Copywork about manners

Come when you’re called,
Do as you’re bid,
Shut the door after you,
Never be chid


Hearts, like doors, will open with ease
To very, very, little keys,
And don’t forget that two of these
Are ‘I thank you’ and
‘If you please’.


Please remember – don’t forget –
Never leave the bathroom wet –
Nor leave the soap still in the water
That’s a thing we never oughter.
Nor leave the towels about the floor,
Nor keep the bath an hour or more
When other folks are wanting one –
Please don’t forget – It isn’t done!

Mabel Lucie Atwell


Quite often when I am reading aloud something with a useful thought or idea, Whose-Its will say, “Oh-oh, this is giving Mommy ideas.

What are some ideas you get from your reading?

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In Defense of Keats

Poor fellow, Certain Parties have been attacking him lately with undue cause.

To begin with, I think it’s appropriate to utilize a passage from Lewis’ “The Four Loves:”
[The human mind]…wants to make every distinction a distinction of value; hence those fatal critics who can never point out the differing quality of two poets without putting them in an order of preference as fi they were candidates for a prize. We must do nothing of the sort about the pleasures.”

I do not deny that Dickinson is an excellent poet, but I prefer to follow Lewis’ maxim of properly appreciating the differences between the poets.

Consider this passage:
“I stood tip-toe upon a little hill,
The air was cooling, and so very still…”

Can’t you feel the exhiliration and quiet sense of adventure in that?

“Linger awhile upon some bending planks
That lean against a streamlet’s rushy banks,
And watch intently Nature’s gentle doings:
They will be found softer than ring-dove’s cooings. “

Isn’t this a true CM concept, watching intently Nature’s doings?

“The poetry of earth is never dead:
When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead; “

Again, don’t you sense the scene he is describing? Don’t all the hot suns, cooling trees and running bird voices that you have experienced come instantly to mind when reading this passage? He has taken a moment of quiet human ecstasy and crystallized it into words.

As for the accusation that Emily Dickinson really reflected whereas Keats just “sat down and thought about writing a great poem” (paraphrased): Has the author of this accusation considered the fact that Dickinson lived a full thirty years longer than Keat did? He died of consumption before he reached the age of 26; Dickinson passed away when she was 56. Certainly, 56 is not an “old” or “ancient” age, but it’s a lot more living than is afforded to someone who died at age 26. Don’t you think that Keats perhaps felt the pressure to see and write as much as possible before the merciless consumption took him? He actually gives us evidence of this in one of his poems (published posthumously):
WHEN I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain,
Before high piled books, in charact’ry,
Hold like rich garners the full-ripen’d grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starr’d face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour!
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love! – then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink”

Yes, he had a teeming brain. A teeming brain that was not allowed the luxury of much time for reflection, but only time to write, write and write.

~ The HeadGirl, who didn’t realize how much she really loved Keats until she wrote this 🙂

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Hum… so I notice that the Headmistress has been posting about our school. What I am going to post about is related to our school, although it’s from our poetry book, not biography, The book is called “The Roar on the Other Side,” by Suzzane U. Clark. We were reading about density in poetry. The quote I love is:
“Think of density as a loaf of whole-grain bread taken straight from the oven. It is thick and hearty, tasting faintly of molasses. Lines of poems should be like this, full of rich details and meaningfull ingredients. How unlike store-bought white bread that can be wadded up like a peice of paper.
Too, true, too true. The same in my opinion applies to books, also. Take some frivolous books(like ones by Grace Livingston Hill, perhaps? *ducks*), and compare them to such works of art by people like Tolkien, Spenser, & Dumas (that reminds me… I need to read “The Count of Monte Christo again). The twaddle just doesn’t hold up.
Well, there’s my serious thought for the day, Mother. 🙂

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News Stories to Watch

Oil for Food and the UN Scandal:
More on Eason Jordan and the way the print paper is handling the situation. Tell me what you think of this:
The Patriot Act:

(note: I haven’t read everything at that site, but they promise civil debate, so I hope they mean it).

The Gates, a work of art in New York, or is it? You tell me:


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Christopher Columbus, Mariner

JennyAnyDots and Pipsqueak are reading through this book by Samuel Eliot Morison for school. Today they’ll be reading the last portion of chapter 18 and the first two pages or so of chapter 19 (many parents would wish to preview this section).
Sometimes they trace the maps in the book (Pipsqueak says they especially did this at the beginning of the book, and she ‘remembers it most distinctly.’)
They narrate at the end of every reading, telling me what they read about. They prefer to write their narrations.

Periodically in their reading, I have asked them write down an essay question on a slip of paper and place in an envelope. At the end of the term these questions will form a portion of their exams.

Were I writing the essay question today I might ask one of the following:

Tell me some of the hardships Columbus faced and how he dealt with them.
What did you learn about Columbus’ character from today’s reading?
Tell me what you read of Columbus’ dealings with the Indians.

In fact, these questions might well be rephrased to introduce the reading:
“We’ll be reading about some of the hardships Columbus and his men faced, and how they handled them. We will also be reading further about his dealings with local Indians. I wonder what this will tell us about his character?”

Sentences I would choose for the Copybook:
-“I don’t say it rained,” recorded Columbus, “Because it was like another deluge.”

-Ferdinand remembered that the hardtack had become so full of weevils that some men waited for darkness to eat a porridge made of it, but others did not even trouble to wait, “Because they might lose their supper had they been so nice.”

(both from page 134)

The quote about the rain especially resonates with me today because last night as I pulled into our driveway, long overdue for a new layer of gravel, I bogged down in the bog that passes for a driveway in our part of the country. And there the van sits, stuck until the Headmaster has time to help me get it out, or until the ground freezes again, whichever comes first.
We won’t say it’s been raining here, because it’s like another deluge.

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