Tuesday, January 31, 2012

More Roman Mysteries Today

I wonder if there will be a similar series that these Gs will devour for Medieval Ages next year?  The seventeen books in the Roman Mysteries series brought up wonderful questions about geography, history, Bible, mythology, early medicine & treatment, culture, agriculture, sociology and family bonds.  

This is series that I wouldn't let my kids read until now. I read them and didn't want to expose the kids to harsh realities that existed in the past and, to some extent, still exist today.  After visiting several locations that are mentioned in the series, I am able to relate various issues and discuss why things happened in the stories.  The kids are able to compare what they saw in Rome and Ephesus to what is explained in the books. They are able to relate to the remnants of the Roman empire in Istanbul, London, Bath and places in Germany even better after reading this series.  

After reading about Greek locations in the books, the kids are able to picture Troy, Athens, Crete and Corinth while reviewing from the Story of the World.  We won't use this grammar stage story book again if we re-visit the Ancients in high school, so the mystery series cementing these stories completes our goal.  

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Time to Finish the Roman Mystery Series

We're on a road trip, & we are also almost done with ancient Greece. So, it's time to have each of these Gs complete the series about the four main characters named Flavia, Jonathan, Nubia and Lupus. I wonder if there is a series similar to this that I can read with them for the Medieval Ages stage of the history cycle?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Logic Stage Daily/Weekly Organizer Attempts

There is a form we used to keep track of the work expected, suggested and accomplished each week for the past 18 weeks of school here.  It wasn't working because it was too easy just to mark off things that weren't accomplished (fudge the results a bit and hope that mom didn't pay attention EVERY time).  In order to foster independence in their studies and easy communication about my expectations and their frustrations, I re-designed the weekly checklist to resemble a day/week planner page I saw online the other day.  This attempt to organize them or teach themselves to organize on their own may take a while, but I can try to tweak this even though they like it so far.  The old form is on the left, the history page that hasn't changed is in the middle and the new weekly checklist grouped in subject blocks and order of priority is on the right. For example, at the top of the new page on the right, I list the date, breakfast and Bible.  Then on the next section down, I list math, spelling and grammar. This gives each child a place to right down that they did a math, their daily spelling or a grammar and what number of the lesson they accomplished in the book.

I'm trying to make it clearer what is expected and for them to communicate exactly what they did each week. These pages are front to back (checklist and history page) in the Story of the World chapter from which each week is built.  Maybe in four years, if we look at the ancients again, we'll look back to see what was accomplished first in kindergarten/first grade then in fourth and fifth grade.  So far, it's going better because I can see immediately who needs to do their math or grammar, or who hasn't even looked at history or science for the week!

I haven't heard, "What's next Mom?" And, that is a beautiful thing. They are doing so much work, and I want them to see all this clearly on one page that represents all their work!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Coral Reef Replication Experiment w/ Elemental Science

So, we got a little messy while doing this exercise, but it was fun! 


The life science experiment in Elemental Science Logic Stage curriculum directed my Gs to grow coral by using salt, water and liquid bluing.  I had such a trouble finding the laundry item called bluing. I ended up buying the bluing product from amazon.com because I had driven to 6 stores in my area and still couldn't find it (we have prime for delivery costs, so it wasn't a huge expense considering I've already driven - the gas costing what it does - to several stores).

We are also working on our memory work and included Cnidarians last week. We'll have to postpone observing snails for this week's experiment until I find one. But, I did go into a pet store for the first time in 10 years and it wasn't a horrible experience.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Dissections In Logic Stage Life Science

Clam Dissection

What would you do on a beautiful day in January?  We went into the back yard & dissected an earthworm, clam and sea star. We're working Unit 3 called Invertebrates of the Elemental Science Logic Stage Life Science curriculum.   It's a Saturday & the Daddy could read the directions while Mom sliced open the earthworm or held open the sea star. Daddy also took on the opening of a clam which we don't have on the farm where Mom grew up in Iowa.  G#1 reflected upon eating clams or mussels before.
Sea Star Dissection

There were few directions for this exercise. G#3 enjoyed trying the forceps to touch the
Echinoderm, but G#2 continued to look on as she was still relishing the fact there was little formaldehyde smell involved while dissecting outside. 
Earthworm Dissection

I remember this dissection from seventh grade and was not afraid to start cutting into the
annelid from the kit.  The Daddy decided that after reading the clear and concisely written instructions to the dissection, he would examine the digestive system of the worm himself. 

There will be more dissections, but those will have to wait for another warm day in the sunshine at the back of the house.  Next, we examine coral and cnidarians in week 13 of Logic Stage Life Science.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Our Iliad and Odyssey Visit Goes along with Star Wars Viewing

These images are of the version of the books we read and are copied from the marketing site called Amazon.com where we buy many books both for our shelves and for the Kindle.  Your kids can read these books too.

Black Ships Before Troy  and The Wanderings of Odysseus by Rosemary Sutcliff are written for the 9 to 12 year old kids in my house. The boys certainly appreciated the bloody battles in the first story as well as the art renditions.  My daughter was always asking why Odysseus did the stupid things he did in the second book.  Discernment runs deep in we women of the household.  The boys were the first to say, "Pride!"  As if that made any of the choices Odysseus made correct, except that he did lead his people well during the Trojan War, and finally got back to Ithaca after learning much about leadership.

For a notebook page to be inserted into the Story of the World curriculum chapter 20, these three pre-adolescent kids answered questions about how Odysseus was similar to characters from the movie series called Star Wars.  These answers flowed freely as each child typed complete sentences that were later printed onto the color we've assigned to "The Arts and Great Books" category as directed in The Well Trained Mind.  When asked how Anakin was similar to Odysseus, all three gave answers relating to creative problem solving, head-strong actions and bull-headed decisions of both characters.

So, in the end, we used notebooking to record organized answers to literature content of what we read, AND we practiced typing with correct fingering to produce the page.  In another lifetime, these questions may have been answered only about the classic Homer tales in worksheet form and by hand.  Sadly, the worksheets would then have not been organized into a binder. A binder which will be used a third time (we created the first pass through of SOTW in kindergarten and first grade) when we are in high school.  We also demonstrated how serious we are about Star Wars movies.