Friday, October 31, 2014

7qt: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

A choice selection of profound thoughts and complete time-wasters for your weekend. (Find more Quick Takes at the linkup!)

1) Exclusivity and Isolation in Parish Ministries

When I read this article, I wanted to cheer, and then I wanted to start day-drinking, because it really is kind of a depressing situation for anyone who doesn't fit one of the pre-assigned Demographics to Which we are Catering. I think the real examination of conscience (for all parishioners, but especially those very involved ones) comes in this paragraph:
At best, these manufactured groups can forge tenuous bonds between people that have the potential to be nurtured into genuine friendships. At worst, they can devolve into cliques comprised of a set of previous friends who make an effort to be welcoming to strangers, but who just can’t help but fall back into the familiarity of their organic friendship, leaving newcomers feeling ostracized and superfluous until they gradually drift away.

2) Why the Church Needs Bad Catholics

...the disappearance of the bad Catholic impoverishes the Church theologically. It is not a sign that Catholics are holier than they used to be. It is a sign that today’s Church is less capable of creating a space in which the individual can experience the reality of the human condition: that is, the frightening gap between the Command of God the Lawgiver and the deeds of a human life. And yet, the creation of such a space is essential to the Church’s mission. Without it, true conversion of heart cannot take place.
Before your hackles go up, he's not talking about dissenting Catholics, just those whose sins are of a more obvious nature than those of us who like to hide ours. And if your hackles are still up, I sentence you to go read The Power and the Glory before you decide that we don't need their kind 'round these parts.

3) Women Having a Terrible Time at Parties in Art

Anna, he’s going to start reading poetry at us
what do we do
play dead?
no that’s bears
Maybe it means I've been to one too many terrible parties, but I laughed so hard at this. (language alert)

4) Forgotify

In case "before they were cool" isn't hipster enough for you, listen to something that literally no one else has ever played on Spotify. I've caught some neat stuff and some terrible stuff on here, most of it not in English. If you feel like you're in a music rut, it's worth a try.

It's a Spirograph, for your computer! Oh, the nostalgia. The Bean was pretty impressed by gears that can draw pictures, too.

6) This comic

Which reminded me of so many of my college friends. Cheers, guys! I'll see you at Fiddler's!

7) That's all for now, folks! Have a great Halloween/All Saints/All Souls!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Learning Notes: Weeks of 9/29 and 10/6

This post has been kicking around my draft folder 90% finished for way too long, so I'm just going to send it out into the world whether I'm satisfied or not. Find the first Learning Notes here, and be sure to see the other posts at the linkup to find out what everyone else has been learning!

The constant question around here has been "What is for ___?" As in what letter. The idea that letters make words that make stories has clicked around here, and we're suddenly kind of interested in this whole spelling thing.

Grandma sent these Montessori-style sea creature cards, along with a toy to match for each one! Perfect timing for some new entertainment, since Dad was on a business trip for one of these weeks.

We discovered "Peg + Cat" this week, since dad being gone means a little TV is my only shot at a break. His favorite was the pizza episode, so we made pizza and talked about half and whole.

I also figured out that I can overcome his perfectionist streak (in this case, refusing to trace numbers because he won't do it as well as Mama could), by slapping a picture of Peg's pizza delivery craft in the margin.

Mama got a new toy for her birthday. In addition to figuring out how all the screws and levers worked, we talked about things that start with "tri-"
(-angles, -cycles,...) , and what that means.
Also triptychs. This one is from his Family Formation lesson.

Space Stuff

Space exploration, as usual, was a big theme of our learning here, not least of which because there was an eclipse to watch!
Going, going ...
It's awfully cold at 6am!
I was impressed that he stayed outside (he definitely wanted to be out, and not watching through the window) for the whole thing, even though it's not exactly a short attention-span activity. I guess the novelty of being gotten out of bed for a show was pretty intriguing. We also got a really great look at some constellations that we can't usually see this time of year. We could see the Pleiades very clearly, and could pick out the Orion nebula, too!

We also signed up to send his name to Mars on the Orion mission (it's open till the end of the month), and clicked around this Google Map view of Endeavor at the Kennedy Space Center.

If you pay attention to such things, you'll know there's a solar eclipse tomorrow. Not sure if we'll be able to see much this far east, but be sure to try to catch it if you can!

That's all for this post, except that Peanut would like you to know that he learned something new, too!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Learning Notes: Week of 9/22

This is my first post for the linkup (note: Oops! That linkup closed while I was typing. Hopefully, the "Guilt-free" part includes getting notes in late!), and I'm really excited to have this little push to blog what we've learned for the week! I think a few of these might be from the week before, but I'll keep better track now that I have a reason to.

A bit about us: since The Bean is just going-on-four, our learning is still pretty informal, but this fall I've been trying to move our learning in a slightly more intentional direction. Peanut is just 9 months, and a lot more adventurous than his brother, so the emphasis is on "slightly" for the moment.

On to the notes:

After Dad got home, it became a train derrick.
I finally canned something this summer, for the first time since learning that you no longer have to simmer the lids before you use them. Which means you don't have to fish them out of hot water, which means that the magnetic wand I used to use to do so got bequeathed to Bean. He was excited to have the chance to do a real, live "'speriment," as we gathered together all sorts of things to see if they were magnetic or not. Bean's spoon: yes. Mama's spoons: nope. Gave a preschool version of the scientific method.

Also in science, DH had to drive some people around for work, and thus cleaned out his car for the first time in ... a while, and we found a pair of binoculars in there. Great excitement. Talked about lenses and telescopes and such. For the moment, he prefers to use them backwards to make things small.

He was demanding I read "The Ink Garden" to him at least once a day, so I dug up an illuminated letter online (now linked in my review) and he watercolored away, "painting letters just like da Deeaphane!" He also traced the lines on this constellation sheet, while we talked about the names of the constellations (Note to self: Pull out D'Aulaires' and read some of the stories behind those names).

Tuesday was his onomastico, so his dad got him a book about the popes. Definitely recommended, though I wonder if it's more intended for kids who can read it to themselves than as a read-aloud. The sentences are just a tad stilted at times, so I find myself editing on the fly for a better flow. He really wanted to color "pope stuff" after several read-throughs. So, I put this and this on one page in Publisher and let him have at it. It's all red now, of course, because that's the only color. (PS - I just ran across this very nice Sts. Peter and Paul page, too.)

Wednesday was a bit of a loss. I ran off this number-tracing worksheet (registration required) but his inner perfectionist kicked in and he went on strike unless "Mama can help" (i.e., hold his hand and do it for him). Since he's done similar sheets successfully in the past, I respectfully declined, and it went undone. I did occupy him for a while by getting him sorting tiny pompoms onto these color cards. With tongs from his kitchen toys, even, so it took up a decent amount of time (yay!)

 Thursday: Our very sad garden actually produced something! So, we harvested broccoli and talked about different parts of the plant and what kinds of food come from each. None of this persuaded him to actually eat the broccoli, alas. Food-related learning was not a total loss, though, as he did show us over dessert that he's paying attention to a geography: