Saturday, December 21, 2013

Saturday Commonplaces 4

A collection of random thoughts and happenings from my week.

Outdoor Time Log
We did better than the last two weeks, but still did not meet our target of 10 hours. We still have today, though the forecast is calling for 6-8 hours worth of ice rain. I'm hoping to clear a bit more snow before then, as the family vehicle is still snowed in since Wednesday's snowstorm.
Sun. Snowstorm, 0 Hours
Mon. .5 Hour
Tue. 1.5 Hours
Wed. Snowstorm, 1 Hour
Thu. 1.5 Hours
Fri. 2 Hours
So that's a total of 6.5 Hours this week. Hopefully I can bump it up to 7.5 today.

Adventures of a Baby in the Snow
MM is 17 months old now. It has been a real challenge for me to take him to play outside with the boys, and not just because the snow has been deep enough to bury him up to his neck the last few days. The child will not keep his mittens on. I put them on, he takes them off. I put them on. He takes them off. I leave them off, hoping he will notice his hands getting cold and want them back on. His hands get cold. He cries. I put the mittens back on. He takes them off. He cries more. This is not an issue a cord between the mittens will fix. True, the cord keeps him from losing them, but not from taking them off in the first place. So, being a mom of the 21st Century, I googled "keeping mittens on a toddler." And the solution is...(drum roll please): DUCT TAPE!!! I couldn't find any around, but I found a roll of Tuck Tape (the red kind). For our second time outside today, I put his mittens on, then taped around his wrists. It didn't quite keep him from taking his mittens off, but it sure kept him busy. It also took him a lot longer to get them off, so I could do more shoveling.

Anyway, with the "crying-because-my-hands-are-cold" off the table as an excuse to go back inside, he had to come up with something else once he was tired of being outside. And he did. About an hour after we went outside, he came and looked up at me.
"Pee-pee," he said loudly.
I looked at him. "Do you need a clean diaper?"
He deliberately nodded his head. Then, for good measure, he pointed to his diaper area and squatted.
I had a feeling I was being manipulated, but since it was getting dark as well, we went inside.

On Music
I watched a music documentary on Netflix last week called "Herbie Hancock: Possibilities." Now I'm not normally a jazz fan (Classical, folk, and blues are more my style), but I really enjoyed it. It's a documentary of Herbie Hancock's collaboration with a number of different artists, including Carlos Santana and Angelique Kidjo, Sting, and Paul Simon, and Christina Aguilera. My favourite was Annie Lennox singing Paula Cole's "Hush, Hush, Hush." If you are into music, you might enjoy this documentary. I love how really good musicians continue to grow and try new things as they age. People like Paul Simon, Eric Clapton, James Taylor, to name a few, just seem to get better and better.

Also on music, we have been continuing to watch Handel's Messiah on YouTube. Now that it's part of the routine, SA always makes sure we listen to our "Christmas music." Yesterday after we watched, I asked them if maybe they'd like to play the violin someday. SA had to think about it (Which one is the violin, anyway? No, Stephen and I have not been playing our violins enough in recent years.), but JJ was off like a shot to get one of Stephen's violins. I tuned it up and helped each of them hold it in turn. Of course it was much too big for them. SA produced the squawks and squeaks you'd expect from someone holding a violin for the first time. Surprisingly, though, JJ had amazing control of his bow hand, and not only had beautiful tone, but played each open string as he pleased. I still don't know for sure that he's not tone deaf (He doesn't sing on key), but if he's not, playing the violin may turn out to be something that comes easily for him. We'll see.

On Fancy
SA came out with something quite imaginative yesterday. I know many kids (especially girls?) have great imaginations, but SA isn't really given to flights of fancy.
"Mama, Mango (our cat) wanted to go outside, and I let him outside. I said to him, 'Mango, if you see a wolf outside, climb up into a high tree, higher than the wolf, so that the wolf can't get you.'"

On a Charlotte Mason Education
I have never intended to give my children a classical education. Classical homeschoolers have always intimidated me. The academic rigour, the trivium, the Latin and all sounded like too much, and quite frankly, not my style. Give me Charlotte Mason, I thought...a gentle approach, yet one that is broad and rich and takes the child's personality and interests deliberately into account. However, I'm starting to realize that a Charlotte Mason education is a classical education. Last week I read this article by Andrew Kern on classical education and realized that all of the key attributes he claims for a classical Christian education are also true of a Charlotte Mason education. There are differences in the practicalities, but I think that the roots are the same.


  1. I love your mitten problems, and your solution. It brings back memories.

    Yes, CM gets the results Classical Ed is looking for and does so in a much more enjoyable and effective way. As our kids got older, we switched more to formal classical work, because I'm unable to teach CM at high school level since I've never had a classical education myself. But for anyone under 12, CM is 1000 times better.

    I always remember: Charlotte Mason herself was an educator all her life; none of the Classical Ed proponents had as much experience with children as she did. She understood children.

    One thing I wish I had done as a young mom: prepared myself to teach classical literature from a CM point of view. But of course, like all young moms, I had no time.

    Merry Christmas to you!

  2. Merry Christmas to you as well. I really appreciate more experienced homeschool moms like yourself stopping by to encourage a new homeschooler. You are a blessing.

  3. Yay! I got my outdoor time up to 9 hours! Still not quite where I aimed, but close.