Casteluzzo Academy 2009 Term 2 (Greeks)

During my blog hiatus, I did attempt another Casteluzzo term. This time we made it about halfway through before I had a root canal and was sick for months, Tony went through a couple of jobs, and everything kind of fell apart again. At this rate, it looks like I will successfully complete a term by about mid next year. It’s not the learning curve I would prefer (i.e. instant perfection), but at this point, I’ll take it. I guess it’s time for me to return and report on this term, since it was officially supposed to end this week.

Overview: Term 2 – Greeks
Since last term we read Gilgamesh and some other very ancient history, we spent this term very focused on the Greeks. Although this schedule was Tony’s and mine, Axa has been calling herself Hercules for the past several months. Go figure.

Sunday Reading:
Joseph Smith Manual. I pretty much kept up with this, and it was nice to have read the lesson beforehand when I got to Church. It was also nice to have read the lesson beforehand when I didn’t get to Church. I’ve spent more Sundays home sick in the past few months than the rest of my life put together.

History of Philosophy by Bertrand Russell. I very much enjoy this book. He chooses his philosophers for their historical impact as well as philosophical relevance, which rounds out and gives great context to my history studies. I have loved Bertrand Russell ever since I read A Free Man’s Worship in my freshman philosophy class. For him, truth is a passion and a necessity. He never believes anything for comfort or convenience. Interestingly, I find that many of his contentions with conventional Christianity are well addressed by the Gospel as restored through Joseph Smith. My curriculum tells me that I am actually right on schedule in my reading, which is funny, since I ditched the schedule weeks ago, and have been reading him strictly for pleasure.

Herodotus. Never got this one checked out from the library, more’s the pity. Next time around. I love Herodotus.

The Greek Way by Edith Hamilton. Fascinating little book by one obviously enamored of the Greeks. I ended up gobbling this one before I took it back to the library. It’s a great overview of the most important people in golden Greece.

Nibley. We were supposed to read a couple of essays from Early Christianity and Enoch. I nibled around, but not these particular ones.

Rearing Responsible Children. I think I finished this one too. I’m starting to feel better about this term.

Plato. Apology and Republic. So, I was never that fond of the Republic, and Bertrand Russell has a serious antipathy toward Plato. I wouldn’t want to live there, anyway, although I do appreciate his assertion that women would make as good of guardians as men. But this time through the Apology, I was deeply moved. Socrates reminded me of nobody more than Abinadi. He is no otherworldly madman. He is deeply affected by what is happening, and has his own fears and sorrows. But he is unmoved in his conviction, and wonderfully courageous to the end.

A Thomas Jefferson Education. Somebody loaned me the original book and the how-to manual. I read through both, twice. Oliver DeMille is a great salesman. But few of his ideas (and none of the useful ones) are original. And personally, he rings a little hollow. The best analysis of him that I’ve heard came from a friend who called him a “pied piper.”

A Philosophy of Education by Charlotte Mason (vol. 6). This was very enlightening. I was especially fascinated by the extensive section on curriculum. I’ll definitely be referring back to this.

Natural History:
Late Night Thoughts on Listening to Mahler’s Ninth Symphony by Lewis Thomas. Easy reading, but thought-provoking. I skipped around. I didn’t actually make it to the title essay. His style is engaging and his thoughts interesting. However, I think he makes the great works list more through lack of many colleagues writing popular essays in his area of expertise than through any extreme genius of his own. Still, worth reading.

The Book of Musical Knowledge. I picked this up at a library book sale. It’s fascinating, but impossible to keep up with when I schedule a reading only once a month. I did read the chapter on primitive and savage music. I just read a similar piece out of The Lost World of the Kalahari, about the instruments invented by the Bushmen.

Timon of Athens by Shakespeare. Didn’t read it, but I want to. Alcibiades appears.
The Birds by Aristophanes. Had to take this back to the library halfway through. Dying to get back to Cloudcuckooland.

Themistocles by Plutarch. This either, more’s the pity.

The Iliad by Homer. I didn’t get this checked out of the library. I need my own copy badly lest my ears be boxed by Alcibiades.

Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis. Tony and I have two chapters left of this, and we’ve been enjoying it immensely. It’s our snuggle time reading.

Parts of Animals and Politics by Aristotle. So I got bogged down in Parts of Animals and never made it to Politics, which I think I would have enjoyed more. Mine’s abridged. I think I need a full version. It did seem disconcertingly disjointed, although the editor explained in the introduction that Aristotle’s writings had been edited and complied already in the first century a.d., so any further editing shouldn’t affect it adversely. Balderdash.

Foreign Language
Italian – Pimsleur II A and B. I made it through A, and never made it to the library to get B. We do still sing a hymn and read scriptures in Italian, though. We get at least a meager daily dose.

Ancient Greek – I spent many hours sick in bed with Teach Yourself Ancient Greek. I am proficient in the alphabet and some basic grammar, and I have a vocabulary of several dozen words. I need to keep at it so I don’t forget it all. I desperately want Athenaze.

For the Bobbles, I have been downloading audiobooks for Axa from librivox. Favorites have been Church’s Iliad for Children, Kingsley’s Heroes, and Charlotte’s Web (courtesy of Grammy).

We go on a nature walk once a week in our nature preserve, and we’ve been collecting things for the nature table. Axa started a nature blog. They still spend their requisite outside time.

Axa’s chores include feeding the goats and chickens and checking for eggs. She also makes her bed, cleans her room, puts away her laundry, and gets herself and Raj dressed (when he cooperates) and sets the table.

Tony does mental arithmetic with Axa fairly often. And both she and Raj are fascinated with the concept of “matches,” and find them everywhere (today Axa told me at lunch that she would only eat foods that matched (cleverly including the yellow pineapple, millet, and custard, and excluding the green peas and orange carrots and yams. she made an exception for the white milk, but I didn’t point it out).

Other than that (and the myriad unplanned learning moments), I haven’t done any other homeschooling lately. But I think things are going fairly nicely. Once I have it down on paper like this, it all looks a little better than when I hopelessly compare it in my head to the unattainable (but perfectly planned) ideal of perfection I have.

Oh, well. We don’t want to miss the rainbow in the mad rush for the pot of gold.

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