Friday, January 13, 2012
Week in Review
We've finished up our first official week of school in the year 2012. We were so excited to get the ball rolling and have had a lovely week. I have to repeat how pleased I am with all of the materials I finally settled on and with my organization. It truly is making all the difference in the world!
Let me share with you some of the wonderful things we've done this week.
We started reading The Child's Story Bible by Catherine Vos this week. It's funny. We've "started over" so many times that my children know the beginning of the Bible like the back of their hand. The Creation Story is old news in these parts. But, I didn't want to miss the great style of writing that Vos uses, so I decided to start at the beginning anyway. This week we read about how much God loves us and how He always takes care of us, no matter what. We read the story we all know backwards and forwards (the story of Creation) and we read about the creation of Man (Adam).
While I love the style of writing, there were a couple of instances that we stumbled through. I need to get better at scanning ahead and editing when something said doesn't quite jive with our family's beliefs or when something might upset my child. For instance, my youngest angel lost her beloved kitten only two months ago (he was hit by a motorcycle right in front of my home). She still struggles with this loss often. She still cries for him and misses him and has trouble dealing with her emotions surrounding the loss. When I read the sentence in Vos's Bible about how humans are special, I wish I'd have read ahead and reworded it. Vos says that when animals die, that's it, they are gone, but when humans die, there is more after life for us. As soon as the words were coming out of my mouth, I wished they weren't. I looked out of the corner of my eye to see if she reacted (while I continued to read, hoping to push on past that little line). She didn't show too much sign of reaction at first, but then it did come. She didn't like that part at all. I could see the tears well up in her eyes. We had to stop and discuss that this book we are reading is only Catherine Vos's interpretation of the Bible. I assured her that I didn't believe that, that I was sure that Silky (her kitten) was in heaven playing with Faith and Scrap (our dogs that have died in recent years) and Papa and Uncle Wesley (my dad and brother who have also passed away). I believe I was able to convince her, but I did make a mental note that I, as the mother, need to be more prepared in the future. I need to either read ahead on my own or at least try to scan my eyes ahead and edit on the fly.
I've also been thinking about possibly changing up my idea of Bible Study a bit. My plans thus far have been to just read a chapter every day. But, the more I'm thinking about it, I may decide to choose my favorite Bible Stories from the book and read one per week instead, allowing us time to draw a picture for the story and copy a verse. I'm not sure yet. I'll let you know how I decide to proceed.
We read several poems by Robert Louis Stevenson this week. Each morning, we would cuddle up on the couch with our Bible and A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson. After our Bible reading and narration, we would begin to read poems. I would read a few and then they would each want to flip through and read a few. The Princess was tickled pink to discover that "HER" poem was in the book. The poem she is using to learn to read in her Delightful Reading Lessons is by Robert Louis Stevenson. She loved to look it up each morning and read it to us! The Hippie was equally tickled when we were doing a lesson in her English for the Thoughtful Child one day and came to another poem and she saw that it, too was by Robert Louis Stevenson. I love to see them making connections!
We've been spending some time each morning working on learning the "Henson Family Rules". Last week I typed up a list of rules we have in our family and printed them on card stock for my binder. I also printed one copy for each girl and put them in page protectors to go into their binders. My goal is for them to have them all memorized by the end of the first term. It's been kind of fun to point out which "rule" is being broken whenever one member of the family breaks one (parents included). :)
We read two fairy tales and two Aesop's Fables this week. Each tale was narrated in bits and pieces by each child and the Princess drew pictures for each of the fairy tales. This week we read The Golden Key and The Fisherman's Son as well as The Wolf and the Kid and The Tortoise and the Ducks.
This week was a light week for World History. We only read the first chapter of A Child's History of the World. It was (of course) about the CREATION of the world, go figure. After reading the chapter, I had the Princess tell me what I had read and the Hippie colored in a small card that represented "Creation" for our timeline. This card goes on our wall timeline. We are keeping a simple wall timeline for World History and keeping a My American notebook for American History.
This week we learned about the people who were in America long, long ago. We read about the various types of Native Americans that were here before us ~ the nomads, the hunters, the farmers, the plains Indians. We read about the different types of houses that they built, what they called their babies and how their daily life might have been. We learned that there were advanced civilizations here, too ~ the Incas, the Aztecs and the Mayans. I took two breaks in our American History readings, having each child narrate a portion. When we were finished with our readings, the girls each started their My America notebooks, making a cover for the binder and drawing a picture to represent what they learned this week.
Unlike most American History resources that I found, we are going to pause here and spend a good 8 or 9 weeks on the Native American peoples before moving on to the European exploration. I do not want my children to be too Euro centric or Ethnocentric. I want them to have an appreciation for the people who were here before us. We'll be reading through The Very First Americans and Holling C. Holling's Book of Indians before we move on to the Vikings coming over. I am thinking that I'd also like to read some Native American legends and stories, possibly some of their spiritual stories, their stories of Creation and the like. It should be great fun!
We are really enjoying our Geography resources! They take us literally no more than five minutes, but are so beautiful and meaningful. I am using Charlotte Mason's own Elementary Geography book (updated and printed by Queen Homeschool Supplies). We only did the first two lessons this week ~ the first was a poem about how ALL things bring Glory to God; the second was about the world being round. In the lesson, Charlotte Mason mentions how if you started in one place on your flat table and moved along, you would only get farther and farther away from where you began, you would not come back to where you started. But, if you stuck a pin in a ball (I was in the kitchen, so I grabbed an orange and stuck a pin in an orange to illustrate this) and moved away from the pin, you would eventually come back to where you began. It was lovely to be able to explain these concepts with hands on objects that were right next to us in the kitchen. It makes the learning so natural and unforced! What a beautiful thing.
We are also going to be reading this phenomenal little book I found called Seven Little Sisters who live on the round Ball that floats in the Air by Jane Andrews. I found the title on Yesterday's Classics and knew I wanted to read it, but I was lucky enough to find a "real" copy on Ebay (instead of the reprinted paperback). My copy is a little hardback book from 1887, though the copyright page says that it was "Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1861". The girls were amazed to discover that our little book was from the beginning of the Civil War. Have I mentioned how much JOY it brings me to find these little treasures? Aaaahhh. Anyway, we read about "the Ball itself" this week. Can you guess what "the Ball" might be?
We began our study of Renoir this week. As I mentioned in a previous post, we studied the painting entitled "Two Sisters" this week. We also read a bit from our book entitled A Weekend with Renoir. It is a really well written gem that I found at a used book sale years ago. The girls loved to make the connection that Renoir was friends with Monet (the only other artist we've really studied). We will continue in this fashion ~ studying a new print each week and reading some more about Renoir's life. I have the "Two Sisters" print in a page protector on the refrigerator so that they can see it often.
We also listened to Peter and the Wolf here. I have a couple of Orchestra books on hold for me at the library and intend to read those over the next few weeks as well as listen to more audio of Peter and the Wolf and eventually watch the video that goes with it. As usual, we listened to classical music throughout the week while we were doing our school work and while eating snacks and/or lunch. I like to create a Pandora station of whatever we are studying. This week we've been listening to a "Peter and the Wolf" station.
We continued in our two read alouds this week, though not as much as I would have liked. I am reading Little House in the Big Woods to them and Daddy is reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland to them. To be quite honest, Daddy is not liking the wording of the book. He does not understand the concept that this will "stretch their minds". To him, it just doesn't make sense to read something that is written differently from how we talk. I am trying to get him to at least keep those ideas to himself (so as not to spoil the girls' attitudes towards the quality literature). I even offered to try to find the book on Audio for us to all listen to in the evening instead of him having to read it, but he said no. So, maybe he does secretly like to stretch himself a bit???
I already wrote about this earlier in the week. You can read about our Bird Studies here. That is about all we got to this week in the way of "school", but we did go to the Zoo on Tuesday and spent the entire afternoon at a park with other homeschool friends yesterday. Yesterday, the children found four dead squirrels. They dug holes, buried them and held four little funerals. My question is, what in the world is going on in that park to kill all the little squirrels? Kinda scary.
Both girls progressed just fine this week in their "basics".
The Princess still loves her Delightful Reading lessons, loves drawing her letter pictures for the fairy tales that we read and just plain LOVES all things homeschool. She is a dream of a student. My easy-peasy one! We enjoyed our math lessons and language lessons. She enjoyed doing her math on Dreambox and she read aloud to me each day. She read to me from the Reading Literature The Primer by Harriette Treadwell and from one of her Little Bear books. She is so funny ~ early readers tend to repeat a lot so that it builds confidence in the young student. You know, once they can read the first page, they can generally do well with the rest of the story because they are repeating what they have already read. HA Well, my daughter finds that extremely annoying. She kept saying, "UGH, this is so annoying" when she would have to read the same sentence over and over. :) Funny girl.
The Hippie is moving along nicely in her math lessons and language lessons books and in her cursive. I am only having her do half of a lesson in her cursive book each day ~ only about 6 letters. The idea is to do only as much as you can do perfectly. I don't want scribble; only her best work. We did a couple of chapters in Life of Fred (she reads them to herself and then we do the Your Turn to Play orally together) and about 5 lessons in English for the Thoughtful Child. She LOVES this for some reason and begs me for just one more lesson. It's crazy what they latch on to. I think she thinks it is teaching her "proper English" ... like it's something fancy or something. Cute! She also loves Dreambox math! I am so glad I found this site. I'll have to write a review for you! As far as independent reading, I need to come up with a specific list for "Assigned Reading" because so far that isn't working too well. If I really want her to read something, I have to tell her what. This week she started Twig, but didn't continue and she read the first chapter of the Burgess Animal Book, but I need to decide what I want her to read for Assigned Reading and put it on a list to be checked off! She also started reading Owls in the Family to her sister and they started some sort of club where they are drawing and reading together. They even came out today and made "Owl Snacks" out of bread and peanut butter and dried fruit and oats. I love to see them come up with these things on their own!
I guess that's it. All in all, we got a lot accomplished this week, especially considering it was a week with all kinds of other goings on (zoo on Tuesday, park on Thursday and a couple of days of not feeling too well). I keep reminding myself my old saying of "Slow and Steady wins the race". I know that if we just keep plugging away at it CONSISTENTLY, then they will progress.
I am quite pleased with the progression of this week. How was your week?