Absence makes the heart grow fonder… eh, wot?

I suppose I should try to keep in the habit of posting here… but I’m never sure of what to post. Do my posts have a soporific effect? Are they worth the time? And, sighs-I, what should I post about? My life is not thrilling. Now, if I were to write you from a high mountain in Tibet one week and then a British lowland county the next, then things would be different. Because that can’t happen right now, however, I must needs read about the places I wish to see someday. Last week I finished “Bella Tuscany,” the sequel to “Under the Tuscan Sun.” Mayes’ writing was just as luscious, but she (unfortunately) imbibed a bit more in her San Francisco Politically Correct doctrines a bit more than in UtTS. She did have a delicious passage about trying to read in a foreign language, how very difficult that is, and how she now has a greater appreciation for cover art on novels since that is as far as she will get in them.

Last year I read 61 books, an average of five books a month. This was a cheering number. This year has not proved so fruitful yet. I have read a grand total of two books to date. Revealing my gluttonous nature (see the quote the Deputy Headmistress posted today), I am currently working on reading three others:
The New Americans by Michael Barone – I have less than 100 pages left in this, and have no qualms about highly recommending it. It is an excellent look at America’s immigration patterns over the last 150 years. It provides a great deal of data supporting the idea that it’s not the immigration influx that is the problem, that we’re not going through anything new in the history of our country, that it is the way we handle assimilation nowadays that makes it so much more difficult. The way he presents some of his data is redundant, but that’s just a minor annoyance in an otherwise thoughtful and useful book.

The Four Loves by C. S. Lewis – This is a slow read, not because it is dull, but because there is so much to gain from it. Everybody should know how good C. S. Lewis is, so I shan’t attempt praising him more lest I fall prey to using too many exuberant phrases. I simply shall say: Read.

The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer
– This is also a “slower” read, as this is an incredibly practical book that has the reader stopping to contemplate what could be done differently in her life. She has come to the depressing conclusion that there are many things that could be done differently. One slight change has been made (a change revealing the reader’s laziness): there is now a vase on the cabinet in the bedroom, a vase awaiting many lovely plants…. once the temperature rises above freezing, that is. And the reader has also spent some time pummeling through her bedroom clearing some space.

[I am well aware that I switched from first to third person above. Do not ask me why, there was no reason to it.]

Today is a day to do many things. I shall be updating my site, am hoping to respond to Thing-One on Keats, really should get a start on geography homework, and see if I can finish “The New Americans.”

*pokes the Gentle Reader.* I am finished now, you may wake up.

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Educating for a full life

— We wish to place before the child open doors to many avenues of instruction and delight, in each one of which he should find quickening thoughts. We cannot expect a school to be manned by a dozen master-minds, and even if it were, and the scholar were taught by each in turn, it would be much to his disadvantage. What he wants of his teacher is moral and mental discipline, sympathy and direction; and it is better, on the whole, that the training of the pupil should be undertaken by one wise teacher than that he should be passed from hand to hand for this subject and that. Our aim in Education is to give a Full Life. — We begin to see what we want. Children make large demands upon us. We owe it to them to initiate an immense number of interests. Thou hast set my feet in a large room; should be the glad cry of every intelligent soul. Life should be all living, and not merely a tedious passing of time; not all doing or all feeling or all thinking — the strain would be too great — but, all living; that is to say, we should be in touch wherever we go, whatever we hear, whatever we see, with some manner of vital interest. We cannot give the children these interests; we prefer that they should never say they have learned botany or conchology, geology or astronomy. The question is not, — how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education — but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?

School Education, by Charlotte Mason, page 170-1


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Homeschooling for the birds

Great Backyard Bird Count–Friday, February 18, through Monday, February 21

Greetings from Audubon and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology,
Just a reminder that the Great Backyard Bird Count begins this Friday and
continues through Monday. We hope you’ll count birds at your favorite locations
on any or all of the count days and enter your tallies at
http://birdsource.org/GBBC. Please ask your friends to join is as well. As data pour in from around
the United States and Canada, you’ll be able to see how your sightings are
contributing to a continental picture showing where the birds this year, and
how this year’s picture compares with previous counts.

Assignment: All Common Room students will visit the above URL and put up our birdfeeders (including the suet ones that have been languishing in the summer kitchen for a year). This means you’ll have to take down the hanging basket of plastic poinsettias and the Christmas lights, since the poinsettias are hanging where one of the bird feeders belongs. We would not wish you to think, of course, that the real purpose of this assignment is getting you to clear out the Christmas decorations before St. Patrick’s day. That is the real purpose, of course. We just wish you wouldn’t catch on so quickly.

As we were saying: put up the birdfeeders and particpate in the backyard birdwatch as described in the above URL. You may report both here and to the website above.

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How to fit the NY skyline in a 1200 sq ft house

The organized soul has one book beside the bed. The glutton sleeps
with the New York Skyline lurching an inch from the bed. ~ Charlotte Gray

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Just dropping a short note to let you all know that (drum roll) I HAVE FINALLY ADDED THE HEADMASTER! (I hope…) It took a while, but I think I finally did it. We’ll find out when he tries post. But it should work.
Hum… can’t think of anything else to post, my mind’s rather foggy, as I have a cough and a cold. If I think of anything else I’ll be sure to post.

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