Pillars of Pine

Pillars of Pine

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Logic - Maher Style

I staTraditional Logic 1rted off the year with, as usual, grand plans and hgh hopes. This was going to be the year where we finally got around to studying formal logic. It would be a challenge, I knew, but we were going to do it!We started off using 'Traditional Logic' by Memoria Press, and we were moving through it slowly, however, I began to wonder about using it - the bored faces were teling me that perhaps, this was not the best curriculum choice. But, we plodded on.

Now, I know that formal logic can be very useful, and I know others have used this programme successfully - it IS a good programme, however, we eventually decided to try using the 'Critical Thinking, Book 1' instead. This is not a course in 'formal' logic as such, but rather, as the title suggests, in 'Critical Thinking'. After comparing the two programmes, it seemed as if the Critical Thinking book may be more 'useful', at least in the immediate sense.

Critical Thinking 1So, we put Traditional Logic aside, and began on Critical Thinking. It is still a challenge. But, instead of bored, 'Do we really have to?' faces, my teens have found something that has held their attention. Especially when comments arise in the book such as, 'Go home and tattoo this phrase to your forehead', and the next lesson, 'this time, tattoo the phrase to your forehead backwards, so you can read it in the mirror (Waring: some parents may object to you doing this)'.

And the lessons themselves follow good progression and offer interesting examples. This week, we are working through the chapter which has us substituting complete thoughts, such as 'I like red cars', with a symbol, eg. 'R". Add to that the squiggle '~' for 'not' or 'false', and an arrow for 'if - then' statements, and we're ending up with a class that rattles off sentences like:

"Squiggle D arrow T" or "Squiggle D or squiggle squiggle T arrow Q"

which suits us all just fine!

I don't know if we'll ever get back to formal logic - somehow, we've never quite reached the great heights of curriculum levels that I planned, but, we're doing OK. I'd rather have teens showing an interest in their lessons, rather than completing texts 'just because', which leaves them bored and disliking their schoolwork.

And, as the lessons are fairly short, it also leaves us more time for games such as Chinese Checkers. They haven't figured out how to beat me yet!


Monday, July 4, 2011

Cats and Kittens

Around lunchtime today, we realised that we had not seen our dear old cat all morning. She sometimes has trouble with her spine / back legs, and as it was rather cold last night, we set about looking for her.

We hunted in all the usual places, but to no avail, so we began a wider search. Eventually, we found her leaning up against a wall, and sure enough, she was unable to move. We brought her in, and she's now in a box in front of the fire, but she is such a bad way, that I shall be phoning the vet in the morning. This has happened several times now, and she usually is up and about again within a few days, however, this time, it is looking so much worse than usual.

While we were all out hunting, I decided to check around the back of the house. I was calling out for her, and listening for any replies, when I suddenly heard a strange sound. It was a cat, but not our old cat. As I stopped to listen again, the sound was unmistakable. It was the cry of a kitten! Sure enough, Margaret soon appeared around the corner, with a huge smile on her face, and a fluffy bundle in her arms. In the search for our old cat, she'd come across not one, but FIVE kittens! We have had a stray around our place the past few weeks, and in the old, disused chook shed, she'd had her babies.

They weren't new-borns, either. I'd estimate them to be 5-6 weeks old. Their eyes are well open, and are changing from the blue colour, and they are just learning how to walk. Of courese, my girls were delighted! They spent the afternoon patting and swooning over the new-found babies, and selected a couple that they'd like to keep. I cautiously reminded them that Dad would make the decision as to whether we would keep any of them, but I didn't like his chances of saying 'no!'

During the afternoon, mother cat (who will not come any where near us) decided enough was enough, and moved the kittens. We had two inside at this stage, and we have no idea where the family has gone. Being a stray, she may still be on our property, but she may not. So, I'm guessing we now are the proud owners of two kittens! Dad seems OK with it, and of course, the girls are delighted. They are taking a little milk, and seem very contented, so, I guess it is all OK. Of course, if the family still is in a back shed somewhere, we'll need to deal with that at some stage.....

Anyways, here they are: 'Lucy', and 'Trisha'. They are just the cutest little things!

You just never know what each day will bring, do you??


Sunday, July 3, 2011

The One & All Sailing Ship

As you know, I have several children who often go 'a-sailing' on the One & All . But it seems, no more.

Last Friday, the One & All ceased operations, due to lack of Government funding. We are devastated! I don't know yet who we can contact about it all, but one person who may be able to help is Leon Byner, who runs a radio talk-show in Adelaide.

If you are so inclined, please write or call him, or write to your local member of parliament.

I can tell you I was a little nervous the first time I sent my teens off on the ship 20 months ago - but it has turned out to be a most valuable, wonderful, experience for them. My son recently spent several weeks on the ship as a volunteer, and the skills he has learned are just incredible.

How the government can deny funding for such a worthwhile endeavour, I just cannot understand. Besides offering trainee voyages for the youth, in the past year, they have had onboard groups from Hong Kong, Singapore, Outback Australia (many of whom had never even seen the ocean), and even a group from Camp Quality. While there are a few paid employees (now out work), the ship is also run by a host of volunteer workers.

Anyway, if you are interested in voicing your concerns, please contact Leon Byner at:

Phone: 08-8223-0000
Email: onair@fiveaa.com.au