I posted this recently on an email list.

I would like to share this with others – joy is such an important concept for me.

Friends and I have talked a lot about joy and unschooling and our kids and our faith. How they mesh.

A and I are reading Chesterton’s “Orthodoxy”. We bought it yesterday. There is a great quote on joy , which I’d like to share –

“Man is more himself, man is more manlike, when joy is the fundamental thing in him, and grief the superficial. Melancholy should be an innocent interlude, a tender and fugitive frame of mind; praise should be the permanent pulsation of the soul. Pessimism is at best an emotional half-holiday; joy is the uproarious labour by which all things live……

Joy, ….. is the gigantic secret of the Christian….”


Papal Feminism

I was reading this morning, from Witness To Hope – a bio of Pope John Paul II, by George Weigel.

I was reading from the section titles “Papal Feminism.” Intriguing, huh?

This is some of what Weigel had to say, about PJ2 and his thoughts on the role of women.

” Mary, he {the Pope} suggested, was the first disciple, for her assent to the angel’s message made possible the incarnation of the Son of God. …The ‘ Marian profile’ in the church is, John Paul suggested, even ‘more..fundamental’ than the ‘Petrine profile.’ Without being divided from it, the ‘Marian Church” – the church of disciples – preceded and made possible the ‘Petrine Church’ – the Church of office and authority….The message was unmistakable. Discipleship came before authority in the church, and sanctity came before power, even the apostolically transmitted priestly power…..This was Mariology demolishing the last vestiges of the idea of the Church-as-absolute-monarchy. “

I talked of radical in the post below.

When I think of radical and Christianity together, I think of the late Pope John Paul II.


Our faith and unschooling

I am on several unschooling email lists, two of which are faith specific.

One of these is the Radical Christian Unschoolers list – it is not that we are radical Christians but more that we are radical unschoolers who are also Christian.

What is meant by the term radical? The email list blurb says ” On this list there will be no talk of curriculum, partial enrollment, spanking, chore charts, coercive limitations, forced respect, or anything else that doesn’t jive with radical unschooling. ” The blurb also quotes Galatians –

Gal 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” ~NIV

Recently, there was a discussion on this list about our faith and our unschooling. Can the two mix? Is there a dichotomy there, somewhere?

A poster said that she found that as she unschooled more, she learned more about her faith. And vice verse. Someone else pointed out that, if this is where God has lead us, then we need to listen to His prompting, in the gifts and talents and personalities of our dc, and not necessarily look to curriculum .

And this is where I am – acceptance. Acceptance of where and who we are, and moving along with the help of the Sacraments.

Today we went “op shop shopping” – found some good bargains with books, Christmas books and cards, clothes. We peeked in an antique store and admired the old tins. There was an original Mortein fly spray pump, the kind that was used before aerosal sprays were invented. We tried this out and marvelled at the technology of the times.

We went to Koorong Books, a Christian book and music store, and bought an animated version of The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe. I think we are becoming Narnia obsessed, in preparation for the new movie. We keep looking at the Narnia movie books, at the website, we have re-read several books in the series, we have found out info about the new Narnia game for PC/gaming systems.

And T got an early birthday present – a PS2. It was on sale, secondhand, the newer slimline version, and it seemed a bargain too good to be missed! Hey, an early birthday present is fun.

We also bought another DVD in the Gurardian Angels Force series and G K Chesterton’s book “Orthodoxy”. A and I love Chesterton and this is one we haven’t read.

We had lunch out and talked about making healthier selections. And about our favourite foods ( curry for several of us!). J and A are at part time work at Kumon right now and T and Anny are watching the Angels DVD as I type. Anny is also doing mazes and crossword puzzles at the same time. G is working on his models and watching the DVD, too. And talking about who will be the bad guy in the film. We all like to do two things at once, it seems.

This is where we were lead today – and it is a day full of experiences and learning and reading and family time and game playing and movie watching. It doesn’t look like a typical school day but that is where we are.



What we have been up to..

This pic of a rose is similar to a rose I picked on Friday, on our way back to the car from the train station. The rose was from a bush growing wild near the carpark at the semi rural railway station – it was growing in an old lot. There must have been a house there once and it is now demolished. But the garden plants remain.

The rose now stands alone in a small vase, sitting on the wood cabinet in our entry area. It is a rich colour and has a mild fragrance. I love flowers in the house!

Where did we go on the train on Friday? Well, we left home at 8.30 a.m. We picked up a homeschool teen girl and met another homeschool family at the railway station. It was great to have company on the hour long train trip.

We went to the Art Gallery – then to lunch at a food hall and a visit to Border’s and to CD shops. Finally, we all met a group of homeschoolers for an excursion to Parliament House.

This was an excursion I had organized awhile ago and while the group attending was not large, the information and tour was great. We had an interesting tour guide, who ad libbed and added in side remarks. These were humourous and often sarcastic. We found out not only about the Parliamentary process but also about the history of the early colony and how one gets to be a tour guide at Parliament House. The guides made the tour interactive and had children playing the roles of different politicians.

Then, home again on the train – and that is when I found the rose. We arrived home around 5.30 p.m.

What else have we been up to? The usual drama class, skateboarding, iceskating, gymnastics, tai chi. Library visits, part time work. Shopping for new clothes for the boys for summer – interesting to see how the youngest two ( 10 and 12) have grown.

I am reading aloud Mao’s Last Dancer by Liu Cunxin.

Automatically, while reading,we get into research and discussion about the Chinese revolution, the Chinese culture, communism and capitalism.

We have also purchased and read the latest Lemony Snickett book – “The next to last.” I still have to finish the book – but I am reading at least four books right now!

We watched Kingdom of Heaven ( some bits we ffed through). This had us spending a week reading about the crusades and everyone wrote a narration on some event or person from the crusades.

The teens, dh and I watched The Interpeter. Quite suspenseful but also topical – we discussed Africa and civil war and human rights.

We went to ten pin bowling with the Homeschool Teen group- younger siblings and mums welcome! It was a good day, followed by picnic lunch along the Nepean River. The boys and I pondered the importance of water to the early settlers of this area.

Every Saturday, the boys play an rpg with Anny. Rpgs are his love – he has the Star Wars one right now. They create characters, roll die, enact scenes.

T and J have been doing the Canadian Air Force fitness programme – 5BX for males ( XBX for females). A keeps up with tai chi practice and martial arts. Anny does bouncing on the trampoline and lifts my barbell without the added weights – it is cute to see a ( small) ten year old working out.

I have been doing the Taebo Bootcamp and some new Denise Austin workouts. Gerry keeps up with his walks.

Fitness galore!


It’s over!

The Homeschool Spring Concert is over! Yay!

It was a fun day and we certainly enjoyed ourselves, enjoyed everyone’s acts and had a ball of fun performing ourselves.

However, since our kids ( and thus, by implication, our family) were some of the organizers, it is a relief to have the work over – to feel the satisfaction of a job completed, a job well done.

No more worries!