Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I've sort of abandoned the blog in the last few months, haven't I?

Part of this has been pure busyness. Part of it has been some personal turmoil (I lost a dear friend this fall. I'll post about her in the future). But mostly I've just lacked the drive to write. I don't exactly have the drive back but I figure it's something I should be pursuing rather then waiting for.

Brief update for now then on some stuff I'll write more about later:

We're in the market for a new car. Sure our house is a little piece of heaven but the road we have to drive on to get home is a special bit of hell. It's a dirt road full of ruts and potholes and come the snow our pour little, low-slung '98 Elantra is scraping the snow and that ends up tearing off pieces of the exhaust system.

Fast forward to the garage where our mechanic lifted our car on the hoist and totaled up what it would take to fix the whole exhaust and the various holes in the underbody. Too much. Waaay too much. So our lovely little car will be retired and we are on the hunt for another car with decent ground clearance. Likely a newer used car but we've been pulling out the calculator on some of the new car 0% financing. And we'll get the next car undercoating and rust checked EVERY year. I promise.

Catherine is doing awesome in violin. She has her first RCM exams at the end of January. At the Christmas Eve service at my church she joined the choir, did a reading AND played a violin duet with the Rev. daughter (who's been playing for years and is awesome).

She's studying geometry from a text from the 1920's which has the best mix of constructive-hands-on-critical-thinking and plain old honest work method I've ever seen. It's the geometry text I'd dreamed of. Who knew I'd find it for $5 in a used bookstore?

We're reading Little Women and The Odyssey (Penguin prose translation by Rieu) out loud. We're halfway through Little Women and our enthusiasm is dying. I LOVE Little Women but it doesn't do so well as a read aloud. We're considering cheating by dropping it for now and renting the movie (the 1949 version with June Allyson as Joe of course). I'll preserve the book for a time when Catherine can read it on her own and harbour all those secret hopes for Joe and Laurie that I used to without the embarrassment of having her mom right there. It has led to some neat finds though. We found Authors (although a Biblical version), the card game Joe took to a picnic, at a local thrift store and Pilgrim's Progress, which we may dip into, at another thrift store.

The Odyssey however has been a thrill. It comes alive as a read aloud. Suddenly everything that needs a name is being called Calypso or Telemachus or Ithaca. Our favourite bit of long-long-dead-author literature since Ovid (although Ovid still reigns supreme. The translation we chose is rip-roaring fun as well and probably the easiest, yet masterful, introduction to the story for a younger person short of one of the children's versions.

Harry is a puzzle. We work on reading an he knows the stuff in context and yet a day later forgets it. I'm thankful he's not going to school though because he has a killer memory and will memorize a book without reading a word. I'm convinced that with any school with the slightest whole reading influence he be one of those kids who'd teachers would discover is illiterate at 17. A brilliant faker. I've decided to excuse myself from teaching him anything and instead pile up stacks of Lego and Star Wars books for us to look through and read. Unschooling. Got to stay with the unschooling with Harry.

Christmas was fun. Having a 10 foot tree was fun and gave me the feeling of being a little kid again for a bit. We bought less but smarter for the kids and they were thrilled. I got beautiful diamond earirings but knew about them before Christmas because neither my husband nor Catherine could contain they're excitement or wait for me to be thrilled. My husband actually said, "Even if you don't like them please pretend to for me!" Not worries. They are gorgeous. I also got a Guitar Hero game and lots of chocolate. Lots. Triple whatever amount you have in your head and you have about half of what I got. I love my husband.

I think that most of it. I plan to write some more detailed stuff about some of the stuff we're doing in homeschooling but I'll get around to that later.

Happy Holidays and Merry Xmas!

(No, I'm not late. We're in the 12 days of Xmas right now)


JJ Ross said...

There was a PBS special premiering last night about the real Jo's life (aka Louisa May Alcott as a woman and writer in real life.) We recorded it but haven't seen it yet, maybe it would add some dimension to your power of story?

Jacqueline said...

Hey! Good to see you back. I had taken a much longer break than you but I'm feeling the need to get back to it again. I always enjoyed your posts so I'm glad you're back at it again.

Dawn said...

JJ - Oooh! I'll be looking for that. We read a little bit about her but nothing more then a couple of paragraphs.

Jacqueline - I hope you do start blogging again! I did resist the break for a bit but I think that was a mistake. I should have done it sooner. Sooner or later I think we run out of stories and need to build up a new supply.