Saturday, February 17, 2018

2017-2018: Term 2 Enrichment Studies

We're just finishing up our second term of enrichments!  I was a little nervous about adding all this stuff in at the beginning of the year, but the kids really enjoy most of it!

Composer Study

Ludwig van Beethoven
I didn't use any extra books or try to turn it into a full study.  Right now, I just want it to be about appreciation, and maybe occasional recognition of a piece.  I typically stream through Alexa while we're cleaning, or sometimes over lunch if I'm not up to reading that day.

We did listen to a few Classics for Kids episodes, because I like that it gives a solid mix of biographical information and music appreciation, and we used a quote attributed to him for copywork occasionally.  For fun, we listened to Roll Over Beethoven!

Picture Study

Leonardo da Vinci
As soon as we did our first picture study this year the boys begged to study da Vinci so we could study the Mona Lisa!  I had him on the list anyway, because we were going to study him as a scientist (though that changed when we switched to AO), so I tried to read that book, but we didn't find it overly engaging, or necessary for the process.  Maybe in high school for an art history credit, but for now, it's like composers.  I'm going for appreciation and recognition.

We did occasionally look up an accompanying video on YouTube about a piece of art, since I just bought the extra art prints and not the full picture study portfolio.  We studied the most popular ones for one week, and then left some of the lesser-known-to-us prints up for two weeks.  We didn't necessarily study the second week (especially holiday weeks) but just reviewing the title and leaving it out for exposure.  We covered all eight prints again, and on the last week  I spread the prints out and called a title, and they chose to the correct one.  Quick and easy review!

Hymn Study
I had been following AO's recommendation of one hymn per month, but this was about the time I started choosing our own hymns.  During hymn time, I only play our monthly hymn and we look at the lyrics, but then I play various music in the background when I'm working in the kitchen or something, so they hear them all again anyway.

November - Amazing Grace
December - none (we practiced songs for Christmas program)
January - Nothing but the Blood of Jesus
February - I'll Fly Away

Folk Songs
I did decide to continue following AO'S Folk Song rotation for the most part.  I have no better method of choosing, and they offer a lot of variety!  Most of the kids usually enjoy the choices.

November - An Acre of Land
December - none (we practiced songs for Christmas program)
January - Funiculi Funicula (A Veggie Tales play on this song!)
February - Camptown Races (this was supposed to be March, but they heard it when I was previewing the next few months and begged to switch Feb. and March)

Shel Silverstein
A Light in the Attic
I have two of his books I picked up at a book sale, and just chose one for poet study.  The kids all enjoyed these.  It seems twaddly on the surface--they are wacky and ridiculous and impossible--which is what appeals to the kids!  At the same time, there were some nuances in there, some poems that really drove home some valid points about society, and I noticed the 11 year old commenting on some of them.  I might recommend him for kids who are against poetry for some reason, primarily because the humorous approach will appeal to the witty and sarcastic child, but I won't likely ever use him for a poet study again.

We didn't pick up where we left off with A Midsummer Night's Dream.  In fact, we took some time off, and it was near the end of  Term 2 when we started fresh with The Tempest.  Right now, I'm doing a retelling by Bruce Coville, and Emory LOVES it!  I want to try the full script next, maybe listening along on audio.  We'll see.

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Thursday, February 8, 2018

A Peek into Our Homeschool: January 2018

Here I am, late again, posting our monthly wrap-up.  This is why I can't do a weekly one.  Oh well, I still want to get these memories down!  January is typically another busy month for us with birthdays and getting back into a routine with extracurriculars and our homeschool after the holiday break.

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In Our Homeschool 

Can I just say, I'm shocked, but pleasantly surprised with how well the kids have adjusted to the transition in curriculum and our new, somewhat "heavier" schedule.  I've found that we're doing so much more, but it's so much richer and we're getting more done in less time.  So Term 1 is finished, and we've moved into Term 2 (AO Years 2 and 4) and we'll be making a few adjustments and tweaks now that I know what works and what isn't the best fit.  I'll probably share a more detailed post about that though, because I could ramble quite a bit about books.

I'm also thrilled at how their attitudes have changed.  There is almost no procrastination or complaining anymore!  There are still some minor wrinkles to iron out, but I am overall very happy with the direction of things now!

CTCMath is still going very well, and I'm so glad we tried it out again!  This is another area where there is almost no complaining or whining anymore.  In fact, Elliott (who does well in math, but doesn't yet see he that could really excel in this area if he applied himself) used to put math off until the very end of the day, but now it's usually one of the first subjects he chooses.

Family Reads
Pinocchio, our lunchtime read, is FINALLY finished!  I will never, ever read this book aloud again.  We're continuing to read Shel Silverstein for poetry for a couple more weeks, and all four kids enjoy it.  It's silly and wild enough that even the 3 and 5 year old beg for me to read it every day!

Elliott finished reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe after taking a break over Christmas.  He's read a few short stories since then, but has requested something "science-y" for a free read, so I'm adjusting his free reads and giving him some non-fiction for awhile.  He's been reading about the moon/space and earthquakes.

Emory read James Herriot's Treasury for Children (a Year 1 science book) because he is all about the animals.  His new mission is to read all of the animal books on the list, so he read from an animal encyclopedia while we waited on Mr. Popper's Penguins (a Y2 free read) to arrive via Amazon Prime.   Of course, I found my copy on the bookshelf a week later.


Folk Song - Funiculi Funicula  This is a fun catchy tune!  We used the English version, but I did make a point to listen to the original Italian, and the Veggie Tales parody.

Hymn - Nothing But the Blood of Jesus

Picture/Composer Study - We're still studying Leonardo da Vinci and Ludwig van Beethoven for a few more weeks.

Extracurriculars - AWANA started back up, but then we had a couple of weather cancellations.  Co-op is back in session too, and it's nice to get back into routine.

Also in our Life
As I mentioned, January is a busy birthday month for us.  The girls turned 3 and 5 this year!  We had some movie nights, and they had a special birthday lunch with their grandparents, and then we had a small family party.  It was a pony party with unicorn cupcakes.

January also ushers in real winter where we live.  We get four seasons, but as far as winter goes, it can be all over the place.  We've had one solid snow that was worth the effort of snow gear, and it was really the first year that Eloise has really enjoyed playing in the snow!

Day 1 - still snowing

Day 2 - Warmer, sunnier and so much fun!

Then there's Buddy.  He is very strong-willed and stubborn, but very smart.  The kids are enjoying training him!

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