Saturday, April 26, 2008

Back in Time...a Retrospective on Narration

Hi folks...thanks to a CCM member, this 10 year old post (!!!) of mine has been resurrected! I really am laughing about this, as the info and opinion remain true. I hope you enjoy these thoughts!

>> I have a few thoughts on reading and narration. My oldest (8) has
always loved reading. She reads everything, and just pointed out the fact
that, for her, reading is very automatic...when she sees a sign or
billboard she says she cannot help but read it . When I started the CM
education thing, asking her to tell me about what she had read, it was
torture for us. I knew she understood what she was reading (or, at lest I figured
she must...why would anyone read the rich writings of Lewis, Nesbit,
etc. if she didn't understand what she was reading?), but she didn't seem to be
interested in spewing the info back at me. Reading is far too personal, and
I believe that she felt I was invading. Moreover, she felt that I really didn't want to know what was in the story, but wanted to test her knowledge as though I did not trust in her ability to read.

Narration, as I read about it in CM's books, has always seemed a bit stiff and unnatural. Karen Andreola told me that one of her children dislikes narration, and that narration has to be drawn out of this child with a series of questions from "Mom." Uggh! This is exactly what I don't want.
Rather, I prefer a natural, one-to-one conversation about a book(or anything). We have no set time, no schedule for this, it just comes naturally in the course of a day. My second oldest (6) lives to tell me what he has just read, while my oldest is just beginning to see the pleasure
of literary discussions. Our narrations now resemble a book club meeting (sans Oprah!!).

Sometimes, I catch them "narrating" to other children. At music lessons one day, the kids were talking about the book The Five Chinese Brothers . The children (waiting for various lessons in the hallway) ranged in age from 4-8, and all of them had read the book. They talked through the story, making sure they got the whole thing straight, then they started making up more "Chinese brothers," each with his own life-saving attribute. This is one of those moments when I see the fruits of the CM method, and sigh.

Relationships abound in our home, and one of the greatest links is our style of narration. In nature study, we compare notebooks for ideas, not to determine who is the better artist (a relief to my artistically impaired ego). We draw what we see, and often get ideas from one another. "What a great shade of green," says one child. "That is exactly the color of the beetle's shell!" or "Hey, I didn't notice that antenna on the slug. Let me look again."

Sound Idyllic? It doesn't always happen this way, but this is our goal. No quizzing. No contrived questions. They talk, I listen; we all learn.<<

Of course, the children are quite a bit bigger now. That 8 year old will start college in the fall, and the 6 year old is a sophomore in a rigorous college preparatory Catholic high school. (Where does the time go?) We consistently used the above method throughout their time at home, and the younger kids (14 and 12) still narrate in a very conversational way. Fun and painless, our narration modifications have served everyone well!

Friday, April 25, 2008

More Good News

This is great...

A lovely girl, who knows Libby from a summer music program, who is also a Catholic homeschooler, has asked to be Libby's roommate at college! Libby agreed immediately. They don't know each other well, but they both share the same values, as we saw when they both decided on the girls' only floor (there is only one residence hall).

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Enthused by the Banal

I just heard a well-intentioned caller on EWTN describe the experience of her Montessori class watching the Papal Mass in DC. The children were crowded 'round a computer, she tells us, and rather bored...until they heard a Marty Haugen song that was familiar to them. She marveled with the class, and reinforced to the children how "Catholic" it was to hear this familiar song.

I wanted to cry. Imagine growing up thinking that this is Catholic music, and having that idea reinforced by a teacher.

Fact (paraphrased from one of Libby's college application essays--she directs the children's choir; she knows what she is talking about): It is just as easy to teach a child to sing "Agnus Dei" as it is to teach him "Gather Us In." Maybe...easier. Why compromise? Can our Catholic children only understand the latter? As for the former, it only takes a second for a child to realize that this is the familiar "Lamb of God." Why not give our children real Catholic music?

Interested? Just a little?

Via (<- Latin word alert!!) Facebook, I found this group of dedicated Catholics:

Society for a Moratorium on the Music of
Marty Haugen and David Haas

Monday, April 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Paul!

Paul chose to go to the New York Aquarium for his birthday, where he had a close encounter with an octopus. Good times.

Mores photos here.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Cedar Waxwings

These are a few of the flock that flew in this afternoon. Beautiful!

Aussie Shampoo?

Circe needed a bath...not quite as badly as Harry, but she really did need one. Paul could not find the dog shampoo, but saw his sisters' Aussie Shampoo. Hmmm. It says "Aussie" so it must be OK for Australian shepherds.

Then he found the Aussie conditioner...

We now have a very fluffy pup with no split ends. And she smells great. Now if only she were more manageable.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

She's IN!

When Libby was three, she came into my room at 6 am and woke me up by playing "Go Tell Aunt Rhody" on her violin. She had just made the critical discovery that she could play many of her Suzuki tape pieces with the notes she had already learned. That was the morning that I first thought, "She will never have any trouble making a living."

Soon after that, we decided to unschool her. Fast-forward 14 years. This is her "senior" year at home...not that she's ever home. ;)

Monday, she got THE CALL from The Juilliard School. She's in the class of 2012.

At least she'll be nearby!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

College Tally So Far

Applied: 8
Accepted: 4 0r 5, depending on a professional courtesy discussion going on now.
Rejected: 1 (hey, they only had 9 openings)
Waitlisted: 1
Still waiting to hear from: 1

And it looks like she has a very hard decision...that must be made by May 1st.

Come Holy Spirit...

ETA: Final tally...
Accepted: 5
Waitlisted: 2 (as a result of the courtesy call; the perfect result in the end because the decision would have been impossible to make)
Rejected: 1.

FWIW, this is the same or better result than her schooled friends. Unschooling works!