Thursday, January 16, 2014

40 Days of SPS ~ Day 4



I wasn’t feeling well when I headed to bed last night and only managed a few minutes of reading. I woke up around midnight with a headache, sinus pressure, and a quite sore throat. I grabbed some Ibuprofen and a cough drop and went back to sleep. Lola woke up crying and croaky around 3ish, asking for a drink of water. I lay down next to her after getting her some water, until she fell back asleep.

I didn’t even hear my alarm when it first went off this morning, and my body did not want to move. I allowed myself to lie there a few minutes and half listen to the sermon on the radio, finally shoving myself out of bed at 6:30.

I spent a minute or two snuggling with each kid this morning soon after I woke them up.

I began reading Watership Down aloud to Levi and Luke. They didn’t want me to stop. I read it several years ago, and I’m already getting shivers just a few chapters in this time around. Hazel is, hands-down, my favorite animal protagonist, ever. I had no idea I could respect a rabbit so much. I am intentionally discussing this book as we go along, using what they boys already know about the elements of story from our Book Detectives meetings and adding in many of the Socratic dialogue questions from the Teaching the Classics syllabus. I’m marking up the book with underlines and notes as we go along.

(I think I’ll read Ender's Game next and we’ll spend some time comparing the leadership qualities of the two “boys.”)

I’m struggling (as always) with what to do with Lola while the older boys and I are working on lessons (Leif’s time is a bit of an issue, as well). If I do well focusing on lessons with Levi and Luke, I’m not happy with how Lola and Leif spend their time. Essentially, if Lola is anywhere near the boys, they are incapable of concentrating, and she is NOT an independent player. She and Leif don’t play well together well independently, either. The main school work happens (at this point) in the kitchen or living room, so Lola has to be sequestered alone in her room (under duress) (or in the bath or watching a screen, sigh) if any progress is to be made. Yes, ideally she should be trained not to be a distraction and my boys should be trained to ignore her and I should be graceful in my parenting while they are in the learning process and not yet capable of the skills, but… we aren’t there.

Cosmic Order

“Cosmic Order.” It is rather hilarious and apropos that I would come across the above quote today considering the fact that yesterday I specifically wrote down notes about “cosmos” (from my CC practicum theme) on the back of the paper listing my roles and vision statements.

The idea of “cosmos” is one that speaks to my soul. I am a person who loves order and beauty, and those elements encompass my ideas about creativity and art. And, now, even my ideas about my vision for my life roles. My notes about “cosmos” also remind me that often the very act of putting pen to paper when one must is when inspiration is given, not before.

Just for fun, I’ll share them again:

A cosmos is an orderly or harmonious system. The word derives from the Greek term κόσμος (kosmos), meaning literally "order" or "ornament" and metaphorically "world,” and is diametrically opposed to the concept of chaos.

While we’re at it, let’s look up the definition of ornament: (Merriam-Webster)
2a. something that lends grace or beauty
3: one whose virtues or graces add luster to a place or society

Order. (Form. Structure. Truth.) Ornament. (Beauty. Harmony. Grace. Virtue.)

Order + Beauty (literally) = World (metaphorically)

(We’re really starting at the very beginning, here.)

Genesis 1:1-2 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

Formless. And what did God do? Created form: separated light and darkness, waters and sky, land and seas.

Empty. And once the form established, he filled the place with beauty: plants, stars, birds, sea creatures, animals, man.

Genesis 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

(Words matter!)

Array: verb (used with object):
1. to place in proper or desired order
2. to clothe with garments, especially of an ornamental kind; dress up; deck out.

And, as Leigh Bortins says, that’s how you teach everything to everybody. Figure out what the form is, and then you have all the content in the world to make it creative, beautiful!

Sentence forms
Latin ending forms
Math formulas
The structure of story

And to tie in the quote from yesterday, the idea of that scripture is a song we sing to become a part of the story, and the Psalms being the heart, I’ll share this quote again:

“But more than that, we would desire to bring children into the garden of created being, and thought, and expression. Caldecott reminds us that for the medieval schoolmen, as for Plato, education was essentially musical, an education in the cosmos or lovely order that surrounds us and bears us up. Thus when we teach our youngest children by means of rhymes and songs, we do so not merely because rhymes and songs are actually effective mnemonic devices. We do so because we wish to form their souls by memory: we wish to bring them up as rememberers, as persons, born, as Caldecott points out, in certain localities, among certain people, who bear a certain history, and who claim our love and loyalty.” (Anthony Esolen, author of Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child, in the Foreword from Beauty in the Word: Rethinking the Foundations of Education by Stratford Caldecott)

We can draw our children into our own narratives and show them that there is a better way to live a good story.


The life theme I wrote on day 1 read “Learn more about God and His world, create, nurture family, encourage others.” I shortened that to “learn, create, nurture, encourage.”

When I listed my life roles, I found that each role fit under one of the categories of Nurturer, Encourager, Learner, or Artist (Creator). A few roles fit under more than one category.

The vision statements are much more difficult. I seem to come up with a list of words I want associated with that role rather than a phrase or sentence.

Attentive. Grace. Sincere. Listen. Passionate. Curious. Perseverance. Truth. Goodness. Beauty. Welcome. Enjoy. Explore. Productive. Story. Inspire. Affection. Playful. Cheerful.

I took the time today to also write out at least one or two “Actionable Steps” for each of my life roles, according to the process for Day 4.


What categories do your life roles fit into?

Innovator? Caretaker? Protector? Performer? Explorer? Thinker? Provider? Worshipper?


Anonymous said...

Mine fall into artist, adorer and athlete. Doesn't mean I do each of those well - but I do them from my heart!

And that quote made me smile!


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Meghan said...

LOVED the discussion of cosmos as the ordered, ornamented world!