Thursday, December 17, 2009

Queen Elizabeth and Shakespeare!

Finally, we're almost done with SOTW2!  I've taken 2.5 school years to get my rhythm for history and I'm finally ready to begin SOTW3. So much amazing stuff wrapped up in all this! Slow and steady is so much better than non-existent and halting.  You see, there are usually 2 or 3 segments to each chapter. We are now taking one segment, it's narration and it's activity guide questions along with a coloring page/ map page/ cut-paste memory cards as the first group activity each day (right after breakfix and Bible study).  I review each chapter with them on the 4th or 5th day from the SOTW test booklet.  I haven't done very well nailing art the past two weeks. We had such an awesome visit to Rome and looked at Michelangelo’s work that I just haven't done he and da Vinci justice.  I also realized that I may not be addressing enough of the music in history segments we cover.  So I googled Elizabethan composers. I will suggest more work on Medieval music and da Vinci science tomorrow because it looks like a light school day. 
Science was a hit with the introduction of NON-METALS! My kids are getting used to the notebook format from Elemental Science for Chemistry. They also enjoyed the experiement this week with yeast, sugar and a balloon-ed bottle to demonstrate Carbon's presence.  We showed the Daddy a video about Carbon and giggled through another about Helium.  Otherwise, it was a good week of Christmas preparations and Advent observations. G2 finished Math-U-See Beta and will move onto Gamma multiplication with her brothers.  G3 is reading Swiss Family Robinson and enjoying all the construction taking place on their island.  G1 is beginning the final book for our adventures through Explode the Code. And we're all getting used to Heelys which arrived from one of the grandmothers yesterday.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Kids at Marshall Fields on State Street Chicago

Sent using BlackBerry

Take the Kids to Rome!

Yes, take the kids to Rome and do it during the off-season. While everyone else is rushing around in their black, gray or brown, you have a light sweater on and there are NO CROWDS! We walked right into the Colosseum and Forum with our Roma Pass (one adult per child under 11 years old for most things, but we did have to buy 3 kid passes in the Ancient area) and didn't elbow a soul to get around. The Pantheon was a bit more crowded (free). As was Trevi Fountain (free) and the Spanish Steps (free), but that's where everyone shops. We scooted right through the VATICAN (small cost) and SISTINE CHAPEL (NO LINES, NO SWEATING, CROWDED passageways!) and the guards weren't shushing to us under Michelangelo's masterpiece because my kids had free Rick Steves mp3 guides in their earbuds. St. Peter's was gigantic and we were HUNGRY, but we got there. Quirinal hill where the old Pope/new president's residence sits was interesting and Piazza del Popolo was fun to watch people. Found as many of the 7 hills that Rome is built on as possible with short legs and un-gelatoed brains. The Sant Angelo's castle was build for kids and we romped all over that place. By the way, the ROMA PASS covered our Metro and city bus travel too. No taxis for us in ROMA. The Catacombs were a necessity for the Daddy and we got a wonderful neighborhood tour on the city bus to get to the Apian Way. We saw flocks (do you call them flocks?) of bats at dusk just as I'd seen in Austin Texas years ago. We ate gelato and pizza and one expensive pasta meal with Chianti. We took the express train to and from the airport and got out on the first planes we tried. Take the kids, and the gramma for that matter. It was a blast for Thanksgiving abroad this year!
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 10, 2009

And now for something completely different...

Mommys should be able to read for their own growth. For me that means a book from the library or something from my Bible. I've been reading through the book of Acts because of our involvement in Community Bible Study. I've been so glad for this time through Acts of the Apostles because it's finally sinking into my brain and heart.

Yesterday I finished reading The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer. I found it at one of the two local libraries I visit often. It was recommended on someones blog. Yes, by the way, I do read so many blogs, and I HAVE to be more focused and disciplined on teaching my kids and developing the projects that I'm preparing for our homeschool studies (i.e. Winter Olympics study and Oceanography study). But, WOW! this book about a boy in Malawi and is something I can't wait for my kids to be ready to read during the logic stage when they angst and debate EVERYTHING! This book discusses physics, general science, geography, economics, history, political science and in some little ways religion (both from a church teaching AND an ungodly perspective). I am exposing the children here to African countries, flags, basic geographic concepts. But someday, they will be ready for this one.

Finally, this is my view out the back door at the snapdragons. They continue to provide color even on the coldest day of the year (zero degrees Fahrenheit) with snow all around.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's a good thing it didn't rain on us in Rome.

Posted by Picasa

Early Christian Burial Sites near Rome

It is probably best that Gramma decided not to go to the Catacombs. It was definitely a tight squeeze and a few stairs. It was austere for me to see this sight. I look forward to taking the kids and Daddy to sites underground in central Turkey, and then I can complete the comparison for early Christians.
Posted by Picasa