Friday, November 19, 2004

Friday's Fine Arts

Since I have been feeling really guilty about skipping out on our fine arts studies, today I figured we would make a day of it. The other day at the library I came across a picture book called Seurat and La Grande Jatte by Robert Burleigh. It looked interesting and since he is an artist we have not studied yet I checked it out. Well lo and behold last night while watching the Weather channel - don't laugh at me here! :) - they had a segment on a topiary garden in Columbus, Ohio that is totally based on this painting! It is so cool when things work together!!! I went online and found this site about the garden which is amazing.

When Kate got home from school she told Josh about the painting because she had seen it when she visited The Art Institute of Chicago.

I LOVE it when learning connections happen without even trying!

We also started reading the historical fiction book called The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood. In it a young boy is ordered by his master to steal Shakespeare's play Hamlet... or else. Josh and I have read versions of this play in Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb and also E. Nesbit's Beautiful Stories from Shakepeare. Both of these are retellings for children that are very well done. Nesbit's versions can be found online here:
enter library, click on shakespeare, then click on Beautiful Stories

while Lamb's versions can be found here:

We have also enjoyed Bruce Coville's retellings of some of Shakespeare's plays.

We read Hamlet last year and so I ask Josh to tell me what he remembered about it. I was amazed at how much of the story line he still knows. Right now he says he does not like the book much because it is very somber. The boy is an orphan and is given to people who don't have his best interest at heart but this prompted a good discussion about how things were in that time period. Lauren has read this book and the sequel that comes after it and really enjoyed them so we will see how it is as we continue to read.

All in all I'd say we had a fairly artistic day!


Thursday, November 18, 2004

great science article

Just wanted to share a great science article Josh and I read from the NASA site. (I get a newsletter sent to me which gives me new stories) This article proposes that the deforestation of the rainforests may have caused the demise of the great Mayan civilization. A thought provoking theory. The article is well written and very interesting to anyone concerned with our Mother Earth.

Hope the link works.


Tuesday, November 16, 2004

F in writing

OK so it was a month in between each of the last TWO times I have posted on here so I am giving myself an F in writing. Josh will laugh at that because it is one of his harder things and I am always reminding him that he will only get better if he practices. Boy mom should practice what she preaches. lol

Well... so what have we been up to lately? Sometimes I worry we aren't doing enough or aren't doing it in the right way and then days come like today. We ran errands all morning the library being one of those stops. Josh headed straight for the marine biology section. He has found a new author he likes, Dorothy Hinshaw Patten. He says her books contain more factual information in a more mature way and are longer but not too long. He was excited to find out that the library lists 97 titles for her when he checked their system on the computer. By the time we got home it was lunch and within a few hours I had to leave to pick up Brad from work. He asked if he could watch one of the videos he checked out from the library. TV during the day has to be ok'd by me. The video was one on sharks surprise, surprise. Josh wants to be a marine biologist so he watches and reads anything he can get his hands on in this field. So here is my son who for fun and by his own choice watches and reads EDUCATIONAL things. I guess we're doing ok.

In Math we are studying fractions, factoring/simplifying/multiplication/divsion. He's getting the hang of all of it pretty well.

We are reading The Big Wave. Well, I am reading it aloud but he read it the day I bought it. He couldn't wait. Then kept bugging me to start it before we had even finished our other book Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze. Both books are excellent and I highly recommend them. When we read Young Fu Josh and I read about how China became a communist country. Very interesting.

We are reading Sign of the Beaver for American History right now and are enjoying it. He is researching a Native American tribe for a research report to be done this month. In World History since The Big Wave takes place in Japan we are reviewing Feudal Japan.

For science right now he has a Marine Biology notebook that he is keeping with the intention of using it later when he becomes a maring biologist. Gotta love that child's initiative! We will be going through the Core K 5 science section to expand on some other things. I think we are going to be doing classification next. We'll see. He is begging me for another trip to Shark Reef too.

Our WWI unit study using the book Summer Soldiers was a huge success. We both enjoyed it alot. We also studied about elections but I won't even go there now if you know what I mean!

His printing and cursive get better each time he practices copywork. I had to laugh because there were a few times when we were reading Young Fu that he said "copywork" as I read a sentence. The boy knows his mother only too well!

Looking back over all this I guess we are doing enough. He loves learning still and that's what's important to me!

Gotta get off this computer now.