A Magical Education

I will be speaking today at Signum University’s New England Moot, a reflection on twenty years as a religious educator. Specifically, I will address how the finest schools of magic influenced my work.

Here’s a link to my slides!

And this is the non-exhaustive list of books which I’ve been known to recommend on the general topic of ethical development:

The Harry Potter Saga by J. K. Rowling

Riddle Master of Hed (and sequels) by Patricia McKillip

Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin

everything by Ursula K. LeGuin

Snow Treasure by Marie McSwiggan

Number the Stars

Matty Doolin

Jenny Nimmo’s Snow Spider Trilogy

The Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan

Tamora Pierce, Song of the Lioness Quartet 

Star Wars.  Episodes 4, 5, and 6 

Howard Pyle:

Robin Hood.

Men of Iron.

Otto of the Silver Hand.

the Sherlock Holmes corpus, 

Frankenstein, Lewis Carroll, 

Swiss Family Robinson, 

Treasure Island! 

Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky by Sandra Dallas

Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir by Margarita Engel

A Night Divided by Jennifer Nielsen

In the Sea There Are Crocodiles: Based on the True Story of Enaiatollah Akbari by Fabio Geda.  

The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley 

“ABCs in Zero G” a short story by Elizabeth Moon; 

Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold)

 Everything by Lois McMaster Bujold

Star Trek. 

Little Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper.  

“Omnilingual” by H. Beam Piper.  

“Nodsaunce” by H. Beam Piper – 

Life As We Knew It & The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer.   

everything Joss Whedon ever produced

The Curse of Chalion and especially its sequel, Paladin of Souls, by Lois McMaster Bujold. 

The Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold.

The Darwath Series, by Barbara Hambly

The Ladies of Mandrigyn, by Barbara Hambly

“The Cold Equations” by Tom Godwin

“The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” by Ursula K. LeGuin.

The Little Prince

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente 

Vivian Apple at the End of the World by Katie Coyle

Speaker for the Dead  by Orson Scott Card

everything by Agatha Christie, but especially the mysteries solved by that strong female protagonist Miss Jane Marple

later that day…

There is an enormous Monarch butterfly on my arm and I am typing very quietly with one hand.

He is the same size as all other Monarch butterflies, I am sure, but he is right here on my arm, which makes him huge.

I am commenting on papers and he is testing the breeze.

It’s just fine if things take a little longer.

July 6th

Sgiobalta sat in the meadow this morning, licking the dew off the tall grasses.

She is quite the connoisseur (connoisseuse?) of different kinds of water.

There are water in the dogs’ water dish and water in the dogs’ water dish after it has been scrubbed – very different.

There are this morning water in the dogs’ water dish with ice cubes and ice cubes handed over directly as a result of very pitiable begging.

There is lake water – reached for, stood in, and lapped while swimming.

There is snow.

Snow is for eating and licking and for joyfully making dog angels in.

For the gourmet water-drinking dog, there is bath water. It’s warm, it’s flavored, it may be enjoyed cupped in Mama’s hand or licked directly off the bather (lest they smell too clean).

Today there is grass-served dew.

Independence Day

Like a Sabbath, Independence Day.

I will not drive, I will not touch money. I have already said thank you to Grace and the dogs. I have already encouraged students with brief messages.

Thanks and grace and song to celebrate the food I am privileged to have, free of hunger.

Thanks and chores and dance to celebrate the house I am privileged to have, free of vagabondage.

Thanks, thanks, thanks for cool water, for good books, and for good dogs who smell of grass and sunshine.

July 2

Cool grass, wet air, mosquitos

Stop and love on the lilacs’ pods which wait for ripeness and wind to shake them free.

There’s a space in the yard which I call The Spinney — 10 points to Ravenclaw if you know that allusion — and it is not a Spinney yet. But it will be. Grace does not mow between the two rows of lilacs so that it can become a Spinney, someday, full of lilac volunteers and wildflowers from the meadow.

There are four lilac babies so far by my count.

“Throw the ball!” they say, “The soccer ball!” And so I throw the soccer ball and they chase and sniff and leave it there.

“Bring me the ball!” I encourage, and both of them look at me as though they love me despite my mental deficiencies. It is not moving, it does not need supervision. They just wanted me to make it go. #ThinkLikeAnAussie

Spirit Play Support

I have created a few stories and a few support documents for you religious educators and home educators who are using the Spirit Play storytelling method.  Please use freely!  Also, many of the stories on the Beginning Reading pages can be adapted as Spirit Plays!

Spirit Play Story: Origin of the Moon    Accompanying Story Pattern!

Spirit Play Administrative Files: Spirit Play on a Shoestring.  My friends, this PDF of a Keynote presentation is having the darnedest time getting uploaded.  I will happily email you the 9.4 MB PDF file.

Earth Chart for Brent Annable’s Sphere


Western Hemisphere

This is a modest addition to the geometrifantastic “Stockinette Short-Row Sphere” by Brent Annable, found for free on his web site.  I’ve simply made an intarsia chart to help you turn one of his spheres into a model of Planet Earth.  I mean, every kid needs a stuffy planet, right?  Begin at the International Date Line and work westward (as the sun does).  You’ll find good success with slightly sticky yarns; smooth yarn such as bamboo would be very tricky.  100 yards each of green and blue will be more than sufficient; duplicate stitching Antarctica in white is a nice touch.

Earth Chart for Brent Annable’s Sphere