Monday, June 27, 2016

Week in Review: Horses, Golf, and Mountains of Ice Cream

This week, we rode the train up to the San Joaquin Valley, where I grew up, to spend time with family.

We stayed one night with Grandpa and Grandma Susan. I always forget to take pictures while I'm there, because I'm so busy talking. But I remembered this time, and got this sweet picture...
Grandpa and Gemma spent lots of time reading The Magic Show by Anne Benkovitz and Mark Setteducati. The book is a pop-up book that "performs itself." It's fun for all ages...
We went to our second Vacation Bible School of the summer, Submerged, a submarine-themed VBS. In the sanctuary, the volunteers built a big structure with pipes and motors and enormous sea creatures "swimming" overhead.
We also went to Dick's Sporting Goods, where Poppa buys his golf clubs, so Gemma could learn to swing a golf club. They have a machine that analyzes a player's swing. I've never golfed, but the machine looked fun so I had to try it, too. The crack the club makes when it comes in contact with the ball provides a special kind of auditory satisfaction. I can see how someone could get addicted to the game.
The week would not be complete without a trip to the children's museum. Gemma wanted to wear a fancy dress, and on the way to the museum, she remarked, "I hope I don't get oil on my dress."
On Thursday, we had the opportunity to visit Heart of the Horse Therapy Ranch. The owner, Guy Adams, walked us around the ranch, and introduced us to all of the horses. The ranch works with clients who have a variety of needs, including people with traumatic brain injuries, children who are in hospice, and veterans with PTSD. I really enjoyed watching Guy work; he has such a passion for what he does, and he's masterful.
Guy introduced Gemma to Bandit, and taught her how to walk a horse. Then, Guy let Gemma ride Bandit around the carousel, with the help of two of the ranch's volunteers.
Then Guy told everyone to stand in the center of the carousel, and Gemma got to ride while holding Bandit's rope herself.
In addition to all that fun, Gemma went swimming every day. We read 4 chapters of Life of Fred: Edgewood; we're one chapter away from finishing it. We also read a little of Prince Caspian. Poppa and Grandma gave Gemma two beautifully illustrated books by Doug Hansen - Mother Goose in California and Aesop in California - so we, of course, read fables and nursery rhymes. Gemma read aloud some more of Pippi Longstocking and Magic Tree House.

She also read My Soccer Mom from Mars by Rita Book - twice. I happen to love this book. It's really sweet. It's about a boy named Ryan who plays soccer, and has a mom who embarrasses him by dressing like the mascot - a cow - and cheering too loudly. Ryan tells a lie, hoping to prevent his mom from showing up at his game, but then learns that his teammates think his mom is cool, because she always comes to the games and is always encouraging. Ryan feels guilty about having lied. Fortunately, his mom calls the coach to find out what time the game is, and shows up, in her cow outfit, with (chocolate) kisses for the whole team.

I finished both books I was reading - Seven Myths of Education and A High Wind in Jamaica - and enjoyed them very much.

One widely-held belief Seven Myths explores is that teaching facts is bad. Some Charlotte Mason homeschoolers claim that Mason believed this (facts = bad; ideas = good), but Mason thought facts were good. Had she not believed facts were good, she never would have developed her programmes. From her programmes, we can see that Mason believed there were certain facts everyone should know. Macbeth is set in Scotland. Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Chatte means cat in French. Aquas means waters in Latin. India is in Asia.

In Mason's Home Education, she writes: Dickens showed us the pathos of it in the schoolroom of the little Gradgrinds... But children should not be presented with the skeleton, but with the living forms which clothe it. 

And, while I agree that children should be presented with the living forms which clothe the skeleton, I think living forms and skeletons are commutative. I challenge you to find a "little Gradgrind," a child who unthinkingly recites facts without asking questions about those facts.

Of the novel A High Wind in Jamaica, I'll just say this for now: It was inspiration for both The Lord of the Flies and From the Mixed-Up Files of Basil E. Frankweiler. Intrigued?

On the last day of our trip, we went to Superior Dairy, an ice cream parlor in Hanford, California, established in 1929. This is a single scoop...
No joke. 

The single is more than enough ice cream for three people, but how were we to know that?

Finally, when we arrived back in Los Angeles, Gemma sat down at this shiny black piano in the center of Union Station and played "Winds Through the Olive Trees."
How was your week? :)


  1. I think we all need a skeleton (facts) to layer the muscle (ideas) on. Will you be continuing with CC this year?