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    Books & Reading, Other Thoughts

    Seven Quick Takes on Children’s Literature, Preschool Curriculum, FitBit Bands, and MORE!

    August 12, 2016 by Brandy Vencel

    Seven Quick Takes

    :: 1 ::

    I’ve now read a few chapters in The Mysteries of Life in Children’s LiteratureSo far, I have a mixed review for you, which is disappointing because I expected this to be a five-stars “you have to read this!!” sort of book.

    First, the good things. I loved the introduction. I jumped for joy when I saw his mention of the Integrated Humanities Program. I can’t get enough of the backstory on that, so I was eating up his every word on that. In addition, I did a lot of underlining. In fact, I’m on chapter 3. I’ve underlined a lot in each chapter so far. So there is a sense in which this book is good — it’s full of good ideas and things to ponder.

    But there is one thing that keeps me from whole-heartedly recommending it: the book desperately needs an editor. The weird thing is, it’s not self-published. This means that someone, somewhere was paid to allow this sort of writing to be put into publication, and I for one am disappointed. I think it has huge potential, but misses the mark. Before I explain why, let me just point out the handful of huge errors in this month’s Newbie Tuesday newsletter {published by yours truly} as Exhibit A. You know what happened? Due to school planning, I put it together at the last minute, meaning it didn’t have time to visit the editor before going to print {aka your email inbox}. I figured how bad could it be?

    Um, so bad that’s not happening again.


    Anyhow, in regard to this book, chapters 1 and 2 both had the same error: passages SO similar that I actually thought I was rereading the same page again on accident. I didn’t notice my mind wandering off, but immediately blamed myself nonetheless. When it happened in chapter 2, I checked both chapters and discovered the problem wasn’t me, but the book. As a pretend writer, I know how very easy it is to do this. Your thoughts circle through the ideas, just to circle through again. And then my husband demands that I just. make. my. point. {For the love of all that is good and noble!} This is why I don’t blame the writer, but the editor. Someone has to help writers sort out their thoughts when they do this, and demand that they do better.

    With that said, I still have all my underlining, which means I plan to read the rest of the book. More review-type thoughts will be forthcoming, if appropriate.


    :: 2 ::

    I have seen so many future homeschooling mamas out there asking about preschool and kindergarten curriculum, and like a good older mom {I’m not that old, but having a high schooler seems to have skyrocketed me into the category} I am keeping my mouth shut.did momentarily open it at a church meeting on Sunday night when the question came up. I just mentioned that when you know you plan to homeschool, it’s pretty easy to get itching to start, which is almost always unfortunate for the family’s oldest child. For most homeschool moms I talk with, the big regret concerning the early years is getting too academic too soon.

    Charlotte Mason said that children need six quiet growing years before starting school, and the older I get, the more I agree with her.


    :: 3 ::

    This week’s links collection:

      • Shock: all the things we’ve been talking about in alternative medicine for years are somewhat validated by expensive funding. Alternative title: science catches up. Don’t mind my sarcasm; I’m still excited by the findings, even if they aren’t as novel as UVA would like us to believe.
    • Cupping: Why Michael Phelps was covered in red dots from USA Today
      • I was wondering.
    • State senator drops proposal that angered religious universities in California from The L.A. Times
      • The amended version might be better, but it’s not great. I cannot get over the idea that someone thinks it is discriminatory to expect someone to live according to a community’s covenant standards. For example, when I was at Biola University, and later at Talbot Seminary, I wasn’t allowed to drink alcohol. So I didn’t. I don’t have a problem with drinking alcohol, but I adhered to the community’s standards, because that was what it meant to be part of the community. This is not rocket science. If you want to drink alcohol {or sleep around or engage in any other forbidden vice}, choose a different school.


    :: 4 ::

    This month in 2015:

    Origami for Beginners

    I still maintain that origami is a fantastic handicraft. In fact, we did this for a term, then put it aside. A couple weeks ago, three of my children dragged it back out and started working on it on their own. It’s been great, except the part where my youngest was convinced that because he had folded a “cup” it would actually hold water.


    :: 5 ::

    We did, in fact, make it to the beach this week. This was what I was working towards, my way of rewarding myself for finishing my planning a week earlier than normal, and also getting a chance to spend some special time with my children. It is my favorite place, and I don’t get to go very often — and never for longer than a day. So I treasured every moment. Before we hit the sand, we took the time to hike a nearby trail, and that was also fun. It was a nice way to wrap up summer.

    We start Monday. Wow!


    :: 6 ::

    Since Mystie and I are talking personalities in the upcoming episode of Scholé Sisters {August 26th, people!!}, I thought I’d point out Mystie’s post on homeschooling and personality typeIt’s great and I think every homeschool mom should read it!


    :: 7 ::

    At one point, I had a question for today, but I seem to have lost it, so instead I’m going to talk about my FitBit Flex. I love it, but I have found myself wishing that I could make it look more like jewelry. I bought a new band on Amazon, and that went well, and it’s making me braver. This is what I want to try next: it’s totally mix and match, and there is some metal. I think that is what I’ve been missing. I need something shiny!

    I know the image says “FitBit Alta” bands, but I’m pretty sure it’s actually for the Flex.

    Anyhow, whaddya think? Have any of you tried this type of band before?

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  • Reply Phyllis August 14, 2016 at 10:58 am

    Do you happen to have an index for your Norms and Nobility posts somewhere?

  • Reply arenda August 12, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    You always have fascinating links, Brandy! RE: the California university, we are having the same sort of trouble with a Christian university in British Columbia. The community covenant includes a bit about refraining from sexual activity outside heterosexual marriage and because of that the university has not been allowed to open a law school. Another Canadian province (Ontario) says that if the law school opens, graduates from the program will not be recognized there. Pretty crazy!

  • Reply tess August 12, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    Quick question, Brandy: Do I recall reading recently that you don’t have a smart phone? If I’m remembering that correctly, how do you use your FitBit?

    (I’ve been using an old fashioned pedometer because I thought that the FitBit wouldn’t work without a smart phone or tablet!)

  • Reply Tammy Glaser August 12, 2016 at 10:12 am

    I love my Fitbit Flex. I’m not a jock, even when I was in the military. It keeps me mindful of how sedentary I can be if left unchecked. It’s fun to see how Fitbit friends — ahem, you know how you are — are doing. I’m not at all competitive and just want to log in 10k.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel August 12, 2016 at 10:43 am

      I’m not very competitive, either, but I will say that knowing that people can SEE me helps. It’s the accountability I need. 🙂

      • Reply Tammy Glaser August 12, 2016 at 11:20 am

        Good point. Tsk, tsk, tsk. That Tammy Glaser is such a slacker today — she has the plague. Never mind. 😉

  • Reply Erin August 12, 2016 at 3:37 am

    Re Preschool, yep, yep.
    Funnily I was going through my own posts today and found something I wrote a year ago; “I read recently a post that stated, “We do pre-school the old fashioned way”, simply their child played, baked, listened to books, played with paints and grubbed in the dirt. Yep that’s what our pre-schooler does too. ”
    and I’m totally comfortable with that, there was a time I wasn’t, I felt guilty, now, not at all.
    The gift of Time is one of the most precious gifts we can give our children.

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