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  • Mrs Chakotay 5:15 pm on April 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , music, preacher, preaching, , speaker   

    Glad! 

    Many apologies for neglecting this blog so completely for so many months!
    My circumstances have changed somewhat, but the real reason I haven’t been posting is that life just got too full and overwhelming and, after I had missed a few weeks of Torah portions/ lectionary, I soon realised it would be impossible to catch up.

    Since Easter I have been listening to past years’ Spring Harvest cds from about 1989-1995. Since Spring Harvest is in the Spring, there are lots of Easter-themed songs.It has been lovely and encouraging. 

    I have never actually made it to Spring Harvest or any other church holiday type of camp (not since childhood in the 70s anyway). I know we are so blessed in the West to have so many resources at our fingertips. But I do feel I have missed out, and I have been thinking a lot recently about being isolated and cut off from the rest of the church.

    Apart from a brief ‘flirtation’ with New Frontiers in the 90s and visits to a big Elim in the next town, I haven’t been part of an active, thriving church since the 80s. It is as if, for some reason, God has me perpetually in the wilderness. I am currently in a very small congregation, and not of my preferred denomination.

    I am at a bit of a cross-roads. I want to preach, I feel as though I may have that gifting and calling. At this tiny congregation I actually have the chance to walk into that calling, because they’re desperate for speakers, whereas elsewhere I seem to be fighting an uphill battle that may not lead to anything.

    But in the tiny church, there are more seekers than believers and only elderly lay leaders while they wait for an officer. There are no young people or families, other than a couple who had a child very late in life. So we have one child. I feel terribly sorry for her. I feel for these people, but will I be fed there? I don’t think anybody can “feed the sheep” if they’re not getting fed themselves. The cup can only run over if it’s being filled.

    I never wanted to be a pioneer or a maverick. I’d much rather slip in unnoticed at the back of a big church. But those brief flirtations with New Frontiers and Elim proved ultimately to be unfulfilling. Perhaps I’m not meant to hide my light under a bushel?

    I am due to preach for the first time ever next Sunday, 30th April 2017. I was given carte blanche,  so I’m planning to speak on the goodness and faithfulness of God.

    I leave you with a band I have just discovered, but which has been going since the 70s! Glad! The Accapella Project.

    I hope it blesses you.

    He is risen! Hallelujah!

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  • Mrs Chakotay 11:29 am on March 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Latin, , music, , ,   

    High Culture: Closed for the Winter 

    1teddyrow

    We started the day with Latin: Dragon-tamer orally going through the noun tables and verb paradigms we have learnt so far, and reviewing vocabulary, and finally doing a simple translation exercise that involved placing the correct words in sentences. He did quite well considering we only do it occasionally. Pony-rider listens in too.

    As we are fairly relaxed and unschooly, I never insist we do these or any other lessons. My goal in introducing Latin, and other languages, is to give the kids a flavour of the language so if they decide they want to take it up seriously, they can.

    We all listened to a children’s classical CD (Bernstein Favourites: Children’s Classics), and Dragon-Tamer dictated a couple of music reviews which I typed up and posted on to our local home-ed reading group website.

    We thought that, in the afternoon, we would just ‘pop in’ to the local museum, or gallery, but when I checked their opening hours, I discovered that both are closed: the Gallery for two weeks while they change exhibits, and the Museum for the whole winter (except for education groups of 20 or more children… so possible to organise for a later date but no good for today).

    Disappointed, we discussed other alternatives for the afternoon, but nobody could agree, and since Motor-biker was poorly with a slight temperature, we opted for a quiet afternoon in, watching nature programmes and schools maths programmes recorded earlier.

    Originally posted on the Svengelska Hemskolan blog.

     
  • Mrs Chakotay 2:38 pm on January 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , languages, , , , , music, religious education, resources, , , ,   

    Ohana Home Education Yahoo Group 

    When I started home educating, the internet was fairly new, and so at the time (1999) the main source of networking between home educators was ‘e-groups’ which eventually got taken over by Yahoo groups.

    I know that almost everybody now has migrated over to Facebook, but although I am obviously there (and Ohana Home Education has a presence there), I’m not a big fan and don’t particularly like entrusting photos or files to them, and so while lots of yahoo groups now stand empty or quiet, I have decided to revive one of my groups as a handy place to store files and links that may be of use to home educators.

    ohana

    The group is, surprisingly enough, is called Ohana Home Education and you can find it here: https://uk.groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/OhanaHE/info

    There are already lots of files and links there. Mainly they are related to lapbooking, unit studies, home economics and some religious topics (mainly relating to Messianic Judaism, celebrating the festivals, cooking etc.), but I hope in future to add resources and worksheets on all other topics, and anybody is free to contribute.

    It is not particularly meant to be a discussion/ support group, although if it does get used that way it would also be OK. But there are of course lots of other places online (especially, inevitably, on Facebook) for that sort of thing. One of these days I will get round to making a list of the most helpful groups.

    So please do go on over and take a look, and if you would like to join to contribute/ make use of what is there, please do make sure to confirm when you apply that you are a home educator. Feel free to suggest as well the topics that you would like to see there.

    I know that, when I was first home educating, I very much appreciated the resources that other home educators had made available for free, so it is all good to make sure that there are free resources still available for a new generation of home educators.

     
  • Mrs Chakotay 3:46 pm on January 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A & C Black, BBC, Beatles, Biology, birthdays, , , , , Marine Biology, music, , , Ordo Amoris, , ,   

    Birthday Fun 

    starwars7

    We have a birthday coming up this week, and we’re heading out to a second showing of Star Wars as one of the birthday treats. It’s always a challenge to organise presents and parties for birthdays so close to Christmas, and it’s difficult to make them memorable, as they’re normally quiet, family affairs.

    When birthdays fall during the ‘school’ week, though, it is nice as home educators to have the freedom to take time off from academics to go on outings, or just to chill out for the day.

    ~

    I thought I would share this birthday memory from the Svengelska Hemskolan archive:

    We’ve been gearing up for a birthday this week, so we have managed only to get very little formal ‘schooly’ work done. On Tuesday we received a CD of stories and nursery rhymes from a toddler-group we used to go to (produced and recorded by the group and the Library service), which proved to be really popular. It reminded me that we used to sit down everyday and have music-time with nursery rhymes and action songs, but we haven’t done it for a long while.

    On Wednesday, the birthday boy got to choose all our activities, so we ended up watching “The Blue Planet” on DVD (one of his presents) most of the morning, and in the afternoon we went for a walk in Salcey Forest with a group of friends. The children particularly enjoyed running and jumping along the tree-top ‘Elephant’ walk and jumping in muddy puddles! (Mummy was slightly less enthusiastic!)

    ~

    More recently, I have tried to re-introduce music time or circle time as part of our ‘Morning Time‘ (see Cindy Rollins’ lovely Ordo Amoris blog for details.) But right now all our music books (we love the books from A & C Black such as ‘Okki-Toki-Unga’ and ‘The Jolly Herring’ amongst others) are all in storage so I’m not sure what shape our music time will take from now on. Dragon-tamer has discovered that he loves the Beatles, so we may learn some of their songs to sing, just for fun. I remember learning ‘Yellow Submarine’ at school myself. Thank goodness for the internet! I don’t know how we ever coped without it!

     
  • Mrs Chakotay 7:39 pm on December 4, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , music, , , , Paris,   

    ME Merry-go-round 

    I’ve been waiting, since my Zombie Apocalypse, for something good, or significant, or interesting, or funny to share.

    That’s not to say that nothing of import has happened – I had planned to write after the Paris attacks. When they happened, we were at a metal gig ourselves and even before I knew what had been attacked, I remember thinking that Islamists would imagine that what we were doing was somehow sinful, simply because they don’t understand it and can’t distinguish good from evil.

    But I didn’t write because I didn’t have the energy to express the sorrow and anger I felt.

    I haven’t had much energy for anything recently. I have had a basically unexplained illness since 2003, and since 2013 they have been calling it ME (or CFS, depending who you speak to) and now Fibromyalgia has been added to my list of diagnoses.

    But my relapse has been so hard and so fast and so un-relenting this time that I have started wondering and asking questions about possible alternative explanations, so I have begun to do the rounds of neurologists and rheumalogists etc. trying to rule out MS, RA or Lupus.

    Unfortunately, none of these specialists so far want to get involved with the ME/cfs/Fibro diagnosis. You shouldn’t have to bang your head up against a big brick wall when you’re ill but that seems to be the way of things in the NHS, particularly with this label.

    When I do have more energy, I might write a bit about what is like to live with this illness. Mostly I just rant a little on twitter about the ‘symptom roulette’ that we experience.

    But something I may not have mentioned before is guilt – there are so, so many ways in which I feel I am failing, and while I know it isn’t my fault, I am made to feel as though I am somehow choosing this – choosing to live in pain, unable to do the least work (yesterday, since we had visitors, I did my best to tidy, I cooked, washed up, and today I am a wreck, and can only *hope* the weekend is long enough to recover).

    I hate living in a dirty, untidy house, and there is literally nothing I can do about it.

    There’s a lot about the world, and my life, that feels out of control. My dreams have been weirder and more disturbing than normal, even for me. Music, and specifically Rock and Heavy Metal, is one of the few things that make me really happy in amongst all the mess and pain and sorrow.

    So as much pain I am in, and as much as I feel wrecked beyond anything the word ‘fatigue’ can describe, the one thing I make sure I get out to is live music. I can’t drive there, and I usually can’t stand up for long. But if needs be, I’ll get taken in on a stretcher. Music, and art, makes life worth living 🙂

     
  • Mrs Chakotay 5:56 pm on June 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 21 CC, Babylon, , , , Greenbelt, March for Jesus, music, ,   

    21st Century Christian 

    According to Cross Rhythms, the UK Christian music site in its history of magazines involved in raising the profile of Christian music, 21st Century Christian Magazine was “stunningly unfunny”, “conservative and cozy”, and its unwieldy name was “conceived by committee”. Critics apparently called the magazine “The Christian Yuppie”.

    But it’s not how I remember it at all. 21cc ran from October 1987 to 1990, and for me it was radical and left-leaning, part and parcel of a radical and left-leaning Christianity, something you could unashamedly read in your squat and leave for your non-Christian mates to read.

    Cross Rhythms goes on to say that “21st Century Christian eschewed the controversy and satire settling instead for a safer, cosier Christian overview, in the process cutting back still further its music coverage. Sales continued to slide downwards and by the time of its closure, in 1990, had reached only a little over 14,000 sales.”

    I was surprised when I looked for it again a few years ago to find that it had had such a short run, and been so opposite to what I remembered, because for me it had felt important and influential, and I obviously took from it the opposite message that everyone else was seeing.

    Most of the Christians I knew in the late 80s were slightly hippyish, vegetarian, rainbow jumper wearing, Greenbelt festival-going rebels and radicals, bringing the government down with love and flowers and marching for Jesus. It was a while before I discovered that most of the church was made up of comfortable, conservative-voting status quo-lovers (and not the metal kind).

    The one good thing about being faced with an all Conservative government determined to abuse the poor and vulnerable at every opportunity, not to mention attempting to repeal the hunting ban and the Human Rights Act, is that I feel catapulted back to my youth and I’m encouraged to look again at Christianity as rebellion against the Babylon system. (Don’t be fooled, it was always the Babylon system, even when Labour was in charge, the Conservatives just make it much easier to see.)

    Government is not our saviour, it’s not our friend, and it’s not a friend to animals, the environment or the world.

    I bought a vegan cookbook last week called “Soy Not Oi: Over 100 Recipes Designed to Destroy the Government”. (Available through http://www.akpress.org )

    Now is the perfect time to go vegetarian or vegan, question your assumptions, review your comfortable position and ask what you can do to make the world a better place in spite of government.

    Are you with me?

     
  • Mrs Chakotay 7:37 am on May 4, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , music,   

    Celtic Homeschooling 

    It is no secret that one of my greatest joys is the discovery of Celtic Christian spirituality.

    When we left the city, I was no longer able to attend a Messianic congregation, so I was essentially presented with three options: Anglican, Methodist or stay at home.

    For most of the first three years, I stayed at home. Eventually I tried the Methodist and didn’t like it, but then I tried the Anglican and found that for various reasons, I loved it, and then out of Anglicanism I stumbled on Celtic Christianity, and I fell in love. 🙂

    For anybody not familiar with Celtic Christianity, here are just some of its essential elements:

    • A hopeful, positive outlook
    • Love for nature and the outdoors
    • An admiration and enjoyment of great stories, whether heard, read, or seen
    • An emphasis on the ties that bind—kinship, friendship, anamchara (soul friend or mentor), community, and hospitality
    • A lack of authoritarianism and compulsion, and thus freedom of conscience

    What does this have to do with home education, I hear you ask?

    Well, gradually it has dawned on me that one of the reasons that I feel so at home in Celtic Christianity is that I am by nature Celtic – both by ethnic heritage and by temperament – and it got me wondering about Celtic education.

    As one does, when one suspects one has an original idea, I googled Celtic homeschool, and of course it does already exist, but in much the same way as the Celtic peoples and languages, it is small and on the fringe. It hasn’t been taken up in a big way like Classical (Latin / Roman / Greek) education has been. (Take a look at my page on Celtic homeschool above for links.)

    I plan to write a longer post to discuss what Celtic home education might consist of, but for now let me suggest the following ideas:

    • An emphasis on oral, rather than the written word
    • Storytelling
    • Celtic languages
    • Celtic history and geography, preferably through hands-on, living experience
    • Music, especially Celtic folk music, preferably through hands-on, having a go at playing and learning through doing
    • Irish dancing
    • Nature study
    • Learning outdoors

    That’s just a quick list of the top of my head, and I’m sure there is more that could be considered. But you can probably see immediately that there is some overlap and affinity with Charlotte Mason education (and although it is less obvious, I have also seen a deep affinity with Jewish thinking and being and learning), and I think that is one of the things that has made the whole concept of Celtic education appeal to me. It’s not a huge step away from what we are currently doing and what we have always naturally leaned towards.

    Having moved house again, this time to a new build, we have been left once again (for six weeks so far) without telephone, internet and – because we only access it via the internet – television.

    It has been painful, but it has forced us to look for other styles of entertainment, and we have found ourselves naturally singing more, listening to music more, making music more, talking more, reading more aloud, and it has struck me that this has been a natural (though enforced) move towards a Celtic kind of lifestyle, and it is something I would love to maintain and encourage even when (if!) we have our technological services restored.

    On that note, I will leave you with a quote from Ian Bradley’s lovely book “The Celtic Way”:

    “Only by recovering the Celtic values of imagination, instinct and identification with nature […can we…] have any real hope of breaking out of the alienation and exile caused by technology…”

     
  • Mrs Chakotay 5:28 pm on July 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , memory work, , music, ,   

    Circle Time 

    wellplannedday

    We have been taking some time off from academics over the last few weeks, and just really enjoyed some much needed ‘down’ time as frustrations had been mounting with the very hot weather.

    But since we live on the north Cornwall coast, all our usual haunts are at the moment extremely crowded with tourists so, I’m thinking of starting back with lessons while the schools are on holiday.

    Avoiding the crowds has always been one of the lovely advantages of home education – when we used to come on holiday down here, we would come in September, when it was a little cooler, and everywhere was a little less jam-packed.

    I’m thinking this year of reviving a pattern of study that worked for one of our best years of home education – 3 weeks of lessons followed by 1 week of holiday, all through the year. It sometimes needs tweaking a little, for example, so that the holidays co-incide with the relevant festivals, but on the whole it’s a good arrangement and it works out to 36 weeks which is a standard ‘school’ year. It’s nice because you know that it’s never too long until you can rest, so it gives you something to look forward to, and something to work for. So rather than 3 ‘terms’ or ‘semesters’, you might have 12 mini blocks of study and 12 breaks.

    Something else I am planning to use more is ‘Circle Time’. It is something that we have always done to a greater or lesser extent, but I have not made much use of it recently. When the children were young, we always started the day with a prayer, a poem and some music (I had a box of percussion instruments at one time, but that seems to have sadly got lost in our many moves – if anybody would like to donate any kind of instruments to us, they would be very gladly received!) We also used to review memory work (like the days of the week etc.) and talk about the weather during Circle Time as well.

    Most recently, we have been having a prayer and a poem every day still, but the music and the memory work has been abandoned. It has certainly been harder to get up any enthusiasm for singing with my strongest singer gone. (He has ‘graduated’ to Sixth Form College)

    But I have been doing a lot of reading recently on the Charlotte Mason method, and I am inspired to revive some of the things that we did right at the beginning of our home education adventure, and Circle Time is one of them.

    In fact, I didn’t realise that Circle Time was a Charlotte Mason thing at all – for me it was originally inspired by my experience at Infant School. But I am reminded that when I went to school in the early 1970s, British schools were still feeling the positive influence of Charlotte Mason’s reforms. I hasten to add that Circle Time in British schools has evolved into something quite different, so if you want to google Circle Time, you might want to include the word ‘homeschooling’.

    But to get you going, if you’re interested, you might like to read Mystie’s post, which refers back to Cindy Rollins fantastic website and series which is dedicated to the concept of Circle Time, although she refers to it as Morning Time, and Morning Meeting. I rather like that, and I particularly like the concept of ordering our days (and that order being as it were a ‘liturgy’), and ordering our affections (hence the name of Cindy’s website, Ordo Amoris, ordering the affections) which of course is a very Charlotte Mason idea, grounded in Classical education and thinking.

    I’m not as organised as I’d like to be, but I am planning to start ‘school’ again tomorrow, to gently and slowly get going. We have booked to go on the Christian Home Educators’ Holiday at Cefn Lea in Wales in September, so the 3 week on / 1 week off rule will need to be bent slightly to accommodate that, but hopefully by the time we come back we won’t find it too hard to get back into the swing of things again as we will only have had the 1 week off.

    If you use Circle Time or Morning Time, or have any kind of morning order or ‘liturgy’, I would love to hear from you, and next time I will post some information about what we are including in our Circle Time.

     
  • Mrs Chakotay 9:13 am on May 23, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , music, play,   

    Easy Like Sunday Morning 

    I just wanted to give you a snapshot of a perfect Sunday morning: DS#1, “Dragon-Tamer” is researching a maths problem on the internet beside me, DD, “Pony-rider” is sitting on my knee on the sofa, looking through books. DS#2 “Motor-biker” and DS#3 “Baba Zonee” are playing a pretend game on the floor with their wooden castle. We are listening to a CD compilation of mellow folk, jazz, reggae and more from Israel. The back door is open to the early summer and we can hear birds singing. It’s unadulterated loveliness! Daddy just came in and the two little boys have rushed to him to explain their game. This is as much a part of our home education as Monday through Friday. 🙂

     
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