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Dear Icelandic Volcano…

…I see you took my warning seriously. Wise decision. I’m going in 2 days, so please behave yourself. Now, once I’m there, if you feel the need to let loose with some ash, be my guest. I wouldn’t mind being stranded there for a few extra weeks.

Goin’ home to Ohio for 3 weeks…see ya’ll later! ♥

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Dear Icelandic Volcano,

Please stop spewing out volcanic ash. I know it’s a bit like asking Mathew Mcconaughey to stop taking his shirt off, but I beg you to just *try*. I haven’t seen my family in 3 years, and I’d really like to see my mother before she gets too old for me to recognise. I mean, you already threw up all over us last year for crying out loud! How much ash can one little hole-in-the-ground produce?!!?!?! Never mind, forget I asked; I don’t really want to know. I’ve got nothing against Iceland, really, even if you did produce Bjork and inflict that madness on the rest of us…but this volcano business is enough to make me think really poorly of Iceland. And don’t start whining about forces  of nature and give me this “it’s not our fault” nonsense…put a cork in it. If my flight, which is in less than 2 weeks, gets cancelled, you’ll be receiving a very strongly worded letter of complaint from me. I mean it. I’ll be using words like “inexcusable” and “furious” and “boycott everything from Iceland,” (which may be quite a short list of items, but that’s *not* the point.) If you can’t stop all the spewing ash, then you’d better gather up all your electric fans or wind turbines or whatever and start fanning it towards Greenland or something. Nobody lives in Greenland, anyway…only vikings and the like, and they prefer to travel by boat. They won’t mind.

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2011 in Family Life, Michelle

 

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Goin’ Vegan

Reader discretion is advised…seriously.

Another note: this post isn’t meant to be a lecture; I’m not out to push others into veganism. I just wanted to share my story and talk about my personal reasons for going vegan.

There’s this blog that I love: Twist365. Jackie is smart, witty, funny, informative, and entertaining. She mentioned a book called Skinny Bitch, and how she went vegetarian for 8 months after reading it. I was curious, so I had a sample sent to my Kindle. After just a few paragraphs, I knew I’d stumbled upon a great book.  All the claims the authors make are backed up with cited references. I love its no-nonsense, kick your a** approach. Being an overgrown kid, the witty swearisms made me giggle.

The food you put into your body works its way through your organs and bloodstream and is actually part of who you are. So every time you put crap in our body, you are crap.

This book was seriously shocking. I was expecting a diet book and what I got was a wake up call.

Dioxin, one of the most toxic substances in the world, is often found in dairy products.

Not only that, but rocket fuel is also found in milk, often at levels well above those considered “safe.”

Rocket fuel!

I know that meat, eggs, and dairy products are full of crap (often literally), that livestock animals are treated badly, that they’re diseased, deformed, pumped full of hormones, steroids, and antibiotics. I’ve seen the watchdog programmes. But the news reports and watchdog programmes only give you the PG-rated bits.

I’m going to get a little graphic now.

I went on to read about how cows are slaughtered…how the “stunning” they receive isn’t always effective…how they’re often still alive as they are taken apart piece by piece. Hogs, which are dunked into 140-degree scalding water to remove their hair, are sometimes still alive for this process.

Truly man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds them. We live by the death of others. We are burial places.
—Leonardo Da Vinci

And those free-range eggs aren’t as ethical as I thought they were. “Free Range” doesn’t always mean all that free, In the hatcheries for the egg industry, the unwanted males are dumped in the trash or thrown into grinders. Here’s how the chicks are stored in the hatcheries:

Photo from Our Planet Today: The Cruel Life Inside a Factory Farm: http://www.ourplanettoday.com/the-cruel-life-inside-a-factory-farm

Speaking of chickens…

Here are two quotes from poultry plant workers:

‘Every day, I saw black chicken, green chicken, chicken that stank, and chicken with feces on it. Chicken like this is supposed to be thrown away, but instead it would be sent down the line to be processed.’

‘I personally have seen rotten meat-you can tell by the odor. This rotten meat is mixed with the fresh meat and sold for baby food. We are asked to mix it with the fresh food, and this is the way it is sold. You can see the worms inside the meat.’

Dear God in Heaven.

And don’t even get me started on how dairy cows are treated.

So, I turned aspiring, yet unsure vegan. I began doing more research, looking at vegan recipes and books, setting up a vegan notebook…the usual things we enthusiastic types do.

A few days ago, during my web travels, I happened upon a website, http://www.vegsource.com/. I clicked on the tab about celebrities and watched the video of Ellen Degeneres talking about why she became a vegan. She mentioned watching a documentary called “Earthlings” which documents our dependence on animals for food and other products and how those animals are treated. I Googled it. I clicked “view trailer.”

Okay, I’m going to get dramatic, but I’m also being truthful.

It was one of those life-changing moments.

I’ve never been so stunned, ashamed, sickened, frightened, appalled, transfixed, horrified, and angry in my life. Shaking, I closed the computer and gave in to some hearty sobbing.

Thankfully, no one was at home to witness my moment. It was one of those times when you just need to be alone.

I don’t think I could handle watching the entire film. I don’t think I want to. The trailer was enough to convince me to swear off all animal  products for life. No meat, eggs, dairy, leather, or anything else containing animal products.

I haven’t included the link yet intentionally because I wanted to give ample warning first. It’s very, very graphic. Scenes of animals being stripped of fur whilst still alive, dogs being stepped on, poles shoved down the throats of animals to force feed them, animals being beaten, crying out in pain…and the blood. Lots of blood. If you want to view the trailer and/or watch the film, here it is: http://www.earthlings.com/.

Now I can look at you in peace; I don’t eat you anymore.
—Franz Kafka, while admiring fish in an aquarium

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2011 in Family Life, Inspiration, Michelle, Vegan

 

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Grammar for Grown-Ups, Wasting Time, and Pop-Factor Novelists

We had a week off from lessons the week before last, and during that time I did a fair bit of grammar. I’ve set Harvey’s Grammar aside for now. I got to a lesson and had little idea what I was doing. The lesson gave a one-sentence definition of some grammar term (that I now can’t recall), then launched in with the exercises. I was pretty lost. I managed to muddle my my through and get about half of the exercises correct, but it was really frustrating and I don’t feel I learned anything.

The other thing I realised was that I still don’t quite understand what a predicate is. The definitions in Harvey’s are difficult to decipher, there isn’t enough explanation, and few examples are given. I’ve decided to work through some other resources, then maybe use Harvey’s for further practice. I’ve recently purchased:

The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need (Kindle edition)  I’m not sure if I agree with the title here, but it does look like a sufficient book for my needs. Eventually I may purchase the Chicago Manual of Style, which is the be all and end all of grammar and usage manuals, but I think it would just overwhelm me if I had it now.

If I’m struggling with that book, I’ve got Painless Grammar to fall back on. This is a children’s book that explains grammar in a delightful, and as the title suggests, painless way. This will also make a great resource for Esa when he’s a little older.

But my favourite resource, the one I keep picking up and drooling over flicking through is Grammar by Diagram. I ordered this workbook, only to discover that you need an accompanying textbook. The only place I could find it at a reasonable price was from Alibris. Apparently, the book shipped on the 14th, but it’s been a week and it still hasn’t arrived.

This chunky workbook is packed with diagramming exercises. Fortunately, the key is at the back, so there’s no emailing publishers, trying to strike a balance between sufficient grovelling and proving that I’m not a pimply teenager looking for a cheat sheet.

I’m convinced that the best way to gain a thorough understanding of grammar is through diagramming. I liken it to translating exercises when learning a foreign language. If you’re learning say, French, you aren’t just going to memorise lists of words everyday. You’re going to spend a good amount of time translating stuff. That, after all, is the whole point: to be able to read and understand French (or take some English, wave your translating wand, and turn it into French.) Diagramming is the same. It’s taking what you’ve learned and putting it to use. Okay, it may not be useful in a practical sense, but it will cement those grammar points. Then, when you sit down to do some real writing, you’ll have the necessary grammar know-how. After diagramming a few hundred thousand sentences of increasing complexity, you’ll have a firm grasp of grammar.

Alright, you don’t need to diagram that  many…just a few hundred. (I ♥ grammar.)

If you’re wondering whether grammar is worth studying, you’ve got to listen to this podcast; it’s informative and humorous: http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/does-grammar-matter.aspx

Sadly, I did waste a lot of time on the computer during our week off, playing Green Farm, Zen Garden, Flower House, and Barn Buddy on hi5,  but it was nice to have that luxury, and I think it was therapeutic. I can sometimes stress myself out by trying to make every minute count. I have so little free time and I have so many things that I have to/want to do…I need to get the most out of every day and it can get tiring. I enjoyed lazing about a little. I also spent a lot of time looking at Latin curricula for myself, sorting out answer keys, reading, and working on my grammar study, so it wasn’t a total waste.

This week I began my Latin study. I spent a good 20 minutes lovingly covering my copies of Wheelock’s Latin, Wheelock’s Latin Workbook, and Collins Latin Dictionary with book-covering film. The softcover Wheelock’s books are quite thick and not sturdily-bound, so they will need the reinforcement. I’m happy I didn’t go for the Kindle edition, because I find myself flipping back and forth a lot in this book.

I’ve also put a notebook together using a 4-ring binder (they come in 2- and 4-rings in the UK), dividers, a snap pocket (they don’t have the kind of folders you get for binders in the US), and paper. (I ♥ notebooks.)

I’ve finished How Not To Write a Novel. This book could have been subtitled How to Piss Off Crappy Writers. While I found this book helpful (somewhat) and hilarious, at times it felt like a bit of a rant. I think the editors were tired of seeing certain things in the novels presented to them, and this book was a way to vent that annoyance. I found many of their writing faux-pas to be no-brainers. Take, for example:

  • Men Are from Cliché; Women Are from Stereotype: Wherein the characters are built solely of broad gender stereotypes

Melinda picked up Joe’s beer-stained sports  section with a wry smile, replacing it with another saccharine-berry scented candle. As she sat on the pouffe to enjoy her copy of Brides’ Shoe Monthly, she wondered if he would remember to call for their third-date anniversary.

Meanwhile, across town, Joe gave the jailbait waitress a sly wink, letting the caveman in him take over…

The passage goes on a bit, but you get the idea. A few others:

  • I Mean This!! It’s Important!!: Wherein the author punctuates hysterically
  • Linearity Shrugged: In which the author assembles the novel in no particular order
  • Gibberish for Art’s Sake: Wherein indecipherable lyricism baffles the reader

These writers aren’t going to get published even if they do fix these problems; these are merely symptoms of a bigger writing malady. I also suspect that some people writing in this way won’t even admit that they’re making such hideous blunders. It reminds me of those people who audition for shows like X Idol and Pop-Factor. They launch into heartfelt, yet horrendous and interminable renditions of I Will Always Love You, and when they are booed off the stage they throw themselves at the presenter, crying angry, hysterical tears, and insisting that they CAN sing ’cause  mamma said, and they are going-to-be-famous…just-you-wait.

Clueless…the lot of ’em.

Having said that, the book was an entertaining read and I did make a few notes. But it certainly won’t be the only book I read on how to write a novel.

I will be posting about homeschooling soon…I promise.

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2011 in Grammar, Latin, Michelle, Resolutions: 2011

 

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Latin for Older Students

I had a go with the Latinum curricula, but it’s not for me. It’s more geared for learning to speak Latin, which isn’t really what I’m interested in. I do plan to learn pronunciation as I go along, but it’s reading-fluency that I’m after.

I was planning to purchase So You Really Want to Learn Latin,  but decided to go with something a little more grown up. I’m almost tempted to delay Esa’s Latin instruction for a few years; there are some great programmes available for older learners.

Lingua Latina

I’ve not looked in depth at this set of books, but from what I understand, it kind of throws you into the deep end as it’s completely written in Latin with no English instruction. Something like this just won’t work for me just yet. I need a systematic approach. I want a combination of reading and drill.

So then I looked at:

Wheelock’s Latin

This programme has been around for donkeys’ years and is well-loved by many. There’s a plethora of supplementary resources available for Wheelock’s, some of which are free:

The text includes answers to some of the exercises, but not all. You can request the answer keys by filling in the forms here: http://files.harpercollins.com/Wheelock/wheelockslatin.html. (I was given approval within hours, although I had to set up an account, download Adobe Digital Edition, AND discovered that I’ll have to re-download the files every 60 days.)

There’s an online study group that I’ve joined here: http://www.quasillum.com/study/index.php, and a new beginner’s group starts in a week or two.

One frequent complaint about Wheelock’s is its heavy emphasis on decoding rather than reading. Many students come out of the programme knowing lots of grammar, but unable to read fluently. In an Amazon review, one reader recommended:

Learn to Read Latin

(Bless you, dear Reviewer!) This, from what I gather, is an amazing Latin programme that teaches grammar and vocabulary, and has you reading lots and lots of original Latin literature.  It comes with a workbook for drill and seems to me to be the best combination of reading and drill. Together, the set is over 1,000 pages.

More information, including how to get hold of the answer keys, can be found here: http://yalepress.yale.edu/yupbooks/latinfaqs.html#top (again, I was given approval within just a few hours and the files were simple, saveable pdfs.)

I’ve decided to go with Learn to Read Latin. It isn’t cheap, but for what you get, I think it’s amazing value.

Knowing what to buy is a little confusing. You can purchase it as:

  1. A complete paperback set (ISBN: 0300103549)
  2. A complete hardback set (ISBB: 0300109377)
  3. Paperback Textbook OR Hardback Textbook PLUS workbook (paperback)
  4. A two-part set, each, for the textbook and workbook:

It took me quite a while to figure all this out, so I thought I’d post it here for anyone looking to buy this programme. I know I have UK links, but you can search your preferred seller by copying and pasting the ISBN that appears on the page to which I’ve linked.

I’ve gone for option #3, with a paperback textbook. Wheelock’s 500+ page book was only £3.99, so I threw that one in with my order to provide extra practice, clarify any areas on which I may be stuck, and give me the spoken element as well, with the audio files. A Kindle edition is available, but for something like this, I want a hardcopy that I can flip through and mark up easily.  Later, I will use the Wheelock’s reader and Lingua Latina.

AND…the authors of Learn to Read Latin are putting out a similar series for Greek! It’s due to be released in June of this year.

If, like myself, you’re of an enthusiastic nature, or just looking for some good Latin resources, here is a great page bursting with links: http://www.frcoulter.com/latin/links.html

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2011 in Latin, Michelle, Resolutions: 2011

 

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To Jab or Not to Jab

Vaccines are a hot topic for many parents, especially here in the UK, and especially amongst homeschooling families in the UK. I know many homeschooling families who have chosen not to have their children immunised, and one mother even claimed that the rise in measles was due to immigration. I had to bite my tongue and go to my happy place to avoid responding to that.

I know immunisations aren’t without risk, and I’m well aware of what those risks are, but not immunising is also full of risk: brain damage, paralysis, heart failure, and death. Yes, for some children the immunisations don’t ‘take.’ But if all children, who are able to be, are immunised, their immunity provides protection for the unprotected ones, as they will not catch and pass on the illness.

I feel that many parents have become complacent because we don’t know what it’s like to live in an age full of communicable, deforming, deadly childhood diseases. We don’t know what it’s like to worry that our child will catch polio or diptheria…and this is because vaccinations have just about wiped them out. We now fear the result of the immunisation more than the disease itself. That’s understandable; I always felt a little nervous whenever Esa had another vaccination, and I, too, worried about any long-term damage. But I knew the risk of him catching measles and suffering complications was higher than the risk of a severe reaction to the jab. I also didn’t want to put other children at risk but leaving my son unprotected and allowing him to not only catch a disease, but pass it on to another child who is not immunised.

I’m not posting this to spark debates or condemn parents who don’t immunise; it’s just one of the many tough choices we parents have to make and to each their own. I’m just voicing my own opinions on vaccinations,  and I wanted to post a link to an article that may be of interest:

Doctor Behind Autism-Vaccine Link Study Accused of ‘Deliberate Fraud’

It turns out the data in the study linking MMR to autism was fudged and Dr. Wakefield’s been banned from practising medicine.

After the study was published,  many parents stopped administering the vaccine to their children, and the cases of measles increased, as did measles-related deaths.

This passage, in particular caught my attention:

“We had a measles epidemic in Britain, a drop in immunization rates in [the United States]. I personally know of children who were brain-damaged as a consequence of their parents deferring immunization as a result of this concern,” Wiznitzer said. At the same time, he said, “[autism] research monies were diverted to disprove a hypothesis that was never proven [in the first place] rather than invested in exploring issues that would be of benefit to the public and to children with the condition.”

Not all children who are immunised actually gain immunity, so he can’t really prove that all the children he’s come across have suffered brain damage because of not being immunised, but surely some of them could have been spared such a horrible outcome had they been immunised. Not only have many children suffered from preventable illness, but autism research has suffered, which is such a shame.

What are your thoughts on vaccinations?

*****

Since posting the above, I’ve had a comment that I wanted to share:

HI, Michelle,
Oh, I agree with you!
Yes, there is risk in any immunizations and for that matter in taking any medications.
But, as a Polio survivor, I know what it is like to live a life after getting one of the diseases that today we have an immunization for. I lived in a time when many, many children came down with Polio every year! Our parents lived in constant dread that their child would be the next victim. I was one of the very must lucky ones: My experience with Polio as a four year old child left me to learn to walk all over again and then with little or no problems until I hit age 50 and became one of the generation of Post Polio Syndrome victims. No one knew about PPS and no one predicted its results. I went from being an active adult to walking with a cane, from a practitioner of yoga to one who could not get into the most easy pose, from an independent person to one who has limited mobility. Yet, I’m still one of the lucky ones: others suffer breathing problems, depend on wheel chairs and scooters, or have great difficulty swallowing food or liquids. Almost every family had one or more polio victims when I was a child: our family had three. One cousin spent her life in steel braces, on crutches and in the end in a wheel chair. Children spent years in “iron lungs” just to stay alive. All life has risks, yet we have polio immunization now, we no longer have whole hospitals filled with children and teens with polio.
My mother lost two little sisters, one in the morning and one that same afternoon, to diphtheria when Mama was a child. The whole community was hit. My grandfather dug the graves and buried the girls himself as no one else would for fear of the terrible disease. (early 1900′s)
My grandmother lost two siblings with in one week to scarlet fever, in her childhood. We NEVER want to go back to that time. There are risks in taking ANY medication, but to go back to a time before immunization we just do not want our children to do that!
Keep Esa safe as our medical level can!
Love,
Elsie

 

 

 
6 Comments

Posted by on January 6, 2011 in About Us, Family Life, Hot Topics, Michelle

 

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A New Year…Time for Me to Focus

I love January.

Oh…I’ve just had a strong feeling of deja-vu; I know I’ve talked about liking January before, but I can’t seem to find it in the archives.

Anyway, I love it when January rolls around. The days slowly begin to lengthen and I can see the light at the end of the long, cold wintry tunnel; spring doesn’t seem as far away as it did on the other side of the calendar. And my birthday is close and I love birthdays.

For my birthday, I’ve asked my husband for a Kindle. I really, really want one of these things. For a book lover with very limited space, an e-reader is a dream come true.

If I do get a Kindle, here are some of the books I plan to get for it:

  1. All of the Twilight books
  2. The Well-Educated Mind
  3. As many classics as I can fit onto it
  4. The History of the Ancient World
  5. Sequential Spelling 2

No, those are not in random order; Twilight is #1. I’m addicted.

Another great thing about the Kindle is that you can download pdf files onto it, so I can download the SOTW activity book and other homeschooling pdf’s and not be so reliant on the computer.

The official story that I’m putting out for why I want a Kindle is that I’ve recently set a few goals for myself. After reading the article Stop Cleaning the Kitchen and Read a Book by Susan Wise Bauer, I was inspired to expand my horizons regarding self-education. I’ve spent a lot of time learning to draw and paint (which I plan to continue), but I also want to do several other things…I want to read at least 6 classics this year, and most classics are available free for the Kindle. I can have a huge library of classics at my fingertips and not have to worry about returning books to the library before I’m done.

Always the list-maker, I decided to compile my goals into a list of New Year’s resolutions.

  • Lose 24 pounds.

Ok, I’m going to be open and honest here. I feel fat and my smaller-sized clothes don’t fit. I’m 5’2″ and I weigh 134 pounds (9.5 stones). That’s borderline overweight. I have a small frame, so for me, 134 pounds is just too much. In my teens and 20’s I was quite slim…well, I was too slim in my teens (98 pounds). I tried to put on weight,  but I was quite anaemic and I couldn’t get much past 100 pounds. In my 20’s I hovered between 110-120. I’m hoping, through healthier eating and exercise, to get down to 110-115, which is a healthy weight and one at which I feel comfortable.

I’ve got a nice set of girlie weights and this Cindy Crawford DVD set, which is excellent. Despite being gorgeous and having a perfect body, Cindy Crawford has a great personality and just seems like one of the gals. She’s not annoyingly smiley and perky. By the end of the workout, she’s just as sweaty and tired as you are…and just as relieved that it’s done. I look forward to my workouts and love it when I get up the next morning and all of my muscles are so sore I can barely move.

  • The Big One: Start writing.

My first foray into creative writing was in first grade. I hated going outside for recess in the winter. Hated it. I decided to do something about it. Students were allowed to stay indoors if a parent wrote a letter stating that said child was ill. And that’s just what I did. Lacking real stationary, I used the back of a little alphabet card, about 2″x2″ in size and crafted the missive in pencil. My teacher was not impressed. She gave me a stern look and sent me outside.

Thus began my illustrious career in writing (at school, that is). Thankfully, I improved with time. So much so, that by 9th grade my teachers were telling me I had the makings of a professional writer. I took AP English classes and wrote endlessly in my spare time: journals galore, poems, stories, and I always had a novel in the works. At 14 I actually did write a novel: 400 pages hand-written on loose-leaf paper…in pencil.

Unsure as to how to launch a career in writing, I gave up writing for Psychology (which I didn’t finish), and then nursing (again, unfinished). Now, I’d like to get back into writing. I don’t think I have what it takes to make it professionally, but I’d love to write a novel anyway. For me, writing is compulsive…just as an artist must make marks, I must put words on paper. And although I’ll probably rely on the computer for the bulk of my writing, my notes will be in my favoured pencil. 🙂

This is to be my main focus. Art is a much-enjoyed hobby and is refreshing after spending lots of time writing, but writing is what I do.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about, but a few days ago, as I was lying in bed, a few lines came to me. It wasn’t an idea of a book as such, but a few good lines and a good start. I’ll see where it takes me.

I’m also planning to work alongside Esa with Classical Writing.

  • Learn Latin.

Song School Latin is great for Esa, but I’d like to work ahead. I’m thinking of using Galore Park’s So You Really Want to Learn Latin. This is designed for teens, but I think it will be perfect for me.

  • Read (at least) 6 classics, 4 of which should be new.

I remember someone in one of my Yahoo! Groups saying that she was looking for something to read because she’d read all the classics, and I thought to myself, Really? ALL of them? And then I thought, What? Just ONCE? I can’t imagine anyone reading everything that’s considered a classic, and even if one had, classics are meant to be read over and over.

I’ve read a few classics, but not many. I love my Jane Austen, I’ve read a few books from the Brontes, and one or two others, so I really need to work on this.

I’ve already made a start on this one. I’m re-reading Great Expectations, which is a favourite of mine. I read this in 9th grade and absolutely loved it. I’m loving it even more the second time around.

Here’s my tentative reading list:

  • —Great Expectations
  • David Copperfield
  • —Sense and Sensibility
  • —Animal Farm
  • —Wuthering Heights
  • —1 Shakespeare Play
  • —Sherlock Holmes

These, of course, are to aid my self-education. Although I’m a pretty good reader, I want to get more from my reading. I’m also a forgetter; I read something from a non-fiction book and then I forget it. I often take notes, which helps, but I want to really own the information. I’m hoping How to Read a Book will help with this. I also plan to start narrating what I read.

  • Improve my grammar.

I love grammar. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s the orderliness…who knows, but I really like to see good grammar. When a writer has good grammar, it tells me that the person cares about his writing and sees it as a part of himself…a bit like good grooming and careful dressing. I think good grammar is like cleanliness: a grammatically correct piece of writing is clean and tidy, whereas a piece of writing full of errors is sloppy and has a lazy feel to it.

My grammar isn’t horrendous, but I’ve forgotten a lot. So, I’m working my way through Harvey’s Elementary Grammar and Composition. This is a very thorough and very (!) challenging book and I’m relearning lots of things, such as predicates and participles. However, it does use some out of date words, such as copula for linking verbs, but I can easily work around this. Going through the material myself will make it easier when it comes time for Esa to use it. Although, I’m now starting to think that we may need to preface this text with something easier first, so we may use FLL 3 & 4.

Every day, I sit for about 20 minutes and do a lesson or two. I’ve also ordered the book Woe is I, which looks not only informative, but entertaining. Once I’m finished with my grammar study (or mostly finished), I’ll start on Latin.

  • Delve into history. SOTW is great, but I’d like to read a bit more deeply. The following three books are what I’m hoping to read this year:
  • Get rid of many possessions.

I’m planning a project. I want to go through my entire house, room-by-room, and clean it from top to bottom. My house isn’t a mess, but there are things that need attention and due to our limited space, I want to clear out the things we don’t need and organise the rest. I’m going to empty every drawer, every cupboard, and every shelf; go through each and every item we own; clean, scrub, and dust every surface; wash all the curtains…I’m going to go through the house with a fine-tooth comb and get rid of all the stuff we don’t need, and thoroughly clean every inch of our home. I’m both excited about this and dreading it. I’m worried that I’m going to run out steam part-way through.

Where on earth am I going to find the time to do everything? Really, I should be finding ways to cut back on what I have to do, not add in more stuff. Well, Esa is becoming more independent with his school work. There are many times when I can duck out of the room for short periods to wash up the dishes, or start a load of laundry, or do some quick vacuuming in another room. The result of this is that once lessons are finished for the day, I have less housework to do, which gives me a little extra time in the afternoons (most days, anyway).

I’m not intending to tackle everything at once. I’ll work slowly through my list. The reading I will do alongside the more academic pursuits.

Here’s the plan:

  • Exercising: This is the easy one (in terms of scheduling). Whenever I exercise, it has to be done in the morning, otherwise it just won’t happen. I’ve given up a little computer time 3 days a week to pump iron with Cindy before everyone else is up.
  • Project Winter Power Clean: I’m either going to take a full week to do this, or do a room here and there on bank holidays. I’ve got to be in the mood to do this.
  • Art: I get some time for art during our homeschooling art lessons and when we’re on holiday. We tend to take one week off every 5th week, so I do get some time for my art. It is going to have to take a bit of a backseat for now. Once Esa is older and more independent with his work I’m hoping to pursue art more in depth. For now, my academic enrichment is more important to me and will improve our homeschooling.
  • History and other non-fiction reading: I’m going to designate 20 minutes each afternoon for this.
  • Latin: If I can’t find time on the weekdays, I may do this on the weekends, with little bits of review on the weekdays.
  • Writing: I haven’t quite figured this one out yet. Instead of checking email and reading blogs in the morning, I may devote that time to writing and do the other stuff in the evening. I’m very much a morning person, so I need to do the writing while my mind is fresh. I’ll also try to do a little writing here and there when I can squeeze it in, and on the weekends.
  • Follow the advice in The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life. This is a gem of a book and the advice presented can be applied to any discipline.

I’ll keep you posted with progress on my resolutions.

What about you? Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?

Happy New Year!

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2010 in Latin, Michelle, Resolutions: 2011

 

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