Friday, September 24, 2010

Month 1 Review

Two lessons from our art curriculum completed, some modeling work, three art appreciation lessons (appreciating background), an introduction to the life, personality, and work of Beethoven has been fairly simple and perhaps not a big part of the school day, but impactful all the same. If one is to groan about the classical music station being on yet again, one ought to at least be able to groan out the proper names of the composers. And so, the first three weeks of school are a success!
Completed Presidential Fitness Test, charted own results against "healthy range" averages.
Completed summer quarter rock climbing class, several hikes, runs, and informal team sports events (kick ball, sword fighting). Spent an entire day climbing Smith Rocks in Oregon with a climbing guide, starting at 5.4 climbs and finishing with 5.9 climbing and practice rappelling.
Swam and practiced diving.
Reviewed nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, the articles, and pronouns.
Completed one formal writing lesson as well as several smaller writing assignments.
Work on cursive is progressing.
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1080L) Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, funny and interesting; Flush (830L) Carl Hiassen, hilarious; A Wrinkle in Time (740 L) A Wind in the Door (790L) Madeleine L'Engle, first was great and a fast read, second was boring; The Mysterious Benedict Society (840 L) Trenton Lee Stewart, awesome, really good; The Cay (860L) by Theodore Taylor, easy to read, good to talk about; The Book of Three (770L) by Lloyd Alexander, scary (good scary) and exciting; Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransomme, calm and nice to read; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (880L) JK Rowling, exciting and scary to read by yourself; The Breadwinner (lexile 630), Parvana's Journey (lexile 640), Mud City (lexile 740) all by Deborah Ellis, really good, wish there were more.
A review of material covered last year in beginning algebra is progressing, with factoring, PI, infinite and finite numbers, ratios, and the integers covered so far.
Review of fractions (multiplying and dividing), and percents is ongoing as an extra math lesson.
Practice with logic and story problems is a daily and enjoyable part of the school schedule. A weekly hands on math lab (one involving 30 feet of butcher paper, crayons, and a series of rectangles to divide with various numbers of straight lines) has been quite fun.
Science thus far has been limited to simple nature observation and a weekly class learning about scientists, scientific current events, and studies. Articles about insect eggs and the dangers of and ways of dealing with space trash were read and reported on, both verbally and in writing.
Several trees and a couple of types of mushrooms were identified. Ecosystems of the high desert and the coastal wetlands and forests were explored.
Reading, narration, and illustrating of the beginning of civilizations was completed. Experiments with simple tools and possible evolution of tool making were spontaneously devised and carried through.
Geography study included a review of the world- oceans and continents, basic geographic terms, map reading- then narrowed in focus to North America.
A mini study about Uruguay was completed, including making dulce de leche candy-sauce.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

September Circle

Rise up O Flame, By thy light shining, Bring to us vision, beauty and joy. (sung, from the floor to rising, slowly)

There's the firm earth under me, The blue sky above me,
Here I stride, Here I stand, And I see you too.
With the blue sky above you, The firm earth under you. (marching in place, arms swinging, then raised high, swinging again. Stand still, arms out to friends, then up to sky, swinging again as we march again.)

I'm in the mood for singing, hey how about you?
I'm in the mood for singing, singing along with you.
Hey, hey, what do you say, I'm in the mood for that today,
Hey, hey, what do you say, I'm in the mood for that.
(singing, clapping, snapping, stomping, smiling, winking, spinning, etc.)

Right hand, left foot, meet in the middle,
Left hand, right foot, meet in the middle,
Right arm over left arm, play the fiddle!
Left hand, right foot, meet down low,
Right hand, left foot, meet down low,
Left arm over right arm, pull the bow!
Reach to the right, reach to the left,
Stretch in front, stretch behind,
Look down below, what do you find?
Right hand reach out to a friend,
Left hand reach out to a friend,
Make a circle without end.
Circle to the left, in a ring,
Circle to the right, we will bring,
Our circle to the center, step inside,
Then back out again, like the tide,
Our circle to the center step inside,
Then back out again, like the tide.

Here is an apple tree with leaves so green, Here are the apples that hang in between.
When the wind blows the apples will fall, Here is a basket to catch them all.

"apple" tossing game (beanbags, toss around the circle while we chant our times tables for Avery or count for Miles)

Come with me and dance with me, in the cool of autumn.
All the trees are golden now, all the bells are ringing.
Ring, ring, ring-a, ding, ding, dong, dance and sing together.
Ring, ring, ring-a, ding, ding, dong, in your shoes of leather! (dancing in a ring, holding hands)

Red and yellow, golden brown, all the leaves come falling down, all the leaves come falling down.
(start fast, then slow down as the children sink to the floor)

footwork (tracing geometric shapes with our feet, first circle, then triangle, square, pentagon, as the month goes on, first a taped line, then no guide, then with a crayon in our toes to draw the shape)

Los pescaditos andan en el agua, nadan, nadan, nadan. (swimming fish motions)
Los pajaritos andan en el aire, vuelan, vuelan, vuelan. (flying bird motions)
Son chiquititos, chiquititos. (tiny hand motion)
Vuelan, vuelan, vuelan. (flying again)
Nadan, nadan, nadan. (swimming)

Come ye Thankful People, come, raise a song of harvest home:
Fruit and crops are gathered in, safe before the storms begin;
God our Maker will provide, for our needs to be supplied;
Come to God's own temple, come, raise a song of harvest home.
All the world is but a field, given for a fruitful yield;
Wheat and tares together sown, here for joy or sorrow grown;
First the blade and then the ear, then the full corn shall appear;
God of harvest, grant that we, wholesome grain and pure may be.

Brave and true I will be, Each good deed sets me free.
Each kind word makes me strong, I will fight for the right, I will conquer the wrong.

I can turn myself and turn myself, and curl up as I will.
I can stand on tiptoe, reaching high, I can hold myself quite still.
I can be as small as a small, small seed,
I can be as tall as a tall, tall tree.
I can be as wide as the wide, wide world,
I can just be me.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Vikings Resources

Nordic Heritage Museum (Seattle)
NOVA Vikings
BBC Vikings Lessons
Viking Lesson Plans Ireland
Baldwin Project Viking Tales
Baldwin Project Stories of the Vikings
Baldwin Project Rolf and the Viking's Bow
Baldwin Project East o' The Sun West o' the Moon

Fifth Grade Curriculum & Syllabus

one folk song, one hymn, one multi-verse poem to memorize over the month, 1-2 Spanish language rhymes or songs, at least two different kinds of movement skills (jumping, balancing, footwork, catching, etc.), mix of sitting and standing, moving and still, finger verses and whole body movement.
Language Arts

spelling- We're using Spelling Demons because it's a year long overview of all the spelling rules, which is just what Avery needs.
composition- I've got Writing Strands 3 & 4 for inspiration.
copy work
Social Studies
ancient world history- History Odyssey, A Child's History of the World (Avery reads to Miles), The Story of Mankind (lovely!), lots of books and crafts and projects!
world geography- Trail Guide to World Geography
month long country study- culminating in a supper with another family, celebrating the food and culture of the country we've been studying, and a chance for the children to present their projects before a (small) crowd
community study- monthly service project, monthly field trip, current events & history
puzzlers/logic/diagramming/paper folding/etc.- daily
math lab- weekly- Calculus by and for Young People, the Book of Think, The I Hate Mathematics Book, PI in the Sky, etc.
algebra- 4 times weekly- Life of Fred Algebra (beginning review 3-4 mo, advanced for the rest of the year)
math practice- 2 times weekly- Key To workbooks, etc.
botany- ecosystems, medicinal herbs, plant life
chemistry- Thames and Kosmos Chemc1000 kit
general science- weekly- read/research various topics, write review/synopsis
nature- weekly- nature observation/collection/drawing
hand bells
music appreciation- Beethoven, Chopin, Vivaldi
art appreciation
form drawing
technique- Artistic Pursuits Level 2, Book 1, watercolor incorporated in history/other lessons
embroidery, knitting, sewing, woodwork, modeling
health-nutrition, diseases, first aid, survival, hygiene
gymnastics, rock climbing, skiing
general PE skills- Physical Fitness for the Homeschool Family
Foreign Language
Spanish- La Clase Divertida 1 (again, for Miles' sake)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Late Summer Circle

light the candle...

Rise up O Flame, by thy light shining, bring to us beauty, vision, and joy! (sung as we rise, from curled on the floor to standing, arms stretched up and out, then crossed on chest, then hands over eyes, then stretched back up and out)

There's the firm earth under me, the blue skies over me. So I stride, so I stand, And I see you too
With the blue sky over you, The firm earth under you. (marching in place, hands down, then to the sky. Standing still, hands to eyes then out to our brothers, then up, then marching in place again)

Smile awhile and give your face a rest, stretch awhile, and ease your manly chest,
Reach your fingers to the sky, while you watch them with your eye,
Jump awhile, shake a leg there sir, Now step forward, backward, as you were,
Then reach out to someone near, Shake his hand and smile. (sung cheerfully!)

When I was a young man, a young man, a young man,
When I was a young man a young man was I.
And I walked this way and that way and this way, and that way.
When I was a young man, a young man was I.
(sung several times, as different characters and animals "when I was a rabbit" etc. and always ending with "when I was a student I sat very still, and everyone sitting down in circle)

~Teach us O Lord, To serve as you deserve, To give and not to count the cost, To fight and not to heed the wounds, To toil and not to seek for rest, To labour and not to ask for any reward, Save that of knowing that we do your will~ (prayer of St. Ignatius Loyola)

One potato, two potato, three potato, four. Five potato, six potato, seven potato, more. Eight potato, nine potato, ten potato, hot! (standing, tossing a ball or beanbag to self, then quickly to a friend at hot!)

We're following the leader, the leader, the leader. We're following the leader, wherever he may go. (following the leader, along a rope on the floor, walking different ways- heels, toes, etc.)

Jack be nimble, jack be quick, jack jump over the candlestick. (our rope on the floor turns into a jump rope waving back and forth, and we take turns jumping over it at different heights/speeds)

Dulce, dulce, dulce Mama, dulce, dulce, dulce, Papa, dulce, dulce, dulce Cheeky-cha, cheeky-cha.

Uno, dos, tres, CHO, uno, dos, tres, CO, uno dos, tres, LATE (la-tay), chocolate, chocolate, bate, bate, chocolate! (drum-tempo)

Week 1) Who saw the petals drop from the rose?
I said the spider, but nobody knows.
Who saw the sunset flash on a bird?
I said the fish, but nobody heard.
Week 2) Who saw the fog come over the sea?
I said the sea pigeon, only me.
Who saw the first green light of the sun?
I said the night owl, the only one.
Week 3) Who saw the moss creep over the stone?
I said the grey fox, all alone.
(The Secret Song by Margaret Wise Brown)

The lone wild bird in lofty flight Is still with Thee, nor leaves thy sight.
And I am Thine! I rest in Thee. Holy Spirit come rest in me.
The ends of earth are in Thy hand, The seas dark deep and far off land.
And I am Thine! I rest in Thee. Holy Spirit come rest in me. (sung with simple motions)

Brave and true I will be, Each good deed sets me free, Each kind word makes me strong, I will fight for the right, I will conquer the wrong. (again, marching in place)

I can turn myself and turn myself and curl up as I will. I can stand on tiptoe reaching high, I can hold myself quite still. I can be as small as a small seed, I can be as tall as a tall tall tree. I can be as wide as the wide wide world, I can just be me. (spinning, curl up, stretch up tall, stand still. curl up small, stretch up tall, stretch out wide, stand still arms at sides. We do this regular tempo, fast, faster, faster, regular.)

Blow out the candle.

-Three days a week we do hand bells, and don't blow out the candle til after that.

Every year I try to switch out our closing verse to something else and am faced with anguish and tears. They love this verse. So, it stays. Maybe I'll be saying it as Avery goes off to college.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Avery has officially started algebra, although he's been quite excited to discover that he's already been doing algebra, for years now, without even knowing it. Anyway, Life of Fred is still interesting and exciting, funny and smart, and the combination of LoF and the Key To... workbooks for practice in all the other stuff is working really, really well.
So, we're moving along.
So many things have been of schedule for us this year, with big sicknesses and lots of adventures, that we're sort of just hanging on the basics. No foreign language this year, the big intricate blocks planned for Nordic Myths, with great crafts and a beautiful lesson book- not happening. We've been reading the myths, retelling them at bedsides and in between hospital visits, but that's about it. We're just starting Pilgrims right now, and all of the science stuff I'd planned that wasn't in a kit, all the real meaty good stuff (zoology and anatomy) we've barely scratched the surface. Avery's learned to ski, cross country and downhill, and rock climbing at a gym an hour away every week. This school year has been lots of work Avery can do on his own or nearly so- the Thames and Kosmos history of science kit has been wonderful, even the Home Science Adventures kits have been fun and good, and the boys have been working those together. None of those things are out of the realm of what I could and have in the past put together, but sometimes you just need to be able to open a box and have everything ready to go. And sometimes you just have to be okay with it. They're having fun, they're getting outside, they're reading and playing and learning and doing and that's pretty good.
And pretty good is sometimes, just sometimes, good enough.