July, 2011

Learning from Characters in the Classics

July 29, 2011
posted by Tia in Learning

“Vi,” my son Captain said to his sister the other night as we were preparing for dinner, “you sound like Eeyore.”

Stopping short in the middle of her complaint, Vi looked up at him in surprise. And then she laughed. “Why does Eeyore always sound sad, Mom?” she asked, turning to me. “He belongs to Christopher Robin, and Christopher Robin is always so happy.” A short, impromptu discussion ensued.

This little interchange reminded me how much I really love classic books. In fact, possibly my favorite thing about them is how much you learn by relating to their characters. “You sound like Eeyore” was a comment that awoke interest, surprise, and curiosity, whereas “Why are you being so grumpy!” would have had an entirely different effect. (Not that I’d know…people never say things like that around here, let me assure you. *cough, cough*)

My husband and I absolutely love reading classics together, and with the children. One of our favorite authors is Jane Austen. Half of the reason is that many of her characters are so ridiculous! But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve squirmed while reading an Austen book because I related too closely to the sentiments of one of its characters. One never wants to be as vain as Sir Walter, as self-important as Aunt Norris, or as prejudiced as Elizabeth Bennett.  And yet as we read classics, we see our reflections in their pages, uncomely though they may be.

Classical characters reach inside our souls to illuminate their likenesses buried there. Once discovered, we may do with them as we please; diminish or enlarge them as we choose. Silence our inner Eeyore, perhaps, and invite Christopher Robin out more often. It’s like a game: Choose Your Classical Character. Which do you want to be?

Who is your favorite literary character?

Meet the Cast

July 24, 2011
posted by Tia in Loving

Welcome to HomeMade Learning, where my children will star every day, in one way or another. I am a stay-at-home, homeschooling mother, with a wonderful husband and four incredible kids to keep me on my toes. I sing through the good days, breathe through the bad days, and love what I do every day. Even when I wish that I could find my children’s “pause” buttons, I stop and remember that all the things I want time to accomplish come back to them: learning so I can teach them, cleaning so I can relax and read with them, journaling so that I can someday share with them. My primary fulfillment is in my family, and I love this work so much. I hope that on this blog I can share some of that love and inspiration with you.

You probably won’t be seeing much of my husband, James, around here; he’s a little camera-shy. Well, that and he’s usually the one behind the camera—I’ll admit up front that most photo credit on this blog goes to him. He’s gifted with a better eye than I am. Along with a great many other things!

With that said, meet the cast!! I want to introduce you to my children.

The oldest is my son, Captain. Here is a picture of him looking snazzy on his bike this summer.

Captain is seven this year. He is my deep thinker—like his daddy. Captain always wants to know why. He is a history-buff in the making and has a particular love for knights, soldiers, battles, wars, armies, and all other related topics. Paradoxically, he is also a very sensitive, thoughtful child, who really takes things to heart.

Here is Captain teaching his younger brother to stick-fight:

Second is my daughter, Vi. She’s six this year. Vi is bubbly, energetic, loving, dramatic, and motherly. One of these days I’ll treat you with a post titled something like, “The many moods of Vi.” She is our family’s hugger, most cheerful helper, and most attentive sibling to the little ones. Here she is posing in pink:

With her best friend, Captain:

And holding her baby sister, whom she adores beyond any powers of description:

Next is my younger son, Orator, two this year. It should be easy to guess from his name what one of his principle charms is. As uncommon as it is for a two-year-old boy, Orator talks almost non-stop, and makes sense, too! He is clever, imaginative, sociable, and makes us laugh all day long. Orator loves doing things with his older brother and sister and feeling like he is “one of the big kids.” Here is Orator thoughtfully considering on colored Easter eggs:

And teasing with his sister Vi:

Last but not least is Sunshine, the newest addition to our little family. She was born earlier this year and has us all wrapped around her little finger. She is certainly Sunshine as her name implies and we couldn’t be happier to have her here. Sunshine is smiley and sociable, learning to laugh, and is always sporting a remarkable infant hair-do which never fails to draw comments wherever we go.

Sunshine is here being dutifully adored by Captain:

And wondered at by Orator (but don’t worry, he completely adores her too, although she did steal his baby-spot in the family):

Blogosphere, meet children. Children, meet blogosphere.

Let the show begin!


One Comment

Building a Blog

July 18, 2011
posted by Tia in Learning

Who knew that building a blog could be such an education in and of itself? I’ve learned so many things about myself as I’ve been setting up Homemade Learning. Here’s a few:

I am not a very creative person! This manifested itself in two different ways. The first was when my web designer asked me what I wanted my blog to look like, and I had no idea. So he had me look over several different design ideas and design elements so that I could point out things that I liked. Good thing I have an incredible web designer! (His link is at the bottom of my page!!) Once I had made a few suggestions of things that seemed to fit, he got right to it and came up with exactly what I wanted.

The second manifestation of my lack of creative juices was while I was looking at design elements with him. I realized that I was steering away from any elements that looked too…creative. Too artsy. Why? Because it seemed that would be misleading. I want for my blog to be thoughtful, inspirational, deep, challenging and practical, yes! I hope so. But chances are that it won’t be very creative…because in general, I’m not.

I don’t know, that doesn’t sound right. Maybe creative is the wrong word. I’m not artsy; perhaps that works a little better. Let’s just say that this won’t be your one-stop-shop for this week’s amazing craft idea or imaginative jaunt through Never-Neverland!

Other things that I learned:

I really, really like purple.

I overanalyze everything. Beginnings are hard for me. It’s taken me months to get past writing an About Me page and my first blog post. (What is the world is the “right” thing to write for a first post, anyway?)

In finding fake web names to use for my children, my oldest daughter was by far the most difficult to come up with a suitable name for.

I’m not frilly or showy; instead, I love real beauty, symmetry, and a sense of order.

One neat thing that I realized was that I couldn’t find another blog that looked just the same way that I wanted mine to look. Perhaps that is a sign that the writing I plan for this blog will be original as well. I absolutely love the way that it turned out design-wise, and I feel hopeful that, in the same way, my writing here will be a worthy voice in some peoples’ lives and educations.

I get overly self-conscious about my writing when I’m doing it for others’ eyes. But perhaps we are all that way when we haven’t practiced enough. My husband tells me, “Just pretend like you’re writing in your journal.” Hmmm. Maybe I can do that. Then maybe eventually this blog will evolve into what I’ve dreamed that it would be.

Creative-less-ness and all!

What are some quirky things that you have learned about yourself recently?


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