Friday, 6 May 2016

Weekly Review: a bomb hoax and other interruptions

So far this year we've had regular interruptions - for good causes, but our routine has run off the rails to a certain extent. This weekly review has expanded to take in the last month so I can share an overview of what we've been doing.

Flowering Eucalypt

Wonder of wonders, miracles of miracles...

We booked tickets late last year for a performance of Fiddler on the Roof. My husband said he'd drive us to the train station so I didn't have to worry about parking. Great! Off we went and he'd no sooner dropped us off and disappeared, when we saw that there were police all over the station and they were allowing no one on the platforms. Benj said, "Quick, ring Dad!" So back he came and we jumped in so we could go to another station further down the line. Then Dad decides this would be a good opportunity for Benj to have a driving lesson...By the time we got anywhere near another station not affected by the stoppage, we realised we were going to be late for the show if we didn't get cracking. We did a quick stop and Dad got back behind the wheel, put his foot down, and dropped us at the door of the theatre with time to spare.
It was a fantastic show. We found out later that a hoax bomb threat had been made on the station.

What everyone's been reading:


Uncle Tungsten by Oliver Sacks - I wrote about this book here.
The God Who is There by Francis Schaeffer


All three of my girls inherited the Dicken's gene. It skipped the boys. Moozle read and mostly enjoyed Oliver Twist which is scheduled in Year 5 in the Ambleside Online curriculum. She wanted to read more so she started on David Copperfield, which she enjoyed. She kept asking for another of his books so I thoughtlessly suggested The Old Curiosity Shop, which she devoured, but on coming to the end of it she was disgusted that everyone died. Slight exaggeration, but she does have a point with this particular story. I read it last year so I should have had more sense.

Read Alouds

We completed Plutarch's life of Demetrius
Hamlet - we still have another two weeks before we finish

I'm reading Stories From the Faerie Queen by Mary MacGregor to Moozle - this is so good and reminds me a little of Pilgrim's Progress. The link is to a free online version. I don't mind reading aloud from an online source but I find it almost impossible to do my own personal reading from a screen. I like to be able to turn pages, look back, write in the margins...

My Reading:

Confessions by St Augustine - I started this early this year and am reading it very slowly.

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque - reading this for the third time but it's still very powerful and heartbreaking. Written by a German veteran of World War I.

Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain - interesting to read this alongside the above book with two very different perspectives but with the same theme of the futility of war. Brittain had just got engaged before her fiancée was sent to the front and this is her 'elegy to a lost generation.' Remarque is more raw and selfless in his descriptions of the war but I'll leave it there and write about both books when I eventually finish them.

Parents & Children by Charlotte Mason - another slow read that I'm endeavouring to blog through as I go.
Ch. 1
Ch. 2

Recently finished:

Dombey and Sons by Charles Dickens - I'm a Dicken's fan and I liked this book but I think ?? I'm done with him now. I've read many of his books and the ones that are left don't really entice me (Edwin Drood, Barnaby Rudge, Martin Chuzzlewit and The Pickwick Papers) - unless someone can convince me otherwise...

Consider This by Karen Glass - I wrote about it here.

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (1989) - this book took me by surprise. It was nothing like I thought it would be. The author, if I hadn't known better, might have been writing in the 19th Century. It has 'classic' written all over it. Splendid!

Hymn Study

We're listening to this one during May:


I just planted baby spinach, watercress, leeks, oars key and coriander. I rescued my lettuce from the larvae of the cabbage white butterflies and a friend bought me a solar powered fake butterfly to put in the garden bed to deter them. We will see. They are territorial and the fake is supposed to keep the butterflies away. I also read you can scatter broken egg shell around the plants and that acts in a similar way.

Flowering Melaleuca quinquenervia, commonly known as broad-leaved paperbark

An Old Woman of the Roads

O, to have a little house!
To own the hearth and stool and all!
The heaped up sods against the fire,
The pile of turf against the wall!

To have a clock with weights and chains
And pendulum swinging up and down!
A dresser filled with shining delph,
Speckled and white and blue and brown!

I could be busy all the day
Clearing and sweeping hearth and floor,
And fixing on their shelf again
My white and blue and speckled store!

I could be quiet there at night
Beside the fire and by myself,
Sure of a bed and loth to leave
The ticking clock and the shining delph!

Och! but I'm weary of mist and dark,
And roads where there's never a house nor bush,
And tired I am of bog and road,
And the crying wind and the lonesome hush!

And I am praying to God on high,
And I am praying Him night and day,
For a little house - a house of my own
Out of the wind's and the rain's way.

by Padraic Colum

Linking up with Weekly Wrap-up


SarahElisabeth Jones said...

I love your book lists. The Confessions of St Augustine is a book that I hope to read this year, too. First, I have to haul the book out of the loft!
Pickwick Papers was set near here but so far, I haven't raised the enthusiasm to read it. Perhaps, this summer although, realistically, there are far too many other books to read.

Carol said...

That's the problem - too many other books!

Silvia said...

I have read almost all of Ishiguro's books yet The Remains of the Day "remains" my favorite.
I am curious about All is Quiet..., maybe soon.
Dickens is ok, I personally prefer some of his contemporaries (Galdós in particular).
The Confessions threw me off in the first pages, when he speaks of babies as showing signs of sinning (a nursing babe bitting his mom).
I am reading The Imitation of Christ for a second time, and though I also disagree with some of Kempis views of Christianity, there's much in the book I profit from.

Ruth said...

You are reading two books very close to my heart: Confessions and All Quiet. I feel in love with them both.

Thanks for sharing the Faerie Queene link. I looked at Amazon for a hard copy, but they are a little pricey. I'm not fond of reading online either, but this will have to do. I am reading the original Faerie Queene right now, and I desperately need another resource for better comprehension.

I love your website, BTW. I am really getting into Charlotte Mason; I only wish I looked into her philosophy when I first began homeschooling. I still have three younger ones, but I missed out on my two older.

Kerry said...

It's great that you got to your performance. Your book list is inspiring! It makes me want to plan some reading myself. I started reading Charlotte Mason and got bogged down. Maybe I'll just read your entries.

Carol said...

You'll have to tell me a bit more about Galdos, Silvia. I think I'd be interested if you say you like him - unless his books are only available in Spanish!

Carol said...

PS. I picked up a copy of 'Catch 22' after reading your review. All Quiet is not to be missed - painful, but exquisitely written.

Carol said...

Some of my dc read Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves, by Roy Maynard - Book 1; annotated & updated but I haven't and though this story verion would be a good intro for both of us.
I'm sure you've done a great job with your older children. You are a fine example of a self-educating mother. That goes a long way!

Carol said...

Hi Kerry! Yes, I would have been so disappointed to miss this, not to mention the thought of having wasted the money on tickets I couldn't use!
The Ambleside Online website has some modern paraphrases of CM's writing which may be helpful:

Chere Mama said...

"All Quiet on the Western Front" was a book that stayed with me a long time. So beautifully written. "Testament of Youth" as well. All your choices are so wonderful. I have promised to make this a summer of reading! Now I have a few more to add to my list.

Carol said...

Make sure you post your summer reading list on your blog!

Silvia said...

Carol, you will love Galdós, he has some of his books translated.
All Quiet is going to be a must. Catch 22 is painful but it is a poignant satire, so it will make you laugh, think, and it will bring you sadness and pain too. But we need to remember. It's the least we can do.