The Dutch Rush

they're Dutch...and life's a rush

Category: Homeschool

Our December Books

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

Reality Check

Here’s one last lazy summer pic for everyone. I love it. I bet hanging out under a broken card table is pretty awesome.

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I will start this off by admitting… My Imperfections of Magnificent Proportion:

This week one of my guests got her arm stuck to my counter.

Yep. That’s how it sounds in my head, at least. In all honesty, she kind of peeled her arm off of my counter. We were standing there chatting and in my fog, I realized too late to actually say anything, that I had quite the sticky counter. She is a gracious woman. She said nothing. Every time I think about it, I start laughing.

And it is a perfect snap shot of my week.

Unfortunately I realized (again, too late) that I was quite sick and had no business having company over on Monday and again on Tuesday. Thankfully I don’t think anyone got sick.

It was also the first week of school. Happy school everyone.

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100_2519Yep, Josh is wearing a sweatshirt, and yes it was about 148 degrees outside by 8 am…

So anyway, this was a sneakily awful cold.

It was the kind of sick that made the kids ask hopefully if I was “too sick to have school today?”.

They said that every day this week.

Nope. We did a good bit of school with me in pajamas…nobody cared. A lot of school was done from the couch. By Friday afternoon, none of us wanted to see or talk to anyone, so we decided that school was over for the week. Everyone thought that was a fantastic idea.

We are mostly happy about our new books. Right now we are on our way through Wind in the Willows, which to me has seemed like a hopelessly boring book, but we are having a pretty good time eating lunch in our park-like front yard, (read: I am bribing them with food to listen to me) reading this silly book. One of my favorite quotes so far is this: “Conversation was impossible for a long time and when it slowly resumed, it was that regrettable sort of conversation that results from talking with your mouth full.”

(Apparently most of my conversations at meal times are the regrettable kind.)

I should also mention that I am realizing that Badger was an introvert. (I don’t know why I should mention that.)

Anyway.

One morning, Alyssa decided I needed to have breakfast in bed. That is worth waiting 13 years for, what a sweetie!

I kept thinking “I’d better keep going, tomorrow might be worse”.

Then we ran out of bread.

For normal people this is not a big deal.

For people who make their own bread, who are also sick, and who haul themselves to the grocery store during stinking karate lessons to BUY some bread…well, THEY are absolutely shocked to find that even just halfway decent bread is about $4 a loaf. I decided we’d made it this long, no use breaking down and buying a loaf. I did buy some buns to get us through a few more lunches till I could manage to make bread.

(For some odd reason I have no problem buying buns. But not bread. I guess buns don’t try to advertise themselves as nutritious. They’re just white fluff. No nutritional value at all, so they don’t seem like they are trying to be something they’re not.)

There are a few things I hate. (Sort of like that chapter in Proverbs, only way less biblical.)

One of them is Running Out Of Things.

I hate it so much that (almost) every time I start using the “last one” of something, I put it on the list and MUST buy it on my next trip to the store. Like when I’m halfway through the dish soap on the kitchen sink, and every. single. time. I use any soap I am internally freaking out because I’m halfway through the backup. So, yeah, it’s a little weird. Maybe I’m not alone…

It makes sense though, because life has taught me that sometimes it’s a VERY bad day to go to the store…and in that case, when we run out of dish soap, we will just go ahead and use shampoo to wash the dishes…or not wash the dishes, or some other good idea.

And then as if to punish me…I have found that things aren’t always on sale, and it makes me crazy to pay $1.50 for ONE roll of paper towels, when I had walked right past the “8 pack for $3.98” paper towel sale last week! AHHHHHHHHH!

Quite ironically a few months ago I was telling Alyssa about all of this. About how when you run a house, you have to always buy two of something when you’re out, and if you’re not out, make SURE you have a back up.

And that very day, we ran out of milk.

Perfect.

And then she knew for sure if she had hung onto any doubt before…that her mother was Crazy. Nuts. Insane. And she just smiled at me. And said, “isn’t this what you were just talking about?”…

Yeah. That’s exactly what I was talking about.

I should now add that we are out of sugar.

PS. If it’s bugging anyone, this was all about LAST week, I didn’t realize it was already Wednesday. I wrote most of this on the weekend but was too busy being sick/making bread to post anything…

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