Saturday, May 31, 2014

Saturday Links and Quotes

Link: Should we switch to the KJV?
I am planning to use Ambleside Online for my homeschooling. They recommend that families use the King James Version of the Bible as their everyday version for purely literary reasons. "It is preferable for a child to become accustomed to the language and flow of the KJV, as a familiarity with King James English will make other literature more accessible." You can find an article about that here: Why the KJV?

I found the article quite convincing on a number of points:
 - Familiarity with the language of the KJV will give children a connection to the language of classical literature.
- Changes in the English language have not been for the better. We are losing richness of vocabulary in this increasingly image-based information age. The KJV was translated in a time when language was important.
- The KJV had a huge influence on both the ideas and language of Western literature.
- We who are not afraid to challenge our children with great books should not find the KJV unapproachable.

And yet, I'm not ready to jump in and make the KJV our family Bible version. I think it's important to note that the New Testament was written in Koine (common) Greek, not the more polished and literary Classical Greek. Our considerations (in order of importance) in choosing a Bible translation are that it is:
- faithful to the original text.
- in the language of the people.
Whether it is literary or helps school children make connections to literature may be a consideration, but it is not the primary one for us. We have chosen to use the English Standard Version in our family. (I do think it's important to choose a translation and stick with it through the years so children gain a familiarity with the language of the Bible.)

However, this article did make me consider reading through the KJV with my children at least once during the course of their school years.

What do you think of the argument made in the article?

Quote: Bonhoeffer
I've been reading Letters and Papers from Prison by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (though it's an old edition, not the "greatly enlarged edition" linked to). I thought about this quote for days:
"Something which puzzles me and seems to puzzle many others as well is, how quickly we forget about a night's bombing. Even a few minutes after the all clear, everything we were thinking about while the raid was on seems to vanish into thin air. With Luther a flash of lightning was enough to alter the whole course of his life for years to come. What has happened to this kind of memory to-day? Does it not explain why we sit so lightly to the ties of love and marriage, of friendship and loyalty? Nothing holds us, nothing is firm. Everything is here to-day and gone to-morrow. Goodness, beauty and truth, however, and all great accomplishments need time, permanence and memory, or else they deteriorate. The man who has no urge to do his duty to the past and to shape the future is a man without memory, and there seems to me no way of getting hold of such a person and bringing him to his senses. Every word, even if it impresses him for a moment, goes through one ear and out of the other. What is to be done about him? It is a tremendous pastoral problem this." (p. 69)
It strikes me that the problem Bonhoeffer describes is not a new one. It's also described many times in the Bible, particularly the Old Testament. God's people would be rescued one day, and they would be complaining the next.

How do we cultivate this kind of memory in ourselves and our children?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

May 2014 Favourite Read-Aloud Roundup

It's already time for my May read-aloud roundup! May has been a funny month. Cold weather-wise, and a bit disjointed school-wise. But we read some great books together.

One of our very favourite books this month was Two of Everything, by Lily Toy Hong. It's a Chinese folktale about a man who finds a pot in his garden that, you guessed it, makes an extra one of everything he put into it. The story has some funny twists and turns, and I think that's why the boys kept asking me to read it again. SA also enjoyed the math aspect of it. Five coins turned into ten coins, which turned into twenty, etc. He likes things like that.

Another book we loved this month was Sunflower House, by Eve Bunting. We have already bought sunflower seeds to make our own sunflower house this summer, to be planted as soon as it gets warm (hopefully tomorrow!).

And I know I don't have to introduce anyone to Charlotte's Web! We are about half-way through, and the boys are enjoying it very much. The chapters are quite short, so it works very well for a read-aloud at this stage. (Though remember that Charlotte does die at the end, so you may need to consider that before reading it depending on the sensitivity of your child.)

We are also enjoying A.A. Milne's poetry at our poetry teatimes. I must say, it's a breath of fresh air after a lot of Mother Goose and A Child's Garden of Verses. Not that I have anything against the latter...I just love Milne better! And I like his poetry even better than his prose. Anyone else out there? Raise your hand...

I am linking up with Read-Aloud Thursday. Click through to find more great books to read aloud!

Edit: I'm also linking up with Book Sharing Monday.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Who Gave You this Authority?

Chapter two of Charlotte Mason's Volume 3: School Education is a continuation of the theme of docility and authority, but focuses more deeply on what the authority we exercise as parents should look like. Charlotte Mason holds up Jesus as our example:
He says: "I came not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me." That is His commission and the standing order of His life, and for this reason He spake as one having authority, knowing Himself to be commissioned and supported. (Charlotte Mason, Vol. 3, p.16)
 Our authority as parents is a responsibility we have from God, it is not a right we demand from our children. We expect obedience from our children, and at the same time we give our obedience to God in the exercise of our authority.

Charlotte Mason contrasts autocracy and authority.
Autocracy is:
 - self-derived, self-sustained, self-centred
 - harsh and indulgent by turns, inconsistent
 - always on the watch for transgressions
 - swift to take offence (because any sin is seen as against the parent. I think it is worse still when the parent interprets a "sin" against his arbitrary will as a sin against God.)
 - drastic punishments
 - many commandments

Authority is:
 - derived from God, and accountable to Him.
 - consistent, immoveable on matters of principle, easy on every other matter.
 - alert and diligent
 - merciful and loving
 - ready to concede to what is right, especially when it happens that the children are right and the parent is wrong!

I grew up with an interesting mixture of authority and autocracy. In theory, my parents and we children understood these principles of authority. In practice, there was some inconsistency, and some harshness. I now see inconsistency cropping up in my own parenting. My own failures lean more towards the indulgence side, with an occasional flare-up on PMS days. It can be easy to minimize this. We are human, after all, and not at all perfect. On the other hand, it can also be easy to be discouraged by this high calling we have from God. Will we ever get this right (in time not to ruin them)? I'm so thankful for the grace of God. I trust Him, not our imperfect parenting, for my children's salvation.

Let's think these things through, and let the truth soak in and begin to change our motivations and actions.
Authority is that aspect of love which parents present to their children; parents know it is love, because to them in means continual self-denial, self-repression, self-sacrifice: children recognise it as love, because to them it means quiet rest and gaiety of heart. Perhaps the best aid to the maintenance of authority in the home is for those in authority to ask themselves daily that question which was presumptuously put to our Lord-- "Who gave Thee this authority?" (Charlotte Mason, Vol. 3: School Education, p. 24)
There is more in this chapter that I wanted to think through out loud here on the blog, but it will have to wait until next week!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Saturday Quotes (from the Boys)

The boys went to visit some friends this week while I sang for royalty. Uncle Sid and Aunt Linda gave them a wonderful time outside chasing squirrels and collecting butternuts to plant at home. Later this week, SA told me all about the butternuts, so I grabbed a pen and started writing. I missed the first part, but this is most of his narration.
...they grow, and as soon as they're ready to drop, then the branch drops it. Then you look at the ground, then you could see butternut seeds. Then you take off the case and the black, then you put it in your pocket if you're not at your house. Then you just shovel the grass off or plant it in your garden. Then you put the seed in the hole, then you get only the dirt on it. Then soon it grows into a butternut tree.

SA also had an adventure with a huge bumblebee yesterday. It landed on him in the house, and we had to collect it with his hat and let it go outside. JJ was extremely interested in the process, and helped me every step of the way. (Those are his hands in the picture.)

MM has been saying "thank you" all the time lately. If I don't respond with "You're welcome" immediately, he repeats it. The funniest thing is when he's about to nurse. He always makes sure he says thank you before he begins.

The morning we had our watermelon teatime, we were unfortunately swarmed by black flies. I slathered on the natural insect repellant, but apparently SA still got bitten...
SA: "Mama, the bees hold their breath." (He meant bugs.)
Me: "Oh, did you get bitten?"
SA: "Only a couple of times. Some of them like the smell, and some of them don't."

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Watermelon Poetry "Teatime"

photo courtesy of SA(5)

Monday, May 19, 2014

It's Not Because I'm the Mom

In imitation of fellow-blogger Jen at Snowfall Academy, I've decided to start reading and blogging through Charlotte Mason's Volume 3: School Education. I started my Charlotte Mason reading with her Volume 1, and it has been such a blessing to me. I highly recommend it to anyone with little children. I have not blogged through that volume completely, but I'm sure I will come back to it again some year soon. I think Volume 3 will begin to help me think through the school years...years that are coming sooner than I ever thought!

Chapter one is entitled "Docility and Authority in the Home and in the School," and I immediately realized that I did not have a clear idea in my mind what "docility" means. I have always thought of it as sort of a dull passivity in obedience, the extreme opposite of strong-willed. I must have picked up this perception from a negative example in my childhood reading; the dictionary definition is more neutral: "Ready to accept control or instruction; submissive." As I read Charlotte Mason, though, I think her definition is slightly more nuanced. I imagine her definition to be: willing (since it involves the child's own will) and ready to respond in obedience to authority as set in place by God.

Charlotte Mason's views on the authority of parents are very carefully balanced. She had seen a pendulum swing from the autocratic (and arbitrary) authoritarianism of her parents generation to an emphasis on freedom from all authority in the educational writings of Herbert Spencer which were popular in her day. She is positive about how relationships between parents and children had become much more "intimate, frank, and friendly" in her day, that they now could talk to their parents about their troubles. And yet she warns parents against accepting the "spirit of the age" without examining where (particularly Herbert Spencer's) ideas come from and what their implications are.
"Mr. Spencer's work on education is so valuable a contribution to educational thought that many parents read it and embrace it, as a while, without perceiving that it is a part, and a carefully worked out part, of a scheme of philosophy with which perhaps they are little in sympathy. They accept the philosopher's teaching when he bids them bring up children without authority in order to give them free room for self-development; without perceiving, or perhaps knowing that it is the labour of the author's life to eliminate the idea of authority from the universe, that he repudiates the authority of parents because it is a link in the chain which binds the universe to God." (p.7)
The thought at the heart of this chapter is that "Authority is not inherent, but Deputed."
"...none of us has a right to exercise authority in things great or small except as we are, and acknowledge ourselves to be, deputed by the one supreme and ultimate Authority."
In other words, I should not expect obedience from my children just because I'm the Mom, and I said so. I've been appointed as Mom to carry out God's will, not my own will, in the lives of my children. That should stop me from making arbitrary demands and give an immediate focus on what is important and what is not.
"Authority is neither harsh nor indulgent. She is gentle and easy to be entreated in all matters immaterial just because she is immovable in matters of real importance; for these, there is always a fixed principle."
God has put me in a position of authority that also requires my own submission to His own authority.

And that made me think of something Charlotte doesn't really get into in this chapter: the motivation for "docility". I want to do what God requires of me because He has saved me and I love Him. This is also the motivation God wanted and asked for when He gave the 10 Commandments in the Old Testament. Before He laid down a single command, He said: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery." (Exodus 20:2) The motivation for obedience is love, and gratitude. This is something that comes from the heart, and it's a response to a love already shown by the Person in authority. I think we must model this in our own small way to our children as well.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Books for Early Readers

Since SA's reading took off in January of this year, he has read sixty-three books, some of them more than once. I've already shared some of them here and here, but I'd just like to go through our chart and pick out some of his favourites for the record (and for you, if you're looking for early reading books!). It always amazes me how many mediocre books I have to wade through at the library to find a few good ones, even in the early reading section!

SA really enjoyed the "Puppy Sam" series from Kids Can Press, and read most of the titles in our library. I did not love them enough to consider buying them sometime in the future, but if your library carries them, they're worth adding to the line-up. We also read two "Pup and Hound" books from the same publisher, but did not enjoy them as much.

Books meant for little children can often be easy to read for early readers. Some of our favourites were Snow Bears by Martin Waddell, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See? by Eric Carle, and Bringing Down the Moon and This Way, Ruby! by Jonathan Emmett. Big Red Barn and Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown were also good choices. Oliver Finds His Way was a favourite read-aloud when SA was little, and he enjoyed the chance to read it himself now.

Mouse Soup has already supplanted Emmett's Pig as SA's favourite book ever. I'm sure as he keeps reading he will continue to find more and more favourites. This one is now on my to-buy list. It is cute, and funny, and absolutely wonderful. SA felt compelled to read the whole thing to his father when he came home from work that day, just so he could enjoy it too. And it was written by Arnold Lobel, of "Frog and Toad" fame. The Frog and Toad books are also favourites with SA.

Two more series we have discovered recently are the "Little Bear" series by Else Minarik, and the "Henry and Mudge" series by Cynthia Rylant. SA has just read the first book of each of these, but since he liked them, we have more reserved at the library. Books by P.D. Eastman (Are You My Mother?) are fun as well.

Last, but certainly not least, is this great little book I found at Value Village one day. It is the only non-fiction title SA has read to date, but he really appreciated the factual information and pictures. It made me realize that I need to find more books of this type for him to read. It seems like most early reading books are stories.

Do you have some favourite books for early readers that you'd like to add to this list? Please comment! I'd especially be interested in any non-fiction title you've found worthwhile for early readers.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Charlotte Mason on Obedience

I didn't have time today to write a post, but thought I'd copy out a quote that I found thought-provoking.
Now, if the parent realise that obedience is no mere accidental duty, the fulfilling of which is a matter that lies between himself and the child, but that he is the appointed agent to train the child up to the intelligent obedience of the self-compelling, law-abiding human being, he will see that he has no right to forego the obedience of his child, and that every act of disobedience in the child is a direct condemnation of the parent. Also, he will see that the motive to the child's obedience is not the arbitrary one of, 'Do this, or that, because I have said so,' but the motive of the apostolic injunction, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." (Charlotte Mason, Vol. 1: Home Education, p. 161)
Some of my thoughts:
- "Accidental" here means "incidental, subsidiary"...she means that teaching children the habit of obedience is not unimportant, it is essential.
- Obedience is not about me as a parent being in control of my child's behaviour, it is about the rightness of submission to authority as deriving from the Lord.
- Our children, just as we ourselves, must choose to submit to authority every day. We obey the rules of the road, we keep the laws of the country, we do what our bosses at work tell us to do. And of course, as Christians, we seek to obey His Word.
- But, she makes clear this is "intelligent obedience." It is not mindless. I think there's a balance here. Obedience involves the child's own choice, and yet habit as it is formed makes the right choice easier and easier. Though Charlotte Mason doesn't draw out this point, I think the words "in the Lord" in the last line quoted are key. We also obey the laws of the land "in the Lord." We see the authority of our government as put in place by God. We obey the laws. But if any authority were to ask something of us that is wrong, we choose to obey God rather than man.
- Charlotte Mason uses strong words: "every act of disobedience in the child is a direct condemnation of the parent." I'm not sure I understand or agree. Could anyone shed some light on this? She talks about the child being "self-compelling," so she cannot mean that a parent is ultimately responsible for the choices her child makes. I myself would never judge a parent by a disobedient act of a least, I hope I wouldn't. I know as a mother how these things take place just when you least expect, and especially when you least want them to! I see creating the habit of obedience as a process. We make progress, but even children who have been well trained still disobey sometimes. (To be honest, I think I would worry if they never did...does that sound crazy?) On the other hand, I'll admit that I would see a habit of disobedience in a child as a sign of parents' neglect in training.
- I think I got off on the wrong track with the last comment, but I'll leave it there for now. I think I may have it now. Based on the context (a parent has "no right to forego the obedience of his child") I think what she's saying is that every time parents are confronted with an act of disobedience from their child, they must take it as seriously as though their child has just directly condemned them - it's a prodding to act instantly to right the wrong.

What do you think of this quote?

(So much for not having time to write a post...Ha!)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Two Sparrows

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:29-31, ESV)
We have two kinds of sparrows coming by our feeder these days. The song sparrows began to come at the beginning of April. They are small and timid, and eat from the ground under the feeder. If anything frightens them, they fly away low and fast. They are small and brown, but if you get a close look, you will see that they are not plain. They have beautiful black streaking on their chests.

The chipping sparrows began to come this week. At first glance I assumed they were song sparrows, because they are little brown birds. But I noticed that they were eating at the feeder, and they were much braver than the song sparrows. When I managed to look at them a little more 
closely, I noticed that they were slightly larger than the song sparrows, and had rusty-brown caps and plain grayish-white chests.

Watching them at the feeder this morning reminded me of Psalm 84, and how the person who wrote the psalm must have watched some sparrows building a nest at the temple.

How lovely is your dwelling place,
    Lord of hosts!

My soul longs, yes, faints

    for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and flesh sing for joy
    to the living God.

Even the sparrow finds a home,

    and the swallow a nest for herself,
    where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O Lord of hosts,
    my King and my God.
 Blessed are those who dwell in your house,
    ever singing your praise!
(Psalm 84:1-4, ESV)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Saturday Conflict

Today I had a scheduling conflict. That may be an every-day problem for everyone else, but I've just spent months only leaving home about twice a week, for errands and church. I lead a quiet life, at least, as quiet as a life with three young boys can be. Today I had to choose between going to my choir practice in preparation for singing for Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall later this month, or to rehearsal for my singing part in The Master's Wife this summer.

Prince Charles' and his wife Camilla's visit to P.E.I. will be quite exciting to our family. Camilla will be visiting my young brother-in-law's school as well. Apparently the grade six class sent letters inviting her, and they got a favourable response. They are planning to present Romeo and Juliet, and will be inviting the Duchess of Cornwall herself to play Juliet! My own brush with royalty will be at Cornwall United Church, where my choir, the Good News Singers, has been invited to join the church choir there.

"The Master's Wife" is a play based on a 1939 book of the same name by Sir Andrew MacPhail. It is a fascinating portrait of MacPhail's family (The "Master" is his father, a teacher and presbyterian elder, the "Master's wife" is his mother) and community as he grew up in rural Prince Edward Island in the late 1800's. The play will be performed every Wednesday evening in July, plus one performance in June and one in August. We'll also have several performances in the Fall. (No, I didn't know this when I signed up, but I'm going with it...) My part will be helping to sing some background music.

Today I will go to the choir practice, and see if I have time left to make it to part of the play rehearsal. And now I need to make sure I have enough ready-to-eat food in the house for my boys while I'm out!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Spring Nature Study: Getting Ready for Gardening

Our nature study has seemed a little unfocused so far this term. My plan was to switch our focus from birds to garden plants. However, starting sometime at the beginning of April, new birds began to come to our feeder. First the song sparrows, then the red-winged blackbirds came. Robins appeared. Starlings decreased, and common grackles increased. Yesterday and today the chipping sparrows have been visiting the feeder. I think that we will always be interested in birds now that we have focused on them for a season. I wonder if every focus we choose will be like that?

Winter hung on for a very long time this year. About 6 centimeters of snow fell on Monday, though it did not accumulate on the ground. The grass is finally getting green, but I noticed there is still snow on the ground in the woods. I always find that the switch from winter to summer is very late and quick on P.E.I., and I have to make the most of the brief spring to get things done in the garden.

Here are my tomato plants. My brother-in-law started too many, and passed some on to me. I repotted them in larger pots this week because it will still be three weeks before they can be planted outdoors. I have been putting them outdoors in a sheltered area for a few hours every nice day to begin to harden them off. The temperatures (since our snowy Monday) have been around twelve degrees Celcius.

My project this week has been to make a new lasagna bed. It's called lasagna because of the layers of compost used to make it. Some people call it sheet composting. It will be ready to plant in next year. I used layers of old straw, leaves and twigs from the yard, and kitchen compost that has been accumulating in my green bin since last year. The boys really enjoyed this project, especially pushing the wheelbarrow and helping me stack bricks to frame the bed. (I'm not terribly happy with what I've done...the bricks keep falling down! I'll either have to cement them together, or think of something else.)

I have two "square foot garden" boxes from previous years. The far one in the corner is filled with "Mel's Mix," soil made up of 1/3 compost, 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite. After doing that several years ago, I decided that mixing my own soil was a ridiculous expense when regular soil and compost are virtually free. The near box is filled with compost made with the "lasagna" method I mentioned above. (I have found that the box filled with homemade compost tends to have better produce, but since I've never planted the same crops in each, I can't be certain.) Both have been planted with kale, spinach, onions, peas, and lettuce, which are all cold-weather crops. I'm not sure I didn't start a little too early with them, with snow falling this week. If they don't work out, I can always replant. The boys love helping me plant. They also run around finding worms, ants, sowbugs, and other interesting creatures. 

The cardboard between the beds is there to discourage weeds. I would like to put something --wood chips? stones? --on top of the cardboard so the walkways look nicer, but we'll see if I can get something like that for free. On the positive side, the cardboard is great to kneel on as I'm working.

What about you? What stage is your garden at in your part of the world? How do you share gardening with your children?

Monday, May 5, 2014

Education is Bigger Than You Think

"Such a theory of education...must regard education, not as a shut-off compartment, but as being as much a part of life as birth or growth, marriage or work; and it must leave the pupil attached to the world at many points of contact." (Charlotte Mason, Vol. 1: Home Education, preface.)
When I think back on my childhood, I think of classical music playing from a record player, music so powerful that sometimes it brought tears to my eyes. I think of goats and sheep and pigs and geese to take care of and to love. I think of Scripture reading, and prayer, and psalm-singing, and catechism after day after day. I think of walking across the corn field and getting my boots stuck in the mud. I think of hiding behind my father's big, orange armchair, reading for hours, pretending not to hear anything else at all. I think of special picnics held in the loft of the barn. I think of my father, stirring up all of us children into doing an exciting "surprise clean-up" for my mother before she got home from her errands. I think of my first potato peelings and my first meal cooked on my own. I think of pages of dreary math problems. I think of exploring the making of music on a ridiculously bad electronic organ. And I know, have always known: it was all education. This, this is why I feel down to my toes that Charlotte Mason speaks the truth when she says "Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."

Charlotte Mason has reminded me as a mother of preschoolers that education is much broader than the three R's. Nothing magical is going to happen when Kindergarten or Grade 1 begins and I set a workbook in front of my child. There is no point at which I could possibly say, "That was just our preschool life together. Now, we are going to begin education." No, education begins at birth, and my child's preschool and school "lessons" are only part of a much larger picture. What is forming my child into the person he will become? That is his education.

Education is an Atmosphere. How is our home life forming our children? What loves are they picking up in the very air they breathe? I think of my almost-two-year-old, and how every time he hears a bird outdoors, he is instantly alert, looking for it. "Chickadee," he says, no matter what kind of bird it may be. This is because watching birds is a happy part of our everyday life. I think of my almost-four-year-old, who knows how to shape bread dough into a loaf and put it in the pan, because we love baking at our house. I think of poetry teatime, and how it is (almost) always a time of peace and joy, whether or not the boys seem to be taking anything much in at the time. I also think of ways I wish I was providing a better atmosphere (neatness and order, for one thing). But I also know we have the best thing of all: love (never mind if it's cliche...there is nothing more valuable).

Education is a Discipline. What habits and routines form our daily lives? Are we intentional about creating habits of orderliness, obedience, attention, and other things that are right and good? I think of the challenges: the vigilance I must exercise to continually form new habits, especially as obvious bad habits make new good habits necessary. I think of our family worship, how day by day we have formed the habit of taking in God's Word, singing, and praying. I think how "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it" is, like many Proverbs, a statement of the obvious...the habits we form now will stick with them for life. Sow a habit, reap a character. I think, too, of how the bad habits we form may also, but for the grace of God, stick with them for life, and pray for my blind spots.

Education is a Life. Finally, we get to the academics, but we're not talking about anything dry or uninteresting. What kind of books and ideas are forming our children's thoughts and feeding their minds? Even at this young age, it is worth thinking about...are the books we read to them good, and true, and beautiful? It is far better to read a few good books than many indifferent ones.

You may have noticed that I still haven't mentioned development of fine motor skills, and letter recognition, and socialization, things that seem so important for the preschool years these days. I think these are all just little things, don't you? Things that will be taught, simply and lovingly in the home, in the context of this atmosphere, discipline, and life.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Saturday Odds and Ends

Here's a piece of round-about (but perfectly reasonable) math from SA this week:
"Mama, 60+60=120!"
"Yes, you're right," I said.
"It's because 50+50=100, and then the 20 divided in two makes an extra 10 for each 50."
Oh, absolutely. I would never have thought of explaining it that way...

Poetry Teatime (I'm the one with the celery...)

SA has also been having a lot of fun with reading this week. This wasn't my intention, but somehow I managed to pick library books for him that really tickled his funny bone. Consider Henry and Mudge, for instance. (Just keep in mind that Mudge is a big dog, and Henry is a little boy.)
"Mudge loved Henry's room.
He loved the dirty socks. (snicker)
He loved the stuffed bear.
He loved the fish tank. (giggle)
But mostly he loved Henry's bed.
Because in Henry's bed was Henry. (gales of laughter...can hardly go on!)
Mudge loved to climb in with Henry.
Then he loved to smell him. (that was just too funny! Ha Ha Ha! Let me check, is Mama laughing too? Yep...laughing right along with you, buddy.)

I finally remembered a "JJ saying" from weeks ago. We were playing outdoors, and he had a stick in his hand. He was babbling on about the stick, and I was only half listening, when I heard:
"and then I threw the stick on the ground, but it didn't turn into a snake!"
"Oh really?" said I.
"Yes. Only Moses' stick turned into a snake."