Friday, April 17, 2015

Weekly Homeschool and Life Wrap-Up 4/17

First, the blessings. This week felt like a roller coaster ride. Having to dig deeper this time, I'm going to break one of my own personal rules, which is not to count blessings that are a mere comparison to those who have it worse than me.

Giving Thanks For These Blessings:

~ The Islamic State group is brutally raping young girls and keeping them as slaves. These girls, some of whom have escaped, will have scars and horror for life and my own pain here, mostly associated with a son's neurological problems, will never get that deep. Sometimes, raising a special-needs child to independence feels like an impossible feat, outside of God's miraculous healing, which doesn't seem to be on the horizon. It's hard to live in a nearly constant state of stress, but far harder to live in a constant state of horror. Both kinds of pain remind us that we are just passing through here. Lord Jesus, come for us!

~ We can see leaf buds on our trees, waiting to display their brilliant glory.

~ Daffodils blooming, a sure sign of God's love for us.

~ Hugs and kisses from my six-year-old sweetie.

~ The continued blessing of homemade honey wheat bread.

~ That family devotions can profoundly change our outlook on life and love.

~ An outstanding, thorough teacher for our small group adult Bible study at the new AWANA church.

On my mind:

For a number of reasons I wanted to expand my children's reading by using the Kindle with immersion reading, but when we set it up with The Three Musketeers, I researched the novel and found that it includes rape, murder, plunder, adultery and the most villainous and possibly most intriguing female character in the history of the novel. Milady, is her name, and she's a cold-blooded killer. And the Three Musketeers, with their fourth convert? Pretty terrible people. There are no heroes in this book, it appears, though many consider it the best of the best as an action-adventure page-turner. If you want to be a professional writer, study it for the expert character development, but think twice before giving it to your child. Far more of a guilty pleasure book than an edifying classic.

So, barring any problems with Treasure Island--and so far I've read of none--we're downloading that. They'll listen to a classic for 20 to 30 minutes a day using immersion reading, on top of their regular curriculum, because I can see they need the extra vocabulary development, which Newbery Medal and Honor books just aren't giving them.

We enjoy and study literature out of a love for the arts, sure, but as Christians timeless literary works also helps us see, on a deeper level, the human need for a Savior. It's one thing to know that we personally need a Savior, but it's still another to look all through history and see it over and over again--and literature through the ages drives that home.

So, I persevere in finding the best books for my children and myself, even though it takes up time I don't feel I have.

If you want a better understanding of literature through the ages, this site (Chicago Center for Literature and Photography) includes a series of essays by a man who is committed to reading 100 classic books and giving his take on whether or not they deserve classic status. His essays start with an overview of each book, followed by the pro and con arguments from academics about whether the book is a classic. He ends with his own, often witty opinion each time. I like his essays because as I read them, I gain better understanding of historical and cultural references, for one. His project started in late 2007, and he included books he hadn't already read, so your favorites might be missing, which only means he'd already read them prior to 2007. Part of his goal was to expand his own knowledge as an up-and-coming literary critic. His project is popular among GoodReads enthusiasts, among other literary groups. Here is his project list. The ones with a link are those he's already reviewed:

~500 BC: The Art of War, Sun Tzu
~360 BC: The Republic, Plato
~170 AD: Meditations, Marcus Aurelius
~1350: The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer
1485: Le Morte d'Arthur, Sir Thomas Malory
1722: A Journal of the Plague Year, Daniel Defoe
1726: Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift
1806-32: Faust, Johann Goethe
1818: Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen
1818: Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
1819: Ivanhoe, Sir Walter Scott
1835-40: Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville (two books)
Early Victorianism
1844: The Three Musketeers, Alexandre Dumas
1847: Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
1847: Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
1848: Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray
1851: House of the Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorne
1852: Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe
1854: Walden, Henry David Thoreau
1857: Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
1860: The Mill on the Floss, George Eliot
1861: Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
1862: Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
Late Victorianism
1868: Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
1870: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne
1871: Alice Through the Lookingglass, Lewis Carroll
1874: Middlemarch, George Eliot
1876: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain
1877: Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
1879: A Doll's House, Henrik Ibsen
1880: Washington Square, Henry James
1880: The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky
1883: Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
1884: Flatland, Edwin Abbott
1886: The Masterpiece, Emile Zola
1895: Jude the Obscure, Thomas Hardy
1896: The Island of Dr. Moreau, HG Wells
1897: Dracula, Bram Stoker
1898: Candida, George Bernard Shaw
The Interregnum
1900: Sister Carrie, Theodore Dreiser
1901: Buddenbrooks, Thomas Mann
1901: Kim, Rudyard Kipling
1902: Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
1903: The Call of the Wild, Jack London
1903: The Way of All Flesh, Samuel Butler
1906: The Jungle, Upton Sinclair
1908: The Man Who Was Thursday, GK Chesterton
1911: Zuleika Dobson, Max Beerbohm
1914: Tarzan of the Apes, Edgar Rice Burroughs
1916: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce
1918: The Magnificent Ambersons, by Booth Tarkington
1919: Winesburg, Ohio, Sherwood Anderson
Early Modernism
1920: The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton
1922: The Castle, Franz Kafka
1922: Babbitt, by Sinclair Lewis
1924: A Passage to India, EM Forster
1925: The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
1925: Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf
1928: All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque
1929: A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway
1929: The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner
1932: Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
1934: The Thin Man, Dashiell Hammett
1934: Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller
1934: The Postman Always Rings Twice, James M Cain
1939: The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
1945: Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
Late Modernism
1947: The Plague, Albert Camus
1951: Catch-22, Joseph Heller
1951: The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
1951: The End of the Affair, Graham Greene
1954: Lord of the Flies, William Golding
1955-74: The Ripley Trilogy, Patricia Highsmith (three small books)
1957: Doctor Zhivago, Boris Pasternak
1957: Pnin, Vladimir Nabokov
1957-60: The Alexandria Quartet, Lawrence Durrell (four small books)
1960: To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
1960: Rabbit, Run, John Updike
1961: Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert Heinlein
1962: The Man in the High Castle, Philip K Dick
1966: The Fixer, Bernard Malamud
1967: The Confessions of Nat Turner, William Styron
1967: One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Postmodernism and Contemporary
1969: The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K Le Guin
1969: Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut
1972: The Gods Themselves, Isaac Asimov
1975: Humboldt's Gift, Saul Bellow
1980: A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole
1980: The Executioner's Song, Norman Mailer
1980: The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco
1981: Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie
1985: The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
1987: Beloved, Toni Morrison
1989: The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, Oscar Hijuelos
1992-98: The Border Trilogy, Cormac McCarthy (three small books)
1993: The Shipping News, E. Annie Proulx
1998: The Hours, Michael Cunningham
2000: Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri
2001: Empire Falls, Richard Russo
2002: Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides

OCD News
We had to stop the new OCD med, Zoloft, because of a pretty intense anger side effect, which contributed to the roller coaster that was our week.

The battles belonging to parents with special-needs children are profound, isolating ones. God has to be my refuge, and time again I am reminded that people, even my own husband, can't help me walk in grace and love and peace. Only God canConstant stress is inevitable, and every child has enough of a sin nature to be tempted to use their disorder as a manipulative device, so you don't always know when they're legitimately suffering, and when they're being stinkers.

Not wanting to end this on a sour note, let me just say that the Lord's grace is palpable here, so no worries. A Psalm is never far from my reach, and when we read them together and pray their hope, we are renewed, always.

Time to scoot to the library and the store, so more school details coming next time.

How was your week?

Weekly Wrap-Up


Tesha Papik said...

Hard week here also...Joseph (4) is so trying right now! I do not remember any of my other boys being so hard. Butt Face that is his new word???? What where did it come from? It has been exhausting dealing with him:( It is soooo hard for me to tell when he is being a immature little boy or a real stinker. Obviously Butt Face is foolishness that I have to deal with. Sorry you have experienced a difficult week also...saying a prayer for you now! Thank you so much for that book list...AWSOME!!!!

Christine said...

Praying God's mercy for you, Tesha. Four years old is a particularly challenging age. I remember it well. said...

I woke up this morning thinking of Treasure Island. I'm about to download it from Librivox for myself.

I just received an email from Open Doors about those girls in Nigeria. It is awful. We must pray and keep praying and never underestimate the power of prayer. It is a powerful weapon. I can't imagine what their parents must be going through.