December 31, 2012

December's Title Swap

North and South - Elizabeth Gaskell
Cranford - Elizabeth Gaskell
The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Hiding Place - Corrie Ten Boom
Boys Adrift - Dr. Leonard Sax
Girls on the Edge - Dr. Leonard Sax

December 28, 2012

What Daisy and Mrs. Weightman Have in Common

I found Daisy's quote from the Great Gatsby... it's not as eloquent as I remember.
(This is Daisy's recollection of the birth of her baby. She has also just explained to Nick that she knows that her husband has been unfaithful for years. )

"I woke up out of the ether with an utterly abandoned feeling, and asked the nurse right away if it was a boy or a girl. She told me it was a girl, and so I turned my head away and wept. "All right," I said, "I'm glad it's a girl. And I hope she'll be a fool- that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool."
This is what came to mind when we discussed Mrs. Weightman being her husband's greatest masterpiece.

November 28, 2012

November's Title Swap

The Green Smoothies Diet - Robyn Openshaw
Leon's Story - Susan L. Roth
Letters of a Nation - Andrew Carroll
Freedom Shift - Oliver DeMille
The Long Winter - Laura Ingalls Wilder
One Second After - William Forstchen
Alas Babylon - Pat Frank
Homemade Laundry Soap Link
Kandle Heater Link

The Great Levers in Our Country - Men's Hearts

"Thomas Jefferson once said that all men are created equal, a phrase that the Yankees and the distaff side of the executive branch of Washington are fond of hurling at us.  There is a tendency in this year of grace, 1935 for certain people to use this phrase out of context, to satisfy all conditions.  The most ridiculous example I can think of is that the people who run public education promote the stupid and idle along with the industrious - because all men are created equal, educators will gravely tell you, the children left behind suffer terrible feelings of inferiority.  We know all men are not created equal in the sense some people would have us believe - some people are smarter than others, some people have more opportunity because they-re born with it, some men make more money than others, some ladies make better cakes than others - some people are born gifted beyond the normal scope of most men.

"But there is one way in this country in which all men are created equal - there is one human institution that makes a pauper the equal of a Rockefeller, the stupid man the equal of an Einstein, and the ignorant man the equal of any college president. That institution, gentlemen, is a court.  It can be a the Supreme Court of the United States or the humblest J.P. court in the land, or this  honorable court which you serve.  Our courts have their faults, as does any human institution, buy in this country our courts are the great levelers, an in our courts all men are created equal.

"I'm no idealist to believe firmly in the integrity of our courts and in the jury system - that is no ideal to me, it is a living, working reality.  Gentlemen, a court is no better than each man of you sitting before me on this jury.  A court is only as sound as its jury, and a jury is only as sound as the men who make it up."

To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee in 1960
First Warner Books Printing 1982
pg. 207- 208

October 26, 2012

October's Title Swap

Secrets of a Buccaneer - Scholar by James Marcus Back
Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson
Sense and Sensibly - DVD with Emma Thompson
Hatfields and McCoys on the History Channel
How Children Learn by John Holt
Raising Up a Family to the Lord by Gene R. Cook
Girls on the Edge by Leonard Sax
Courageous, the Movie

October 24, 2012

If Juliet Had a Mentor

Marianne: “Can the soul really be satisfied with such polite affections? To love is to burn like Juliet or Guinevere, or Eloise!”
Mrs. Dashwood: “They came to rather pathetic ends, dearest.”
Marianne: “To die for love? What could be more glorious!”
-Emma Thompson, film adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility”
Marianne envied Juliet! She wanted so badly to feel a mutual passionate love for someone. Willoughby was her Romeo. Yet her end was so different. What was it that changed her mindset? She had a level-headed mentor, her sister Eleanor. Eleanor taught her sense and selflessness and forgiveness. What did Juliet have? A none-too-bright, rather crass and selfish nurse. Whilst Juliet dies for “love”, Marianne settles in with her “polite affections” and poignant love for Colonel Brandon. Had Juliet been a more sensible girl, with a decent mentor, perhaps she too could have found another love... one that would last?

Posted by Genevieve Kopping

October 3, 2012

Strageties For Learning

Approaching a classic can be overwhelming and intimidating, to say the least  -especially if you were educated in a traditional school.  There are so many different ways to learn about a new classic that can ease this process and make it more meaningful and enjoyable.  The following is a list of recommend strategies to approach learning:

Read a book.
Find a children's version or cliff notes of the story.
Use different forms of media - movie, audio CD, soundtracks...
Take notes about your thoughts as you study.
Look up vocabulary that you come across that you don't understand.
Research about the time period that the classic is set in. (Cultural Literacy)
Research at the library.
Discuss the classic with a group that meets regularly.
Do a project.
Seek help from a mentor.
Seek out a quiet, private place to think.
Take a class.
Give a presentation.
Build a model.

The most important  part of studying a classic is being patient and consistent.  To absorb a classic is a lost art.  It is difficult - but truly worth the process.  When you come face to face with the greatness that is found in these works, you can not help but become GREAT yourself.  Happy Studying!

September 25, 2012

How to Destroy the Mole of Crime

"The times has come to open other depths, the depths of horror. 
"There is beneath society, we must insist upon it, and until the day when ignorance shall be no more, there will be, the great cavern of evil.
"This cave is beneath all, and is the enemy of all. It is hate universal.  It does not undermine, in its hideous crawl, merely the social order of the time; it undermines philosophy, it undermines science, it undermines law, it undermines human thought, it undermines civilization, it undermines revolution, it undermines progress.  It goes by the naked names of theft, prostitution, murder, and assassination.  It is darkness, and it desires chaos.  It is vaulted in the with ignorance.  Destroy the cave Ignorance, and you destroy the mole of Crime."

Victor Hugo
Les Miserables 1862
Abridged Edition from Border Classics
page 289

September's Title Swap

THRIVE Cook Book
The Price We Paid by Andrew D. Olsen
A Special Kind of Hero by Chris Burke
What Happened to Justice?  by Richard Mayberry
The Other Eminent Men of Wilford Woodruff by Vickie Jo Anderson
RighStart Math Games Kit
Spell to Write and Reach Core Kit
For the Love of Learning - Amy Edwards

July 30, 2012

July's Title Swap

Little Britches (series) by Ralph Moody
Original Intent by David Barton
Whatever Happened to Penny Candy by Richard Maybury
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Then Kingdom Come Prodigal Journey by Linda Paulson Adams
A Patriot's Handbook (Cd's) by Caroline Kennedy
Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes

July 26, 2012

When Is It Time To Fight?

For book group this month, we read and discussed Patrick Henry's famous, "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" speech.  One member of our group asked, when is it time to fight?  I believe that we do everyday with the choices we make - big or small. 

For me, I am fighting for my children's right to fail in their education.  I know this sounds a little off, (OK it sounds a lot off) but with the "No Child Left Behind" legislation, we no longer have the freedom to fail when we choose to place our children into the public arena.  This is a major reason why we have chosen to home school.  Thank goodness we live in a state where home educating your children is still very simple.  I want to have the freedom to let my kids progress at a speed that is comfortable for them, not at the speed that the national average determines. 

I am fighting for my family.  To me, this is a strong marriage between a man and wife.  Everyday, my husband and I make the choices that enable us to live on only his income, so that I might be able to stay home with my children.  This means canning, gardening, and budgeting.  This also means honoring each other and raising our children unto the Lord.

There are so many choices we each make everyday that reflect our fundamental values.  Do you accept free lunches at a park regularly?  If so, is it because your children would not eat without the food?  Is it because it is a social event, and all your friends are there with you?  Or is it just an easy lunch, for you in your busy life?  Whatever the reason for eating this "free lunch," consider this:  Is it really free?  What message are you teaching your children?  Are you help or hurting the debt crisis in our nation by accepting this service that you might not actually need?  Please don't get me wrong.  I know that there are some children who would not eat without this generous program.  But I believe that many children who are enjoying these lunches, would not starve if the program stopped.

Please consider the implications of each choice we make, big or small.  It is time to fight.  Stand up for strong families.  We need them to keep what freedoms we still have.

June 22, 2012

Realizing Our Personal Legends

"The boy didn't know what a person's "Personal Legend" was. 

"It's what you have always wanted to accomplish.  Everyone, when they are young, knows what their Personal Legend is.

"At that point in their lives, everything is clear and every thing is possible.  They are not afraid to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives.  But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their Personal Legend."

pg 21 The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

This book reminded of my favorite quote from by Marianne Williamson entitled, Our Deepest Fear

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

June's Title Swap

Spell, Write, Read
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
The Overton Window by Glen Beck
Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell

June 4, 2012

Dynamic Discussion Questions

As book group members, we are going to start writing questions as we read.  The Socratic method of asking thought provoking questions helps us to dig deeper and find more meaning in our studying.  Please create a list of questions that you are willing to ask our group at our meetings.  The following is a list of ideas to help us with this process:

1.  Knowledge - What is going on?
2.  Understanding - Why did this happen?
3.  Principles - look at outcomes.  What behaviors lead to the consequences?
4.  Application - How did the characters live or break these principles?
5.  Interdisciplinary - Compare two characters from different sources?  example: compare Mr. Bennett (from Pride and Prejudice) with Mr. Stratton (from Laddie).

Keep in mind that the main purpose of continuing our education is to seek out WISDOM and VIRTUE through reading the classics.

May 19, 2012

The Moral Fiber of Huck Finn

"All right, then I'll go to hell" -- and tore it up.

"It was awful thoughts and awful words, but they was said.  And I let them stay said; and never thought no more about reforming.  I shoved the whole thing out of my head, and said I would take up wickedness again, which was in my line, being brung up to it, and the other warn't.  And for a starter I would go to work and steal Jim out of slavery again; and if I could think up anything worse, I would do that, too; because as long as I was in, and in for good, I might as well go the whole hog."

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
By Mark Twain.
pg. 206 (Bantam Books)

May 18, 2012

May's Title Swap

Stop Stealing Dreams - Seth Godin
The Holy Temple - Boyd K. Packer
A Patriot's Handbook CD set - Caroline Kennedy
Teach Your Own - John Holt
The Glass Castle - Jeannette Walls

April 22, 2012

April's Title Swap

Bringing Up Bebe' - Pamela Druckerman
50 Veteran Homeschoolers Share ..."Things We Wish We'd Known."  - Diana Waring
Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands - Dr. Laura
Proper Card and Feeding of Marriage - Dr. Laura
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter Sweet - Jamie Ford
Dancing Under the Red Star - Margaret Werner

March 30, 2012

The Hunger Games of the 1860's on Americian Soil

If you wanted to watch a movie in the theaters right now, "The Hunger Games" would be consider THE MOVIE to go to!  Although I have not seen it yet, I do plan to go next week with my husband.  I was sucked into Suzanne Collins' trilogy that the movie is based on, and read it in less than a week.  These books have crossed all generational boundaries with it's plot and underlying themes.

As "The Hunger Games" hit the theaters this last night month, the theology behind the story as become very controversial, with many speaking out against it's violence and oppressive tactics.  But using hunger and depriving a people of their basic needs to suppress them is not a new tactic.  This became startling clear to me has I read "Gone With the Wind" by Margret Mitchell. 

During the American Civil War in the 1860's, the main reason the North was able to beat the South was the blockading, burning and pillaging that the Union troops did to the common citizens of the Confederate families.  The North basically played a huge "Hunger Game" with the South.  The Union left the Confederates so starved, depleted, and without any resources to met their basic needs that they had no strength left to fight.  This war almost wiped out a complete generation of Southern men. 

Yet when we talk about the American Civil War in our history classes and books, we do not feel that starving the Confederates into submission was inappropriate at all.  We had to do whatever it took to bring the South down on it's knees to free the black slaves.  We as Americans, give our stamp of approval to the "Hunger Games" that were played on the Confederate Southern citizens. 

Reading "Gone With the Wind" also brought to light how difficult the reconstruction of the South was.  The North striped all Confederates citizens of their rights - to vote, to protect their families, to hold professional jobs and the right to have a fair trial in a court of law.  The actual "Hunger Games" continued well into the following decades after the war was officially over.  The North wanted to make sure that the South stayed down on its knees for years to come - and it work, they did.

If we do not learn from of our nation's past mistakes, history has a way of repeating itself.  Why does this modern fiction of "The Hunger Games" cross all generational boundaries today?  Because our current society in America is on a collision course to a major crisis.  We all feel it at some level.  What are we going to do when it hits?  Will our freedoms prevail?  Or are we destined to relive the horror that the South experienced in the 1860's.  What will our own "Hunger Games" look like?  Are you ready....

March's Title Swap

Between Parent and Child - Dr. Haim G. GinottHow to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk - Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
How to Talk so Kids can Learn at Home and School - Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
The Courage of Sarah Noble - Alice Dalgliesh
The Bears on Hemlock Mountain - Alice Dalgliesh
Sounder - William H. Armstrong
DIY Projects for the Self- Sufficient Homeowner
Lost Laysen - Margaret Mitchell
Becoming George Washington - Glenn Beck
The Foundation Trilogy - Isaac Asimov

February 21, 2012

Outliers: The Story of Success

"Superstar lawyers and math whizzes and software entrepreneurs appear at first blush to lie outside ordinary experience. But they don't.  They are products of history and community, of opportunity and legacy.  Their success is not execptional or mysterious.  It is grounded in a web of advatages and inhertiances, some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky - but all criticial to making them who they are.  The outlier, in the end, is not an outlier at all."

pg. 285

January 25, 2012

Salt Lake City 2012 Thomas Jefferson Education Family Forum

Come to the Salt Lake City 2012 Thomas Jefferson Education Family Forum.  Click here for more information.

I am putting together a group who are attending the conference.  If you are interested in carpooling down and/or sharing a hotel, let me know.

January 21, 2012

January's Title Swap

The Fourth Turning - William Strauss and Neil Howe
Financial Peace - Dave Ramsey
Royal Path of Life - T. L. Haines and L. W. Yaggy
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot
The 5 Love Languages of Children - Gary D. Chapman,Ross Campbell
Democracy in America, part 2 - Alexis de Tocqueville
Hitler's Private Library: The Books That Shaped His Life - Timothy Ryback
The Read -Aloud Handbook - Jim Trelease
Carnival of the Animals (music) - Saint Saens
The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (music) - Britten
The Christmas Card (dvd)

Why Educate Mothers

"...the education of the common girl ...should be as varied and perfect as possible.  If for no other reason to enable her properly to educate and rear her own children.  Whatever grand truths are planted in the mother's mind take root in the next generation, and there grow, blossom, and shed their perfume on the world.

"The child receives the mother's very thought by intuition.  If the mother's mind is weak and narrow in range, the child is affected by this fact long before it finds any meaning in the mother's words.  But if the mother's mind is cultured and refined by study until  her thoughts are grand and far-reaching, the child's soul will grow and expand under the mesmeric influence of these thoughts, as the plant grows under the influence of the sun."

pg. 112 - 113
Volume 1