration), have proven a sure way to engage the students in good learning. As usual, me, the teacher, has been the one learning the most.
- Our family reading for the car used to be The Swiss Family Robinson. While we liked it, I must confess we have left it in the middle, and I’ve started to read From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and that’s an easy to love read aloud, isn’t it?
- We have taken a break from MEP math, and the girls are working through Khan Academy skills for math. We’ll come back to MEP.
- For science, they are reading The Young Texan Naturalist, The Sea Around Us, and The Story of Oxygen. They like the first and third ones, and The Sea Around Us, though it wasn’t an obvious hit, it’s gaining momentum due to the interesting content. The difficulty with The Sea Around Us was that the girls think that it has too much information (even in a short reading) to give a narration that would have lots of details and be complete to them. We had to adjust to the book, and to broaden our views of narration. I believe what’s important about this book are the overarching concepts that it’s teaching us week by week. Also, as with all books, the more familiar we become with it, the more facts to complement the ideas we all remember. It’s also been a good candidate to stop at intervals and to have some discussion about the ideas presented.
- I finished reading Emma, A Modern Retelling, our last book for the book-club. I still don’t know very well if I liked it or not. I can see, though, I’m going to like other books by Alexander McCall Smith. While the people in the book came across to me having the same personality as in the original, his modernizing of it, while a clever one, I’m not sure that it adds to the Emma-Jane Austen’s experience. It’s a valid approach, it has lovely parts and pieces, but as a whole, it doesn’t cut it for me. However, it makes me feel a bit as the original too, in that of not being too satisfied with the whole book, yet loving it more and more every time. At our book club, it was wonderful to listen to the Jane Austen fans commenting on Emma, and waxing eloquently about Jane Austen. It makes me want to read (or listen) to Emma the original one more time, and to read all of her work. Definitely Jane Austen has a knack for crafting characters in her books, and for immortalizing responses such as, “badly done, Emma, badly done”, which, of course, was in the modern retelling.
- I’m reading Pilgrims Regress and finishing The Life of Elves.I’d say this is all for now. This post being, I think, more for me, to remind me of all the rich life we have. While this may seem very little to many, I’m sure it may look like much to some. This is, however, our doable and realistic load of work, and we are grateful to be able to engage on it when we come together to learn.
We wanted to start a chain of blessings today, with simple leaf shaped paper to write our blessings on them and hang them, but it’ll have to wait. I want to do this and extend it to December too, why not?
How is November going at your home? I hope it’s been a good half month for you and your family. We are very excited about Thanksgiving, a celebration we cherish and that signifies the beginning of the Christmas season.
Thanks for reading, and see you soon!