Thursday, October 31, 2013

MUSIC STUDY - That Hill I'll Die On

In 5th grade, my mom picked the alto saxophone for me to play in the band.  She had always wanted to play, and this was the closest she was going to get.  My dad had played the trombone long enough in school, but never played it for us.  I continued to play the alto saxophone in the classroom along with piano lessons with neighbor lady even when I had to practice the upright piano in the coldest room of the house through junior high school.  Then my mom couldn't afford the piano lessons for my brothers and me, so we got to drop piano.  But, my junior high band director saw fit to change me during concert season to bassoon.  Yep, I have huge hands and am sturdy enough to haul that huge machine around.  I learned the base clef very well after a bit of practice at it on the piano.  I ended up getting a bassoon scholarship when I applied to a nearby state school for a major in music education.  There weren't that many of us and we were valuable enough to spend some scholarship money on us.  Besides that money, I'd have found it difficult to pay for college on my own. 

I'd also been employed to sing in school and church.  I was trained by a very capable man who, to this day, I'm grateful for because he arranged for me to audition for that scholarship at the state university and who constantly encouraged me to do more with music.  He was my vocal and choir teacher from 5th grade to graduation.  He is incredibly talented and I knew that if he said I could do anything, then I could probably do anything.  And there wasn't a struggle for me or my brothers to participate in band or choir.  I don't remember even facing a decision where I had to challenge my mom about it.  The piano lessons, yes, but those were expensive private lessons that she found difficult paying for while she was also paying for braces and other things.  Therefore, I'm THANK God for the opportunity to sing and perform various music even after graduating from high school.  I didn't finish with a degree in music education, but I did sing with a Christian choir and orchestra that traveled throughout the United States, thus allowing me to travel to more than 40 states.  And, I have an intense sense of rhythm and spatial awareness that comes from all those hours with music. 

So, when one of my friends asks if I will continue to support my kids playing in the home school band or singing at church, I tell them that it's too important and this music training needs to take precedence.  This needs to take enough precedence that I plan to choose this place to make my stand over other things like cleaning their rooms or doing their laundry.  Music training will help them to learn how to cooperate with others.  It will teach them to be determined to accomplish something. Music participation will improve their peripheral vision (useful in all of life while you have your sight and even after you loose your sight - you can feel what's going on around you). It will, if they sing in an ensemble, teach them to make pronouncing of sounds easy or even fun during language learning later (ever tried Arabic? There are some sounds in that I've learned from music training.)  According to the recording I heard from Mr. Pudewa at IEW, music strengthens both sides of the brain making math easier.  Music has taught me a great deal about cultures both where I sang and what music I sang.  Cultural familiarity with classical music might be helpful in some venue during their lifetimes.  I've met great friends because of music.  And finally, because I've thought and thought but reserve the right to come up with more reasons, music gives me and my kids an innate sense of rhythm for dancing, walking, running and more.  Rhythm is not to be undervalued.  Those that got it, got it. And those that ain't, well God loves them anyway.  And that's what I've got to say about it ;-) T-A-N-G-O

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Math Mileposts

As the Daddy and I continued to angst with our boys about doing math neatly and in an organized pattern, the idea struck me - the boys don't know how to organize their maths b/c they haven't used WORKSHEETS for math (or not to the extent that they remember the MathUSee pages from several years ago). So, we began writing the problems for G#1's Saxon Math 8/7 out like a worksheet. He will finish this book and probably, based on his understanding so far, begin Algebra 1 by February. But, if he continues to meet frustration with his math or not even meet his math because he is floating somewhere between one idea and the next (something we face in adolescence), he will not get to Algebra 1 EVER!
I also started the Saxon Algebra 1/2 with G#3 because two placement tests said that he was able to do it. We actually defined words in the introduction of the lessons into his notebook (no more loose leaf lined paper for math with these two) and mapped out the problems together before he "took off" doing his math independently. Both boys are working independently on their math this week AND enjoying how they know what kinds of problems are set up in the lessons. They are actually working ahead of completing 4 lessons a week. But this success has come at some cost because if I'm explaining that the numbers must be legible for the Daddy to grade, I've not done something else - like laundry.

On the left is an example of mapping out the math problems prior to actually tackling and completing those math problems.  The example on the right is an attempt at plowing through the math as you go with no planning or awareness if there are easier math problems later in the assignment which would take seconds to solve vs the problems that stop any progress on completion of the math assignment.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Art Wins This Week - Self Portraits

G#3 loves his wrist bands & I love his bent finger

Week Eleven in our Happy Little Nest (NOT) History Ch Ten SOTW3 and Chemistry

Everyone is practicing their music for homeschool band and enjoying the challenge. Bet ya never thought I'd say that?!  We're beginning a new cycle of describing each country in our FLAGS (Human Geography) binder. The topic of who a country trades with or fights against has come up and I said that we should really delve further into why a neighboring country should fight at wars with said country.  The Daddy is headed to Africa next week and we're excited, but praying about it.  G#1 is enjoying the Fallacy Detective book and discussion of logic with the Daddy.  All three Gs were outside with me to clean up the garden and put everything away for winter.  The ceiling fans are cleaned and turned, and electric blankets are being used. 
No more mountains of zinnias and marigolds.  The seed heads were collected for next year's garden and bird feeder.  The trash cans serve as a raised garden and are cleaned up.  The hoses are drained and put away.  All because the kids worked with me to get it all done. 

School Stuff:  History
Far East of Europe
SOTW3CHChapter 10, begins on page 99.
Japan's Isolation: Closed Doors in the East
Guerber Story of the Thirteen Colonies:  Puritans, John Eliot, Roger Williams, Providence,, Ch. XXXIII, Stories of Two Ministers,
Japan. 1631-1638, 1633 The Story of Japan chapters about daimyo persecution of Christians
The "Foreign Conquest" of China: The Rise of the Manchu
Guerber Story of the Thirteen Colonies:   Puritans, Connecticut, Ch. XXXIV, Williams and the Indians,
Japan, China. 1635-1643, 1661-1722
(PAST FACT:  1368 and The first Ming dynasty emperor rules in China)
The Story of China.   by R. Van Bergen

School Stuff:   Science
Tiner, Exploring the World of Chemistry Chapter 5: Electricity to the Rescue  36
Kindle:  Wonder Book of Chemistry, Chap 19 (A Drop of Water) and Chap 20 (A Piece of Chalk)
Hands of a Child Notebook: 
Read sections *California Gold Rush, *Magnetic, Where in the World is Metal?, *How Plumbers Got
Activity 8 – Precious metals.
Activity 9 – Objects made with alloys.
Activity 10 – Where are certain metals found?
DK Chemistry pages 24-25
Investigate Periodic Table Construction handouts

Saturday, October 19, 2013

SOTW3 Logic Stage Investigation of Chapter 9: Thirty Years' War & Alkali Earth Metals

Week Ten 2013-14 Highlights
Ice skating
flag football
hayrack ride
Lego perfecting
trip with the Daddy
G#3 finishes Saxon Math 6/5
The School Stuff:  History
The Western War
The Thirty Years' War, 1618-1648
Synge AofE:  Thirty Years of War, Dutch at Sea
Guerber Story of the Thirteen Colonies:  Ch. XXXII, The Beginning of Boston, 1623-1636
PAST FACT:       1642, Cardinal Richelieu dies
                              1648, The Treaty of Westphalia ends the Thirty Years' War
Gombrich, Living History of the World:  Ch30 Terrible Times
Haaren, Famous Men of Modern Times:  Wallenstein, Gustavus Adolphus, Cardinal Richelieu,
Stories from German History.  86% Section:  The Thirty Years’ War

Have you ever thought seriously how your family tree intersects with History? We know that four of the Mommy's sixteen great-great grandparents came from Sweden. We also know that several of the same generation on the Daddy's side came from Germany. Those people were from the 1800s, but 200 years before, their great-great grandparents may have been fighting each other or side by side in the Thirty Years' War with Gustafus, Wallenstein and the like.

More School Stuff:  Science
Tiner, Exploring the World of Chemistry Ch 4: Gases in the Air gases in air, periodic table 28
Kindle:  Wonder Book of Chemistry, Chap 17 (At the Blacksmith's) and Chap 18 (Hydrogen) ALKALINE EARTH METALS GROUP
Hands of a ChildNotebook with questions: DEFINE: Compound, Solder, Precious Metals
Why was salt so important throughout history in war times?
Activity 7 – Magnet Test

DK Chemistry pages  22-23

Above is a clip including all the events of history taking place around the world during the Thirty Years' War in Europe.  This is a fascinating website from that delves as deep into varying topics as you'd like to go.  It's interesting to see this cross-section and realize how big the World is. Of course, Australia and Tasmania were always there, it's just that some western folk discovered them.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday Field Trip - Museum Campus

These kinds of days go by in a blur. 

 And yet, they are the most meaningful conversations and adventures.
This is not a dull gig.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Lego Creations During Catch-Up Week

Organizing the Lego collection is paying off as the one level, reload-by-hand marble-mover is improved to a continuous marble-mover. Rested minds create and share Lego ideas :-)

Dee shared 2 videos with you!

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© 2013 Dropbox

Friday, October 11, 2013

Week Nine of Logic Stage Third Year Homeschooling by Us

Science in a Charlotte Mason fashion lead us to:

Tiner, Exploring the World of Chemistry Ch 3: The Search for Gold elements and atoms    18
Kindle:  Wonder Book of Chemistry, Chap 15 (Air and Combustion) and Chap 16 (Rust)
Hands of a Child Notebook with questions, Read Type of Metals and Metal Ages
·         Define:  Pure Metals, Alloys, Hemoglobin, Anemia, Rust, Extracted, Annealing, Corrode, Tarnish
·         Activity 4 – Types of Metals: An investigation into the Alkali Metal Group was conducted.
·         Activity 5 – Table of Metals:  We are collecting data about metals from the periodic table.
·         Activity 6 – Pure Metals:  This is basically an experiment testing the magnetic properties of coinage.  We put the Daddy's collection of pre-Euro European coinage to the magnet and determined that three-quarters of these coins were non-magnetic (and a surprising number were).  And everyone cheered that no one was injured in the process of actually learning. (green mega magnet and coin collection)
DK Chemistry pages 20-21

Our Classical Approach to History continued as follows:
topics subtopic KHE UILE Synge AoE, SfSP & GoBE Haaren LHW date event Guerber: Story of the 13 Colonies & Story of the Great Republic
Chapter 8 81 The Middle of the East  The Persian Puzzle 1629 Shah Abbas I of Persia dies Pilgrims, Ch. XXX, The First American Thanksgiving, Thru 1629
The Ottoman Turks Pgs. 266-267; The Ottoman Empire 1602-1783 Pgs. 298-299;
The Ottoman Empire
1623 Sultan Murad IV comes to the throne of the Ottoman Empire Pilgrims, Salem, 1628, Ch. XXXI, The Snake Skin and the Bullets, 1623-1683
Chapter 18 175 East and West Collide  The Ottomans Look West Twice Pgs. 175 – 178; The Ottomans Look West – Twice The Siege of Vienna by the Turks Sobieski,
Louis XIV
Ch32 Meanwhile,
looking Eastwards
1683 Turks at Vienna

LHW = Little History of the World by Gombrich (which we tend not to use that much, but this chapter was very helpful.)

To those of you who are familiar with The Story of the World by Dr. Bauer, these sources will be on your shelf. Otherwise, this may tell you that we are discussing Things Ottoman this week, and that makes me very comfy based on my crazy familiarity with Turkish and Middle Eastern Studies. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The IEW Experiment is Begun

I've been on the bandwagon developed by the Institute of Excellence in Writing for over three years now, but failed to actually IMPLEMENT their products out of F-E-A-R.  I am not a writer.  I've completed two graduate programs of coursework, but never written the thesis thereby making me still not a Master of anything. 

But, I've placed the Student Writing Intensive version B in front of G1 this week, and he zoomed through the first TWO weeks of work.  He loves the check-list for grading and expectations.  He enjoys the animated DVD presentation from Mr. Andrew. 
I didn't receive any part of TWSS or SWI-B for free in order to write about it.  I paid exactly what most people pay when they order from the IEW website, but I didn't buy it until the Logic Stage of our Classical education schedule.  You see, I was not buying teacher materials for history or science, so was able to afford the HUGE investment for WRITING. IT'S THAT IMPORTANT.

Two Gs are eager writers and never take short cuts when writing. Often they write too much, and I learn more about writing while editing their contributions.  All three Gs have our old Palm Centro phones, and these two affore mentioned Gs write their own stories about all kinds of things.  Many times G1 is writing about youtube stop action pieces he wants to do with legos.  G2 writes about drama and fiction (go figure - tween girl, remember?). 

So, when we spend lots of time reading/listening to materials for history and science, the narration exercises we commence with help organize what we learned from the materials and how we can use it in the future.  IEW encourages me to use this material too as we continue the never-ending mission to WRITE and learn to Write better (even in a formulaic manner - it's better than hitting the "I can't do it" wall).  Someday, these 3Gs will look back on it and be grateful for the foundation.  Right now, G1 enjoys exercising the writing muscles.  G1 above with first draft (chicken scratched) and final draft typed. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Catch-Up, Week 8 and Staycation

As requested by G3 and condoned by the remaining students, teacher and administrator of Paisley Classical Academy, we proclaim this catch-up week complete.

Life and Lego collection more organized and at peace :-)

Next week: SOTW3 Chapters 8 and 18 while pre-reading something about the Thirty Years' War or London Burning.