What do you see?

In this city there are shiny, polished, air conditioned grocery stores with polished floors and coolers of meat and fresh fish on ice and refrigerated shelves of soft drinks and milk and eggs in cartons and fruits and vegetables wrapped in shrink wrap plastic and shelves full of processed, boxed, and canned goods. You might not recognize all of them, and you might not find some of your favourite things, but they are as modern and first world as anything you might see in other first world countries.

In this city, you will see 7-11 stores, McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and also Chow King and Mandarin Tea Garden and the Nenay Bebing buffet.

In this city you will see high rises and gated communities with swimming pools and you will see shacks made from woven palm frond walls essentially leaning against each other, propped up in any open space the squatters who live in them can find.

In this city you can also see the palingke- the open market where you can buy rice from giant piles open to the air, fruits and vegetables, clothes, raw meat, fresh fish, and you will have to shoo the flies away. There are rows and rows of clothing… I don’t don’t know what to call them- stalls? inside there will be cots because some of the people sleep in their stalls. You can see just part of one of the fruit stalls in the background below.  On the road you can find motorcycles and taxis and jeepneys and modern four wheel drive jeeps and vans and produce trucks and the trikes (motorcycles with a contraption built around them for holding passengers), and carts like the one below, all sharing the same space and moving along the same roads, jockeying for position.

Last week on the way to church I spotted the man in the photo below at a corner. We passed him, and then got caught in the snarl of traffic and he passed us- he has just as much right to the road there as the cars do.  I was glad to be stuck in the traffic as it gave me the chance to snap this picture- only barely- I tried to take two in a row and he was moving at such a clip in the second shot he was already halfway out of the frame.

What do you see?

 

Poverty.  Hard work.  Can do spirit. Ingenuity. Hardship. Recycling. Economics in action.  Strength. Endurance.

I don’t know which of these is the most accurate. I don’t know what else I’m missing.  I don’t know this man’s story.  I’m curious. I would love to know more.  I would love to sit down and hear him tell about his life, his hopes, his goals, his experiences.  But I don’t know anything else about him beyond what you see here- he is  a man I passed and photographed from the window of my cab, a stranger.

Actually, he’s a fellow soul, an image-bearer of the Creator, and I am the stranger,  a temporary visitor to his country, a nosy American impudently snapping a picture of him from my cab.  What does he see as we drive by, I wonder.

Posted in Davao Diary | 1 Response

I didn’t even know CNN could go this low

You’ve probably heard that President Trump tweeted some gif somebody made that had a CNN block logo superimposed over an anonymous body at a professional wrestling match with Trump coming out of nowhere and body slamming the guy and then strutting off. My take was that was his response and victory strutt over the nonsense between him and Morning Joe and Mika.

I’m schizoid about this stuff, so I was evenly divided with myself – yes, it was hilarious, and equally yes, it was conduct tradition and I have assumed is beneath the dignity of the nation’s Head of State.  But you know, tradition and I are out of touch.  The left has worked very, very hard to denormalize and shame tradition out of the public arena, and a lot of other people have put forth a compelling case that since the left decapitated all norms of civil discord with those with whom you disagree, they can now suck it up and accept the consequences.  Decorum is dead, and those who killed it don’t get to complain about the lack of it.

CNN is going out of its way to convince you that those who say the time for civil discord with their ilk is long past are absolutely, utterly correct.

Stung by being mocked, CNN has gone after the maker of the gif?  Keep that in mind- the creator of that GIF, a stupid but funny form of modern communication popular among the young and technically savvy, is now their target.

They tracked him down and extorted an apology.  Then they bragged about it.  And then they puffed up their collective chests and boasted some more- I promise this is real, I am totally not making it up, this is what they said:

“CNN is not publishing “HanA**holeSolo’s” name because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again. In addition, he said his statement could serve as an example to others not to do the same.

CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.”

* * * * * * * *

In the phone interview on Tuesday, “HanA**holeSolo” said the White House did not ask his permission to use the GIF, and said he probably would have said no if they had.”

 

Obviously, they are taking a LOT of flack for this blackmailing thuggery.

So they explained:

“FYI “HanAssholeSolo” just called me.”I am in total agreement with your statement. I was not threatened in anyway.”

Most people saw this for what it was- the victim called the Godfather and said he still agreed with whatever the Godfather wanted him to agree with.  Personally, i don’t think he called out of the blue.  I believe the CNN reporter called and left an ominous ‘call me back’ message, and he obeyed.

So CNN tried to explain some more:

“This line is being misinterpreted. It was intended only to mean we made no agreement w/the man about his identity.”

Of course, ‘CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change’ is exactly how normal, nonthreatening, nonbullies would say ‘we made no agreement.’

They shouldn’t have gone this direction in the first place.  Like the ‘vetting’ of the private citizen Joe the Plumber who merely asked a question of the politician who showed up on his lawn, this is a chilling example of the media showing us they thing they are not only our superiors, but they are enforcers who have the right to come after private citizens for speech, for merely mocking CNN.    Once they made the indefensible decision to go after this schmuck, they should have stopped with ‘CNN is not publishing “HanA**holeSolo’s” name because he is a private citizen’.

Everything after that is, at best, bullying.   And that’s the nicest thing one can say about it.

Oh, good Lord. Updated to add- there is a possibility the poor cowered and bullied Reddit user being threatened by the brave staff of one of the largest news agencies in the world may be a 15 year old kid.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Which CM Volume Should You Read First?

CM volume: Miss Mason wrote six books in her series on education. That series is often mistitled the ‘Home Education’ or “Homeschooling Series.” This is not an ideal or accurate description because the books are not really about homeschooling, they are about educating children- at home, in school, in private or public schools, or in night schools for teens who have to work during the day. They are about education and children, period.

Here are the six volumes and their titles (with links to where you can read them online if you like):

Volume 1 – Home Education– written about the education of children from birth to 9
Volume 2 – Parents and Children– stands alone, a collection of articles and essays previously published in various other sources.
Volume 3 – School Education– about the education of children from 9-12
Volume 4 – Ourselves, published in 1904. In it, Miss Mason addressed herself directly to the children, or for parents to read aloud with their children, to help them learn to examine themselves and develop high moral standards and self-control. The first part is for children under age 16. Book two of Ourselves is written for students over 16
Volume 5 – Formation of Character, published in  in 1905, developed from a revision of earlier volumes. Miss Mason explained in the preface to volume 5 (Formation of Character) that “In editing Home Education and Parents and Children for the ‘Home Education’ Series, the introduction of much new matter made it necessary to transfer a considerable part of the contents of those two members of the series to this volume, Some Studies In the Formation of Character.” Her purpose with this volume, she said, was to demonstrate how her methods should assist children to naturally develop and strengthen good character traits, although this may be balanced by her reminder that we must not ‘make character our conscious objective.’
Volume 6 – Towards A Philosophy of Education Miss Mason’s last book, Towards A Philosophy of Education was published in 1923, nearly forty years after her first book.  It is primarily concerned with the education of children and young adults of around 12 and up.  However she also revised her principles in this book, and explained more about her methods and philosophy, revisiting topics covered in previous books.  (some of above information taken from here)

So, which of these should you start with?

I have some suggestions, but keep in mind, I’m not here to tell you a right or a wrong way to do this, because it is my opinion that there really is not a wrong answer, although some choices will make more sense to a new reader than others (i.e. You probably don’t want to begin with 4 or 5 if you’re wanting to find out how the method works).

Most people probably want to begin with volume 1, 3, or 6, as they are about the practical and philosophical application of the principles with specific ages of children. Other than that it doesn’t matter a whole lot where you start.

Yes, I do know there is an article about purporting to be ‘The Truth’ about the alleged folly of starting with volume 6 and why this is WRONG. I read the article, and it was very difficult to take it seriously (word to the wise, a plethora of citations at the end does not prove anything about the quality of the primary document). I will be blunt here.  I am not at all sure that author had actually read all six volumes herself before she wrote that.  My opinion is largely based on a few things within the article.  I am wondering which, if any, she has read from cover to cover, and when she read them.  My curiosity is idle, however, because I see no basis at all for anybody to authoritatively be advising people with such rigidity as to which of the six volumes they should read and in what order.

I do agree with her that the books are interdependent, and you _want_ to read more than one (IF POSSIBLE). It’s ideal to read all of them if at all possible, but I have a lot of sympathy for the overwhelmed mother of 7 who isn’t a speedy reader and who didn’t hear about CM until her kids were already teens because while that is not my story, it’s got quite a few of the same elements.

In the fall of 1987 I was a  mom of 7 (well, 6, one on the way) who considered herself a Charlotte Mason homeschooler, but still had not read all of her books. Er, any of her books. This was because I kept getting tangled in the wool, drains, and open windows of volume 1.  I read For the Children’s Sake in 1988, when my oldest was 5, but I never got beyond the Victoriana cleanliness and health issues of volume 1,  and now my first two kids were teens. I’d read the others, those books *about* Charlotte Mason, in the meantime, and I had been trying to implement Mason’s methods, but there was a lot I didn’t understand, and even more I didn’t even know I didn’t understand.  If somebody had insisted I could not proceed until I finished all six volumes in their numerical order, well, I’m not I would have finished one of them even yet, here in 2017!  So I’ve been there. I know moms don’t need more burdens, especially made up ones.

Homeschooling, mothering, learning about the CM method from scratch (especially if you don’t have a background rich in the classics, poetry, and so on already) is really, really, truly worthwhile. It’s also something that takes time, and it’s not always easy.  Those hard things are so worth doing, I cannot stress this enough. But let’s not make up other burdens that are no part of Mason’s methods and impose them on people who are already treading water. Throw them a lifeline, not an anchor you’ve chosen to drop somewhere Mason herself never did.  If that’s not clear enough,  while I admire the enthusiasm and goal of accuracy, I think it’s nonsense, hurtful nonsense at that, for anybody to propose that somebody else is doing it wrong if they read these books in a different order than the approved 1-6. It bothers me that somebody is putting that kind of a burden on homeschooling moms who are already constantly second guessing themselves about doing everything just right, and it bothers me most because that burden over something that is entirely arbitrary. It’s such a petty place to draw a line between the Charlotte Mason Church of the Perfect People Doing Everything Perfectly Right and everybody else. What matters most is that you read them, and if possible, you read more than one.

IF you can only read one, I still suggest starting with volume 6. Miss Mason herself expected that volume 6 might be the first exposure people had to her methods. She did not assume she was writing volume 6 for only members of the PNEU who had read her other five books. In the preface of that very volume she she says:

“I should like to add that we have no axe to grind. The public good is our aim; and the methods proposed are applicable in any school. My object in offering this volume to the public is to urge upon all who are concerned with education a few salient principles which are generally either unknown or disregarded; and a few methods which, like that bathing in Jordan, are too simple to commend themselves to the ‘general.'”

I do not think she could have spoken more plainly to convey that her expected audience was not only PNEU members- her *goal* in offering *this* volume (which volume? SIX) to whom? To the *general public.* I know I sound like my hair is on fire. It kind of is, because I really grieve for the harried, burdened mothers being given a sack of useless weight and told to carry it, too, when it really is not a hill worth climbing, let alone a hill to die on.

When I first started reading these books to the point where I got past drains and things, it was 17 years ago.  Back then, almost everybody stopped with volume 1.   This was so very true that I once drove a hundred miles to go to much vaunted CM discussion group led by a woman who was writing a book on the CM method- and when I got there, I discovered that most of the people in this study group had never read any of Masons writings, and the lady who was writing the book had stopped at volume one.  I was the only person there who had ever read volume 6.  The group was fairly well known in CM circles at the time, and outside CM circles as well.  I was shocked.

And so a lot of very silly notions crept into the ‘CM’ movement. People thought it did not work in high school, because of course, 15 minutes is not enough for high school math lessons, and teens need some formal grammar and more for science than nature study, for example. I read through volume 6 and learned that Charlotte already knew that. Volume 6 had lots of information that wasn’t in volume 1 because teens and children under 9 do have different needs.

Because I already *had* teens (my first homeschool grad is now 34), I finally *started* with volume 6, and for the first time, I was able to read and keep reading, and then read some more.   I loved how it unfolded the method for me.  It was beautiful, refreshing, enlightening, eye-opening.  I read it again.  And I might have read it again.   I then read the rest backward, sort of- volume 3, volume 1, then 2, 5, and 4. I had tried starting with volume 1 many times and always got bogged down, so if I had continued trying to read them in order, I never would have finished. So I think it was perfect for me to start with volume 6.

A dear friend of mine, who is the smartest (and most gracious) woman I know, read them in order, 1-6 because that’s what you do and she has an orderly, organized brain (and her oldest child is about the same age as my fifth child).  I think she read volume 1 twice before going on to read the rest in steady, chronological order.   That worked brilliantly for her. And both of us benefited and learned from our very different approach, and neither of us is ‘wrong’ to have started where we were.

So where should *you* begin?   My answer would be that first of all, you want to read the six volumes, or one of them, anyway, throw yourself a party and hooray for you!!  Nobody gets anywhere much without goals, so give yourself some credit.  Then consider the following to help you start:
Volume 1 is about educating children 9 and under, (birth-9)- if you have little kids or no kids yet, you probably should start here.

Volume 3 is for those educating kids of 9-12, and if that’s your kids, start there.

Volume 6 is for those educating kids of 12 and up, and if that’s where you are, start there.

After that first one, choose one of the other two education books that fits your circumstances.

Meanwhile, I like to tell people to leave volume 2 in the bathroom or by the nightstand or wherever you sit to the nurse the baby- it’s a collection of stand alone articles that were previously published in newspapers and parents review articles, so it’s good for dipping.

Volume 4 is one she intended students to read themselves, and it’s a beautiful book on self-knowledge. I benefited greatly *myself* from this book. I would read this for myself the same way that I would read Pilgrim’s Progress or Stepping Heavenward. There is much to think about and meditate on.

Volume 5 is about character building, habit training. I really think the ideal way to work through this book is to read the study posts related to it in the AmblesideOnline forum.

That’s my opinion.  You decide.  Nobody is wrong for starting in a different order than anybody else.

I will give you one more tip that really helped me read through these books and a lot of other harder ones- set yourself a goal- it does not matter so much what it is, just choose a number- five pages, three, ten (I chose 25, because I read fast)- and determine that you will read through that many pages every day before you read anything else (besides your Bible, of course). If you have to miss a day, or even five, that is okay, but you can’t read anything else until you’ve made it up and read through your assigned pages for the week. It’s okay to decide on two a day and then read ten over the weekend instead.  The main point is to pick a number and stick to it. You will find it gets easier and easier to meet your goal, and you will find yourself closer to finishing the books you start than you ever have before.

To read these books on your Kindle for free, go to fivefilters.org, click on ‘push to kindle.’  Make sure you know your kindle email address (the one used to send documents to your kindle).  Get the link to one of the six volumes (scroll up) and plug it into the box and push send.  Voila!!  You have a free, annotated version of one of the six volumes!

 

Enjoy.  Feast your soul.  Read steadily, think carefully.  Ponder while powdering your nose or the baby’s bottom.  review a few ideas as you drift off to sleep or while cutting vegetables.  Be blessed- not stressed.

Posted in Charlotte Mason | 2 Responses

Birth control pills and fish

This is kind of…. freakish. Fish becoming transgender because of contraceptive pill hormones flushed into the ecosystem…

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07/02/fish-becoming-transgender-contraceptive-pill-chemicals-flushed/

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ancient Historians by Michael Grant, Reading Schedule

These are not lesson plans, but rather a very loosely organized reading schedule. I would spend at least a week on each assigned reading- reading a few pages a day. Two weeks is probably better. If you take a week per assignment, you’ll be done in 24 weeks or so, but very likely your student will be burned out. If you take two weeks, you’ll get through it in under a year. Those estimates are assuming a consistant pace of one or two weeks through each numbered reading assignment, but they are not all equal. One section might have a student reading 20 pages, and another only 10, so you may want to vary the length of time you give for readings as well.

I did not assign the entire book. As I recall, the first two thirs are more about specific historians and their writings, and the last section is biographical or literary criticism and more polemic in nature. But it’s been a long time, and the book is in the states and I am here in the Philippines cleaning out old computer files in a very piecemeal fashion.

Reading, narrating, and some timeline work is the basic plan. You might also choose one of these narrations for your student o rewrite in more detail, fleshing it out into an article of his own. You could vary the narration styles, asking for a chapter outline, a list of details, a written test the student devises for you to take, but the reading, narrating, and timeline are going to be the most important parts.

I would assign this to students probably 16 and up, although advanced students might begin at 15. If you wanted to list it in a transcript, it could be Ancient History, obviously. If you beef up some of the writing assignments it could be a literature or writing course as well.

Here’s how Barnes and Nobles describes the book:
If Greece and Rome are held to be the cradles of Western civilization, this is in part due to the fact that they are the cradles of written history. Between 500 B.C. and 500 A.D. men such as Herodotus, Thucydides and Tacitus virtually invented the discipline of history as we know it. To these men history was a dual art

the art of recording the truth as accurately as possible and the art of writing as lucidly as the great men of letters.

This text offers an examination of the primary chroniclers of the ancient world. Beginning with Herodotus and Thucydides and their very different approaches to narration, the book discusses the works and methods of the founders of the historical discipline.

THe Ancient Historians, by Michael Grant

  1. Intro, Before Herodotus, pages 3-22
    Narrate, orally or in writing. Once a week choose at least one person or event from this book to add to your timeline or century book.
  2. Herodotus:- The Life and Work of, 23-37
    Narrate, orally or in writing. Once a week choose at least one person or event from this book to add to your timeline or century book.
  3. Herodotus: The background and Beliefs of, 38-56
    Narrate, orally or in writing. Once a week choose at least one person or event from this book to add to your timeline or century book.
  4. Herodotus: Methods of, 57-69
    Narrate, orally or in writing. Once a week choose at least one person or event from this book to add to your timeline or century book.
  5. Part 2. Thucydides: Thucydides and the Peloponnesian War, 69-87
    Narrate, orally or in writing. Once a week choose at least one person or event from this book to add to your timeline or century book.
  6. Speeches and personalities in, 88-101
    Narrate, orally or in writing. Once a week choose at least one person or event from this book to add to your timeline or century book.
  7. Power and Politics in, 102-113
    Narrate, orally or in writing. Once a week choose at least one person or event from this book to add to your timeline or century book.
  8. Methods of, 114-124
    Narrate, orally or in writing. Once a week choose at least one person or event from this book to add to your timeline or century book.
  9. Part 3, The Later Greeks: Xenophon, 125-136  Narrate, orally or in writing. Once a week choose at least one person or event from this book to add to your timeline or century book.
  10. The dramatic historians, 136-141
    Narrate, orally or in writing. Once a week choose at least one person or event from this book to add to your timeline or century book.
  11. Polybius, 144-167
    Narrate, orally or in writing. Once a week choose at least one person or event from this book to add to your timeline or century book.
  12. Part 4 latin writers of the republic: Cato the censor and after, 167-180  Narrate, orally or in writing. Once a week choose at least one person or event from this book to add to your timeline or century book.
  13. Caesar, 181-194
    Narrate, orally or in writing. Once a week choose at least one person or event from this book to add to your timeline or century book.
  14. Sallust, 195-216
    Narrate, orally or in writing. Once a week choose at least one person or event from this book to add to your timeline or century book.
  15. Part 5, the two faces of empire: Llivy, 217-242  Narrate, orally or in writing. Once a week choose at least one person or event from this book to add to your timeline or century book.
  16. Josephus, 243-270
    Narrate, orally or in writing. Once a week choose at least one person or event from this book to add to your timeline or century book.
  17. Part 6 Tacitus
    Narrate, orally or in writing. Once a week choose at least one person or event from this book to add to your timeline or century book.
  18. Tacitus and the empire,, 271
    Narrate, orally or in writing. Once a week choose at least one person or event from this book to add to your timeline or century book.
  19. Anarchy and humanity in Tacitus, 300
    Narrate, orally or in writing. Once a week choose at least one person or event from this book to add to your timeline or century book.
  20. Part 7, greek and latin biographers: Plutarch, 309-328: Narrate, orally or in writing. Once a week choose at least one person or event from this book to add to your timeline or century book.
  21. Suetonius, 329
    Narrate, orally or in writing. Once a week choose at least one person or event from this book to add to your timeline or century book.
  22. Part 8 christian and pagan: Eusebius, 343, Narrate, orally or in writing. Once a week choose at least one person or event from this book to add to your timeline or century book.
  23. Ammianus, 358
    Narrate, orally or in writing. Once a week choose at least one person or event from this book to add to your timeline or century book.
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