Well this hasn't exactly been the greatest month so far. At the beginning of November we went on a trip and it was a big trip, one we had waited years to do...16 in fact. It was a trip in which circumstances prevented us from adjusting or playing with the timeline. A trip in which we had to save up for, we counted down, we ate and lived frugally for months (mostly peanut butter and jelly, chicken, veggies, and rice and cereal and milk). All spring and summer long, checking off each day with excitement and nervousness and anticipation.
Then the day to leave arrived. We dropped off our three doggies, made sure the plans were in place for our bunny and guinea pig, squeezed all the luggage and stuff (how is it that we have to take so much stuff?!?) in the car and we were off!
We drove and drove and drove and drove. 23 hours. We get to our destination, and immediately one of our kids doesn't feel well. It progressed to the point where we had to leave early before our vacation was done and drive all day and all night in case we needed to see the doctor the next morning. Exhausted, disappointed, and miserable we passed hour upon hour in the car.
The entire week after we arrived home was passed with my child on the couch, miserable. Finally Friday arrived and things began to turn around and we all went on a walk, Half way through the walk I started to not feel so good. By the time bedtime arrived that night my throat was so sore I couldn't swallow. Another week of misery, this time knocking us out of Thanksgiving plans.
However, thankfully something happened early in the week that gave my mind something to grapple with as I lay aching and miserable on either my bed or a pallet on the floor. I guess it was last year that I discovered Sarah Mackenzie? She has a lovely blog called Amongst Lovely Things, an awesome book that I think every homeschool mom should read (Teaching From Rest), and a great podcast called Reading Revival. Anyway earlier in the week I remembered she had a special section on her blog titled "Listen Up" - it lists her favorite podcast speakers. So thanks to Sarah, I spent a lot of time listening to Dr, Christopher Perrin and Jenny Rallens.
WOW! Through the haze of fever and the exhaustion of not sleeping due to stuffed up nose and coughing, Jenny's talk on The Liturgical Classroom and Virtue Formation captivated me (I have listened to it on repeat). Dr. Perrin's talk on the Eight Essential Principles of Classical Pedagogy inspired me (again listened to this one over and over and over). I have spent the long hours lying down thinking and dreaming and wrestling with what this idea, this pedagogy of forming virtues in your children through teaching them to seek truth, goodness, and beauty could mean for our new year.
Now that my youngest child has come down with it, and the nights are long, the days longer, I have something to occupy my mind, something to dig into. I sit beside the couch, journal and pen in hand and scribble out study notes. I have found so much, so, so much.
This post of Jenny Rallens,
This explanation and tutorial on commonplacing.
This post on Schole.
And I am making my way through this work on Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.
I am sure by the end of this month I will have even more, because I still have one child that I suspect may be coming down with it, but hasn't yet. So even though it's been a pretty miserable month, it's been a fruitful one.