Sale the other day on cheese wrapped in wax.  Children saved the wax (who could resist), Mr. Boy was the leader in candle-making.  Rolled out his portion of wax, put a length of cotton yarn in the center, closed up the wax around it.  Candle is obviously not very hard — doesn’t require a candlestick holder because you can smush the wax into the surface on which it rests to make a broad, flat, very stable and sticky base.  And they work!

    A variety of incidents have SuperHusband and I thinking about homeschooling lately.  A realization we had last night was just how much homeschooling lends itself to what I (borrowing the word) refer to as intellectual ‘conversation’ — the working of the brain to choose, to interact, to reflect, to create, and so forth.   This is true even when we are doing the same sorts of activities that are done in traditional schools.  

    I think about something like watching a movie (educational or not — both occur in schools, mine and the public ones), which is an activity we think of as ‘passive’.  When Mr. Boy watches an educational program, he runs in and out of the room, reporting to me all the interesting facts.  Not something a child in a classroom can do without causing a disruption.  If there’s a show on, my kids have the choice to watch it or not — they can, and often do, choose to get up and go something else, either in the same room or elsewhere.  I try to imagine a classroom where the teacher has put on a film at the end of the day (something edifying and supportive of the curriculum, but not strictly necessary) and a student gets up and says, "I’m going out for a nature walk now," or even "Can I go down the hall to the art room and work on my drawing instead?"

    It is a very rare institutional school (public or private) that can give this type of autonomy to the students (Montessori as I have read about it — no personal experience — comes to mind, and the Albany Free School is another, if I have the name correct on the latter.).  I’m finding that all this deciding is good for the kids.  They come up with all kinds of ideas, like the cheesewax candles, and they actually get to try their ideas and learn from that experience — from both the intellectual process and the physical process.    It is starting to show, and we are very happy with it.

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    In other news, I accidentally joined the Legion of Mary a few weeks ago, as an auxillary member.  A eucharistic miracle of sorts.  So far it seems to be sticking, though getting me to actually say the rosary every day (as opposed to thinking what a good idea it would be for me to do so) is miraculous in itself.  I do not exaggerate here; those who know me best will vouch for my complete incompetence in these sorts of feats.  Last night, for example, I managed to finally remember to pray only by a weird series of events that had me finishing the last lines at 11:59.

    I am not very good at this, either.  I seem to be always have a set of dreaded mysteries.  At first it was the sorrowful mysteries, because I just wasn’t feeling penitential and *did not* want to dwell on sorrowful thoughts.  Today I found I’d gotten rather sick of the joyful mysteries — too cheerful happy happy for me, who was thinking not about the mystery of the Finding of Jesus, but rather the mystery of the Losing of Jesus.  And then in an effort to focus my thoughts (always wandering, always, always) I thought I’d gaze at the little images next to each mystery.  Which led me to noticing that in my particular prayer booklet, Mary is wearing the same pink and blue outfit for some twelve years or so, Annunciation through Finding.  No fading or stains, either.   More and more I understand why evangelicals go in for loud music with waving-of-hands and live band up front  as a primary form of worship — kind of drowns out some of the distractions.

    Anyhow, that’s the news at the castle. 

   

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