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27 May 2018

Using a Concordance: What is an Oracle?


I love the notes on the Hebrew and Greek roots of words you sometimes see in the footnotes of the LDS edition of the Bible. Where those have been included, they almost always add clarity to the meaning of a difficult passage, and I often wished there was more of them.

Then I discovered Strong's Concordance.

What they've done with Strong's Concordance is made an index. Of every single word in the entire Bible. And then cross-referenced each and every word with the Greek or Hebrew word it was translated from. So any word that puzzles you, you can trace back into Hebrew for the Old Testament, or Greek for the New Testament, look at its definition and entomology, and see what else it was translated as, and where else it was used.

My oldest and I are reading through a chronological edition of the King James (another magical invention - I'm absolutely loving having it arranged chronologically, rather than the traditional order) and recently we were reading the 28th Psalm:

18 May 2018

It's Working: Foreign Language Learning the Charlotte Mason Way

I've put a lot of time and effort in the past month or two into studying the method that Francois Gouin developed for studying foreign languages, and about 2 or 3 weeks ago, I started putting some of what I learned into practice in our home. Oh wow, guys, this is amazing. I am learning so much! And my kids are learning quite a bit! This is definitely something that we're going to continue to do.

Our first efforts have been in learning what I think of as my "Applesauce Series": we're learning to talk about what happens as you make applesauce. These are our main props (the bowl was handy, and it's pretending to be a pot today)

A progress report our efforts to use a Charlotte Mason approach to foreign language learning: it's working!

17 May 2018

Words of Christ: Suffer It To Be So

President Nelson gave us a lot to think about this last Conference! I suspect that people are going to be chewing on the things he said and did for quite some time to come. Looking over his Saturday morning talk, Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ into our Lives, he gave us a concrete thing to do:

"...consecrate a portion of [our] time each week to study everything Jesus said and did as recorded in the standard works... let the scriptural citations about Jesus Christ in the Topical Guide become [our] personal core curriculum."

I was half toying with adding a red letter Bible to my collection, but then it occurred to me: I can do the same thing with my pen, little by little, in the time he's asking for each week, and turn my regular scriptures into a red letter Bible, and by searching out and pondering the things that He says, I'll get a lot more out of it than I would by just buying a book that someone else has already pre-marked. So I started in Matthew.

15 May 2018

Latin Resources for Your Homeschool

We're learning Latin. I suppose this this shouldn't surprise me, but it kind of does. Still. Six months after we started: I hadn't planned to have the kids do Latin, much less to do it myself. God had other plans, so here we are.

Turns out, there's lots of resources out there.

The kids are using Latina Christiana I, which I still like.

I decided that I need to know a little more than they do, so I picked myself up a copy of Wheelock's Latin, which I also like. It's got a bit of a learning curve on it: Latin has a lot of grammar. A lot a lot. But I'm getting it figured out, and I think I'm going to really enjoy this, oddly enough. I'm looking forward to reading Horace, someday. That's where I want to go with this, now that I'm doing it.

04 May 2018

Experimenting with the Gouin Method of Foreign Language Instruction

As I was writing about the intersection of Charlotte Mason and foreign language instruction, I discovered that the author she looks to for her instruction method, Francois Gouin, has a book -- and that it's online for free. So I've been reading it, and as a result I'm making some tweaks to how we are doing our language instruction. They're not huge tweaks, the biggest changes is the level of intentionality that I'm able to bring to our instruction. I'm pretty excited. Even better, I've got a group of people who are also experimenting with Gouin's methods, so we can all talk it over an see what works and all help each other improve the instruction in our homes.

In a lot of ways, what Gouin suggests is really pretty close to what we've been doing: he suggests making the ear the primary "organ of learning" rather than the eye: listening, rather than reading or writing, is at the heart of his method. We have long made it a priority to keep Japanese in the atmosphere of our home to train our accent, help establish native patterns in our mind, and remind us to use our language; it's remarkable what a difference it makes to have a playlist going in the background! I have tried to teach my younger kids what I can through speaking to them out of what I know. This has been slow, in part because I'm a non-native speaker, and when we started this several years ago, I was really not fluent. At all. I've come far in the time since then, and the kids have come a fair distance, but we still have a long way to go before we're fluent. What Gouin offers us is a way to be more systematic about our instruction, and that's pretty exciting:

02 May 2018

Trying Foreign Language Narration

I got this cute little book a while back at a very cool Japanese mall that I occasionally get to visit. It's a fun little book of "Why do things work like they do" kind of questions, with little 4 page essays (big type) about things like why stoplights are red, yellow, and green (did you know that's standard all over the whole world?), and why train stations and railroad crossings have rocks under them. Big "First Grade" on the front of the cover... I'm slowly growing into first grade, lol. Those kids would talk circles around me, for sure. But I am reading their book, little by little. It's small and simple things that get the job done; baby steps, right? It's gradually working and adding up in an exciting way.

Quite a while before I got the book, I remember hearing about Charlotte Mason recommending that students do narrations of their foreign language readings... in the foreign language. At the time, I thought that was crazy talk. It sounded so far off. But it occurred to me tonight that my little Japanese "Why Book" is perfect for attempting that, now that I'm growing into it. So I took the essay that I've been reading and rereading this week, and I tried it out.

01 May 2018

Commonplace Book: April

A sample from my commonplace book, and brief instructions for how to keep one.

A commonplace is a traditional self-education tool: as you read, grab a notebook. Write down things that embody Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. Write down notable quotes, with or without your own thoughts about them. Write down the questions you have as a result of the text you are reading. You will find the book becomes a record of your own growth, and it becomes a touchstone for memory of things you have studied in the past. This is what Mother Culture is all about: self-directed, conscious self-education. 


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