Get the exclusive (almost) Weekly Digest.

    Books & Reading, Mother's Education, Other Thoughts

    Seven Quick Takes on Reading Church Classics, Internet Fixing, Sugar Free Cocoa Syrup, and MORE!

    July 1, 2016 by Brandy Vencel

    Random nonposts from this past week!

    :: 1 ::

    This week, I finished Athanasius’ On the Incarnation and started Augustine: Earlier Writings. It feels sort of silly to say I “highly recommend” Athanasius — as if you need me to commend him to you!

    So here’s the deal: a number of years ago, I decided I really wanted to read through the important works in Church history. {I think this started with my interest in Aquinas.} What I found was that this was easier said than done — there were so many other books demanding my attention. Between pre-reading for school lessons and reading for talks I was writing, there wasn’t a lot of time left over {and I wasn’t willing to give up my Christmas break novel habit}.

    So the question was what to do. Just give up and decide this isn’t the right time in my life? While that was an option, I decided to follow in Charlotte Mason’s footsteps. She read “some classic author” for ten minutes per day. Surely, I could find ten minutes! I decided to tack it to the end of my Bible reading. So in the morning, right after I read my Bible, I read some important work in church history for about ten minutes. By the end of the week, that adds up to an hour! A lot of progress can be made in an hour…


    :: 2 ::

    Well, I think our internet is finally fixed! My favorite moment was when the tech guy greeted me with, “I was just here for your neighbor yesterday, and I’ve been thinking about that since I drove up…” Inside I was thinking: Aha! I knew this wasn’t my fault!! He essentially did everything he could think of — replacing fuses and filters and all sorts of little things both at our house as well as at the box we share with the neighbors. It’s only been 24 hours, but so far so good.

    Now to catch up on everything…


    :: 3 ::

    This week’s links collection {it was hard to limit myself to three!}:


    :: 4 ::

    This month in 2013:


    This one was called School Prep: AO Selections for the Less Bookish Child. It explains some substitutions and changes I made between my first child and my second child. For the record, my third child did it pretty much the way my first child had done it, if that makes sense…


    :: 5 ::

    For you sugar-free mamas out there looking for a treat, here’s a great one! NuStevia Cocoa Syrup recently received the O-Age-Seven Seal of Approval, our family’s highest culinary award. He prefers it as an ice cream topping, and also on strawberries.



    :: 6 ::

    Combining Video ThumbnailSo I failed wildly at Facebook Live again this week. The bad news is just that: I failed. The good news is: I failed in a new way! This makes life interesting and also gives me hope for the future. A bonus is that due to the cable company improving my internet connection, the video upload took a reasonable amount of time {compared with the six hours it took last week}. This time around, we talked — well, actually, I talked, which is something I want to remedy by getting Facebook Live to work — about combining children in subjects and activities.

    Click here to watch the whole thing!


    :: 7 ::

    Answering Your Questions:

    • Question: Are you ever concerned about historical fiction being included in your student’s education? We read a historical fiction book set in Ancient Egypt. The story itself was cute and innocuous, but as history, I think it might have been awful. Essentially we had fairly modern people playing pretends in Egypt. The details were correct, but the people did not act like people back then would have. Does it mislead our children to read fiction written years after the fact that tells a story about the past? But I am noticing that no one seems to raise the question of whether historical fiction is appropriate in a homeschool setting given that so little of it seems to show our children that people in different places and times thought and acted and responded differently that we do today. Should I be concerned about that? Do you ever worry about that in any school books you read?
      • Answer: Wow! I love this question! It sounds to me like the book about Egypt was bad historical fiction. 🙂 While I think it’d be difficult to be 100% right on {because it’s hard for us to get into the mindset of those who have come before us}, I think that good historical fiction authors try to do exactly that. So far, I haven’t run across anything we’ve used that falls into this category, but we have been given a couple books like that over the years, so I know exactly what you are talking about. Because they were gifts, I tried not to make a big deal out of it to my children, but they did not find a permanent home in the family library, if you know what I mean. My choice probably would have been to skip that Egypt book, or at least replace it with something better.


    Get the (almost) weekly digest!

    Weekly encouragement, direct to your inbox, (almost) every Saturday.

    Powered by ConvertKit


  • Reply Heather July 7, 2016 at 7:00 am

    Re: Historical Fiction
    Don’t you think purpose should be considered as well. If the purpose of reading a book is setting, say, then that’s done. Or sometimes I will assign a book to draw my child into further engagement with a subject, whether person, place, or thing. My only point is, if it engages a child in some way, and y’all are talking about it together, then it sounds like time well spent to me. Even discussing the book’s flaws and digging out the truth of the period in response to a fantastical character shows kids valuable thinking skills and the importance of lifelong learning.

  • Reply Carol July 5, 2016 at 12:49 am

    Hi Brandy, re your email trouble – I don’t know if this is connected to it but I had 7 of your posts delivered to my blogger dashboard half an hour ago. I’m not complaining 🙂 just letting you know. I’d really like to read On The Incarnation – I love C.S. Lewis’ introduction to it. I’m still doing my slow read through Augustine’s Confessions.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel July 5, 2016 at 8:03 am

      Seven?? I think that is a new record! Sorry about that. 🙁 Curious: did they all have the same date and time on them?

      I did a bunch of research, and apparently gmail has been having some trouble, so maybe that is the cause? I say this in ignorance because I don’t know that the problem was really related to delivery — it was more that people have been unable to sign in over the past week.

      And: you’re reading Confessions! I still haven’t read that, but it’s on my list … and on my shelf! 🙂

      • Reply Carol July 5, 2016 at 11:32 pm

        I just checked and there’s no date on them. They just says ‘Afterthoughts 23 hours ago.’ I also get your emails but there was no sudden influx with them.

  • Reply Jen Snow July 1, 2016 at 11:08 am

    Yay! So glad your internet problems seemed to have resolved. I prayed for that this week. 🙂

    I recently finished Athanasius’ On the Incarnation too, and pretty much took a similar approach that you did – just a little section each day as part of my devotional time. I’m hoping to do Augustine’s Confessions next – I read this years ago, but would like to revisit it. I’d like to get a lot of those Torrey books I missed out on in there somewhere. 🙂

  • Leave a Reply