On the weekend that January turned into February I finished the newest Eric Metaxas book, Miracles, and watched Big Country on Amazon Prime. The Daughter went skating with her American Heritage Girls troop, and I succeeded in getting myself a week ahead in Latin again.
We are well entrenched in our second term of our Year 8. We just finished reading Shakespeare’s Richard III in January, so we watched the 1955 movie production Richard III. If you’re wondering why Richard III, well, it makes a particularly fine bridge from our Year 7 Churchill History of the English Speaking Peoples Vol 1, Birth of Britain history readings, which ended with Richard III and the conclusion of the War of the Roses, to our Year 8 readings in the Vol 2, The New World, which pick up with the Tudors and Henry VII. It’s also an interesting counterpoint to a much enjoyed Year 7 read, Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey. Tey’s novel features a bored-while-hospitalized police inspector who becomes convinced that Richard III’s mortiferous reputation, forever tarnished by Tudor historians with a huge assist from Shakespeare’s histrionic rendering, was a political hatchet job. We watched the Shakespeare version over two evenings, and while The Daughter was initially put off by the obvious sound stage she got used to it. It was fun to see Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud when they were young! I will also be interested in seeing what Benedict Cumberbatch does with the role.
If you’re a fan of the Netflix production House of Cards, you might find it interesting that Kevin Spacey toured with a production of Richard III in 2011 and 2012 before picking up his House of Cards role. There are definite similarities in the power hungry and malevolent characters of Shakespeare’s Richard III and House of Card’s Frank Underwood. They both break the fourth wall, speaking directly to the audience and including them in their tawdry and evil plans. Of course Richard III has richly memorable dialogue. I suppose the comparison ends there.
The Daughter performed in the Portsmouth City Wide Recital in early February, hosted by Zion Baptist Church. The students play on a very large grand piano that used to belong to David Carr Glover, a composer and Portsmouth native. It is a lovely performance space! I tried to record her performance but ever since I dropped my phone, the video and audio do not synchronize and the sound skips. Sigh.
The Daughter was excited to participate in her first All-District Chorus with the Virginia Music Educators Association. She and several other students at Young Musicians of Virginia auditioned and made the cut, so we dropped her off two days in a row at the immense new Kellam High School for rehearsals. Friday, the police were called to the school during the time The Daughter was in rehearsals. The concert was Saturday afternoon. We are pretty sure that the fire codes were violated when audience of the 800 seat auditorium was required to exit through only one set of two doors and into an extremely crowded hallway. Sigh. As far as the singing, I was genuinely impressed with how well the guest conductor, Dr. Judy Bowers, managed to get one voice out of a group of middle school kids in two days. They sounded great! Grandma Midge and Papa Gene joined us for the concert and afterwards we celebrated the concert and Valentines Day with dessert at Rigoletto’s!
The very next day we had a big snow!
Mr. Garner had made plans for us to go to Colonial Williamsburg for a few days during Homeschool Week to celebrate The Daughter’s fourteenth birthday. Snow of this quantity is an unusual event in Hampton Roads, and we considered staying home, but I’m so glad we didn’t. We had a fantastic time! Colonial Williamsburg is stunningly beautiful cloaked in snow! There were a few other intrepid homeschool families there, mostly from Up North, but for the most part CW was pretty quiet. The interpreters had plenty of time to answer questions and go into detail, and there was absolutely no wait for meals or trams. We had two full days to explore and managed to visit everything on our list and have an English Country Dance lesson at Raleigh Tavern before heading back home!
The last week of February brought us two more snow storms, one a mere 2-3 inches, followed by Dangerous Winter Storm Remus with another 5-6 inches. My reaction to snow is always the same: a big smile, a pot of tea, a batch of cookies and books! All in all we had two weeks of slow snowy days where co-op classes were cancelled and we had nowhere we had to be. I read To Kill a Mockingbird, and A Meaningful World: How the Arts and Sciences Reveal the Genius of Nature. The Daughter read the latest installment of her Donita Paul DragonKeeper Chronicles. We did some school reading, finishing Book 1 of Edmund Spencer’s Faerie Queen (Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves) and starting on John Milton’s Paradise Lost.
The month closed with The Daughter taking a very long Saturday CPR and First Aid class with her American Heritage Girl troop, at which she earned her CPR Certification! Mr. Garner and I went to see American Sniper. And that was February.
We took a few photos.