Monday, November 19, 2007

Fairly silly....

Your Inner European is Irish!

Sprited and boisterous!
You drink everyone under the table.

I don't think I would drink anyone under the table, although I do enjoy a thick Irish stout!

Exam Week (sort of CM style!)

The words test and exam don't have a lot of meaning in our household. We don't do any type of government testing here in Manitoba, and besides the occasional math review 'test' the kids haven't encountered these things much.

But I was inspired by Cindy here at her Exam Week for Dummies (ha!) and by Willa's great series of posts here.

So I decided we would have a VERY relaxed type 'exam' week here- to illustrate what the kids know, NOT what they don't know, and to also have them enjoy seeing some of the learning they have been doing. I also thought it would be a good change of pace for a few days.

So I woke up this morning after a really good sleep (no middle of the night Ultimate game until Tuesday...when will I learn?) and had a pretty good idea of what I would start the older two kids on, which would give me some time to write up ideas for each of our different study areas. Then of course, when the children woke up, my oldest has the stomach flu (I do not handle stomach flus well- weak stomach- so it is good we have rarely had them around here). So after settling him in his room with a good book on tape and a glass of gingerale, I decided to start Hannah off and also have a little informal 'exam' with my 7yo Caleb.

-tell me about a little scene from History you remember (blank look... then, oh yes, Ceaser crossing that river The Rubicon... yes, and the man came and took the trumpet and blew it and Ceaser knew he could go across the bridge!)
-addition facts... good job with these for my little math whiz!
-Who was your favorite character from A Door in the Wall? Tell me about a scene with him in it (he chose John-go-in-the-wynd)
-Draw me a picture from a book you have read or been read to (he chose the Imperial Garden!)
-Give me a line of your best handwriting for the first line of the Lord's prayer


-Write out as much of The Bath Song as you can remember (She did the whole thing!)
-draw or describe on paper one of the Winslow Homer paintings we studied
-please write out one of the parables we have read this term
-please draw me a scene from either The Door in the Wall, Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze, or Girl of the Limberlost
-list the character traits of either; Young Fu, Robin, Brother Luke, or Aeneas
-tell the story of one of this terms saints orally
-narrate, the best you can, either the coming of the Romans to Britain or the story of Hannibal crossing the Alps
-in your opinion, what are some of the rather grim details of the beginning of the Roman empire
-who was believed to have started the fire in Rome?
-a review test (I probably will skip this...Hannah is very proficient in Math)
-decline terra on paper
-decline servus on paper
-go through all the flashcards with mom
-oral translation exercise from the last section
-play me a song of your choice!!

We will do what we can today, then I will take some time to write up Ariel's list for him (for when he is feeling better!)

Note: I seem to be the one with the worst retention! I keep wondering what books we have read etc. this term.....

Friday, November 16, 2007

Marguerite Makes a Book

We enjoyed this book tonight, all four children and I, snuggling in bed under the big fluffy down comforter. I saw it mentioned on the Tapestry of Grace website and thought Aha, Hannah would love this. She even looks like the girl in the book!

I also knew that she would want to try and do what Marguerite was doing- make an illuminated script, with the homemade dyes and everything. Because I know Hannah. And Hannah is a hands, on crafty soul, who never sees a project that daunts her!

The illustrations in this book were gorgeous, and they held the attention of my 4 and 7 year old boys intently. The story also flowed with a good narrative, while adding in a generous dose of interesting knowledge about the making of dyes and manuscripts, not to mention that Medieval feel.

This book is also part of my quest to find great picture books that will capture the attention of my younger boys, while being something the older ones might enjoy as well. More of that idea of the building from the ground floor up idea I talked about here.

So I think next week may find us gathering some parsley, some saffron, some nice heavy old looking paper, and all the great things we will need to make some of our own illuminated pages. I think the kids might enjoy copying some of our Morning Prayer or a compline onto them.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Snow on the Doorstep

We awoke this morning to a nice, slightly frigid, feeling in the air (I haven't changed our program on the furnace yet!). There was snow on the roofs, a light dusting on the ground, and on our newly finished herringbone walk way (finished at 6pm last night in the last balmy evening of the season!)

This morning found me snuggling lots on the couch with a cup of tea and my two smaller boys. I have found lately that Caleb, age 7, has had a VERY hard time focusing on his lessons. So yesterday I decided to devote the first part of our lesson time in the morning to him. So today we began again by him reading to me a short story from The Book of Virtues For Young People on the couch. After that we did an extensive flash card review of addition facts as we are waiting for his new Math U See book. Next we snuggled down on the couch again to a pick of Aaron's, The Elves and the Shoemaker, and the Tale of the Firebird. These both were great re tellings and we all enjoyed them. Then I set him free to play with Aaron. They were both content having this time with me..... After a time of play, I reeled him in for his Italics. He finished his half page in record time, which these days is unusual.

This alternating between play and his lessons I am finding is better for Caleb, and also for his little brother- Aaron was feeling quite lonely for his playmate when Caleb was engaged in his lessons more back to back. I am also enjoying reversing the usual trickle down style we have here- I am so used to reading and studying topics that engage my olders, realizing the youngers will enjoy the trickle down. But they haven't been enjoying it much. So I am reading more engaging picture book biographies, myths, folktales, and fairy tales to the younger ones, and then if they want to listen in on the Shakespeare and great reads from the Middle Ages than they are welcome!

Hope you are enjoying your early winter....

Monday, November 12, 2007

Planning Writing and the Progym.

I have been inspired by the thoughtful posts here by Willa to again to dig out some resources I have around the house and on line, as well as ordering this textbook from the library, and look at the progym again. The whole idea of the progym I find makes sense. If there was one thing I detested in school it was writing- period. I loved math, loved science, (could have loved history if it wasn't taught in such a dry and boring way), but could never stomach writing- having topics like 'what was the best thing you did last summer?' or 'write a story about a mouse' didn't help a lot.

So this concept of using various good models of literature- myths, fables, narratives, proverbs, and so on- and using exercises to work with them to develop a writer really sits with me. No blank page phobia there!

Because of my interest in these exercises I ordered Classical Writing Aesop about four years ago. I read it, reread it, tried it a little with my then resistant 9 year old, then ditched it.

Now, a few years later, and with kids that are not resistant to writing (hat tip to Julie over at Bravewriter), I feel like we are ready for this again. I had bought Homer (from the Classical Writing folks) last spring, but once again ditched it- the format doesn't work with me, makes me squirrley just looking at it! (But I know it works for lots of folks).

So our first step this week will be to work through this sample.

This will give me another week to plan. I am thinking of writing out a basic framework for the first few exercises (the forest), then plan the next three weeks writing assignments (the forest). In this time I hope to recieve the text and start to peruse it. I tried last night to get further into this planning, with the help of a large dose of dark chocolate and a not so hot cup of tea, but I got a little lost on the internet searching around (funny how that happens- too many good blogs out there). So I retired to bed with the Classical Writing Homer- it looks like it would be such a good book for one of those types of moms that love all that organization- but for me, it's back to the basement for Homer again!

The progynasmata... a good outline here.

Note: sorry about all the post edits... I need to proof a little more before I post!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Fun Math With Candy

What Math couldn't be fun if it involved candy? Maybe math with candy where the candy was strictly a manipulative and not to be eaten? Maybe math where your mother is a serious chocoholic and she might eat it all herself? (Note: I DID not do this!)

The morning after Halloween I announced to the the kids that for math that day we were going to sort our candy into 'types', count the number of each type, and then we would graph the results.

So I pulled out our current read aloud out, The Door in the Wall (wonderful book), and the kids started sorting. It was sort of crafty of me- I knew they would be obsessed with the candy the whole next morning anyway so why not incorporate it!

We ended up with three great bar graphs. I wish our camera was working so I could post Caleb's- he colored each bar all the different colors of that type of candy he received.

Yes, we have a rule that there is no candy before lunch. Yes, I am the only one who continues to slip past the rule!! (All that chocolate ......)

Poetry Friday

This is a poem that my two oldest have been using for copywork and dictation. We just can't seem to get enough of J.R.R. Tolkien's poetry lately. We have been so enjoying the compilation in this book, and the Alan Lee artwork is gorgeous.

Luthien Tinuviel
"The leaves were long, the grass was green,
The hemlock-umbels tall and fair,
And in the glade a light was seen
Of stars in shadow shimmering.
Tinuviel was dancing there
To music of a pipe unseen,
And light of stars was in her hair,
And in her rainment glimmering.

There Beren came from mountains cold.
And lost he wandered under leaves,
And where the Elven-river rolled
He walked alone and sorrowing.
He peered between the hemlock-leaves
And saw in wonder flowers of gold
Upon her mantle and her sleeves,
And her hair like shadow following.

Enchantment healed his weary feet
That over hills were doomed to roam;
And forth he hastened, strong and fleet,
And grasped at moonbeams glistening.
Through woven woods in Elvenhome
She lightly fled on dancing feet,
And left him lonely still to roam
In the silent forest listening.

He heard there oft the flying sound
Of feet as light as linden-leaves,
Or music welling underground,
In hidden hollows quavering.
Now withered lay the hemlock-sheaves,
And one by one with sighing sound
Whispering fell the beachen leaves
In wintry woodland wavering.

He sought her ever, wandering far
Where leaves of years were thickly strewn,
By light of moon and ray of star
In frosty heavens shivering.
Her mantle glinted in the moon,
As on a hill-top high and far
She danced, and at her feet was strewn
A mist of silver quivering.

When winter passed, she came again,
And her song released the sudden spring,
Like rising lark, and falling rain,
And melting water bubbling.
He saw the elven-flowers spring
About her feet, and healed again
He longed by her to dance and sing
Upon the grass untroubling.

Again she fled, but swift he came,
Tinuviel! Tinuviel!
He called her by her elvish name;
And there she halted listening.
One moment stood she, and a spell
His voice laid on her: Beren came,
And doom fell on Tinuviel
That in his arms lay glistening.

As Beren looked into her eyes
Within the shadows of her hair,
The trembling starlight of the skies
He saw there mirrored shimmering.
Tinuviel the elven-fair,
Immortal maiden elven-wise,
About him cast her shadowy hair
And arms like silver glimmering.

Long was the way that fate them bore,
O'er stony mountains cold and grey,
Through halls of iron and darkling door,
And woods of nightshade morrowless.
The Sundering Seas between them lay,
And yet at last they met once more,
And long ago they passed away
In the forest singing sorrowless."

J.R.R. Tolkien