Saturday, May 31, 2014

Social Studies

A couple of days ago, Brandy Vencel, Ambleside Online board member and Afterthoughtsblog author, asked if my research (here and here) into Charlotte Mason's writings on history would influence my teaching 4th grade Social Studies in a public school setting. The answer is yes.

I should probably start with some of what I already do in my classroom (for Social Studies):

1)I use the California History district mandated textbook.

2)We each keep a Book of Centuries, which some of the kids love and listed it as one of their favorite things we did this year, and some of the kids groan when I tell them to get it out.

3)We do Geography Fridays, using Wynn Kapit's geography coloring book, focusing on a different area of the world each month.

4)I read aloud biographies of historical figures that focus on admirable qualities, using the Valuetales series

5)Students do written narrations of some of the biographies - and they remember EVERYTHING!

But what about next year? (This year isn't even over - it ends Thursday for the kids, and Friday for the teachers - and I'm already thinking about next year. A couple of days ago, I received a BACK TO SCHOOL catalogue from a school supply store - in MAY!)

Next year, in addition to what I'm doing, I want to:

1)create and put up a simple timeline with maybe 15 key events (including "prehistory = before writing," when the automobile was invented, when the internet was available to the public, etc.) each printed on an 8 1/2 x 11 page with an image

2)supplement the district mandated textbook with life stories of key California figures (such as Levi Strauss here and hereJunipero Serra, William Mullholland, John Sutter, James Marshall, Biddy Mason, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo here and here and Mariano Vallejo), telling the story of California through people

3)to simplify lesson objectives to a)interest students so they won't forget, b)establish relations with the past, and c)focus on people's admirable actions and qualities

That's what I've got for now, but it's still only May (for a few more hours anyway)...











Handicrafts - Needle Felting

My three-year-old received a sea otter needle felting kit for her birthday three weeks ago, and this is our slow - and diligent - progress.

For those of you who have never needle felted, it's actually very easy and there is no right or perfect way of doing it which makes it a good project for little ones.

It also involves very sharp needles and stabbing, which some people might criticize me for doing with a three-year-old, but I'll continue to do it anyway, just like I let her scramble eggs at a hot stove and saute shrimp.

She is right handed, so Rule #1 is that she cannot have her left hand on top of the foam pad while she has a needle in her right hand. She can only hold one needle at a time, and when she's not stabbing, she has to put her needle into the foam.

It doesn't look like much yet, but...
"Camel" colored wool. The body is "chocolate."


See that otter? That's what we're making.
He has paws!


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Three Things Homeschool Teachers Don't Have to Do

1)Calculate grades for and complete report cards for 32 children

2)Handwrite comments on 32 cumulative folders - legal documents that follow the children from kindergarten to 12th grade, from school to school

3)Spend a week packing your schoolroom in labeled bankers boxes only to spend a week unpacking them two months from now

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

History and Chronology

I probably should have introduced this post with why I became so fascinated by the topic.

I'm looking at this from 3 roles: 1)a 4th grade public school teacher who teaches California History, 2)a home(pre)schooling tag-team parent who will be homeschooling an only child through 12th grade, and 3)the niece of 3 homeschooling aunties - one of whom I'll discuss in this post.

I've been teaching public school for 10 years, first 6th grade (with some 7th and 8th grade classes thrown in) and now 4th grade. In this role, I have had to teach to state standards, using district mandated textbooks. As I explained in
 Lots of Thoughts on History, a problem I have encountered is that, because California standards dictate that US history be taught in 5th grade, my 4th grade students have no context for many of the ideas we study. This made me wonder about history pedagogy and the issue of chronology.

I'm always trying to find more effective ways of teaching within the confines of government and district mandates. (And I am so happy my husband and I will be able to homeschool our daughter outside of those confines.)

I'm inspired by my homeschooling aunties (and uncles). One aunt and uncle homeschool one child using a combination of
 Classical Conversations, community resources (philharmonic, opera, theatre, etc.) world travel, etc. If there is an opportunity for learning, they take it. Because they use Classical Conversations, my cousin - at a very early age - had memorized a timeline of world history.

Is this Mason"ic"? ;) No. Might I do it anyway? We'll see... I can't say for sure at this point because I don't plan to buy my curriculum all neatly boxed up the same way I did with
 my daughter'sbirthday party supplies.

Auntie Barbara and I had a good talk on the phone the other night. I called to ask how their homeschool co-op's play went (their co-op - 11 boys and 1 girl - had put on the version of
 TheTempest I had adapted for my public school fourth grade class), and to talk about all of the cool special museum exhibits we can go to when they come to visit us this summer. And we talked chronology.

There are a multitude of reasons why I respect my aunt and uncle's opinions, not limited to their wisdom gained from experience as homeschoolers, their love for me and my family, and their love of learning (they're both PhDs).

I told my aunt I had posted about using one's community as a first planning resource, and was wondering if I was totally off my rocker by suggesting one might teach history out of order. I explained that I couldn't imagine taking my school-age child to a museum to see a special exhibit - the Natural History Museum's recent Silk Road exhibit for example - without prepping her as to what she was going to experience, or ignoring her curiosity and questions at the museum to study a particular historical era, say, the American Revolution, just because it was where we were in chronology.

I say all this because - I'll use the Getty Villa as an example - when I took my 6th graders on field trips, my team teacher and I spent a month beforehand, teaching our students about ancient Roman architecture and Greco-Roman mythology. And afterward, we extended the learning with writing and art, as well as other opportunities for students to discover the answers to their questions and show what they had learned. 

I'm not advocating child-led learning, but I do think that being able to discover a child's interests is one of the beautiful differences between homeschooling and public schooling.

Long story short, my aunt said no, history does not need to be taught chronologically. She said that once certain events and figures are in place, the mind is able to order other events and figures.

More than a decade ago, when I was studying for one of the tests I had to take to get my teaching credential, I created a color-coded timeline on our dining room wall. (Colors represented empires and continents.) It wasn't linear - because history isn't neat and tidy, and it doesn't fit in a binder. History happens everywhere all at once, causing and being caused.

History does not happen in vacuum... 

When I taught 6th grade Ancient Civ, the textbook was written as such. For example, students studied Ancient China, then Ancient Greece, though these civilizations existed concurrently. History classes are first organized spatially, then chronologically. So, yes, students learned about the history of China in order, but then they went back in time to learn about Greece, in order.

~

"The young student rarely goes over old ground; but should it happen that the whole school has arrived at the end of 1920." 
-from CM's Vol. 6, pg. 178 

This quote alludes to how students studied history in Charlotte Mason's schools; one reader pointed out that the whole school (the lower school) studied the same thing together.

This validates what many CM moms do - have all the children in the family focus on one historical period at a time, so as not to be teaching five historical periods at once.

The only complete term we have access to is Term 94 (meaning "grades" 1-12). Looking at the programmes and the exam questions for Term 94, we can see what the whole school was studying during the same trimester.

What 94 shows is that 10th through 12th (Forms 5 and 6) were studying 1625-1660. Form 6 also studied The Legacy of Greece and Rome by de Burgh (pg. 30-61 - two chapters) which covers Greek Civilisations: Origins and Development and The Greatness of Athens. Form 5 also studied Ancient Times: The Assyrians & Chaldeans, the Medo-Persian Empire, and The Hebrews and the Decline of the Orient.

8/9th graders (Form 4) studied 1600s (1625-1680 and 1625-1660 are noted in the programme) as well as daily news (current events) and the same Ancient Times book as Form 5 (Assyrians to Hebrews, etc.).

7/8th grade (form 3) studied 1154-1307, current events/daily news, and Stories from Indian History, the Crusades (by de Joinville), the British Museum for Children book.

4th-6th grades studied years 1154-1307 and ancient history. Their exam questions include Magna Carta, Peter the Hermit, St. Louis' first Crusade, Charlemagne, The Lady Blanch, Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus [the Persian Empire], Greek position and gods and heroes. And, they studied Brutus (ancient Rome) for their Plutarch lesson that term.

For 1st through 3rd (Form 1), they read Our Island Story pgs. 94-140 (8 chapters): Harold, the Battle of Stamford Bridge, The Battle of Hastings (1066), William the Conqueror, William the Red, White Ship, Henry I (king from 1100-1135), and King Stephen (died 1154). Form 1 did not study ancient history other than Bible history.

So, the conclusion I draw from this is that the students were studying different periods. However, 1st through 3rd was all on the same page, 4th through 7/8th studied the same period, and 8/9th through 12th studied the same period. There were three groups.

In my last history post, I wrote that it is worth noting Mason's objectives. I find this interesting because the objectives deepen as the children get older. Prior to high school, the objectives are largely about piquing children's interest and exploring why certain historical figures are worth admiring. But in high school, the objectives have to do with cause and effect, and political and social context of events.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Strawberry Patch

Here is a fun preschool art activity. You need red, white, and yellow paint, 3 Dixie cups, a wet wipe, a black marker, a green marker, and tiny fingers.

1)Dip an index finger into red paint and decorate the page with "strawberries."

2)Dip the other index finger into white paint and decorate the page with flowers.

3)Dip a pinkie finger into yellow paint and put yellow centers in your flowers.

4)Wipe fingers.

5)With your black marker, draw black dots on each berry.

6)With your green marker, draw green stems on each strawberry (up-down-up-down-up-down).

7)Still using your green marker, make vines by playing dot-to-dot with the berries and flowers.

Monday, May 26, 2014

How to Draw Crawly Things

Another guest post by artist Brenda Wood...

In a few more lessons I hope you’ll all be willing to admit that you can still draw (AND teach your child!). And I say “still” because you always could, but at some point, for some reason, maybe you were just embarrassed, and became reluctant to try.  Perhaps you heard a well meaning person say, "Well it isn’t exactly a Rembrandt,” to describe your copy work. Oh, see there’s that “copy” word again!  Take heart! Most, if not all of the artists we consider “the Great Masters,” spent time as copyists, attempting to duplicate line for line, texture for texture, the style and methods of those who went before! They were often apprenticed for that very ability to do so, in time even finishing work where the “master” had only drawn the cartoon (outline).

Therefore, to draw well, we must invest the time and effort to see well!  We must obviously take in, and retain some level of detail in order to create a resemblance. And the more the better! Michelangelo literally autopsied dead bodies, determined to understand the human form, what lies under the skin, what connects our parts and pieces, and makes us capable of moving in the ways we do.

There is a quote from Pablo Picasso which states, "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”  And I’ll paraphrase here a bit: First learn from those who have sought out knowledge and understanding ahead of you, and proven some things that always work, like, don’t squish your Play-Doh together, and rinse out your brush between colors unless you actually want some shade of brown!

But, let’s move on to the drawing part. Here’s a step by step exercise for drawing your very own caterpillar, with a couple of simple expressions thrown in for good measure. Note that as you add the backward “C” shapes, they should lie about mid-line along whatever squiggle you’ve started with. Similarly, if you’re doing stripes, the lines should conform to (follow the curve of) the surface of each body segment. The segments should get slightly smaller toward the end.

And after you get the gist of that, experiment with moving the white dot (reflected light) on the eyeball. It will change the direction your caterpillar appears to be looking. Slant the eyebrows (which yes, we all know caterpillars don’t have !) at a different angle. The effect of the tiniest variation may surprise you. So you see, it really is all about breaking things down into bite-sized pieces, and handy as well, if you ever need to know “how to eat an elephant!"

For other posts by Brenda Wood, click here and here.

How to Draw a Lemon


OK, I would definitely suggest that each of you grownups do these activities as well,
because I can only guess how many of you have used the,”That’s wonderful, but I can’t even draw a stick figure” line, when commenting on someone else’s artwork. But please, not alongside your children.  They will inevitably compare, and may be dissatisfied with their own work. 

And when you are working with more than one child, it would be of value to seat them a little way from each other for the same reason.  Though if available space doesn’t allow, simply cut up a cardboard box (or a couple of manila folders glued together for added weight?) and make “blinds” for each.  And if you want an explanation, note simply that, this is not punishment.  Instead, each one is looking at the object to be drawn, from a different point of view, and you would like them to draw what they see, not what their brother or sister is seeing. 

Here you would do well, not use the term “copy” in a negative sense, as in, “…because I don’t want you copying your brother.”  There are so many things in learning, down the line, that you will want them to copy precisely!  And you can make that distinction where appropriate.

If you’re wanting to begin an art or nature journal immediately, I would recommend a few specific items:
1.     A spiral bound, 90lb. drawing pad (bound portrait or landscape orientation)
2.     A kneaded rubber and/or white plastic eraser (Staedtler Mars or Faber-Castell for instance)
3.     Individual pencil sharpeners, with a repository for shavings
4.     3 or so pencils with different “blackness” values (although a good old #2 will get you started in a pinch)

Don’t despair, we’ll move on to color soon enough, but for now, let’s begin with depicting familiar shapes and objects.  And just for a quick exercise in seeing things as simple shapes, or combinations of shapes – pick up the cardboard tube that comes inside either a paper towel, or toilet paper roll.  Now hold it with one palm flat against each end, under a light source.  Look at it straight on. What shape do you see?  Many of you instantly said, “A cylinder!”  Well, yes, but…we’ll get back to that.  First, what simple shape do you see?  Hint: a rectangle.  But you knew that! Now…why did you say a cylinder?  Better yet, why did you see a cylinder!? 
Because with the gradation of light from bright to dark, your eyes told your brain, the object was curved, and the object is familiar!

So, ready for your first attempt (accomplished artists notwithstanding)?  Pretend that it is your job to describe certain items to someone who has never seen such a thing.  For our purposes, this person does recognize simple shapes by name, but is not allowed to touch the object you are describing.  Your description alone must enable them to visualize it and draw it in 2 dimensions.  We’ll begin with a lemon.  Will you describe it as a circle, or go straight for the oval ?  Depends on your particular lemon, yes?  But, what next?

What if we added a triangle (equilateral of course) to each end ?  WOW !

If you have him color it yellow, and quickly pepper it with tiny dots to represent the pits in the skin, he could probably take it to the grocery store and buy the dozen or so you need to make him his first lemonade !
  

For a bit of finesse, erase the straight line across each end and add an arc with a slight break in it.  EXCELLENT JOB !!!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Guest Post by Artist Brenda Wood

Even before we are able to form a concept about something in our environment, we begin to test it for information; for texture, for taste, for relationship.  Then, in as much as it feels (for instance the satin edge of our first blanket) or behaves the same way at each encounter, ie., feeds us when we cry, we make a valuation of it in connection to our own wellbeing, and catalog it for future reference.

When we determine that an experience, a sight, or a sound, was a positive one, obviously it increases the likelihood we will be willing, or actually eager to experience it again. And so it is with Art.  If, within the reasonable bounds of safety (and an acceptable surface!), we are encouraged to experiment, we may attempt to recreate something that resembles (though how, often only a grandparent can see) an original.

But one thing I have discovered for a certainty, initially, most little ones desire to please!  And they thrive on genuine, upbuilding praise. Surely, they will push at the boundaries!  And granted, some much more frequently than others, but often only to make sure that they are safe, and the fence will not fall down.

Art is a very different “animal”, in regard to where the outer limits lie, as to a thing even being considered art, not to mention process.  And then there is moral value, another conversation entirely!

So, all that said, my first suggestion for you is, make positive, leading statements.  Ask questions!  Rather than say, “I LOVE your, uh…purple armadillo??”, and risk tears, and much shredding of paper, try, “Please, tell me about your painting!”  “I see you really like yellow!”  “What else can you think of that’s yellow?” “Would I be safe riding a bicycle, or going for a swim in the ocean with this?”

You might get an eye roll or two, but giggles are more likely! And what is there more beautiful than the laughter of a child !?

Lots of Thoughts on History

If you like this post, click here for the follow-up.

Two days ago, I posted about an unconventional way of teaching history. I’d read a lot about what Charlotte Mason had to say on the subject, and I want to throw some ideas and quotes out there that will maybe help 1)show I’m a little nuts, 2)illustrate what I do when I can’t sleep, and 3)explore history with Charlotte Mason. Here goes…

Charlotte Mason wrote that children in grades 4 through 8* were capable of working through a single large book on history. This would mean that students would spend 5 years moving chronologically from ancient to modern history.

The wasteful mistake often made in teaching English history is to carry children of, say, between nine and fourteen through several small compendiums, beginning with Little Arthur; whereas their intelligence between those ages is equal to steady work on one considerable book.
-Vol. 3, pg. 235

If students studied history in this way, what prepared them for this in grades 1 through 3, and how did they deepen their knowledge in grades 9 through 12?

~

Students only used living books – books about lives – in grades 1 through 6 (or 8).**

My plea is, and I think I have justified it by experience that…they shall be introduced to no subject whatever through compendiums, abstracts, or selections; that the young people shall learn what history is…from the living books of those who know.
-Vol. 3, pg. 247

Short biographies were used beginning in 2nd grade (Vol 6, pg. 174). However, tales was a subject in 1st grade and tales could include history stories.

~
In Vol. 3, on page 272, Mason wrote that “the child of six” (a first grader) had 13 subjects. These were: 1)drill, 2)recitation, 3)arithmetic, 4)music (singing and piano), 5)writing (how-to, not composition), 6)reading (how-to, not literature), 7)French, 8)brushdrawing, 9)handicrafts, 10)Bible, 11)tales, 12)natural history, and 13)geography. History was not its own subject, but part of Bible and part of tales, which means the history focus for 1st grade was Bible history and stories from history.

On page 275, she wrote of seven and eight year olds (second and third graders), “But by this time the children can usually read, and read for themselves some, at any rate, of their books for History, Geography, and Tales.” Also, in 2nd/3rd, students had 15 subjects; two subjects were added, history being one of them.

On pages 276 and 277, Mason includes exam questions asked to children in 2nd/3rd, and they have to do with the lives of Saint Patrick (5th century) and Alfred, Lord Tennyson (19th century). So, while Mason advocates for chronology and consecutiveness in some places, there are lots of examples (including this one) where she contradicts herself.

In Classes II and III, which students spent “usually five years in these two classes,” the teacher read aloud one of Plutarch’s biographies per term. “The Lives are read to the children almost without comment, but with necessary omissions.” This could be grades 4 through 8, or 5 through 9, or a parent, if she wanted, could choose to make this period from grades 4 through 9.

A couple of important things to note: 1)Ancient history was not studied “first.” One of Plutarch’s Lives was read each term, so that Ancient History lasted five years. 2)At the same time, English and French history were studied concurrently. (See pgs. 280-281.)

The example exam questions Mason includes for a 5th grader are about 16th century England (the history of ‘F.D.’ on a penny) and 17th century France (Richelieu). This is another example of the contradiction I mentioned earlier.

On page 286, she writes about Class III, saying the range is 11 or 12 to 15. This corresponds to 6th (or 7th) grade through 9th grade. That’s a period of either 3 or 4 years.

On pages 286, the example exam question asked to a 14 ½ year old (9th grader) is about 18th century England (South Sea Bubble), and the question asked to a 7th grader is about 18th century France (the States General). This contradicts Mason’s writing about students concurrently studying English and French history in chronological order if a 7th grader and a 9th grader are both studying the 18th century.

In Class IV, students were 14 or 15 to 17 (9th or 10th grade to 12th grade), and spent 3 years, so we would consider that 10th through 12th. (See pg. 294.) “Class IV…sets the history of Modern Europe instead of French history… and the German and French books when possible illustrate the history studied.” This means that, not only were students in high school learning about history in History, they were also learning about it in foreign language classes. It would also seem to answer the question about what students did after their completion of a chronological study of history: three years of Modern History. The focus was not just their home country England, but all of Europe; it’s worth noting that non-European countries were not included.

I think it’s also important to look at the lesson plans she provides in Vol. 3, pgs. 334-337, specifically the objectives.

Grade Level
3rd
3rd/4th
5th
8th
11th
Subject
OT
Ancient Greece
NT
Early Middle Ages
France 18th century
Objectives
1.to interest the children in the story of Jacob’s death that they may not forget it.

2.to give a new idea of God as drawn from the story of Jacob’s deathbed: God’s abiding presence

3.to give them an admiration for Joseph as one who honored his father and mother


1.to establish relations with the past

2.to introduce the boys to a fresh hero

3.to stir them to admiration of the wisdom, valour, and self reliance of Alexander the Great.

1.to try to give to the children some new spiritual thought and a practical idea of faith
2.to bring the story of the Stilling of the Tempest vividly before their minds.
3.To interest them in the geography of the Holy Land.
4.By means of careful, graphic reading, to help them to feel the wonderful directness, beauty and simplicity of the Bible language: in short to make them feel the poetry of the Bible.
1.to recapitulate and enlarge on the period of history taken during the term (AD 871 - 1066)

2.to increase children’s interest in it by giving as much as possible in detail the history of one of the prominent families of the period.

3.to exemplify patriotism in the character of the Godwins.
1.to establish relations with the past

2.to show how closely literature and history are linked together and how the one influences the other.

3.to try to give yet a clearer idea of the social and political state of France before the Revolution than the girls have now, and to draw from them the causes which brought about the Revolution in France and at this time (1789).
Summary of objectives (general)
1.to interest them so they won’t forget
2.to illustrate something about who God is
3.to give them an admiration for a quality we want our children to have
1.to establish relations with the past
2.to introduce a new hero
3.to give them an admiration for the admirable qualities of the historical figure
1.to be a lesson in faith
2.to tell the story vividly, bringing history to life, (to interest them so they won’t forget)
3.to interest them in the geography of the place
4.to make them feel the poetry of the Bible
1.to review and go deeper
2.to increase interest with details
3.to use the lives of the historical figures as examples of admirable and desirable qualities
1.to establish relations with the past

2.to show how literature and history are linked; they influence each other

3.to study the social and political context of the event (not an individual’s life) to understand the causes of the event

~

In Vol. 6, pg. 178, Mason writes, “Perhaps the gravest defect in school curricula is that they fail to give a comprehensive, intelligent and interesting introduction to history. To leave off or even to begin with the history of our own country is fatal. We can not live sanely unless we know that other peoples are as we are with a difference, that their history is as ours, with a difference, that they too have been represented by their poets and their artists, that they too have their literature and their national life. We have been asleep and our awaking is rather terrible.”

Many sequences for homeschoolers begin with American history, or American history layered with Ancient History, but Mason thought Ancient should come first. In contrast, in California public schools, students learn about California history before they learn about U.S. history, which means they have no foundation – Mayflower, Boston Tea Party, Lewis and Clark - for the ideas presented in 4th grade.

~

Mason wrote that history should be taught chronologically:

Vol 6, pg. 172, “The child of six in 1B has, not stories from English history, but a definite quantity of consecutive reading, say forty pages in a term, from a well-written, well-considered, large volume which is also well-illustrated.”

Vol 6, pg. 178, “It will be observed that the work throughout the Forms is always chronologically progressive. The young student rarely goes over old ground; but should it happen that the whole school has arrived at the end of 1920 [the present], say, and there is nothing for it but to begin again, the books studied throw new light and bring the young students into line with modern research.”

However, there are lots of places where she contradicts these ideas.

~

*Mason wrote “between nine and fourteen,” which corresponds to grades 4 through 8.
**Mason wrote “until they are at least twelve or fourteen,” which corresponds to the ages children are when they enter 7th and 9th grades.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Pin This!

I can't take credit for this idea. I saw it somewhere, but now have no idea where. Using words from Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, I made cards and wrote letters on clothespins so my 3 year-old can match them up. It's fun because it's active and novel, and all of that pinching develops fine motor skills!

Note: This photograph makes me glad that, when choosing what table and chairs set to buy my daughter last year, I went with plain wood and paid less than $90.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Using Your Community as Your 1st Planning Resource

The most popular CM curriculum - Ambleside Online - is free. Some people choose Simply Charlotte Mason. Some (for the elementary years) use HUFI. Catholic parents can choose Mater Amabilis.

There are things about all of these that I like, but I also like the idea of using where we live as my first planning resource.

Living in Southern California, we have the L.A. Philharmonic, the Getty Villa*, the Getty, LACMA, the Norton Simon Museum*, the Huntington*, the Natural History Museum**, the California Science Center, the Broad Stage*...on and on and on.

Three years from now, I believe I will be planning my daughter's Year 1 around Southern California's offerings.

If three years were today, I would be choosing Mozart (LA Phil this month) for Composer Study, a French or German expressionist (special exhibit for summer at LACMA) for Artist Study, butterflies (summer at the NHM) as our Nature Study focus, and - for world history - the Byzantine Empire (special exhibit at the Getty Villa) followed by a term on Ancient Rome (because Pompeii is at California Science Center until January).

Teaching public school, I've learned that field trips are most effective 1)when students are prepared for what they are going to see, and 2)after the trip, when they have the opportunity to extend their learning by exploring what piqued their curiosity.

I know this may seem an unconventional way to teach history (especially history), but Charlotte Mason wrote that education is the science of relationships. She opposed unit studies, instead favoring "much knowledge" and variety ("for sameness in mental diet does not create appetite"), and argued that children naturally make connections...

[A] human being comes into the world with capacity for many relations; and that we, for our part, have two chief concerns––first, to put him in the way of forming these relations by presenting the right idea at the right time, and by forming the right habit upon the right idea; and, secondly, by not getting in the way and so preventing the establishment of the very relations we seek to form[.]
-Charlotte Mason, Vol. 3 pg. 66

*places we've taken our 3 year-old
**We're members.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Preschool Chromatography

My daughter's Chromatography Bookmark
One of the birthday presents my 3 year-old received was a Clifford Rainbow Science Kit. Last night, she got to play with her pipette, colored water, and chromatography paper. (The paper towel turned out pretty too.) It reinforces the lesson she had a couple of weeks ago about mixing primary colors to make secondary colors, and working with a pipette develops fine motor skills. She also learned the vocabulary "pipette" and "chromatography paper." Lastly, she practiced doing something carefully.

My little chemist at work...