Saturday, May 27, 2017

Year 1: Week 1

We did so many things this week!

Gemma listened to "Rumplestiltskin" (from The Blue Fairy Book) on her Kindle, and followed along. She read "The Tortoise and the Hare" from Aesop's Fables to me. (In her narration, she omitted the detail about the hare falling asleep. Her narration was something like this: "The hare was boasting and he raced the tortoise and the tortoise won.") I read to her three poems by Robert Louis Stevenson - Windy Nights, Bed in Summer, and Whole Duty of Children. She also read a Lego Elves book which she got for her birthday, The Emperor's New Clothes (also a birthday present), and listened to "Snow White and Rose Red" on her Kindle. We continued our bedtime free reads (Poppy and The Trumpet of the Swan).

I let her choose which composer's music she would like to study this term, and she chose Beethoven. She's familiar with Beethoven because there is a song in her Alfred Prep Level D piano book called "Fur Ludwig," which is based on "Fur Elise." We listened to the Classics for Kids podcast about Beethoven, and a dozen versions of Bagatelle No. 25 (salsa Fur Elise, heavy metal Fur Elise...). 😉

We did a sol-fa lesson (lesson 1A) from Children of the Open Air (Star Light Star Bright), which focuses on the difference between high and low notes. (Thank you to the woman who created this series of videos!)

Gemma worked on a new song on piano - "Concert Piece" - and we started learning a hymn we sang Sunday in church - "Thine Be the Glory."

Gemma continued with Duolingo Spanish (3 lessons), and started Duolingo French (3 lessons). I can't remember when we started Duolingo Spanish, but she's been working on it off and on for a long while and is on the 19th level - Adverbs. I don't think Duolingo is the best way to learn a language because she can't apply very much of what she's practiced - yet - but I do think that she's gained exposure to many things about the language (one example being that there are two ways to say "the"), and exposure to hearing and pronouncing the language. We also started learning two songs - Buenos Dias (Jose-Luis Orozco) and "Un, Deux, Trois." 

For math, we did a chapter of Life of Fred: Kidneys. We also tried out an app for multiplication facts called Drop Math. Gemma had mixed feelings about it. At first, she enjoyed it, but I think the numbers and equations dropped faster as the game continued, piling up on each other, which made Gemma anxious.

For copywork, my original goal was to teach Gemma to write her name in cursive - one letter at a time - this first week, but she has many thank you notes to write to friends and family, so we're focusing on those until we get them completed.

From the Bible, we read the parable of The Good Samaritan (her entire narration: "Go and do thou likewise.") Psalm 150, and The Call of Abraham. The Call of Abraham was Gemma's first experience hearing a story from the KJV. Her narration was, as I have read, a fairly typical narration for a beginning narrator. At the end, she said, "There was Abraham, and the Lord told him to depart, and he had a wife named Sarai, and a brother... or a son." Or a - ahem - nephew.

Her history lessons were the first two chapters of M.B. Synge's On the Shores of the Great Sea.

We completed one drawing lesson. We're not using a curriculum for drawing. A camel she drew looked very unlike a camel, so I decided we should watch a YouTube video about how to draw one.

We did not do handicrafts this week. Oops.😁

We also read the first chapter of Hillyer's Art History: Painting - The Oldest Pictures in the World - about cave paintings.

For geography, we read the poem "How All Things Praise the Lord," and a chapter of The World at Home (a.k.a. The World By the Fireside) by Mary Kirby. It was the story of the Tower of Babel.

For natural history, we read a chapter of the Burgess Seashore Book ("Danny Meadow Mouse Goes to the Seashore"). In the first chapter, Danny Meadow Mouse winds up in a "Man Bird" (an airplane), and flies to the seashore. There, he meets Jimmy Skunk, who does not have a white stripe like the skunks in Green Meadow. (Did you know that some skunks are all black, and some are "spotted"? Did you know that, now, there are even lavender skunks?) Gemma's narration for that chapter included those details, but she started with the end, and ended with the beginning. In hindsight, I should have broken up the chapter, instead of reading it all the way through. Lesson learned... We also read a story from James Herriot's Treasury (Moses the Kitten).

We also did not do nature journaling. Oops.😁 Let me explain. Gemma has a nature journal, which she takes with her once a week to Temescal Canyon park. I asked her to draw a leaf in it, but she insisted that her nature journal was reserved for Temescal. So, it looks like I will have to get her a journal for non-Temescal nature.

Lastly, for artist study, I let Gemma chose between Degas and Monet. She chose Degas. Then I let her look through our Degas book and choose a painting. She chose "The Dance Class." I asked her to tell me what she saw. Then I asked what shapes she saw, and what colors. I asked her in what ways the people in the painting were like her (they dance, they have dark hair). Next week, we'll look at it again, and I'll have her describe it from memory.


  1. Will you continue with CC? Did she have a good year?

    1. Yes, we'll be doing CC in the fall. She loves it. She especially enjoyed the egg drop and the bridge building competitions! :)