Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Couple of Thoughts

I've been mulling over a couple of things for a while now.

I've been thinking a lot about photography lately, trying to figure out how to create an artist's eye. Is it possible to mingle photography with philosophy? I am fascinated with this dichotomy of composition: that cropping and close-ups can make even the most unspectacular subject arresting, while there is not a wide angle lens built large enough to capture the panorama of views encountered when driving along a pleasant road. I know - I've tried. A photograph, even a series of photographs, cannot duplicate what the eye sees and the mind perceives.

On a more somber note, I've also been thinking about blogs a lot lately. Two things happened this week that have made me just about decide to close down this blog. One occurred while watching ESPN Sports Center (of all things). The commentators were discussing the pros and cons of NFL players tweeting. A couple of things were said that struck a chord: one, that people do not need to be accessible 24/7 and their daily activities do not need to be broadcast to the general public; and two, that social media has brought with it an avalanche of hateful in-your-face posts and comments which are not without effect.

I will add a hearty amen to that.

The other event happened just yesterday, while following a link in a homeschool blog post. I found myself sucked into the angst of a young woman raised in a large Bible-believing homeschooling family who has not only rejected every.single.thing. her parents taught her but also apparently feels compelled to spew forth her vitriolic bitterness for all the world to see. I wish I could read things like that and not be affected, but I can't.

I'm about ready to unplug and drop out.

Aren't you too?

Not everything needs to be said, and there are very few things that need to be said by me. ~Elisabeth Elliot

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Summer Homeschool Field Trips Part 3

Our most recent homeschool field trip was last month at the Conway Homestead in Camden. I have to admit, I wasn't expecting much. I would love to spend a whole day at an historic homestead and try to imagine life as it was back in the day. But Jed? Not so much.

So it was with great pleasure that I learned my expectations were off-base - the day was full of hands-on activities! These folks know what they're doing when it comes to making history interesting for children. :)

The first item on the agenda was the tinsmith area. The children got to decorate a piece of tin the old fashioned way - with a hammer and a nail. Their designs turned out surprisingly well.

The next stop included a tour of the actual homestead (on the original building site, no less), circa 1770. For those of you reading this outside the US, that means this house was built before there even WAS a US. I don't think this fact impressed Jed like it should have, but he did enjoy seeing the children's room and their toys. We were hoping for a taste of the corn chowder bubbling in an iron pot in the fireplace...the aroma followed us all the way to the blacksmith's shop, where we were treated to blistering heat and red hot iron. We were all melting into little puddles by the time the lunch bell rang...maybe the good old days weren't always so good. :)

After a picnic lunch on the grounds, it was time to meet the new schoolmarm. The children were instructed to bow (or curtsy) upon entering the one room schoolhouse, as was the custom in that day, and they took their seats with solemn gravity. I'm not sure if it was the formality of the environment or the dunce's cap in the back corner that kept them on the straight and narrow, but whatever it was, it was wildy amusing. :)

The schoolmarm instructed the children in the fine art of italic print, using the chalkboard to illustrate each of their names and guiding them in the use of quills and liquid ink.

There were no untoward events (much to our relief), and the students went diligently about the task set before them. We were just a tad disappointed that no one was made to wear the dunce cap. :)

The last formal activity of the day was dipping candles. This was quite a bit more involved than I would have thought...although the process is simple, the candle has to be dipped dozens of times to layer on enough wax to be a standard taper size. We didn't have time to even approach standard size, so Jed's candle is a little on the wimpy side, but it was great fun. As was the entire day, for both of us.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Summer Homeschool Field Trips Part 2

Our first homeschool field trip of the summer was way back in June, before it even got warm. We met on the beach in Rockland for a scavenger hunt, then threw a bottle into the ocean with a message from our group. Still hoping to hear back from someone! Finished it off with an authentic sand cake Frank Asch would be proud of! :)

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Summer Homeschool Field Trips Part 1

The most delicious field trip we enjoyed this summer was touring a family-run homemade ice-cream facility? factory? creamory? Not sure what it was called, but it was yummy!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

It's Go Time!

We started a new school year today!

I have been looking forward to this day for a while now. I've enjoyed the summer break, but I'm more than ready to get back into a routine and back to business.

We made several homeschool group field trips this summer and I was going to celebrate the beginning of our new school year by posting those pics this week. I'm still going to, but for today I want to share a couple of links with you instead.

A debate started with an article written by Jim Mullen in which he discusses the dreaded socialization issue. I read the article several days ago and found it interesting, in a very low-key sort of way. It's not clear whether he even has children, which might explain the objective tone.

The article I stumbled upon today is the one that has really gotten to me. It is a rebuttal to Mr. Mullen's, and beyond the disagreement I have with his general premise, I found his words to be gut-wrenching.

"As a parent, I think the instruction of my children is better left to others who are qualified. I have found this when providing opportunities for music lessons, skiing and snow boarding instruction and driver training.

These activities are all things which I am proficient at yet lack the proper qualifications to deliver the instruction. In short, I am not passionate about teaching my children how to play guitar, drive or ski. The amount of whining and arguing is not worth the effort."

I can't help but wonder if he would be able to enjoy his children more if he was passionate about being their father.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Miscellaneous Wanderings

Just some miscellaneous places we've been this summer....

Rockland Harbor...that's the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse in the background of the photo on the left.

Lincolnville...a quaint little town with its own bagpiper. :)

Our friend's camp on Seven Tree Pond..."camp" being a euphemistic word in Maine to mean anything from a repurposed chicken coop to a small mansion, as long as it's on the water.

Hwy 52 near of the prettiest roads around here.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Lobster Shack

It's hard to beat the decor of a good lobster shack. :)

Watching the next ferry come in from our windowside table.

We'll be on that ferry sometime soon.

Friday, September 02, 2011

A Knight's Errand

Lnd-Crzr is one of the best letterboxers around, in so many ways. He's an incredibly talented artist, he has a wealth of interests and knowledge, and he's one of the nicest guys you'd ever meet. We had the pleasure of his friendship while we lived and letterboxed in Missouri, and he was responsible for our celebratory send-off to Maine, which included a book he made chronicling some of our letterboxing adventures with the Mid-Missouri Letterboxing Society.

I cannot tell you how excited I was to find a package in the mail from Lnd-Crzr shortly after our arrival in Maine...because I knew it must hold something special. And I was not disappointed. He had created a beautiful aged paper which looked like something straight out of the Middle Ages, and which called and challenged our young squire to a knight's errand. I accepted for Jedidiah johnny on the spot and set to work.

The amazing thing about this knight's errand was, well, everything, starting with the get us acquainted with our new state. Lnd-Crzr had researched the immediate area we were living in and chose three places for us to scout out. I recognized one place on the list immediately; another was easy to locate and a real treasure when we did; and the third was more difficult but a fun adventure.

I made a book to substantiate our success and posted it to the king. In short order we received the next set of instructions. These places were further afield, but as soon as the snow melted the following spring we were off on our quest.

We were successful that time as well, with the exception of a location inside Mt Blue State Park, in the small western town of Weld. It never occurred to us, this being our first Maine spring, that the mountain snow might not be melted by the end of April. It wasn't. After assessing the situation, we set out on foot in eagerness to complete our quest, but had to turn back due to insurmountable obstacles and insufficient equipment. (too much snow and no snow boots)

And then...for three long years the quest languished in the deep recesses of memory, waiting for the right time to be completed.

Today was that day.

Unfortunately I cannot divulge the details of our formidable task (knight's honor, you know), but I can share with you one of the semi-panoramic visions we encountered in our pursuit of it. I give you Webb Lake and the perilous western mountains of Maine...

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Ack! It's September Already?!

Is it just me or did this summer fly by?

Here's a small montage of Jed's summer fun: