January 29, 2013

Week Nineteen Wrap-Up

Bible: We have begun reading from 1 Peter with our breakfast.

Stories of Faith: Polycarp: The Crown of Fire by William Chad Newson. If you haven't noticed we are slowly transitioning into our study of Rome, and stories of faith abound during this historical period so we will be using many Rome based books the rest of this year.

Mathematics: Everyday Number Stories can be a little deceptive when you first begin it. It starts out very simple and gets challenging quickly asking the students learn and then use the information presented in each lesson. TJ and Zak came to this frustrating point last week. They have had lessons before this week explaining about the concept of 2 pints making 1 quart and 4 pecks making a bushel and 3 feet equally 1 yard. They have had lessons working out problems asking them to figure how many feet are in 5 yards and what is 1/4 of a bushel etc. but they have failed to really learn these well for when the problems became more complicated 5 qt. - 3 pints =         they were lost. They had been focusing on getting the problems done, but not on understanding what it was all meaning. SO we have slowed down, worked on problems slowly step by step, often visually and with manipulative until I could see the light bulb in their little minds turn on.

We continue with our reading about Albert Einstein from Kathleen Krull's lovely book.

Aesop's Copy work:

Ancient Greek History: D'aulier's book of Greek Myths and greek myth pockets by Evan Moor.

Science, The Study of Insects: We have moved on to reading about insects this week leaving the reading about birds behind, but not the learning, for the boys are now more aware of birds, their habits and their features and they have an affinity for them. Their investigation of birds and the self education of them will continue for as long as they are living. The book we began with our look into insects is by Arthur Scott Bailey entitled The Tale of Kiddie Katydid. After reading a few chapters we got curious as to what a katydid looks like so we looked it up in our field guide.

Last summer we read Children of the Summer and Fabre's Insects, also great living books on this subject.

Nature Notebook: We missed doing this this week. :( I was not feeling well, so we ended up having to postpone until next week.

Geography: Our Little Roman Cousin of Long Ago by Julia Darrow Cowles

Language Arts: The boys have completed the small unit study we did with the poems in On the Wing by Douglas Florian. This week we wrote a poem beginning with an emotion, then using the information we know about birds to describe it. Then the boys painted a picture to go along with the poem.

is like a hawk who has a wife and children to think about. 
He catches a mouse because he has a wife. 
But now they all have a mouse to eat.

is like a humming bird that hovers and waits for the nectar to come out. 
He takes out the nectar because it's dinner. 
But now he feeds his babies.

 is like a roadrunner who is waiting for a dinner.
He catches a snake because his children are hungry.
But now his babies eat.

Then we began a dictation for the short story The Dog In the Manger by Aesop found in PLL . This is the method for doing dictation that we used, and here Sonya from Simply Charlotte Mason explains dictation via youtube.

Bed time read aloud: The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff.

Reading Practice: I am so pleased with the boys this week as they have done such a wonderful job reading aloud to me from the Elson Reader. We have been reading out of book three and are very close to finishing it. They have made great progress this year. Looking back I would say that reading aloud was their least mastered subject, but this year they are reading with better strategies for unknown words, reading with more fluency, and reading more as to these two factors are becoming easier for them. TJ especially who struggled so much at the beginning of this year is reading well, and reading a lot. He is soaring past his brothers. Yesterday he read for me 6 pages of his own initiative. (I assign 2 pages) Zak has taken to reading from his Bible before bed time and when he has free time. Often he comes to me and reads me a chapter from Genesis. He is so proud! It is great to see them succeeding!

Latin: We are now in Chapter 7 of Minimus and I decided to order Secondus for us next year before we begin the Visual Latin course with Duane. They have done so well with this course and the twins will only be eight years old next year so I think we will have better success if we do not rush on until the boys are ready for the level of detail Latin demands.

We have been practicing to read the new dialogue and understand the command form of latin words. They also used little sticky labels to label their armor and weapons they made last week with the latin words for each.

Art: Still working on our 24 page mural the bummer....our pens are drying up. :( this is what we have accomplished thus far...

Music: This week we began looking at Robert Schumann by starting to read Robert Schumann and Mascot Ziff by Opal Wheeler.

Hope you week was a good one!

January 21, 2013

Week Eighteen Wrap-Up

Do you feel a slump? These past few weeks we have been feeling a bit tired of the schedule, the routine feels a bit dry. I sense it in the boys and for myself I have had my mind elsewhere on other things and so have they. We did not take a break at Christmas for more than a few days and we talk a lot about our up coming trip in March, so it would seem we have early spring fever. It could be time to dig in and push or step back for a rest....after praying I sensed rest was what we needed. So, last week we took a few days off to work on projects, both for myself and for them. This helped a whole lot just to get out from under the mental pile of things that builds up.  It was rejuvenating to have some free time to just to get those undine things done. The boys played outside and were rosy with sunshine, drew pictures form Ed Emberley's Make a World book,  and then it we were better able to return to the schedule again. I was too!

Bible: We are wrapping up our reading of the book of Revelations soon and the boys have chosen 1st and 2nd Peter to read next.

Stories of Faith: We completed our reading of Twice Freed and have begun Polycarp Crown of Fire (torch bears series).

Mathematics: Our new rota is working well! The boys are able to do the math pages five days out of the week, two pages a day, from Everyday Number Stories by themselves which is wonderful. Then on project day, they do the Matrix. TJ improved his time and accuracy on the Matrix as well. Yeah TJ!

Aesop Copy Work: Zak has been working furiously all this year to get this book DONE! Yes he is a finisher and most motivated to just get it done. And he has done it! So, he gets a break during this period of the day to play quietly while his brother work on their handwriting and coloring. We have talked about doing cursive next...I can't wait. We did a little cursive when they first learned to write to get the left to right order ingrained and now we will head back to it.

Ancient Greek History: We have read through all of the Heroes by Charles Kingsley and have begun to read and narrate through D'Auliers book of Greek Myths. This is a good one for the boys to narrate from as the excerpts are short and descriptive. I did not have them narrate the Heroes for the reason that the stories were long, full of difficult names and hard to know how to break it up into smaller meaningful chunks for them. Instead I had them narrate from another book we read right after lunch, Three Greek Children, and that worked out much better.

The Study of Birds: We are now reading The Adventures of Mr. Mocker by Thornton Burgess.

Nature Notebook:

What the boys found in the yard this week...

Geography: We have been reading Peeps at Many Lands Ancient Greece by James Baikie.

Language Arts: We are taking a short break from the lessons in Primary Language Lessons to do a unit study on a poetry book by Douglas Florian, it is called On the Wing. I am using a poetry guide from blackbird&company to guide us along. Thus far we have read laughed through all of the poems and paintings. Wonderful! and we have learned about some interesting descriptive words he uses: CRIMSON, HUDDLE, MIMIC, HUE, and HOVER. The boys have really picked up on the word crimson and shriek with excitement whenever they hear it. Fun!

We also drew one of the birds from the book and wrote a few sentences about it in our composition notebooks (bought at Walmart).The assignment was to write something about the bird they chose.  I find it helps them to require a certain number of sentences like four or three.

Max's Poem

 I hum, I glum, I do not scum.
I twirl, I whirl, I am a girl.
I eat nectar with my scepter.
I am not a woodpecker, I do not drum.

TJ wrote:

The hawk has sharp eyes.
He uses binoculars.
The hawk has sharp claws to tear his prey.
Rabbits are scared of him.

Douglas Florian has also written these books (the blackbird&company guide has lesson with all the books below. I hope to do them all):

In the Swim
Lizards, Frogs, and Polliwogs

Reading practice: Two pages each day out of Elson Reader Book three.

Bed Time Read Aloud: Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff.

Latin: Minimus Chapter 7 latin words for weapons, and we made small replicas of armor and weapons for our wooden man. (bought at IKEA)

Art: We have begun a 24 page mural from Artprojectsforkids.com. It is called the Ode to Matisse. The boys are very enthusiastic about it so I am confident we will finish. While they color we listen to Chopin. To begin the mural we first did a coloring page of the entire mural.

Music: We are wrapped up our look and listen to Fredrick Chopin this week. To finalize the study we added him to our composer lapbook, timeline and did a music appreciation page.

Max's music appreciation sheet and inside of the lapbook.

Hope you have a great week!

January 7, 2013

Week Sixteen/Seventeen Wrap-Up

This week and the last we have been ankle deep in Celtic soldiers and Famous Figures from Ancient Times action figures. The celtic figures above came from our Latin lesson of all places. Aren't they fierce looking? We were studying a dialogue about Britons are Best/ Romans are Best when this celtic warrior grabbed Zak's heart. He has colored, cut out and assembled a whole army of them. (25 or so) Coloring different ones different colors to signify rank etc. The celtic warriors above are the foot soldiers. No pun intended. :)

Bible: We have been reading through the book of revelations over breakfast these past few weeks. And because I had it on hand I put up this amazing painting made by Michael Pearl. It depicts the flow of the happenings with references to where in Revelations the images come from. I sticky tacked it to the wall about the head height of the boys so they can really get a good look at it.

Stories of Faith: This week we began to read Twice freed by Patricia St. John. It is a historical fiction novel written around the character Onesiumus from the Bible, a run away slave whom mets up with and is befriended by Apostle Paul while he is in Rome. To be honest, I am a glad to be finished with David Livingston and  H.M. Stanley as the many odd African names came up quite frequently in our book about him and made reading aloud a bit daunting for me. The boys were however not fazed by it one bit. Between this read and the greek myths and greek names in our geography books I am getting my fair share of education right along side the boys.

Arithmetic:  We have begun a new schedule with our math exercises this week. I made the change as I could see the boys were getting TOO familiar with the Matrix and the meaning and use of it were fading. This was apparent as no one was beating their old time or cared to work to achieve this. I had to freshen things up a bit. Making a change in schedule can often bring a fresh feel to things so we talked together and I gave the boys two choices of schedules I felt comfortable with and asked which one they would prefer. They chose to do Everyday Number Stories five days a week and on project day do the Multiplication Matrix. We will see how this goes. Personally I am happy with their choice as the work in the Everyday Number stories will give them great practice in understanding the ins and outs of the factors they are memorizing for the Matrix Table. I feel the understanding is more important than the time. The time simply reflects how easily it is for them to come up with the answers but understanding shows they know how to use the answers.

We continue to read about Albert Einstein in Kathleen Krull's delightful book about him.

Aesop's Copy work: 

Alexander the Great and a Hoplite Soldier action paper dolls from our Famous Figures of Ancient Times book.

Some of Max's finished action figures.

Ancient Greek History: We have been reading through The Heroes by Charles Kingsley.  Maybe you like us like to be careful how myths and 'gods' are introduced to your children, then you may enjoy the preface as much as I did. Reading it first, before I read the book to the boys gave me some good ideas for how to place the myths and the greek gods into our faith framework established on God and what we know is true from the Bible. Here is a quote form the final bit of the preface:
"But you shall hear how the Hellens said their heroes worked, three thousand years ago. The stories are not true, of course, nor half of them; you are not simple enough to fancy that; but the meaning of the is true, and true for ever, and that is- Do right, and God will help you." Charles Kingsley at Farley Court Advent 1855.
I am interested also to read another book by Kingsley entitled The Good News of God to see just where he is coming from.

This portrait of Medusa the Gorgon from our Mythology Pocket download went into our History notebook along with this pocket including a short version of the myth we read in Kingsley's book.

Max's Notebook pages.

Geography:  We have been reading through Three Greek Children by Alfred J. Church.

Science of Birds: Another lovely book by Arthur Scott Bailey has been on our reading list for science the past few weeks, The Tales of Solomon the Owl.

Nature notebooks: To catch up here are the last two entries the boys made in their nature notebooks.

Drawing by Zak.

Drawing by TJ

And we are not yet done with A Pocket Full Of Pinecones, perhaps in a few weeks.

What we found this week in the yard.

Language Arts: Seasons of the year writing assignment, and dictation, see, saw, seen writing assignment, Memorize The Brown Thrush by Lucy Larcum. all lessons from Primary Language Lessons by Emma Serl.

Reading Practice: Elson Reader Book Three. I have been assigning the boys two pages a day from this reader, they can chose to read more but not less. I set the bar a little low for I wanted to allow them the chance to challenge themselves or let the story pull them into reading more. For after all we read to know not to fulfill assignments. This past month I have seen it happening and it is fun! They all read passably well, but not yet do they have enough skill to find reading a pleasurable pass time. Now however they have all taken the lead and chosen to read more either to beat their brother or because the story beckons them on to find out more, not every day but often. This is what I have been waiting for.

Bedtime read aloud: Last week we read Outcast by Rosemary Sutcliff and have begun another by the same author this week The Silver Branch.

Latin: We are in Chapter 6 of Minimus: Starting out in Latin. A good place to be as we are about midway through the year and midway through the book. These past few weeks we have been looking at a dialogues about britons versus Romans and going to York to go shopping. The boys are catching much better to the way Latin reads and being more confident in their translations without my help.

I also did a little research on Minimus Secundus the next book in the series and found a helpful website with reviews of loads of classic literature and curriculums. Here is an excerpt about Minimus Secundus:
"Further evidence of the book's success is found in more than 1,000 letters Bell has received from children containing highly unexpected remarks such as "Latin is cool" and "Latin is the only thing I go to school for."
Art and Music: 

The enjoyment of Chopin's music and story goes on still.

Our drawing lessons have ceased for now and we have begun a study of Henri Matisse and continue our study of Chopin. The boys colored this painting/coloring page from The Artist Study Helper I made last year. One reviewer said this about it:
"What an enjoyable study this is. I'd never done an artist study before and honestly never really saw the benefits in it. This download has just about everything you need to complete a study on this particular artist: lesson plans, montessori cards, biography, full page picture study, notebooking pages, coloring pages and art lessons. It even says there is way more material included than you could ever fit into a 7 week study. Honestly, I think it'll take us 9 weeks to finish this but we're having fun. The guide outlines an 7 week study but of course you can make it last longer or cut it short if you need to. It nicely outlines what activities are included and how to complete them. A great feature for a mom very new to artist study. I recommend this for Kindergarten and up. I say "and up" because artist study can benefit all ages. A fun and neat study and it's affordable. The only drawback I see is that if you print out the works of the artist it takes up alot of ink. I would suggest possibly viewing it from the computer screen or checking out a library book that include his works. But that's not enough of a drawback to give it less than 5 stars."

 After they colored this we spent a few days watching this Youtube video about Matisse. However I had to do quite a lot of editing so be forewarned the nudity is prevalent and it is wise to preview before you show it to your kiddos. Other than that it is a wonderfully done documentary about his life and work.

Afternoon Audio: The rest of the Narnia stories, The Silver Chair, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and the Last Battle.

And that sums up our last two weeks of lessons, Thanks for dropping in...Have a great week!