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.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Year 1: Hansel & Gretel Narration

This is a narration of the second half of Hansel & Gretel.

Now that Gemma knows she will be expected to narrate every lesson, she sighs and says, "Do I have to narrate it?" If I were grading her narrations since the novelty of "telling back" has worn off, I would have to grade them as poor. 

We read Hansel and Gretel over two days. The first day, I stopped every two sentences, and had her narrate. It seemed ridiculous to me, like I was enabling her in being inattentive.

Looking for a way to improve, the second day, I stopped every half-page, and I wrote down exactly what Gemma said. You'll notice that, at one point, she starts at the end of a section, so I re-read her previous narration and asked, "What happened after that?" 

When the story was over, I read back her entire narration. I think she appreciated that I wrote down her narration word-for-word, really listening to her and valuing her words. Oops, maybe this wasn't coming across before.

Hansel comforted his sister and they were walking for a long time. 

They found a snowy white bird and followed it until they came to a gingerbread house, and Hansel had a bit of the roof, and Gretel had a bit of the window.

The woman said, "Nibble nibble like a mouse, who is nibbling at my house?"the children said, "Never mind, it is the wind." Then a woman came out leaning on a crutch, and she invited them in.

She was really a wicked witch and she laughed - hehehehehe - and then she said, "They will not escape!"

The wicked witch wanted Hansel's finger to make sure it was fat enough. And she wanted Gretel to fetch water and make something nice for Hansel to eat, so she could eat him.

Gretel prayed to the Lord. And since the woman had no good eyesight, Hansel used to hold out a bone so he wouldn't get eaten.

She pushed the woman into the fire and shut the iron door and ran to the stable and said to Hansel, "We are free! The wicked witch is dead!"

They put stuff in their pockets and she filled her apron and they came to a water piece [a piece of water] and could not get over it.

Wait, can I tell the poem first? Now my story is done, and there is a mouse scurrying across the house. He who can catch her shall make a cap out of her fur. How can you make a cap out of a mouse's fur?!

[ME: Now, can you tell me what happened after they came to the water?]

And then they found a duck, and they went separately on the duck's back. And they went through the woods to their father's house, and fell on his neck, and pearls spilled out of Gretel's apron, and Hansel took the stones out of his pockets. And the wife was dead. I was sad and also mad, because she should have been very nice. I'm mad at her because she was really mean. She didn't give them enough bread.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Year 1: Week 4

Gemma helped me bake chocolate chip banana bread muffins. Gemma, who eats nothing, ate two of them while they were still warm, so they must be good. 😉

This recipe makes 12 muffins.

3 speckled bananas (mashed)
1 1/2 c Flour
1 stick unsalted butter (melted)
3/4 c Brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking soda
3/4 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 c. Semi-sweet chocolate chips

Stir it together in a bowl, and spoon into cupcake liners. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Really, these muffins are amazing. How could they not be? They're essentially chocolate chips held together with bananas and brown sugar.

Baking totally counts as handicrafts.

(This "week" or module actually took 9 days.)

One of this week's history lessons from On the Shores of the Great Sea was about Moses and the Exodus. Of the Egyptians pursuing the Israelites into the Red Sea, Gemma narrated, "They got perished." This is Gemma's drawing of Pharaoh. Note the beard.
We also read Hillyer's A Child's History of Art - the chapter titled "What's Wrong With This Picture?" about Egyptian paintings. Here is Gemma's drawing of an Egyptian woman (profile of face, front view of shoulders and torso, and side view of feet). Since Hillyer wrote that the Egyptians only used red, green, blue, yellow, black, white, and brown, I limited her color choices to those colors. Hillyer also wrote that Egyptians sometimes painted people red or green, so Gemma made her person red with green hair.
She also enjoyed the impossibility of trying to pose like a person in an Egyptian painting.

We also read On the Shore of the Great Sea chapter 8, in which the Israelites reach the Promised Land.

For geography, in addition to reviewing places like Africa, Asia, Egypt, Nile River, Mediterranean Sea, etc., we also continued reading The World By the Fireside (by Mary Kirby) about the Frozen Zone, seals, and snow houses.

We spent a day at Temescal Canyon.
We saw jays and heard woodpeckers, and at one point, I saw the most beautiful yellow bird fly overhead. I'm not sure what it was, but it may have been a hooded oriole...?
They made drawbots - drawing robots. Robotics counts as handicrafts, right?
Our Aesop's Fable this week was "The Oak and the Reed." In math, Gemma did chapter 5 of Life of Fred: Kidneys. She started the summer reading program at the library and checked out several paperback "mysteries," wrote 3 thank you notes, went to dance class, continued feeding her tadpole bits of algae tablets (and asking, "When is she going to do her cycle?" translation - "turn into a frog"), continued learning this term's recitation passages, listened to Moonlight Sonata, revisited Degas' The Singer in Green, and continued working on Boogie Woogie Goose on piano (among other songs).

Something I didn't expect my 6 year old to ask me: Gemma was independently reading The Magic Tree House book about Abraham Lincoln, and asked, "Mom, what does a-s-s-a-s-s-i-n-a-t-e-d spell?"

We read several Stevenson poems, and Gemma continued practicing "Good and Bad Children." While practicing, she accidentally composed a couplet, "I had a little tiny look. I took a peek at the book."

Gemma chose Rapunzel as our fairy tale. After I read the story (for her narration), she drew a picture and told me about it.
For Natural History, we read the James Herriot story "Bonny's Big Day," (and as a free read, reread "Only One Woof." We also read The Burgess Seashore Book ("A Meeting with Crabs"). We watched videos of a ghost crab, a lady crab, a blue crab molting, and one about how the green crab is an invasive species brought to North America from Europe in the 1800s. We also listened to the birdsongs of the Yellowlegs (tattler), because that was in last week's chapter.

Our primary Bible reading was Joseph's dreams. I explained why God changed Jacob's name to Israel, showed her a "sheaf" of wheat, and explained what "obeisance" means.

We also read The Twelve Dancing Princesses, as a free-read, twice. One of the things that has always struck me about that story is the way the princesses don't care that the princes are put to death.

We sang our hymn and foreign language songs, and watched a Children of the Open Air video.

Two resources we have also been using, which I have completely forgotten to mention are Wee Sing Around the World and Cedarmont Kids: Songs of America. We listen to these CDs in the car, and Gemma hums and sings the songs everywhere.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Year 1: Week 3

The Robert Louis Stevenson poems we read this week were Where Go the Boats?, Singing, Travel, and Good and Bad Children. Gemma said Good and Bad Children is her favorite Stevenson poem. She also said that she likes to take A Child's Garden of Verses off the shelf and read that poem to herself because, she said, "I like to learn about good children."

For our fairy tale, Gemma chose "The Elves." As I read, I thought about the shoemaker and his wife, how they were grateful to the elves, how they showed their gratitude by looking for a way to help the elves, how service, gratitude, and reciprocity are portrayed in the story as good, and how this connects to developing moral imagination.

For this week's fable, Gemma chose "The Jackdaw and the Peacocks." We have a leather bound copy of Aesop's Fables, but Gemma prefers a beautifully illustrated version by Doug Hansen - Aesop in California. In Hansen's version, the jackdaw is a jay. I read her both versions, but only made her narrate the Hansen version. I covered up the text and let her look at the illustration. Her narration was quite good, with a beginning, middle, and end.

We finished The Trumpet of the SwanI love Louis' father, the cob! He's so wonderfully written. The cob loves his son so much that he breaks into a music store to steal a trumpet so his son will have a way to communicate. He can't bear the thought of his son being without a mate, being alone, and so he does the only thing he can think of, even though he knows how wrong it is. Louis knows the crime his father has committed, and knows he must set things right. This book is a must-read!

For math, we did chapter 4 of Life of Fred: Kidneys.

For copywork, Gemma continued her thank you notes, and wrote an apology letter to our neighbor. Gemma found some dead Gerbera daisies on our patio. We don't know where they came from. Gemma thought the woman on the other side of the tall wooden fence that separates our yard from the yard behind us threw the dead flowers onto our patio, so Gemma threw the flowers over the fence into the neighbor's yard. Well, I heard a woman's voice telling Gemma not to throw flowers over the fence, so I called Gemma inside and asked her what happened, asked her why she did what she did, told her there might be another reason for the dead flowers (like, the neighbor we share the patio with might have tossed them out there), and I told her not to do that again. Later, Gemma was weeding the flower pots, and I told her to put the dead daisies in the trash with the weeds, but Gemma hung her head and said she'd thrown the daisies back over the fence. I marched Gemma inside and had her write a letter to the neighbor, saying that she shouldn't have done what she did, she knew it was wrong, and she wasn't going to do it again. Her letter included, "Please forgive me." We taped the letter to the neighbor's side of the fence, and about an hour later, Gemma squealed, "The lady wrote back!" The neighbor had written that, yes, she forgave Gemma, and drew a heart with curly hair and a face.

For history, we read two chapters from On the Shores of the Great Sea. "The Story of the Nile Flood" discussed the annual flooding of the Nile, and "In a Strange Land" told the story of Jacob wanting to be buried not in Egypt, but in Canaan. The chapter about the Nile included a brushstroke about how the ancient Egyptians believed that the flooding of the Nile was caused by the goddess Isis crying, mourning Osiris' death. So, I did what any good Charlotte Mason educator would do 😁 and showed Gemma a Lego animation of the myth of Isis and Osiris. (She narrated the video.) We also reviewed that Egypt is in Africa, and found Lake Victoria, the White Nile, the Blue Nile, and the Mediterranean Sea on a map. We also read chapter 1 of Hillyer's Art History: Architecture - "The Oldest House" - which was about pyramids.

Gemma chose to add Cheops/The Great Pyramid and Joseph (and his 11 brothers) to her timeline...

Our primary Bible reading was "Jacob's Dream."

For geography, Gemma read aloud to me from Elementary Geography - Our World part 1 - which is about the earth being round, and that sailors have circumnavigated the earth. We also read from The World by the Fireside about people in the Frozen Zone using teams of dogs to pull their sledges.

For natural history, we read a chapter of the Burgess Seashore Book (about Tattler the Yellowlegs) and watched a video of a sea star ejecting its stomach to eat. We also read the James Herriot story The Christmas Day Kitten.

Gemma painted her octopus plant (which is in bloom!) her nature journal.
Gemma did three French and three Spanish Duolingo lessons, and sang our Foreign Language songs.

We also sang Thine Be the Glory, and sang along with the sol-fa lesson for One Two Buckle My Shoe from Children of the Open Air.

Gemma practiced a new song on piano: Rockin' Half Steps.

We listened to Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, and looked at Degas' Singer in Green. (Gemma described her skin as "May Gray," which is a Santa Monica term for the overcast skies we have in late spring; we have May Gray and June Gloom.)

For handicrafts, we made a felt rope for our felt pig's legs and snout, and a flat piece of felt from which to cut the pig's ears.

Gemma danced in her 3rd dance recital. Here is the link to her Rockin' Robin tap number.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Year 1: Week 2

I've titled this post "Week 2," but it should be "Module 2." Instead of a review of what we did over 7 days, this is what we did over 10.

We read 6 poems by Robert Louis Stevenson - At the Seaside, Young Night-thought, Foreign Lands, Pirate Story, A Thought, and The Rain. We also read the fable "The Country Mouse and the City Mouse," and Gemma listened to and followed along with "Beauty and the Beast" on her Kindle.

One of our Bible readings was the story of Jacob and Esau. I started reading the King James Version to Gemma, but then I realized that she really needed a refresher of the story from a children's Bible. I read her the children's version, and explained what a "birthright" is, using the example of a prince in a fairy tale becoming king and inheriting his father's kingdom when his father gets old and dies. After I read aloud the KJV, Gemma narrated; my favorite part of her narration was when she said, "Isaac wanted some 'savory meat.'"

For history, we read On the Shores of the Great Sea - "An Old Trade Route" and "Joseph in Egypt." Something amazing happened while we were reading "An Old Trade Route." Gemma's eyes got wide and she said, "Hey! Abraham was Isaac's father...and Isaac was Jacob's father... and Jacob was Joseph's father!"

We also read a chapter of Hillyer's Art History: Sculpture ch 1 - The First Sculpture - which takes place in Ancient Egypt.
She read (and reread) some Magic Tree House books, as well as a book of Optical Illusions. One of the Magic Tree House books ("Blizzard of the Blue Moon") is about the unicorn tapestries, so I showed her The Hunt of the Unicorn on the Met's website.

For math, we did chapter 3 of Life of Fred: Kidneys.

For copywork, Gemma continued to write thank you notes for birthday gifts. Her printing has improved dramatically in just a couple of weeks. I really do like the Channie's paper, and I like that I don't feel the need to rush her, and that she's deciding for herself that she wants to improve her handwriting.

Gemma got several new games for her birthday a couple of weeks ago. We played Spot It!, Jenga, and my new favorite - "Forbidden Island" - which is incredibly complicated and requires a long explanation of the rules. But once we got the hang of it, it was so fun. It's a cooperative game, which means that you're playing with your child, not against your child. The goal is to beat the game, not each other. The first time we played, we captured all of the treasures and got off the island. The second time we played, we had captured all of the treasures and were waiting on the helipad, but the island sank before the chopper arrived!!!

For drawing, we watched a YouTube video about how to draw a face.
For geography, we read two stories from The World By The Fireside ("Something about the Weather" & "The Red Light in the Sky"). We looked at the Climate map in our atlas, and located the equator, the Tropic of Cancer, the Tropic of Capricorn, the Torrid Zone, the Temperate Zone, the Arctic Circle, the Antarctic Circle, and the Frozen Zones. "The Red Light in the Sky" was about the Aurora Borealis; we watched a video of the phenomenon.
I asked Gemma to choose three people from our history lessons to add to her timeline, and she said, "I choose four. Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob and Esau."

For natural history, we read a chapter of the Burgess Seashore Book ("Getting Acquainted: Peep the Least Sandpiper"), and the James Herriot story "Only One Woof." We observed our tadpole Rose, who enjoys getting herself sucked against the pump. Gemma painted a leaf from one of our rose bushes.
We sang our French song, our Spanish song, Thine Be the Glory, and Children of the Open Air's 2nd sol-fa lesson.

Gemma practiced piano daily, and did 3 French and 3 Spanish Duolingo lessons.

We listened to a Classics for Kids' episode about Beethoven (Beethoven the Pianist), three Beethoven songs from the Beethoven's Wig CDs (Beethoven's Wig/5th Symphony, Fur Elise, and Moonlight Sonata/Beep Beep Beep).

We revisited Degas' The Dance Class, and Gemma closed her eyes and described the painting from memory. We read a short passage from What Makes a Degas a Degas? about Degas' friend Mr. Perrot, the choreographer, and a picture book about Degas called What Degas Saw by Samantha Friedman.

Gemma worked on her science kit, and made glow-in-the-dark potion with zinc sulfide. Does chemistry count as handicrafts? 
For handicrafts, we started a felt pig project. We didn't get very far, but we did start.