In This Issue…
Learn how I feel about camping (sneak preview: I hate it). Also, we have a giveaway coming soon–an Instant Pot! And I talk a bit more about English Lessons Through Literature.
Back when we had the farm in Illinois, Ernie once had a chat with a co-worker who was telling him that he’d purchased an RV so that his family could go camping together. After Ernie told me about the conversation, I looked at him and said, “I live on a farm. I don’t have to go camping.”
I tell you this so you can understand something about who I was when we first moved off-grid. And I’ll tell you this, too: I still don’t want to go camping. Camping is taking all of my stuff from my house and taking it somewhere else where I’m then forced to figure out how to prepare meals and use the toilet with no access to the type of facilities to which I am accustomed. No, I have no desire to go camping.
I mention this because of two comments I received after the last newsletter. One lady wondered if an off-grid lifestyle was one of suffering after my mention of outdoor showers, and the other lady wondered if it involved a lot of additional work. And to be perfectly honest, it was awful for a time when we first moved off-grid. We had to figure out how to do things in a new way, which meant that for a time, EVERYTHING was harder than it had to be, and there was indeed much suffering involved. It was like camping for a couple of months straight.
But then, slowly, we got infrastructure in place. We figured out solutions to living a modern life without all the modern amenities. And things became…normal. See, we don’t really think about these things anymore. If we need hot water, we heat some up. If I need to charge my laptop or tablet and the batteries are dead, I turn on the generator. And if I need a shower, I head to my outdoor shower facilities–in Texas during the summers, as well as in Hawaii, this is not a hardship at all. It’s just different. And it’s our normal, which makes it way better than camping.
Win an Instant Pot!
The Instant Pot–I know you’ve heard of it. I’m late to this game, so you may already own one yourself. (If so, you can win an Amazon gift certificate instead, so no worries!)
When I first started seeing all the blog articles about the Instant Pot, I mostly ignored them. Part of living off-grid means that electricity is limited, so over the past few years, I’ve started ignoring items that would require me to run the generator. For instance, we boil water and use a French press instead of a coffee pot.
But we’re finding the Instant Pot to be quite nice to have right now while we don’t have a full kitchen for preparing meals. On-grid or off-grid, I imagine you could find a use for this modern take on the pressure cooker, too.
Interested? Stay tuned! I’ll be announcing all the details at the beginning of May.
And stay subscribed! Only current subscribers are eligible to win giveaways!
English Lessons Through Literature
Last time, I talked about how English Lessons Through Literature (ELTL) incorporates great literature into the study of grammar and composition. Today, I’m going to discuss the importance of imitation in teaching composition.
We use imitation to teach because it’s how children learn. They watch the world around them and imitate what others are doing. They play store, and school, and house, and in the process of playing at these things, they learn something of how they’re done, but without the stress of taxes and government regulations and being kept awake all night by the baby. (Frankly, I’ll take a sleepless baby over the other two.)
This is especially important in the subject of composition. When students have a model story, they are able to learn all the aspects of how to write without having to choose a subject and think of what to say about the subject. These aspects of writing will come later, but at first, through imitation, students are able to focus on the HOW without worrying about the WHAT. And as they’re focused on well-written models, just under the surface, where it can get into their noggins without them even having to think about it, they’re learning about word choice and varying sentence structures and how to craft a well-turned phrase. In other words, they are learning to compose, not merely put words down on paper.