NaNoWriMo

November is NaNoWriMo — National Novel Writing Month! Alongside my writing students, I have challenged myself to write a novel during these 30 days. Our goal is 25,000 words, which is the young adult version. (If I get really crazy I’ll try to reach 50,000). Is anyone else out there doing this? Have you done it before? Please share your stories! And don’t worry if I disappear this month: I’m just up here in my office, with co-sleeping bed hed, notebook and pen in hand, while my happy children run wild and free!

Wednesdays

This is our home-away-from-homeschool one day a week.

I spend a lot of time on Wednesdays in this classroom at our homeschool partnership where I teach a Writer’s Workshop to middle schoolers and a French class to elementary-age students.

The girls take classes too and help watch Wallace while I teach!

When all the details were coming together this summer, I was excited about the “idea” of teaching. But I didn’t know how much I would like it in real time. But I sure do. I love having a space dedicated to bringing children together to learn. I love listening to all the things they say and ask — and watching their faces light up when we read and have conversations and work on projects. It is all kinds of wonderful.

Week Three

Cleaning off the table at the end of the week . . . there is much I want to remember and savor here. After two very challenging first weeks, this week was wonderful. The weather. Walks outside. Star gazing. Beach time. Books. Poetry. Writing. Exploring. Wallace’s morning circle. Making wreaths. Shakespeare. Music lessons. Expanding our timeline. Looking at works of great art. Math with Papa. These are the things of my homeschool dreams.

Habit

This month’s bundle on “Habit” from Wild + Free is a lovely one. It was a sweet thing to receive the print magazine in the mail yesterday, but I have to admit that I laughed at myself when I turned to this page. “Homeschooling with a Toddler” — I hope this person knows more than I do!

Beautiful Dreamer

Our beautiful dreamer.

I’m spending more time in June writing and less time taking photographs. I feel a bit like this beautiful sleeping baby: resting in the afternoon air — closing my eyes to the vibrant patterns of light and travelling within.

It’s a bit of a mystery, isn’t it? What lies within a little sleeping soul?

Learning Shakespeare

Have you discovered the book “How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare” by Ken Ludwig? I brought it home from the library last fall and it sat in a stack of books, unopened, for three weeks. It wasn’t the right time. Or maybe I was intimated by the thought of Shakespeare? Where to begin with Shakespeare?

Well, I brought it home again last week. And this time I managed to open it up on my lap on a quiet Sunday morning when everyone else was still asleep. The result? I’m hooked! I love it. We’re learning Shakespeare. Memorizing it!

I love Ken Ludwig’s philosophy and his emphasis on the importance of hearing Shakespeare’s poetry aloud and memorizing passages with your children. He writes:

“With Shakespeare, memorizing is the key to everything. . . In order to memorize something, you have to be very specific and very honest with yourself. You have to work slowly, and you have to understand every word of what you’re memorizing. There was a time not long ago when memorization was considered to be one of the basic tools of an academic education. Students were expected to learn hundreds of lines from the Greek and Roman classics, then, later, from poetry in their native tongues. This tradition has faded from our lives, and something powerful has been lost.” (p. 6 & 8)

Reading this I realized how much memorization was part of my own education — and yet I hadn’t thought about it much before. So many choir songs; solos; lines in middle-school and high-school plays; passages from the Bible; and French! Oh, the French memorization I did in college was endless.

But when I studied Shakespeare in high school, it was all in written form. Always read silently, to myself. Never spoken — let alone memorized. And so the thought of learning Shakespeare through memorization, right from the beginning, was completely new to me — and yet it felt absolutely right. And so we dove right in with A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows . . .”

30 :: Summoned

Pulled in different directions.

A dozen tasks on my
morning list.
Trying to attend to one,
just one.
To give it the space
to bloom.

But then I am interrupted.
I get interrupted
so
many
times
each day.

It happens so often
that maybe I should consider it
as something else?
Call it by a different name?

Summoned?