Friday, September 26, 2008

Who Helps You?

I've been really enjoying our DI finds, reading books that I never did when I was younger. Right now I'm reading "Little Women" (WOW - a new favorite), and the kids and I are just about done listening to Madeleine L'Engle read "A Wrinkle in Time."

"Are you fighting the Black Thing?" Meg asked.

"Oh, yes," Aunt Beast replied. "In doing that we can never relax. We are called according to His purpose, and whom He calls, them He also justifies. Of course we have help, and without help it would be much more difficult."

"Who helps you?" Meg asked.

"Oh, dear, it is so difficult to explain things to you, small one. And I know now that it is not just because you are a child. The other two are as hard to read into as you are. What can I tell you that will mean anything to you? Good helps us, the stars help us, perhaps what you would call light helps us, love helps us. Oh, my child, I cannot explain! This is something you just have to know or not know."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

If I Don't Sound Very Logical...

...hold that thought for a minute. First the story.

I got the two littlest girls in the bath tonight then headed downstairs for a couple minutes, and Melanie followed me down. Suddenly Carolyn yelled, "Mom! I think you better come in here!" Thinking Erin had added unto the bath, I yelled back for confirmation. "Is there a problem?" No answer. I asked Melanie to run up and check on things, still figuring Erin was just trying to 'share' and was ready to run up after getting a confirmation. Then Melanie yelled down, "Come here! Carolyn's whole tooth is out!" When I heard "whole tooth" I was thinking yikes, roots and all, and I sprinted upstairs. Carolyn was sitting there with a grin, holding a little bottom front tooth.

"Did you bonk your mouth on Erin's head?"
"Then what did you do?"
"I just did this with my teeth (showed me rubbing top front teeth on bottom front teeth) and it came out!"

Tiny bleeding, better even than some I've pulled out for the kids. I checked the other front one, and it's definitely on the loose side too. She doesn't even turn 5 until February!

From there she was ready to jump out of the bath so she could get it ready for the tooth fairy. We had to explain the tooth pillow concept. She thought the tooth stayed in the tooth pillow till you took the tooth out to put it under your pillow, and was very adament about that until I pointed out how tiny the tooth is and how easy it would be to lose it.

Now about the logic. After she was all dressed I took a few pictures then had her call Daddy who was stuck at work. Took me a few seconds to think of taking video of her talking about it. See if you can follow the circles she spins. What a cutie.

So if I don't sound very logical, it's because I get this kind of loopdy-loop stream of consciousness a lot. At least she didn't pull a Grant, but she didn't even warn me it was loose!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Lifelong Learning

Jamie checked out "The Book That Changed My Life: 71 Remarkable Writers Celebrate the Books That Matter Most to Them" from the library a couple weeks ago. He finished it pretty quickly and passed it off to me. I was flipping through it the other night, reading about some of the books I recognized, when I happened upon one by Da Chen writing about "The Count of Monte Cristo." In it he talks about growing up in China and not being allowed to read anything that wasn't written by Mao. When a book happened into the village it was torn apart and shared around so everyone could hand copy it. I won't go more into that, but he talks about how with no books around, storytellers were revered. At the end of the day everyone would gather round the village storyteller and listen to his stories, doing whatever they could to keep him going. Da Chen became the storyteller for his generation, all climbing a big tree together where he would share stories he had heard from the village storyteller. He said that when he ran out of stories, people stopped coming to listen to him.

I didn't think much about that until today while I was cleaning out a closet and listening to a recent talk by Robert D. Hales on "The Journey of Lifelong Learning" (sorry, can't link straight to it but you can search for it here.) I don't know exactly what it was that bridged lifelong learning to Da Chen the storyteller, but I had an 'ah ha' moment. Of course learning makes anyone a better person, but for a person to be able to inspire those around them and continue to be inspiring, it is necessary to continue to become better and to share what you learn.

This is a huge concept in the homeschool philosophy we try to follow known as Thomas Jefferson Education or Leadership Education (more info about that here). I'll post about a fun way that lifelong learning works into what we do soon.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Like Magic

It amazes me what kids will respond to. The kids have been introduced to Mozart's "The Magic Flute" a bit because I LOVE the Queen of the Night's big aria (here's another during a clip from "Amadeus", and another really great one). Jamie and I went to see the Magic Flute the summer after we were married and I don't think I breathed through the entire song. I recorded if off a CD sometime and have played it here and there. I said something about it to them the other day and during the conversation I decided I should see if I could get a copy of the opera from the library. I thought the copy I put on hold was in English and put it on this morning just to run while we went about other things. It's in German. I was a bit disappointed since it would be harder for the kids to follow it, but as I type, the 156 minutes are just about done and Adam and Melanie watched just about the whole thing with Sammy, Carolyn, and I joining them here and there. I've put two books on hold for our next library trip so they can get the story of it all. It's got me thinking of other 'greatness' I should expose them to.

Speaking of magic, those beans I mentioned last post are still holding their magic. Today I taught Melanie about fractions using them and some measuring cups. She thought the whole thing was pretty amazing. Carolyn helped, but she was still a bit young for the concept. They've been out two other times today besides that, one time with Carolyn and Sammy sorting them.

P.S. Melanie told me tonight that the worst part about "The Magic Flute" is that it isn't ours. :)

Monday, September 8, 2008


Sammy came up to me today and asked if we get to choose our jobs. I told him yes, of course. He said, "Then when it's time to tell the guy what job I want, I'm going to tell him I want to be an archaeologist." I chuckled to myself then asked him if he would like to hear how people get their jobs. "Yah!" I walked him to my bedroom so we would have a quieter place to talk, then I told him how when I was young I wanted to be a teacher, a writer, and a mom when I grew up. That I went through elementary school, junior high, and high school learning all the things they wanted me to there, then when I went to college I could study things that would help me get to those goals. I told him how I started by majoring in education but decided that wasn't for me, moved to computer science, then literature, then finished off in technical writing, and told him that I was able to choose what I wanted to study.

His eyes were shining the whole time, but he got even more excited when I told him that since we homeschool if archeology is something he is interested in, we can start learning what he needs to know and study about now instead of waiting. We got on the library website and put 8 books on hold, found a kids archeology magazine he's thinking about using some of his birthday money on, and some interesting looking kids archeology websites.

This was all brought on by Indiana Jones, though we read on a website several months ago that he's a treasure hunter more than an archaeologist (because he's just trying to make his museum better than everyone else's). I don't know how long it will last, but we'll run with it while we can.

Speaking of discovery, I'm working on some fun ways to keep Carolyn and Erin entertained while trying to have even 5 minutes of conversation with the older three. Today I dumped a bag of mixed soup beans into a plastic container, gave them some little paper cups and some spoons, laid a tablecloth on the table knowing there was going to be a mess when they were done and hoping that would make clean up easier. For the hour it kept them busy, the clean up was nothing. Next time I think I'll put the tablecloth on the floor and let them play there on it. Less droppage.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

64 Books

The Hall Family has been on a book hunt. With a mission to expand our home classics library, we scanned the book shelves at three DI's the past couple of days, and now are 64 books richer. When you consider that many cost only $.50 and $.75, it's not a horrible investment, though there were the $1.00, $1.50, and $2.00 books in there, plus a few other 'treasures' the kids found during the expedition.

It's exciting to have so much greatness at our fingertips.

Jamie found a set of four books called "Out of the Best Books." I guess they were written to be used in Relief Society groups back in the 1960's to study literature together, but there are poems, short stories, and excepts with a discussion section after each. As it states in the preface to the first volume, "the best way to study literature is to read it... Literature is vivid and exciting and provocative--but only when we have read it." And so, we read! After looking through them I'm excited to read and use them with our homeschooling, and at only $1 each!

Here are some of my favorite quotes on reading.