Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Food for Thought ~ A Feast of Straw

Food for Thought @ Mt. Hope Chronicles


:: On Praise and Criticism by Michael Clay Thompson @ Royal Fireworks Press

"It seems to me that praise is the difficult thing, the advanced thing, the thing that requires the most thought and courage. Criticism, by comparison, usually (not always) seems cheap to me, and much of our intellectual culture seems filled with cheap shots...The flaws are the low-hanging fruit. So you can always find things to criticize, and being negative seems socially safe. It has an element of cowardice in it. The crowd cannot call you a fool if you beat them to the ironies, and a satirical countenance is always superior. In the face of that, we must learn how to praise."

:: We Are Difficult People by Tresta @ Sharp Paynes

"All I can really say at this point is that people are difficult at every stage and our desire to complain about our restless baby, tantrum-throwing toddler, tormented teen, or even our aging and forgetful parents, is a desire to put ourselves in the middle of whatever it means to be grown-up."

:: Children Who Never Play by Michael J. Lewis @ First Things

"To teach them is a joy, but they will risk nothing, not even for one facetious question on a minor exam."


:: Housekeeping by Peter Leithart @ First Things

'“What are all these fragments for, if not to be knit up finally?” That question from Housekeeping haunts Robinson's other novels, and is a clue to the Robinson's depiction of “a longing for wholeness and repair that has no answer in this world.”'

:: Matters of Conscience – Reactions to Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman by Missy Andrews @ Center for Lit [Oh, how I adore this review of Go Set a Watchman!]

"To love a hero is the stuff of childhood. To love a man is the mark of maturity."

:: Fantasy and Faith by Sally Thomas @ First Things

'We have all encountered novels, poems, paintings, and music of ­sincere and unimpeachable sentiment that were nevertheless so bad they made our teeth hurt. What L’Engle intuited about art was a principle that Flannery O’Connor named: “The sorry religious novel comes about when the writer supposes that, because of his belief, he is somehow dispensed from the obligation to penetrate concrete reality . . . . But the real novelist, the one with an instinct for what he is about, knows that he cannot approach the infinite directly, that he must penetrate the natural human world as it is.”'

:: A Defense of the Grotesque in Flannery O’Connor’s Art @ The Imaginative Conservative

Hans Urs von Balthasar speaks of Christ as “the image that reveals the invisible God” (The Glory of the Lord, vol. 1, 32). Christ is therefore the greatest icon or image (even from eternity as the Word of God, but made accessible to us in the form of man in the Incarnation), through which we can contemplate reality. The highest expression of this image on earth, however, is grotesque. When we love Christ, we “have been inflamed by the most sublime of beauties—a beauty crowned with thorns and crucified” (ibid., 33). The ultimate meaning of human life and the deepest glimpse that we have into the eternal love of God comes to us on the Cross. This tells us something of the deep meaning of human suffering, in which we can catch a glimpse of this love, or at least an order toward it, even if unfulfilled.


:: Good Writing vs. Great Teaching by Andrew Pudewa @ IEW

"Let us encourage children to experiment and play with words, remembering that what they do and how they learn is vastly more important than what they produce. Children who are free to play with words will fall in love with words; time, maturity, and life will help them balance creativity, eloquence, and conciseness. It is okay, in fact good, for children to be bold with words—even to an extreme. We don’t know what they will be called to do in life. One may become a technical writer or a playwright while another may become a novelist or journalist. Our job is not to decide what is “good” or “right” and chisel too early, but to feed, nurture, encourage and build up the child with the “stuff” of language and the joy of using it. Our work is to help form the linguistic marble from which they will create their profession or vocation; and others will help carve it away. For a sculptor, more marble is better than less."

:: Descartes Visits Chemistry Class And Is Asked to Leave by Marc Hayes @ CiRCE

The unique wonders of the human eye, of light, of time, and of color allowed us to see colors that we hadn’t drawn on the paper. Does that mean the ink was not there? Of course. Does that mean the beauty was not there? Of course not.

:: Rediscovering the Forgotten Benefits of Drawing @ Scientific American

"But knowledge isn’t enough; if it were, anyone graduating with a biology degree could recreate Audubon’s bird portraits or Leonardo’s anatomical figures. Observation skills are crucial. The abilities to see without bias and to focus on detail and pattern require training, not talent."


:: Quiddity #55: Andrew Pudewa [CiRCE]

:: Quiddity #54: Jenny Rallens on Why (and How) Memory Cultivates Virtue

:: Melody, Mystery, and Mayhem

And a few interesting thoughts on the movie War Room:

:: Lazy Writing, Cheap Restoration by Kenneth Morefield @ Christianity Today

:: Genie Jesus and the War Room Problem by John Mark N. Reynolds @ Patheos

:: The Heresy of Christian Movies: War Room @ A Day in His Court

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Math @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

We are using a combination of Teaching Textbooks, Life of Fred, and Khan Academy for the boys’ math this year.

If I can muster the energy, I may begin Lola on RightStart Math. But that’s a big if.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Whole of Creation

Leisure @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Every year I try to come up with an overarching theme (embodied in a quote) for our school year. The above quote is the winner this year. It speaks to me.

Leisure. Contemplative, receptive attitude. Steeping. Yes.

Do you have a theme for your school year?

Saturday, September 26, 2015

A Wedding Reception

View @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Today we attended a wedding reception for my cousin (once removed). It was at a stunning private residence. Our Oregon weather has been unpredictable the last few days, overcast and sprinkling this morning, but this afternoon was 70 degrees with a gorgeous blue sky.

Did I say this home was stunning? I understated the case. I could have taken so many more pictures, but I chose to enjoy visiting with family instead.

We enjoyed mini golf.

Mini Golf @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

And chess.

Chess @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

And more mini golf.

More Mini Golf @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

(Lola spent quite a bit of time in the sand trap.)

Gardens @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

We walked on the paths and enjoyed the pond and waterfalls and miniature creek.

Water Feature @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

We enjoyed wonderful food.

Reception @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

After a private tour of the secret library (seriously, hidden entrance and a loft with stairs and everything) and a dinner of ribs and clam chowder and sparkling cider, this child declared that he was never going to leave. I think he enjoyed himself.

Dinner @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Thursday, September 24, 2015

My Favorite Lesson

Cookies @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

[Speaking of integration…] I love the TED-Ed animated videos, and this one is no exception. I think we should experiment with this lesson daily. We’ve tried it twice already this school year. I made the above cookies last week and Luke made scrumptious oatmeal craisin cookies this week. Mmmmmmmmm.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Logic @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

What do you do when you have a gazillion containers full of miscellaneous “junk drawer” items and office supplies (all willy-nilly) and it is time for school and you are hosting a book club at your home that evening?

You choose Introductory Logic as your symposium and practicum topic and cover lexical, precising, stipulative, theoretical, and persuasive definitions as well as genus and species hierarchy and extension and intension.

Sort those bins according to genus, children.

Genus and Species @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

We’re all about integrating here at our house.

We even managed to get all the bins organized and tucked away under the kitchen counter—because even our kitchen is integrated.

Kitchen @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Little Reality

Symposium @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

I could just post the above picture and let you all get the impression that my house is always clean(ish) and my children are always waiting cheerfully for our new morning symposium to begin promptly at 8 am.

Or I could post pictures of the mess that I waded through in the week leading up to the above picture.

This next one is only a half-true picture. The mess got much worse before it got better. And you can’t see the entire area rug covered in stacks and stacks of books.

Living Room Mess @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

But if I want to make you feel really good about yourself, I could post the next picture, which is much more accurate.

Mess @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Yes, that should do it.

Friday, September 18, 2015

It Has Begun

Back to School @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Monday marked the first day back to Classical Conversations and our first official day of the school year.

Not only was it our first official day of the school year, but it was my first day of tutoring Essentials, Lola’s first day in class at CC, Leif’s first day of Essentials, and Levi’s first day not at CC (long story, but I’ll share more about that in a later post). Luke is the only one doing the same thing this year!

It was a long but good Monday. By the evening I was feeling the effects of straddling multiple seasons of childhood. I spent the morning in Lola’s class with other four and five year olds. (Oh, my. It has been a while since I’ve hung out with a group of four year olds. Quite the culture shock.) Afternoon was spent teaching English grammar and writing to my 4th and 6th grade boys (and thirteen other 9-12 years-olds plus ten parents, so I have twenty-five people sitting in my class!). Then I spent the evening trying to read The Iliad and study up on Introductory Logic so that I could discuss both with Levi the next day. Whew!

After an extraordinarily lazy summer, we’re all adjusting to going to bed earlier, getting up earlier (I am not a morning person, but I’ve been up by 6:30ish every morning this week), and generally being more diligent about simple tasks like doing morning chores, cleaning up after ourselves, and making dinner.

Apparently my body is having difficulty adjusting because I, the light sleeper, slept through my alarm for 30 minutes Wednesday morning and then fell asleep sitting up that afternoon. Goodness.

I won’t say it’s been a super productive week since we’re still working out the kinks and I have more organizing and prepping to do. We had a few various errands and I hosted my Schole Sisters Hamlet group yesterday evening (which meant extra house cleaning—you know how it is). Levi spent Thursday afternoon and evening studying and hanging out with his best friend, and he’s with a close group of four boys this afternoon for a Bible study.

I’m praying I can get more organizing done this weekend and next week we’ll be in full swing.

[I’ll let you guess which child was not enthusiastic about Monday morning.]

Three out of Four @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire

Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

After eight and a half years of blogging, I have to wonder if y’all are getting tired of seeing pictures of the same events year after year. Ha! We first attended the Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire when Leif was one, and we’ve attended many years since—even when I was almost nine months pregnant with Lola!

The faire is held in the middle of nowhere on a huge field in a valley surrounded by stunning forested hills. Most of the faire is in the open field, but part of it is in the forest. That’s where we started out.

Into the Forest @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

We visited the Pict settlement. Lola didn’t want to get too close to the head.

At the Pict Settlement @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

But she loved getting her face painted.

Getting Her Face Painted @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesPict Paint @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

My new favorite addition was the timeline fence that bordered the whole forest camp.

Timeline Fence @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesAngora Goat @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

The kids’ favorite activity was rat-catching. They purchased rat-catching licenses and received a plastic bracelet. Costumed players with rat masks roamed the faire, and the kids had to find and catch them (the rats tried to elude capture). When caught, the rats would tie a ribbon on the children’s bracelets. This year a new ribbon was introduced: the big black ribbon with skulls on it. This meant that the (fleas on the) rat had given the child the plague and they had to return to the home-base to get cured. I think only Leif contracted the plaque (twice). The kids were also given a little scavenger hunt paper and they had to find various spots and ask for stamps on their paper. When they turned in their paper, they received a necklace with a tiny rat charm.

There were many different performance stages at the faire with various performers (music, magic shows, plays). Luke and Leif spent quite a bit of time at a small stage where a single guy was reenacting Harry Potter. Leif was excited to be called up as a volunteer.

Acting @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesTournament Field @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

And, of course, the jousting tournament. The audience watched from the hill.

The Tournament @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesJousting @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

The morning weather was perfect, in the 70s with a nice breeze, but it was getting quite hot by the time we left in the early afternoon. I always feel sorry for the knights jousting in 90 degree weather, and they had another performance late in the afternoon.

Tents @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesRenaissance Musicians @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Saturday, September 12, 2015

[Not] Back to School

Not Back to School @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

This was our fourth annual [not] back to school hike. This year, my parents, Holly, Ivy, Shannon, Ben, Rilla, and Sweden all joined us. The weather was perfection at 80ish degrees.

The Cousins @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesJumping Off Rocks @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesLuke @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesSliding Down Waterfalls @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesThe Boy Life @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesSilly Rilla @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesRilla @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesShannon and Sweden @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesLevi @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesSweden Smiles @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesHiking @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesBambi and Poppy @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesSweet Girls @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesMoody @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesA Long Way Up @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesFalls @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesCreek @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesIn the Water @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesBridge @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesDipping Baby ToesGiggles @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesMoss @ Mt. Hope Chronicles