Friday, December 29, 2017

Year 1: Week 23

We're nearing the end of our second term of first grade. Here is some of what we did this week...

*listened to the waltz from Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty
*drew a picture of Sleeping Beauty, the ballerina
*watched 2 Horrible Histories videos about Alexander the Great (so funny)
*read Alexander & Bucephelas and Diogenes (from 50 Famous Stories Retold)
*played the singing game "Rise, Sally Rise" (Thank you, Children of the Open Air!)
*read Bible passages, including Early Works of Healing
*completed 2 chapters of Life of Fred: Liver
*played some multiplication games on
*read Andersen's "The Ugly Duckling"
*practiced piano - began learning Kum Ba Ya and hymn Holy Holy Holy
*read CM's Elementary Geography (ch. 12) about the earth being tilted on its axis (We also watched a video about earth's orbit around the sun. It's quite a complicated idea for a 6 year old. The picture in CM's Elementary Geography - as in many books - is wrong, and  children's models of the solar system show the earth orbiting the sun in a circle. Books show the earth orbiting in an ellipse with a sun in the center of the ellipse. While earth's orbit is elliptical, the sun is closer to one focus than the other. In January, at perihelion, the earth is 91.4 million miles from the sun, 3 million miles closer to the sun than it is in July. In July, at aphelion, the earth is 94.5 million miles from the sun, 3 million miles farther from the sun than it is in January. 
*read poetry from Nature in Verse. We had to skip some autumn poems to start the winter poems. Our verses this week were about Christmas, cold weather, and the holly plant.
*bought a hyacinth bulb in a vase at Trader Joe's, and continued to observe and enjoy our amaryllis bulb. One of the outcomes of educating using CM methods has been that I have an impossible time saying no to purchases like amaryllis and hyacinth bulbs. 

*read a chapter in Plant Life in Field and Garden about the plants we eat as food (carrots, onions, potatoes, etc.). This chapter went so nicely with our bulb observation. We talked about how onions are bulbs, just like the amaryllis and hyacinth, and how bulbs store food (which is why the amaryllis can be coated in wax and still flower, and why the hyacinth's roots can be in water only and doesn't need to take in nutrients from soil). We also looked up images of onion flowers (have you seen the flower of the Persian onion - beautiful!), and pulled a potato out of the dark cabinet to examine its eyes.
*looked at Van Gogh's 🌻 
*read Hercules and the Carter
*practiced cursive
*currently reading (as our bedtime read) Detectives in Togas
*read 3 pages of As You Like It
*read The Burgess Seashore Book about jellyfish young (and looked at images of jellyfish polyps), sea cucumbers (and watched a short video about sea cucumbers), and sea spiders (and watched a short video of a sea spider walking on the ocean floor). Did you know male sea spiders carry their eggs until they hatch?
*sang Alouette, Des Colores, and All Creatures of Our God and King
*for handicrafts - sewed a leg of doll & stuffed it, but then Gemma lost the big needle, so that project is now on pause

And finally, an update on my dollhouse lighting project...

Monday, December 18, 2017

Year 1: Week 22

Sometimes you just have to call it a week.

This week, we got to travel and celebrate Christmas with family. We did a ton of school-related this-and-that, but we didn't do everything.


Here is some of what we did...
*completed 2 chapters of Life of Fred: Liver
*read The Stag Looking into the Water
*practiced piano (Gemma was having a tough time with one song - Toymaker's Dance - but I sat her on my lap and bounced her while I sang the melody, and it started to make sense to her. Those pesky eighth notes.)
*read some poetry from Nature in Verse (not every day, but some, and some is better than none)
*did some Duolingo
*read some Bible passages, including "The Call of the First Disciples"
*listened to our Maestro Classics CD of The Nutcracker
*read about Coriolanus, Alexander the Great (and located Macedonia in our atlas), and sculptures like Venus de Milo & Winged Victory of Samothrace
*added Charles Dickens, Queen Victoria, and Tchaikovsky to timeline book
*read The Bremen Town Musicians
*went to dance class

*read two chapters of The World by the Fireside. The first was about sugarcane. We located Jamaica in the atlas and watched this YouTube video about how sugar goes from cane to the sugar we buy in the store...

...The second was "Where Does Cocoa Come From?" For Mother Culture, if you're interested in how cacao became a product of West Africa, check out this:
*read 3 pages of Lamb's As You Like It & watched the animated As You Like It
*Gemma independently read several books, including Betsy-Tacy and Tib, For Biddle's Sake, and Betsy-Tacy Go Over the Big Hill.
*decorated our Christmas tree


*read about sea anemones and how plants store food
*spent a day playing with friends at Temescal Canyon

For Christmas, Gemma received the lighting kit I bought two years ago (40% off!). She received lots of wonderful presents, including lighting fixtures and a dollhouse family. So, I've spent eight hours over the past couple of days learning (by doing) how to wire her dollhouse. (What was I thinking?!) I have one room - of six 😳 - done.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Year 1: Week 21

While my public school students were having their last-day-of-school-before-Winter-Break party, my homeschooled daughter was in jail...

Gemma and Daddy took a field trip to the Los Angeles Police Museum.

This "week" (11 days), we read so many things: poetry from Nature in Verse, East of the Sun and West of the Moon, The Baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:13-17, recitation passages, Aesop's The Gardener and his Dog, Plant Life's chapter about vines, The Burgess Seashore Book's chapter about jellyfish, 3 more pages of Lamb's "As You Like It," The World by the Fireside's chapter on cotton, "Poles & Axis" from Mason's Elementary Geography, a chapter about Romulus & Remus (and identified Greece, Italy, Sicily, Mediterranean Sea in our atlas), and "How Horatius Kept the Bridge."

Gemma had her in-class dance recitals.

Unbeknownst to me, Gemma decided to do her cursive with red colored pencil...

Christmas pageant songs (including A Maid Engaged to Joseph and O Come All Ye Faithful) were practiced, as well as this term's hymn and foreign language songs.

In math, Gemma did assorted pages of Mathematical Reasoning E and a chapter of Life of Fred: Liver.

On piano, Gemma practiced Toymaker's Dance.

We revisited Van Gogh's First Steps, After Millet. 

She drew these pictures:

So, I'm reading her Burgess Seashore Book about jellyfish, and the fox compliments the seagull, telling the seagull that he would know what the weird jelly on the beach is because he knows everything. I say that the fox is being humble and the seagull is being humble. Gemma says, "But what if someone is only pretending to be humble?" And I say, "That's false humility." And she says, "That's like Uriah in David Copperfield. Look, I'll show you." She pulls out her Usborne Illustrated Dickens, and shows me. Uriah Heep is a great example of a character who demonstrates false humility.
Her independent reading this week included Betsy-Tacy, Henry Huggins, The Courage of Sarah Noble, 3 Gail Carson Levine books, etc.
We finished one of our read alouds - The Year of Miss Agnes. Gemma asked if there was another Miss Agnes book. There is, so I'm sure we'll be reading that one in the not-so-distant future.
Two of the funniest things she said this week:
1)"I don't like it when I'm being bidden to do something."
2)(Of Romulus and Remus) "That was so mean of him to kill his brother. He should have just said, 'Hey! Get your own hill!'"
Masterly Inactivity: Gemma spent TWO HOURS cutting and duct taping a cardboard box into a carriage for some dollhouse dolls.
We went to see A Christmas Carol at the community college. It was a very strange production, but I liked some of the strangeness. Modern dancers as spirits and clock gears danced to 19th century hymns.

Our giant amaryllis is opening up!😊

Monday, November 27, 2017

Year 1: Week 20

Our composer this term is Tchaikovsky... because I knew we would be seeing The Nutcracker. Gemma was thoroughly absorbed. I thought it was pretty cool that we got to see the girl who played the Sugarplum Fairy three years ago when she played Clara.

In addition to this term's songs, Gemma is also practicing all of the songs for this year's Christmas pageant. In piano, Gemma is continuing to work on Alouette, Pastorale, and Ode to Joy.

In geography, we read about The Beaver and The Mahogany Tree, and located Honduras and the Bay of Honduras on the map. In history, we're in the 4th and 5th centuries BC, and our reading this week was The Sword of Damocles, The Retreat of the Ten Thousand, and - from Hillyer's Art History - April Fool's Pictures. In Natural History, we read about dead nettle and pea flowers, and more about sticklebacks; Gemma also got her first issue of Nature Friend and is enjoying that. In math, Gemma completed a chapter in Life of Fred, as well as some pages in Mathematical Reasoning.

We went to see The Man Who Invented Christmas. It's about Charles Dickens writing A Christmas Carol, and Gemma was enthralled the entire movie, asked to read A Christmas Carol, and asked for a quill and ink so she could write like Charles Dickens.

We went to Gemma's CC community's Christmas party...

...and an Advent lunch at church.

In literature and poetry...
We read 3 more pages of Lamb's As You Like It. Gemma memorized "Corn" from Nature in Verse, and read several poems from that book. Her fable was The Crow and the Pitcher, and her fairy tale was The Master-Maid.

I left The Master-Maid bookmarked for my husband to read aloud to Gemma. When I got home from work, he remarked that he wasn't sure what the point was. Here was my response (which is only about the very beginning of the fairy tale, and which shouldn't be explicitly told to a child):

The King's son is like Adam, and the giant is like God. The King's son is the giant's servant, as Adam is God's servant. The giant gives the King's son a job, the same way that God gives Adam the job of working and keeping the garden.

The giant is a kind master, expecting his servant to do his job well, and to obey him and resist temptation of going into other rooms, in the same way that God tells Adam he can eat from any of the trees except for one. The punishment for giving into the temptation to go into the other rooms is, the giant says, death, the same way that Adam's punishment for eating the forbidden fruit is death.

Gemma drew another princess from Draw 1-2-3...

And she put this on the refrigerator...

She decorated her dollhouse for Christmas.
She made gifts by wrapping unifix cubes in origami paper.

She chose Van Gogh's First Steps, After Millet as her picture for picture study. While she was studying the picture, I asked her some questions to help her describe the scene using more than colors and concrete nouns...
  • What is each person doing?
  • Why do you think he/she is doing that?
  • What do you think he/she was doing right before this moment?
  • Why do you think so?
This "week" was actually 11 days, and what a lovely 11 days they were. 😊

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Year 1: Week 19

Masterly inactivity: ✔️

My husband read to Gemma about sticklebacks (from The Burgess Seashore Book), and we watched a YouTube video of a male stickleback building a nest. My husband also read Gemma a chapter about members of the rose family from Plant Life in Field and Garden.

We got a giant amaryllis bulb at Trader Joe's, and are enjoying watching it grow.

At Grandma & Poppa's, Gemma discovered this very long green slug with a fan-shaped head. I looked it up and it's a hammerhead slug - the world's largest flatworm. Nature study: ✔️

Gemma wrote the student creed for jiujitsu as her copywork.

She drew an Indian princess (Draw 1-2-3: Princesses by Freddie Levin).

Reading: Our Bible passage was "The Child in the Temple," from Luke 2:25-32. We started Lamb's "As You Like It." Our current free reads are Little House on the Prairie and The Magician's Nephew; I left those two at home, so our free reads on vacation were Saint George and the Dragon (which we finished), and The Year of Miss Agnes (in progress). One of the books Gemma read this "week" was The BFG, which she loved.

Math: Gemma did a couple of pages of Mathematical Reasoning and completed a chapter in LOF Liver.

History: We completed The Beauty of Athens, and will complete The Death of Socrates and Architecture ch 5 in the next couple of days.

I got to take Gemma to CC for the last day of the first semester, so I got to help her assemble her body poster.

We went ice skating.

We also went to a trampoline park.

There are all sorts of things I'm leaving out, like dance class, piano practice, etc., and things that will happen in the next couple of days, but I'm going to end this post with this...

Grandma taught Gemma how to make a pour painting and a swipe painting. After priming her canvases, Gemma chose which colors she wanted to use.

She stirred in flow medium...

...and added silicone.

Next, my mom helped Gemma pour each of the colors into one large cup. There is a special way of doing this (white has to be poured first, paints need to be poured from up high, etc.).

They placed the canvas on the cup, and carefully turned the canvas over.

They put the canvas in the plastic pet pool my mom uses specifically for painting projects, and lifted the cup.

After tilting the canvas so the paint flowed and covered all of it, it was time to torch it. Here is Gemma playing with fire...

And here is her finished painting...

My mom also taught her how to do a swipe painting.

If you were at a loss for what to buy your six year old for Christmas, might I suggest their very own creme brûlée torch...

Gemma's finished swipe painting...