1. I finished three non-fiction books over the summer (which is a good step for me as I can't seem to finish non-fictions.) The first was a book that I saw in a thrift store, entitled
Dickens' Fur Coat and Charlotte's Unanswered Letters: The Rows and Romances of England's Great Victorian Novelists by Daniel Pool. I read it through and enjoyed it, though at the end I still didn't know what the title was referring to (What coat? What letters?) so I must have missed something. It was interesting to see the rise of the novel as a form of literature, how books became available to commoners, and how all of that was really Dickens' doing. On a side note, this book painted a far less sympathetic picture of Charlotte Bronte than the biography I read last year. Same information, different spin- which was interesting.
The second book I read was called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. This simple book had so many big ideas, so many right-on points, that it was hard to read in an honest way. A lot to think about but a lot to grow in, as well.
The last book was a recommended read for a training; the book was called Classical Christian Education Made Approachable and was produced by Classical Conversations, Inc. I always have certain expectations when a book is titled "Made Approachable", and I wouldn't say this book met those expectations. I felt that the authors were assuming that the reader had already bought into homeschooling and some of the language could be a bit alienating if the reader had not. However, if you are interested in classical Christian education then this would be a good book for you.
(On a sort-of-related note, I was doing a training for future CC tutors when someone raised their hand and asked how we labelled our tin whistles, a recorder-like instrument that the students learn. I answered that in every tutor group, there is usually someone who is a bit OCD and owns a label maker. Blank stares...crickets chirping...apparently the OCD ones were present and didn't appreciate being labelled OCD. Tough- but organized- crowd!)
Week two of homeschooling is almost complete and we have done school EVERY DAY. This may not seem like a big deal, but it is. For me, anyways. A few of the things that we are enjoying are...
- Apologia's Exploring Creation with Astronomy. My boys are digging it- especially the labs. (Thanks to my wise friend, Keri, who recommended I buy the lab kit. Completely worth it!!!)
- Play doh.
- 1001 Bugs to Spot- This book plus a magnifying glass equals hours of fun, especially for Tess who loves bugs.
- CC memory work review games together
3. Do you watch TED talks? I've seen a few here and there but not consistently. A few months ago I read a reference to the most watched TED talk ever, called "How Schools Kill Creativity". So I thought I'd check it out and I'm so glad I did. The presenter, Sir Ken Robinson, is very funny but also has some solid points about the nature of creativity and how we can foster that in our educational settings. You can watch it online at the TED talk website or on netflix. Do you watch TED talks? Do you have a favorite?
4. Tonight in the car I was attempting to get Ella to stop screaming, when Isaac gently explained, "Mom, she's not screaming cause she's hurt. She's screaming cause she's a girl." An important clarification, no doubt.
5. My husband, Garrett, has worked hard this summer. Not that his job isn't usually hard, it is. But this summer has been fourteen hour days and phone calls at night and weekends away and "hi and good-bye" as he passes through the kitchen. And that's OK. There are a lot of good things happening at Release, a lot of ways Christ has refined us in asking us to be sacrificial with our time, and a lot of my own ugliness that has come out in the process. It has reminded me again of one of the things I believe most about life: the good stuff is hard. Marriage. Parenting. Seeking the kingdom. Helping the poor. Living in community. Owning your sin. Walking in the light. All of those things are worth pouring out your strength but, man, can it be uncomfortable. I'm proud of Garrett and the work he does, and so thankful for the team of people that have come on board this summer. And at this phase in my life, a lot of seeking the kingdom is holding down the fort and painting pictures of the kingdom for my own kids. I long for things to slow down again, and I believe they will. But there is a sweet spot that I can find here, if I look for it. And I'm thankful for that tonight.
Well friends, Labor Day is upon us. And what should one due in the wake of a gruellingly hot Labor Day weekend? What's that? Go camping? Our thoughts exactly. If you think of us, pray for a breeze. Or a flash freeze. Or an uncharacteristic amount of patience in the midst of sweating.
Hope your weekend brings a rest for your heart and a bit of stirring in your soul.