Wednesday, March 19, 2014

SOTW3CH27 What Engineering Minds Want to Know about History

SOTW3CH 27, begins on page 259
A Changing World
Steam and Coal in Britain

·         READ & SUMMARIZE in Goodreads:  Howard, Ellen.,  The gate in the wall (Not a door - mind you)
·         Synge Struggle for Sea Power:  Story of the Steam-Engine
·         Bachman, Great Inventors and Their Inventions:  The Invention of the Spinning Machines
·         Builders of Our Country II.  Chapters about Howe and Whitney.
Cotton and Guns in America

·         Bachman, Great Inventors and Their InventionsEli Whitney & the Invention of the Cotton Gin
·         Guerber Story of the Great Republic:  Ch. VII  A Wonderful Invention, 1797
·         CH. 27, Schlessinger Media has a DVD James Watt and also Eli Whitney (Inventors of the World)
Continue memorizing US Presidents and making notes about each president in order that they become special and memorable. (I'm up to #14)

Usborne pages:  Pgs. 338-339; The Industrial Revolution
KHE pages:  Pgs. 296-297; Industry:  Early Revolution 1708-1815

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Including Science in Classical Education

I should have known that I'd home school for almost seven years when I watched the kids dig in the backyard (whether authorized or not). They love discovery.  I do to, but I thought those who homeschooled were CRAZY back then.  Discovery is one reason I became a science teacher and love learning.  But I haven't always shared that love of learning with others.  Many moms would ask me how I even get to science, actual hands-on exploration each week of homeschooling these three creative people.  And, sadly, I haven't always had good answers for my faith in the importance of science study.

The classical education is organized around reading and writing, arithmetic skills, and history.
The Well Trained Mind, p. 158.

Yes, we have to do spelling and grammar and math, but those moms just didn't understand why they should have to do science with their kids, when they themselves hated science from their own school classroom experience.  Well, I loved my science class, teachers and experience.  I couldn't put it into words until I watched my kids begin to use the scientific method in everyday we've continued no matter how much we stick in our classically educated schedule (and sometimes it seems like too much), science is a mainstay and another reason I homeschool.

But for many, science isn't that easy to get to each week.  I've always regretted not having the information for moms who are struggling to give their kids science lessons each week. They would ask me what worked for me, and I answered that we were constructing a grammar stage curriculum that is (k-4) from some suggestions in The Well Trained Mind by Dr. Bauer. They looked at me blindly and changed the topic. I didn't understand their reluctance to use this book.  The book was easily available in my public library, and told me to study biology for one for one year, geology, meteorology, astronomy and oceanography another year, then chemistry and physics. I agreed because my Junior High science classroom experience taught me it was "wonky" to make kids study back and forth from one topic to the next in successive chapters from a book called "7th grade science" (otherwise known as integrated).

... classical education is...orderly.  ...use notebook pages for their drawings..your record of their narrations from read alouds.
The Well Trained Mind, p. 160.

Often these moms change the topic because Susan Wise Bauer wrote from a non-biased or non-biblical perspective (for example secular vs religious; many people can be religious about being secular as well). I rejoiced in the freedom of teaching my kids about God's creations within the framework of The Well Trained Mind structure that closely follows a traditional classical education method.  I've never been accused of being structured, so WTM recommendations gave me guidelines.  And I hadn't read about Charlotte Mason or The Bluedorns back when I found the TWM in the library. something every day touching on science or nature. Teaching the Trivium, p. 382.

Now, I am emphatic about the same scientific method that I loved before the struggle to actually study science.  I now suggest reading about nature and physics, chemistry and habitat. We record observations from all these experiences we have with science (suggested in nature study from HFA Mom) and the format we've learned in Elemental Science study.
Notebooking has become a wonderful way to document and solidify learning. 

I have bright kids and they seem to need more challenge.  So I introduced a creation based text book, really that's what it was, for them to study about astronomy.  This lacked what we needed, so we moved on to activities involving more hands on work to study astronomy. We moved back into the textbook route to study birds and then ocean habitats, but it never really kept them attentive. Then in 2nd/3rd grade (my children were born within a 16 month period so they follow the same topics for science and history each year) we found chemistry materials that moved us into a realm of challenge, structure and substance that directly tied into the WTM suggested guidelines for science. Even if you are an eclectic, secular vs traditional, Christian homeschooler who never "gets" to science, don't let your kids miss out.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

SOTW3 Ch26 Let's Look at Catherine of Russia

SOTW3CH26, begins on page 249
Catherine the Great
Princess Catherine Comes to Russia
Bachman, Great Inventors and Their Inventions:  George Stephenson and Invention of the Locomotive
The Baldwin Project image: 

Russia. 1774-1775
1700, Beginning of the Great Northern War between Russia and Sweden
1762, Catherine the Great is proclaimed empress of Russia
1796, Catherine the Great of Russia dies

Catherine the Great
KHE pages:  Pgs. 310-311; Modernizing Russia 1730-1796
Bachman, Great Inventors and Their Inventions:  Invention of the Electric Engine

Withrow, Brandon; Withrow, Mindy (2007-11-01). Hearts and Hands (History Lives) (Kindle Locations). Christian Focus Publications. Kindle Edition..  William Wilberforce, William Carey, Elizabeth Fry, Liang Fa, Adoniram and Ann Judson, Fidelia Fiske, Sojourner Truth and Harriet Beecher Stowe, and David Livingstone. Additional background features include: Awakening Church Timeline; What was the Awakening Church?; The Development of Church Music; An Era of Social Reform; Revolutions and Rebellions; A New Method of Missions; The Rise of Protestant Denominations; Other Christians of the Awakening Church; and The Beginnings of the Modern World.   

Sunday, March 9, 2014


So much of life is noise,  if you let it.  But, aren't you allowed to choose how you live your life?  That's what they told me in high school - aim high,  get a college degree, blah blah blah.  I chose a lot of things including a college experience,  a job and now marriage/family.  But I never chose to decrease the amount of noise in my life, until now. I homeschool.  I drive with the radio off,  sometimes.  I listen to books from my kindle text-to- voice because I can. I separate kids in my house into separate rooms in my house or tables at the library or benches at the park because they need to learn about reducing the noise in their lives too. Can't do that in the classroom,  or on the school bus or in the basketball team. Noise reduces how much we can hear ourselves think.  Discern. Appreciate. Life. Choose to live intentionally and reduce some noise each year. We aren't promised another day, but when we get it, choose to savor it. I do and continue to relish it.

Friday, March 7, 2014

"Field Trip Adventure"

So, you're a classroom teacher for 20 years and you're taking your classroom kids on the same field trip for the 20th time, and it really hurts, and you're tired.

Just think,  that could be me out there leading my earth science 8th graders to the Field Museum to discuss the goo-to-you ideas from the textbook. But, that would be surreal because I didn't stay in the classroom.

I don't use textbooks except the Bible (well, and Rod/Staff Grammar and Saxon Maths). I don't preach large scale evolutionary historical development on planet earth (old earth creationist is on the back of my t-shirt). I HOMESCHOOL. I HOMESCHOOL!  YES, SAY IT LOUD AND PROUD, I HOMESCHOOL! !!

I don't get a paycheck, 
I get hugs, 
and debates with my own kids - 

I go on field trips to wonderful places I want to share with them, and wonderful places I want to explore with them. And I like it. And they're for intentional living that allows them to surrender the junk, simplify and savor what they have.
That's what it's all about.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Support from your Local Homeschool Parent Group

How does your homeschool parent support group support you?  Mine offers many wonderful opportunities. They organize field trips, ice skating free-skate (along with other sport related activities), parent curriculum discussion, project fairs, curriculum re-sale opportunities and sharing time for uplifting parent-educators. But now, my support group provides dissections.  The Mommy became the RockStar of the month by signing up two Gs for a cow's eye dissection.  The third G was asked to be an assistant to the medical presenter-educator.  The Daddy and I helped each G with the scalpel, but really, there wasn't much to the process.

It just seems that there is more to dissections (science in general) when the parent-educators try to take on such a task independent of any outside help.  We tried to dissect two years ago on our own from a mail-order kit. We got through the seastar, clam and worm, but the frog remains to be dissected. So, when we got an incredible lesson about the eye from Dr. Callentine, I was ecstatic!  So grateful for making this memory with my kids.