Monday, July 5, 2021

Exploring What Works: The Frontlines of Peace

Ms. Autesserre has served around the world in organizations supporting peace efforts. She shares her own experiences and failures in highlighting those efforts that have successfully decreased violence and how those successful efforts often employ methods at odds with the standard NPO strategies.

The very concept of work at the grassroots to address tensions that may affect only a few hundred people (but are connected to broader conflicts) was utterly foreign to them. So was the idea that the individuals most affected by violence--and not outsiders--should figure out what it would take for them to feel safe and how they can achieve this goal. (p. 8)

The successful projects are those that move slowly, include all local voices, and do not impose expectations or restrictions. These grassroots efforts should not replace traditional top-down negotiations and strategies; they should work in concert. To support her assertions, Ms. Autesserre provides a kind of portfolio of these successful projects in places like Democratic Republic of Congo and Somaliland.

Contrary to what most politicians preach, building peace doesn't required billions in aid or massive international interventions. Real, lasting peace requires giving power to ordinary citizens. (pp. 18-19)

Ms. Autesserre doesn't claim such a response is easy or without its own complications. For example, sometimes local responses withhold full rights from women or minorities. The author is writing from a modern political viewpoint that includes rights for actions or groups in ways Catholics may not support, but this difference in opinion does not detract from her argument. When an organization provides financial and bureaucratic support to people, it is difficult to allow them to make decisions that conflict with the principles of funders. Yet, this is exactly what Ms. Autesserre says best supports lasting peace.

The people who have to live with the consequences of a decision should be the ones making it.

This simple principle provides a moral compass for the dilemma that regularly haunts on-the-ground interveners: How can they possibly choose between, let's say, peace and democracy in Congo, or peace and women's equality in Somaliland? My answer: Let their intended beneficiaries decide, even if the result is unpopular, unfashionable, and uncomfortable, and even if it turns off some well-intended donors. (p. 163)

I find myself again thinking about Benedict XVI's Caritas in Veritate. This encyclical doesn't provide any easy answers, but asks that we allow those who are suffering to talk while we listen, and that we support them in providing their own answers to the problems they face. If I remember correctly, it's focus is the poor and marginalized (who are certainly those who suffer the most in conflict zones), but I believe its precepts could be useful in addressing war-torn regions of the world.

Chapter 7 provides some thoughtful insights into how these same grassroots methods have been applied successfully in the most dangerous areas of American cities. I found it useful, if a little uncomfortable, to see how listening and allowing local participants to shape their own solutions could be better employed in our own country.

This book is an excellent look at successful programs around the world. I'm seriously considering adding it to a modern government course I'm rolling around in my head for twelfth grade. Modern governments are inter-related through trade, commerce, and charitable programming with countries all over the world. Understanding how our actions and decisions promote peace in other countries is an important part of our democratic responsibility.

I have received nothing in exchange for this post. Links to Amazon and Bookshop are affiliate links. I checked this book out from the library. 

Saturday, July 3, 2021

June 2021 Book Reports

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, performed by Elijah Wood - link to my post (purchased audiobook)

The Divine Comedy (The Inferno, The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso) by Dante Alighieri, translated by John Ciardi - link to my post (purchased copy)

The Price You Pay for College: An Entirely New Road Map for the Biggest Financial Decision Your Family Will Ever Make by Ron Lieber - This new book provides a guide to parents as they navigate saving for college and choosing what to pay for college. He doesn't give hard and fasts answers; he explains the kinds of college experiences available and suggests parents and students consider what is most important in their own education. It's full of advice valuable to parents of newborns or young children, but also for those of us facing a college decision in the upcoming year. He explains studies that look at student engagement, learning, happiness at college, satisfaction with the college experience, and career options after college. All of this information leads to questions you can ask yourself (as a parent), your student, and any potential colleges to help decide if this college is a good fit and whether it might be worth paying more out of pocket (or borrowing more) in order to attend. This may be our first year dealing with the college admissions process as parents, but we've been students, a alumni interviewer (me), and a professor (Kansas Dad); this book seemed spot-on for anything I knew about going in, which indicates the rest is good information as well. He explains about the "common data set," which is easy to find for any college by searching online. There are suggestions for lots of books, articles, magazines, podcasts, and online sites to find more information. It's a great relatively quick read. (library copy)

For the Love of Physics by Walter Lewin (and Sabbath Mood Homeschool's high school physics guides) - link to my post (purchased copy)

Classic Novels: Meeting the Challenge of Great Literature by Professor Arnold Weinstein (The Great Courses) - link to my post (purchased audiobook)

Memento Mori by Muriel Spark - This was the second Fountains of Carrots Patreon book club selection. It was a fun read, and I enjoyed chatting about it in the group. (purchased copy)

Nafanua: Saving the Samoan Rain Forest by Paul Alan Cox - link to my post (requested from another member at

A Book of Angels by Marigold Hunt - link to my post (purchased copy)

Fearfully and Wonderfully: The Marvel of Bearing God's Image by Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey - link to my post (purchased copy)

Motherland: Poems by Sally Thomas - link to my post (purchased copy)

I have received nothing in exchange for this post or any linked post. Links to Amazon, Bookshop, and PaperBackSwap are affiliate links.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Poetry of Time, Faith, and Family: Motherland

Motherland: Poems 
by Sally Thomas

I have a goal to read a bit of poetry every day, which is entirely attainable if you consider the number of poems that can be read in less than a minute. Yet it's a goal I often neglect. That's why it's taken me more than a year to finish Sally Thomas's Motherland

Sally is an advisory board member at Mater Amabilis with me, a woman I've considered a mentor for many years and a dear friend for the past year or two. I love reading her poetry, but I am both biased by our friendship and weak in any method of critical examination of poetry in general. Therefore, rather than a proper review, I will link to some who are wiser and more trustworthy.

I have received nothing in exchange for this post. Links to Amazon and Bookshop are affiliate links. I purchased this book.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Our Bodies and the Body of Christ: Fearfully and Wonderfully

Fearfully and Wonderfully: The Marvel of Bearing God's Image
by Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey

This is an updated edition, combining two earlier books Fearfully and Wonderfully Made and the sequel In His Image. It's a brilliant book, describing the body of Christ and how it should function through the metaphor of the human body. 

Dr. Brand studied as a carpenter, then served as a missionary doctor in India, mainly treating those who suffer from Hansen's disease (leprosy). His words and thoughts have been brought together and organized by Philip Yancey in a seamless way. All you hear is Dr. Brand, even in sections that were updated after Dr. Brand passed away.

Pain, so often viewed as an enemy, is actually the sensation most dedicated to keeping us healthy. If I had the power to choose one gift for my leprosy patients, I would choose the gift of pain. (p. 180)

One of the main goals of the book is to encourage Christians to reach out more to others in the world, those who are hurting physically or emotionally.

Not all of us can serve in parts of the world where human needs abound. But all of us can visit prisons and homeless shelters, bring meals to shut-ins, and minister to single parents or foster children. If we choose to love only in a long-distance way, we will be deprived, for love requires direct contact. (p. 22)

It is best for more mature readers. There are mentions of promiscuity, drug use, and other issues, always from within the Christian lens, but heavy topics nonetheless.

We have learned that what seems attractive and alluring may in fact prove damaging, and that some guidelines on behavior exist for our own good....The state God desires for us, shalom, results in a person fully alive, functioning optimally to the Designer's specifications. (p. 105)

The book is written by non-Catholic Christians, but I didn't see anything concerning in terms of theology. The few comments regarding communion are ones my kids would recognize immediately as Protestant beliefs and therefore not confusing. Catholics are always mentioned with respect. He also touches on his experiences as a Christian in non-Christian countries and in secular environment like medical school in a practical way. Here, he's using the skeleton as a metaphor for his faith.

As I have grappled with these and other issues, I have learned the value of accepting as a rule of life something about which I have intellectual uncertainties. In other words, I have learned to trust the basic skeleton and rely on it even when I cannot figure out how the various bones fit together and why some are shaped the way they are. (p. 113)

He even ends the book with a quote from Teresa of Avila.

Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world.

There's a discussion guide at the end that some students may find helpful. I would also like to point out that the dust jacket for the hardcover is beautiful. It's a little busy for my taste, but it's embossed and reflects light from the images and the lettering. The pages feel very nice, too. It's always satisfying to see a publisher create a quality product in both the content and the package.

This book has been discussed in the Mater Amabilis Facebook group many times. Some people suggest it for biology or health, but it's really not sufficient as a biology book. While it does explain some aspects of the human body, it only does so in parts, using those parts to uncover a truth of the universal church. I believe it fits best as spiritual reading, but will be most useful in that place for someone who has already learned a little about biology and the human body.

I loved this book. The insights brings aspects of God's kingdom into focus. I intend to recommend it as an option for First Son (twelfth grade) for spiritual reading. First Daughter may begin anatomy and health this year (ninth grade), but I think I'll recommend it to her when she has finished those courses, in tenth or eleventh grade.

I have received nothing in exchange for this post. Links to Amazon and Bookshop are affiliate links. I purchased this book.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Navigating Life: The Sun Is a Compass

Caroline Van Hemert is a scientist and adventurer. As she finished her doctoral dissertation, she and her husband planned a journey through the Alaskan wilderness. As she traveled, she hoped to rediscover her love of the natural world that first lured her into science and to envision the life she and her husband would create for themselves at this time of transition.
Seeing a gray-headed chickadee is special not because its feathers shimmer with iridescence of because it has just arrived from Polynesia but because almost nothing is known about these tiny birds. If I hadn't been paying attention, if I hadn't tuned my ears to the patter of wings and the echo of silence, I would have missed it entirely. (p. 14)
Dr. Van Hemert mentioned studying writing before beginning her biology graduate work, and her words are often thrilling and enthralling. She writes of her first introduction to fieldwork in Alaska.
They flew so close to one another that, for a moment, I couldn't see the sky above me. As they came directly overhead, I ducked. When I looked up again, the palette of colors--white wings against blue sky, ray rock against green water--left me gasping for breath. (p. 26)

Though her parents had spent years sending their children outside, camping, skiing, and exploring their home state of Alaska, her field work transformed her attitude.

For the first time, I saw the natural world not through textbooks but through my own eyes. I began to understand how ecological questions I'd learned about in school were embedded in the muddy, messy realities of fieldwork, and I loved it. (p. 27)

Cue poetic knowledge, though most of us probably don't imagine tents, camp stoves, rain, snow, and lots of guano when we think of the term. A recurring theme in the book is the contrast between fieldwork and laboratory work in modern science. Time in the laboratory is the norm for scientists, but Dr. Van Hemert obviously has fallen in love with the natural world, not with the laboratory. She writes of the early naturalist and indigenous people who learned to observe the natural world, that by watching and listening, they were able to learn about the seasons, plants, animals, and birds. Today's scientist, however, uses more equipment and laboratory tests than observation to advance knowledge.
Science has gone the way of most other things in our digital world. High-tech, computer-centric, and data-hungry. As a result, we know much more than we used to. But we also spend much less time as observers. Wandering through the woods with only a backpack, a notebook, and a pair of binoculars has become a novelty, rather than a necessity, for many biologists. (pp. 125-126) 

This book reminded me of the generous gift we provide in nature study, the habit of walking through the natural world and paying attention to it. Dr. Van Hemert fell in love with birds and being outside with them. Her love of them led to advanced study in biology, because she wanted to understand and protect them, but that very study pulled her away from time immersed in their wild world. It's a tension every biologist and naturalist will recognize.

We tend to think the days of crossing the arctic on skis are over, but they're not! Few make the attempt, and it's no less difficult than in early days of exploring.
In this transition zone, where spring is nudging out winter, there is no perfect way to travel--too much snow for hiking and too little for skiing. The river flows through a narrow slot canyon choked with ice, making paddling impossible. We clamber over logs and across fields of pine needles and crispy brown ferns, skis dangling from our feet like useless appendages. Sweating and straining, we cover less than a mile in two hours.
If you're traveling by ski and boat, you run many great risks, even with air-dropped supplies. More than once, they escape real danger or barely avoid starvation. There are many times they escape death through quick action or luck. The water, the mountains, the bears, the hunger...they all present very real dangers.

As a mother with daughters, I paid close attention to Dr. Van Hemert's conversations with herself about the possibility of having children. A baby would limit their freedom to explore, but her sister and others reveal some of the great joys of children.
If parenthood inspires the sort of bond I feel with them [her parents] right now, even from a distance, maybe my sister is right. Maybe having a child matters more than battling brush and postholing through last season's snow. Maybe family trumps wilderness. Or perhaps these pieces--made of illness and love and birth and death--are inextricably linked, tangled and messy like the green stalks of alder that grow on every hillside. (p. 155)
The book itself doesn't give a final answer except in the epilogue, which describes their first backpacking trip with a ten week old son. It's different, but enchanting.
I knew a baby would change our lives. What I hadn't realized is that this doesn't mean we must let go of what we love. Only now do I see that my worries about losing myself, or us, or our desire for adventure, were misplaced...We will continue to navigate by the only means we know: one stroke, one footfall, one moment at a time. (p. 293)
If you're interested in dangerous adventures like hiking through the Arctic, this book will give you an excellent idea of what that will be like, and perhaps some tips on the planning and preparation. If you know me in real life, you know this is far more ambitious than anything I'd even consider. It doesn't sound fun or worthwhile in the least. But I love reading about adventures like this one. I'm completely content to live vicariously through Caroline Van Hemert and others who share their tales in books I can drink while sipping tea at my kitchen table.

This book is about a crazy journey through Alaskan wilderness, but it is also about finding wonder in the natural world, balancing self and others, and learning how to make a life as a family.

I will include this in our list of possible high school North American geography books. It's definitely best for a more mature reader as the author writes about traveling and living with her husband before they were married, even as the author asks herself what their future as a couple will be. She also occasionally mentions times when they are intimate. These instances are sometimes a little more descriptive than I may prefer for my teenagers, but there's nothing explicit.

I have received nothing in exchange for this post. Links to Amazon and Bookshop are affiliate links. I checked this book out from our library.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

All the Angel Stories: A Book of Angels

A Book of Angels
by Marigold Hunt

I originally bought this book when the advisory board for Mater Amabilis was considering it as an in-print substitute for reading in Advent or Lent. We ended up suggesting a different book, but since I had it, I read it with Second Son this year. I read a weekend ahead, and he read it independently and narrated it to me.

Marigold Hunt, of course, is marvelous. A Book of Angels has a tone similar to A Life of Our Lord for Children, The First Christians, and St. Patrick's Summer. (I somehow missed ever reviewing A Life of Our Lord for Children.) She speaks directly to the reader, a child of heart if not in years, sharing retellings of stories from the Bible and our faith.

There are thirteen chapters, covering basic information on angels, their appearances in the Bible, their role in history, and the hints of their future roles based on the book of Revelation.

Hunt does not follow only a literal reading of the Bible. In the chapter The Beginning of Everything, she writes:

Just what they did, whether it was eating forbidden fruit, like Adam and Eve, or something quite different, we don't know. But we know why they did it. What tempted them was the Devil's promise: "You shall be like gods, knowing good and evil." (p. 17)

Again, the chapter on Job does not assume Job is literally true.

At the beginning he put a conversation between God and the Devil to show how God happened to be so hard on Job. Of course, the Devil doesn't really go up to Heaven and stand among the angels, chatting with God. But poets are allowed to invent things like that. (p. 99)

I think there's one full page illustration for each chapter. My favorite one is that of Gabriel appearing to Mary . Mary's face is just lovely.

This may be my favorite Marigold Hunt book, though it would be a tough competition with St. Patrick's Summer, which Second Son also read this year. It's shorter than St. Patrick and would be appropriate for even younger children. (Mater Amabilis recommends St. Patrick's Summer for Level 2 Year 2, fifth grade.) The focus on angels gave a new perspective on salvation history, from beginning to end.

I have received nothing in exchange for this post. Links to Amazon and Bookshop are affiliate links. I purchased this book.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Culture and Conservation: Nafanua

by Paul Alan Cox

I heard about this book in the Living Books of All Peoples group on Facebook, a fantastic group with a treasure trove of information not just about books, but about how to learn about and appreciate other people and cultures. 

The author is an ethnobiologist who first visited the Samoan islands as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He learned a great deal in his time as a missionary and returned years later to examine specimens of the rainforest in search of new sources of treatment for cancer by studying with local herbal medicine authorities.

This book is bursting with knowledge about the environment of the Samoan islands, but also their culture and history. He includes quotations from European travelers, scholars, and missionaries to show how they misunderstood (or understood) the islanders.

The book is very much Dr. Cox's own personal story, sharing his fears about influencing the island culture and his concerns later for how his involvement changes the forest and the people when he and others seek to protect parts of the forest for the benefit of the environment. Though it is written from the perspective of an American, it is an excellent introduction to the Samoan people for those of us who will never have the chance to travel there and live within a tightly knit village, as his family did. His own trepidations about blending cultures speak eloquently to the same tensions in our world today.

Dr. Cox's own strong faith is ever-present in the book. He writes respectfully about those of other faiths, including the many Catholics in his village. 

Some of my scientific colleagues have gently asked whether my devotion to Christianity is compatible with advocacy of indigenous rights and preservation of indigenous cultures. Given the checkered record of missionary interactions with indigenous people, particularly in Polynesia, it is a perfectly reasonable question, and I try to respond with candor: I am committed to my faith. In my ethnobotanical work I do not seek to preach my faith to indigenous people, but I believe that my religious commitment facilitates a more empathetic response to indigenous approaches to the divine. (p. 36)

This was a truly wonderful book. It's a remarkably exciting story that reveals how difficult it is to immerse yourself in another culture because you also always remain who you were before, while showing how we can protect the livelihoods and cultures of those most vulnerable by listening to their stories and learning to love who they are.

"Is there a permanent solution for the rain forest?" I'm sometimes asked. "Yes," I reply, "cut it down. Then it will never grow back and you won't have to worry about it again. But if you want to save it, each day you have to decide not to destroy it, and must trust that others will reaffirm that decision after you have left the scene." (p. 183)

Dr. Cox is one of the co-founders of Seacology, a non-profit organization that works with island communities. It grew out of his desire to protect the rainforest of Falealupo, a story he tells in the book.

This is an excellent book to consider for high school geography of the Pacific Islands. It will definitely be on our list.

I have received nothing in exchange for this post. Links to Amazon and Bookshop are affiliate links. I received this book from a member of (not an affiliate link).

Friday, June 18, 2021

Classic Novels: Meeting the Challenge of Great Literature

Classic Novels: Meeting the Challenge of Great Literature
by Professor Arnold Weinstein (The Great Courses)

In this course, Professor Weinstein discusses some of the most challenging books of world literature in order to illuminate for listeners some of the themes within each one. His goal, I believe, is to encourage people to read these books, even if they are sometimes difficult, because they have something important to offer people as we think about how we live and our relationships with others. He also points out how they are part of the development of literature, as later authors write novels that play on the same themes or offer alternative viewpoints.

I love the Great Courses on Audible and listen to a wide range of topics. One of the aspects I appreciate about the ones focused on literature is that they help me to better appreciate books, even if I don't enjoy the books themselves. Wuthering Heights, for example, is a book I've read and listened to as an audiobook. I don't care for it much, but listening to Professor Weinstein's lectures on it, I could see how it accomplished something innovative.

The books covered by the course are:

  • Moll Flanders by Defoe (1 lecture)
  • Tristam Shandy by Sterne (1 lecture)
  • Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Laclos (2 lectures)
  • Père Goriot by Balzac (2 lectures)
  • Wuthering Heights by Bronte (2 lectures)
  • Moby Dick by Melville (2 lectures)
  • Bleak House by Dickens (2 lectures)
  • Madame Bovary by Flaubert (2 lectures)
  • War and Peace by Tolstoy (2 lectures)
  • The Brothers Karamazov (2 lectures)
  • Heart of Darkness by Conrad (1 lecture)
  • Death in Venice by Mann (1 lecture)
  • "The Metamorphosis" by Kafka (1 lecture)
  • The Trial by Kafka (1 lecture)
  • Remembrance of Things Past by Proust (3 lectures)
  • Ulysses by Joyce (3 lectures)
  • To the Lighthouse by Wolfe (2 lectures)
  • As I Lay Dying by Faulkner (2 lectures)
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by García Márquez (2 lectures)

I'm also always asking myself, "Is this something I would share with my high school students?" In this case, most of the novels covered would be tremendous challenges for a high school student. In addition, some of the themes addressed may be more explicit than you may want to include in your high school English class. I don't intend to assign any of them to my own students, but I would not be opposed to one of my children wanting to listen to this audiobook in senior year.

In the last lecture, Professor Weinstein mentioned Kierkagaard who, in the second chapter of Fear and Trembling, said:

An old proverb fetched from the outward aspect of the visible world says: “Only the man that works gets the bread.” Strangely enough this proverb does not aptly apply in that world to which it expressly belongs. For the outward world is subjected to the law of imperfection, and again and again the experience is repeated that he too who does not work gets the bread, and that he who sleeps gets it more abundantly than the man who works.

But in the world of literature, Professor Weinstein noted that we do have to work for our bread. We can read a book and get nothing out of it, but when we work, we reap the benefits. An apt reminder for Charlotte Mason's ideas of narration.

I have received nothing in exchange for this post. Links to Amazon and Bookshop are affiliate links. I purchased this audiobook.

    Wednesday, June 16, 2021

    For the Love of Physics: Sabbath Mood Homeschool High School Physics

    For the Love of Physics
    by Walter Lewin

    First Son and I have been reading this book together over the last three years along with Sabbath Mood Homeschool's high school physics course (Physics Part I, Part 2, and Part 3). Part 3 requires astronomy as a prerequisite. My son completed the Astronomy course as part of his high school earth sciences credit. I think there's enough astronomy in Mater Amabilis's Level 3 and 4 science plans that a student would be adequately prepared without the Sabbath Mood Astronomy guide.

    I scheduled an integrated science curriculum for him, so he did Part 1 freshman year, Part 2 sophomore year, and Part 3 junior year. By the end of junior year, he earned a full credit of physics. He also finished a full credit of chemistry and a full credit of earth science.
    We don't need to understand why a rainbow or fogbow or glassbow is formed in order to appreciate its beauty, of course, but understanding the physics of rainbows does give us a new set of eyes (I call this the beauty of knowledge). We become more alert to the little wonders we might just be able to spot on a foggy morning, or in the shower, or when walking by a fountain, or peeking out of an airplane window when everyone else is watching movies. (p. 102)
    Dr. Lewin's book overflows with his infectious love of science, especially physics. He marvels at the wonders of the natural world, including parts that are only discernable with delicate instruments.
    Ballooning was very romantic in its way. To be up at four o'clock in the morning, drive out to the airport, and see the sunrise and see the spectacular inflation of the balloon--this beautiful desert, under the sky, just stars at first, and then slowly seeing the Sun come up. Then, as the balloon was released and pulled itself into the sky, it shimmered silver and gold in the dawn. (p. 212)

    The book covers a lot of basic physics in its pages, with a focus on the kinds of phenomena a reader is likely to notice in every day life, if he or she is paying attention. For the most part, I was able to understand the broader concepts fairly well just from the text. Sometimes the explanations were difficult to follow, but a student could always look up more detailed information online.

    The experiments for the first two sections seemed about perfect to me. Some were relatively straight-forward. Others were more ambitious, probably more than I would have been on my own, and that meant they were a good challenge for First Son. We were never able to get our electromagnet working, but there is a benefit in making the attempt, even if it doesn't work. I think there might have been one other experiment that didn't work as well. We also skipped at least one that would have required a significant financial investment.

    Part 3 has only a few real experiments or lab activities. Most of the time, the student was encouraging to conduct some reading research on a topic of astrophysics that had appeared in the text. It's hard to know if that truly counts as a lab (but I'm counting it for First Son), but it definitely made planning labs for that term a lot easier for me!

    There are references in a couple of lessons in the Sabbath Mood Plans to creationist websites and articles, presumably to counter the long timeline of the universe's history presented in the text. We don't have any problems with the theory of the big bang or long timelines, so we just skipped those lessons. 

    I am fairly certain I am not going to use these plans for First Daughter. She has ambitious ideas about possibly attending an elite college and I'm not entirely sure these are rigorous enough. I'm not opposed to conceptual physics courses, but this one seems lighter than a conceptual without upper level math problems. I think it might work for my younger daughter, though, who could benefit from a lighter load. 

    I've also found the integrated approach using terms to be a little unwieldy for our transcript. It's not that you can't make a transcript based on three terms a year, but that science is the only course that is really in thirds. I think for the future, I'm going to figure out a way to use an integrated approach in semesters. I think you could do that with this course - just use Part 1 and about half of Part 2 for the first semester, then the rest of Part 2 and Part 3 for the second semester.

    As in other Sabbath Mood Homeschool courses, the lessons are only three days a week. The student should be reading from a supplemental science book once a week and following a news source once a week for current events articles in science as well in order to ensure you have enough hours to justify a full credit by the end.

    I have received nothing in exchange for this post. Links to Amazon and Bookshop are affiliate links. Links to Sabbath Mood Homeschool are not affiliate links. I purchased this book.

    Monday, June 14, 2021

    Clothes, Devices, and Manners: The Thoughtful Girl's Guide

    by Mary Sheehan Warren

    I was considering including It's So You by the same author in our high school health course, mainly for my daughters, when one of the members of the Mater Amabilis Facebook group mentioned The Thoughtful Girl's Guide. 

    This book is like a casual conversation with a mentor. It covers many topics we all want to discuss with our children but may not know how to broach. (The topics for boys are similar, but the book is expressly written for girls.) There's a little on fashion (clothes and makeup), presentation (speaking, meeting people, interviews), phone etiquette, social media, and manners. Everything is related to the big theme of who God wants you to be and how you reveal that true self to friends and family members.

    The only quibble I have with the book is how few of the drawings depict obvious women of color. There are vignettes throughout of people to know and stories to illuminate virtues. Those vignettes feature people of many races, mainly women. The line drawing examples for the fashion sections, however, appear mostly white to me. It also seemed like the (brief) tutorial on applying makeup assumed a light complexion. These are small quibbles, but I think they might make it more difficult to share with young women of color.

    I plan to include this book in our health course for my daughters. I'll probably make it free-time reading because it's such a conversational and enjoyable read. I know my older daughter is looking forward to it. I caught her reading bits and pieces of it while I was reading it.

    I have received nothing in exchange for this post. Links to Amazon and Bookshop are affiliate links. I purchased this book.