Sunday, August 31, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
Mona Charen wrote this today on the National Review message board about Sarah Palin
But she is also the opposite of the America Obama sketched last night. He wants us all to think of ourselves as broken, beaten, and in need of government help. He caricatures the conservative message as "You're on your own." Palin, of Alaska, still carries the spark of the frontier, the independence, and the spunk.
That sums up what I see as the "2 Americas." There are people who need help, and we should help them But the rest of us need to get off our tails and revive the "spark of the frontier."
We are studying 1730 - 1850 this year. I cannot wait to delve into all the great American stories with my children. I want to emphasise the American can-do spirit, pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps. Yes, people in our country have done wrong, but that should not be the basis for an american history course. I want to emphasise the good, and the people and stories who exemplify the true American Spirit. I want my daughters to be compassionate women; I want them to see public service as their Christian duty. I also want them to have "the spark of the frontier, the independence, and the spunk."
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
I saw this review of a new movie based on my favorite novel, "Brideshead Revisited," on the Catholic Exchange. This review is by Chuck Colson.
"On the surface, with its period settings and costumes, the new film Brideshead Revisited looks like a faithful adaptation of the classic novel by Evelyn Waugh. Underneath, it is anything but faithful. On the contrary, it presents a deeply flawed and inaccurate picture of the Christian faith that Waugh embraced.
Brideshead Revisited tells the story of the wealthy Flyte family as seen through the eyes of Charles Ryder, who attends Oxford with the troubled young Sebastian Flyte. Charles is an agnostic who cannot understand the Flytes’ Catholic faith and the strong influence it has over all of them, even over the family members who rebel against it.
Even though these rebellious ones often seem happy, fulfilled, and free from restrictions, there is still something in them that craves the simple belief in God that they knew in their childhood. The book is ultimately the story of those lost family members gradually returning one by one to the Church. In the end, even the agnostic Charles finds himself drawn to the faith.
As Waugh wrote, Brideshead “deals with what is theologically termed ‘the operation of Grace,’ that is to say, the unmerited and unilateral act of love by which God continually calls souls to Himself.” In short, grace and faith are at the very heart of the story.
But the movie makers seemed determined to do everything they could to undermine what Evelyn Waugh was trying to say. Original screenwriter Andrew Davies made headlines when he remarked that God would be the “villain” of his adaptation. Davies was later replaced by another writer, Jeremy Brock, who announced that God would not be the villain, but “theology” would. The story, to him, was largely about “religious guilt.”
True to Brock’s words, the film paints a very different picture of the Catholic faith than Waugh did. The religion of grace that he portrayed so powerfully in his novel is now shown in the movie as stifling and oppressive. Waugh was honest in his depiction of devout Christians as three-dimensional individuals with both faults and virtues, but the film portrays them as outright villains and fools.
The end of the book has Charles Ryder praying in the chapel at Brideshead. The film shows no such scene. Instead, it ends with Charles almost snuffing out the candle burning before the altar, then thinking better of it and walking away. Maybe that is the filmmaker’s way of showing at least a grudging respect for religion. But given the film’s poisonous portrayal of the Flyte family’s faith, I doubt it.
As Barbara Nicolosi of the Christian filmmakers’ program Act One puts it, “Every scene in the movie had the settings from the book, but with a twisted heart.”
Even the New York Times got it right in its review of the movie. And I quote: “In Waugh’s book . . . religious commitments and social relations were part of a thickly detailed, complicated and ancient lived reality. . . [T]his is what makes ‘Brideshead Revisited’ live and breathe as a novel. None of it registers with any force in this lazy, complacent film, which takes the novel’s name in vain.”
That is why the film is not worth your time. If your friends invite you to see the movie, instead invite them to read the book with you . . . so you can remind them that the Christian faith is not about guilt, but about grace."
I am pretty satisfied with First Language Lessons 3 and will probably go on the FLL4. But I noticed that there is no instruction on paragraphs (in FLL3). So I think we will spend some time on the paragraph instruction in Rod and Staff 3. It looks really good: pick the sentence that does not belong, write the sentences in order, etc. We need to bump Nutmeg's narration/dictation up a notch, and R&S might do the trick.
Why I am I blogging at 10 am on a Wednesday? Casey (MommyLawyer's daughter) is spending the day with us. I intend to do some sort of schooling, but right now they are engrossed in the keyboard. I had them both practice piano after breakfast, and then they started experimenting with the various sounds and rhythms on the keyboard. Oh, now I am being called in for the "grand finale."
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Wow! We love this macaroni and cheese! I made it today - we needed comfort food with all this terrible weather. Nutmeg was not crazy about it, but she's a kid who doesn't much care for macaroni or pizza if you can believe it. This is REAL macaroni and cheese - but it does have an interesting twist. You would never know.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
I have been working on Elizabethan Garden Sampler again this weekend. I took a cross stitch break after I decided it would be a great idea to paint my nails next to my cross stitching basket. :( I can salvage the Coffin Buzz with a little creativity!
My little Nutmeg is sick today. This rarely happens and it always surprises me. The Chipmunk is frequently sick - probably because she licks grocery carts, the beluga whale tank at the aquarium.... Nutmeg was hospitalized for two weeks when she was 7 days old. She was born with a blocked tear duct. It took several doctors a long time to figure out that fairly common problem. She got spinal meningitis. She was so pumped full of anti-biotics, we always joked she would never get sick again - and that is just about the truth! So today I will pump her full of liquids and Motrin. And yes, Mom, I will take her to the doctor tomorrow! ;)
Friday, August 22, 2008
I am not sure if it safe to say I survived this week. I have just recovered from a meltdown of my own, to say nothing of The Chipmunk's meltdowns this week. This was the first week we had everything. We could do everything when it was just Nutmeg, and we did. Now I want The Chipmunk to have the same opportunities, even though all those opportunities are 45 minutes away. I can get them to their activities, but the extras ??!?!?!?! This morning was "Water Day" at pre-school.
Of course I went. Nutmeg wanted to see some of the older siblings she went to pre-school with, and of course I wanted to see my little monkey-grabber-champion dominate the toe fishing event! This evening (right this very minute) is a swim team banquet. I got some food ready, got myself ready, and then The Chipmink had a meltdown about shoes. My parents say I should have let her wear the way-too-small shoes and learn for herself why mommy said no. But, I was and am exhausted! I said we are staying home and the girls seem fine with that. But I feel guilty. But we are supposed to say no and not do so much, right? Argh!
We did our blubber experiment and read lots of great books about Russia. We also had some timely discussions about the former soviet states. Whenever I hear someone question a young child studying history instead of "social studies/current events," I laugh. The study of history, the context of history is the only way to study social studies or current events. This week we were studying Peter the Great. Old timer, right? Dead guy, right? But that was the first time Russia had its big clash with the West!! So we talked about it - about what happened then and what is happening now. The current russian flag was first used by old Pete. Just wait til we study global warming in the context of history!! ;)
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Well, we finally got to the much anticipated Blubber experiment. It turned out to be a twofer. The kids were a bit grossed out when we told them this was an example of hydrogentaed fat that is in many foods! They all said they could tell which hand was warmer under the ice water.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
New rules for grading in Texas: •Homework grades should be given only when the grades will "raise a student's average, not lower it." •Teachers must accept overdue assignments, and their principal will decide whether students are to be penalized for missing deadlines. •Students who flunk tests can retake the exam and keep the higher grade. •Teachers cannot give a zero on an assignment unless they call parents and make "efforts to assist students in completing the work." •High school teachers who fail more than 20 percent of their students will need to develop a professional improvement plan and will be monitored by their principals. For middle school the rate is 15 percent; for elementary it's 10 percent.
•Homework grades should be given only when the grades will "raise a student's average, not lower it."
•Teachers must accept overdue assignments, and their principal will decide whether students are to be penalized for missing deadlines.
•Students who flunk tests can retake the exam and keep the higher grade.
•Teachers cannot give a zero on an assignment unless they call parents and make "efforts to assist students in completing the work."
•High school teachers who fail more than 20 percent of their students will need to develop a professional improvement plan and will be monitored by their principals. For middle school the rate is 15 percent; for elementary it's 10 percent.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
Wow! This has been our first solid week back! Both girls had ballet; The Chipmunk had 5-day preschool; I went to two piano parent orientation classes; Nutmeg got it into her head that we were back on a 4/5-day homeschool schedule - Whew! And swimming does not start back until next week! And my husband just let me know he downloaded his voice recorder so I can get started on the August billing!! And I cleaned the Chipmunk's room from top to bottom!! What a week! And next week promises to be even more.....full. Well , we did manage to get some homeschool in. Nutmeg hit all her basic subjects Math, Spelling, Reading Aloud, Grammar, Explode the Code. We are going to try to stick to History on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Science on Monday and Wednesday and leave Friday to continue whichever . Let me say that I cannot imagine covering Latina Christiana without having done Prima Latina!! Nutmeg still loves the DVDs. She read Matilda recently and I wonder if she sees Mrs. Leigh as Miss Honey.
I am back in full-swing with the library books!! A person who does not know me checked my books out yesterday. "You have sixteen books still out." He was looking at me. I looked back and tried to figure out his eyebrows. After a few minutes, I realized he was waiting for a response. "Yes," I said. He spent quite a lot of my time looking the books up on the computer and telling me the due dates. "Yes," I repeated, "I manage all that on my computer at home." He seemed way too concerned about 16 books! I kept seeing other librarians walk by. They would wave at me and smile. I wanted to shout, "Why don't you rescue me! Tell him who I am! I am the woman who always checks out to the limit of her card and her daughter's. I am the woman you call and say 'come pick up your holds because we need the shelf space.'" SIXTEEN books! Oh please!
Oh, and I am pretty stressed out right now about genitive nouns. Are they adjectives or nouns??????