Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Notes, Quotes, Links, and More ~ Part 1

This is the first post in a series containing various information from my CC Parent Practicum speaking notes for those interested. If you attended the practicum and have questions or requests for specific information, please leave me a message in the comments or email me at heidi (at) poetsgarden (dot) com.

Classical, Christian Education

A good introduction to the form of Classical Education:

What is a Classical Christian Education? @ Family. Your Way.

The Lost Tools of Learning by Dorothy Sayers (the complete essay)

Leigh Bortins and Andrew Kern discussing the seven liberal arts with a focus on the quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy). Phenomenal.



The best article I have read about the mathematics within the framework of classical education (don’t miss this one!):

The Purpose of Mathematics in a Classical Education by Thomas Teloar @ The Imaginative Conservative

“The study of mathematics should instill in students an ever-increasing sense of wonder and awe at the profound way in which the world displays order, pattern, and relation. Mathematics is studied not because it is first useful and then beautiful, but because it reveals the beautiful order inherent in the cosmos.” (from The Education Plan of St. Jerome Classical School, Hyattsville, MD)


“The mathematics curriculum in a classical education will seek to promote the understanding of order and harmony in the universe. Mathematics, as a language, reveals this order and harmony, yet it should also be lifted from this concrete foundation and brought into the world of the abstract. The study of mathematics will engage this endeavor by training students in the context in which the discovery of its concepts arose as well as the reasoning which provides its structure. Although the study of mathematics has fallen well short of this purpose in modern times, its implementation will deepen a classical education.”

How to Teach Math Classically by Bill Carey:

Bill Carey on Math as A Humanities Subject (If you have the time, watch this video. The quality isn’t great, but the content is excellent!) This video was recorded before a group of high school students at a classical school and would be a fun one to share with your own students!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013



Sorry for the quiet blog this past week. I just finished up day two of speaking at our local Classical Conversations Parent Practicum, and it has been a busy time with activities, prep, and practicum. After tomorrow, my schedule is much lighter so I will be able to catch up on posts.

My family gathered for pictures on Sunday evening, taking advantage of having my grandparents here with us this month. (They leave this Friday, and we will miss having them here!) It made sense to capture individual family photographs while we were at it. This is the first family photo we’ve had in a very long time!


And a few more…


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Day in Paradise


I spent my childhood right here doing exactly this with my family and close family friends. It was reunion time, and we had all of the next generation present (as well as my grandparents, who also went camping with us many summers).

If I had one day left to live, I would spend it here. With these people (plus my husband, who had to stay home to work, unfortunately).

Have I mentioned that I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else?! Who needs to travel when this is an hour away?


This son terrifies me:


Hiking up at the falls:


Speaking of terrifying, do you see in this next picture the boulder in front of Lola and the log that Levi is climbing on? Yes, well, in no time flat Lola had scaled the boulder and was also climbing up that log. That girl was a hiking, climbing maniac. I could hardly keep up with her. “I do it by. my. self.!” (And can you see the water trickling down among the moss and ferns at the top? Heaven, I tell you!! Who needs a tropical vacation?)


I’ll leave it on this note. More pictures coming…


Monday, July 22, 2013

In Which Lola Attends Her First Big-Girl Birthday Party


Lola received an invitation to attend her first “big-girl” birthday party for our friend Monet. Lola felt so important among all the other girls (around 8 to 11 years old), and she took this event oh-so-seriously.


(Some of you may remember, this is my best friend, who goes *all out* for her kids’ birthday parties. They alternate years between the two of them, so one year it is a girl party, the next is a boy party. Nerf War, Carousel, Indiana Jones, Fairy Princess at the Enchanted Forest, Dinosaurs…) This time around it was American Girl. Each girl was invited to bring her favorite doll. Char set the table with plates for the dolls, and they had miniature food to match the big girls (tiny tea sandwiches, fruit kabobs, ants on a log…).


The girls had their pictures taken with their dolls.



And played games. And made crafts.


And had a tea party.


And cake.


And got party favors.


And went home to take a nap.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

More Columbia Gorge and Falls (Better Late Than Never)

Yes, we visited a month ago with friends from Texas, and I’m just now getting to the rest of the photos. Nevertheless…


The Good Life ~ Question #2

Thanks, those of you who weighed in on the first question: “What is ‘the good life’?”

And now for the second question (which is obviously many questions in one):

When discussing and planning for life past high school (college, career, and beyond), do you talk with your kids about what ‘the good life’ is, and what it might look like for them (what they want out of life), and how they might best seek it or prepare for it? And, conversely, what might hinder them from living ‘the good life’? Does this figure at all into your discussions about college? Is college a necessary step to ‘the good life’? Is the point of college to have a career that will allow one to live ‘the good life’? Is a well-paying career a guarantee (a strong indicator? a helpful push in the right direction?) of ‘the good life’?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Day on the Water with Friends


We spent Thursday on the water with friends. It was the most glorious weather and excellent company! The boys and I were in heaven. (Russ was in Utah on a business trip and Lola stayed with Aunt Shannon for the day to make the outing more relaxing for her mother.)


Luke wanted speed and danger (no surprise). Leif was unsure (no surprise). He stayed on the boat in the beginning.


He decided that he would give it a try as long as we stayed at two miles per hour until he approved of an increase. I knew he would love it. He would hold up his fingers, increasing the speed by a single mile per hour at a time—just to be sure. By the end of the day he was enjoying full speed with his arms in the air. (Look, mom. No hands! Wahoo!!)


We slowed down and meandered up river.


And stopped for lunch—exploring, swimming, and hunting newts, lizards, and minnows with nets and buckets. (In short: heaven.)


This little guy would act like he was asleep when his belly was rubbed:


The girls eat live minnows, and Luke was not about to be showed up. He audaciously swallowed a couple with a look of deep satisfaction on his face.


Levi swam a great distance towing this log, and then towed it behind the boat for another long distance. He was determined to bring it to our second hang-out.


I am so grateful for special friends. So grateful for our gorgeous location. So grateful for simple pleasures. So grateful for a spectacular summer. So grateful for my fun, interesting, active, affectionate, extroverted, curious, adventurous boys.

(P.S. I had timed our afternoon so that we would be able to drive home in time for the last day of evening VBS. We got back to our truck right on schedule. And then it wouldn’t start. Or, rather, wouldn't stay running. It would turn over, sputter, and die—several times. We had a rather stressful hour as Russ was out of state and we were an hour away from home. But, miraculously, after my brother-in-law, Ben, and my dad had kindly started the drive up to rescue us, I tried starting the truck one more time. It ran ragged at first but didn’t die. My friend sent the boys back up (they had gone back to the boat while we were waiting for our tow and ride home), and we headed home. Ben and Dad met us half-way just to make sure we were okay. Astonishingly, they were only a few minutes late to VBS and didn’t even miss a single song. We were hauling! And no problems with the truck since then. I’m so thankful!)

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Good Life ~ Your Turn to Play


I’ve been having some great conversations with friends lately on the topic of “the good life.” And I’d like for you all to have a chance to weigh in on the discussion. I’ll start with a simple question. You can share a “big picture” answer or specifically list details (or examples, no matter how small or “trivial”). I want your definition—not society’s. I’d really like to read specifics beyond living within God’s will for your life (if that is your preeminent definition), because I believe we have so many personal choices to make within that framework. (And we’ll chat more about the subject in a couple days.)

What is “the good life”?