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My own weekly report

October 21, 2008

I keep forgetting to add my personal studies to our weekly reports, so I finally decided to just write my own report.  This is what I’ve been up to in the past month. 

Handicrafts:

I learned how to knit!  We had someone teach us how at Enrichment last Thursday night and I’ve made two dishcloths so far.  Of course D got a hold of the first one I made and pulled the needles plus a few stitches out and I don’t know how to fix it, and the second one is down to the last four stitches and I have no idea how to cast them off.  I’ve read all the online tutorials and can’t make head nor tail of them.  I need someone in the flesh showing me exactly what to do.  So eventually I’ll be able to use them.  I’m so excited, my old ones are getting really ragged.  And they smell.  Even after they go through the wash.

Yes, there’s a hole in there, it’s just one of many mistakes.  But I’m just happy I knitted something.  All by myself.

And I learned that knitting goes by a whole lot faster than counted cross-stitch.  But I’ve been working on my cross-stitch of “O, Jerusalem” some more, and I can actually see progress!  There is still so much to do, and the end is nowhere in sight, but I am encouraged. 

Reading:

I’m slowly working my way through the 6th-grade reading list in The Well-Trained Mind.  Yes, the 6th-grade list, most of which I’ve never read before.  I’ve finished Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and am about to start Geraldine McCaughrean’s retelling of The Canterbury Tales.  Every piece of literature I mention, DH says, “Oh yes, we read that in sophomore English.”  Sophomore as in, high school sophomore English.  I’ve been feeling very deprived.  My sophomore English experience was. . .well. . .greatly lacking.

I also missed out on a lot of history in school, I’m finding out, so I finally finished The High Middle Ages part 1 lectures from The Teaching Company.  Now I have The Early Middle Ages, part 2 to listen to.  I have to take what’s available at the library.  I hope I don’t get completely confused going out of order, but I think half of it is going way over my head anyway.  My mind wanders when there’s nothing to watch.  Maybe I’ll start knitting to stay focussed while I listen.

I also watched a fascinating video last week called When the Moors Ruled in Europe about the rise and fall of Islamic culture in “Al-Andalus” (Spain).  This also falls into the “I’ve never learned this before” category.  In fact I’ve learned more about Islam in the last 2 months with the boys than I ever have.

Music:

We went to hear the Guarneri String Quartet last Wednesday.  It was my last chance before they retire in May.  After reading Indivisible by Four last spring, I’ve really wanted to hear them play, so I bought myself tickets for my birthday (which isn’t until this Wednesday) and took DH.  They played Mozart, Kodaly, and Ravel.  It was all wonderful.  I just love the second movement of the Ravel quartet.  And it was so nice to get a night out.

I’m practicing for yet another concert.  We’re playing Sibelius “En Saga,” a tone poem for orchestra.  It looked easy to begin with, but has some really wicked parts in the middle in terms of speed and then there are the 10 lines that are in 5 sharps (then 3 flats) with accidentals all over the place in a syncopated rhythm, going at the speed of light.  I’m returning to my mantra “I played Mahler, I can play this.”  It’s quite empowering. 

We’re also playing Samuel Barber’s Music for a Scene from Shelley.  In one of Shelley’s poems, Prometheus Unbound, it suggests music at one point.  So Barber wrote some.  I really love it!  I never like Barber at first sight (I’ve never figured out why) but I always fall in love with his pieces after playing them.  This has some gorgeous cello melodies, it almost sounds like some epic movie score.  In fact I hear a little bit of Middle Earth in there at times, there are a few Howard Shore moments. 

Speaking of Middle Earth, I have 38 pages left in Return of the King.  I’m highly tempted to stay up and just finish it, but I know I’ll regret that big time tomorrow.  So I probably won’t.  I’ll be so happy to finish though.  I’ve been reading The Lord of the Rings since August.  And I’m a fast reader (with 3 children, homeschooling, cello students, church callings, a house to keep. . .)  It’s just so long, and while I’ve loved it, I need to go to a different place with my reading for a while. 

And because I’ve been busy, I have about 3 loads of laundry sitting here waiting to be folded, my feet almost stick to the kitchen floor, there are several important things I can’t find anywhere, and I’m surrounded by stacks of stuff yet again, so I really need to spend some time with my house this week, after ignoring it quite a bit lately. 

Balance, it’s that ever elusive balance. . .

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. October 21, 2008 12:19 am

    Impressive work! I know just how you feel about that balance thing! Looks like you are doing great on your reading! I too had a “lacking” schooling experience and am learning so much with my kids. I love your blog!

  2. October 21, 2008 12:50 am

    Congrats on learning how to knit. I have tried to teach myself this year. Go to knittinghelp.com and watch some videos on how to cast off or anything you need help with. I love that website.

    I completely understand and relate to not learning history or english during my school years. I am anxious to learn a lot while homeschooling 🙂

  3. October 21, 2008 6:45 am

    I ended up having to write out my own cleaning schedule so that my house wouldn’t be so icky! Congratulations on learning to knit, it’s a talent that still evades me.

    Your cross stitch is beautiful, will you post the finished project? I bet it will be gorgeous!

  4. October 21, 2008 9:28 am

    WOW! Your cross stitching is really coming along. I love it…..it will be beautiful.

  5. October 21, 2008 1:19 pm

    I used to cross-stitch a lot before I got married. I love your “O, Jerusalem” and that you learned to knit. I have had several women try to teach me. I can get it for the most part but I go so slow it pains me. I so want to learn how but I’m thinking I’m not patient enough right now.

    There’s an old story having to do with the Catalans and the Moors that’s told in my family. I’ll have to remember to tell it to you sometime.

  6. October 21, 2008 1:22 pm

    you are very inspiring. i think that i need to use my time more efficiently. i am down to watching almost no television, but this computer drags me in and sucks away time. i have been reading, although not enough, but it feels like all of my other time gets sucked up with housework, laundry, baking something, my calling, and proposition 8. maybe if i spent less time baking sweets and on the computer, i’d find time to learn to knit and practice the piano. maybe.

  7. October 22, 2008 6:55 am

    You might enjoy “The Walking Drum” by Louis La’Mour. Not a western. It involves Moorish Europe. We read it for a mother’s education group read a few years ago.

    Congratulations on all your learning. It has to feel good seeing it all written out and accounted for. Great job!

  8. Denise permalink
    October 22, 2008 7:57 am

    hey kristiana, I haven’t been to your blog for a while. I love all your pictures. Looks like you have had some fun fieldtrips. Good job with your crafts as well. You never cease to amaze me will all you do! The boys are darling.

  9. October 22, 2008 9:43 am

    Wow. You’re doing the Middle Ages for your kids’ homeschooling, and you’re doing the Middle Ages for your own personal literature and history study. No wonder you’re ready to finish the Lord of the Rings – needing a little change of scenery? 🙂

    Your cross-stitching is beautiful. What a great family heirloom that will be!

  10. October 22, 2008 10:31 am

    I relate to what you’re saying about that “I never learned that! Why haven’t I learned that?” feeling. I find my own high school experience to be seriously lacking. For ie: 10th grade English: we were given reading assignments (I remember Romeo and Juliet) and then guess what we did the next day in class? Ummmm….we read the assignment aloud. Not much motivation for doing the homework…and supremely boring. And someone thinking that “Romeo and Juliet” and “boring” belong in the same sentence? Pathetic.
    I’m inspired by your personal studies. My list of “what I want to learn to feel adequately educated” (even after graduating 3rd in my class without ever learning how to study, spending a year at a Seven Sisters college and earning two degrees from a highly respected conservatory) is longer than I can even begin to think about!

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