Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ten things I'm doing to plan Year Eight better (and a bonus if you read carefully)

1.  Because I try to homeschool frugally, and also because we're on the last Squirreling: I've been going through all our potential resources and seeing what might line up with or amplify something already on the list.  The ecology book we're using has the right idea but comes up short on examples, for example, explaining in an interesting way about different biomes: desert, grassland, rainforest, tundra.  But we have a couple of good books with extra information on those topics (one simple one we've had forever is the Usborne Living World Encyclopedia).  I wouldn't base a term's work around books like that (that are mostly pictures), but we do have them on the shelves. So those are going on sort of a second booklist of good reference stuff, and I'm making notes on the schedule at the places where we might want to haul them out.

2. Because I've been doing that, I can see, out of the books that did NOT make it into this year's main list or reference pile, which ones we are so unlikely ever to use again that I can happily send them to a church yard sale this weekend.  Which gives us more room on the shelves for the good stuff.

3. Because we go to a church that sings hymns, usually several of them, all the verses, in four-part harmony, AO's list of hymns is sometimes pretty basic for us.  We sing them, but we don't usually need to learn them.  So most of next year's hymns will be the mostly German-authored ones found in Mr. Pipes and Psalms and Hymns of the Reformation, ones that are not as familiar.  We read the book a few years ago but didn't learn many of the hymns; this year we'll just use it as a hymn reference.  I found that several of the hymns are in the old Mennonite Hymnal that we use at home--but that they are often different translations from the ones Douglas Bond includes. We will see which ones we like better, over the year.  (I also noticed that June's hymn, "Let Us with a Gladsome Mind," is by John Milton.)

4.  Because we don't have a passel of kids around anymore to just enjoy singing with (on the other hand), Dollygirl's Lydia's repertoire of folk songs has suffered over the last few years. (Scots Wha' Hae is the exception.) So the AO Year Eight folk song list should be plenty challenging as is.

5.  Because I don't like to waste time and materials on science experiments with negligible learning value, I've gone through the science textbooks we're going to be using, and written only the for-sure ones into our weekly schedule. That way I am not thinking that I need to track down a nine-volt battery, a stick of butter, or a fresh carnation for next week's science, if it turns out that we've a) done it before or b) wouldn't do it anyway.  That also leaves room for better experiments, demonstrations, or even online videos showing somebody doing the same thing (especially when it's complicated or expensive).
6. Because I'm kind of wobbling right now on the best English history textbook for Dollygirl (the Apprentice says "I kind of liked Churchill!"), I've scheduled in both Churchill's The New World and Arnold-Forster's History of England.  I'm planning on having her start with AF at least, and we won't do both at once, but if we switch over to Churchill at some point, the pages are ready to go.  Here's the bonus for careful readers: the page schedules for Arnold-Forster are now on the AO website, on the Year 7 Lite and Year 8 Lite 36-week schedules.  You can access the book at  (Last year I downloaded it as a PDF file and printed out chapters as we needed them.)

7.  Because we've done a lot of Shakespeare already, and because there is going to be a lot of Shakespeare-era focus in Term Two, I'm using A Man for All Seasons as our Term One play, and All for Love in Term Three.

8.  Because I'm doing all this over-planning for next year, including marking in holidays, I can lighten up some of the weeks, or add in seasonal stuff.  Our Term II starts at the beginning of December, and we will get three weeks of it in before the Christmas break--but if whatever it is doesn't really need to get done then, it can go on the schedule for January.  The artist we're studying in Term II is Albrecht  Dürer, and we have a copy of Martin Luther's Christmas Book, illustrated by Dürer; we'll also look at his painting Adoration of the Magi during that time.

9. Because I've been going through so many of the Year Eight books, I've been learning lots myself, and that definitely helps.  I've written occasional quotes and notes and "why did he say that's?" into the schedule, like this:
-- chapter 22, Democracy and the Constitution. "The Founders were afraid of democracy, and to protect liberty they created the Constitution as a way to weaken democracy."

10.  Because I know I will probably come across some good stuff or want to make some changes before September, I'm holding off from printing out most of the schedule until the last minute.

Mission Possible: Year Eight!

The Ecology of AO Year Eight (Part Two)

Part One is here. 

The work for this school year takes a key thought from Whatever Happened to Justice, chapter 14, "The Human Ecology." "The two fundamental laws are part of the fabric of the universe, like the laws of physics and chemistry. Where these laws...are obeyed, life gets better."

So that gives us two important books right there:  Whatever Happened to Justice?, by Richard J. Maybury, and Exploring the World Around You, by Gary Parker (not on the AO list).  Parker's book on ecology is one of the Master Book series that includes Exploring the History of Medicine, which means it's about as Creationist as you're going to get.  Normally I do not try so hard to find Creationist-oriented science books, but concepts like survival are very fundamental, and it's important that we serve them right side up in the first place. Do we live in a kill-or-be-killed world? Do we want to live in one?  And how does global warming and that stuff fit into what we believe about Creation, about God?  A third key book for this year, discussing similar questions and other really big stuff, is How to Be Your Own Selfish Pig, which is listed now for AO Year 7 but which Dollygirl hasn't read yet.  And don't forget  How to Read a Book, which, this year, deals a lot with arguments and propositions.  Some of the writing assignments for this year tie well into the ideas from these books: there will be a speech, a newspaper article, and two essays, all of which can draw on the world and its problems of environmental and human ecology.

It's also a perfect time to read Ecclesiastes, and that's scheduled at the end of the year.

The rest of science for this year will be divided between two of Dr. Jay Wile's Apologia textbooks: the parts of Physical Science that deal with the earth's atmosphere, water, weather etc.; and the last four modules of General Science, about human physiology.  There will be some other nature reading, keeping a nature notebook, and making notes about the Apologia experiments and lessons.

We will be reading Edith Hamilton's Mythology, just for a change. I think Dollygirl will also enjoy Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves (The Faerie Queene Book I), by Edmund Spenser and Roy Maynard.

Through history and literature we get to see how these ideas play out:  the problems of North American colonization and different groups of people trying to live together (who was here first?) can be compared with similar issues raised in Kon-Tiki and our other geography book, Journey to the Source of the Nile by Sir Christopher Ondaatje (not in the Ambleside schedule).  There are  the life-and-death questions that John Donne raises (adults might want to read Philip Yancey's chapter on Donne in his book Soul Survivor, which gives it a rather poignant context); and the problems of government and justice in The Merchant of Venice, in the trial and death of Charles I, in the story of Sir Thomas More, in Plutarch's Lives, and in the novels of Sir Walter Scott. 

And on top of that, we get to use The Roar on the Other Side: a Guide for Student Poets.  If you did The Grammar of Poetry in Year 7 and feel a bit burned out by iambic pentameter, this book is an oasis on the poetic desert.  Plus it has enough hands-on writing exercises to qualify as a good chunk of a course in Creative Writing.  Plus it has a whole bunch of extra poems in the back.

Things come together.  The connections are there without our having to force them.

Related Post:  Ten Things I'm Doing to Plan Year Eight Better.

Let's talk about AO Year Eight (Part One)

"When I was young I told a tale of buried gold, and men from leagues around dug in the woods.  I dug myself."
"But why?"
"I thought the tale of treasure might be true"
"You said you made it up."
"I know I did, but then I didn't know I had."  ~~ James Thurber, The 13 Clocks
It has been nine years since I had a student going into Ambleside Online's Year Eight.  You forget a lot in nine years.  What I did remember, from our first round, was a lot of difficult, and most of it not as appealing nor as easy to understand as the Middle Ages, King Arthur emphasis in Year Seven.  I also remembered that Year Eight covered an awful lot of ground: from the start of the Tudor era, the Renaissance and Reformation, through the Elizabethans and the Stuarts, through Cromwell, the Puritans, and up to William and Mary at the end of the 1600's.   For Canadians, that period covers an introduction to the First Nations peoples, the founding of New France, and the beginnings of the fur trade. (Americans get to study the Pilgrim Fathers and the early colonies.)  I remembered the Apprentice reading Cavalier poetry, Utopia, Whatever Happened to Justice?, and a version of Everyman...and Children of the New Forest, since we were trying to coordinate somewhat with Ponytails' Year Three (same time period).  We tried reading some of The Betrothed on Project Gutenberg, but it was just too big a book for us to handle that way, and the public library didn't have a copy (still doesn't), so we dropped it after a few chapters.
Now might bring a certain knight of gay and shining courage--"But, no!" the cold Duke muttered.  "The Prince will break himself against a new and awful labour: a place too high to reach, a thing too far to find, a burden too heavy to lift."  ~~ James Thurber
That's an awful lot to dump on a middle-schooler.  Not to mention all the literature, science, math and everything else that's part of a school year.  How are they supposed to make sense of all this, and not get so burned out that they forget about love of learning?  How's a homeschooling mom supposed to get fired up by a curriculum outline where almost Every Single Book is by John something or other?  The mere fact that so many of this year's readings can be found in the Harvard Classics is worrisome.  It wasn't like we were going to desert Ambleside or anything, but I was feeling like Year Seven had been a bit of a picnic compared with what lay ahead.
A lock of the guard's hair turned white and his teeth began to chatter.  "The Todal looks like a blob of glup," he said.  "It makes a sound like rabbits screaming, and smells of old, unopened rooms.  It's waiting for the Duke to fail in some endeavour, such as setting you a task that you can do."  "And if he sets me one, and I succeed?" the Prince inquired. "The Blob will glup him," said the guard.  ~~ James Thurber
I was more interested in giving Dollygirl a wonderful and manageable Year Eight than I was worried about being glupped.  I looked really carefully at the original P.U.S. programmes that covered the same time periods as Year Eight (they're not on the Ambleside website, you will have to go to the CM Digital Archives if you want to see those terms).  There were a few differences: less incidental material for history and literature, more plant study, more writing spelled out.  I took the general format and started swapping books around.  What I came up with wasn't bad, but I wanted a way to communicate "here's what to do when" to Dollygirl--as in, more specific instructions and possibly a weekly checklist.  When Ponytails was in Grade Eight and using AO's Pre-Year-Seven, I used Carol Hepburn's outline as a weekly checklist and let her set much of her own schedule. Would that work?  By this time I was also looking at the AO 36-week schedule for Year 8 and wondering how much of that we were going to end up keeping and how much might be different.

So this is what I did: don't try it at home.  I copied Carol's outline into a file, thirty-six times, changed up the Pre-Year-Seven books for all the AO Year Eight, P.U.S., and other books I thought should go in there (like math books and Canadian history), and then started copying in the page breakdowns from the AO schedule.
Actually it didn't look so unworkable.  In fact, it was so workable that I started seeing where I could add in a few of the "extras" from AO Year Eight.  Science was going to include a unit about the heart and lungs--well, there's where we would read about William Harvey.  The writing guide we had included a sample essay by Francis Bacon which was also on the AO schedule.  If we dropped Shakespeare in Term Three, we could fit in Dryden's play about Antony and Cleopatra, All for Love, which is hidden in the Free Reading list.  Et cetera.

Then I cut stuff. It hurt, but I really pruned it down.  I chucked a useful but boring plant book; even if the P.U.S. did botany every single year, and the readings weren't long, it wasn't contributing much.  I trimmed down the literature and the geography.

And what I ended up with was...more or less...AO Year Eight. Or somewhere between Year Eight and Year Eight Lite.  Scrambled into our own sequence, but still mostly there.

Year Eight is going to be great.
The Golux gazed a last time at the Princess.  "Keep warm," he said.  "Ride close together.  Remember laughter.  You'll need it even in the blessed isles of Ever After."....A fair wind stood for Yarrow and, looking far to sea, the Princess Saralinda thought she saw, as people often think they see, on clear and windless days, the distant shining shores of Ever After.  ~~ James Thurber 
(Part Two will explain what we're keeping and what we're switching.)
Related post: Ten Things I'm Doing to Plan Year Eight Better.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Books for Year Eight, from across the pond

Last year we read chapters from H.O. Arnold-Forster's History of England, using a downloaded PDF and printouts.  Enough of that, I thought.  Doesn't anybody out there have a hard copy?  The best deal, between the book price and shipping, was from a shop in England.  They also just happened to have quite inexpensive vintage copies of Van Loon's Story of Mankind and Marshall's History of English Literature.  And a paperback of The Trial of Charles I.  So, click click, there we were.  Canada Post helpfully delivered them to the wrong house--right number, wrong street--but we're used to that, and the neighbour there (who must have been puzzled at receiving a laundry-sized mail sack) brought them over on Sunday.
(like one of these)
The Arnold-Forster has been messily repaired with tape which is coming off too.  But I was not looking for a pristine copy--something with covers and real pages to turn was all I wanted.

All photos except the mail sacks by Mr. Fixit.  Copyright 2014 Dewey's Treehouse.

Treehouse Bookshelves

Books new, books old:

Photos by Mr. Fixit. Copyright 2014 Dewey's Treehouse.

What's up in the Treehouse

The weather is hot and sweaty.

Ponytails has one grade 11 exam left to go today, then she's free free free for the summer.

The Apprentice has been doing some odd jobs.  Today she's training for one of the oddest yet.  (It's legal. Just unusual.)

Mr. Fixit (and the Apprentice) did a bunch of fixit stuff around the house, involving cement work, water pumps, and plastic tubing.

Mama Squirrel has been cleaning out books (some are going to a church yard sale), typing up a schedule for September's school, and doing a few other homeschool-related things now that we're not actually doing school.  We just received a few lovely new (old) arrivals for the bookshelf--photos to come.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

In the Treehouse this week

What's happening around here?

Dollygirl is writing exams and reading a load of library books.  One of the questions asked her to draw a cat in three poses.  She drew one ordinary cat, one with a ball of yarn, and one with a top hat and a cane.  Dollygirl's cats are obviously a bit hammy.

Ponytails' ancient history teacher required the students to come up with a hands-on project demonstrating something related to the course.  Ponytails borrowed a head from the hairstyling lab and created a Hera Updo (it had little snake braids to show wrath).  Some of the boys did a gladiator fight.

The Apprentice is looking for a job--summer or forever, whichever comes first.

Mama Squirrel is doing "teacher training" with her own load of library books.

Mr. Fixit said goodbye to his 1972 desk that has lived in our bedroom since forever. It was made to fit a little boy, not a big Squirrel, and it wasn't in great shape, and losing it meant that we had more space for a bench that was blocking the closets.  And someone picked it up right away from the curb. Still, sometimes little changes are what you notice--like when I went in to dump the mail on the desk this morning, as per the last twenty-so years, and it wasn't there to be dumped on.  Oh.

It looks like our apple trees will have no apples this year.  Two years ago the blossoms got killed off by a frost.  But this year the spring was just too cold and they missed blossoming at all.

But we do have parsley.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Exam Questions for our Year Seven, Term Three

These examination questions are adapted from the examination for Form III, Programme 94, a term which used much of the same history and literature we have been reading.

Bible Lessons.

1. What does it mean that a Christian is "never lost again?"

2. Write what you know of the travels of the Israelites in the desert, and/or the duties connected with the Tabernacle.

3. Tell the story of Balaam and the [donkey].

Writing (writing will be considered throughout the Papers.)
Dictation. (Spelling will be taken into account throughout the Papers.)
Composition. (This subject will also be considered in all answers.)

1.. Write (a), a scene for a Christmas play from Ivanhoe, or (b), a letter to a friend in another country on general news (not so much your personal news, as things you have heard of that are going on locally or in your province or country).
2. Write some verses on "The end of school" in the style of Goldsmith's "The Deserted Village."
1.  Who was the bravest character in The Lord of the Rings, and why? (One sentence will not do; this requires at least a paragraph.)

2.  What creates the humour in the book Knight's Castle?  Give examples.
2. "Athelstane, arrayed in the garments of the grave, stood before them, pale, haggard . . ." Tell the story.

English History.
1.  Tell what you know of "the breaking of Wales, the making of Scotland, the shaking of France."

1.  (Ourselves) Why do we need to have an Instructed Conscience? What are some of the ways to achieve this?
2. (Plutarch) Give an account of one of the trials in which Cicero acted as defence lawyer. What was it about? What was the outcome?
3.  Tell what you know of the recent Ontario elections.

1.  Name ten countries in Europe. Which of them is the northernmost?

Natural History and Botany.
1.  Tell about some things you have observed on a nature walk. Where did you go? What kinds of trees or plants have you noticed?
3.  Describe five birds you have seen in your backyard or in other local places; their appearance, habits, what they eat, etc.

1.  Describe the building of a Welsh castle (and its surroundings) around the year 1300. Add drawings if you like.

General Science.
1. Tell what you know of the Periodic Table. Name ten different elements and describe, if possible, where they are found, what they are used for, and/or any special properties that they have.

2.  Give an example of a chemical reaction.

Picture Talk.
1.  Using coloured pencils, create a picture in the style of the Dutch artist Jan Vermeer.
2. Tell as much as you can about what made Vermeer's art special.

Drawing: Choose Two.
      1. A cat in three positions.
      2. An illustration for King John.
      3. A memory sketch of "Squirrels."
      1. Name some Romantic composers, and/or their works. Choose one and tell what you know of his life.

Monday, June 16, 2014

"Consider This" (A Book Preview)

My friend Karen Glass has written a book  It's a long-anticipated demonstration of how Charlotte Mason drew her philosophy from a long, time-honoured tradition of classical education.  CMers, we are in very good company, and Karen is the perfect person to explain how and why.

The book is still being edited, but this is your heads-up, and an invitation to subscribe (details are on the site) to get publication updates.

Mama Squirrel's Reading List: Math and more

In my library pile:

Kepler's Conjecture: How some of the greatest minds in history helped solve one of the oldest math problems in the world, by George G. Szpiro

Painless Algebra, by Lynette Long, Ph.D. (a Barron's guide I'm looking at maybe for Dollygirl in the fall)

The Teaching Gap: Best Ideas from the World's Teachers for Improving Education in the Classroom, by James W. Stigler and James Hiebert

Mathematics: The Science of Patterns, by Keith Devlin.  This looks like a very cool book: it's not a how-to, it's more of a why.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday School Plans

School plans for today:

Finish Basic Bible Studies, "Never Lost Again"

Read Dallas Lore Sharp, "Things to Do in the Summer"

Plutarch's Life of Cicero, last lesson

Key to Geometry

Read as much of Ivanhoe as we can

Play the Periodic Table Board Game

Fill out the "checklist of what you learned this year" and compare with the same one that you filled out in September and March--have you had any new doors opened?

Pat yourself on the back.

Hug your teacher.

Pray together.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

What's for supper? Thrown-together Southwestern, I think

Tonight's dinner menu:


A can of Romano beans, plus corn, onion, chili powder, cumin, and chopped peppers, simmered in a skillet

A few frozen beef-cheese taquitos (they're about the size of primary pencils)

Salad: spinach, mushroom, carrots.  And leftover bean-pasta salad for those who didn't have it for lunch.

A few tortillas, a bunch of whole grain tortilla chips, Triscuits.  A bag of Tex-Mex shredded cheese.  Cottage cheese and yogurt.  And some icy-cold canned pineapple.  Something for everybody.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

What's for supper?

Tonight's dinner menu:

Pasta (penne) with a cobbled-together chicken-spinach skillet dish:  chopped leftover honey-mustard chicken with a bit of its sauce still attached, fresh spinach, a cupful of chicken broth plus a bit of cornstarch and extra lemon-herb seasoning, with plain yogurt stirred in at the end.  So sorta Greek.

Reheated sweet potatoes, leftover bean salad, cottage cheese, applesauce, crackers

Four thawed brownies

Fresh-made raspberry-rhubarb sauce, with rhubarb cut from our garden just before supper.

Monday, June 09, 2014

As we head into Week 36 (Dollygirl's Grade Seven, and I won't be writing that too many more times)

What's left to do?  We are in Week 36, but we might take two weeks to wind things up before exams.  Depends on how fast we read.

Basic Bible Studies, by Francis Schaeffer: #18, Never Lost Again.

Ourselves Book II: continue reading about some instructors of conscience

Ivanhoe--to the end!

Key to Geometry, finish Booklet 2.  Balance Benders.

French Smart, Unit 2 (marine life, irregular adjectives)

Shakespeare's King John (we have only a couple of pages to go)

Pllutarch's Life of Cicero--we still have a couple of lessons left

Summer, by Dallas Lore Shrp

Money Matters for Teens

Castle, by David Macaulay

Science:  complete the planned work on elements and the periodic table.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Reposted quote for the day: We are all on pilgrimage here

First posted June 2012.

"We are all on pilgrimage here: and though to beguile the road I have sung a song or two, and told perhaps too many stories, there has also been time to make a notebook of a few good thoughts I met on the way and pondered and sometimes took to rest with me.

"Perhaps the best of all, for all weathers and for every business, is the following of Fenelon's, which I have kept for my preface:—
'Do everything without excitement, simply in the spirit
of grace. So soon as you perceive natural activity gliding in, recall yourself quietly into the presence of God...'
"You will find yourself infinitely more quiet, your words will be fewer and more effectual, and, while doing less, what you do will be more profitable. It is not a question of a hopeless mental activity, but a question of acquiring a quietude and peace in which you readily advise with your beloved as to all you have to do."--Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, Preface to The Pilgrims' Way

School Plans for Friday

School plans for the end of the week:

Read two more pages from Ourselves

Finish "The Deserted Village"

Science: Read "Salt Through the Ages" and "Designer Salt," written by a university student

Read more of Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang

Work on some French

Read "How to Borrow Money" in Money Matters for Teens

Do some Balance Benders

Read some of King John.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Thursday school plans, with no Ivanhoe spoilers

Indoor plans:

Continue "The Deserted Village" (poetry)

History (a short section. the Hundred Years' War and the remaining years of Edward III are summed up in a very short space).  Book of Centuries.

How Math Works: drawing daisies with a compass.  And what does one do with a daisy drawing?  Check out this page on timber framing.  Who'd have thought?

Old Testament:  begin the story of Balaam in the Book of Numbers.  We had not intended to get into this part of the book this term, but we have a couple of weeks to spare.


Outdoor plans:

Nature walk on a city trail!

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

On time, space, CM and 2014

1. Fit in seven minutes a day..."for the time-crunched masses," promises the online article.  You exercise intensely for half a minute, rest for ten seconds, and so on.  And that, if you're "time-crunched," promises health and fitness.  Fast fast fast.

2. "Do you work out?" the doctor asks my husband.  My husband mentions lawn cutting (we have a lot of grass), gardening, cleaning, fixing, and the hundred other active things he does.  But they don't seem to have a category for those.

3.  An Ontario school board is trying an iPad pilot project to encourage "essential literacy skills." They have provided electronic devices for whole classes. "I can't imagine going back now," says a teacher.

4.  I found Goldsmith's "The Deserted Village" online, something I wanted for today's school--but we also have it in an old book of poems, with a student's name and "1915" inscribed in the front in pen and ink.  I decided to read it from the book.  We also used five minutes of a video on castles to follow up the book we were using, and a super page on chemical reactions to clarify a new and difficult concept.  I have nothing against using the wonders of technology in the classroom.  But not as the only or even the main teaching tool.  And I somehow doubt that the seventh graders I saw on the news are Googling Goldsmith.

5.  Bus drivers who text AND write while driving.  We were uncomfortably close to one such today...any closer and we would have lost some paint.

6.  "I just realized," says a longtime CMer, "that I've been reading Charlotte Mason's books too fast.  I need to slow down."

School plans for Wednesday

1.  Opening time: hymn

2.  Oliver Goldsmith, "The Deserted Village" (we started this, will finish it in one or two more readings)

3.  Science:  DK Chemistry, pages 220-223 (start these pages anyway).  Look at this page too.   What is a chemical reaction?

4.  Plutarch's Life of Cicero, lesson 9.  "Cicero not only smashes the tables of the laws that Clodius created during his absence, but he declares every act invalid that was passed during that time, because Clodius wasn't legally entitled to be a Tribune anyway. Why does Cato feel that that is going a bit too far?"

5.  French: continue the workbook pages (marine animals, grammar)

6  Castle: pages 44-63 (read together).  Drawing in Book of Centuries. Watch a bit of this video (it corresponds with the book), from about the 17 minute mark to 23 minutes.
just short of that because the "garderobe" part was a little too realistic. yech.

7.  Key to Geometry

8.  Ourselves Book II:  two pages about our need for Nature.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

"Teach us how to be outside": Clare Walker Leslie

Nature journalist Clare Walker Leslie promoting her book The Nature Connection: An Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families, and Classrooms:

Monday, June 02, 2014

School plans for Tuesday

Plans for Tuesday:

1.  Art study: wrapping up Jan Vermeer, and giving us a chance to play around with the Art Stix we found on the weekend.

2.  Balance Benders.

3.  Ivanhoe:  what happened after the castle burned down?  Did everyone get out?

3b.  Writing time based on Ivanhoe.

4. Science:  this week we're looking at water and what's in water, including salt. We are also going to read this really interesting analogy for the question of why the periodic table is set up as it is--for instance, why are there only two elements in the first row?

5.  French:  Marine animals.

6.  Money Matters for Kids: how loans work.

How do you take a week's work and make it a day's?

So if I write out the academic goals and subjects for the week, how do I break them down into what (for us) is a normal day's homeschool work?

Well, I know that most days we can get through about eight or nine "lessons," sometimes ten if some of them are short.  And most days we are doing some kind of Bible study and some kind of mathematics.  So that takes care of two of them.  But also, today is going to be shorter than normal because Dollygirl has a dentist appointment after lunch.


Bible:  Old Testament, read more in the Book of Numbers

Mathematics:  do another lesson in Key to Geometry, Booklet Two. (Mom check the answer key ahead of time because occasionally there are teaching points as well.)  Turns out that these three pages are not well-explained (although Dollygirl appears to be getting the answers right and says she understands it so far), so we will also read through this teaching page on the same topic.

Most days we have either history, science, or some of both.  Lately we are doing both because it's the end of the year and we're trying to finish things up.

Fun thing that Dollygirl suggested: a game of Fluxx.  Actually two games because one of them was over too fast.

History:  History of England, "Edward III, The Ruin of France," sections called "The Beginning of the Great War" and "Crécy."  We ended up just reading through these sections; Dollygirl narrated a couple of times.  The last part we read was a good summary of why Crécy was an important battle: first is just because it was, second, because having such a victory early on meant that the British were motivated to keep fighting, whereas a faillure might have made them give up and the war might have ended sooner; and third, because it's the first time that cannons were used.  So we talked about cannons.

Usually we get at least one literature reading in, and today we decided to finish The White Mountains. (And we did!)

(We may be able to get in a few lessons after the dentist's, but I don't know for sure yet.)

Sunday, June 01, 2014

If I've really learned my Charlotte Mason lessons...

1.  I will not forsake the earnest and devout study of the Bible, the one way of approach to the knowledge of God....It is probably that even our lame efforts at reading with understanding are more profitable than the best instruction.  (Ourselves Book II, page 82-84)

2.  I will pray to be delivered from prejudices and prepossessions, and wait upon God as the thirsty earth waits for rain.  (page 84)

3.  Through observation of nature I will "learn to distinguish between small matters and great, to see that we ourselves are not of very great importance, that the world is wide, that things are sweet, that people are sweet, too; that indeed, we are compassed about by an atmosphere of sweetness, airs of heaven coming from our God."  (page 98)

4.  I will give daily and hourly thanks and praise to the Maker and designer of the beauty, glory, and fitness above our heads and about our feet and surrounding us on every side.  (page 100)

5.  I will "carry on the patient investigation of some one order of natural objects....the attitude of mind we get in our own little bit of work helps us to the understanding of what is being done elsewhere, and we no longer conduct ourselves in this world of wonders like a gaping rustic at a fair." (page 101)

6.  I will "record what I myself have seen, correcting my records as I learn to be more accurate, and being very chary of conclusions."  (page 101)

7.  I will "approach Art with the modest intention to pay a debt that we owe in learning to appreciate.  So shall we escape the irritating ways of the connoisseur!" (page 103)

8.  I will "lay myself out for instruction, read, inquire, think, look about for a way of acting...[to] find the particular piece of brotherly work appointed for me to do." (page 105)

9. I must "get a wide care and knowledge concerning the needs of men."  (page 105)

10.I will "take stock, not of what is peculiar to us as individuals, but what is proper to each of us as human beings..."  (page 108)

11.  I will not "put this sort of knowledge away as too troublesome and as making me too responsible.  I have simply to know in the first place; I am not bound to be labouring all the time to feed imagination, exercise reason, instruct conscience, and the rest...We are so mercifully made that the ordering of ourselves becomes unconscious to those of us who take it as a duty; it is the casual people who land in bogs or are brought up against stone walls."  (page 108)

Dollygirl's School Plans for this Week: two weeks to go!

(Cartoon by George du Maurier in Punch, 1871). The text reads: "Little Tommy (who has never been out of Whitechapel before). "Oh! Oh! Oh!"  Kind Lady. "What's the Matter, Tommy?"  Little Tommy. "Why, what a big Sky they've got 'ere, Miss!"

Plans for this week:

Natural History:  Dallas Lore Sharp, Summer

Ourselves Book II: "Instructors of Conscience: Nature, Science, Art"

How to Make a Universe with 92 Ingredients - Oceans & Seas, Water Water All Around, The Chemistry of Fizz-Ics

Read "Salt Through the Ages" in History of the Earth Vol. III: An Integrated and Historical Perspective

Play BrainBox: World, and science games

Bible studies:  continue Book of Numbers through chapter 21, and the Gospel of Mark

French Smart 7: Unit 2
Learn memory verse

Key to Geometry, Booklet 2, pages 29-41
Balance Benders Level 3

English History:  read about the reign of Edward III.  (We had not planned to go this far, but it makes sense now.)

Castle, by David Macaulay

Plutarch's Life of Cicero

Money Matters for Teens: "How Loans Work" and "How to Borrow Money"

Picture Talk:  finish study of Jan Vermeer

Ivanhoe: read up to chapter 39 if possible

Shakespeare's King John: finish Act V if possible.

Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang

The White Mountains, chapter 9, "We fight a battle"
 "...we all enter on the inheritance of the heavens and the earth, the flowers of the field and the birds of the air.  These are things to which we have right, no one can take them from us; but, until we get as much as a nodding and naming acquaintance with the things of Nature, they are a cause rather of irritation and depression than of joy."  ~~ Charlotte Mason, Ourselves Book II, "Nature, Science, Art"