Out of the Mouths of Babes  

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T thought that she was ready to recite her poem "A Slash of Blue" by Dickinson today without any advance recitation from me. I, rigid rule-adherer that I am, wanted to go through with the triple reading, since she has only had the poem for one day! I did the triple reading while tears streamed down her face. When it was her turn, she began to recite through clenched teeth. I gently reminded her that she had forgotten the title and author. She made an attempt at the title: "A Sweep of Blue by Emily Dickinson". I, again gently, suggested that maybe she didn't yet know the poem as well as she thought she did. Trembling with anger, and then laughter, she said, "I'm sorry, Mommy, but right now all I can think of is "A Smack of Blue by Emily Dickinson". This is truly my child...


Posted by: Unknown

Finally a small breakthrough with T. I have gone back to teaching her math, rather than having her read the lesson herself. Technichally, with Saxon 5/4, the student is able to read the lesson herself, and then do the problems. I have to remind myself, though, that although T is at the level of 5/4, she is younger, agewise. Hence, although it wreaks absolute havoc with my schedule, a deadly sin in Magistra-world, I have gone back to "teaching" her math. Maybe we can once again experience peace in the Academy.

A wonderful book that I cannot recommend enough to all of my friends (hmmm...that presents a problem - let's just say a wonderful book that I would recommend to anyone!): The Temperament God Gave You by Art and Laraine Bennett. I have always known that I am Melancholic. I did all of my Science Fair projects in school on temperament, in addition to taking a wonderful History of Science class in College, which discussed in depth the theory of "humors" in medicine. I have never heard such a wonderful explication of my temperament, though, as I read in this book. Even better the Bennetts go into depth about spousal temperament, marital temperament combinations, and, most beneficial for parents (I think particularly for homeschooling parents), your children's temperaments. How does a melancholic parent a sanguine? I know that I will find out as M-C continues to grow up. In any case, it was very nice to read aloud to Principal so many of the things that irk him about my personality as being classically "Melancholic". I never thought that I would conform exactly to anything, but (and there must be a lesson in humility in here somewhere), apparently I am not so very unique after all! Give the book a try in your marriage or in your book group. Alternatively, do yourself a favor and read it just for yourself. Melancholics are the best - the perfectionists - those with such high standards that anything short of Heaven is just not good enough - the poets and the philosophers (and also the depressives) - but go ahead and discover your temperament. Better yet, discover how you can help your spouse work with your temperament...oh, and I was kidding about Melancholics being the best. Sort of. Where was that lesson in humility again?

Too Many Ideas...  

Posted by: Unknown in ,

October 21, 2008
There are too many things flying around in my head. I guess I should stick primarily with Academy updates. T is almost finished with FLL 3, so we have 4 on the way (thank you Wise and Buffington). The teacher edition isn't even published yet, but I'm grateful to continue with the same series. We'll switch to Rod&Staff when we run out of FLL - heavy on the diagramming and the rote repitition of grammar. We will also be starting Writing with Ease, the WTM writing program, very recently published, and designed to work in tandem with FLL. Both T and N will be doing the writing program, so we will be trying to cram yet more into our already too full days. Principal will be the first to attest to the fact that balance is not a skill that I know.

T is still giving me fits. She is intelligent, but she is also incredibly moody. She has developed an attitude that I don't care for at all. I feel as if I am pulling teeth on a daily basis (dangerous considering the fact that she is currently missing 3, and 2 more are loose), and I don't know what to do about it. Patience is not a virtue with which the Good Lord blessed me, and Heaven knows that I don't want to pray for it (more opportunities to acquire it, you know - better to pray for the grace to accept what comes). It used to be that T was my rock. When the younger three were breaking down, at least I could count on one that was steady. Not so much now, at least at school. When school ends, the rock is back, though, so I suppose that I ought to focus on that, and assume that, yes, this too is a phase that will pass. It has to, because I don't think that we're going to make it otherwise! I keep holding on to the fact that St. Therese was also very moody and sensitive and would cry at the drop of a hat. One day, and she pinpoints the exact day, God gave her the grace to get over it. I pray that she will intercede for the same grace for T. Maybe she can throw in a good word for the Magistra, too!

I have started a new blog to help vent some of my political frustration. I used to enjoy political reparte, but I have gotten to the point where I am just plain defensive and mad. When did the decent people become the strange ones? When did valuing morals, standards, personal accountability, and the traditions which made our country great become something at which to sneer? I am so tired of being odd man out (yes - I said man. I have absolutely no problem with referring to myself in that way, you PC-crazy nuts. I am secure. I know that I am a woman. I have given birth 3 times - there's little doubt (oh, no wait - there was that pregnant man. Just give it time and we can throw that standard out the window, too, God help us). PC writing is awkward writing, and I refuse to bow to it). To that end, I now explicate and vent here: http://livinginobamerica.blogspot.com. Feel free to come by.

Sadly, More Editing...  

Posted by: Unknown in , ,

October 14, 2008
I refuse to remain undefined (a reference to where I think the date should be)! I thought the row over the editing was resolved, but apparently not exactly. The editor sent a memo, by way of my employer, justifying her changes. That's all fine and good, except she introduced errors into my piece where errors didn't previously exist! I pointed that fact out. We'll see if that was to my detriment or not. I feel as if I am walking a very fine line here. As Miss Farrell says to Miss Hannigan in "Annie", "It's an awful time to be out of work"...

Anyone who knows me knows that flexibility is not my strong suit. I am the original Hem (or Haw - I'm not particular). Please don't move my cheese. I suppose that I will eventually go find it, but I will be darn near death's doorstep before doing so. Said inflexibility probably explains why I am almost nervous that my children are not in school right now. They are sick. Well, the youngest three are. I have my doubts about T (reference earlier posts), but it is hard for her to resist the siren call of the TV (on during the day!), combined with the gray day and the pouring rain (she shares my penchant for the melancholy). I guess everyone is getting off with a bye (debate term again). I am very uneasy about it, but I need to get over it. It is October, and T is 2/3 of the way through her Language Book, and 1/3 of the way through Math. N is 1/2 way through Math. I would guess that we'll finish on time. On time for what I'm not sure. Armageddon? Only if Obama is elected - ha ha - a little political humor to lighten my day. Seriously, I guess that's why I believe in year round homeschooling - so a little going off schedule doesn't throw me into a tizzy. Except it does. I wonder what it feels like to relax. Principal says that I am this way because it works for me. Thank you, Dr. Phil. Seriously, though, since he's right about almost everything (Principal, not Dr. Phil), he's probably right about me, too. I must work best when I'm wound up. My primary concern is how it will affect my children. I grew up with someone who was very wound up. He always speculated that he would die of a heart attack. Ironically, he has mellowed to the point that I hardly recognize him, while I sort of wonder if I will make it to 40. How unfair that we as parents create our children in our image, and then we alter ourselves so that they can't even identify with us anymore. Parenting is such a great responsibility that I wonder daily how God ever entrusted me with it!


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What a wonderful aid to my spiritual life. I will readily admit that I am more of a formulaic pray-er than a "talking and listening" to God pray-er (yes, I know that there are technical terms, but for once I'm not in the mood for them), and Magnificat (http://www.magnificat.com/english/index.asp) caters to that side of me marvelously. By offering new prayers each day, it keeps my prayer life from becoming *too* formulaic, and by providing the daily Mass readings, along with bios of lesser knowns saints and daily meditations, there is just the right amount of material. Now do I read everything every day? Sadly, no, but since T also utilizes it as a Mass aid, I feel as if we're getting our money's worth.

I have always felt the urge to write, and actually always *have* written, but for the first time I feel that I have a plausible novel idea (in fact, a novel idea that is novel -- why, oh why do I write parenthetically so much? I will clobber my children if they do this in compositions!). Now if only I could find the two books that I need for the most preliminary of research. They are hiding in my study under mounds of other books. The fact that I can't bring myself to dig in and look for them is probably somewhat telling, but I'll get there. I have to outline first anyway. I am choosing not to focus on the fact that without an agent, the chances of even getting a book in front of a publisher are slim and non-existent. Oh, and there are no vampires in it, so I may as well hang it up right now. Even I don't want to read a book without Edward in it.

My father told me recently not to worry because 90% of what we worry about doesn't come to pass, and the other 10% didn't end up being as bad as we worried it would be. Well, without worry my life would be meaningless (acutally, I think that sentence should more properly say "without Christ my life would be meaningless", but in my case, worry is what drives me. Well, worry and coffee drive me). Apart from that, though, he was right in this case. I was beyond vexed because the postings that I have been submitting to edHelperBaby have been receiving the most...creative editing known to writing. The editing resulted in my postings bearing no resemblance to my actual writing. I thought that I had given the matter due consideration when I emailed my boss (whom I have never met) telling him that the situation was not acceptable to me. Immediately afterward I was terrified that I would be fired. I *like* having a job, especially a freelance writing job related to children, a subject about which I know a thing or two. In any case, I practically made myself sick for a week, after which point my boss emailed back thanking me from bringing the situation to his attention. I am not sure what resolution that brings, but for now, I'll definitely take it. Maybe I should start listening to Principal when he tells me stop worrying. Something about my control issues is tied into all that worrying, though...when things start to spin out of control, I start to panic. I really think I need to read The Temperament God Gave You (http://www.amazon.com/Temperament-God-Gave-You-Yourself/dp/1933184027) and start coming to terms with a few aspects of my personality. More importantly, I need to come to terms with a few aspects of *Principal's* personality!

Salve Regina!  

Posted by: Unknown

October is the month of the Rosary, so we are especially happy to honor our Holy Mother here at our Academy, named in her honor. I was beyond thrilled on Sunday when we sang not only the Salve Regina, but also Tantum Ergo - in Latin! Two Latin songs in one Mass. I have surely died and gone to pre-Vatican II Heaven. I did get the idea, however, that we should begin learning traditional Latin hymns here at the Academy, so our morning routine now consists of the Pledge, the Morning Offering (currently being offered for my brother's intention, one which I can only pray will be resolved according the will of God - it's hugely important for our family), the singing of My Country 'Tis of Thee, America, Grand Old Flag (shout out to George M. Cohan, great American composer, great American, and sharer of N's birthday!), and Tantum Ergo. It makes for a very interesting routine. Of course, it's followed up by calendar, so we also have to sing "Today is Monday, today is Monday all day long - all day long..". Fun times...

I am dealing with motivation problems with T, and I am struggling with how to resolve them. She is bright. She is working above grade level in all subjects (2 grades above in Math). She is not overworked and I have done my best to craft an interesting curriculum that allows her to focus on things she enjoys (diagramming sentences! History! Creative Writing! Latin - not so much these days, but some things are non-negotiable), but getting her to the school room table, much less getting productive work out of her is becoming increasingly difficult these days. She dawdles. She complains. She cries. This is the child who was the star of her school. Her entire school (K-8). She was looked upon as a model student, and it was routinely speculated that she was headed for a convent at an early age. Granted, I realize that her school persona would not be her home persona, but come now - such a vast difference! Does she really need to know, and have demonstrated 50 times a day, that she is superior to everyone else in her class in order to be properly motivated? Hey, I was the smart kid, too (well, at least until Math started getting the better of me in 8th grade - but I was always the English star!), and I know the joy of everyone's adulation, but how can I teach her the joy of self-satisfaction and self-motivation, skills that I honestly thought that she had already begun to master, at least in part? Frustration is at an all-time high here right now. Maybe it's just a bit of growing pain. Perhaps she's at a difficult age (ah, yes, the favorite excuse of mothers everywhere!). I think it's helpful that we're preparing for First Confession (yes, I know we're supposed to emphasize the Reconciliation aspect, but I'm old school) as it gives us plenty of opportunities to talk about ways that we can please Jesus, and things that we do that disappoint him (I'd go into the ways that I disappointed him today, but I'm sure that Blogger has a space limit, and I would surely exceed it!). We study the Saints, and discuss good habits, and I'm sure that we'll overcome this phase. At least, there's a 50% chance that we will. Either we will or we won't, anyway, so I won't spend too much time worrying about it!

Just one quick link to a company that I just love. If I come into money, I am going to buy all of the back issues of this magazine: http://www.girlhoodhomecompanion.com/ I have one issue, and I can't wait to share it with T. There is so much in it for a little girl to love. I sort of think of it as a young girl's Victoria http://www.victoriamag.com/ but with so much more about what it means to be a young lady who loves the Lord (it is so not in your face, though. The tone is just perfect). Anyway, in my list of "lottery winning must-haves" the collection of back issues has gone straight to the top.

On a personal note, which does not break my "no boring personal anecdotes" rule, because the mother/daughter relationship is very important in any home, my own relationship with my mother is bringing me great joy as of late. The Dear Lord has gifted me with patience beyond that which I usually possess, and my Mom is bringing me into her world of paper crafting (most definitively *not* scrapbooking - no photos involved!). She is so very talented (and loaded with supplies!), and I am able to play with paper and stamps, and, much more importantly, to share some time with her. I am so grateful.