We have recently discovered Howard Pyle's books here in the TwoSquare household. Have you read him? If you have boys in your home, you really must. (Recommendations for other good boy books are appreciated!) We are reading Men of Iron aloud right now, and Calvin loves it. He walks around all day speaking in this lovely antiquated language. "Nay, mother, I will not do that, quoth he." It's hilarious, except that he thinks it's clever to say "no" to us this way.
We discovered Pyle because we were looking for good versions of the King Arthur legend for Calvin. It seems the space obsession is fading, and we are into all things King Arthur around here. I am excited about the possibilities here. A medieval themed dinner, a knight's quest party for some boys, and making swords with Daddy are all possibilities. This is what my husband has been waiting for since Calvin was born. Considering he owns swords and chain mail, is it so surprising?3
It has been raining for three days here, and today is likely to be another one. Over four inches of cold, miserable rain, three days stuck in our tiny house, and a baby brother who needs some bit of quiet to nap made for some restless boys. So yesterday we pulled out the couch bed, popped some popcorn and watched movies for the afternoon. It was SO good for me to just enjoy being with my boys and stop worrying about all that needs to be done around here. SO GOOD. I need more of that.4
You may be noticing that these snippets of family life don't include a lot of real homeschooling. I think I am already a homeschool failure. I certainly don't think we are doing what works for our family. I scrapped any plans I had and am starting to pay attention to how we work as a family and how my boys learn best. Unschooling is seeming more and more appealing, combined with some more structured classical learning when they get older. Is that even possible?5
One schooling thing that is working is Chinese Preschool. For so long I wondered what we were paying the tuition for, but in the past few weeks, both Calvin and Hobbes have discovered the fun of showing off their Chinese for us. I often hear them singing Chinese songs and using Chinese words around one another, and they are finally willing to speak it for us. I am amazed how kids learn a second language so intuitively. I studied this, so I should know it. But seeing it in real life is so fascinating!6
Advent is in less than three weeks. Are you ready? I ordered a few new Christmas books for the kids, and I found a couple of Advent activity books that I may try to use. We are planning to do our usual Jesse Tree and other Advent traditions. Check out this post and this one and this one if you are interested in knowing what we do around here. And this post tells what we do about Santa. Let me know what you're doing, too!
So...not that anyone but me cares....but things aren't looking so good for Tennessee's football players. I have long thought the quality of the players reflected the caliber of the coach, his ability to inspire discipline and hard work and his modeling of a life of integrity. It will be interesting to see if this current disaster is a reflection of the way things are going to be at UT under our new coach. I sure hope not. I'd hate to be ashamed to wear my orange.