Friday, September 25, 2015

7 Quick Takes Friday


Mary (6) had one of her stories, "The Castle Blessed," printed by one of those make-your-own-book companies (and doesn't understand the difference between this and 'being published'). Her joy was precious to behold . . . 

. . . and I considered it well worth the cost of the book when she unveiled her big surprise: the dedication to me!

"This book is dedicated to my mommy who taught me to read and write. Thank you, Mama. I love you."


Thomas found his hands this week. Interestingly, this discovery alone now entertains him for quite a few minutes in a baby seat, so I can finally set him down sometimes. Finally!


When Thomas wasn't busy watching his hands float, he was busy gaining weight: at his two-month well-baby check, he weighed in at 13 lbs 12 oz, which means the chunker gained 12 ounces in the 7 days since I turned in my rental scale. Since he's only been off bottles for a week and a half, it was a comfort to see confirmation that he really and truly is gaining beautifully from exclusively breastfeeding.


On Wednesday we took a family day trip to a small farm.


I've been reading aloud "The Lost World" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a 1912 fantasy novel written during the period of fascination with the nascent theory of evolution and the growing field of paleontology. This book is assigned by John Senior's "Good Book List," as used by Angelicum Academy. As I began, I discovered that the book is highly challenging, written at a Lexile level 1250--essentially senior year of high-school or college-level reading. Would my kids even have interest, and why on earth is this assigned for third grade reading?

Nonetheless, my doubts are unfounded: John (8) and Mary (6) love it every night, even jumping up and down with glee when we begin. One night Mary was writing (scrawling) at terrific speed in her notebook while I read and I discovered later that she was doing essentially a Charlotte Mason-style narration.

"Roomer [rumor] of seeing tairadactol [pterodactyl] in South Cairalinea. There is fear of dinasor's, fear of the fucher [future]. They just set camp and chalenjer [Professor Challenger] said on his last visit he clom [climbed] a tree and killed a tairadactyal [pterodactyl]. He tried to bring back the body of it but it was lost in the river. The only evedense [evidence] he had was a wing of the tairadacktol [pterodactyl]. Then chalanjer [Challenger] said it was a stork with leatherly wing's but he was joking and they are camping at the edge of a clif. They said that they would either find a way up or go back to were they started. Then they said look the plato [plateau] has life. He pointed to a snake. Then chalenjer [Challenger]  said yes but will you not grab me by the chin?"


This postpartum time has been very challenging for me, more so than I ever express on this public blog. This week, after long, long talks, we changed our curriculum for the entire week: no book work, instead attending The School of Life.

Subject matter? Learning how to be a family of seven!

With book work cleared away temporarily, I could take as much time as I needed to run the kids through morning routine so it doesn't take an hour, or through meal clean-up, or through bedtime routine (yes, we really do have to pick up our clothes every day, just like I've been saying for six years). This project is worth a whole blog post of its own some day.

I'm so glad I homeschool so Chris and I can focus our teaching on whatever needs to be taught--even (ESPECIALLY) if those things are life skills!

It will remain a great accomplishment if I can get the children's bedtimes and waking times moved back somewhat earlier again, especially Miss Night Owl who is regularly discovered at nine, nine-thirty, even ten reading by flashlight . . .

Reading "Uncle Remus" too late at night


Bonus Reading: "Motherhood, Screened Off" by Susan Dominus sums up what Chris has been hearing me rail about for years now regarding my distaste for personal screen time. When we read books in each other's presence, whether at home in the den or on a public bus, others know what book we are reading and can engage with us. "Oh, you're reading such-and-such? How do you like that?" When we read a book on Kindle or the like, everyone else is shut out.

When we read a newspaper or pay bills or write a letter at our desk or look up something in the dictionary or get out our favorite, food-splattered cookbook, everyone in the family can engage with us. When we look those things up on our smart phones, everyone is locked out.

As does the woman in the article, I long ago took to trying to narrate to my children why I'm on the computer. "I'm filing receipts now." "I need to look up your soccer game information." "I want to check the weather." Unfortunately, it is a Band-Aid on a major wound to our society.

See other 7 Quick Takes over at This Ain't the Lyceum.


  1. Thanks for the wise reminder about why reading something from a book instead of a computer is preferable in the presence of others. I've found that it's absolutely true that reading a book engages others whereas reading something on the iPhone shuts them out.