Monday, April 27, 2009

Sunday afternoon choir ensemble in Wheaton

My home schooled children have never seen a graduation ceremony, or rather suffered through the high school band dirge of pomp and circumstance. We will help with a graduation in June held in the burbs and that will be remedied. My kids who live a long distance away from extended family had not attended a funeral. Well, we did get to Iowa to attend my cousin's memorial, but there was no "viewing" because she had died while living in Arizona in February. I don't like the "viewing" and will probably not subject my kids to that if it is my decision. So, finally, there was the regular chorus concerts that we did in elementary school maybe twice a year to show our parents that music class was a good thing. Well, that is not an option with home schooled kids either. EXCEPT when a wonderful lady at New Church invited us to a large group choral performance yesterday that was an EPIPHANY for my children. They didn't suffer in pain and they may have even enjoyed the music because it was after all, very - well maybe electric, for the older crowd attending. It was definitely right up there with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir which is large, well done and older music. I enjoyed it better too at the 100 year old church in Wheaton. So there, it's not about checking the blocks, but it was important.

Friday's Froggin' under the Stars

Yes, environmental introduction to frog/toad identification AND astronomy are a compatible match. Even though it was a bit dark, our favorite forest preserve educator, Ranger Kev, played frog and toad calls for each of us to identify in the area. G#1 was up front and getting the full impact of the tools and was able to hear 2 of the calls from the nearby wetlands. The sky observations lessons were led by Ranger Dave and we actually saw more in the suburbs sky than we had at the planetarium. I enjoyed the walk around the site and encounters with several toads on the path. It was an excellent Friday night family outing that provided a memorable teaching time too. And it was free...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday Musings

It's Monday and the children are lunching. We've had a productive time starting Week 30 of our studies. The little girl is worn out from hers and my weekend trip to Kansas for a part of her birthday present. She enjoyed too many giggles and I enjoyed the JoCo restaurant trifecta with dear friends. This morning while I wait for these three to finish lunch I'm re-listening to A Prairie Home Companion and investigating the Lions at the New York Public Library. I'm curious who wrote the poem that GK read about New York City in April. It was so, well perfect. Even with my limited knowledge of the city. I also enjoyed thoroughly the performance from the musicians. Wynton M, Heather M, and the violinist of the Old Shoe Band.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter with family in Iowa

We began the 29th week of our classical studies for 1st and 2nd grades in the 'burbs, but drove to Iowa for Easter adventures near the farm. We read and completed a few lessons on birds in zoology I. But, then went fishing at my uncle's pond. There was four hours of fishing in the warm sunshine. The goal for using our fishing poles at least once a year is complete. Now, any other fishing is over and above the goal!

On the return trip to the 'burbs, once some of the Easter egg hunts candy was done, we found the Macbride Raptor center at Coralville Lake on Monday in the cold and rain. We identified what the large variety of birds ate from droppings and remnants laying around the containers and we saw the fresh dinner being prepared by the University of Iowa caretakers involved in the program. There were also reasons that brought each bird to the center. Some were obvious like the saw wet owl with one eye. And one bird missing a wing. The osprey's nest was the connection that G#1 made with the Burgess Bird Book story about how it was made and where it was located above the lake for easier reach once a fish was caught from the water. Each of my three Gs made wonderful connections with the flying things Apologia study and I'm pleased to have a sister-in-law who did the research to find us this wonderful site to visit. We can't wait to take her back next month when we find this place again on a warmer, greener day.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Back into the History program today

It helped to read Caedmon's Song today and listen to the Medieval podcast about monks and the parameters of the Middle Age time period. The podcast included a Gregorian chant which helped establish the differences that existed in musical styles of monks and bards. So, we'll listen to Chapter 16 of Story of the World II about the English language, Serfs and Noblemen, and Stone Castles per the Jim Weiss recordings. But the children know so much more about castles after reading through the MacCauley books "Castles" and "Cathedrals." We've enjoyed the videos from the library about serfs and noblemen, doctors and others in a series called "Life in the Middle Ages."
After my visit to Boston last week, I'm anxious to get them to American history and explore so much right here in the USA. I'd have to admit though that my favorite time period of fiction reading is medieval mystery like Cadfeal and Maidservant's Tale, plus many more that I treasure. But, we live in today and here in the great nation of the United States of America and that is concrete for my grammar stage learners.

Friday, April 3, 2009

History Links

We are reading about Medieval Times in History and I've found interesting links that I don't want to loose. One is a study of characters in the Middle Ages Another is similar at I'm interested in sharing the family heraldry our piano teacher constructed for us, but it doesn't fit here well. Also, the alphabet art from Dover is fascinating. This timeline is interesting too.

He knows the Number...

If God knows the number of hairs on our heads, how much better does He know the number of feathers on a bird. We learned about wing and tail feathers today and how the 5 different types of feathers are varied in make and purpose. Here is a link to the Burgess Bird Book for Children that we are reading now (chapter 17). And, as G#1 says, "God must have very good math" skills to do all of this counting.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Back into the swing of things

G#1 & G#2 enjoyed a weekend on the Iowa farm and G#3 relished skiing and building in Utah. All the while, The Daddy and I enjoyed an easy trip to Boston, both of us for the first visit ever. Boats and the Freedom Trail made for an excellent walk and adventure. We can't wait to bring the children here post-USA history 1865>.

But for now, we're all back together and school continues for a bit longer.