Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Learning Seems to Far Away

I guess there is a season for everything. Learning, the kind that adults do, the kind that directs your days, involves your thoughts, delight your senses, guides your passions. That kind of learning seems so far away. Now life is full of driving, scheduling, meeting, talking. Not a moment to think. Not a moment to reflect. Not a moment to let the experiences of everyday sink in and be turned into some kind of learning...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A Life In Two Phases

I just finished reading Tennyson: an Illustrated Life. As I finished the book the fact that stayed with me is how neatly his life can be divided in two phases hinged on the year 1850. That year his life changed dramatically: he published his poem In Memoriam which had been written as a response to the death of his close friend Arthur Hallam; he was named Poet Laureate and most importantly, he got married. The author of the book (the name escapes me now) talks about how Emily, his bride, had brought stability to his life. This second phase of his life was not plagued by insecurities, fears, anxieties, hypochondria, depression. This year seem that have put a lot of these to rest and he went on to live a long productive life.
It made me think of the role of a wife in the life of her husband. I would like to know more about their relationship. How did she manage to help him? Was her influence really important or would success and age have accomplished the same results? What kind of woman was Emily Tennyson?

Thursday, February 8, 2007


I was thinking yesterday about my ordinary life. My so common life, my anonymous life. I am destined to be ordinary, common. Nothing rises me up above it. I am an ordinary woman living an ordinary life. Nothing distinguishes me from the person next door.There are millions of people like me, not known, going about their business.

What does ordinary means? The dictionary defines it like this:
  1. Commonly encountered; usual.
  2. Occurring with regularity or periodically, normal.
  3. Average in rank or merit; of not exceptional degree or quality, commonplace.
I don't have a problem with normal, periodical, regular, usual. It is the third definition I fear.I don't want to be average or of not exceptional quality. I want to be the best I can be. I want to strive for excellence. I want to be known. I want to be good at something. I want to find my niche in life. I want to make a difference. I want to expand my territory, enlarge my tent.
How can I do that in the mist of the "ordinary" of my life? I think of the Ordinary Time of the Liturgical Year. It is the longest time of the year. We can't feast year round. We need time to recollect, to meditate, to incubate, to ferment, to be. But the Ordinary Time is not dull or boring. It seems to affirm what was learned and lived during the special seasons.
How do I reconcile the life I live, which is the life that I believe I am called to live at this time, with the desires of my heart? Is this restlessness God given or is it something to calm down at all costs, something to ignore,repress, hope it would go away?
Is ordinary something to rebel against or is it something to embrace?

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Lord Alfred Tennyson

Not being an American or a Native English speaker there are many famous literary figures that I, either not know or only know superficially. One of them is Lord Alfred Tennyson.
My 13 yo daughter was reading some of his poems as part of the Ambleside Online poetry study. She had a strong reaction to the poems. She didn't like them. She complained that they didn't rhyme. I suspect she didn't understand them and couldn't relate to them. His poems seem to evoke strong feelings and I think those feelings are foreign to her.
I decided to take on the study she had started. My reaction was different. I liked the poems I read. But I need some context to place the poems in. So I have started a Tennyson study for myself.
Here are some websites with biographical information here and here. Our library has a book by Harold Bloom on Tennyson which I just requested. Hopefully I can write some of what I learn.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Planning Routine

I loved Dawn's posts on planning . It makes so much sense to have a routine. This week I have been able to consolidate the bulk of my dc's outside activities into two days, Tuesday and Thursday. That frees Wednesday for planning purposes. I'll try this and see how it works.
This is what I am thinking about next week:

  • History:
    • Read chapter on Mexican Independence from Story of the World Vol3.
    • Read chapter on Miguel Hidalgo from Fifteen Famous Latin Americans.
  • Geography
    • Review countries and capitals of South America.
  • English
  • Spanish
    • G:
      • continue her current work on So You Really Want to Learn Spanish
    • A:
      • Play Combinaciones
      • Review vocabulary from the previous units before he goes on to the next.
  • Math
    • G: continue her current work on Teaching Texbooks
    • A: read chapter from How Math Works about presenting data.
  • Latin
    • G: continue Henle I through Memoria Press.
    • A: I am not sure what to do with A. at this point. He doesn't seem to be grasping the concepts from Latina Christiana. I don't know if I should continue, try something else or simply abandon Latin until he is older. Maybe I should just do some Latin and Greek roots and play Rummy Roots with him. Or maybe look into some other program for him. I am not sure at this point.
  • Science
    • G: continue her regular course work
    • A:
  • Reading
    • G:
      • continues her reading of Treasure Island
      • continues her reading of A Philadelphia Catholic in King James Court
    • A:
      • continues The Seventeenth Swap
      • continues Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
  • Art
    • continue study of Vermeer - I need to find out more about picture study
  • Music
    • continue study of Elgar

Monday, January 29, 2007

January 29 to February 2nd

This week we will:
  • Look through some books about the different South American countries.
  • Read about Jose de San Martin. The kids will take notes as I read.
  • Continue our study of Vermeer-We will look at this tutorial for the picture Woman Holding a balance.
  • We have several prints of Vermeer. We would look at them and try to identify common elements. We will also pick one of the paintings and narrate it.
  • Continue our study of Edward Elgar (see sidebar for links)
  • Do the work require for the Journey North Mystery Class
  • Continue our reading of the retelling of Comedy of Errors.

Friday, January 26, 2007


This is what we did today:
  • Clean house: a good habit we have been able to establish in our house this school year has been our Home Blessing Hour - a la Flylady.
  • Watch the second part of the Jacqueline du Pre dvd (Jacqueline du Pre: a Portrait)
  • Watch Great Artists vol.5- we watched the section on Vermeer.
  • Read Johannes Vermeer by Mike Venezia.
  • Went to Co-op.
All in all it was a good day.

Clarifying My Ideas

I have been struggling with what I want this blog to be. I seem to function better when I consolidate. I am thinking that this blog would be a place where I think, where I record, where I discuss, where I list. El Pan Nuestro de Cada dia refers to my daily sustenance, the Lord, but it also refers to the ideas I feed on. In a given day tons of thoughts cross my mind. Some are important some are not. Some deserve to have follow up, some don't. Some have to do with our homeschool, some are related to my own education. But regardless of importance, I think ideas and thoughts deserve attention. And that is what I want to use this blog for : to pay attention to my thoughts and to learn how to share them.
I am also using this blog to enter the 21st century. It is my learning tool, my way to keep in touch with modern times and my way to learn about them.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


  • Got up on time
  • Prayed Morning Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours. I am trying to make it a habit: morning an night prayers.
  • During Breakfast: Finish the chapter on The Baptism of Clovis from Ten Dates Every Catholic Should Know.
  • Block 1: G. and A. work independently. In the meantime I do reading with N. and try to get some chores done. At this time I try to get a head start on lunch and dinner as well as put a load of laundry in the washer.
  • Block 2: Read the chapter on Simón Bolívar from Fifteen Famous Latin Americans. Made the kids right down one sentence after each paragraph.
  • Noon: stop for lunch (scramble eggs, homemade bread, carrots and fruit)
  • Took G. to the Ballet Studio for the class for preschoolers she helps to teach. While we waited I read a chapter from Children's Homer.
  • After we got home I read a couple of chapters of our read-aloud, The Long Winter.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Week of Jan 22nd to Jan 27th

This is what we have planned for this week:

  1. Christian Studies lesson 7 (Monday and Tuesday)
  2. Catholic History chapter 3 (Wednesday and Thursday)

  1. Finish book about Toussaint L'Overture.
  2. Do notebook page and place in the book of centuries
  3. Transition to South America and Bolivar
  4. Read Story of the World chapter 34 and do map work
(note to self-look for some books about South America, look for some online activities to learn countries and capitals, search for Geography Songs tape to use next week)

  1. Introduce Vermeer
  2. Show first print Woman Holding a Balance
  3. Go through internet tutorial of this painting
  4. If it arrives to the library watch tape on Vermeer
  1. Finish watching Jacqueline du Pre's tape
  2. Find a biography of Edward Elgar and make a notebook page
  3. Listen to Elgar's music purchased on I tunes
  1. Begin reading Comedy of Errors

Our daily Bread

That is the title of this new blog. It is only a way of organizing my thoughts about school and keep a diary of what we actually do. I have the bad habit of planning school on loose bits of paper. The result I can never find the papers when I need them. I am hoping that this blog would help me consolidate my planning.