Catholic Homeschooling

Education Crisis? No surprise here.

 One thing that really makes me glad that we decided to homeschool is hearing about what children in schools are actually doing.

Right now my son is diagramming sentences. Yes, I know this is cruel. The Random Yak has a wonderful post about her child’s history assignment. While I will freely admit that creativity and personal expression are wonderful things for a child to learn I am with the Yak on her assessment of this assignment.

We have just finished the New Kingdom of Egypt and I am really, really looking forward to Greece. We have reading, art projects and even a field trip to the museum planned. But nothing so creative as making postage stamps. We will be doing a good bit of memorization and history reports that will be sadly heavy on writing about historical facts .

Interestingly the Anchoress (yes, yes I read her frequently) writes about the SAT’s essay portion:

“ Like so much of post-modernist bunk, students can meet the trick if they simply learn “the form” of a thing without learning its function or substance.”

I can’t help but wonder what “Yak the younger” and classmates will be seeing on their SAT’s. I shudder to think they might actually be writing paragraphs about how math problems make them feel for the math portion and doing creative brain-storming collages for the verbal section. If you think that is alarmist you need to take a look at my High School Freshman daughter’s Algebra Text.   Is it really any surprise that schools are having trouble educating our children?  It is as though they have forgotten what it means to be educated.



In praise of Simple White Dishes


I find that simple useful things usually have a great deal of beauty to them. Today I am singing the praises of simple white dishware, the kind you can find almost anywhere, stoneware, solid, usually creamy white in basic shapes. It is inexpensive, easy to clean, usually dishwasher and microwave safe and sometimes even oven safe. The essence of kitchen simplicity

But, its boring. Yes, sort of. If you are the type who has to have something colorful and exciting then I suppose they are sort of boring. Fiestaware or something might be your choice. But for me I like the simplicity of white.

Since you can find them anywhere they are very easy to replace. The five year old dropping a plate will not be a tragedy. White also makes for easy cleanup. Even a young child can learn to wash a dish. Unadulterated white makes it easy to see that a through job has been done.

On the flip side I love fine china. There is something really nice about having dinner on fine plates. I have three patterns that I collect when I have the chance. These are items that bring a good deal of pleasure to me, one set has been handed down from my father’s mother and the other are just two sets I love. My hope is that my daughters and granddaughters will also love them.

But for everyday use nothing beat those nice little white stoneware dishes.