Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Feast

In 2012 when I attended my area's Classical Conversations parent practicum I slid in late and sat next to complete strangers.  As I looked around I noticed several people within eye-shot had this book laying next to them.  Always on the hunt for my next read, I was intrigued.   It must be good because A LOT of people had it.  So, at lunch I marched over to the book sale area and bought myself one.  I still haven't gotten around to reading it.

This year, as I arrived on time to the practicum, I was handed a program, a name badge and a copy of a book, Anthony Esolen's, Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child.  Only then did it hit me, come to a Classical Conversations parent practicum and you get a free book.  I wish someone would have told me!

This one has not collected dust.  I've been feasting on it each evening for the past couple of weeks and finished it last night.  Although his tongue-in-cheek approach took some getting used to (he writes as though he really is trying to convince us to destroy our child's imagination), I found it infinitely more readable than other books popular among classical educators like Norms and Nobility and Beauty for Truth's Sake.  It's classified as a "parenting/education" book, but it's just as much a mightily opinionated commentary on our culture.

The book has given me plenty to think about regarding both parenting and education.  In some instances, it's given me confidence to stay the course.  In others, it's caused me to reevaluate what we're doing or simply left me puzzling and pondering.

Over the coming weeks, I plan to address some of the points in Esolen's book that struck a chord with me.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Artiste.

My youngest one fancies herself an artist.  I'd have to agree.  She has a box in her room with stacks of drawings like this:

A Self-Portrait

It's a common and delightful sight when ascending the stairs to find her seated at her little blue table, head bent over a drawing.

She desperately wants to take drawing lessons, and I plan to oblige her after she turns seven.  In the meantime, we provide her with paper and pencils and crayons and markers.  Plus, every other day during her school time she draws from her Draw Write Now set, one of the best schooling investments we've made since both kids have gotten a lot of use out of them.

On the alternate day, she copies the sentences that correspond with the drawing.  We started doing this to fill the gap between Handwriting Without Tears My Printing Book, which she completed early on during her Kindergarten year, and Writing With Ease Level 1, which I didn't want her to start until first grade.

Even though she's completely content to draw independently other times of the day, she requests my help when drawing from instructions.  She gets excited when its drawing (as opposed to writing) day, but often that excitement turns to angst and her artist's temperament manifests itself.  At those times, she channels Don Music.

The result of her efforts is a treasure to both of us. She has almost filled up a "My Picture Storybook" tablet from Miller Paper with her drawing and copywork.  Here's a sampling:

Her first entry in her book, the Little Red Hen

Wildflowers of the Plains

An Emperor Penguin and Arctic Lights
My personal favorite, The Sly Fox

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


After a cool spring, the arrival of the first blackberries signify summer will soon be upon us.

The days had been getting progressively hotter, but yesterday a cool front came in the night accompanied by over an inch of rain.  The rain was welcome and timely as a Fathers' Day conversation with my dad inspired me to get the arugula pulled up (thanks, husband) and to plant a short row of purple-hull peas.  The thought of those peas makes my mouth water even more so than thoughts of the first blackberry cobbler, a delicious treat for a Tuesday evening.