Wednesday, October 26, 2005

time flies, they say, when you're having fun...

Well here in this house it seems to have "flown the coop" as my mom used to say, as a result of such "twists and turns" as Theresa talked about recently in her blog but I can't complain really because in the midst of all this we are having fun :) We are now slowly but surely getting back into more of a routine with a few less interruptions.

Some things to share that we've done:

Lanuage Arts -
Literature - We are still reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and especially had fun at Tea Time reading the chapter "A Mad Tea-Party". :) We did an impromptu study of nursery rhymes one day inspired by copywork of Peter Peter Pumpkin Eate. Josh is reading more Hardy Boys, birding magazines and field guides and numerous other things. We also read an excellent picture book, The School is Not White! A Treu Story of tyhe Civil Rights Movement by Doreen Rappaport. I had found this in the new books in the library and hadn't had a chance to read it when yesterday we read the news about Rosa Parks and perfect timing then!
Poetry - We compared Robert Frost's poem October with Helen Hunt Jackson's poem October's Bright Blue Weather and Josh wrote a paragraph on which he preferred and why. He used Frost's poem for copywork that day. We have also read and used for copywork G.K.Chesterton's poem Gold Leaves. This was inspired by a nature walk and journal entry using leaves from a walk to our neighborhood park. We also read Lewis Carroll's Hunting of the Snark which was inspired by a math puzzle on Julie Brennan's yahoo group PiCafe. Yesterday after we read about the passing of Rosa Parks I shared with Josh some poems on the civil rights movement that I had found on-line.
Writing - Josh continues to write paragraphs on such things as are related to whatever we are studying such as the poem comparisons talked about previously. He adds to our bird journal that we have started to keep track of our walks up to our park and also making posts on our birding blog and on bird forums that he and his dad contribute to. He is also having a great time writing letters to his pen pal and LOVES the letters he gets from him especially :) We continue to do Friday Freewrites and one especially fun one was a freewrite he did from Julie Bogart's Brave Writer prompts entitled "The Package". He wrote for close to 45 minutes and wants to continue the mystery he started as a result. I told him I would love to know what happens next!
Copywork - has been both printing and cursive using poems, quotes from various sources we are studying or from things each of us is reading such as a quote from mathematician/physicist Richard Feynman, composer Beethoven, and hockey legend Wayne Gretzky.

Math -
We are finishing up the book The Number Devil which we have enjoyed immensely. I read sections to him from a math book I am reading by Keith Devlin called The Language of Mathematics. We have been trying some puzzles from the yahoo group PiCafe which is a partner group of Julie Brennan's LivingMathForum. She also has a great website dealing with teaching/learning math. Great stuff there! I think we will be gearing up for more application and tool use along with our "living math books" in the near future.

Science -
Nature Study - well of course birds, birds, and more birds lol. That goes without saying :) We have also done leaf collecting and made leaf prints and drawings from them in our journals. We made drawings of the pumpkins we had picked at the orchard for Halloween just the other week.
Physics - we are still reading articles about Einstein in celebration of 2005 The Year of Einstein. We have been using Core Knowledge books and reading about atoms and molecules and matter and such. We have also used NASA newsletters that I get in my email to learn about and observe such occurrences as "earthshine", the planets and constellations.
We have also been enjoying various National Geographic articles. The recent issue with an article on the bird flu was of particular interest to him as a birder.

American History -
We have watched numerous shows on the History Channel. Used their This Day in History section on the website to learn about and discuss such events as the birth of the United Nations, Black Thursday, Fair Labor Standards Act, and the completion of the first transcontinental telegraph line.
As per Josh's request we have begun a more in depth study of The Lewis and Clark Expedition (we have read about this generally before) with MUCH emphasis on the birds they discovered. I don't think anyone is surprised by this huh lol.
We continue to use the news that happens each day as a jumping off point ie when we read about Rosa Park's passing yesterday we reviewed what we knew (which was alot since we had done a study on her before as she is one of Josh's heroes) and then I read some related articles from MSNBC online such as The Voting Rights Act Turns 40 and one on the laws barring felons from voting and the ramifications that meant. Boy did that one get some discussion going. ALWAYS a good thing in a homeschooling family :)

World History-
Using the wonderful monthly calendar activities from Enchanted Learning yet once again, we read about The Boer Wars of Africa. I pulled some articles from the internet and we read from the encyclopedia. Along with this study we used the Core Knowledge 6th grade book to read about Africa, it's European colonization and the ramifications of such as well as more on the Boer Wars.

With both histories we have been making entries on our wall timeline.

Fine Arts -
Composer - We have continued to listen to our Beethoven CD and have been getting fairly adapt now at recognizing the different pieces :)
Plutarch - We have continued our study of Demetrius using Anne White's fantastic study notes on the Ambleside Online yahoo group.
Artist - We continue to study works of Michelangelo - recently his painting The Doni Tondo (Holy Family)

I know I am leaving things out as I type all this. I have worried that with our hectic past few months we weren't accomplishing much and yet reading my last post and this one I know I shouldn't worry. Learning goes on even as we live our lives. Reflection like this helps me to see that and be grateful for this way of life we have chosen.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

the never ending disruptions

It seems medical issues are going to be a constant disruption to our days at least for a little while longer. It helps me then to put down on paper what we have done to reassure myself. So what has gone on here in the last few weeks? Well more than I think. Again our life style just seems to lend itself to learning especially when two older sisters are in high school and college and share what they are learning. Much discussion goes on in our house! Here's a little of what we have been doing:

- Josh finished My Side of the Mountain on his own and then proceeded to read the sequel The Far Side of the Mountain. He started the third in the series, Frightful's Mountain, but didn't enjoy it so put it down before finishing.
- We read Where the Red Fern Grows together in anticipation of a book club gathering. We then watched the movie on DVD and also found and watched Where the Red Fern Grows II on DVD.
- We have continued reading our Math books The Number Devil and Life by the Numbers.
- We read E.Nesbit's and Lambs' translations of Macbeth in anticipation of going to his older sister's high school performance of this play. We also read passages directly from the play so as to be familiar with the language we would be hearing. We have studied Shakespeare before so this wasn't really something new for him. The play was fantastic and those kids did a magnificent job. The Bard would have been proud of them!
- We have continued reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
- We have been birding many times of course :)
- We have taken nature walks and made entries in our journals.
- We have studied the statue of David and read more from our book Michelangelo by Diane Stanley.
- We are still reading poetry of Robert Frost.
- We continue to watch educational shows for fun - Just last week we watched an interesting show called The Last Mission on the History Channel. It had to do with the end of WWII and I learned a few things I never knew.
- We've discussed things we have read or heard about such as the proposed changing of the Endangered Species Act (there was a segment on NPR and this is something Joshua is very passionate about - nature and the environment)
- Josh continues to read ALL the time on his own ie Hardy Boys, bird books and guides etc.
- ice hockey season has started again finally! and so there are many checks on the NHL website for stats and such and much watching of games etc. :)
- and MANY various other assorted things that we do jsut because we call it "living".

I am still trying to concentrate on one field of study each day (along with math, writing, etc daily).

I have been looking into the education practice known as the Thomas Jefferson Education and I am very intrigued. This educational philosophy is proposed by Oliver DeMille, president and founder of Geroge Wythe College. Here is a blurb from their website that helps to define it:

"Today's political, economic, and social challenges are no less daunting than those of past generations. Governments, businesses, schools, churches and other institutions worldwide need men and women of high moral character, sound intellectual understanding, and principled action to lead the way. But where will these statesmen be found?

George Wythe College stands on the belief that Statesmanship is the product of a particular educational system, known to the great leaders of the past, but lost to modern academia. It is a principle-centered process grounded in the belief in God and immutable moral law, framed on the classics of literature, history, science , the arts, and philosophy, and crowned in the discipline of real-world application under the guidance of a committed and caring mentor."

Here's a link to their website to check it out:

This philospohy goes along well with some of Charlotte Mason's ideas and is accessible for homeschoolers to easily put into practice. It has me researching the education of the Founding Fathers and I also found an interesting book at the library, "Taught to Lead, The Education of the Presidents of the United States" with Fred L. Israel - General Editor.

Well I best get back to real life skills such as laundry and dishes :)