War and peace

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life. —Francis of Assisi

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The cult of family

Recently, I shared a blog piece to Facebook. It wasn’t anything I had written, and honestly, the topic doesn’t matter. In the course of the ensuing discussion, however, an interesting (to me) theme developed that was finally succinctly summed up in a single phrase by a friend— the cult of family.

The idea, as I began to understand it, is that it’s a bad thing to be too family centered. (I’m not entirely sure who gets to define “too family centered.”) Apparently, large families are among the worst offenders. I’m guessing that the whole idea springs from the abuses of the Quiverfull movement, which are many, but I truly can’t be sure.

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To whom are you accountable?

Every state has it’s own legal codes surrounding homeschooling. It’s our job to give unto Caesar and be sure we’re compliant. This year, I’ve put extra hours into researching the laws in our state, checking and double checking to be sure that Mathaus has met the  requirements for graduation. (No worries there— he already exceeded them.) I take my administrative role seriously. I maintain thorough transcripts for my high schoolers, and I keep detailed portfolios and records for my younger students. If the state says I need to register with an umbrella school, I do it. If I have to provide a semester of state history, I do it. If I’m supposed to give a test once a year, I do it.

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How to feed the hero-hungry soul of a child (with books/history/biographies)

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Every once in a while, someone says something so profound within earshot that your soul can’t help but nod in agreement, highlighting the words, drawing your attention to the truth with an intellectual vigor akin to being grabbed by the cheeks, forced to gaze into serious eyes and demanding, “Are you listening?” I had this experience recently at the Charlotte Mason Institute East National Conference, where Dick Keyes of L’Abri Fellowship spoke on the importance of giving our children a deep well of hero culture from which to drink.

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Moment by moment

We are living, right now, this moment, in a brave new world. No, it’s not the literary nightmare Huxley imagined in 1932. It’s a different kind of new world; an ongoing experiment for which we’ve all complicity signed on. If a scientist were to sit down and formulate a hypothesis, this starting point for his wonderings would be this:

What is the outcome when parents are physically present but chronically distracted, engaged elsewhere for large portions of the day and unable/unwilling to participate in what was once considered normal family life?

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Peaches

The calendar says that July is mostly gone. That means that time is snowballing here, hurtling toward the end of summer with the same reckless abandon my two year-old has when it comes to piloting a wooden train around a track. The harvest is stacking up in baskets and even wheelbarrows in the barn, and my husband is sending me texts making sure he’s got the right sort of dill for making pickles. We’re in use it or lose it mode, and it shows.

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Tractors and Hay

On Thursday, the 13th, the “feels like” section of my favorite weather app said that I was experiencing the equivalent of 96 degrees due to humidity and UV concentration. I was ready to believe it. For the past week the heat had been steadily increasing into one sweltering whirl. Continue reading