~ I ~
So it’s been quiet around here. This past week was our “sabbath” week. I just find I can’t push us past six solid weeks of school so we took this week off. The week started out a little rocky with lots of complaints of boredom and the like, but by the end of it we were all feeling pretty relaxed and happy. There was probably a bit more tv than I would have liked, but there was also bike riding, colouring, drawing, reading, baking, and general loafing around.
We even enjoyed a little nature walk on Thursday evening, spotting a Belted Kingfisher and a Red-Winged Blackbird. I found an abandoned birds’ nest that had fallen from a tree that we had to take home with us. We imagined the little bird building the nest and could see lots of what we suspected to be horse hair and even a piece of plastic she had incorporated. Very neat to know that some little birdies somewhere out there got their start in life in that little bundle of a nest.
After a taste of spring this week we were all surprised to wake up to what very well could be the worst snow storm of the season this morning. Church was cancelled, and we have spent the day doing nothing in particular. We enjoyed our yummy breakfast of homemade cinnamon rolls and fruit salad…albeit a couple of hours later than usual. Speaking of that first taste of spring, we heard our Song Sparrow friend for the first time this year a few days ago. Poor little thing was huddled close to our bird feeder this morning, pecking through the snow to get to the seed as the wind howled around him, ruffling his breast feathers. I tried to sketch him in my nature journal but didn’t quite capture his plumpness properly.
Meanwhile Daddy was exploring new apps for the Apple TV with the kids. The coolest one they found by far was the new Touchpress classical music app. I can’t even explain how cool it is! Amazing! Check it out. It shows videos of superb musical performances and allows you to go back and forth from the video to the music score as it scrolls in real time to something called a “beat map” which shows you which part of the orchestra is playing at any given time. There are a couple of free performances, and you can preview the ones for purchase. This might come in handy for composer study or even just learning about the different instruments in the orchestra.
~ III ~
Look what we found waiting in our garden for us this week…
6 medium carrots, halved
1/2 onion, peeled
6 small garlic cloves, peeled
3 Tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of pepper
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh ginger root
1/2 cup cream cheese
2 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 cup whey
Place carrots, onion and garlic into the Vitamix container and secure lid. Select Variable 1. Turn machine on and slowly increase speed to Variable 4 or 5. Blend for 10 seconds or until chopped. (I had to do this in a few batches to get it evenly shredded.) Heat oil in a small pan and sauté chopped ingredients until onion is clear and carrots are tender. Add a little broth, if needed. Place remaining ingredients into the Vitamix container, add sautéed ingredients and secure lid. Select Variable 1. Turn machine on and slowly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High. Blend for 3-4 minutes or until heavy steam escapes from the vented lid.
~ IV ~
It may have been a week of rest, but we still enjoyed some great stories and books together. We are currently listening to Brighty of the Grand Canyon using Amazon’s audible app. Loving audible by the way! Enjoying our free trial right now but will probably continue with it at least for a few months, using our credits to get our library built up with some of the pricier titles. We started an audiobook of The Magician’s Nephew we borrowed from the library and have been listening to that in the car. And Boo and I started the book Along Came a Dog this week. She is feeling very sorry for the poor little red hen who froze her toes, but we are thoroughly enjoying our special reading time together.
~ V ~
Speaking of reading with Boo, I was so excited to find a link yesterday for all of J. Paterson Smyth’s commentaries that I have been wanting to use for her Bible lessons. I downloaded them all and know they will be an invaluable resource to me as I prepare for her Bible reading’s each week.
And speaking of Smyth’s commentaries, have you listened to the newest Scholé Sisters podcast this week? Wonderful conversation between Brandy and Art Middlekauff about Bible lessons Charlotte Mason style! A really good listen for anyone interested in teaching the Bible to children. My favourite CM quote from their conversation:
We have analysed until the mind turns in weariness from the broken fragments; we have criticised until there remains no new standpoint for the critic; but if we could only get a whole conception of Christ’s life among men and of the philosophic method of His teaching, His own words should be fulfilled and the Son of Man lifted up, would draw all men unto Himself. (from Towards a Philosophy of Education)
Smyth encouraged a three-fold aim for the teacher: to interest, to teach, and then to move.
All your teaching is useless unless it have this object: to move the heart, to rouse the affections toward the love of God, and the will toward the effort after the blessed life. You interest in order to teach. You teach in order to move. That is the supreme object. (from The Bible for School and Home)
He forbids “preaching” in favour of a more conversational approach.
I can scarce give a better example than that of our Lord in teaching the parable of the Good Samaritan. He first interested His pupil by putting His lesson in an attractive form, and then He did not append to it a long, tedious moral. He simply asked the man before Him, ‘Which of these three thinkest thou?’ — i.e., ‘What do you think about it?’ The interest was still kept up. The man, pleased at the appeal to his judgment, replied promptly, ‘He that showed mercy on him;’ and on the instant came the quick rejoinder, ‘Go, and do thou likewise.’ Thus the lesson ends. Try to work on that model. (from The Bible for School and Home)
All this talk about teaching the Bible to children brings to mind a guest post at aholyexperience.com by Sally Lloyd Jones, author of the Jesus Storybook Bible. I think it ties in beautifully with what Charlotte Mason and J. Paterson Smyth were both advocating…
When we drill a Bible story down into a moral lesson, we make it all about us. But the Bible isn’t mainly about us, and what we’re supposed to be doing—it’s about God, and what He has done. When we tie up the story in a nice neat little package, and answer all the questions, we leave no room for mystery. Or discovery. We leave no room for the child. No room for God. When we say, “Now what that story is all about is…”, or “The point of that story is…” we’re totally missing the point. The power of the story isn’t in summing it up, or drilling it down, or reducing it into an abstract idea. Because the power of the story isn’t in the lesson. The power of the story IS the story.
Gearing up to start our third (and final) term of the year tomorrow. I can hardly believe it. After a week off I think we are all ready to dive in and see what’s new this term. A new Shakespeare story, new hymns and folksongs, new memory work, new composer and artist. I will try to do a post about all our new topics later in the week.