Three Gifts My Father Gave Me

My father is not generally the gift giver of the family, at least not in the sense of things that can be wrapped in a box. Usually Christmas and birthday presents arrive bearing Mom’s fingerprints. There are, however, the special exceptions. On such occasions, I open a box and find some special tool or bit of technology. Then, I know that Dad was at Home Depot or Radio Shack, and he thought to himself, “Bill would appreciate this (small flashlight built upon a flexible tripod).”

Family Shakespeare

During my time with Ambleside Homeschool, we have had the opportunity to read several Shakespeare plays in story form.  These readings come from well-written story versions for children.  Now, my Ambleside mentor tells me, we are ready to engage in reading Shakespeare in the original.  How exciting! As our school day is full of many other engaging subjects, that I did not want to eliminate, I decided to add Shakespeare into our family time after dinner.  This new ritual has become a fount of delight.  Let me explain.

We Found a Friend

We just finished reading Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin in school.  As I read the last few paragraphs aloud, I found that I was feeling "choked up."  And I looked up to see my young boys with flushed faces and tears in their eyes as well.  We sat for a moment in the silence of the feelings and ideas that washed over us.  It was a tender moment worth every other moment of struggle we have gone through in school to get to the point of still, quiet contemplation of a well-written text.  No words were needed while we communed together in this precious shared experience.

Training Children as Ministers of Grace

Children are open to vanity as to all other evil dispositions possible to human nature. They must be educated to give and to help without any notion that to do so is goodness on their part. It is very easy to keep them in the attitude of mind natural to a child, that to serve is promotion to the person who serves for indeed he has no absolute claim to be in a position to pour benefits upon another.

An Exercise in Contrast -Gaining Perspective

A simple exercise of taking the time to measure the length and height of a Brachiosaurus allows one to have a moment to see. What might a person consider during this moment?

  • The creature.
  • The human.
  • What distinguishes one from the other?
  • What is realized upon this recognition?

Suppose more of our lessons gave us something more to think about?


The Gift of Love and Gladness

In the days before Christmas, anxiety about the holidays is heard in many exchanges with family, friend, and stranger. Topics vary from decorations, shopping, baking, guests, travel, to the most menacing of all  - the illusive gift for that special someone. Charlotte Mason speaks about “a shade of anxiety in the mother’s face as she plans for the holidays.”  We all have had experiences of being around persons who are anxious; no help is needed; yet all help is needed. One is in a quandary of just how to be and act in an atmosphere of anxiety.


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