Monday, February 23, 2009

Blogging this day 2/23

Thought I'd blog this day as it goes along.

  • Tried to get kids up at 8:30. By 9:45 everybody was up! Even Hannah!
  • Josh and Will met with math tutor
  • Becky and Sean did a little copy work. Becky finished the first verse of Robert Burn's My Luve is Like a Red, Red Rose. Sean copied over Rain by R.L. Stevenson. Both practiced memorizing. We listened to Mozart.
  • Read two stories from Devotional Stories for Little Folks Too.
  • Read about Thales from Mathematicians are People Too.
  • Read How Much is a Million
  • Josh and Sean were watching Castlevania plays on youtube
  • Becky found two Easter baskets and an old broom handle and with lots of scotchtape made a yoke so she could carry around stuff animals in the baskets.
  • Met with Hannah and planned out her week together.
  • Becky is currently making clothes for her stuffed animals by cutting up old rags, etc.
  • Sean practiced drawing his cartoons.
  • Reviewed Latin declensions with Sean
  • Sean played piano and wrote a little song
  • Becky opened the sofa bed and practiced gymnastics on it and played with Tillie
  • Will took a shower
  • Josh did his VIE grammar
  • Hannah took stew (she made it mostly last night) over to new mother in our group.
  • Took Sean to piano lessons; he's finished his books and needs to move up!
  • Will and Becky watched old Popeye cartoons
  • Did Latin with Josh, Will
  • Got Becky to take a bath and wash her hair (which was quite a feat!)
  • After dinner took Will and Sean to Music Theory class
  • Came home said prayer with Rick and all the family (even Hannah!)
  • Rick is starting the next book in the Prydain Chronicles
  • Hannah cleaned the kitchen for me!!!!!!
  • Hannah made crepe batter so we can have crepes for Shrove Tuesday breakfast!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Austenbook - this is funny!

Anybody who is familiar with facebook and Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice will find this hiliarious!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My own (Catholic) Mother Culture

I've read 9 books since January 1st. Of course most of these have been very light, frothy fun reading, like the Georgette Heyer novels. I reread Rebecca which is a wonderful book and I just this morning netflixed the BBC mini-series which I saw years ago. I remember liking it better than the Hitchcock version. I know that is probably blasphemous! But I really never thought Lawrence Olivier was a good actor. I thought he always overplayed the part to an embarrassing degree. Plus Hitchcock changed the ending from the book and I prefer the book. But the BBC version has Emilia Fox and Charles Dance as the lead with Diana Rigg as Mrs. Danvers. You can't lose with that cast!

Anyway, I also read Marley and Me which was delightful. I think Rick would like it. He's still slowly, slowly working his way through The Tycoons. John Grogan who authored Marley and Me was raised Catholic though he obviously fell away from the faith, but still there are some funny references to it. I want to read his latest book, the name of which escapes me, which is memoirs about his love/hate relationship with Catholicism. I'm looking forward to that.

For some reason I got it into my head to netflix Going my Way and Bells of St. Mary's last week. This are two really old movies that star Bing Crosby as Father Charles O'Malley. The first one is better than the second. Father O'Malley has more personality and even though everything is really overly sweet and contrived, there's a real charm about it. The second movie is really more of a vehicle for Ingrid Bergman who plays Sister Benedict. The script is really bad and Father O'Malley's personality is reduced to almost nil. Bergman is great as usual but the whole move still doesn't work too well. However, both movies are chock full of Catholic culture and come from a seemingly sweeter and simpler time. So they are kind of like a warm cocoon useful in blocking out the current world.

I just started reading In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden. I think I read it or at least started it way back in my early 20's but I don't remember much of it. I think I've seen the movie (which also stars Diana Rigg, I believe. . . . I'll have to look that up.) Anyway, it is a much deeper and slower book than I've been reading so I think it will take me a bit to finish it, but, boy is Rumer Godden a lovely, lovely writer. And the book just radiates such a profound and Catholic spirituality. It is really amazing.

Journal 2/19

Didn't get rosary said this a.m. I'd been so good M, T, and W.

Rick taught the last Economics class today and started Government. He's using Declaration Statesmanship as a base text but plans to supplement. He wants to write his own curriculum. Something that simply goes through each line of the Constitution and then reflects of what the words mean and how our interpretation has been changed and how they are applied today.

Watched the next episode in the The Civil War series. This series is so long and I can't fit it all into our Thursday morning class time so I'm going to have to pick and choose which episodes to watch.

Sean played a Zoombinis game this a.m. Becky slept in. When she awoke I read them both the next chapter of the Wanderings of Odysseus which I hadn't read in over a week. This is chapter where Ulysses meets his old dog and then his old nurse who recognizes it but poor Penelope doesn't.

Sean played Castlevaynia while Becky kept him company and played with lots of stuffed animals.

Finally discussed Huck Finn and somehow the conversation got onto abortion. The idea was that Huck felt himself to be doing wrong by freeing Jim because of what he naively understood about right and wrong from his Southern culture. Same kind of twisted moral values apply to abortion. Abortion is a right, yet it is deeply troubling because it is actually a wrong. And it twists and diseases the culture that upholds it.

Talked about Emily Dickinson and read some of her poetry.

Took Becky, Sean and Josh over to Blue Knights/Little Flowers. Little Flowers made those beads you make shapes with using an iron. Blue Knights - we talked about our skit about St. Patick for the upcoming talent show. Finally got dvd player to work so the boys could watch the Veggie Tales version of St. Patrick. Then the kids all played together.

Sean has really been practicing his piano pieces. He went through a few weeks where he wasn't but now he seems to be energized again and has been happily practicing on his own.

Played a new game with Becky called Shut the Box. We both enjoyed it. Very good for learning addition facts. Becky even played it on her own after dinner.

Will practiced lots of guitar today. Hannah took him to guitar lesson at 4:15 then she went to work at 5:30. She's closing tonight.

Made tacos for dinner and read the next chapter about Abe Lincoln in the book by Sterling North.

Sean went back to Castlevania. Not sure what Josh is doing. I need to get Josh and Sean studying for their Latin test retake.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Reconstructing the day 2/12

I felt really tired and lazy all day today. So let me think if anything really happened.

In the a.m. Rick taught Economics to Hannah, Will, Josh and David; then we all watched the first part of The Civil War.

Becky and Sean did a little bit of copy work and I reviewed Latin with Sean. Then they played on the Wii.

Hannah took David home and then came back and read Huckleberry Finn some more. They were supposed have been finished with that book two weeks ago. Tsk, tsk.

Will played his new videogame Beyond Good and Evil.

Josh spent the afternoon either playing Maple Story or reading Airman by Eoin Colfer. Becky is still on her restaurant spree and kept making snacks and such for Sean to try. At one point she had a whole picnic laid out on the family room floor. She and Sean were playing some kind of game; don't know exactly what they were doing.

I tried to take a nap but Becky kept coming in and interrupting me. Read a lot of Marley and Me though. Great book. I got two loads of laundry done.

Made kids go outside and walk dog and then play which they did willingly. Very windy but unseasonably warm. They played catch in the front yard for quite a while.

Took Will to guitar lessons and then back again. Bought Valentines cards for party tomorrow. Poor little 2 year old boy fell and cut his lip open. Blood everywhere in the grocery store. They called 911. Poor little guy; I think stitches are in store for him.

When I got home, Hannah and I had a talk about learning how to schedule things.

Hannah, Will and Johnny went out in the evening. I meant to read about Lincoln (isn't today his birthday?) but I never did get around to it.

Sean spent a long time making a new pivot cartoon. Becky watched Cinderella (Disney); Josh had a headache and wandered around outside.

Had leftover chinese or hot dogs for dinner. Pretty paltry.

Becky and Sean signed 51 valentines and amazed me with their patient diligence.

Rick is reading The Book of Three to Becky and Sean.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Organizing in my head

So after a month of sorta/kinda doing the Flylady thing (meaning attempting to at the beginning of the day but then completely forgetting about it by the end of the day, and then starting all over the next day), I am still in kind of a 'how can I do things better' frame of mind.

So here are some ideas floating around in my head that I thought I'd commit to paper (or blog) and perhaps that would help them crystallize.

The most brilliant and inspiring thought I had for trying to get myself to get the kitchen cleaned every night is to peg it to something. This is so simple and easy and I don't know why it is taken me practically 18 years to think of this! But I'm going to peg cleaning the kitchen and tidying the family room to night prayers. We say prayers together 99.9 evenings of the year, usually sometime between 8:30 and 9:00 p.m. So my goal is to get the kitchen cleaned and the family room picked up a bit by then. I call everybody together for prayers anyway, so I 'll just call them a bit early and they can pitch in and help me!

The other thing is to once again try to focus on a different room or section of the house for different days. Lately I've been naturally focusing on the basement on Mondays. This is because I have to tidy it up every other Monday when the cleaners come so they can vacuum and dust down there. But also because the math tutor is here on Monday mornings and she works in the dining room. It is a comfortable time to go down to the basement and focus on it while she's on the main level working with Will and Josh.

So here's my line up for 'daily zones':

Monday - basement
Tuesday - study (this gets second place status, still at the frontloaded beginning of the week, because I just cleaned it up and can see that it is already getting junked up, so I want to keep focused on it).
Wednesday - front hall, living room and dining room (front hall and living room never take more than a few minutes to tidy. The dining room is problematic, but I'm thinking that I'll enlist the help of kids to do this)
Thursday - trash to the curb - that's it! Thursday are so busy!
Friday - laundry room and catch up on laundry I didn't get done during the week
Weekends - spread out over the course of both days: clean fridge, grocery shop, bedrooms, recycling.
every day - kitchen and family room; spot clean bathrooms whenever I go in one, laundry

The other organizational change I'm thinking about is how I work with the kids, lesson-wise. Again, quite naturally, I've been starting to grab a kid and work one on one with them for a bit and get to whatever subjects have surfaced at that time. I work with them until we are irretrievably interrupted or the child's attention span is gone, whichever comes first. I have been noticing this is an extremely efficient way to get things done and it helps me concentrate on the child and really interact and talk with them. It frees up the day for lots of spontaneous play and learning, and gives us time to do lots of outside things.

This method has worked especially well with Josh. Things have spontaneously fallen into what you'd call a block schedule. Sundays and Mondays he does the bulk of his math for the week. Monday afternoons we work for several hours on Latin. Tuesdays, Latin class. In the afternoon we get a week's worth of Religion done. He usually does his language arts (vocabulary/spelling, grammar, writing) over the course of two or three days. We tend to forget about history, so we'll skip it for a couple of weeks and then he'll spend a couple of days reading and catching up. But this seems to work fine for him. He does the literature stuff a little every day.

Becky and Sean are easier to work together. We do copy work and read alouds (which cover Religion and history) together. Then Sean goes off to practice piano and read while I focus on Becky for Math and Reading. Then she goes off to play while I focus on Math and Latin with Josh. Josh, Sean, Becky and I usually work on our Greek two or three times a week after lunch for about 20 minutes. We are going slowly with that, but that's okay. I'm pleased as punch we are actually doing it!

The only problem I see is that I really don't have a good system for oversight of the teens. One has never emerged that really answered our needs. So they are forever an afterthought to me. I tend to just nag them which is counterproductive to the utmost!

Friday, February 6, 2009

7 Vignettes - week of 2/1-2/7/09

This week I have abandoned this blog for facebook. I have discovered that I like interaction with others which yahoo and facebook do a lot better than my little ole blog here. But I like this blog because it helps me journal what's going on in our home.

  1. Hannah had a great time visiting the University of Dallas and now she is in the throes of applying there.
  2. Rick, Hannah, Will and Josh are studying about Samuel Gompers in their Economics class which got us all interested in learning about him, John Brophy and the history of the labor movement. Very interesting stuff!
  3. Will got interviewed by the voice department person at Levine and we are waiting to see if we get a voice teacher for him. I talked with a couple of the folks there about how to get into college if one wants to major in music, as Will appears to.
  4. Will is giving his Led Zeppelin concert tonight and tomorrow. Hope it all goes well!
  5. Rick had been reading the first volume in the Prydain Chronicles, The Book of Three to Becky and Sean. They are enjoying it! I loved those books!
  6. Becky and Sean have been playing so well together this week. Big elaborate games of make believe.
  7. Josh is a Maple Story champ!