Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Schoolwork (Term 2, Years 5, 8, 11)

This is for me-- an exercise in perspective.  Every so often I get frustrated.  My house never really gets clean and I wonder why.  The kids and I have a hard time finishing our AO readings and I wonder why.  I always feel rushed and I wonder why.  When I detail our schoolwork, I realize how much I am either overseeing or directly guiding, and reasons become evident!  I wonder.  It is so much, but time is short.  The girls are growing older.

Update:  A FB friend helped me see that I need a bit more explanation on this post.  This is just a list of what we are doing right now for school.  I wrote it to help myself see the school choices we make in our household.  These choices necessarily kick out other options, such as thoroughly cleaning the house, visiting friends  or having ample down time.  If we want those options, we have to kick out some of these other things.  Sometimes I think I can do everything.  But I can't.  I bet you can't either.  ;o)  This is my list.  Make your own list and look at what-all you are doing...

Group Work
  • We finished Ephesians today and are beginning Philippians.  We are pulling out ideas on serving God because he loves us and we love him.
  • Proverbs:  We have been making wisdom/foolishness lists, but changed things up this week.  Now the kids are giving short joint narrations on select proverbs.  I'm combining ideas from theater improv, impromptu speech, and progym maxim.  I call it "maxim improv" and treat it like a game.
  • Emma by Jane Austen.  After we are done with Emma, I want us to read a Scott novel-- perhaps Kenilworth.
  • The Holy War by John Bunyan
  • LittleLa decided she was tired of sitting on the sidelines, so she has joined us in Lost Tools of Writing I.  I started her on Lesson 1.  She has just completed her first ANI.  The other two girls are finishing Lesson 6.  I am debating whether to stay on Lesson 6 for awhile, or to get through Lesson 7 before stopping down and honing skills.  Lesson 7 is the *Complete* Persuasive Essay.  We are beginning to get overwhelmed by the work, though.  I want the kids to internalize processes before we add more.
  • We try to go to the YMCA for yoga twice per week.  (My personal goal is once per week.)
  • We belong to a small group that meets for fine arts every couple weeks.  The kids are currently learning about the Russian Nationalist composers and the art of Van Gogh, as well as taking classes in sol-fa and applied art, and reading Shakespeare's As You Like It and the poetry of Alfred Noyes. 
Group Work (Minus Aravis)
  • We are almost through "Field and Wild" in Madam How and Lady Why by Charles Kingsley.  It is a great chapter.  If you are struggling to get through the book, hang on.  "Field and Wild" is worth it.  In a little while, I'll post a quote about thinking v. guessing.  After we get finished with MHLW, I want to start The Sea Around Us.  None of us has ever read it through, although we have tried.  I just got a young person's version of the book from pbswap.  It looks like the same text, but lots of pictures, diagrams and maps.  Yay!  
  • I just started KISS Grammar with the two younger kids after years of Winston Grammar.  Although the kids know their parts of speech from nouns through prepositional phrases, we started at the beginning of KISS.  I like his in-depth explanations of verbs.
LittleLa's Work (AO Year 5)
  • Together we are reading This Country of Ours by H.E. Marshall, the portion about the 19th Century.  We are comparing La's other history reading to the history found in TCOO.
  • We just began Kim.  For now, we are focusing on setting and characters.  The plot hasn't yet thickened. ;o)  Okay, I guess the plot of Kim is thick from the start!  But it is hard to understand the book if you don't have some framework of culture, geography, etc. 
  • We also share the reading of The Sciences by Edward Holden.  We read what he wrote, summarize it, and then go on How Stuff Works or another website to get the updated version.  Sometimes we do the experiments.  My success rate with the experiments is low, but at least she is getting a good introduction to all the sciences.  We are currently in the physics section.
  • Her independent readings include Abraham Lincoln's World by Genevieve Foster, Book of Marvels by Richard Halliburton, The Usborne Complete Book of the Human Body, Bulfinch's Age of Fable, Passion for the Impossible (biography of Lilias Trotter) and the poetry of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
  • We do dictation and copywork twice each per week, and I give spelling words once per week based on words she misspells in her narrations.  I am not satisfied with our dictation efforts.  I think something needs to change, but I don't know what.   La is also working through a notetaking book and a free online Spanish program.
  • Four days per week we do 45 minutes of MEP Math.  Sometimes she has additional work to finish on her own.
  • She also takes violin and piano lessons and plays in an orchestra.
Mariel's Work (HEO Year 8)
  • Together we read Ourselves by Charlotte Mason and How to Read a Book by Adler/Van Doren.  We have discussion and she applies what she learns to her life/reading.
  • Her independent readings include Christopher Columbus, Mariner by Samuel Eliot Morrison, English Literature for Boys and Girls by H.E. Marshall, Fearfully and Wonderfully Made by Dr. Paul Brand, Galileo's Daughter by Dava Sobel, I Promessi Sposi, Secrets of the Universe by Paul Fleisher, The Case for Christ Lee Strobel, The New World by Winston Churchill, Jansen's History of Art, and the poetry of Robert Burns.  Mariel is studying the Renaissance and Reformation.
  • Four days per week we work on MEP math for 30 minutes.  She usually has some work to finish on her own.  The last week or two we set MEP aside and worked exclusively on math problems in her physical science book.
  • She is working through Apologia Physical Science this year.  I have her applying SQ3R as her narration, then she does the On Your Own questions, labs (with friends) and study guide before taking the test.
  • She is working through Grammar of Poetry, but that has slowed down the last few weeks.  
  • She just started the Essays of Francis Bacon.  In each essay she gives his thesis and then either refutes or confirms it based on her own reading and experience.  I had Aravis outline and rewrite these essays when she did Year 8, but I like this new idea better.  Mariel can rewrite Lamb's essays next year.
  • Mariel also takes violin lessons and plays in the orchestra.  She is taking a break from piano.  And she studies Spanish with Javamom.
  Aravis' Work (HEO Year 11)
  • Aravis and I work together once per week.  We are calling her a junior (11th grade) this year.  She is studying the 20th Century.  During our together time we read Paul Johnson's History of the American People and Ourselves (Book 2: Self-Direction) by Charlotte Mason, and discuss some of her other books as well as time management and future plans.
  • Her independent readings include A Short History of Western Civilization by Sullivan, et al, Brideshead Revisited, Economics in One Lesson (Hazlitt), Here is Your War (Ernie Pyle), Six Easy Pieces (Richard Feynman), Testament of Youth, The Chosen, The Men Behind Hitler, The Microbe Hunters, Theodore Roosevelt's Letters to His Children, Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage, History of Art, Anne Frank: the Diary of a Young Girl, and On Writing Well.  She wants to read all of these and is a quick reader, but perhaps she needs more chapters per week of fewer books.  A couple of the books are leftovers from an earlier term, but she was excited to begin the new books, so a couple of 'reading slots' are doubled up in this list.  
  • She is almost done with Is God a Moral Monster? and is about to start When God Goes to Starbucks (both by Paul Copan).  The Starbucks book deals with everyday apologetics.  The moral monster book discusses questions of God's righteousness in the Old Testament.
  • Aravis started the year doing Apologia Physics, but after a few modules we suspended that study until after she finishes trigonometry, which she is taking at the college.  She will take up physics again in March and work through the summer to finish. 
  • She is working through Intermediate Logic by the Nances, but that has recently slowed down.  She did Introductory Logic a couple of years ago.

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