Grey in the Greyness of Dawn

“Slowly, almost hesitatingly, the train moved on as if it wanted to spare its passengers the dreadful realization as long as possible: Auschwitz!”With the progressive dawn, the outlines of an immense camp became visible: long stretches of several rows of barbed wire fences; watch towers; searchlights; and long columns of ragged human figures, grey in the greyness of dawn, trekking along the straight desolate roads, … Continue reading Grey in the Greyness of Dawn

Thurston Howell, the Third, and the Study of Europe in the Middle Ages

It’s a bit of a stretch, yes? I mean, I know that I’ve heard Thurston Howell, III (of Gilligan’s Island fame, for those too young to remember) speak of his ancestors, but this is a bit ridiculous. Let it never be said that we tried to be remotely non-ridiculous in our approach to learning. Sometimes it’s the only way to make information stick in our … Continue reading Thurston Howell, the Third, and the Study of Europe in the Middle Ages

Loving Language Right Down to the Shape of the Letters

Eloquence in words, and turns of phrase, must start with a reverence for the letters themselves; then the words, the sounds, the rhythms and rhymes, the haunting juxtapositions, the intertwining of heart within the lines. All this begins, I believe, with learning the tools, holding them each separately, seeing their singular beauty, and then learning to pair them together beautifully. * * * * * Tracing … Continue reading Loving Language Right Down to the Shape of the Letters

Designing Castles without Plans

Ben and I were reading about Castles in the Middle Ages yesterday, and we decided to try to find a YouTube video of some of the greatest castles in the world. Sadly, we didn’t find what we were looking for. We found some with music, and some that were about haunted castles, we watched part of one about The Castle of Fear, but the video … Continue reading Designing Castles without Plans

The World at our Fingertips and the Challenge of Brevity

After a day filled with highs and lows, as I suppose is the standard fare of parenting, I got a chance to go to the grocery store on my own. That trip included a detour into Barnes and Noble for a quick look-see, and finding a table of Beyond Drop-Dead Gorgeous reference materials on sale for 75% Off!!! The Atlas is mind-boggling. It is a … Continue reading The World at our Fingertips and the Challenge of Brevity

Rose Window Geometry

Ah – the glories of learning off the computer! Could there be a more exhilarating way to see in a quick moment all the geometric wonders involved in those wonderful Cathedral windows of old? (Perhaps it is because I have learned to love Math so very much, that this is so astounding to me!) This week for our Art Day on Wednesday, we looked at … Continue reading Rose Window Geometry

Icebergs & Invercargill – What we did Friday Night

It was the worst night in recent history. It was the night the world reeled to learn that 20 first-graders and 6 adults at an Elementary School had been gunned down. It had been a day of tears and outrage, along with confusion and sorrow. It was also the day we had been given the news that we need to have my 8-year old go … Continue reading Icebergs & Invercargill – What we did Friday Night

The Red, Black & White I was not Expecting This Season

Over dinner tonight, I was informed that the boys had been watching The History Channel‘s show, American Pickers, and were introduced to a flag with a Swastika on it. Sharp intake of breath. My husband explained that he paused the show and had a teachable moment with my 5- and 8-year old to explain (again) the idea of planting seeds of hate vs. planting seeds … Continue reading The Red, Black & White I was not Expecting This Season

Miniature, Barely Beginning Plan for a Totem Pole

We learned just a little too late in the month, that November is American Indian Heritage Month. In future years, we will be able to plan for some more comprehensive activities and cultural immersion. I dream of the day we get to witness and be a part of some drum making, drum circles, fire dances and other festivities. This year, we got some books from the … Continue reading Miniature, Barely Beginning Plan for a Totem Pole

In the Corners and Cobwebs of Every Civilization…Were the Poets and Artists

Thanks to my son’s take home Scholastic News magazine, I learned that November is National American Heritage Month. For Language and Literature night tonight, I pulled a free printable from TeacherVision to learn about Picture Language used to communicate between tribes. Both the boys tried their hands at telling a story with just the main points, without the filler words, and with only simple drawings. We … Continue reading In the Corners and Cobwebs of Every Civilization…Were the Poets and Artists

And just like that, we are talking about Slavery around the dinner table.

These topics come up because of something Ben is learning in school. Part of me wishes they would give us some warning. But then I realize that if they left it up to group rule, our poor kids wouldn’t learn anything, because adults would argue over when it’s appropriate to bring up certain topics. Ben, in 3rd grade, was learning the story of Harriet Tubman, … Continue reading And just like that, we are talking about Slavery around the dinner table.

Bean Forces our Hand, and we Discover a New Interest!

Bean, our 4-year old, went on an estimate with his dad the other day, and met a wonderful man who showed him all around his back-yard model train. He is part of the Garden Train group here in Medford. He invited us to Railroad Park on any 2nd or 4th Sunday during dry months, to see all the model trains. We got busy working on … Continue reading Bean Forces our Hand, and we Discover a New Interest!

The Awkward Downside of a Classical Education

We live in the country, we let our egg laying chickens free range, we grow our own food, and this year we are learning about canning, putting away all sorts of things for eating later this winter. My boys are creative to the nth degree. Their little minds are like sponges gobbling up everything we feed them. So, I try to feed their minds with … Continue reading The Awkward Downside of a Classical Education