Sunday, August 6, 2017

Year 1: Week 9

This "week" was really two weeks - the week before I started back to work, and my first week back.

I knew I was going to be too busy to think about anything other than work, so I'm glad I made the decision to start our school year early.

What I didn't realize was that Gemma's swim lessons were going to take up the greater part of my post-work/pre-bed time. 

It was well worth it, though. She is now able to swim the entire length of the pool without touching the floor. She isn't yet able to swim the distance without getting tired and needing to flip herself over on her back for a short rest a couple of times. Her coach said she only needs one more round of Fish (to build up her endurance) before she can move on to Barracuda.

Post-swim, with her completion certificate...
With a kickboard, Gemma was the fastest swimmer in her class. She won the kickboard race every class for a MONTH! That's her in the lead...
She recited her OT passage, NT passage, Psalm 150, and the two Stevenson poems. We also read several new Stevenson poems (she read a couple on her own). We sang our hymn, and our foreign language songs.

Her fairy tale was Cinderella; she read it on her own and narrated to me when I got home. Her narration was, "Cinderella planted a hazelnut tree, with just one twig! I never knew! And the tree threw down three splendid dresses, each more splendid. The third one was splend-est. And the stepsisters cut off part of their feet!"

This week's fable was "The Dog and the Shadow."

This week's Bible passage was The Call of Samuel. 

For history, we read Our Island Story (Albion and Brutus), A Child's History of Art: Architecture (Mud Pie Palaces and Temples), and On the Shores of the Great Sea (The Siege of Troy).

She did Duolingo Spanish and French, and practiced piano daily.

For handicrafts, we made an origami elephant. I helped with the trickier folds, but Gemma did most of the elephant. She did the inside reverse folds on the tips of the ears, the feet, and the tip of the trunk entirely by herself.
For natural history, we read The Burgess Seashore Book "Reddy Fox Meets Big Claw" (about lobsters), and started a new book (Plant Life in Field and Garden). The chapter we read was "A Shepherd's Purse." In it, the narrator instructs the reader to go out and pull up a weed, and observe the weed's roots and rootlets.
The chapter also mentioned manure, so Gemma learned a new word.😉

For geography, we read chapter 5 of CM's Elementary Geography ("The Star"), which is the complete version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star by Jane Taylor; we also read The World By the Fireside "Ships Set Fast in the Ice" (about the Northwest Passage, with a mention of the Panama Canal), and "Floco and his Ravens" (a story about how Iceland was discovered).

To enhance our geography studies, we watched some videos from the "Countries Around the World" series (each 13 minutes) and the "Families of the World" series. Our history lessons have been focused on the countries surrounding the Mediterranean, so we checked out videos from the library about Egypt, Israel, Turkey, and Greece. We also recently read about "Lapland," so we watched one on Finland.

We re-viewed Children of the Open Air's sol-fa 6A video (Bye Baby Bunting, with "la.") 

Gemma continued working on cursive...
For math, we did Life of Fred: Kidneys chapter 10. Not-so-secret secret: I don't make Gemma do math daily. We do math formally once or twice a week. In the future, this will change. (It would take f-o-r-e-v-e-r to learn, say, algebra completing only one or two lessons per week.) But can a child learn elementary math with only one or two formal math lessons per week? Yes. Another question I've gotten is, "Does Life of Fred provide enough practice?" People are used to math workbooks with 30 similar problems on one page. Life of Fred: Kidneys chapter 10 had only FOUR problems! But each "Your Turn to Play" is a multi-step problem. For example, number 4 was the equivalent of 15 problems!
For artist study, Gemma chose "Carriage at the Races," and for composer study, we listened to Beethoven's Turkish March (and just for fun and comparison - Mozart's Turkish March). Also, we listened daily to KUSC 91.5 - our classical music radio station - on the commute to and from swim.

Our current free read is Pinocchio. We're 2/3 through and we love it. In the car the other day, Gemma asked, "Mom, is it true that a person can die of sorrow?"

Pete also took Gemma to play with friends in the forest at Temescal Canyon, to the park for a Little Explorers lesson about space, and took her bodyboarding on his surfboard. That beach day was my third day of work. While my students were reviewing/learning procedures, getting to know each other, and taking diagnostic assessments, my daughter was "at school" surfing with Daddy.😆 I love it.

So, looking back over the past two weeks, we did quite a bit, and I survived the first week back at work.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Year 1: Week 8

(This "week" took 10 days.)

Gemma is officially a Fish!
She's been in the pool every weekday for the past two weeks, and she made her first dive!

Our natural history readings this week included The Burgess Seashore Book (Reddy Fox Meets Barker the Seal), and the last story in James Herriot's Treasury - Smudge, the Little Lost Lamb.

I don't like having multiple free reads going on at once, but we usually do. This week, while finishing Avi's Ereth's Birthday, we started Pinocchio. 

I like Ereth's Birthday, but there are things about it that I don't like. Ereth is a curmudgeon, so he grumbles and says stupid and idiot, words I don't want to be part of Gemma's 6 year vocabulary. Ereth is not supposed to be likable. He's prickly. He's a porcupine. What he has to do in the book makes him grow, makes the reader feel for him, that AND the fact that he's being stalked by a fisher cat. (I actually think that the chapters from stalker Marty the Fisher's point of view are more frightening for an adult than a child.)
We started Pinocchio because, when we were at the library, I saw a postcard for a production of Pinocchio at a nearby theatre, and thought it would be fun to go see.
And it was. I was really happy that the play, unlike the Disney movie, stayed close to the original story.

For handicrafts, Gemma made a clay man with two coils and a ball. She also made a cone hat (not pictured).
Gemma is working on learning cursive, one letter at a time.

For history, we read about the Phoenicians circumnavigating Africa and Jason and the Argonauts. We watched a couple of short videos about Jason and the Argonauts, and added the founding of Carthage and the Phoenicians circumnavigating Africa to our timeline book.

For composer study this week, while I was cleaning, Gemma watched a NEST movie about Beethoven. Near the end, she said, "Mom! The sound keeps going in and out!" I said, "Maybe something is wrong with the disc?" She said, "No, it's supposed to. When the sound goes out, we're hearing from Beethoven's perspective. How cool is that?" That my 6 year old can appreciate this feature of the movie? The coolest. :)

We went to the Aquarium of the Pacific.
A lorikeet landed on Gemma's head! I wasn't quick enough with my camera. At one point, I had 4 lorikeets perched on me.
We got to touch sharks, rays, and jellyfish. 
And we got to see alligators, penguins, and an octopus.
We also went to the tidepools at Leo Carrillo.
This week's Bible story: Baby Moses

This week's fairy tale: Our Lady's Little Glass

This week's fable: The Snakes and the Porcupine 

This week's piano song: Three Wise Monkeys

This week's geography lesson: Lapland/Finland

This week's math lesson: Life of Fred Kidneys chapter 9 (4-digit times 2 digit numbers, perimeter)

There was also French and Spanish (Gemma is on a 11-day Duolingo streak!),  a sol-fa lesson from Children of the Open Air (lesson 6A - not easy, we'll be reviewing that one), French song, Spanish song, hymn, recitation of Bible passages and poems, and Gemma watched a couple of episodes of Telefrancais.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Year 1: Week 7

(This "week" took 13 days.)

Our composer for this term is Beethoven, so we got $12 seats at the Hollywood Bowl to see Beethoven's 9th. Here is Gemma pretending to be Gustavo Dudamel, the conductor.
We rode the metro to the Bowl, which took about 2 hours. We did no "school" that day. I was thinking about how Gemma spent the day at the beach, playing in the surf with Daddy, while I went to the library to print out our tickets, and to the store to buy picnicky food, and about how when I, as a public school teacher, take students on a field trip, transportation time is included as instructional minutes. So, we spent from 5:30 to 7:30 getting to the Bowl, 8 to 10 listening to the concert, and from 10 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. getting home. That's 7 hours - slightly longer than a California school day.

On the way to the Bowl, one man (also on his way to the Bowl) said (jokingly) to Gemma, "You probably don't like that boring classical music stuff." He was kidding, but I wanted to strangle him. Gemma, unaffected, responded, "I love classical music." She proceeded to tell him that she knew we were going to the 9th Symphony, by Beethoven, that it had 4 movements, and she wondered if the 4th movement would be in German or English. And then she skipped down the sidewalk pointing to sidewalk squares, saying they looked like various U.S. states.
 
The word "boring" doesn't have a place in my house.
For handicrafts, Gemma folded a giraffe (and we discovered that their "horns" are called ossicones).
Gemma chose The Bellelli Family as our latest Degas painting. It was fun looking at it closely, after having looked at other paintings by Degas, and realizing that the mirror over the mantle appears to be reflecting a window.

We went on a 4 mile bike ride. 
Gemma worked on cursive. She is an expert at lowercase i. 😉

We did not do a drawing lesson, a sol-fa lesson, a nature study drawing, or add to our timeline book. *Gasp.* How can I call myself a Charlotte Mason homeschooler?!

In addition to Duolingo, Gemma watched two episodes of Telefrancais on YouTube. When I was in high school French class, Madame let us watch episodes of the show. My favorite character was the talking pineapple. ("Je suis un ananas.")

In Bible, we worked on Psalm 150, The Good Samaritan, and our passage from Genesis. Our Bible passage this week was long - four chapters - so we broke it up over a couple of days. Gen 42-43, and 44-45.

For Literature, we finished Lamb's Midsummer Night's Dream, read The Lion and the Mouse for our fable, and several Stevenson poems. Gemma decided to memorize Stevenson's least PC poem: Foreign Children.

Our current read aloud is Ereth's Birthday by Avi, a sequel to Poppy. Prior to reading this book, I had never heard of a fisher, and I didn't know much about porcupines, except that they're herbivores. I didn't know they don't have quills on their stomachs, so predators can attack them there. I also didn't know that they hug trees to protect themselves.

In addition to other books, Gemma's read a couple of Boxcar Children mysteries from the library, independently.

In piano, she finally nailed the timing of "The Thing That Has No Name." We screamed and jumped up and down in celebration. It was very exciting. She also worked on learning tetrachords and major scales.

For geography, we read Charlotte Mason's Elementary Geography chapter 4 (about the earth being round), and The World By the Fireside (A Fight With the Walrus). We also watched a video about walruses:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=r35i6WFbPa0

At Little Explorers, it was my turn to host. We made ice cream and learned about Arctic animals, Inuits, and igloos. Homemade ice cream counts as handicrafts, right?
For natural history, we read James Herriot's Oscar, Cat About Town (my FAVORITE Herriot story!), and Burgess Seashore Book (more about clams).

For history, we read two chapters from On the Shores of the Great Sea, including one about the founding of Carthage.

She did a chapter of Life of Fred: Kidneys.

We went to big sister's performance in Shrek: The Musical, where she played Princess Fiona.
Lord Farquad was hilarious.
A blast from the past: For Gemma's first Halloween, I sewed a Princess Fiona costume for her.
We also went to Theatricum Botannicum for a Hans Christian Andersen play. It was Gemma's birthday gift from our wonderful friend Anita.💗
Our current round of swim lessons is at 9:30 a.m. So early for the night owls we've been this summer. She's getting the hang of side breathing!
This "week," as usual, has taken longer than a week. We've done quite a bit, like hosting Little Explorers and running the errands needed to do that, spending a morning at the library, independent reading one hour each day, a day spent cleaning before Grandma and Poppa's visit (Gemma vacuumed and made the bed), a day at the beach with Daddy/Hollywood Bowl, seeing Shrek twice, going to the Hans Christian Andersen play, etc. All that, AND school. 😉

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Do you set goals for your homeschool?

When I was planning our first grade year - our first official year of homeschooling - I thought about the subjects we were going to include, the books we would use, and the way we would do things. I also thought about why.

I didn't write out a list of goals, but I had some in mind.

I planned to include a lot of subjects. A Charlotte Mason education includes Bible, reading, writing, literature, history, geography, foreign language, science, physical education, math, music appreciation, singing, instrumental music, art appreciation, art, handicrafts, etc.

When I thought about what I wanted my daughter to get out of studying all of these subjects, I realized that each of my "goals" fit into one of three categories. I had goals about attitude. I wanted my daughter to more than care about what she was learning; I wanted her to love it. I had goals about creating habits. I wanted my daughter to understand that we would do some things regularly. And I had goals about skills. For example, in studying a foreign language, I wanted my child to learn some words in that language.

The three categories made me think of Charlotte Mason's definition of education:

Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.

I think my goals could be called atmosphere goals, discipline goals, and life goals. For example, I want my daughter to want to read (atmosphere), to read every day (discipline), and to develop as a reader (life).

Now, my daughter isn't going to want to read if she thinks that I don't value reading, or if I tell her to hurry up and get done with her reading to check off a to-do list. She isn't going to read daily if I don't make books accessible and eliminate distractions. And, she isn't going to develop as a reader if I don't read to her and have her read to me.

What are your thoughts about setting goals for your homeschool?

Monday, July 3, 2017

Year 1: Week 6

(This "week" took 10 days.)

We watched Children of the Open Air's YouTube video 5A "Introducing La," listened to a Classics for Kids podcast about Beethoven, listened to the beginning of his 9th Symphony, and sang our foreign language songs.

In piano, Gemma worked a little on "What a Happy Day," and we revisited some older songs to work with a metronome on timing.

We revisited Degas' painting "The Rehearsal of the Ballet Onstage" in What Makes a Degas a Degas? (What a great book!) We also read two books from the library - the Degas book in Mike Venezia's series, and Degas and the Dance: The Painter and the Petits Rats, Perfecting their Art by Susan Goldman Rubin.

My own petit rat...
I love her facial expression in this one. 😆
Gemma completed Life of Fred chapter 7, which included long division without remainders, and 2-digits multiplied by 2-digits.

She completed four thank you letters.

For Bible, we read Pharaoh's Dreams. We are also working on learning 3 passages: a Psalm, an OT passage, and a parable. Gemma has memorized parts of all three by reading them aloud weekly. 

We're enjoying having time to play games like Rush Hour, Jr., Forbidden Island, and Spot It! And Gemma is enjoying some apps on her Kindle like Bonza and Word Wow.

For history, We read Hillyer's A Child's History of Art - Architecture chapter 2 about Stonehenge and Karnak. We also read chapters from On the Shores of the Great Sea about King Hiram of Tyre and King Solomon's Fleet.

We added Stonehenge, David, and King Hiram to Gemma's timeline book.

In geography, we continued to read about the Arctic. We read a short chapter about whales, and a short chapter titled "The Greenlander." (We also watched Greenland Kayak Rolls and Amazing Facts About Narwals on YouTube.)

We got new art supplies! I got pencils for myself, for an online natural history illustration course, and I got Gemma an Aquash water brush. Wow, that water brush is neat-o. Here is Gemma trying it out.
Here is my (beginner-level, in-progress) observational drawing.
For natural history, we read James Herriot's Market Square Dog, and the Burgess Seashore Book's chapter about clams. We also watched a YouTube video of clams spitting. 

We spent a day at Temescal Canyon.
Wasp galls were collected...
Gemma started learning to tread water. Her instructor said Gemma probably only needs one more round of Minnows before she can move on to Fish.
We finished our read aloud Poppy (by Avi), and started The Boxcar Children. After reading the first four chapters, we watched the animated movie The Boxcar Children. It was very close to the book, very sweet. We will finish the book next week.

We read The Crow and the Pitcher, several Stevenson poems, and are in the middle of Lamb's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Gemma asked if she could someday get her nails done, and I said that if she waited patiently while I got a long overdue haircut, she could get a manicure and pedicure. She chose dark purple for her fingernails and blue for her toes. Later that day, at the grocery store, she kept taking off her Crocs to show her toes to the employees (who all know her by name). The following day, out of nowhere, she said, "Mommy, thank you so much for letting me get my nails painted." The day after that, on a walk to the library, I asked for her hand to cross the street, and she thanked me again. I love these little toes and the child to whom they belong.
Gemma got to level 4 in Duolingo French. (She does French one day, and Spanish the next.)
For handicrafts, we worked on Gemma's felted pig.
Gemma completed her reading log for the library's summer reading program and, in addition to her Benihana's certificate, chose this book as a prize...

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Year 1: Week 5

Week 5 was spread out over two weeks because of Vacation Bible School and traveling.

We rocked handicrafts this week. Gemma made an origami lion and an origami fish, and a coil pot.
At church, we helped paint decorations for Vacation Bible School.
Our Robert Louis Stevenson poetry this week included System, A Good Boy, Escape at Bedtime, The Wind, and Marching Song. Gemma finished learning Good and Bad Children. Our fairy tale this week was Hansel & Gretel. 

Gemma's handwriting has improved a lot over the last month and a half. Here is a comparison of her handwriting 6 weeks ago to her handwriting now:
At big sister Krystyna's graduation from UC Irvine, Gemma cheered as loud as she could!!!
In math, Gemma did Life of Fred: Kidneys chapter 6.

We met up with friends to do science experiments at the park...
Gemma signed up for the summer reading program at the library, checked out 8 chapter books (all mysteries), read them all, and collected her first prize - a little Lego vehicle and driver.

VBS was superhero-themed...
One day of VBS, there was a Mad Science show involving dry ice...
Another day, during the lesson (which the big kids got to act out), Gemma read the part of worried Mary looking for Jesus in the temple.
For natural history, we read James Herriot's "Blossom Comes Home," and The Burgess Seashore Book's chapter about hermit crabs.

One afternoon, I found her observing a dead bee. She helped herself to my tweezers.
Note how all six legs are attached to the bee's thorax.
We went to swim lessons.
Gemma made a rug for her dollhouse. She didn't ask for any help, and I had no idea what she was quietly working on. I should know by now that when my child is too quiet, it means she's got a pair of scissors. I was so impressed by her industriousness.
We're continuing to work on Psalm 150, and The Parable of the Good Samaritan. In piano, Gemma has been working on "The Planets," and in foreign languages, she had a 7 day Duolingo streak!

Our Beethoven selection this week was "Ode an die Freude" (Ode to Joy) from
Symphony No. 9.

In history, we read two chapters about the Phoenicians. Gemma's narration for On the Shores of the Great Sea chapter 11 was, "There were no gods in the Atlantic Ocean." The Charlotte Mason police will be after me, but oh well: I asked her to explain. She responded, "The Phoenicians thought that if they sailed beyond the little space [the Strait of Gibraltar] they would be where Heaven and Earth meet, where the gods lived, but it was really the Atlantic Ocean."

We went to visit family in Central California, VBS #2, ...
...a trampoline park called Quantum Leap!...
...and a community theatre production of Bye Bye Birdie with family. Gemma was excited to spend time with cousin Aris.
Yes, there were things we didn't do this "week," but there were sooo many things we did do.