Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Yarn Along

I've knit several hats over the past few weeks and I've noticed something. I'm getting ridiculously quick at knitting all kinds of hats (cables, eyelets, color work, etc). If someone asks me to knit them a hat, I always oblige. I'm always happy to knit for other people. I haven't added many of these projects to my Ravelry page because my project list would be overflowing with all kinds of hats. Actually, my Ravelry page is already overflowing with hat projects. I like small projects like hats because a hat can pack a lot of challenge into something manageable.

Anyway, I organized my knitting bag again this week. I do that a lot. I am determined to stay focused, but already in the back of my mind, I know that I will lose that new year's resolve and cast on many projects at the same time. I knit like I read. I get a new book and I'm all excited about that book, but then I set it down and start reading something else. As much as I have tried to change this behavior, I realize that it works for me and why I am I fighting it? Will I really feel more disciplined? It also works for me to have many knitting projects going at once just as it works for me to be juggling several different books at once.

I did narrow down my projects list and I have plans for two sweaters for Tess. The Bulle sweater and this cute sweater I stumbled onto last week. I am currently working on the Mini Mochi Fair Isle hat for a friend, of course (which I blogged about in my previous Yarn Along post). The Mini Mochi Fair Isle hat is taking me more time than most hats, but I did set it down so that I could knit six other hats. I also cast on Declan's hat for Sammy. It's full of fun twisty cables and it will look delightful in orange yarn. Sam looks really good in orange.

As for reading: I am reading Pippi Longstocking to Sammy. I really enjoyed Pippi as a child and I think I have finally found a good read aloud for Sam. He's usually a little tougher to please in the read alouds department than Luke was. For book club, I am reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-Time. My book club leader recently watched the movie about Temple Grandin and decided she wanted to read more about the autistic experience. So far, it's an interesting account of how the autistic mind functions. I also finished reading Jesus Land last night. It's a harrowing memoir of growing up in staunch Calvinist home. I just reviewed it on Goodreads. I've got a lot to say about it there. I am currently waiting for my new bible to arrive from Amazon. I ordered the C. S. Lewis Bible and I am excited about reading the bible along with commentary and quotes by C. S. Lewis.

That's it for this week. Hopefully, I will reach the decrease section of the fair isle hat for next week, but who knows? Some other project my get me distracted from this one. For more yarn adventures, please go visit Ginny.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Year of Learning Dangerously

A while back, I finished The Year of Learning Dangerously:Adventures in Homeschooling by Quinn Cummings.  I reviewed the book on Goodreads, but I thought this book merited some more thought. I haven't mentioned home education on my blog in a very long time. I suppose it's because of a combination of things. The twins might have something to do with it, but honestly, I have grown a little apprehensive as Luke, my oldest child approaches the high school years. How did he get to eighth grade already? He was in second grade when I started this blog in 2007.  I've been on the fence about sending him to the local public high school or continuing on here at home. Both options have their merits. I went to public school and I truly enjoyed my high school years. I already have one foot in home education and the other public education (My son, Sam, 2nd grader attends public school) and they are two entirely different worlds. Luke tells me that he's enjoyed these years learning at home and  I'm saddened that they all went so quickly. Luke asked for another year at home before heading to high school. He wants to complete some more higher level math before going off to high school. It's needless to say that I'm conflicted. Very Conflicted.

I'm more distracted and interrupted these days, but such is life with five children. As I look over my blog over the past year, it seems that I've spent more time thinking about knitting and sewing than anything else. This isn't entirely true. I suppose my silence might suggest this, but on the contrary, however, I haven't lost lost my passion for education. I still gravitate to books about the brain, reading, learning, and education. I'm constantly telling my kids that the good life is life-long learning. I believe in the curious life, but I have learned some things about myself in my home-educating journey.

I'm not a purist to any one educational theory. In my experience, I have gravitated to Charlotte Mason and her approach to education, but as my oldest son gets older, I find it difficult to translate the Charlotte Mason method to an older child. I suppose it shouldn't be hard as we live and breathe good books here. We're constantly at the library. We are steeped in literature here. At one point, early on,  I thought that I would just follow the curriculum outlined in The Well-Trained Mind. I was attracted to the rigor of the classical approach, but I soon learned that I didn't like feeling trapped into any one curriculum. Home educating has given me freedom to pursue so many subjects. Home education feeds my brain too! What can I say? I'm a total nerd. I always have been. My friend, Elizabeth captured my thoughts exactly:

Our academic program has always been literature intensive. It's also delight-driven within limits. That is, my kids get choices about what to study within a certain parameter. Every once in awhile, I look at something known for its rigor (like The Well Trained Mind in its entirety or Tapestry of Grace or Robinson) and I think about how much I want that kind of excellence. I love school. I'm a total library person. I would have taken any one of those curricula as a child and absolutely loved it. But it doesn't suit my household.

I suppose the more I ponder education, good education, I learn that are so many avenues to good learning. See my review of The Year of Learning Dangerously on Goodreads. I have more thinking and pondering to do.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Yarn Along: New Year's Edition

 I have neglected my blog almost all of December. It's been a rough month. I never took into consideration that having Walking Pneumonia would really slow me down. The last time I managed to get a blog post up it was December 5th. If you go and look at my previous post, you can see where I was on this dress on the 5th. I had just started this dress for my friend's daughter. I managed to finish the dress on Christmas Eve. It isn't a difficult dress, but I still I amazed myself by actually getting it done in less than two weeks with all the other demands of the season.
Last night, I sat down to work on my Mini Mochi Fair Isle Hat. I'm not using Mini Mochi yarn, but some fingering yarns from Knit Picks. This isn't the greatest picture, but the lighter color morphs (Knit Picks Chroma Fingering) slowly from light green to darker green and the other color is a very dark green called Midnight Heather. I can't help it, but I'm swayed by exciting color names. I'm making this hat for a friend as I am usually knitting for someone else. I enjoy this easy diamond pattern and I think the end result will be delightful especially when the lighter green gets darker. At the moment, I made a mistake in row 6 of the pattern and I have to un-knit almost a whole round. So, I put my knitting down and decided to blog!

As for reading, I'm currently reading:

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character

It's an interesting look at how it takes more than cognitive ability to succeed. There's much more to the intelligence picture than just smarts. Character matters.

Happy New Year, friends. I'm looking forward to an adventure-filled 2013.