Sunday, February 14, 2021

Year 8, Weeks 21 and 22: Just Love

     I often have an issue with the month of February. For one it's short, making the end of the first quarter of the year approach faster than needed. Then there's Valentine's day, which let's be's all about the doubled prices on that day (call me cynical, but also frugal...wait until all the chocolate goes on clearance! Hee-hee). My husband and I have never really fallen prey to felt the need to go all out on Valentine's Day choosing instead to do something as a family. We order the heart-shaped pizza and we pick a treat we can all share:

     February also marks Black History Month. I once took a humanities class in which the instructor, a fellow homeschooler, shared that she was trying to curate a number of books that would help her soon-to-be high schooler learn world history that wasn't "white-washed" (her words, not mine). I appreciated that. I've told my kids and continue to remind them that when they read books, especially non-fiction, to know when it was written, to understand the perspective of the author and think about the underlying message they're trying to manifest.  As we know, especially apparent more so than ever, much can be biasedly written or biasedly read. There's a certain amount of discernment and plenty of critical thinking needed when perusing everything presented to us, whether in the news, social media or in print.

     When it comes down to it, if everything we did or said was out of love, a lot of things would be much, much better. Easier said then done for all of us, I know. We're naturally selfish; we think we know better than anyone else, we think we have all the answers...we make ourselves gods. How pretentious of us!

     The greatest love my family and I know is that of God's love for the WHOLE WORLD (not some, not part, but WHOLE) to sacrifice His only Son for each and every one of our sins; so that we are forgiven and made pure before Him. That is love...the complete sacrifice of oneself for the benefit of another who is underserving. Happy Valentine's Day.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Year 8, Weeks 19 and 20: Recordings and Reading

     Week 19 started with Little Toughie and I a bit on edge. We had to get her recordings done for the musical she's in and setting it up was not fun. I had planned on getting it done in the morning since the spot we chose had the best lighting before 1 p.m. The timing was also consistent with her rehearsals.

     She needed something to be able to listen to the recordings and then something else to film her. Plus, she wanted to use her wireless earbuds. She was originally going to use my phone to record herself and use her own phone to listen, but after finally getting the files loaded onto her phone we discovered that it didn't support them. We changed plans and thought we'd use the her laptop (the one I'm still using to write this) for her to listen and use my phone to record but her laptop wouldn't connect with the earbuds. Thankfully, we figured out that her laptop has a camera and recording capabilities and that my phone supported the files. After a few tests (and lunch, and makeup retouching and a couple of restarts) I was able to close the door and let her do her thing. I can't tell how good the video quality turned out but she got it done and I was able to send all of them off finally at 5 p.m., but of course not until after one more glitch with the website not wanting to upload my files. Doh! She and I breathed a sigh of relief when we got confirmation that all files were received. Whew!

     Other than that, I'm in the midst of planning next year's schedule. I normally start researching this time of the year to give myself plenty of time to decide what to purchase once the sales hit. I was planning on doing Sonlight again, but my daughter is a bit bored with it and doesn't feel challenged. Honestly, I would love to change things up now but with our schedule I don't know how I'd do that. I'd be teaching two completely different curricula and there aren't just isn't enough hours in the day. I'll likely stick with what we have but assign books that are a little more challenging.

     One of the many benefits of homeschooling is that there is room for flexibility. It's something I'm continuing to work on for myself, but I think I can say that I'm making progress. In 2020 I had joined a 5x5 Reading Challenge. I had magnificent goals of reading five books from five different categories while getting some TBR (To Be Read) books off of my list.

     Then the pandemic shut everything down, including our beloved libraries. I would normally borrow the physical book or e-book, but what was available in both was limited and I wasn't about to purchase the ones I needed. Plus, with all the uncertainty and panic being portrayed (no thanks to the news and social media) I wasn't in the right mind to take on the more challenging books. As a result, I didn't make it through my list. Normally, I'd make every effort to check off these books, but I'm learning to be flexible and not hold fast to things just to get it done. I'd rather read the books that require more time and effort when I'm ready than speed through them without any bona fide understanding.

     I did, however, read a total of thirty-one books. I don't know if that's the most I've ever read in a year as I just started tracking my books a few years ago. My goal is at least twenty-four books, about two books a month. I'm not sure how I finished thirty-one last year, especially since I also wrote one, but I think it might be an ambitious endeavor to attempt it again this year. Every year is different and I may not even finish twelve books in a year but as long as I'm reading I'm happy.

     Week 20 started uneventfully, but then mid-week I received heartbreaking news of the death of another friend. She had been battling cancer for the past few years and was in a short remission until early last year. In less than a year I've mourned three friends and one family member. Just so you know, only one was due to Covid. Needless to say, I'm sad. There are no other words. All I can do is pray.