Monday, March 19, 2012

Arizona Update ...

First of all, today is a Solemnity so I am enjoying a white mocha from Starbucks as I write this post :)

Our first week has been quite marvelous, but I have to say there is not a lot of time for formal schoolwork when the pool continually beckons ....  so here is a peek at our routine.

We are up early, to start.  With the time change, the older kids' online classes begin at 8am, and Dawson even has one that is a 7:30 start.  He does it in his bed!  Brittany has morning classes every day except Tuesday, she also tunes in from her bed! Meanwhile, early morning is the only time for walking as the temperature is perfect, not too hot.  Part of the reason we came to Arizona was to be more physically active, so we head out on a nice long walk with a stop at a park or two.  We are also in walking distance to my new favorite place, the Wildflower Bread Company, an awesome breakfast/lunch/dinner/snack/coffee kind of place.  Love it!!

By 10:30, we are back home and gather at the large kitchen table for some family-style learning.  All you girls who do your schooling at the kitchen table and pine for a dedicated schoolroom in your house - don't.  The kitchen table is a gift.  It fosters all sorts of wonderful things but most of all simplicity,  family culture, and great conversation.  We have used our kitchen table at different times in our homeschooling, especially those pregnant years when I just didn't have the energy to put in a full school day in the basement.   Although it has its ups and downs, so many good things can happen at the kitchen table, and we are sure enjoying it right now.

We are primarily focusing on Living Math, and particularly enjoying Historical Connections in Mathematics.  Each vignette has a good description of the mathematician and idea, plus lots of activities to try.

Kate goes in the high chair to have a snack, while Maria busies herself with coloring or painting alongside the rest of us.

It all works well ... for a while ... and then chaos ensues and Kate gets tired, the kids get hungry and its time for lunch.  Kate goes for her nap around noon, for a good couple of hours, and then its party time!!
We are out in the hot Arizona sun where we swim, play and read.

I have been doing a LOT of reading!  Normally, at home, during Kate's nap there are a million things for me to do around the house or whatever, but here that is not the case.  I am keeping up with Brittany's readings for her Wisdom classes, and they are fabulous reads.  Here is a sampling of what is on my Kindle right now:

Jules Verne has such an interesting background.  He is the father of science fiction and this book was a wonderful and easy read.  Its part of Brittany's "Classic Adventure" online socratic class.  It was written at a time when geological discoveries were in their infancy. Fascinating!  And, what a surprise, the movies are nothing like the book.

A short play, one of the Greek tragedies, and a worthwhile read.  Particularly poignant right now given the debate over the Education Act in Alberta.  The main theme revolves around who has authority - the government or the individual, and to whom should our allegiance lie.  Antigone has two brothers who killed each other.  One was defending the city and the other attacking it.  The king has decreed the attacking brother may NOT have a burial (Burial to the Greeks was of utmost importance) but his body is to be left in the street for the birds to prey upon.  For Antigone, this will not do and she would rather please the "Gods" and things eternal versus the king of the city.  After all, her brother is still her brother, her family, and deserves burial.  She buries her brother and ultimately suffers death herself as a consequence. This is part of Brittany's "Introductory Great Books" online socratic class and they will be discussing it on Friday.  In reading these classics, it is so obvious to me how they are formative to one's intellect and "real education."

I'm probably the only one who hasn't read this.  I'm slowly going through it.  She has such a unique writing style and I'm catching onto it.  There is a lot of wisdom here about simply being thankful for whatever your state in life.

After reading brief biographies of each Charles and Anne Lindbergh, I'm quite intrigued and just downloaded this book.  Anne Lindbergh was a writer, aviator, wife of a famous aviator, and mother of six (their first child was kidnapped and murdered at two years old!).  This book gives women advise on how to balance all the demands women have upon them; their many roles, and how to seek simplicity in living them.  Reading this type of genre makes me realize how incorporating biographies into our homeschool reading lists can be so very inspiring to our children.  

OK, back to our daily routine!  After that marvelous two-hour interlude beside the pool, Kate awakes and joins us for some water-time as well.  By late afternoon Maria needs a break and we take a little drive of some sort, maybe to get a few groceries or to visit Target :).  Come evening and after the two littlest are asleep, I spend some time practicing reading with Alexa - primarily Bob books.  I find this quiet, one-on-one time is perfect for many reasons, and her reading is coming along fine.

Finally, I leave you with this image.  It is a painting of one of the stations of the cross at our local church.  In all things, we must seek Christ.  In our vocations and vacations, our readings, our homeschooling, our walk through life.

Love you all back home in Canada!!  God bless.


  1. Personally, that book I was reading in that photo of us doing school..."Go, Bus!", that was the most thrilling piece of literature I have ever read! I was a bit of a difficult read, but I love a challenge and who would have ever guessed at the surprise ending!!

  2. Oh Michelle, it sounds divine! It makes me think of the time we spent house sitting for you last year (with snow and no pool of course), because there was so much time just to read and enjoy each others company. In our own homes we are distracted by a million 'to dos' and it can so easily drain pleasure from family life. Enjoy and keep us up to date!


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