c.a.i.t.u. & other castle news

CAITU: Coolest Author In The Universe.

[Be French.  Speak in Acronyms. It’s good for your brain.]

I’ve lately determined that the CAITU is John McNichols.  Who totally took care of my beleaguered boy after my complaining post the other week.  And that’s not the first time he’s proven his credentials, though I will not embarrass him with too many tales of his kindness to internet strangers.

(And FYI, no I’m not an old friend of his brother-in-law’s cousin’s law school roommate’s favorite veterinarian.  I have no stock in Sophia Press. I get no commission on the sales of Tripods Attack, which you should read, because it is fun and because it is what we need more of — enjoyable catholic fiction.)

So that’s how you become the CAITU.  AND you write a steampunk alternative history alien-attack G.K. Chesterton catholic thriller, AND you take care of the fans with Strom Thurmondesqe responsiveness.

Nominations for SCAITU are still open.  I think maybe the alien thing isn’t strictly required.  But it helps.


Other Castle News:

Thinking of going with Kolbe next year. For the two big kids.  Am open to opinions if anyone wants to share.  (Have already mined the brains of a couple trusted internet friends who are long time happy Kolbe families.)  The reason is this:  My kids really like checklists.  Love ’em.  Mr. Boy just wants to get his assignments, get them done, and be free.  Aria likes forms so much she begged the SuperHusband to buy her a blank receipt book she saw at the hardware store.  (I consoled her by printing off a handful of 1040-EZ’s to play with.  She’s thrilled.)

We were planning to switch to a more formal curriculum with one of the major catholic curriculum providers come high school.  Mr. Boy will be hitting middle school, so time to make the transition and learn the expectations, so he isn’t blown out of the water in 9th grade.  Kolbe has a decent no-nonsense high school curriculum* of the kind that has gotten students into college for the past three generations or so.  AND, they issue checklists.  Which would free me up from writing my own.

So that’s what we’re thinking about.

Despite being a little out of rhythm this week, due to relatives visiting over the weekend, school is going pretty well this month. Which is noteworthy any time you combine “homeschooling” with “january”.  What we’ve been doing is after breakfast and a morning clean-up, kids work independently on checklist items.  (For the two littles, that’s just a box of activities they can choose from at will.)  Then I call each kid in for an individual class, youngest to oldest.  Then group class for penmanship, french and science.  Then big kids get work assignments for the afternoon, and littles are free.  When we stick to this, it runs pretty smoothly, and everyone is happy.

January is Science Fair Month. We took a break from Zoo Pass Science Class to work through A Drop of Water, and this week kids are now pausing that to conduct science experiments.  Mr. Boy wants to know if acorns pop like popcorn.  Aria asks whether hard boiled eggs truly are easier to peel if you plunge them into ice water after cooking.  And the Bun is attempting to freeze bubbles.  Results to be revealed to the admiring real-life public on the 29th.

Deskavation Sucessful. Found it.  Wood!  Then lost it again.  And I’ll have you know my miraculously-given organizational system is still working, even with intermittent clutter-flooding.  But here’s what, and sit down before you read this: The girls room is clean.  Consistently clean. Three girls ages 4, 6 & 8, in a 12×12 room that is also used for storage. As the SuperHusband said before we tackled the place, we have 1950’s living space, 1990’s lifestyle.  (And I would add: 1930’s personality.)

We cleared out the excess junk, designated and labled places for everything, including certain spots labeled “empty” so no one tries to pile stuff there. Then we developed  a successful inspection method.  We go through the room, and check each drawer and shelf, and toss anything that doesn’t belong there into the middle of the floor.  I look on the label to remember.  It is so much easier to ask “Are all the things in this space the ones on the label?” than it is to try to negotiate a generic sort of fuzzy standard of cleanliness.

The foot is great. Not exactly normal, but highly highly functional.  In the category of attending pro-life marches, visiting museums, grocery shopping, cleaning out the house, all that stuff.  It’ll do.

That’s the highlights of castle news.  Upcoming on the blog:

  • Usury part 3, of course.

And should I start a deskavation series? Because here’s the thing: Most organizational tips are written by people who are already organized.  So they say ridiculous things like “throw out your catalogs as soon as they arrive”, or “write all event dates in your calendar the moment you learn of them, then throw the original away”.  Ha!  You make it sound so easy.

But I’m thinking that just like there people who can’t magically keep their bank accounts balanced just by “spending less”, but need little tricks like cash envelopes to make it work, there are people like me who need painfully obvious baby-step methods to keep the house running smoothly.  And we’re discovering some of these things. So I thought maybe that might be helpful.  Or else entertaining, in a voyeuristic reality-show kind of way.



*Yes, I know that this whole “classical” education label thing is about as accurate a historical replica as a Red Ryder wagon is to a horse and carriage.  That’s fine.  I’m not running a seminary here.  We are the trade-and-merchant class, our children are signed up for a nice practical education that will get them into engineering school.  And ask my pastor about roofs, sound boards, and programmable thermostats — you could do worse than a business or engineering degree if you have a calling to become a parish priest. But for those who really do want the same type of education as Thomas Aquinas (whose grandfather was not a plumber), this guy is doing his best to re-create just that.

4 thoughts on “c.a.i.t.u. & other castle news

  1. I hope to see some discussion about Kolbe and others. I know a few people that use MODG and one OLV but no Kolbe. It looks good; we have a 7th grader and we’re debating about sending her to a local charter school for 9th grade or homeschooling her using something like this with a little more structure.

    1. I’m not sure whether we have any regular readers using Kolbe or not. Have you looked over at the parent forums on Kolbe’s site? I had a lot of my answers there.

      Talking to some of my real-life homeschool friends, they said that Kolbe was harder, work-wise, than MODG. Particularly for high school. (This matches the report of happy Kolbe friends — they like the possibility of a very rigorous program. I think the approach is that Kolbe writes the syllabus hard, and then lets you scale back to match the student’s ability.)

      Took at look at the infamous Voyages In English book (Lepanto, 1960-something, this was the 7th grade book), and yes it was both beautiful and, wow, serious. I think MODG calls for it too, and both will let you sub out something else. But since I am interested in the check sheet, subbing things out doesn’t help me much.

      I’m surprised the major providers don’t just write a second curriculum plan per subject with the most popular alternate choice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *