midwinter

Every now and then I tell you what we’re reading in school.  I usually mix it up a little in December, and we all enjoy the change.  We still do most of our normal studies, but adding some different reading at Christmas is fun.  Because I say it’s fun.

This year we learned Christina Rossetti’s poem “In the Bleak Midwinter”.  The last verse seems to be the most recognized, but this verse was my personal favorite:

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
Jesus Christ.

This poem was also made into a Christmas carol.  It’s pretty slow, but we’ll just call that peaceful.  We can all use a little of that right about now.

This year we read I Saw Three Ships by Elizabeth Goudge.  Incidentally, this is also a Christmas carol. Look out, it’s the sort of song that gets stuck in your head. For days.

Since I’ve really been enjoying Elizabeth Goudge lately, I thought her little Christmas book would be a good pick. Unfortunately, no.  It wasn’t awful, just not what I have come to expect from that author.

The very best part of the book was the incessant use of the name “Dorcas”, which apparently my boys had never heard, so it reminded them of “Dork”.  Most of the time reading the book produced massive giggling fits, so it wasn’t a total fail…

My apologies to anyone named Dorcas who might be reading this.  And yes, they have been educated on this name and the fact that it appears in the Bible. Doesn’t help. Still hilarious.

And next, The Christmas Carol. I have never read this book, so it has been quite a surprise to me to find such thought-provoking things in here.  Like this quote where Scrooge is talking about his old boss, Fezziwig.

He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome;  a pleasure or a toil.  Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count ’em up:  what then?  The happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune.

-Dickens,  A Christmas Carol

Naturally, I think of that from the view point of a mother.  I think it applies nicely to our relationship with our families.

And this one I liked, just because it’s so true:

It is always the person not in the predicament who knows what ought to have been done in it, and would unquestionably have done it too…

-Dickens

Next up, we are finishing a really sweet book (actually sweet, not like “Cool” sweet),  The Tanglewoods Secret by Patricia St. John.  This is our second book by this incredible author. Treasures of the Snow is much more well known than this one.  Both have stunned me with the simplicity and truth of the gospel, and how well she communicates it to children.

Another way St. John impresses me is how she is able to show the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a child.  If any of you are looking for books that walk your child through the gospel, and the life-changing work of the Spirit, these are your books.

And lastly…I know, just when you thought I’d talk forever.

We are studying the work of Jean Francois Millet.  I heard about him this fall and did quite a bit of study myself before introducing his art to the kids. Turns out, that’s a much better way to do art study.  When I actually know the back story on the artist and his work, things go along a little more smoothly.  I am hardly ever disappointed with what my kids get out of studying an artist’s work, but I have to say, this artist exceeded my expectations. I have spent some very happy hours learning about this man and his art.

Here is one of my favorites.

farmyard millet