Saturday, March 24, 2018

A Few Resources for Boys

A Few Resources for Boys
Nigel Andreola and Dean Andreola, Maine 1999

Some boys will read but they aren't particularly excited about it. Some, drag their feet.

To remedy this we look for books that capture interest. Boys age 10-14 enjoy Ralph Moody's stories because they are based on challenges of his own life.

Are you familiar with Walt Morey? He is best known for Gentle Ben because a television show based on the book, aired 1967-69. It accounts for it being popular on Amazon.

My children tell me, however, that his other stories are better. Therefore, I nodded when I spied a comment on Kavik the Wolf Dog expressing: "What a story! Way better than Gentle Ben." It was all the comment the reader left but it was a happy exclamation.

Another writer of adventure is William O. Steele. My children read his Buffalo Knife. Most of Mr. Steele's books are out-of-print. I read The Story of Daniel Boone. He also wrote another Landmark; The Story of Leif Ericson. A generation ago or so, the Landmark Books made a noteworthy contribution to a child's knowledge of history. That was when children studied history. I'm sorry that so many living-book-histories are out-of-print. Keep an eye out for them. (Some Landmarks are better "reads" than others.)

It is encouraging to know that avid book rescuing is going on. Home teachers are building their libraries with used and sundry cast-offs. With these old "finds" they are preserving history. Rather than hide truth under a bushel, they are letting it shine for their children and their children's children. Ambre Sautter is building a website with a heart for rescuing books and chronicling them. Her Facebook readers at "Reshelving Alexandria" post their recent "finds." Many library discards have become treasures.

Getting back to the subject of boys, I'll let my son Nigel tell you about a gem for leisure reading. Thankfully these "clean" comics are still in print.

The Adventures of Tintin
 Review by Nigel Andreola
The Adventures of Tintin will satisfy cravings for wholesome action-packed adventure. Devoid of blatant sexual immorality and foul language it is appropriate for most ages. Kids as well as adults from all over the world have loved these books ever since the Belgian Mr. Herge began writing them in the 1930’s.

Tintin is a boy reporter who (along with his faithful dog Snowy) solves mysteries and fights crime. Although he is small, he is tough and delightfully clever.

He brings to justice international drug smugglers, thieves, slave traders, spies, and warlords. He restores peace and good government to countries at war.

And if this isn’t enough, he narrowly escapes death while he saves his friends lives in every book.

Unlike modern comic book formats, here we have witty dialog (with a large vocabulary) and an intriguing novel-like story line.

My father introduced me to this unforgettable cast of characters when I was a boy. But my sisters read them, too. You can meet the bumbling twin detectives, Thomson and Thompson, the eccentric hard-of-hearing mad scientist Professor Calculus with his priceless inventions, and Captain Haddock, a sailor with a weakness for whisky, to name a few of the characters.

Friends of all ages have borrowed my Tintin books so often I am surprised the well-worn covers are still holding. Brimming with real-world geography, Tintin’s adventures take him to colorful and exotic locations all over the world. He faces many dangers in Africa, the Americas, China, India, Nepal, Arabia, Eastern Europe, England and more.

It is true that Tintin will occasionally encounter the strange customs and pagan rituals of primitive cultures, and the books are politically incorrect by today’s standards, (firearms are used).

But to me, the political incorrectness heightens the suspense and humor.  Although the stories are secular, they are moralistic, so the presentation of good versus evil is well-defined and portrayed.

By the way, if any of my friends are reading this, isn’t it about time you consider buying your own copies?

Post Script
I finished piecing my log cabin table topper. You see it is pictured here - yet to be quilted. It's rather large for a table topper. I got carried away. I admit.

Red is traditionally used for the center of an American log cabin quilt square. It represents a warm hearth. The centers in this design are larger than is typical. I used the "Log Cabin Trim Tool" by Jean Ann Wright, to "square up" and keep my strips accurate. This trim tool (plastic ruler) comes in three sizes and is demonstrated on YouTube. I'm already day-dreaming about making a tiny log cabin doll quilt Amish style, using solid colors and the smallest trim tool.

Fabric makes me smile. This topper certainly has the scrappy look with lots and lots of different of fabric. I may have been a too scrap-happy. It's rather busy. But it will be something to look at on a gray day (when it's finished.) What's delightful about Mother Culture is that you can choose to be creative and decorate in ways that make you smile.

Listed on Amazaon:

Kavik the Wolf Dog by Walt Morey

Buffalo Knife by William O'Steele

The Adventures of Tintin by Herge
Cigars of the Pharaoh 

You will see other books by these authors surrounding those I linked here. Happy book hunting.
Thanks for stopping by,
Karen Andreola  

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Drawing Shyness by Karen Andreola

Drawing Shyness

My children all liked to draw - - - and were unhampered by drawing lessons because I didn't give them such lessons in their early years. Only in later years did they have a few drawing lessons, on shape and shading.
(One resource was an old kit by Jon Gnagy. It was eagerly taken up.)

Before that, I simply said, "Draw what you see." 

That was enough.

I let them draw here and draw there - with no criticism from me (unless I was pressed. Then I'd give "one" pointer.)

"You like our pictures because you're our mother," they would moan.

"Okay, okay, if you wanna get picky - - - that sunflower is disproportionately wide in the stem." Choice vocabulary would always appease them. With that, my job was done. "Now, let me bring this basket of clean laundry upstairs and get another started in the washer."

Drawing is a sort of slow-growth "learn-as-you-go." I found children are self-correcting. Doesn't this make a teacher sound lax or lazy?

Miss Mason humorously admits to being "shy in speaking" about drawing. This is because she didn't hamper her students with instruction, either. The less a teacher does "for" students, the more she is frowned upon by the school-ish establishment. 

She didn't care, however. She simply let children draw what blossomed in their imagination connected with the reading of the day.

She was impressed, too, with how the children used "all their paper" in drawing what they observed of the world around them. *1

She says,

"They give you horses leaping brooks, dogs running after cats, sheep on the road, always with a sense of motion. . . a gardener sharpening his scythe, their mother sewing, a man rowing, or driving, or mowing.

They have a delightful and courageous sense of color, and any child will convince you that he has it in him to be an artist.”

“ . . . Their field studies give them great scope. The first buttercup in a child's nature notebook is shockingly crude . . . but by and by another buttercup will appear with the delicate poise, uplift and radiance of the growing flower." *2

How delightfully sweet!

*1&*2 Charlotte Mason, Philosophy of Ed. p.217

Dear friend,
You are not a lax or lazy teacher if you give your students the assignment to draw - - - and then set them free - - - to draw what they see.

(I first made this a Facebook Post for Monday morning. Then, I thought I ought to place it on the blog here for those who prefer not to scroll there.)

Good News
Yolanda and Daniel are moving back to Lancaster County because he found a job here. Meanwhile Sophia and Andrew (and my grandchildren) are moving an hour away rather than three. We are all looking forward to seeing more of each other this year.

Yolanda is expecting a baby this summer. She has waited a long time. I'm praying she will keep the baby as the women in our family have a history of miscarriages. 

Spring is around the corner. Snowdrops are in bloom down the road. I hope, very soon, to be relieved of the symptoms of cabin fever. Weeding the garden has risen in my estimation to be a sought-after occupation. 

I am looking forward to digging in the garden - especially after watching the film "Secret Garden" with Margaret O'Brien last week. This melodramatic version (complete with temper tantrums) is actually pretty close to the book.

Until next time,
Karen Andreola 

Copyright Karen Andreola, 2018

Sunday, February 18, 2018

I am, I can, I ought, I will.

I am, I can, I ought, I will.

1989 - Tennessee. Sophia and Yolanda are still close today. 
The Motto
The motto of the P.N.E.U is for persons of any age and position.

In the middle of the school year it is good to be reminded of our motivations.

One of the benefits of home learning is that children look up to adults.

In an age-integrated environment, spiritual and intellectual meals are served family-style with discussion and narration part of the menu plan.

Students work independently with lovely focus too, keeping a record of their learning in notebooks and through projects.

The smallest segment of their learning is experienced within a group of  peers in a co-op, perhaps, within meaningful activities, these can include opportunities for ministering to others.

In his pamphlet, A Generation Which Knew Not the Lord, addressing why an alarming number of children raised in Christian homes are leaving the church, pastor Joseph P. Cammilleri says,

"The godliest young people that I have observed are those who spent the most time with their families; family dependence, so to speak, in contrast to peer dependence."

Yolanda and I made tea cozies for gifts one year. We made some in blue pots, too.
With family-style learning, even grandparents may get into-the-act. This year a mother shared with me how her retired father studied WWII with her son (for high-school credit). History was a favorite subject of Grandpa's. He is gone now but during those influential years he was esteemed for his teaching-love. What Grandpa left behind him, in the heart and mind of his grandson, is special and immeasurable.

In the philosophy of secular humanism (and hedonism) there exists no higher authority than man (or self). Yikes. We see what a mess this philosophy makes of a civil society and the lives of individuals. Yet, this is the religion of the government schools and Universities. It is also the religion of Hollywood.

Being brought-up in a Christian household a student is blessed by living with higher and purer ideals than what is presented in the government schools. His ideals steam from the Word of God. Let's look at a few ideals today, within the motto.

The first draft of my book is finished. I am contemplating pictures for it.
Ideals are way up high. We have to reach for them. Carl Shultz said,

"Ideals are like stars; you will not succeed in touching them with your hands. But like the seafaring man on the desert of waters, you [use] them as your guides, and following them you will reach your destiny."

It stretches our personality while it develops our character, to reach for an ideal - although what we actually achieve will be somewhere lower. I am reminded of a song I used to sing in Sunday school - "We Are Climbing Jacob's Ladder." We reach-up to climb. The song had hand motions to go with it. When I think of Charlotte Mason's motto I think of climbing Jacob's Ladder. The first step of the ladder is:

This is the cover of one of my Victorian books. Isn't she sweet?
I am. 

If I am a Christian who am I? I am an ordinary person and have sin-nature, but if my faith is in Christ I am a new creation.*1 Through His Holy Spirit I am a partaker of the divine nature.*2 I am a person redeemed,*3 ransomed,*4 reconciled,*5 adopted.*6 I am of the elect*7 and accepted in the beloved.*8 etc.

Many beautiful old hymns were written in praise of who we are in Christ. Please feel free to share any favorites in the comments.

I can.

I can reach for an ideal. A series of failures may result in setbacks because I am an ordinary person. But each effort should bring me a little nearer to the goal. Christ chose ordinary men to be his disciples. To these ordinary men were left the important work of continuing what Christ began.

"But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'"*9

A found a beautiful mother and child for a page in my new book. I have 40 chapters and hope to find 40 pictures.
I ought.

The word "ought" comes from the word "owe." What we ought to do is what we owe to our God, parents, and one another. We are to outdo one another with showing love and honor.*10 "I ought" is a twin with "I can" for what we ought to do we can do. "Duty" is old fashioned word. We rarely hear or use it today, which suggests there could be a cold association with it. But we can think of this step surrounded by a glowing halo. We would do better if we loved warmly what we ought to do.*11

We used zig-zag stitch to applique our cut-out pieces.  Piping in top seam.
I will. 

The last step involves our will. It should be prefaced with "by the grace of God."*12 We are often too inclined to depend on our own resources. "It is God who works in you, both to will and to do for His good pleasure."*13 I thought hardly anything about the will until I read Charlotte Mason's writings. The function of the will is to choose moment by moment. The more we consciously perform an act of will, the stronger that willpower becomes.

Here I am. Send me. 

With this motto each person can say, "I am only one, but I am one; I can't do everything, but I can do something. That which I do, I ought to do, and that which I ought to do, with God's help so I will do it."*14

May this motto greatly encourage my Christian friends mid-year.

Post Script
For those who asked, Sophia and Yolanda are doing well. I hope to share more soon.

Sophia needle-felted me this corgi. Compare it in size to the postage stamp.
I connected the points made (above) presented concisely, to truths in the Word of God as I understand them.

Comments are Welcome.
Karen Andreola

End Notes
*1 2nd Corinthians 5:17
*2 2nd Peter 1:4, 2nd Corinthians 5:21, Philippians 3:9
*3 Ephesians 1:7
*4 1st Peter 1:18
*5 2nd Corinthians 5:18
*6 Ephesians 1:5
*7 1st Peter 1:2
*8 Ephesians 1:6
I CAN *9 2nd Corinthians 12:9
I OUGHT *10 Romans 12:10, *11 Romans 12:1
I WILL *12 James 4:15, *13 Philippians 2:13, Hebrews 13:21
SUMMARY *14 Isaiah 6:8