Friday, June 5, 2009

Spring 09 Picture Update - just checking in

Basically this is so you know we haven't fallen off the other side of the planet, and to let you catch up with the Kitkat so you're not totally shocked at how tall and lovely (prejudiced much?) she has grown since you saw her last....

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Sunday and a fresh start...


'Fireproof' and 'The Love Dare'. Either you've watched the movie, cried, resolved to make a difference in your marriage, and, probably, bought the book...or you have no idea what I'm talking about. For the latter reader, go over to and find out. The book (and movie in which it stars) offers forty days of ways to change yourself and your marriage with faith-based, Christ-based challenges to alter your behaviour, and to make love a choice rather than a fickle feeling. Thousands of couples, supposedly, have already been enriched by, blessed by, or turned their marriages around because of this book, even those separated or on the brink of divorce. For the former reader, let me just say that I bought 'The Love Dare', it came in last weekend, and I chose to start it today.

Except that I have already 'done' many of the 'dares' or marriage challenges over far more than the last forty days. In fact, it was at the end of last year that I came to the realization that my marriage was in emotional tatters and as a first step chose to silence my negative, critical tongue - a choice that happens to be Day One of the Love Dare, a book I didn't know existed at the time. Oh yes, it takes two to build a marriage as well as to tear it down, but the only person's actions I can change are my own, so let's start there, shall we? Scanning through the journal entries (over at which many brave men and women taking this challenge have made public, I see that my problems and my reactions are far from unique... but also that the suggestions and dares the book offers are equally so.

Since confessing myself before the Lord, counsellors, and my husband those five months ago, I have done a number of these actions spontaneously for my husband, whether the requirement to ask what he would change about my behaviour, the random considerate present, the listening ear, the affectionate touch, the gift of time, the focusing on his good qualities.... the walls are as thick and icy as ever.

Friends and family, I know you are already praying for us, over here across the seas. Let me ask specifically for these needs: - keep my heart soft towards him and my tongue bridled - soften his heart towards me and our daughter - reinstill joy and remove depression - help him learn to trust and to offer forgiveness(...perhaps someday to ask mine in turn?) I can do nothing to change or help him, no matter how many books I read or actions I do; only God can restore and enrich our damaged relationship.

Pray for all three of us! We love and miss you...

the Bard

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Some Pictures, Being Worth a few Thousand Words, for your Delectation

More pictures, huh? Well, it seems that I haven't cleared out my cell phone's cache for a good long time, so perhaps I'd better choose a few favorites from the last massive download and post them here for your enjoyment.


Katherine with our old-fashioned watering can, in our garden. Just after we planted our lettuce, spring onions, spinach, and acorn squash, we had a cold snap. I think the germinating lettuce has bitten the biscuit, but the tougher spinach survived - there are little sprouts poking through the soil already.

Homeschooling: A picnic in 'the quarry' - we had our lunch outdoors during a geology lesson, discovering quartz and mica among other 'treasures'.

Kath posing in front of one of her favorite paintings at the Klimt exhibition we were lucky enough to catch in Seoul this spring. We created a great lapbook on Klimt later, with our favorite selections and plenty of gold accents... visit Lapbook Lessons, here, to see it:

Il-Sun and Choon-Dae took us to an excellent Chinese restaurant for Bryan's birthday last December; here he is being served with the piece-de-resistance, a whole octopus all to himself. He was kind enough to let Kath and me nibble a couple of tentacles, though!

Homeschooling sometimes involves chocolate pudding.

Last autumn one of Il-Sun's dogs had puppies. Here's Katherine, with a priceless expression on her face, part delight and part apprehension. (Just last week the same dog had another litter - Kath was far more confident showing them off to our friends this time, snuggling them blissfully under her chin, and then nonchalantly handing them back into their nest...)

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Digital Scrapbook Page Celebrating Sisters

...specifically celebrating my relationship with MY special sister, who takes time she probably doesn't have to dig through my library, buy me S&V popcorn shake, pick up dollar store craft stuff, pack the Cheez Whiz so it doesn't break, and then send it all halfway around the world... this one is for you, Liese! XXXOOO

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Comprehensive Curriculum for Homeschool


for the Alembyc Academy

designed by and copyrighted to Judy Alkema, 2009,

as a cyclical and holistic program of homestudy

for her daughter Katherine

  1. ART

    1. Fine Art

      1. Appreciating/Perception – exposure to wide variety of artists, styles, and cultures

      2. Reacting – responding to various forms of art intuitively / emotionally

      3. Critiquing – responding to various forms of art analytically / logically

      4. Creating – making original art in a variety of media and styles

    2. Applied Art

      1. Art Elements

        1. Line – thick, thin, horizontal, vertical, diagonal, curved, zigzag

        2. Shape - geometric, organic

        3. Color

          • Gamut – range, harmonies, restrictions

          • Properties: hue, value, intensity

          • Color schemes: monochromatic, analogous, complementary, warm/cool

          • additive/subtractive, reflective/transmitted

        4. Texture - soft, rough, smooth, gritty

        5. Space - real/implied, positive/negative

        6. Form - 3-D shapes creating depth

      2. Principles of Design

        1. Balance – symmetry, asymmetry, formal, informal

        2. Variety – difference in uses of elements

        3. Harmony – repetition of elements

        4. Emphasis – creating a focal point

        5. Proportion – relationship of elements to each other

        6. Pattern – repetition of elements to create a surface effect

        7. Rhythm – repetition of elements to create movement or activity

        8. Unity – a cohesive oneness or consistency in the finished piece

        9. Contrast – elements standing out against each other

    3. Art Appreciation & History

      1. Painters

        1. da Vinci

        2. Van Gogh

        3. Matisse

        4. Renoir

        5. Monet

        6. Klimt (on exhibition now in Seoul!)

        7. Rembrandt

        8. Picasso

        9. Modigliani / Rubens / El Greco / Holbein / Bruegel as resources warrant

      2. Sculptors

        1. Praxiteles

        2. Michelangelo

        3. Degas

        4. Henry Moore

        5. Alexander Calder

        6. Isamu Noguchi

        7. Rodin

      3. Photographers

        1. Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre – father of photography

        2. Ansel Adams – landscapes

        3. Alfred Eisenstaedt - photojournalism

        4. Richard Avedon – portraits (American)

        5. Yousuf Karsh – portraits (Canadian)

        6. Eastman & Kodak

        7. Digital

      4. Other Media

        1. Pottery / Ceramics

        2. Metalwork

        3. Mosaics, Inlay, Geometric Designs

        4. Collage and Paperwork

  2. ETHICS (vid pg 1751 in the NIV Serendipity Bible for events and verses)

    1. Faith

      1. Ministries of Jesus

      2. Miracles of Jesus

      3. Experiences of Jesus

      4. Lessons of Jesus

      5. Parables of Jesus

      6. Healings of Jesus

    2. Religion

      1. Christianity

      2. Buddhism (Chinese, Tibetan)

      3. Islam

      4. Hinduism

      5. Animism/Shamanism/Anthropomorphism

        1. Korean Muism

        2. Japanese Shinto

        3. African

        4. Australian Dreamtime

        5. Native North American

        6. Native South American

      6. Ancient Religions & Mythologies

        1. Sumerian

        2. Egyptian

        3. Greek

        4. Roman

        5. Norse

        6. Celtic

        7. Aztec

      7. Paganism & Wicca

    3. Morality

      1. The Golden Rule – examine its history throughout cultures

      2. Love is the greatest of these

      3. The Fruit of the Spirit

        1. Love

        2. Joy

        3. Peace

        4. Patience

        5. Kindness

        6. Goodness

        7. Faithfulness

        8. Gentleness

        9. Self-control

      4. The Ten Commandments

        1. the shalt-nots

        2. the shalts

    4. Manners

      1. All arising from the Golden Rule

      2. JOY

        1. Jesus

        2. Others

        3. Yourself

      3. Chivalry

      4. Do's and Don'ts of a Princess

      5. Cross-cultural Rules and Codes

  3. HISTORY – (vid. Susan Wise Bauer's The Story of the World, three volumes)

    n.b.-A, B, C concurrently presented, with alternatives and suppositions as necessary

    1. Prehistoric

      1. 'Evolutionary Theory'

      2. Dinosaurs – main types and aprox. 'epochs'

      3. 'Stone Age'

      4. Bronze Age

      5. Iron Age

    2. Biblical History

      1. Creation – the Seven Days

      2. Creation & Fall / Adamic

      3. Noah & the Flood

      4. Abraham & His Sons (Gen 12 – 50's patriarchal socio-cultural milieu fits well within the context of the Middle Bronze Age – c. 1950 – 1550 B.C., according to the NIV Serendipity Bible)

      5. Jacob the Trickster & Sons

      6. Joseph, Steward of Egypt

      7. Moses & the Exodus (possibly 1300 – 1250 B.C.)

      8. The Ten Commandments and the Tabernacle

      9. The Promised Land & Jericho – Joshua (c 1250 B.C.)

      10. The Time of the Judges: Deborah, Gideon, Samson, Ruth ( c. 1000 – 700 B.C.), Samuel

      11. David: Shepherd, Warrior, King (1050 B.C. Saul annointed - )

      12. Solomon the Wise & the Temple ( - 930 B.C. Solomon's death)

      13. Prophets: Elijah & Elisha ( 700 – 560 B.C.?)

      14. The Fall of Jerusalem, the Exile, & the Rebuilding – Ezra & Nehemiah (586 - 432 B.C.)

      15. Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar, and Darius (605 – 530 B.C.)

      16. Esther & Xerxes (486-465 B.C.)

      17. The Maccabees & Herod ( 167 – 20 B.C.)

      18. The Birth of Jesus (0 – actually probably 3 or 4 B.C.)

      19. Jesus's Ministry

      20. Jesus's Parables

      21. The Passion Week

      22. Resurrection, Ascension, Pentecost

      23. The Early Church – Peter, John, Philip

      24. Saul Becomes Paul

      25. Paul's Missionary Journeys

      26. The Revelation of John & the Holy City

    3. Timeline

      1. Ancient History

        1. Ancient Egyptian

        2. Ancient Greek / Roman

        3. Dark Ages

        4. Celtic

        5. Norse

      2. Asian History

        1. Chinese

        2. Japanese

        3. Korean

      3. Medieval

      4. Renaissance

      5. Elizabethan / Shakespearean

      6. Age of Reason / Enlightenment

      7. Age of Exploration

      8. The Romantics

      9. The Americas

      10. Industrialization

      11. Colonialism

      12. The Pioneers

      13. War and Conflict

        1. WWI

        2. WWII

        3. The Korean War

        4. The Cold War

      14. Post-Modernism

      15. The Age of Information


    1. Planning & Organization

      1. Break it Down – eat the elephant one bite at a time

      2. A Place for Everything - and everything in its place

        1. put items where they are used

        2. group items ergonomically

        3. one step to put something away / 'touch it once'

        4. put it back when you're done with it

      3. Work before Play – 'debrief' /unpack as soon as you get home

      4. Tidy Daily – keep on top of the 'mess'

      5. Sorting – the four essential categories

        1. Keep

        2. Store

        3. Recycle

        4. Toss

      6. Control Clutter

      7. Periodically Take Stock / Purge

      8. Emergencies and Survivalism

        1. Kits/ packs for various needs

          • entertainment knapsack

          • car breakdown

          • stuck overnight away from home

          • loss of power

        2. Vital documents – keep secure and accessible

        3. Ready money or negotiable items

    2. Cleanliness

      1. Laundry – sorting, washing, storing

        1. Sort and wash by colour: Lights, Darks, Brights

        2. Store by kind: shirts, pants, skirts, etc.

        3. Store by season: warm weather / cold weather

      2. Sewing – buttons, hems, darning, making over

      3. Dishes – choosing, washing, storing

        1. types of dishware & cutlery

        2. clear, scrape, stack, wash, rinse, dry

        3. racks, stacks, hooks, shelving, etc.

      4. Cleaning – the specific needs of the various living/working areas

        1. Living area

        2. Kitchen/Dining

        3. Bath

        4. Bedrooms

        5. Exteriors

      5. Monthly / Seasonal / Yearly Tasks – basic home maintenance

      6. Ecological Impact & Responsibilities

        1. Cleansers

          • Commercial Cleansers – ingredients, effects, eventual results

          • Soda & Vinegar– ingredients, effects, eventual results

          • Bleach, Hydrogen Peroxide, Ammonia

          • Shampoo, Dish Soap, Detergent – the pros and cons

          • Elbow Grease and other old-fashioned remedies

        2. Lighting

        3. Materials to be cleaned

        4. Materials to clean with

        5. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – as essential here as elsewhere

    3. Home Décor & Design

      1. Form Follows Function

      2. Have nothing you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful” - Ruskin

      3. Colour Theory & Pyschology of Colour

      4. Flow & Balance

      5. Atmosphere / 'Feng Shui' / home spirit

      6. Historical Styles and Modes

        1. Medieval

          • Early / Low

          • Late / High

        2. Gothic

          • Tudor

          • Elizabethan

          • Jacobean

        3. Renaissance

        4. Baroque & Rococo

        5. Colonial

        6. Regency

        7. Georgian

        8. Victorian

        9. Arts & Crafts / Aesthetics / Morris

        10. Art Nouveau

        11. Art Deco

        12. 'Modern'

    4. Money & Budgeting

      1. Give / Save / Spend formula

        1. Give – 10 % tithing, plus gifts, presents, special ministries

        2. Save – put money away for future needs

        3. Spend – record and budget what you buy

      2. Budgeting – categories and determining percentages

      3. Bills & 'Credit'

      4. Principles of Banking, Accounting, Interest

    5. Nutrition & Cooking

      1. Food Pyramid

      2. Menus & Planning – balance, economy, health, appreciation & enjoyment

      3. Contrast – texture, colour, taste – appeal to senses, importance of presentation

      4. Shopping – freshness, local, seasonal, thrift, labels, nutrient content, etc.

      5. Preparing

        1. utensils, tools & small appliances

        2. preparation skills and associated verbs (bake, chop, stir, grill, season, etc.)

        3. cooking theory – basic (al)chemical reactions

        4. hygiene, storage, sanitation

      6. Serving – a point, plating, garnishes, table settings, decor

      7. Preserving & Storing

    6. Gardening, Plants & Herbs

      1. Food Plants – Fruits & Vegetables

      2. Herbs & Spices

      3. Flowers

      4. Houseplants

      5. General Gardening, Planning & Plant Interactions


    1. Linguistics – developing facility with language

    2. Second Languages – Korean, Chinese, Latin, Spanish

  6. MATH

    1. Arithmetic / Operations

      1. Addition

      2. Subtraction

      3. Multiplication

      4. Division

      5. Decimals

    2. Number Theory

      1. Counting, Place Value, Fractions and Graphs

      2. Probability & Statistics

    3. Measurement

      1. Money

      2. Time

      3. Dimensions

      4. Weight and Volume

    4. Geometry

      1. Lines

      2. Angles

      3. Dimensions x, y, z

      4. 2-D & 3-D shapes

      5. Equations & Rules

    5. Variables & Pre-Algebra

  7. MUSIC (vid Music Education in the Christian Home, by Mary Ann Froehlich)

    1. Instrumental Performance

      1. Keyboard (piano, electronic, melodeon, etc.)

      2. Wind (recorder, bamboo flute, ocarina)

      3. Percussion (drum, castanets, Korean instruments)

    2. Vocal Performance

      1. Listen, Memorize, Sing Melodies

      2. Listen, Memorize, Sing Harmonies

      3. Improvise and Play

    3. Appreciation & History

      1. Western Music

        1. Medieval

          • Gregorian Chant

          • Trouvere Songs

          • Madrigals

        2. Renaissance

          • Dufay & des Pres

          • John Dowland

          • Thomas Tallis

        3. Baroque

          • Buxtehude

          • Purcell

          • Vivaldi

          • Bach

          • Handel

          • Pachebel

        4. Classic

          • Haydn

          • Mozart

          • Beethoven

        5. Romantic

          • Schubert

          • Schumann

          • Brahms

        6. Operas

          • Verdi, Bizet, Chopin, Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Wagner, Grieg

        7. Post-Romantic

          • Debussy, Ravel, Rachmaninoff

        8. 20th Century

          • Prokofiev, Holst, Britten, Gershwin, Copland, Stravinsky

      2. Other Cultures & Styles

        1. Asian

        2. Indian

        3. African

        4. Australian

        5. Native North American

        6. Native South American

    4. Theory & Sightreading

      1. Rhythm

      2. Do-Re-Mi

      3. Keyboard Octave

      4. Clef & Musical Notation

      5. Sightreading

    5. Dance

      1. Creative Movement & Improvisation

      2. Learned Patterns, Steps and Styles

        1. Waltz

        2. Hip-hop

        3. Swing

        4. Ballet

        5. and so on!


    1. Health

      1. Maintaining Health

      2. Care during Illness

      3. First Aid for Injury

    2. Anatomy & Physiology

      1. Skeletal System

      2. Organs & Gastrointestinal System

      3. Muscular System

      4. Nervous System

      5. Circulatory / Respiratory System

      6. Functions of the various systems

    3. Sexuality

      1. Reproductive systems

      2. Functions and cycles thereof

        1. Menses / Courses

        2. Intercourse

        3. Contraception / Conception

        4. Pregnancy

        5. Birth

      3. Psychology / Human Sexuality

      4. Morality, Relationships, and Family Values

    4. Athletics (to be expanded)

      1. Solo Sports

      2. Team Sports

      3. Martial Arts

      4. Exercise & Fitness


    1. Comprehension

      1. Decoding – Phonics

      2. Dolch Sight Words

      3. Roots, Suffixes, Prefixes, Common Endings

      4. Contractions

      5. =>

    2. Vocabulary

      1. Build new words in context

      2. Record, repeat, and practice new vocabulary

      3. Link to etymology – Latinate, AS, OE, etc.

      4. Create neural net of language

      5. Emphasise precision and accuracy in use of language

    3. Literature

      1. Read & Appreciate – anything and everything, as and when able to process!

      2. Memorize & Recite

      3. Analyze / Techniques

        1. The 5 Ws

        2. Plot, Characters, Setting

        3. Comprehension

        4. antonyms, synonyms, homophones and homographs

        5. Story Development

        6. Narrative P.O.V.

        7. Conflict & Resolution

        8. Theme and Main Ideas

        9. idioms, analogies, literal, figurative

      4. Create & Enjoy (see Writing)

    4. Poetry

      1. Listen & Appreciate

        1. Types - ballads, sonnets, lyric poems, limericks, haiku, etc.

        2. Styles – romantic, humorous, satirical, elegaic, declamatory, etc.

      2. Memorize & Recite – see above!

      3. Analyze / Techniques

        1. rhyme

        2. rhythm

        3. scansion

        4. alliteration

        5. simile / metaphor

        6. onomatopoeia

        7. personification / anthropomorphisation

      4. Create & Enjoy (see Writing)

    5. Drama

      1. Watch & Appreciate

        1. Movies, Theatre, Musicals, Opera

        2. Presentations, Orators, Politicians, etc.

        3. Puppetry, Shadow Plays, Mask Drama, other cultural traditions

      2. Improvise / Summarize

      3. Analyze / Techniques

        1. Types: tragedy, comedy, farce, etc.

        2. Techniques: satire, soliloquy, aside, stage direction, and other conventions

      4. Create & Perform

        1. Short Plays

        2. Improv

        3. Reports & Presentations

        4. Teaching Information

        5. Recounting / Retelling a Narrative

    6. Non-Fiction (see History, Society, Science, etc)

      1. Histories

      2. Biographies & Autobiographies

      3. Science

      4. Social Science

      5. News - online, magazine, newspaper

    7. Analytics & Metacognition

      1. Study Skills – various techniques (SQ3R, 4R, etc.)

      2. Organize Information - overviews, outlines, summaries, and precis

      3. Identify sources of information and their reliability

        1. Print: dictionary, thesaurus, atlas, almanac, encyclopedia

        2. Transient Print: newspapers, magazines

        3. Electronic Media: search engines and their interaction with the Net

      4. Critical Thinking

        1. analyze information for P.O.V. , bias, depth, opinion, fallacies & worldview

        2. examine advertising, posters, other forms of propaganda & manipulation

      5. Giving & Receiving Critique, Editing, & Revision


    1. Life Sciences

      1. Biology

      2. Botany

      3. Zoology

    2. Physical Sciences

      1. States of matter

      2. Electricity

      3. Magnetism

      4. Chemistry

      5. Physics

      6. Thermodynamics

      7. Laws

    3. Earth/Space Sciences

      1. Astronomy

      2. Geology

      3. Weather


    1. Sociology

    2. Anthropology

    3. Geography

      1. Continents

      2. Countries

      3. Cities


    1. Creative Writing

      1. Stories

      2. Poems

      3. Dramas

      4. Letters (personal correspondence)

      5. Journals

      6. Psalms, Praise & Prayers

      7. Freeform (developing style and 'voice')

      8. Emails, IM, & Chat (casual contemporary)

    2. Task Writing

      1. Vocabulary Words & Definitions

      2. Paragraph Summaries

      3. Minibooks / Lapbooks

      4. Reports

      5. News Articles

      6. Essays

      7. Letters (business correspondence)

      8. Notetaking (dictation, summary, lectures, choose salient points, etc.)

    3. Spelling & Vocabulary

    4. Grammar

      1. Parts of Speech - Nouns, verbs, adjectives

      2. Past Tense – Regular and Irregular

      3. Future, Conditional, Predictions

      4. Capitalization

      5. Punctuation

      6. Sentence Types

        1. Declarative

        2. Interrogative

        3. Imperative

        4. Exclamatory

      7. More Parts of Speech – Adverbs, articles, conjunctions, interjections, pronouns

    5. Penmanship

      1. Printing – Zaner-Bloser letterforms

      2. Cursive – shape, size, slant, spacing

      3. Calligraphic – learn and recognize various historical/cultural letterforms

      4. Fonts – recognize and name some of the most significant/popular typefaces

    6. Keyboarding

      1. Typing skills

      2. Wordprocessing commands and functions

      3. General computer terminology and iconography


This curriculum was designed and developed by Judy Alkema, with thanks to:

Home Learning Year by Year – how to design a homeschool curriculum from preschool through high school”, Rebecca Rupp, 2000, Three Rivers Press

Music Education in the Christian Home”, Dr. Mary Ann Froehlich, 1990, Wolgemuth & Hyatt

The Serendipity Bible, NIV 10th Anniversary Edition, 1996, Zondervan Publishing

Tapestry of Grace, Supplementary Links for History, at

World Timelines, at

Teaching Homeskills, at

Inspirations drawn from Charlotte Mason, John Holt's unschooling concepts, my mother Laura Miller, the Trivium and Quadrivium, the 'holistic' concept, the Reformed Christian worldview, and more...

NOTA BENE: You MAY NOT republish, repost, or publicize this curriculum without full credit to Judy Alkema as given above. You MAY NOT alter, change, or omit any part of this curriculum if you do republish or repost it. You MAY print and use this curriculum for your own private homeschooling use if you contact Judy Alkema by posting a response to this post or by emailing her at masterbard (at) poetic (dot) com and notifying her.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Bard Quits.. Becomes Unpaid Teacher


A long time between posts, as usual! Here we are in 2009 already.

What with work, final exams, vacation, dying computers, and a new job, somehow there never seems to be enough time to write things down. So, just for the record, because it's not as if friends and family don't keep in touch with us other ways (well, if I updated this more regularly, I'm sure they'd check it more often? Right? Right.), I should make a few notes and post a few pictures.

I have gracefully informed
Myongji that I will no longer be working for them; it was both flattering and satisfying to receive a visit from my (no longer) boss, who asked a variety of questions and made a variety of offers all revolving around attempting to keep me on...

At this point I'm 'employed' by my darling daughter, Katherine Joy. We've spent most of winter vacation designing an ambitious and comprehensive curriculum for
our extremely exclusive homeschool: the Alembyc Academy, if it please you, with an enrollment of one... However, if I were able to accept other students legally, I'd be making more than I did at MJU! Perhaps it will be a possibility in the future for me to own/run my own hogwan - not at present, though.

See the next post for the in-depth (12 MS Word pages)
curriculum, if you're interested in our plan of study, and feel free to point out any errors or obvious omissions. It's a five-year plan of study, but we'll see if we get through it sooner or more leisurely, so I'm not including a lot of 'detail' at this level of depth. We'll return to it in five years (or so) and take it down another level of complexity, with concepts that are appropriate for her age and understanding.

I'm also quite informally
helping out a Korean church on Sundays, teaching three classes of children from 1 to 4 in the afternoon - fun, even though I've only just started! They've given me my own office-cum-classroom, with a desk and computer, bulletin board and whiteboard, sofa, and a bigscreen TV! Mind you, we all sit on the heated ondol flooring to study together, in good Korean style - which suits my style of teaching to a T. More updates there as events warrant...

Bry has swapped our car (a whitish, more or less, Leganza sedan which I quite liked chauffeuring about) for a truck I have nicknamed "The Beast" (a big white Musso, with 4-wheel drive, a Mercedes engine,
and a clutch...). Which means that I can not, once again, drive anywhere. At least until I learn, from scratch, how to run a stick shift. One more level of tension to add onto the various changes, responsibilities, and burdens for the year 2009. It's a very macho vehicle, right down to the leather-wrapped steering wheel, the custom sound system, and the back large enough to hold all the camping gear we don't have. Mind you, I'm very much looking forwards to the weather being warm enough to go camping... so perhaps I'll be slowly less antagonistic to "The Beast" if it takes me places - preferably with Bryan driving. At this point I stall the confounded fewmet just getting from stand-still into first, so there is no fondness there at all.

Bryan is studying Korean quite assiduously on his own, with various books designed for Korean elementary students, Korean buddies, and a couple of our co-workers who also want to try to improve their skills in hangul. Kath and I see a lot less of him, partly because we don't work in the same office any longer, as we have for a lot of our married life, and partly because he's got a lot of classes this semester. As does everyone else, because MJU was unable (due to unrealistic expectations and inadequate benefits) to replace me, and because they didn't bother to replace the last two teachers who left, either! So - plenty of stress for the team at this point, which almost makes me feel guilty. We'll see how they're holding up around midterms.

Kath is her usual joyful, sensitive, observant, articulate, creative self, only more so. How can she keep getting more fun and interesting all the time? Once I learn to pace her and myself and relax a bit, we're going to enjoy this holistic learning together even more: right now I'm far too goal-focused and academically-tainted...yet we still have marvelous days!

She knows all the planets of our solar systems, their names and places in order from the sun, and the duties of the Greco-Roman deities which those names represent...identifies Van Gogh, Monet, and Klimt art on sight by style... can find Casseopia and Orion and the Dipper in the night sky....has about sixty or seventy sight words and can sound out most three and four letter words not on her sight list...can speak Korean like a native memorizing the 10 Commandments and quotes the Golden Rule... creates imaginative dramas with her plastic dinosaurs, using their correct scientific names....asks to use the Cuisinaire rods to practice math concepts on her own...walks a three-hour nature hike sensitive to and protective of others' feelings and emotions...spontaneously makes collages, stampings, recycled art, comic book pages, and other artworks on her own...learns and recites at the local market and makes change...
what a privilege it is to spend time with her, to guide that inquisitive mind and discipline that cheerful heart!

OK, it's nearly midnight, and I still haven't added the promised pictures, so enough writing for now. A couple of photos to be going on with, and then next time I'll put more in, plus the curriculum.



MY SPARKLY MOPPET (the eyeliner and rouge is faux but the lashes are real!)

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