Tuesday, January 25

The Ridiculous Book Pile

My reading list is growing and growing and I'm almost at the point of being overwhelmed by it.  New things just keep begging for my attention even though there are a few I haven't been able to get to.

A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided LifeI am pretty prone to wandering around the 200s section in the library. As I did so, I found A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life by Parker J. Palmer.  It became my New Year's read, leading me into 2011 with a new purpose:  "How do we change those deeply embedded habits of fixing, saving, advising and setting each other straight?"  My hope is that I'm a better listener this year as a result.

This Is a Soul: The Mission of Rick Hodes  I wanted to look into the life of someone who lives out compassion. This Is a Soul: The Mission of Rick Hodes is just such a life.  His work in Ethiopia came to my attention as my friend, Eisley, was headed there herself (with my luggage full of things for her "adopted" child's family).  So, I thought I'd enjoy a look into where she was headed and found an extra helping of inspiration as well.  It's back at the library if you want to check it out.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks  Something about this story plays into my overactive sense of justice.  The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is about THE woman whose cells have been used for just about anything science has done and discovered in the past 60 years -- and yet her family can't afford health insurance.  It's intriguing and heart breaking at the same time.  It's a bit of a tangent from my usual repertoire, but I'm diving in.

Mark for Everyone  I'm leading a little Bible study group and we've taken on the task of the whole book of Mark this session.  As it turns out, the study guide we're using relies on Mark for Everyone for it's "answer key."  I'm a bit disappointed that the guide uses leading tactics, but reading this commentary is worth the frustration of encountering the unanswerable question.

Great Expectations: An Interactive Guide to Your First Year of Marriage  I am helping to plan a retreat for newlyweds and as we've prepped our content and purpose I discovered that Great Expectations: An Interactive Guide to Your First Year of Marriage, by a new friend of my husband, happens to be hitting all the topics we'll hit on the retreat.  I'm going to speed through this one so I can pass it on because I think it will be very useful.  BTW -- click on the button on my sidebar to follow the progress (praise God!) Joanne is making as she recovers from her stroke.

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are  This is on my Must Read List for the year.  I have One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are on my Kindle and I'm reading it slowly because I never, ever, ever want it to end.  It's quite possibly the most beautiful book I've ever read.  My friends who are reading it concur.  It's that amazing.

The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith I haven't read anything by Tim Keller before but everyone I know who has says it's completely worth the time.  The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith was another birthday gift.

The books that popped up since New Years.
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My LifeStorycatcher: Making Sense of Our Lives through the Power and Practice of StoryThe Rock That Is Higher: Story as Truth  I see a little unit study of my own in these three:  telling and hearing the story of our lives.  A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life one has been on my "B" list since it came out, but when my mother-in-law gave me Storycatcher: Making Sense of Our Lives through the Power and Practice of Story book for my birthday and when I finally was able to locate The Rock That Is Higher: Story as Truth (one of my "must reads" for this year) it seemed appropriate to put them all together for some concentrated thought.

Books to toss in when other stuff gets too heavy.
Stuff Christians LikeChurched: One Kid's Journey Toward God Despite a Holy MessI'm saving a couple for a time when I just need to stop thinking and read something for fun.  A friend gave me Stuff Christians Like for my birthday for my new Kindle.  I've laughed at the blog so I expect it will be truthfully amusing.  Churched: One Kid's Journey Toward God Despite a Holy Mess is another chapter in my personal quest to read all-things-by-disillusioned-church-kids. I hear it's funny. We'll see.

From the used vortex.
An Altar in the World: Finding the Sacred Beneath Our Feet  Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in BooksOur libraries all have "used" sale sections and I swear it's a dangerous forced vortex.  Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books showed up in my hands and I neglected to put it back, though I have no idea when I'll get to it.  An Altar in the World: Finding the Sacred Beneath Our Feet is by an author that I've grown to appreciate in the past few years and I didn't know she had anything new out.  I'm looking forward to fitting this one in.

See.  It's ridiculous, right?

Sunday, January 23

Teaching Boys About Women

B and I are doing a little overview of history right now.  It's a loose and interesting unit with a few goals:

  1. To give him a sense of being part of something bigger.  As we work through our timeline cards he gets a real understanding that the world was already in process long before he arrived and, God-willing, it will be different as a result of his being here.  
  2. To open up a sense of his own purpose. We're putting his personal timeline alongside the significant events of the past decade and we're doing a little talking about how those events may have affected how he lives.  When we put ourselves among important things we begin to share in that sense of importance. 
  3. To give him an introduction to just a few of the major players of the past.  Really, we're just scratching the surface here.
As we go through this little survey I'm taking the time to tell him stories of strong women in history.  So many of the curriculums focus on the ingenuity of men and only highlight a few women.  While men have been busy driving the bulk of humanity's advances, their wives - at the very least - were raising the next generation of history makers.  That's no small deal.  Many women did more than that and while the vast majority of their contributions went unnoticed, there are many whose stories can be learned.

So, I'm teaching them to my son.  I want him to see men and women as intellectual equals and not as competitors.   By excluding women from our history telling we teach through silence that the future is left up to the men.  I'm not comfortable with that silence.

I'm taking him through two books that are appropriate for his age:
They Led the Way: 14 American Women (Scholastic Biography Series) by Johanna Johnston.
The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh

We're also talking about some men:  ;-)
Men of Science Men of God by Henry M. Morris

But mostly we're talking about B, his family history, how the world changed during the lifetime of his grandparents and will continue doing so during his own.  The question is, what condition will he leave the world in and how will he treat the people around him?

Saturday, January 22

Dyslexia Discovery

B has been more than frustrated with Math lately.   (If I'm honest with myself, it's been longer than "lately."  I believe I went looking for new curriculum this summer and ended up simply continuing with our current pick.)  He displayed some extreme frustration this week because he'd neglected to finish one day's assignment and therefore needed to finish it and do the current day's assignment.  He cried.  "I just have SO MUCH math to do."

But I don't think that was why he was crying.  I think he cried because it's not making sense.  And I think it's not making sense because of his dyslexia.

His curriculum utilizes spiral learning. So at the same time that he's learning to multiply and divide, he's reviewing addition and subtraction of some rather large numbers.  Every day that he has subtraction he asks me,

"Do you take the bottom out of the top, or the top out of the bottom?"

Every time.

When he has big numbers to multiply he uses the white board to write out 7 x 7 x 7 x 7 x7 x 7. Then he groups them into 14s and adds the whole thing.  I look at this and wonder why he uses the extra white board step and when I see the doodles all along the edges I assume he's spending the time unwisely.

"Not so," says his dyslexic father who encourages him to keep using that method.  He's being visual and I am reminded of some things I've read about right-brained children...using the whiteboard is easier on the hands and eyes...visualizing is powerful...

And then I get it.  Not only does dyslexia affect his reading and writing, it affects math too.  I knew it affected the way he saw the world in total, but I'd excluded math from that world somehow.

I'll be more sympathetic toward B's math struggles, to be sure.  But more importantly, I'm finally going to apologize to my bank account and do what it takes to get my boy some help.

Wednesday, January 12

New Year Troubles

In this new year I've had a few troubles.

  1. I have a finger that keeps cracking and bleeding.  Same thing, same finger, last winter -- our first in Denver.  Dry, dry air here.  It hurts and it takes months to heal.
  2. I sliced off part of a fingernail last week.  It's all healed up but it was equally painful.  
  3. We slid in the snow and hit the curb, and cracked the rim of our tire. After changing the tire during the snowfall, we had to buy a new rim and now have to re-do the alignment. Stinks.

But seriously, that's nothing compared to a fellow CO homeschool mom who spends her days learning at home with her girls, is incredibly smart, has a knack for speaking and is pushing hard after the kingdom.  Her troubles for the year consist of this:

  1. Out of the blue, had a major stroke. 

I'm humbled and rattled and sitting at the feet of the father today for Joanne Heim.   Won't you join me?