Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Planning AmblesideOnline from Table to Table


By guest blogger Dawn Garrett



I've had a lot of people ask how I plan an AmblesideOnline term and how I'm helping my children to learn how to manage their work. Since the two go hand in hand, you get one long post :)




For the quick version, you can go to my profile on Instagram and click on the Highlight circle named "Assigning AO" (I think this is an in-app feature only)





We're doing Year 7 right now, so the first thing I do is go to that page and print the booklists (with the footnotes) and read through everything. I use this to determine what books we own and what we need and order all the books. That can be fun. I try to do this a little ahead of when I'm going to be planning - so a week or two before I'm planning to plan. Then I have these beautiful stacks of books.  For Year 7, I knew I'd be doing some adjustments for R-girl, so I printed both the Detailed and Basic/Lite version.




Once I have the books, I download the modifiable ODT schedule and open it in Open Office and copy/paste the table into your favorite spreadsheet application. It should look something like this:




This year, I pulled out some things that were going to be done with Jason and some things that were going to be done during our Morning Time, Whatchamacallit, and left the rest in the main block. You can see where there are blank rows as separators.

Once I've determined how we're going to approach the work, I create a separate spreadsheet for each week (you can see them across the bottom of the page) and put the week number and the dates for that week number).  Then I copy the subject column to each of those tabs and the assignments for that particular week to the tab. So the column headed Week 2 went on the tab named "2 April 23-27." I made a separate spreadsheet for all twelve weeks (plus break weeks).




Each week's tab looks something like the above. I then split out the reading that is assigned to, at maximum, 5 readings per week. Because I have them, I use the books as I'm doing this and some of them I'll put a small (in pencil) star where I want them to stop for the day.  I put the total number of pages assigned in a column and I have a column at the end for the count of readings for each book. That count is summed. In this case, there are 25 independent readings for the week. I don't count those that will be done in Morning Time or with Daddy.




I can then print that week's tab for them - I do hide the column that has the whole weekly reading assignment, and just give them the split up readings.

25 readings is easy to deal with - they can do 5 per day. They don't have to do any on Wednesday (except we generally do Ivanhoe and Beowulf as audiobooks on Wednesday), but they generally choose to in order to cut down the assignments on the other days.  On Monday, they write the assignments in the daily boxes at the bottom of the sheet. This helps them learn to evaluate a week's worth of work and divide it reasonably. We've worked hard to see how doing a little bit every day is better than cramming too much into any given day. We've looked at how that page number column comes into play.

Some day, I hope to hand them the week's assignments and they'll split out the readings, but that day is not yet.



This is the newest step and one we've done for a little more than a term, so it may not stay the same. So far it has worked beautifully. Because we have one set of books for three students, a standard timetable schedule is a nightmare. Also a nightmare: lessons that take all day because there's no sense of urgency or accountability. This system was borne of sheer desperation.

We do Whatchamacallit from 8:30-10:15. After a 15 minute break, the independent work portion of our day begins.

I have a duplexing printer, so I print the above form on the back of their weekly assignment page.  Each day, the children take the book list they have made for the day, Math, Latin, a written narration, and penmanship and assign the work to half-hours. Some things take a full half hour, some don't. They have to be careful with the different books and assign them in appropriate blocks. They have to plan if they're going to read with someone else, or that they don't plan the same books at the same time. It takes some juggling and thought. I love it. So far, it has worked well, with just a few growing pains. It fits with my general philosophy of helping them learn to manage their own workload so they can be independent.

Now, I can start the pre-reading. It's plenty of work, but it's good work.

So, there you go - from AO and their weekly table to the individual day's table how we're planning AmblesideOnline at this time.

It's sure to change.





Dawn Garrett blogs at ladydusk.blogspot.com and is a 
collaborator of the CharlotteMasonIRL account on Instagram. 
She homeschools her three children in Central Ohio.




Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Of Good Books: The Power and the Fear

Some time ago a mother asked for help understanding why we might read a book like George MacDonald's Princess and the Goblin.    
The discussion reminded me of my experience with the sequel, The Princess and Curdy. I read it as a very young child, so young I don't remember how young, and for a very long time I couldn't remember the title of the book. In fact, over the years the details of the story slipped away to the point that the memory of most of that story was hidden in the mists of other memories, other books, other experiences. Then one day when I was in my very late twenties, busy with my life in Japan as a young military wife and mom, the memory of that book came out of the mists, recalled by a stray reference.

I was reading one of those special children's book catalogs that used to abound, catalogs as literary as the books inside them, chatty, personable. The catalog writer explained that she had read this book as a child and over the years had forgotten all but a single detail of the story- something about a grandmother with a fire of rose petals that never lost their rose petal essence (similar to the burning bush in the Bible), and you could put your hand in it without harm. She found this detail in the Princess and Curdy while reviewing it for the catalog, and with a thrill recognized her old friend and was delighted and it all came flooding back.

I promptly added the book to my list, which back in those days entailed writing out my order by hand and snail mailing it with a check. That fire of rose petals is the one detail I also had remembered. I, too, was thrilled to find my old friend again. I was even more delighted when the book arrived several weeks later and I read it again as an adult. The sequel is just that good, and the first book is even better.

 MacDonald was a devout Christian and a pastor devoted to his flock - and his God. His books are somewhat allegorical. For some reason, there are some who don't care for them. I don't understand it. However, I would not pass these up based on second hand information. I'd at least skim through them myself first.

 It is true that not every book is every person's cup of tea (and children are born persons). But it isn't true that merely not liking a book is a sound reason to avoid it. Nor is it good policy to avoid books merely because they have scary things like planned goblin invasions, greedy trolls, and dark caverns in them. A book that frightens one child encourages another. A book that makes no impression on another child will be a never to be forgotten source of courage for another.

 We cannot know in advance what a book will be to our children- we often think we know, but my own children surprised me again and again. I also have now heard hundreds of times from mothers who say they were sure their child would love or loathe or be bored by this book or another, only to discover it was the newest favourite. Children, like the rest of us, are people of many parts, and we should give them the dignity of being complex human beings with depths we have not yet plumbed and may never.

Children have many different reactions to different stories, some good, some bad. I knew a child afraid of beavers after being frightened by talking beavers in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. I would not avoid a book widely recognized as a well written children's classic merely because another child was afraid of the dark after reading it. Consider that the fact that it is recognized as a well written classic.  While that is not alone a stamp of approval and compatibility with your belief system, it does indicate that thousands more children (and their parents) have been blessed and have grown in their understanding because of it, and their experience should be weighted in our decisions as well if the reactions of other children is our measurement.

 One can also use that knowledge to help with a book rather than to reject it. If reading a book makes one child afraid of the dark or another afraid of rats or grand-daddy long-legs or whatever, I'd use that knowledge to help the young reader work through it and deal with it. Real life is not sugar-coated and lined with cotton wool. Children will come to face to face with terrors of their own, both real and imagined. It is better to deal with those first in the fictional story between the pages of a book that can be put down. Real life is full of choices of right and wrong, bravery and cowardice, and people who make the wrong choice. Real books give children some exposure and practice in considering those choices, thinking about the implications, imagining what they would do in similar circumstances. Well written books come alive in our minds. They bring us into the scene. These powerful descriptions and scene setting, this skillful building of worlds feeds our imaginations, warms them, brings them to life, gives the reader an excellent exposure to the skill of writing and the power of words. While we don't want to inundate children with frights and horrors and ignore sensitivities and maturity levels altogether, we also don't want to avoid all possible ways they might become afraid, all misdeeds, or all wrong choices. We all have and have had fears for good reasons and for ignoble reasons and for silly reasons- it's a blessing to be able to recognize them for what they are and have help facing them when young in safe circumstances, not something to avoid at all costs. MacDonald's story of Curdy, the goblins, and the princess is really lovely and living and deserves to be judged on its own merits, not on second hand information (not even mine). Please let your understanding of this book, and every other book, be based primarily on your reading, not just on what a few negative secondhand witnesses have claimed for a book.

Friday, May 25, 2018

AO Folk Songs 2018-2019


AO Folk Songs 2018-2019 School Year

Remember the goal of folk songs is to sing them.  Youtube or other media are tools to help you learn the songs, they are not a substitute for singing.  You don't even need to let your students watch the youtube videos- just play them with the screen turned around while you learn the tune well enough to start singing it yourselves.

One way to learn the songs is to print out copies of the lyrics, and play the youtube or other version once through while following along.  The next day, play it again and try singing along.  Do this for two or three days, and the mute the sound for one verse but keep on singing.  Bring up the sound again for the next verse.  Or just mute it for the chorus.  Gradually wean yourselves from the mechanical accompaniment and sing them yourselves.

 That is the most important part of folk songs in the curriculum, singing them.  Nothing else matters as much as singing them.  Nothing else matters if you *don't* sing them.

However,  once you've gotten the singing part down, here are a few other things you can do (but they are not required. Singing is required):

Learn to play the tune on whatever musical instrument your children are learning.
Look up the location of the folk song origins on a map.  Look up any other place names as well.
Dance to them.
Use  lines from the songs for copywork
Sing them some more
Sing them while you work, while you put children to sleep, while driving.
Play with the songs.  Start changing the words around- and watch and notice if your children do the same.  They will probably do this without you.


Here's my you-tube play-list of this year's folk songs: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2IR3x_bkyR55kU2uGplZrY5b3gq-bXRR

As always, it includes several versions.   While it really, really, really does not matter if the lyrics you have and the lyrics in the song you're playing are exact matches, for each folk song (except the Christmas Carols),  I have picked one youtube version and (tried) to transcribe the lyrics that match it below.


Term 1 Folk Songs:  Cockles and Mussels; Freight Train; The Green Grass Grows All Around (see below)

Cockles and Mussels/Molly Malone * * 

I've read this is such a popular song in Ireland that they sing it at sports events.

 I suppose it ought to be sad and melancholy, but I've always thought it hilarious to imagine a ghost pushing a wheelbarrow of shellfish (cockles and mussels, for those who don't know, are edible shellfish) through the streets while shouting 'Alive, Alive, oh!'


 C.S. Lewis writes in one of his journals about meeting up with some of his friends at a local pub and singing together, and this is one of the songs they sang.   People used to just spontaneously sing together regularly, and I think we were all better for it. That's one of the reasons AO seeks to bring back singing as a family activity. Having a shared repertoire of songs is a wonderful bonding tool, and singing together increases happy hormones, reduces stress levels, promotes physical and emotional well-being, gives children another form of emotional vocabulary to express their feelings when they don't have the words, and is just wonderful fun.  Don't worry about whether or not you can carry a tune, just sing!


Here's one set of lyrics to Molly Malone/Cockels and Mussels (there won't be much variation between versions, this is one folk song that hasn't changed much):


https://youtu.be/Bo3chRIxUc8

In Dublin’s fair city where the girls are so pretty,
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone,
As she wheeled her wheelbarrow
through the streets broad and narrow
Crying “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive-oh!”

Chorus “A-live, alive O-Oh! Alive, alive O-Oh!"
Crying “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive-oh!”

 She was a fishmonger and sure ‘twas no wonder
For so were her father and mother before
And they both wheeled their barrows 
Through the streets broad and narrow
Crying “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive-oh!”

Chorus

 She died of a fever and no one could save her
And that was the end of sweet Molly Malone
Now her ghost wheels her barrow
Through streets broad and narrow
Crying “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive-oh!”

Chorus (repeat as often as desired, which will undoubtedly be twice as often as Mom or Dad will enjoy)

Although there aren't many variations to this one, I have heard the first line of the last verse sung, "There came a great fever, from which none could save her...."  And then "Now her ghost wheels her barrow..."

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Freight Train (by Elizabeth Cotten) https://youtu.be/BJTBRkLhttQ
Here's a somewhat perkier version, instrumental only, played by Sungwa Jhun- https://youtu.be/IyEE1zctd9I

Chorus:
Freight train, freight train run so fast, Freight train, freight train run so fast, Please don't tell what train I'm on, So they won't know what route I've gone
When I'm dead and in my grave, No more good times here I crave, Place the stones at my head and feet tell them all that I've gone to sleep

Chorus When I die, Lord, bury me deep Way down on old Chestnut street Then I can hear old Number 9 As she comes rolling by

Chorus
Peter, Paul, and Mary also sang it as a cover song. Two of their verses are very different and might be acceptable to those who aren't comfortable with the 'when I die' verses, although I would encourage you not to be too quick to omit these. Folk songs can be a gentle way to give children ways to process and express sad, hard emotions).
Freight train, freight train coming 'round the bend
Freight train, freight train, gone again
One of these days turn that train around
Go back to my home town

One more place I'd like to be

One more place I'd love to see
To watch those old Blue Ridge Mountains climb
When I ride old number 9 If the references to death bother you, you could do that one instead. They still have the verse about when I die, only they ask to be buried down on Bleaker street. But you can skip that if you prefer. You'll find it here.

Elizabeth Cotten grew up in a musical family and she wrote Freight Train in 1905.  However, when she got married she set her music aside to raise her family.  After the kids were grown she divorced her husband and moved in with one of her daughters.  At some point when she needed a job she came to the attention of Ruth Seeger, of the musical, folk-song promoting Seegers, who hired her to help around the house and help with the kids- Ruth was Pete Seeger's step-mother, and mom to Mike and Peggy.  Nobody knew Elizabeth Cotten was also a musician, or had been  (her guitar style is remarkable).  One day, the story goes, she had some free time and she took down a banjo or guitar from the wall and started to play to herself.  Pete Seeger came home for a visit and happened to hear her- and that was how, over forty years after she'd put her music aside, she became a musician and folk-singer again and gained a wider audience. 

Read more about the remarkable Elizabeth Cotten at Wikipedia


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The Green Grass Grew All Around

As is generally the case, there are multiple variations to this one. It's a fantastic example of what is known as a cumulative song. Cumulative songs are easy to learn because the lyrics are short, but each new line adds new information and is repeated. Think of the nursery rhyme 'This is the House that Jack Built:' 

"This is the house that Jack built! 
This is the malt that lay in the house that Jack built. 
This is the rat that ate the malt 
That lay in the house that Jack built. 
This is the cat that killed the rat 
That ate the malt that lay in the house that Jack built. 
This is the dog that worried the cat 
That killed the rat that ate the malt 
That lay in the house that Jack built..." 

Or the more recent, "I know an old lady who swallowed a fly." 

Cumulative songs are fun to sing, but they are also a good tutorial for story telling, modeling the concept telling a story by building it up as you add more information.  It's also an excellent exampleof putting ideas or events in sequential order, as each line builds on the previous line - not that it's necessary to inform your children of this. Just have fun, sing them, and the children will absorb the rhythm and style, internalizing the concept ages before they need the formal terms. 

Some versions are sung as a line and an echo repeat, but you don't have to sing it that way if you don't want to. 

Here's a version of the lyrics which includes the echo (in parentheses, omit them if you need to):

 Green Grass Grew All Around 

There was a tree (There was a tree) 
A pretty little tree (A pretty little tree) 
The prettiest tree (The prettiest tree) 
That you ever did see (That you ever did see) 

Oh, the tree in a hole and the hole in the ground 
And the green grass grew all around, all around 
And the green grass grew all around 

Now on this tree (Now on this tree) 
There was a limb (There was a limb) 
The prettiest limb (The prettiest limb) 
That you ever did see (That you ever did see)

 Oh, the limb on the tree, and the tree in a hole and the hole in the ground and the green grass grew all around, all around, and the green grass grew all around. 

Now on this limb (Now on this limb) 
There was a branch (There was a branch) 
The prettiest branch (The prettiest branch) 
That you ever did see (That you ever did see)

 Oh, the branch on the limb, and the limb on the tree, and the tree in a hole and the hole in the ground and the green grass grew all around, all around, and the green grass grew all around.


Now on this limb (Now on this limb) 
There was a twig (There was a twig) 
The prettiest twig (The prettiest twig) 
That you ever did see (That you ever did see) 

Oh, the twig on the branch, and the branch on the limb, and the limb on the tree, and the tree in a hole and the hole in the ground and the green grass grew all around, all around, and the green grass grew all around.

Now on this twig (Now on this twig) 
There was a leaf (There was a leaf) 
The prettiest leaf (The prettiest leaf) 
That you ever did see (That you ever did see) 

Oh, the leaf on the twig, and the twig on the branch, and the branch on the limb, and the limb on the tree, and the tree in a hole and the hole in the ground and the green grass grew all around, all around, and the green grass grew all around.


Now on this leaf (Now on this leaf) 
There was a nest (There was a nest) 
The prettiest nest (The prettiest nest) 
That you ever did see (That you ever did see) 

Oh, the nest on the leaf, and the leaf on the twig, and the twig on the branch, and the branch on the limb, and the limb on the tree, and the tree in a hole and the hole in the ground and the green grass grew all around, all around, and the green grass grew all around.


Now in this nest (Now in this nest) 
There was a bird (There was a bird) 
The prettiest bird (The prettiest bird) 
That you ever did see (That you ever did see) 

Oh, the bird in the nest, and the nest on the leaf, and the leaf on the twig, and the twig on the branch, and the branch on the limb, and the limb on the tree, and the tree in a hole and the hole in the ground and the green grass grew all around, all around, and the green grass grew all around.

Now on this bird (Now on this bird) 
There was a feather (There was a feather) 
The prettiest little feather (The prettiest feather) 
That you ever did see (That you ever did see) 

Oh, the feather on the bird, and the bird in the nest, and the nest on the leaf, and the leaf on the twig, and the twig on the branch, and the branch on the limb, and the limb on the tree, and the tree in a hole and the hole in the ground and the green grass grew all around, all around, and the green grass grew all around.

Now on this feather (Now on this feather) 
There was a flea (There was a flea) 
The prettiest flea (The prettiest flea) 
That you ever did see (That you ever did see) 


Oh, the flea on the feather, and the feather on the bird, and the bird in the nest, and the nest on the leaf, and the leaf on the twig, and the twig on the branch, and the branch on the limb, and the limb on the tree, and the tree in a hole and the hole in the ground and the green grass grew all around, all around, and the green grass grew all around.



It's also fun to sing this progressively faster and faster until you are all entirely out of breath and collapsed into a helpless heap of giggles on the ground.

If you've been doing folk songs for a while, your students might enjoy trying The Rattlin' Bog, another cumulative song, very similar to Green Grass, but a bit more challenging.

According to Wikipedia, it first appeared in publication in 1877 in (Miss M. H. Mason's book 'Nursery Rhymes and Country Songs') , but it's likely to be much older than that.
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        During your Christmas break, try a carol you may be less familiar with:
                    
 Good Christian Men Rejoice and/or Hark! The Herald Angels Sing


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Term 2 Folk Songs: Minstrel Boy, Walk That Lonesome Valley, Leatherwing Bat


Minstrel Boy * *
https://youtu.be/jBwUhVgjbCw

The minstrel boy to the war is gone In the ranks of death you'll find him His father's sword he hath girded on And his wild harp slung behind him.

"Land of Song!" cried the warrior bard "Tho' all the world betrays thee One sword, at least, thy rights shall guard One faithful harp shall praise thee!"

The Minstrel fell! But the foeman's chains Could not bring that proud soul under The harp he lov'd ne'er spoke again For he tore its chords asunder.

And said "No chains shall sully thee Thou soul of love and brav'ry! Thy songs were made for the pure and free They shall never sound in slavery!

"The Minstrel Boy" was written by Irish poet and artist Thomas Moore. He wrote the lyrics in commemoration of friends who had died in the 1798 Irish Rebellion, and set it to the tune of an old Irish air called "The Moreen." The song quickly became a popular patriotic song, both in Ireland and among Irishmen abroad, including Irish-American Civil War Regiments. From Thoughtco.
If it sounds familiar to you, look up some of the references to it in film and televison and see where you might have heard it before.


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Walk That Lonesome Valley- https://youtu.be/85BvT5X6WSo

by Mississippi John Hurt

You got to walk, that lonesome valley.
Well, you got to walk it for yourself.
Ain't nobody here, can walk it for you.
You got to walk that valley for yourself.

My mother had to walk that lonesome valley.
Well, she had to walk it for herself.
Cause nobody here could walk it for her.
Yeah she had to walk that valley for herself.

Oh yes, you got to walk that lonesome valley.
Well, you got to walk it for yourself.
Cause nobody here can walk it for you.
You got walk that valley for yourself.

My father had to walk that lonesome valley.
He had to walk it for his-self.
Cause nobody here could walk it for him.
He had to walk it for his-self.

Oh, Jesus had to walk that lonesome valley.
He had to walk it for his-self.
Cause nobody here could walk it for him.
He had to walk that valley for his-self.

Oh yes you got to walk that lonesome valley.
Well, you got to walk it for yourself.
Yes nobody here can walk it for you.
You got to walk that valley for yourself.


To be honest, my personal theology would require that I either leave out the verse about Jesus, or change the lyrics just a bit here, but I would do it because Mississippi John is just that special.

Maybe something like this:

Oh, Jesus walked that lonesome valley.
My Jesus walked it by himself.
Cause nobody here could walk it for him.
He walked that valley to save my soul from death.

Or maybe I'd just point out that Jesus had to walk it alone and He did it for us, but we don't have to walk it without Him. Or maybe not. It's not necessary to overthink these -- folk songs, like poetry, express truths in non-literal ways.



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Leatherwing Bat
The version from Peter, Paul, and Mommyhttps://youtu.be/n6qSWxSuYr4

"Hi," said the little leatherwing bat.
"I'll tell you the reason that,
The reason that I fly by night
Is because I lost my heart's delight.""
     Howdy, dowdy, diddle um day,
     Howdy, dowdy, Diddle um day,
Howdy, dowdy, diddle um daaaaaaay,
     Hey, lee, lee, lee, lie, lee, low . . .

"Hi," said the blackbird, "sittin' on a chair,
nce I courted a lady fair!
She proved fickle and turned her back!
And ever since then, I've dressed in black."
     Howdy, dowdy, diddle um day,
     Howdy, dowdy, Diddle um day,
Howdy, dowdy, diddle um daaaaaaay,
     Hey, lee, lee, lee, lie, lee, low . . .

"Hi," said the woodpecker, sittin' on a fence,
"I once courted a handsome wench!
She got scared and from me fled,
Ad ever since then my head's been red."
     Howdy, dowdy, diddle um day,
     Howdy, dowdy, Diddle um day,
Howdy, dowdy, diddle um daaaaaaay,
     Hey, lee, lee, lee, lie, lee, low . . .

"Hi," said the little turtle dove,
"I'll tell you how to win her love:
Court her night, and court her day,
Never give her time to say you nay."
     Howdy, dowdy, diddle um day,
     Howdy, dowdy, Diddle um day,
Howdy, dowdy, diddle um daaaaaaay,
     Hey, lee, lee, lee, lie, lee, low . . .

"Hi," said the blue-jay, and away he flew.
"If I were a young man, I'd have two.
If one were faithless and chanced to go,
I'd add the other string to my bow."
     Howdy, dowdy, diddle um day,
     Howdy, dowdy, Diddle um day,
Howdy, dowdy, diddle um daaaaaaay,
     Hey, lee, lee, lee, lie, lee, low . . .


There are variations that include other birds species with other relationship issues. These are birds ,not people. You needn't overthink it, but if you like you can laugh over any bird relationship issues you feel are unwise and point out that humans might do things differently. You can also make up verses for other birds, which is excellent practice for poetry and understanding rhyme scheme and rhythm at the heart level without going into mechanics and formal lesson plans and sheets.



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Term 3: 
Star of the County Down, Robin Hood and the Tanner; Come Lads and Lasses

Star of the County Down *
https://youtu.be/hF6MTwACKZk

Near Banbridge town, in the County Down
One evening last July
Down a boithrin green came a sweet colleen
And she smiled as she passed me by.
She looked so neat from her two bare feet
To the sheen of her nut-brown hair
Such a coaxing elf, I'd to shake myself
To make sure I was standing there.
     From Bantry Bay down to Derry Quay
     From Galway to Dublin town
     No maid I've seen like the fair colleen
     That I met in the County Down.

As she onward sped I shook my head
And I gazed with a feeling queer
And I said, says I, to a passerby
"Who's your one with the nut-brown hair?"
He smiled at me, and with pride says he,
"She's the gem of old Ireland's crown.
Young Rosie McCann from the banks of the Bann
And the star of the County Down."
     From Bantry Bay down to Derry Quay
     From Galway to Dublin town
     No maid I've seen like the fair colleen
     That I met in the County Down.

She'd a soft brown eye and a look so sly
And a smile like the rose in June
And you held each note from her auburn throat,
As she lilted lamenting tunes
At the pattern dance you'd be in trance
As she skipped through a jig or reel
When her eyes she'd roll, as she'd lift your soul
And your heart she would likely steal.
     From Bantry Bay down to Derry Quay
     From Galway to Dublin town
     No maid I've seen like the fair colleen
     That I met in the County Down.

At the harvest fair she'll be surely there
And I'll dress my Sunday clothes
With my hat cocked right and my shoes shon bright
For a smile from the nut-brown Rose.
No horse I'll yoke, or pipe I smoke,
'Til the rust in my plough turn brown,
And a smiling bride by my own fireside
Sits the star of the County Down.
     From Bantry Bay down to Derry Quay
     From Galway to Dublin town
     No maid I've seen like the fair colleen
     That I met in the County Down.

She'd a soft brown eye and a look so sly
And a smile like the rose in June
And you held each note from her auburn throat,
As she lilted lamenting tunes.
At the pattern dance you'd be in trance
As she skipped through a jig or reel
When her eyes she'd roll, as she'd lift soul
And your heart she would likely steal.
     From Bantry Bay down to Derry Quay
     From Galway to Dublin town
     No maid I've seen like the fair Colleen
     That I met in the County Down.

Near Banbridge town, in the County Down
One evening last July
Down a boithrin green came a sweet cailin
And she smiled as she passed me by.
She looked so neat in her two bare feet
To the sheen of her nut-brown hair.
Such a coaxing elf, I'd to shake myself
To make sure I was standing there.
     From Bantry Bay down to Derry Quay
     From Galway to Dublin town
     No maid I've seen like the fair colleen
     That I met in the County Down.

If, and only if, you have a student in year 7 or older who has done the Grammar of Poetry and is interested, you can share this information I got from Wikipedia: "l.
"The Star of the County Down" uses a tight rhyme scheme. Each stanza is a double quatrain, and the first and third lines of each quatrain have an internal rhyme on the second and fourth feet: [aa]b[cc]b. The refrain is a single quatrain with the same rhyming pattern."


bóithrín: Gaelic for a small, badly maintained track or lane, usually in a rural area. Colleen is the English pronunciation of cailín: Gaelic for an unmarried girl, a girlfriend, maid or servant.


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Robin Hood and the Tanner  https://youtu.be/SNpODF9pquU
Miss Mason used and recommended several different folk-song collections in her schools. One of them was edited and compiled by folk song collector Cecil Sharp.  I found this one in his book One Hundred English Folk-Songs.  He writes:

"This was sung to me by a blind man, eighty-two years of age, who told me that he learned it when a lad of ten, but that he had not sung it, or heard it sung, for forty years or more. He varied the several phrases of the tune, which is in the Dorian mode, in a very free and interesting manner (see English Folk Song: Some Conclusions, p. 21). I have chosen from these variations those which seemed to me to be the most characteristic. Except for one or two minor alterations, the words are given in the text precisely as they were sung to me.  The Robin Hood ballads, which, centuries ago, were extremely popular (although they were constantly denounced by the authorities), are now but rarely sung by the country folk. "  It is a 'merry and pleasant song' about the 'gallant and fierce' combat between Robin Hood and Arthur a Bland who afterwards joined Robin and Little John in the forest life. 


1 In Nottingham there lives a jolly tanner,
With a hey down down a down down
His name it was Arthur a Bland;
There is nere a squire in Nottinghamshire
Dare bid bold Arthur stand.

2. And as he went forth, in a summer’s morning,
With a hey down down a down down
In the forrest of merry Sherwood,
To view the red deer, that range here and there,
There met he with bold Robin Hood.

3. As soon as bold Robin Hood who did him espy,
With a hey down down a down down
He thought some sport he would make;
Therefore out of hand he bid him to stand,
And thus to him he spake:

4. Why, what art thou, thou bold fellow,
With a hey down down a down down
That ranges so boldly here?
In sooth, to be brief, thou look'st like a thief,
That comes to steal our king’s deer.

5. For I am a keeper in this forest;
With a hey down down a down down
The king puts me in trust
To look to his deer, that range here and there,
Therefore stay thee I must.

6. Then Robin Hood he unbuckled his belt,
With a hey down down a down down
He laid down his bow so long;
He took up a staff of another oak ,
That was both stiff and strong.

7. And knock for knock they lustily dealt,
With a hey down down a down down
Which held for two hours and more;
That all the wood rang at every bang,
They ply’d their work so sore

8. ‘Hold thy hand, hold thy hand,’ said bold Robin Hood,
With a hey down down a down down
‘And let our quarrel fall;
For here we may thresh our bones into mesh,
And get no coyn at all.

9. And in the forrest of merry Sherwood

With a hey down down a down down
Hereafter thou shalt be free:’
‘God-a-mercy for naught, my freedom I bought,
I may thank my good staff, and not thee.’


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Come Lads and Lasses: https://youtu.be/2j-Ai4pQ4f0
https://archive.org/stream/englishminstrels01bari#page/n39/mode/2up
"This delicious old song is one of the few in D'Urfey's "Pills to purge Meloncholy," which is not defiled by some coarseness," says Sabine-Gould (he wrote a collection of folk music Miss Mason used in her schools). He also says The earliest known copy in a collection published in 1672.  The collection "Pills to purge Melancholy" was published in 1719.  The tune, as folksongs do, has changed over time, and the lyrics have different variations as well.  Some versions repeat the last line of each verse twice, instead of just the one line given here.

Come, lasses and lads, get leave of your dads,* and away to the maypole hie, 
For every he has got him a she, and the fiddler's standing by; 
There's Georgie has got his Jannie , and Johnny has got his Joan, 
And there they do jog it, jog it, and jog it, a tripping it up and down 

"You're out!" says Dick; "Not I," says Nick. "'T'was the fiddler played it wrong." 
“’T'is true!" says Hugh, and so says Sue, and so says every one.
 The fiddler then began to play the tune again, 
 And ev'ry girl did foot it, and foot it, a' trippin' it to the men, 

 Now they did stay the whole of the day, and tired the fiddler quite 
All dancing and and play, without any pay, from morning unto night 
At last they told the fiddler they'd pay him for his play, 
And each a tuppence, tuppence, tuppence gave him and went away,

 "Goodnight!" says Harry; "Goodnight!" says Mary; "Goodnight! says Poll* to John, 
"Goodnight!" says Sue to her sweetheart Hugh, "Goodnight!" says everyone. 
Some walked and some did run; some loitered on the way, 
And bound themselves by kisses twelve, to meet the next holiday. 

 *'Get leave of your dads' is to get permission 
* Poll is short for Polly
* foot it and tripping it are just terms for dancing

Ralph Caldecott illustrated a child's picture book of this song in the late 1800s. You can view it here.




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Amazon downloads (I haven't been able to listen to the full songs for these, just the previews, so use with that understanding), although I did not find one I liked for Lasses and Lads:

Robin Hood and the Tanner, .99
https://amzn.to/2s85UEh

Star of the County Down, 1.29
https://amzn.to/2Ltu6sw

Star of the County Down, the Chieftains and Van Morison, 1.29
https://amzn.to/2GSx5HO

Leatherwing Bat, Peter, Paul and Mommy, .99
https://amzn.to/2KUcc1a

Cockles & Mussels, .99
https://amzn.to/2KTAAA9

Freight Train, Peter, Paul and Mary, .99
https://amzn.to/2IISdWy

Freight Train, Elizabeth Cotten, .99
https://amzn.to/2Lwirtc

Walk that Lonesome Valley .99

Green Grass Grew All Around
https://amzn.to/2GO9OXr Disney Records Children's Favorite Songs Vol. 1 has a couple dozen folk songs your family will probably enjoy (at least, I hope so, because ours sure did)

This song is also on the Wee Sing Silly Songs album and you can get just that song for .89

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Over the Hills and Far Away

Here's one youtube version

Here's forty shillings on the drum For those who volunteer to come, To 'list and fight the foe today Over the Hills and far away [Chorus] O'er the hills and o'er the Main Through Flanders, Portugal and Spain King George commands and we obey Over the hills and far away When duty calls me I must go To stand and face another foe But part of me will always stray Over the hills and far away [Chorus] If I should fall to rise no more As many comrades did before Then ask the pipes and drums to play Over the hills and far away [Chorus] Then fall in lads behind the drum With colours blazing like the sun Along the road to come what may Over the hills and far away [Chorus] X4

Here's another youtube version- the video is a bit gruesome at the end, but I wouldn't have the kids watch the videos. I just would have them listen and sing along.

The song was refurbished and sung again over a hundred years or more for different wars, so some versions say Queen Anne commands and we'll obey, like this one.

You may vaguely remember but never understood, that this is the only tune Tom, Tom the Piper's son could play:

Tom, he was a piper’s son” lyrics

1. Tom, he was a piper’s son,
He learnt to play when he was young,
And all the tune that he could play
Was ‘over the hills and far away’;
Over the hills and a great way off,
The wind shall blow my top-knot off.

2. Tom with his pipe made such a noise,
That he pleased both the girls and boys,
They all stopped to hear him play,
‘Over the hills and far away’;
Over the hills and a great way off,
The wind shall blow my top-knot off.

3. Now Tom did play with such skill
That those who heard him could never keep still;
As soon as he played they began for to dance,
Even the pigs on their hind legs would after him prance;
Over the hills and a great way off,
The wind shall blow my top-knot off.



English Country Garden

Youtube version

How many kinds of sweet flowers grow In an English country garden? I'll tell you now of some that I know And those I miss you'll surely pardon Daffodils, heart's ease and phlox Meadowsweet and lady smocks Gentian, lupine and tall hollyhocks Roses, foxgloves, snowdrops, forget-me-nots In an English country garden (In an English country garden) How many insects come here and go Through our English country garden? I'll tell you now of some that I know And those I miss you'll surely pardon Fireflies, moths and bees Spiders climbing in the trees Butterflies that drift in the gentle breeze There are snakes, ants that sting And other creeping things In an English country garden (In an English country garden) How many songbirds fly to and fro Through our English country garden? I'll tell you now of some that I know And those I miss you'll surely pardon Bobolink, cuckoo and quail Tanager and cardinal Bluebird, lark, thrush and nightingale There is joy in the spring When the birds begin to sing In an English country garden (In an English country garden)

(optional verse) Robin (robin, robin) don't forget the robin... (Don't forget the robin, robin) Robin (robin, robin) don't forget the robin...

My mother, who is in her seventies, remembers singing this in school as a child.

Billy Barlow

https://youtu.be/FrgTOPufru4 You can download a version by Peggy Seeger for .99. You can download the Pete Seeger version for .89. Mike and Peggy Seeger, (Pete's younger half siblings) perform the version I learned, and you can download it for .99. The Pete Seeger version has each person asking 'what shall I hunt/get/haul. But the version I learned, and it makes more sense to me, the boys are asking each other what they'll hunt/get/haul together - this is a group activity. So those are the lyrics I chose.

 As I have mentioned before, it doesn't matter if the lyrics you have are slightly different from the song you're listening to, because folk songs are fluid and they change and there is no one true correct way to sing a folk song (except the one that you learned as a child). The point is singing, not listening, so learn it as quickly as possible and then turn off the electronics and belt it out.

 Billy Barlow
 "Let's go huntin'," says Risky Rob
"Let's go huntin'," says Robin to Bob
 "Let's go huntin'," says Dan'l to Joe
"Let's go huntin'," says Billy Barlow

 "What shall we hunt?" says Risky Rob
 "What shall we hunt?" says Robin to Bob
"What shall we hunt?" says Dan'l to Joe
"Hunt for a rat," says Billy Barlow

 "How shall we get him?" says Risky Rob
"How shall we get him?" says Robin to Bob
 "How shall we get him?" says Dan'l to Joe
"Borrow a gun," says Billy Barlow (or, 'Go borry a gun,' if you want to sound more folksy)

 "How shall we haul him?" says Risky Rob
"How shall we haul him?" says Robin to Bob
"How shall we haul him?" says Dan'l to Joe
"Borrow a wagon," says Billy Barlow

 "How shall we divide him?" says Risky Rob
 "How shall we divide him?" says Robin to Bob
"How shall we divide him?" says Dan'l to Joe
"How shall we divide him?" says Billy Barlow

 "I'll take shoulder," says Risky Rob
"I'll take side," says Robin to Bob
 "I'll take ham," says Dan'l to Joe
"Tail bone mine," says Billy Barlow

 "How shall we cook him?" says Risky Rob
"How shall we cook him?" says Robin to Bob
"How shall we cook him?" says Dan'l to Joe
 "How shall we cook him?" says Billy Barlow

 "I'll broil shoulder" says Risky Rob
"I'll fry side," says Robin to Bob
"I'll boil ham," says Dan'l to Joe
"Tail bone raw!" says Billy Barlow

 We enjoyed this one when the kids were small. They often thought Billy Barlow was rather put upon and those other boys couldn't do anything without him, and it was rather rough shakes to give him the tailbone. But then we read somewhere that some towns would have rat catching contests to reduce troublesome vermin and the diseases they carry, and the bounty was often paid on the rat tails. So maybe Billy Barlow didn't really need our sympathy. I don't know if that's the back story to Billy taking the tail or not, and I wouldn't offer it up even as a possibility unless the kids asked.

 One of the things children enjoy about folksongs is that they often have a thin thread of a story running through them. This is one of that sort. One of my grand-daughters noticed then when she was just four years old. Once when I was visiting her house, she asked me to sing her a song and read her a book. I was not going to be able to do both, I think we were trying to get ready to leave, which, now that I think on it, might be why she asked for both. At any rate, I told her I could only do one, and asked her which she would prefer, a song, or a book. "Well," she thought through it aloud, "Some songs are also stories, so sing a song that is also a story." I am pretty sure I sang Billy Barlow.

Why sing folk songs?  Folk songs come into play very early in the chain of development toward a mature appreciation for and understanding of poetry. It’s the most reasonable thing in the world, right after Mother Goose, to introduce the child to singing folk songs. But not just any songs:

 “do not let us weaken him by giving him milk and water when he requires strong meat. It is ridiculous to see, as I have done, boys of ten at a dancing-class doing a teddy-bear dance or skipping, and many of the songs one finds in children's song-books are merely silly. I myself found my children took no pleasure in singing until, thanks to Mr. Cecil Sharp and Mr. Baring-Gould, I introduced them to a book of old English folk songs. The result was illuminating. Those songs immediately struck some responsive ancestral chord, and singing became a delight instead of a mere lesson; and now folk songs resound from morning till night." (Mrs. Alton, more here)
That book by Sharp and Baring-Gould is one of the books used in Mason's schools.
 What if you don't like folksongs, or the kids don't? Go ahead and sing them.=) It doesn't have to be *this* one, but find some you can and will sing. Here are some ideas about how.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

What if my child doesn't remember?

by Karen Glass

A lot of times, I hear AmblesideOnline/Charlotte Mason moms lament, “What do I do when my child doesn’t remember?”

Maybe children don’t narrate well at the time, and maybe they don’t recall much about a topic later. We all hear the lovely stories and testimonials about the amazing connections that other children are making. What about the child for whom things don’t seem to stick? Who doesn’t remember?

You probably aren’t going to like the answer, but…that’s the way it’s supposed to be. It took me a while to come to terms with this, too, so I sympathize with your reluctance to accept this idea. Who follows an educational method that expects children to forget? And narration is supposed to help with remembering, so surely the children are expected to remember?

They won’t forget everything, of course, but in a Charlotte Mason education, remembering a lot of specific information is simply not the object.

Our first hint that this is the case is actually found in the principles:
Our business is not to teach him all about anything, but to help him make valid as many as may be of—‘Those first-born affinities.’ (From principle #12, A Philosophy of Education, p. xxx)
In other words, education is the science of relations, and relationship trumps information in our educational endeavors.

One day, I was happily reading through A Philosophy of Education, when I was arrested by this paragraph:
Education is a life. That life is sustained on ideas. Ideas are of spiritual origin, and God has made us so that we get them chiefly as we convey them to one another, whether by word of mouth, written page, Scripture word, musical symphony; but we must sustain a child's inner life with ideas as we sustain his body with food. Probably he will reject nine-tenths of the ideas we offer, as he makes use of only a small proportion of his bodily food, rejecting the rest. He is an eclectic; he may choose this or that; our business is to supply him with due abundance and variety and his to take what he needs. (Philosophy of Education, p. 109)
My mind suddenly re-shaped that word-fraction, nine-tenths, into a percentage.

 

90%

 

“Probably he will reject 90% of the ideas we offer,” and if you flip that around, “Probably he will accept and remember (only!) 10% of the ideas we offer.”

Those are some staggering numbers—they’d represent failure on graded tests—and this is what Charlotte Mason is offering us? But passing tests isn’t the point of education in this paradigm—our object is to “sustain a child’s inner life,” and the only way that can happen is if he is offered an abundance and allowed to take what he needs. Charlotte Mason tells us that children hang the facts they remember on the ideas they take in, so if they are only taking in 10% of the ideas, they are also likely to remember only a portion of the associated facts.

If you want to educate your children using Charlotte Mason’s philosophy, the wisest thing you can do is embrace this concept. Your children are learning, but they are learning in a relational way, not a remember-all-the-facts way.
It is a great thing to possess a pageant of history in the background of one’s thoughts. We may not be able to recall this or that circumstance, but, ‘the imagination is warmed’; we know that there is a great deal to be said on both sides of every question and are saved from crudities in opinion and rashness in action. The present becomes enriched for us with the wealth of all that has gone before. (Philosophy of Education, p. 178)
It is very easy to lay hold of the idea that “it is a great thing to possess a pageant of history in the background of one’s thoughts” and gloss over the uncomfortable truth that “we may not be able to recall this or that circumstance.” If we are honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that we would, indeed, like our children to be able to recall “this or that circumstance.” And sometimes, they do. But other times, they do not. In either case, we have laid the foundation of that pageant, warmed their imagination, and enriched them by exposing them to the wealth of all that has gone before. This is true even if they can’t remember a single king from Our Island Story.

Along the same lines, parents often lament that a child doesn’t understand some things, and they feel compelled to explain. This is a fine practice if the child has requested an explanation, but something to forego if he has not.

In a very useful pamphlet shared with a group of PNEU schools (Notes for the Conference on PNEU Methods by H. W Household), quite a severe warning is given about the practice.
There are teachers who are not happy until they have made certain that there is not a line, not a word, that the child does not understand. Of course they are wrong. They are wasting time and hindering the child. The child has many years before [him], and [he] has [his] own times and ways of arriving at understanding. Next year, without our having said one word, [he] will understand much that [he] does not to-day. Let [him] do [his] own work upon the books.
He underscores this point by emphasizing that “it is not expected that the children will grasp everything.”

Viewed correctly, this should take a huge burden from the shoulders of the Charlotte Mason teacher. We should not expect children to grasp (or remember!) everything; we should expect something else, and if we understand the philosophy behind the educational methods we are following, we know what that is. Children are born persons. Education is the science of relations. We’re going to give children every opportunity to form relationships with a wide variety of knowledge. We’re going to ask them to narrate and tell us about the things they read and hear. And then, we’re going to get out of the way and let them go about the business of apprehending that 10% that is going to become a permanent possession for them.

Looking back on my own school days, I cannot remember one thing that I learned in second grade—not one. I do remember that on some days, I was allowed to leave the classroom and be a “helper” in the kindergarten room. That responsibility—I felt so important—I do remember. I don’t remember a single thing I learned in fifth grade, either, but I remember that my teacher read The Hobbit aloud to us, and I loved the story, so I borrowed the book from the library to read for myself…faster. My snippets represent less than 10% of what my teachers must have tried to teach me. Presumably I learned enough to move on the next grade. But the bits that are a possession to me, many decades later, are the things that “warmed my imagination” and caught my heart.

It will be the same for your children. Read the books together. Narrate to each other (it’s a relationship building activity). Take joy in the 10% that your child pockets as a personal treasure, and be willing to accept that the other 90% isn’t what he needed right now. When your child doesn’t remember, the right response is not to go back and retrace the same ground. Instead, go forward, so that your child can find new ideas—the ones that will enrich his soul and sustain his inner life.