Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival!

Ordinarily, at least the last several many times (as a little boy in my neighborhood said about how much candy he wanted), this has been hosted at Fisher Academy. They have been pretty busy there recently so I get to guest host. I meant to get this up a week ago, but with all the excitement, followed by depression, of sending our youngest and now graduated son back to the U.S. I kind of dropped the ball. This is the story of my life, this ball-dropping. Charlotte Mason would gravely shake her head at me.

So what is a CM blog carnival? It’s where you all share your own (or somebody else’s) posts on Charlotte Mason topics and we all share in the CM community, encouraging one another and sharing good ideas, practical tips, useful resources, insights, thoughts, questions, etc.

One of my favourite resources for additional CM information and inspiration is the Parents’ Reviews (personally have owned two for the last 15 years, and at home curate a third). And one of the most delicious parts of the Parents’ Reviews is the notes and queries, or the letter-bag section, where PNEU parents write to ask for advice, encourage others, and share. Here are a few samples
How do I make this child stop dawdling when it’s time to get dressed?- I should be very grateful for some hints how to teach a girl of ten to be quick over such things as dressing and undressing, preparing for a walk, &c. If I try to “hurry her up” it seems to make her slower. I know from conversation with other young mothers that my difficulty is a very common one, and we feel sure that your advice in the pages of the Parents’ Review would be helpful to many. My little girl is an only child, and . . ., she is constantly with me, and . . . This dawdling over dressing, &c., is an almost daily difficulty, and yet she is not by any means of a heavy, lethargic nature. She is remarkably light and active in mind and body. Is it wise to offer little rewards for quickness? The natural punishment for not being ready for a walk would be to be left at home; but, then, one grudges their missing the fresh air.

From the same volume: We are going stir-crazy because of the rain!- Can anyone suggest an indoor game or toy for wet weather which would combine exercise with amusement, to supply in a measure the loss of the out-of-doors walk? Something of the kind is wanted for a solitary child. She has a swing and rocking-horse, but they do not quite meet the need.

From the same volume, a loose schedule for the mother of four and her nurse: Might I suggest to the distracted mother the following time table which I have successfully tried for nine months, and which may prove of some little service, as we are similarly situated, we also having four children and one nurse. Breakfast, 7.30; Prayers, 8. After that the children go into the garden, if fine, or into the nursery, while I go into the kitchen and arrange the day’s meals. At nine o’clock the two older ones come down to have lessons, and I teach till eleven. During this time the baby sleeps, and nurse tidies her night nursery. At eleven they have their lunch, dress and go out for two hours. I then practice, or write, or paint. At one o’clock I dine with the three eldest children, and then go to the nursery while nurse gets her dinner downstairs. I feel very strongly that a nurse’s nerves need this rest, and absence from her charges. She generally comes up again about half-past two, when I dress and go out, often to pay calls, but more often with the elder children for country walks. At five we have the nursery tea, and at half-past five begin to undress the baby. As the nurse finishes bathing each child I give them their supper, and see each one into bed. At seven o’clock my husband returns, and I am at liberty to be with him. I often sew after the children’s dinner, and also in the evenings. Since I work with system I have never felt hurried or overdone, and I trust that my experience may be of some little service to mater.–TIME TABLE.

From another volume: What do I do with this BOY? I have read with much interest your capital magazine the Parents’ Review, and I am sure you or your readers will give me kindly help in my perplexity. I have four children — two boys and two girls — Sylvia, nine; Ernest, eight; Vera, four; and Paul, three years of age. The girls I understand and can manage, but my eldest boy is a hopeless puzzle to me. First, I must tell you that I worship my children, I would die for them, I never spare myself for them, and I am perhaps morbidly anxious and nervous about their happiness and well-being; but I never had brothers, I know nothing of boys, I cannot find out how to amuse them. Ernest is a nervous, highly-sensitive child, with a delicate digestion, but muscularly strong. We live in London, and his one idea is to be out of doors all day, rushing about in the air, playing with any boy he meets, cllimbing the trees in the square, tearing his clothes, losing his handkerchiefs, gloves, &c. Indoors he is miserable. At Christmas I bought him ten shillings’ worth of toys, all the kinds he wanted; he never played with one of them. Before a week was over he had lost or traded away to his schoolfellows for sweets all the implements of his fret-saw work, he smashed his engine to see what was inside, and sold the other toys to buy cakes. I offer to play with him, but he hates sitting still; he will listen for a long while if he is read to, but then fidgets away and is out of doors “just to feel the air,” as he says. He teases the little ones, worries the nurse, and is selfish and quarrelsome with his gentle, elder sisters, who gives up everything to him. I talk to him gently, and he looks at me with his great solemn eyes, and appears to drink in every word. Then he flings his arms round my neck, and says, “I’m going to be less selfish, mother, truly I am,” and off he runs and forgets it all in ten minutes. He is full of fun and mischief, and has a loving affectionate heart, which he hides under a rough voice and manner; but oh! he is so hard to train. He seems to have no tastes; he likes tops, and marbles, and running wild. What am I to do with him? His father is a busy man and says it’s a woman’s place to look after children, and if Ernest is tiresome he must be punished. But I can’t help feeling it is mostly high spirits and thoughtlessness which make Ernest so trying. Is he not too young — eight years — to go to a boarding school? If I could be shown some way of keeping him home amused and happy. — F.L.B. [We invite answers to a letter in which the facts are evidently somewhat disguised with a view of publication. — ED.]
Here is an answer to the question about what to do to amuse a child indoors on rainy days: Miss Austen’s nephew tells us how his Aunt Jane could keep up cup and ball, was it 200 times? This may offer a hint for “Primrose’s” little girl, who should try to beat the record of yesterday’s doings. But better far is battledore and shuttlecock; perhaps there is not game which gives better exercise to the muscles, or tends more to cause chest expansion. The child need not be lonely, as grown-ups play with as much pleasure as children; anyway a record of each day’s feats in the way of “keeping up” would give spirit to the play. If the child learns to play from hand to hand, a battledore in each hand, the exercise is simply perfect, as the muscles of both sides are equally exercised.

Battledore and shuttlecock was usually played with two people- each has a small racket and the shuttlecock is something like the birdy in today’s badminton.

Update the language, and they sound precisely like today’s parents asking questions on a CM related FB page, don’t they?

Your turn- what CM post would you like to share with us? (Note: the linky tool has a glitch: you get to where it asks you to choose a photo, and then you get an error message, so you assume you need to try again or pick another one, but actually it’s already posted. Please doublecheck before resubmitting the photo link).

Posted in Charlotte Mason, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 7 Responses

Davao Update: Martial Law, Mawari City,

We do usually check the news every day at some point, but yesterday we were busy doing other things and we just didn’t.  So it wasn’t until we got a cab to go to the mall to grab dinner and some groceries that we found out that earlier in the day Davao City police had apprehended Cayamura Maute, father of a couple of the lead maute terrorists currently holding hostages and fighting in Marawi, along with his son-in-law, a bunch of money, a grenade and a pistol.

Our cab driver was very excited about it, and he was listening to the news.

 Cayamura Maute, elder member of Maute group, apprehended at Davao City checkpoint !!!!!

His English was not as good as most of the drivers we have had, or else he was just so excited about it that he was getting flustered.  I understood that a key terrorist figure had been apprehended trying to get into Davao, that some brothers were involved, that a grenade and pistol and a lot of money had also been collected, and that he’d been caught at a specific checkpoint.  We listened to the news with him and he would try to explain parts of it,

But at one point I thought the driver was telling us that the newscaster was saying terrorists could never get into Davao because Davao City people were just too intelligent for them and would catch them every time, which is not a surprising sentiment, nor is it necessarily wrong- I don’t know about the smarter than the rest of the island part because I have nothing to compare, but I do know that Davao City people love their city and are justifiably proud of what a safe place it is to live, and they fully intend to keep it that way.  But still, it seems an odd way for a newscaster to speak.  Then he said a string of something in Visaya that I couldn’t quite patch together. He talked about intelligence (that word was English, or near enough), and watching, and he mentioned himself in the first person two or three times, but I wasn’t sure what he meant.

At the mall (where you can have an hour of free wi-fi if you are lucky, which is most of the time, although mine wouldnpt connect for the first hour we were there)- I checked the news to find out more.  The brothers are Cayamura’s sons, leading the fighting up north, and holding several hostages.  I also read that not only did the police scoop up a lot of terrorist cash from papa Cayamura’s car, but that soldiers in Marawi had found an even large cache in a house they had cleared in Marawi.  It’s not known for certain yet if it is part of the terrorist’s bankroll, but they strongly suspect it is.

When we finished shopping we caught another cab home, and this driver, too, was immensely proud and very excited and wanted to talk about what had happened. His English was a little better, or I had enough additional details of the story to be able to fill in a few things, or possibly both.  He also said that terrorists will try to get into Davo City but they will fail because Davao has more intelligence- and then as he went on, I realize what both drivers had been talking about was not cleverness and high I.Q. intellegence, but Intelligence– that is,  Intelligence agencies, Intelligence gathering, and then what the first taxi driver had said to us clicked into place- he was telling us that part of the successful intelligence gathering in Davao city is because of the eagerness of Dabawenyos themselves to keep their city safe and as crime-free as they can, that they are all watching and alert and will report suspicious activity so that every citizen is part of the intelligence gathering that protects the city.  Ahhhh.  I love it when I finally reach a point of understanding what somebody was trying to tell me.

Now, to an American, the first pass through processing this is chilling and we think Soviet Union and informers. But it’s not like that.  These are people who love their city and their President and they know there are other people who want to kill them and change their city and their government, and will shirk at nothing to do it.   Also, frankly, to people who still have living memories of when the criminal element controlled the streets and daily murders were a regular thing, law and order is far more desirable than what passes for liberty in the U.S.  That liberty we value so highly turns out, as I am seeing here, to only be available to those under the protection of the strong, and largely only in a culture where fair play and protection of women and children is part of the ethos. When part of your cultural values includes raping women and selling children into slavery and forced conversion, protecting my freedom of speech at the expense of rooting out the people with that ideology and weapons to back them up is kind of pointless. Dead men have no liberties.  Soapbox over.

This article is also informative, this quote from the end was something I heard on the radio, too, and he said it pretty much as you would expect- dryly, not exactly a threat, but not not a threat, either. MOre like merely pointing out a key piece of information that should be kept in mind. Chief Superintendent Manuel Gaerlan:

“told the rebel Maute brothers to take care of their hostages in Marawi City as the authorities will also take care of Cayamora.”


Meanwhile, in Marawi the fighting continues. The dead include 134 terrorists, 38 government troops and 30 civilians.

“Though the military has regained control of key areas in the Islamic City and has been considering the reopening of the city hospital, Padilla said the AFP could not accede to the residents’ pleas to stop air strikes and offensives.

“Troops need to judiciously use force because of a stiffer kind of resistance from the inner enclaves of the city,” Padilla said.

“We feel the pain, we feel the hurt of every member, of every citizen of Marawi, but let us remember we did not start this. It was the armed group that entered the city to wreak havoc on it,” Padilla added.

The military on Tuesday made public a recovered video of suspected Islamic State leader Isnilon Hapilon and other terrorists plotting the carnage in Marawi City.

“That video actually is a clear proof that the group of Maute, ISIS, has this intention of not only rebellion but actually dismembering a portion of the Philippine territory by occupying the whole of Marawi City and establishing their own Islamic State or government,” AFP chief of staff Eduardo Año said.
Año added that the terrorists originally planned to attack Marawi City on May 26 at the start of Ramadan, but had to move it to an earlier date due to the military’s attempt to neutralize Hapilon.”

Mawari city was already majority Muslim.  And they were going to attack it and establish their own Islamic government anyway.  That’s is the goal everywhere and pretending this is about food and because we just don’t know each other well enough is criminally idiotic and irresponsible. IT’s the wishful thinking of a five year old, not the measured, reality based thinking of adults.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Response

Make Your Own Curiosities Box

I saw an idea of something like this for sale for a couple hundred dollars for the box alone (which was very pretty) and then you buy various curiosities to put in the drawers and keep a magnifying glass nearby, and leave some drawers empty for the kids to fill with their own discovered treasures.
The World Discovery Box includes specimens- you can get a small one (7 drawers) for 151 dollars; a large one (14 drawers, plus 50 specimens) for 247 dollars.

I was thinking this would be a fun project to create over a year- for grandchildren or your kids at home- give them the box and a magnifying glass at the beginning of the project, and every month send something new for it.  You could save money this way, or you could not save a dime, depending on how you fill it. The fun would be making it individual, and the monthly new thing.

I bought a box something like the expensive curiosity box on sale at a thrift shop a while ago, it’s still at home, and this is what I intended to use it for.  My box was designed to hold photos.  I’ve seen similar items billed as desk top organizers, trinket boxes, curio boxes, apothecary boxes, and so on.  They come in various sizes and some of the drawers are pretty small, so you’l want to keep the dimensions in mind when collecting items to put in the drawers.

So you could start with a container:

Small wooden organizer, five drawers, 15.00, for small items.

A four cube storage/organizer with fabric bins, each bin around 5X5 inches

Wooden apothecary desktop cabinet with drawers for forty dollars

This pretty little turquoise wooden box with four drawers is only around 25 dollars, each drawer is just 3.5 by 3.5 inches (five inches deep)

Or, if you want to be able to see all the contents at once, use a wooden tea box. This one has 10 compartments and a clear lid.  It’s only 17 dollars, so I’d have wood glue, clamps, and so forth ready at hand to put it back together when you open it the first time.

Three drawer wood caddy with chalkboard front, around 13.00,  for very small items:the whole thing is 11 3/8 Inch (L) x 3 7/8 Inch (H) x 3 7/8 Inch (W)

5 drawers, very tiny, wood, you can get it finished or unfinished to design yourself.  15.00

Similar, finished, very understated. I like it.

Rustic brown desktop organizer: Overall – 14.25 W X 8.25 H X 5.5 D; Small Top Drawers (each) – 4.25 W X 4 H X 5.25 D; Large Bottom Drawer – 13.25 W X 2.75 H X 5.25 D., 36 dollars

Another small wooden cabinet of drawers, requires assembly, around 17 dollars.

  • This chipboard unit measures 11 by 11 by 3-5/8-inch with nine 3-3/8 by 3-9/16 by 3-1/2-inch drawers and nine pewter finished hardware

If I had as much money as I could spend, or maybe a little more, I’d look at this one for 80 dollars. I Love the colorful ceramic drawers.


Or just go with plastic.   4 dollars.


Now you need some things to put in it.  In addition to interesting local stones, shells, fossils, seeds, pods, bones, etc that you might find (check out your car bumper and windshield for moths and butterflies), these things look interesting and fun to me:

Tiny seahorse with a seashell or two encased in teardrop shaped lucite for $9.00

It’s attached to a leather cord as it’s meant to be a necklace.  I’d remove the cord and save it for some other craft.  It will fit in the smallest of the drawers above: Teardrop Size Approx 1.3″ x 1.0″ x .5″

Shark tooth in lucite keychain, 5.00

Life cycle of a frog! Real specimen in lucite, egg to tadpole to pollywog to frog. Only 4.25 inches long.  Very pricey, however- 25 dollars

Four insects in four separate blocks of resin, making them easy to examine.  12 or 13 dollars for the set, and you get four, so you could add one to a drawer every month.

Ten insects (that’s what it says, includes scorpion) for nearly 30 dollars.

A dozen very thin geode or agate slices for 12 dollars (extremely fragile)

Snowflake Obsidian polished gemstone, about an inch, around 5.00 with shipping. You can get others as well, desert jasper, rose quartz and so on.

Little set of about a dozen pieces of different natural gemstones with information about each one, nearly 7.00

Rhinoceros beetle in resin, around 5.00

Orange tip butterfly, preserved in resin (the body is, I think, a sticker)- meant for a necklace. I’d just put the butterfly part in the drawer and use the chain for something else if the chain can be removed intact. $4.00

Various butterfly in resin paperweights, 15.00

For 30 dollars, a bag ofRock, Mineral & Fossil Collection Activity Kit with Educational ID Sheet plus Ammonite, Shark’s Tooth in Matrix, Fossilized Poo, 2 Geodes & Arrowheads,(Over 125 pcs and NO GRAVEL) Dancing Bear Brand

50 tiny fossil gastropods, 23 dollars

3 inch chambered nautilus shell, split in half to view chambers. 20 dollars

Polished sand-dollar fossil– 10-17 dollars.

Fish fossil

Trilobyte fossil, 10 dollars

Miniature shark jaw and teeth with identifier/story card, about five dollars (very small)

Alligator head (real) 5-6 inches long, ten dollars.

Real bobcat claw, around 7 dollars including shipping

Badger claw, same as above

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Responses

Hard Things

These are things I have seen only from a taxi window, and from a taxi window there is not a lot to do- I usually haven’t even processed it until we’ve passed.   I see bits and pieces separately and as we are driving off, I realize the bigger picture of what I have seen.  It doesn’t help me, in my delated processing, to know that the fact that I am in a cab marks me very much as one of the haves (it’s about ten times more than a bike ride).

A boy, maybe ten, wearing nothing by a dirty t-shirt and dingy grey underwear, skinny, being dragged awkwardly down the street by the hand by his dad (I think, an older man).  The boy is slack jawed. His gait is awkward, off, but familiar.  As we turn the corner I realize he walks like the Cherub, and that empty gaze and uneven gallomping gait is probably the stare and gait of somebody with mild cerebral palsy and more than mild brain damage.  I don’t know where they are going, but I know I probably look like this sometimes when I am in a hurry and the Cherub is most decidedly not.

Another child, this time with an older woman, a grandmother. The child comes up to the grandmother’s shoulder.  Lola (the grandmother) has a bag of produce. She’s a quarter of the way across the street, but stops to adjust something- she has a long, wide piece of rubber. Maybe it’s cut from a bicycle tube?  She wraps it around the child’s chest, beneath the armpits, and there’s something else attached to the front- not a leash, maybe another strip of rubber. I am focuses on the strips of rubber, trying to figure out what that is all about.  Our cab is stopped in a line of traffic.  Slowly, the woman comes along between our cab and the one in front of us, she is now pulling the child behind her with that strip of rubber.  She is peering inside the windows of the vehicles all around us- face up to the glass peering.

I’ve been talking to my son, who is in the back seat of the cab with me.  He stopped talking first to watch her, and then I also turn and watch as she gets to our cab, presses her face to the glass, taps on it- and then all at the same time, so I can’t process them until it’s too late, she holds up her hand to the window, cupped; the light turns green and the cab starts driving, and I realize, again, that the child with the rubber tube around his or her chest is also like our Cherub, the gaze is flat and disengaged, blank. The gait is a bit… off.  The child is wearing a t-shirt, and grey, dingy underwear, but no pants,  and we have already turned the corner and they are out of sight when I realize this is a grandmother with a very disabled child she is caring for and she was begging, and the rubber belt is the best way she knows to make it possible to walk to the market and buy food and come home again with the child.  It’s gentler than a rope. It keeps the child from getting lost, falling behind, even helps with balance (these roads are *so* uneven). It allows the grandmother one hand free for food, and one hand free to gather some funds for their next meal, hence the cupped hand tapping at our tinted taxi window.


But no pants?   And as I am thinking about it, this makes perfect sense, and demanding that these parents put pants on their severely developmentally delayed children would be arrogantly imposing a major hardship on them. Clothes have to be handwashed and always line dried. Some people do not even have a line- there’s a hut on the way to church where I see clothes spread over the bushes outside to dry. I have also seen them draped over fences, hanging from the window grating of second story windows.


But at any rate, if you have to put pants on an incontinent adolescent or adult who is so disabled he knows no shame anyway, you are demanding that these people spend hours every day doing nothing but hand washing and hanging out soiled clothes- and they cannot do that.  They cannot afford diapers or pullups- it costs nearly two days basic wages (three for somebody doing menial work like a maid) for one package which lasts a week if things are going well and you get them to the toilet often enough, and these parents that I see often have no job but begging- older women often.

They probably don’t own that many changes of clothes, either.  I don’t even know that they have a house.  I’ve seen piles of clothes in the bushes with a lean-to…

I think I need to start putting coins in an accessible pocket before I go anywhere.  And I have got to be more alert and better at putting pieces together.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Responses

Read here

Retiring to South or Central America becoming an American trend? Could be. I have to confess, I’m a little amused by a few of the frustrations of the locals with the new immigrants. They won’t learn the language?

Evergreen College– I fear this good professor is at least five years behind the times. The current climate from the progressive left has long been so toxic and so divorced from reality that there is no point in defending yourself from the racist card, which will be played if you are white and do anything whatsoever that rubs a preening SJW the wrong way. The correct answer is ‘Whatever,’ and moving on with what you want to say, because the charge itself has lost all meaning.

Mark Steyn on London and terrorism. IT’s a good read, and you want to read yesterday’s as well.

And you really have to read this thread on Twitter as well.

I honestly saw some idiot post to the effect that we really just need to be like the Whos down in Whoville and stand in a circle holding hands and singe the Grinches out of their child killing, bomb blasting, woman raping, ways.

CNN caught on tape– at *best*, they are stage managing a fake protest put together for the cameras. They deny it, but you can see it for yourself- they tell people where to stand, how to hold their signs, and the crowd of around ten people, a dozen, at most, protestors leave when the cameras are down- although they do show up elsewhere

Socialist Seattle city council member cheered when she announces she has no Republican friends. They really do hate diversity. They always have. They long to be thought police.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Response

  • The Common Room on Facebook

  • Amazon: Buy our Kindle Books

  • Search Amazon

    Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

  • Brainy Fridays Recommends: