Thursday, March 19, 2015

pretty happy funny real homeschooled birthday boy

We are working on the very beginnings of piano. I can't bring myself to get in a car and pay $40 for a half an hour to learn where middle C is and such, so I am teaching him for now. 
He has decided to compose some songs by himself. This is his first piece; it begins with middle C with G being the highest note. I've re-written it onto proper music paper, but I think it is a sweet memory of our creative boy.
I sang and played violin and piano as a young person. Never once did it occur to me that I could write a song. But here he is, a few lessons into learning piano and he is trying to write songs. I suspect the titles are the most important part. I think that "The Flight of the Bee" is the name of this composition. 
Maybe he has the confidence to write music, however simple, because he does not know that he is not ready for such feats. He had some friends over for his 8th birthday, and he played some of his songs for them. All of the songs are just comprised of notes C to G with perhaps a left hand major chord thrown in. The children listened and clapped, even though some of them have much better music skills. 
Homeschooling isn't perfect, and it doesn't guarantee geniuses or angels, but I do believe that my children experience a higher level of tolerance and friendship than I did as a conventionally schooled child.

Monday, March 9, 2015

urban homesteading...on the smallest scale possible

The pots are planted, inside and outside, with parsley, cilantro, squash, tomatoes, and more. The plum and persimmon trees need to be pruned, but this is a rental. I do not know if we are permitted to take a clipper to permanent plantings. You can see the plum in the background; those are the only leaves that it has/ It needs to be pruned way. way back!
It is silly to call this 'homesteading.' It isn't. It is just trying to be a little bit more self-sufficient. If the plants are successful, we would like to take it to the next level and dabble in aquaponics.....

Thursday, February 26, 2015

7 quick takes: good films & television shows for teen girls

We have two lovely teen daughters in the house (15 and 14, both with July birthdays, gulp). I wrote a blog post on movies for 12 year olds that was either well-received or I was blasted for how liberal I am or others thought I am way too conservative...I thought I would share some media that I am permitting the girls to see now or in the near future. 
1. They haven't seen some good classics like Ben Hur. What do you think of The Agony and the Ecstasy? Also, I think they would enjoy The Scarlet & the Black after traveling in Germany and learning about World War II more concretely last summer. And I cannot forget one of my all-time favorites: Rope.
2. Pride & Prejudice- they are reading their way through Austen, so I thought they would like to watch one of the movie versions. I like all of the ones I have seen.
3. I am really debating about this one: a rare movie version of the Shakespeare play Cymbeline. My girls just completed performing this with their Shakespeare class. The cast looks good, I especially enjoy seeing Ed Harris. Ethan Hawke as Iachimo is getting top billing, but the character is not that big. A month ago it was called 'Anarchy' and was rated PG-13, now it is back to its original name and rated R. We'll probably wait for the video so I can watch it before they do. 
4. Thoroughly Modern Millie- They got the dvd for Christmas from family! It has to be good! Filmed in 1967 with Julie Andrews and Carol Channing and rated G, I'm not sure it would get a 'G' now.
5. For Lent, Jesus of Nazareth- my teens have not seen The Passion of the Christ yet. Every family is different. I am 'liberal' in some ways, 'conservative' in other ways. I do know some conservative Catholic families who permit their pre-teens and younger children to watch Tolkien book films and The Passion because of the themes of good overcoming evil and the fact that there are strong Catholic connections. I try to tell my children that they are living in the golden age of media. Even when mama says they cannot watch something, there will be a future time when they can see it digitally. Not like the old pre-cable days. Do you remember watching Wizard of Oz once a year? In any case, we will stick with this classic for now, even though I am 99.9% certain that Jesus does not have blue eyes...
6. The Drop Box- This will show in our town for three days in early March. It is a documentary about a South Korean pastor who is saving abandon babies with a drop box at his church. I imagine it to be a bit like a library book return. 
7. Poirot and Murder, She Wrote- These are the sort of shows that I have to yell at the girls for clicking on the next episode. David Suchet as Poirot is impeccable; I will not be surprised if a daughter brings home a small-mustached future boyfriend (years and years from now, of course). And lovely Murder, She Wrote. Did you know that there are 264 episodes? But the theme music brings back such good high school memories. Cabot Cove was certainly a dangerous spot to live, but I would still live there, hoping to bump into Mrs. Fletcher at the grocery store.

pretty happy funny real Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream & Cymbeline

Cymbeline's evil queen (14) was pretty, happy, funny and real throughout the play.
Boy (7) recited Snout/Wall's long speech very well!
"Out of doubt, he (Bottom) is transported!"- true emotion!
sweet hearts- one and all!
"Sometime a horse I’ll be, sometime a hound, a hog, a headless bear, sometime a fire" (really Puck's line- but the play is shortened and adapted for the wee folk)
below: Baby Girl (5) also played the role of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons
 Cymbeline has many small parts; Girl #1 (15) played 8 characters in the course of the night!
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