Saturday, 23 May 2015

Weekly Review - interrupted & unfinished, but good

A weekend away at a Mum Heart Conference gave me a refreshing start to this week. And a wedding at the end of the week on the Friday was a lovely finish.
The downside was getting some stitches on my nose in the middle of the week. A couple of anaesthetic needles shoved into your nose is not fun and neither is walking around with a pressure dressing on the centre of your face.
The Mum Heart Conference is based on Sally Clarkson's Mom's Heart in the USA but the Aussie version focuses on homeschooling mothers.
 I'd forgotten how encouraging it is to be around other people who share a similar vision on the heart of education - discipling our children, teaching them virtue, nurturing their souls.
I didn't realise how thirsty I was for fellow travellers and it did me good to see so many young women just beginning this journey with their children and to meet up again unexpectedly with friends I hadn't seen for years, not to mention making new ones.

Not everything got done this week but when that happens I take note of what was missed and make it a priority the next week.
Here are some things we did do:
Plutarch's Life of Timoleon - we completed this and Moozle wrote a funeral speech for him because of course he died at the end:

Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well -we also finished this play. Benj did a written narration after we listened and read along with the audio each week. I didn't see it until the play was finished but it was around 13 pages - so I won't post it here.

Moozle's Reading

We have one more week of Term 2 using my modified version of Ambleside Online Year 4 which is going well. I've added How Did We Find Out About Vitamins? by Isaac Asimov to our Science reading this term. There is quite detailed information in this book but Asimov's writing is very accessible and he brings the subject alive. It's out of print but I've picked up his books at library sales, ebay & Abebooks.

She has been going through some of the Jungle Doctor books by Australian author Paul White this past week. A few of my children really loved his medical missionary stories based in Africa.

Helping Dad put new locks on the windows...

Benj's Reading

The Last of the Mohicans by James Fennimore Cooper - a great classic; starts slowly and is a bit of a challenge reading-wise but very worthwhile.

The Four Feathers by A.E.W. Mason - my friend, Kathy, is an old movie officiando. I'm not, but she tells me about these obscure movies she loves and then I try to find the book they were based on. This book has been filmed several times but it's taken me a long time to find a copy and then it was only online. The University of Adelaide is an old book lover's paradise and they keep adding new titles to their website. Their Kindle versions are so well done and I found the book there. Written in 1902, The Four Feathers is the story of a young man redeeming his character from the charge of cowardice. Benj's comment - "It's good. You should read it." I haven't yet.

Jensen's Format Writing is a book I've used with one Benj's older brothers and it seems a good fit for Benj. Well, I gave him a choice between this, the AO Year 10 selections and Wordsmith Craftsman, which I also have. He liked the look of Jensen's best, plus he preferred to use a book rather than an online programme.

He's done a fair bit of Grammar in the past and is covering that in Latin also but I wanted to keep it fresh in his mind. One of my girls tutored first and second year students at university and a major problem for many of them was their lack of grammar skills. This series of books is good for an  overview or for picking up problem areas and they only take a few minutes. Benj is only doing a page a week. The answer key is in the back.


I'll end with a quote that was read at the wedding we attended that I thought was a wonderful choice.

Love as distinct from ‘being in love’ is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by the grace which both partners receive from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. ‘Being in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity: the quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it. 
C.S. Lewis

Linking to Weekly Wrap-Up

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

A Request to Subscribers to Journey & Destination

I've had some difficulties at various times with Feedburner - that's what I use for sending out emails to subscibers. Some people sign up and don't get any emails at all and others get them initially and then they stop.
So I'm making the switch to MailChimp.
My request is this - if you get more than one email from me when I publish this post, would you please make a quick comment beneath this post. All I need is "Two emails sent today" or something similar. And I apologise beforehand in case you do get more than one.
Technology is not my strong point - what I've done seemed too easy and I think I've missed some important detail.

Many thanks!

Monday, 18 May 2015

All's Well That Ends Well by William Shakespeare (1604)

All's Well That Ends Well was based on a story from the Decameron (a collection of tales written in the 14th Century) and is often described as a problem play. It appears to be a comedy - it contains humorous scenes such as the interrogation of Parolles, and love wins out in the end - but there are other aspects of the play which are unlike Shakespeare's other comedies.
The story takes place in Rossilion, Paris, Florence and Marseilles.

 Helena & the Countess, Folger Shakespeare

The Main Players

Countess of Rossilion (or Rousillon)
Bertram - her son, the Count of Rossilion after his father's death Helena - a gentlewoman of the household
Lavatch - the Countess's clown
Parolles - a friend of Bertram's

King of France
Lafew (or Lafeu) - a old Lord
First & Second Lord Dumaine - Lords in the King's service  

Widow Capilet
Diana - her daughter

The Storyline

The King of France is ill and no one can cure him. When his friend Count Rossilion dies, he commands Bertram, the Count's son, to attend him at court.
Bertram takes leave of his mother and goes to the King in Paris.
As the King reminisces about Bertram's father, he laments that the skilful physician, Gerard de Narbon, is also dead and cannot help him.
Helena, the physician's daughter has been living under the care of the Countess Rossilion and secretly loves Bertram. When Bertram goes to Paris, Helena follows him and by using knowledge learnt from her father, she cures the King.
The King rewards her by allowing her to choose a husband from among the bachelors at his court and she chooses Bertram.
Bertram declares he cannot marry Helena because she is of an inferior class, but after threats from the King, he goes ahead with the marriage. Unwilling to consummate the marriage, he tells Helena to go to his mother under some pretence and he immediately runs away to the wars in Italy with his friend Parolles.
Bertram writes to Helena from Florence and says:

When thou canst get the ring upon my finger, which never shall come off, and show me a child begotten of thy body that I am father to, then call me husband; but in such a "then" I write a "never."

The Countess is furious with her son's behaviour and blames Parolles' influence. Helena goes on a pilgrimage to Florence and there she meets the Widow Capilet and her daughter Diana, who is being courted by Bertram. When Helena reveals her situation to the Capilet's, they fall in with her plan and Bertram is told that Helena is dead. Under cover of darkness, Helena takes Diana's place and goes to meet Bertram, who has promised to marry Diana. He gives Helena his ring, believing her to be Diana, and in return receives the ring that the King gave to Helena after she had cured him. Helena conceives a child that night and Bertram returns to his mother's house unaware that he had shared his bed with his wife and not Diana.
The King is also at Rossilion and expresses his grief over Helena's death. Bertram asks for his forgiveness saying that he did love Helena but when the King sees the ring he gave Helena, Bertram is suspected to have done her harm.
Diana arrives not long after which compounds affairs even more until Helena finally enters, tells Bertram that she has fulfilled both conditions he placed upon her and he declares that he will love her dearly, forever.

The king's a beggar, now the play is done; All is well ended, if this suit be done...

We listened to the BBC Arkangel audio as we read the play, spreading it over about 11 weeks. I read along with the Cambridge School guide and Benj read it from this website
Some thoughts:

Bertram - initially I was a little sympathetic towards him as he was expected to marry someone he had no wish to. His attitude and behaviour quickly put an end to that. He was self-seeking and callous; immature and easily led. His change of heart towards the end of the play seems a little strange.

Helena - a mixed bag. I thought she was rather insipid at times but she did end up displaying some strength of character. Did she really love Bertram or was she just ambitious? Why would she want to marry a man who had been so indifferent to her?

Countess Rossilion - a just, sensible woman who, although she thought Parolles was a bad influence on her son, didn't make excuses for Bertram's bad behaviour.

Parolles - was the source of some light hearted moments in the play even though he was a rogue. He learnt some humility towards the end.

Lafew - the quick witted old Lord discerned Parolles' true nature.

The King - benevolent and kind; his behaviour in the scenes towards the end of the play where the situation comes to a head is amusing.

Diana - both she & her mother were decent people and wanted to do what was right. She had a good head upon her shoulders and didn't allow herself to be taken in by Bertram's flattery.

Something that stood out to me was that apart from Bertram, all the people of rank and position in the play were honourable and well-intentioned. The Countess, for example, loved Helena and was happy for her to marry Bertram even though she was beneath him in rank.

This play is probably best left until highschool unless you use an abridged version such as Charles and Mary Lamb's Tales From Shakespeare. There are some interesting ideas & themes for discussion in this play regarding relationships and morals.

All's Well That Ends Well is my choice for A Classic Play as part of the Back to the Classics Challenge 2015.

Friday, 15 May 2015

A 15 Year old Boy's Keeping

Benj is reading his way through the Renaissance and Reformation with books from Ambleside Online Year 8 and most of his Commonplace entries have been inspired by those books. He chooses his own quotes but when he first started keeping a Commonplace book and happened to comment on something that impressed him while he was reading, I would suggest he record the passage in his book. I don't do that anymore because the habit is in place. I just like reading what he has written and to see what books have kindled his interest enough that he would record something from them.
Recently, he has quoted mostly from Churchill's The New World and Whatever Happened to Justice by Richard Maybury.

It is very helpful to read with a commonplace book or reading-diary, in which to put down any striking thought in your author, or your own impression of the work, or of any part of it; but not summaries of facts. Such a diary, carefully kept through life, should be exceedingly interesting as containing the intellectual history of the writer; besides, we never forget the book that we have made extracts from, and of which we have taken the trouble to write a short review.

Formation of Character by Charlotte Mason 

Commonplace Books have been around for hundreds of years and were kept by many great thinkers and writers. I came across this post recently, not from a Charlotte Mason perspective, and not a blog I'm familiar with, but I enjoyed the thoughts there on the how & why of Commonplacing.
Jonathon Swift, the author of the book Gulliver's Travels amongst others, wrote a letter to a young poet in 1720 with this advice:

A commonplace book is what a provident poet cannot subsist without, for this proverbial reason, that "great wits have short memories:" and whereas, on the other hand, poets, being liars by profession, ought to have good memories; to reconcile these, a book of this sort, is in the nature of a supplemental memory, or a record of what occurs remarkable in every day's reading or conversation. There you enter not only your own original thoughts, (which, a hundred to one, are few and insignificant) but such of other men as you think fit to make your own, by entering them there. For, take this for a rule, when an author is in your books, you have the same demand upon him for his wit, as a merchant has for your money, when you are in his.
Science Notebook

Benj is using a combination of Apologia Physical Science and Understanding Physics by Isaac Asimov. He loves the detail in Asimov's book and uses Apologia as a general overview and for experiment ideas and this has been working quite well. He's almost finished the Apologia book but will continue with Asimov and start doing Biology, which I'm in the process of planning.


Tuesday, 12 May 2015

French Lessons, Vocabulary & Folksongs - update

I'm updating this post to include a few more resources so all our French resources are on the same page and have included a mix of vocabulary, stories and folksongs.

"...the child's vocabulary should increase steadily, say, at the rate of half a dozen words a day. Think of fifteen hundred words in a year! The child who has that number of words, and knows how to apply them, can speak French. Of course, his teacher, will take care that, in giving words, she gives idioms also, and that as he learns new words, they are put into sentences and kept in use from day to day. A note-book in which she enters the child's new words and sentences will easily enable the teacher to do this."

Home Education by Charlotte Mason 

We've used this Skoldo book for a while, mostly for the songs which are included on a CD that comes with the book. There are other books in the series but I've been using lots of free resources and hopefully these will be enough until she is ready to start Living French:

Last year I started keeping a French notebook which has been very helpful. I was inspired by the quote above to make our French language learning more in keeping with the ideas Charlotte Mason had on foreign language acquisition. It had been going ok but nowhere near 1500 words a year! I wasn't keeping up with things and much of the vocabulary that was covered got forgotten. The notebook is to help me keep a record of what is covered and for the purpose of review.

This year Moozle started keeping her own French copybook. She writes phrases and sentences from what she's been learning in her copybook a few times a week.

The Three Little Pigs - love this!


The Months of the Year

Goldilocks and Three Bears and other stories with audio & translations

Goldilocks & The Three Bears

French numbers and their pronunciation.

A French Primer


Mon Ane - French words with English translation here.

Sur le Pont d'Avignon:

The English translation for the song is here.

English translation here.

French version of 'She'll be Comin' Round the Mountain.'
English translation here.

This is more difficult and we only started it today. The BookBox website has a variety of stories in different languages and they have the story below in English if you would like a translation: