Thursday, September 20, 2007


(Extra brownie points for the first commenter to explain the origin of the title of this post. And no, it's not the fevered imaginings of my brain. It's someone's fevered brainal imaginings, but not mine...)

At the recent homeschooling seminar my wife and I went to, there was a "vendor room" where all the various sponsors of the event had set up their booths. So, since there wasn't a whole lot else to do between sessions, Tonya and I headed over there to take a look and see what was available.

This proved to be a very dangerous thing to do.

We thought that we were reasonably disciplined people before this event. Really, we did. Well, Tonya was at any rate. But her defenses broke down when we saw a one-volume copy of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Alice's Adventures Through the Looking Glass. So we nabbed it. And since we knew that the Pillowfight Fairy (and, to a lesser extent, the Adrenalin Junkie) loves to color and to make crafts from paper, we picked up several coloring books--Viking designs, North American Native designs, Leonardo da Vinci designs....

We lost all sense of discipline and came away with at least seventy-five bucks worth of really cool stuff!

And the coolest--in my opinion--was Usborne's Knights and Castles; Things to Make and Do, containing instructions on numerous craft projects. Here's one of them:

Yup. The Fairy fell in love with this book the moment she opened it and took that first look inside. She wanted to do this, and then this, and that... and especially the helmet that you see on the above page. And she was really, really disappointed that we didn't have all the materials immediately on hand to do these crafts.

Well, I decided to take a quick trip to our local Michael's earlier this week, and I picked up a four good pieces of poster board--two of which had a very metallic-looking silvered side.

So tonight, the Fairy and I (and the Junkie, too--though she was too wiggly to be of much help) decided to take a crack at the Helm. I did most of the measuring, but I had the Fairy mark up as many of the cut-lines as she could do. I did a lot of the bulk cutting, but the Fairy did a lot, too--especially of the little rounded corners. Hopefully the Fairy learned a little about using a tape-measure. We also used an old T-square I had lying around from my college days to help us draw straight lines, and the occasional right-angle. Mostly, though, the Adrenalin Junkie was fascinated by the T-square and wanted to swing it around dangerously (when she wasn't trying to crawl into my lap and snuggle while I was making some delicate cuts).

But we were triumphant. Behold!

...and yes, the visor does go up and down--although it tends to get caught a lot and require some delicate handling.

It turned out to be a little bit more snug than we had planned. It really is a bit more suited for the Adrenalin Junkie than the Pillowfight fairy. But it still fits well enough that she can get it on and off.

This is one Fairy who takes her pillowfights very, very seriously. Don't mess with her.

The Adrenalin Junkie, striking a heroic pose. (In her pajamas!)

So, I'm thinking we're going to have to put together at least one more of these things, so both girls can have them. And I may just have to put one together for myself, because it's so cool. And the book also has recipes for making swords, too. And drawings and paintings of scenes of castle life; and pop-up cards with castles; and cardboard towers...

Tonya had been hesitant to get this book, because we're planning on following the Literature and History sequence listed in The Well Trained Mind, which won't be covering the Medieval period until the Fairy hits second grade. But I waaaaanted it, and we both knew that the Fairy would eat it up. I predict the Fairy will insist on doing most of the projects in this book done long before then.

Update, September 30: Well, well... This post touched off my own little Ring Cycle. After writing this post I was inspired to write several others--tangentially Homeschool-related, but mostly just for fun. Here's the rest of the cycle:

  1. In More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About Hojotoho I answered the question with which I led off this post, in way more detail than you probably want to know. I also linked to an apropos Bugs Bunny cartoon.
  2. In Oh Man, Now That's Just Wrong I record what happens when a Kindergartener starts mixing Wagner, Bugs Bunny, and Winnie the Pooh.
  3. In Ride of the Funny Hat Brigade my daughters and I construct the swords to go with the helmets, and I briefly wax philosophical on the concept of the warrior maiden.
  4. In Let's See How Literate My Readers Are I issue an as-of-yet unmet challenge...

I hope you enjoy!


Jason "Google Me" Santymire said...

It is the 5th melody of the Valkyrie where they yell out hojotoho with the woodwinds on the last measure sounding like a horse.

Timothy Power said...

Oh, man. Google takes all the fun out of trivia questions.

Unless you just happened to know that off the top of your head, in which case I'm really impressed.

So let's find out whether you just googled it or not. Jason--can you explain why I used it as the title of my post?


Chris said...

Man! And I thought it had something to do "Howard Johnson's" and a lady of the evening.

I guess I'm not as well read (or well-Googled, as the case may be) as I thought.


Dana said...

Oh, those kinds of books are so much fun. My children love when we pick them up and they know they are in for a couple of weeks of paper supported imagination.

Timothy Power said...

Hello, Dana! I've been reading you over at Principled Discovery for a while, so I'm very humbled that you decided to drop in and take a look around my blog.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tenor_Ron said...

This subject is well asleep for you but wide awake for me since I just finished the Otto Schenk production at the Met this past Saturday... I pounced upon your post googling around for the correct spelling of hojotoho, and I realise that Jason never returned to answer his "prove" question. Well what else should one thing when both your girls are posed in their pics with helm and spear (sproom) ready to do the deeds of warlord Wotan... Hojoto-ho, hojoto-ho, hoyo-toho... If it's two melodies that stick like glue it's the march of the Walk├╝res and Siegfried's horn. Now how soon do you plan to introduce the girls to such a magnificient work?