quick 5

Happy New Year! Life can feel a little quiet after all the bustle of December, but I think it's a good quiet around here. We started back up with homeschooling yesterday and the kids were surprisingly fine with getting back at it. Guess I wasn't the only one ready to return to 'life as usual'. 

1. I have a new piece of art on my wall that I am finding quite inspiring. 

It is hanging at the bottom of our stairs (where the oh-so-bright turquoise mirror used to be) and I see it all day long as I go up and down the steps. I like that it doesn't say 'there is joy given to us every single day' but that instead 'there is joy to be found every single day'. That's the trick isn't it, to find that joy?

I also like that it's big. 

(The duct tape on the light switch is a classy touch, I know. It's a work in progress around here, folks. And I'm not just talking  the house.)

2. There's a few articles that I think are important for different reasons:

  • The Real Design Trends for 2013- this is a great article, very short so just click over and check it out. It sums up my decorating philosophy AND it tells you what kind of green is totally out this year. Seriously, you have to get rid of it. 
  • Catcher in the Rye dropped from US School Curriculum- this article is from a British publication, The Telegraph. I dug around on the internet for awhile trying to figure out if this was true. After reading extensively (including scopes.com) I've concluded that it is true but possibly overstated. It does seem that there was a shift in curriculum standards to require 70% of reading materials to come from non-fiction books. However, that can include text books for classes like math and science. (Doesn't 70% seem like such an arbitrary number? That kind of stuff irritates me.) After following the trail all over the internet, the most I can say is that the classics aren't being banned, they are just becoming a bit more crowded. (Have I ever told you my theory on why we should all be able to read 'old' literature? Hold that thought.)
  • Newtown as I know it- Homeschool mom and writer Jamie Martin gives insight into Newtown, the place she calls home. I appreciated that, as I read this article, Newtown became a real place in my mind and not just the name of an event. 
3. For Christmas, the kids got an easel. So as part of our "gear up to get back at homeschooling" day, we set it up yesterday. The kids have been loving it!

Two of them will create and then the other is the 'judge'. I was worried about this idea at first, but to 'judge' in their minds seems to find something special about each creation. So it is working out nicely. At the end of the first round, Drew declared Ella's drawing to be "The Most Colorful" and Isaac's "The Best Animal Picture." Such a fun new game.

Speaking of fun new games, we're addicted to Just Dance 4. Video footage to come. 

4. Drew's take on gender roles:

Me: (as we load the dishwasher together) Pretty soon, loading the dishwasher is going to be your job.
Drew (7): But it should be Ella's job. 
Me; Why?
Drew: She's the one who will grow up to be a mom. Then she'll have to do dishes. I'm going to be a dad. So you should let me practice spanking the little people. 

Which reminds me, a few weeks ago I took a nap in the early morning. Garrett fed the kids breakfast without me. So when I came down stairs, Isaac cheerfully called, "Mom, you missed breakfast. But don't worry- there's still dishes for you to do!"

5. Back to the idea of why I think people should read "old" writings.  Aside from the great stories and themes and history that is in classic literature, I believe there is a need for people to be able to engage primary sources of different eras. If you have not developed the vocabulary and critical thinking to read from different eras, then your take on history will always be what other people tell you history was about. But if you read primary sources, you can know for yourself. The great thing about reading classics as a young reader is that it prepares your mind to deal with different sentence structures, antiquated vocabulary, and the critical skill of using context to figure out the stuff that is unclear.  

You can believe that the Founding Fathers of our country were all evangelical Christians or all atheists (there are books to support both), or your could read their letters and essays and writings that would give you a firsthand account of what they were really about.

You could read Columbus' diary and have insight into how he viewed his role in history.

I think primary sources help us to see that history wasn't really all heroes and villains the way that the history books can make it seem. There are some true heroes and some legitimate villains, but mostly history was a lot of people just like us. They were trying to survive and raise their kids and shape their future in important ways. And we can actually read their words, if we take the time to cultivate that skill. 

I'll just stop talking about that now. 

In other news, you may have noticed that it's trendy right now for bloggers to pick a single word to focus on in the New Year. I don't think it's a bad idea, more of a holistic approach to life change than a set of specific habits to break or start this year. (Some examples are here and here, and it kind of all started here.) I thought about that a bit, but most of the words that came to my mind seemed counterproductive: chocolate, brownies, mocha, sundaes. Yeah, better nix that whole idea for me. 

Well, I hope that this is the best weekend of 2013 you've ever experienced. I'm fairly confident that it will be. I hope that this weekend finds you with hope for your future and grace for your past, and chocolate. Or brownies. Or something mocha. 

See ya. 


Teresa said...

I didn't notice the duct tape, but I am curious about that typewriter that is underneath the picture ...

Uncle J said...

Looking forward to the Les Mis post!