May is named for Maia, goddess-helpmeet of Vulcan. A number of plants that bloom in or around that month are referred to as mays, among them the hawthorn (called also may bush, may bloom, and may tree) and the spirea. The may apple or American mandrake, has a single, nodding white flower and oval yellow, edible fruit, but poisonous roots, leaves, and seeds. The lily of the valley is a may blossom, and a kind of melon is called a may cock. The mayweed, however, derives not from May but from “maythe,” an obsolete word for various composite plants.

From Thou Imroper, Thou Uncommon Noun, an etymology of words that were once names, by Willard R. Espy

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Response

The Regency dress is finished!

I finished this dress just before supper last night. I’m soo pleased with it! The friend I made it for really likes it, too. Here is a picture of her in it:
Image hosted by
The dress has a lining of dark pink with an outer fabric of cream white and little pink and blue flowers.
When I made this dress I also learned how to make a placket (first entry, number 1) On the other dresses I did not make one because I had not learned how; this causes some difficulty when we put it on. The placket makes the dress open up wider when you unbutton it.
My friend and I are soo happy 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Responses

But What About Socialization?

We all have heard this question. Some of us (The DHM sheepishly admits) have even asked this question. We’ve been homeschooling since 1988, and I’ve discovered that the best way to answer questions like this is to ask questions of your own I ‘discovered’ this when my husband explained it to me. He told me that the one who asks the questions controls the conversation, and that a good salesperson spends more time listening than talking. The DeputyHeadmistress in me has a hard time with that second quality, but we’re trying.
I have learned to answer the S question with a question- “That’s an interesting question. How would you define socialization?”

It has amazed and amused me how many people really do not have a definition. They have not actually thought about socialization, what it is, and how it works, and what they think it should accomplish. They just know that schools are about socialization, whatever that might be.

This confusion leaves the conversation in my side of the court, and I can follow up
with something like, “Would you say that socialization is learning to get
along with people of all ages and walks of life?”

Or you might try the response used in 1988 when the DHM asked a homeschooler that question, the homeschooler asked her a different question. She asked the DHM “If you wanted your child to learn Spanish, would you want her to learn it from a person with some understanding of it, or would you put her in a room with 25 other kids who did not know Spanish and expect her to learn it?”

The DHM has always had a tremendous grasp of the obvious, so she answered that question easily. Then that tricky homeschooler asked, “So, if you want your five year old to learn social skills, why do you assume she would learn them better from 25 other children who also are not socialized? Wouldn’t she learn social skills from somebody with social skills? Somebody, like, say, a grown up? Maybe even a parent?”

The DHM thought about that for about five minutes and decided she’d been guilty of accepting some assumptions that really did not fit with reality. The DHM had already discovered that children rarely pick up good habits from other children, in fact, they usually pick up the bad ones. If your child spends a few hours playing with a child who has 999 good and admirable habits and one distasteful habit, it is the distasteful habit your child will be bringing home.

The DHM further realized that she had some vague idea that socialization would help children grow up and work in the real world. But the DHM also realized that since she left school to join the ‘real world’ she was no longer limited to spending most of her day with 25 other people the same age, living within the narrow limits of an assigned school district, and who are all doing exactly the same thing at the same time. In the real world we spend time with people from a variety of age, social, and community backgrounds doing a variety of different activities.

The DHM wonders why she ever assumed institutions are better places for children to be socialized than families, but she did. For this reason, she tries to be understanding when other people ask her the infamous ‘S’ question. Asking for a definition of socialization frequently takes homeschooling out of the spotlight and the conversation can move on to other topics as the good people asking the questions realize that they don’t actually have a definition in mind.

Of course, some people do know exactly what they mean by socialization- but it’s
still helpful to ask for their definition because they don’t all mean the same thing. You can tailor your answer to meet their concerns. Some people just mean “will your child have any friends?” Some people mean, “I want to homeschool myself but I’m worried about isolation. How do you take care of this?” Still others define socialization as the ability to work well with others, and what they are asking is, “Will your child be a misfit, an oddity, a hissing and a reproach?” Some people mean, “Look, I had to deal with bullies in school, and it’s not fair for anybody else to get out of it.”

Whatever the response, this is an opportunity for you to engage them in further conversation. Ask questions to draw out the reasons why they think the way they do.
Ask them to help you understand exactly what it is the school will do that you cannot, and why it needs to be done. The more questions you ask, the more you can find out about their concerns, and then the better able you are to reassure them and even educate them about those concerns.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Carnival of the Capitalists is Up

The Carnival of the Capitalists is a collection of blog posts about, well, guess.

This week’s carnival looks pretty interesting, especially for those bloggers interested in home businesses. Check it out.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Response

A Recipe Post

Blogging was light recently for two reasons. One was that blogger wouldn’t let us or just about anybody else see The Common Room for a while.
The second reason was much more pleasant. We’ve had some out of town company- folks we just love to be with, so we made the most of that time.

It isn’t very original of the Deputy Headmistress to point this out, but there is something special about fellowshipping over a shared meal. Dining together while enjoying convivial company and conversation is just one of the best things civilization has to offer.

I can’t share the conversation, because we wandered all over pleasant paths and byways, too many to recall. But I can share the recipe we had for lunch. I collected it from the website Meals For You, one of my favorites for ease of use, and for the shopping list it creates for me. Our adaptations in italics:

Artichoke Garbanzo Pasta Salad
This recipe serves 20 (meals for you will recalculate your recipes for you to make as many or as few servings as you desire)

Prep: 15 min, plus chilling time. (we didn’t bother with the chilling time)

* 2-1/2 lbs. canned artichoke hearts, chopped
* 3-1/4 lbs. canned garbanzo beans, drained
Next time we’ll use more artichoke hearts and fewer garbanzo beans (when I was a young bride I did not know that garbanzo beans and chickpeas were the same thing, and I wasted many hours at the grocery store searching for ‘chickpeas,’ when my store only carried garbanzo beans)
* 10 cups cooked pasta shells or spirals
* 6-2/3 cups fresh spinach leaves, chopped
* 3-1/4 large tomatoes, chopped
* 3-1/4 red bell peppers, chopped (we used a bag of frozen peppers, mixed)
* 3 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. olive or vegetable oil
* 3 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. lemon juice
* 3 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. water
* 1 Tbs. minced garlic
* 2-1/2 tsp. dried basil or oregano
* 3/4 tsp. black pepper
* 1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
* 3/4 cup plus 1 Tbs. feta cheese, grated (we omitted this)

Mix first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Blend next 7 ingredients in blender or food processor until smooth. Pour over salad and toss. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. Top with feta cheese before serving.

We think this would be delicious with chopped ham, turky ham, chicken or tuna salad.
I topped mine with parmesan cheese. Swiss would have been tasty, too.
It was very popular.
The HeadGirl had Four Bowls Full.
Equuschick did not eat all her chickpeas, and she thinks I do not know.
Somebody else did not eat all her spinach, but I don’t know which of our young rascals it was.
I was too busy enjoying the conversation and comraderie to play food police.

This recipe reposted at The Common Kitchen

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

  • Amazon: Buy our Kindle Books

  • Search Amazon

    Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

  • Brainy Fridays Recommends:

  • Search: