February 2021
Dear friends,
 
As most of you know, we have left all Big Tech social media….we are now contemplating cutting free from Gmail. That, though is quite a big deal so we need to think this through carefully.
 
We really appreciate the support we have gotten for freeing ourselves from the world of censorship and control. Having said that, it remains to be seen what happens next. True to the pioneering spirit of homeschooling in the 80s, we encourage all of you to carefully think through where you can be independent and how we can all encourage the kind of community which is based on freedom of conscience, brotherly/sisterlyness and tolerance toward opinions we disagree with.
 
Christopherus is well aware that we have of course now considerably lessened our ability to reach those potentially interested in our work: we appeal to those of you who support us and wish to see us survive in this difficult world to do what you can to spread the word and let folks know about what we offer! We thank you for your support.
 
We now have a group on an alternative platform, locals. It is small and a bit clunkier than facebook—but no censorship, no advertising, no FB telling you to do this, that or the other thing. We can talk about children’s health, 5G and other issues without having to use code to share vital information about subjects forbidden on Big Tech platforms.
 
The group is growing! Anyone can go to locals and become a member and then read posts on our group. To post and to comment, one has to join--$5 a month.
Just to tempt you all a bit, here is a sample post I have recently posted on the locals group, ready for comment and discussion! I am currently teaching a small group of 6th graders and have been sharing my observations and experiences. Here is an example:
 
You might have read my posts about the 6th graders I am teaching--thought I'd now share a few thoughts about developing children's artistic work.

As you all know, in W education, we use beautiful bound unlined books--main lesson books--for the children from first gr thru twelfth gr. Their best work--copied written work, later original work, drawings, designs, lab reports, poetry--all goes into these books.

By about 4th gr I suggest that one sometimes mixes it up a bit and does not use the standard MLB. In the Christopherus curric I give details. This helps the child stay fresh with her work , develop an artistic eye and also helps her learn flexibility--what is the best way to encapsulate the work I am doing right now? In 4th gr that question lives with the parent-teacher and is shared with his child--by the time of about 8th gr, the child should be able to ask that question himself and discuss it with his teacher.

I have written a blog article about not overdoing MLBs and letting them become formulaic

Back to my current students....in the first few grades, it is fine to do 'writing this side, picture this side' in the MLB. But sometime around gr 5 or 6, the children need to see that there are other ways to do their work: small picture on the bottom or several pictures sprinkled throughout the text; 2-page spread with text; and so on.
 
At home, we will often use beautiful books for the children to copy--don't do this when they are too young. By the time they are 11 or 12 they have enough art work 'under their belt' and are self aware enough to have a bit of distance from what they copy so as to not get overwhelmed by 'real' artistic work (as opposed to mom's best efforts).
One of the assignments I have given my 6th graders is to look through Demi's beautiful book on Muhammad to choose a picture to draw. They already had the dictation I wrote (see Christopherus 6th gr curric) and now they each chose a picture. Demi is a wonderful artist and so sensitive to her chosen subjects--the children delighted in the pictures and we got to have an interesting conversation about why the figure of Muhammad is left golden --we talked a bit about Judaism as well and remembered how utterly outraged the Jews were when the Romans put statues of the Emperor in the Temple.

Anyway....Demi's illustrations leak beyond the borders she draws--this was exciting to the children as they had a new opportunity to think about composition and how work might best appear on a page.

Earlier, when we had looked at the monasteries in Europe and the Book of Kells as an example of monastic art, I had had them copy the 4 figures of the evangelists in different places on their pages and then fit their writing around that. This was something new to them and it was interesting to see how they had to really think into their work, to plan and foresee how the writing and the illustrations would flow together.

For homeschooling parents, working like this with one's child gives so many opportunities to encourage and develop an artistic attitude which lays the foundation for a flexible and creative approach to life. Art becomes not something one does--but something one lives.
I am also starting to post videos onto the locals group—these are for subscribers only. At the moment, it’s just me talking about something---the first one is called ‘The Universal Picture of the Human Being’. The sound quality is poor and so I don’t want to post a further video until we figure that out...but I am leaving that one as I think it is timely and I make some important points.
 
Step two in this video process is for me to talk about something that a member has asked me to speak on. Then she (and others) can post further comments and questions.
 
Step three is when I schedule a live video and speak directly to participants who are chatting (typing) as I speak. Locals is working on this feature.
 
So join us! This is the (online) way to connect with me and with a dedicated group of Christopherus homeschoolers. Of course, the best way to connect is in person—who knows, maybe one day I can once again offer conferences. Life though continues on its challenging path and we will all just have to see what comes next… https://christopherushomeschool.locals.com/
 
And of course connecting with in-the-flesh Christopherus (and other) homeschoolers where you live is super important. Don’t forget to check the Networking page on our website to see if anyone lives near you or to post your own details.

Learning a Musical Instrument

There is so much on the Christopherus website that one can overlook real gems: here is a page dedicated to the subject of how a parent might think about choosing a musical instrument and teacher for their child.

Recently we received an email from the UK tax people informing us (and all online businesses outside the UK presumably) that there are new taxes levied on such purchases. If you are in the UK, please read the information linked here (at the bottom of the page) before you make your next purchase. This is very important! Thank you!
 
Til March,
Blessings on your homeschool journey,
Donna