Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Book Review - Can You Find It Outside

Two book reviews in one day. I wasn't planning to do this, but I had to plug this book I found at the library. Can You Find It Outside? from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. While at the library I also noticed another book called "Can You Find It Inside?"

This book has 13 works of art in which the reader is asked to find various objects. It's a type of "I Spy" book, but it contains fine art. This is a great way to expose young children to art and get them to really look at it.

My 5 year old son and I had a great time reading this book today.

One of the pieces contained in the book is "Peaceable Kingdom" by American artist, Edward Hicks.

When looking at this piece, the child is asked to find the lion and the leopard and the lamb. Then he is asked to find a hole in the tree and two bare feet.
My son studied the picture for a long time and said he couldn't find the bare feet. At first, I thought he was kidding. Then I realized he was completely serious. After giving him some clues, he said there simply is no bear in the picture.
Oh the innocence of it all. I love moments like these.

I can't wait to go back to the library to check out "Can You Find It Inside?"

Book Review - Whatever Happened to Penny Candy?

Quote from the beginning of the book:
"...All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise, not from the defects in their constitution or confederation, not from want of honor or virtue, so much as from downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation..." John Quincy Adams, 1829

This is a great book. It is on Ambleside Online's book list for Year 7. DD12 and her dad are reading it together and they are loving it. It is a course in economics that is very easy to understand. Each chapter is only 2 pages long and her assignment is to read only one chapter a week, digest it and discuss it.

Chapter titles include (These are my favorites):
Revolutions, Elections and Printing Presses
Fast Money
How Much is a Trillion
What's So Bad About the Federal Debt?

I like to recommend books that gets our family as a whole talking and this is one of those books. DD12 will read something and come running to us to share what she just learned. My hubby does that, too. We then talk about the ideas presented and figure out how they apply to our lives today. We are all talking about it.

As we work through the upcoming year, I hope to post other Charlotte Mason friendly books.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The "S" Word

I thought this was interesting. I looked up "socialization" and found "socialize". #1 is a little scary. Then out of curiosity I looked up "socialism". I found #3 most interesting on that one.
I wonder if these words are on any vocabulary list in the public schools. Hmmmm.

Here is what I found:

so·cial·ize (sō'shə-līz') v. so·cial·ized, so·cial·iz·ing, so·cial·iz·esv. tr.
1. To place under government or group ownership or control.
2. To make fit for companionship with others; make sociable.
3. To convert or adapt to the needs of society.v. intr.To take part in social'cial·i·za'tion (-shə-lĭ-zā'shən) n., so'cial·iz'er n.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth EditionCopyright © 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Company.Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. Cite This Source

so⋅cial⋅ism   /ˈsoʊʃəˌlɪzəm/ Show Spelled [soh-shuh-liz-uhm] Show IPA –noun
1..a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.
2..procedure or practice in accordance with this theory.
3..(in Marxist theory) the stage following capitalism in the transition of a society to communism, characterized by the imperfect implementation of collectivist principles.

Compare utopian socialism.
Origin: 1830–40;
social + -ism UnabridgedBased on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2009. Cite This Source

Monday, August 24, 2009

South Mountain Fair

DD12 worked desparately to finish two projects to be entered in our local fair. She did both projects through 4-H. There were other homeschoolers locally who entered the fair and it was fun seeing their projects there as well.

Due to a financial crunch in our family, we are being forced to really cut back on recreational spending. We had to pay an admission to the fair ($4 per adult and kids were free), but it was well worth it since we warned the children ahead of time that we would not be riding anything. We were there to see the exhibits. DS5 really wanted to ride something, but I think he is adjusting to our budget. He only asked once, we said "no" and miraculously, there was no whining.

We first saw a man with a monkey. I had a couple of quarters and gave them to the kids. The monkey came and took the money out of their hands and kissed them each on the nose. It was sweet.

Anyway, walking through and taking the time to really look at the exhibits was a lot like visiting a muesum. We really appreciated what went into each project and that made the day very enjoyable. We also visited the commercial exhibits which weren't quite as much fun, but we got some free post-it notes, pens and rulers. We were also able to talk politics with the political candidates who were there. After that, we visited the livestock. It was a little smelly, but fun seeing the various animals. By that time we had plastic bags with our freebies and I had to tell the children to keep the bags away from the goats because they would try to eat them. And they did.

The highlight of the whole event was seeing the second place ribbons on both of DD12's projects. This being her first year, having little guidance, and not knowing what the judges might be looking for, we were all surprised (and very proud) she did so well.

The bonus was that when we went to pick up her projects on Sunday, she recieved a check for $4! She won a money prize of $2 each for the 2nd place winnings. She was beaming.

As we left the grounds, all three of my kids were thinking of projects they could enter next year.
As a mom, this made my heart sing.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Summer Journaling

We started our summer journals on Memorial Day and it has become part of our evening routine that I think may go on indefinitely.

We get PJ's on, brush teeth and cozy in to write a couple of words about our days. Each of my children has their own "style" for journaling.

DD12 is writing a story in the 3rd person, often writes poetry and enjoys making lists.

DD10 writes a sentence or two and draws a picture

At the beginning of the summer, DS5 drew pictures and dictated several sentences to me. More recently, he enjoys doing copywork. Usually he copies the titles of his favorite books. He seems to be enjoying writing his own letters in his journal rather than having me write words for him.

DH also seems to be enjoying this activity. It is a real bonding time for our family because we get to hear what happened during the day that is important to each of us.

The cat wishing he had opposable thumbs so he could write about his napping adventures in a journal. Instead, he enjoys listening to us read our journals each night.

Each person may write what he or she wishes.

What we include in our journals:
A narrative about the day
A list of favorite things
Poetry (either original or copied with appropriate credit given)
Bible verses
This list could go on and on.

Once everyone is finished writing, we will share what we have written.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

We've started

On Monday, we started a light schedule.
But before that, we had to go out for ice cream on Sunday night. Growing up, it was a tradition in my family to go out for ice cream the night before the first day of school. It was fun and when it comes to family tradition, I figure the calories just don't count.

We are reading The Door in the Wall (Books for Young Readers) by Marguerite de Angeli and Short Stories from English History as suggested by Queen Homeschool. Since our summer activities are not over yet, we are going on a light schedule (which we should have been doing all summer).
So, on Monday we read chapter 1 and discussed it. We then read the suggested chapters from Short Stories from English History and had an amazing discussion with dad in the room. It was wonderful and I kept thinking "This is what I have been striving for!"
Isn't it wonderful when a plan comes together?

I realize this is just after one day, but I am hopeful. The curriculum I have chosen this year seems to really fit. DD12 will be doing Year 7 Lite in Ambleside Online and DD10 will be doing Quest for the Middle Ages from Winter Promise. Our plans this year include a field trip to Medieval Times in Maryland.
DS5 will just be along for the ride. He did request a math book - I think because his sisters each have one. So I went to Staples and got the Kindergarten math book for him and a workbook to practice writing which we are calling his copywork book.

Monday, August 3, 2009

When to start

When I first entered the homeschooling community, I found the idea odd that there was a beginning and an end to a school year. Although I am a former public school teacher and worked on a 190 day schedule every year (180 with students and 10 without), I still found it odd that families who educate at home were compelled to mark a beginning and end. I guess part of it is what we have learned from society. Most of us went to school 180 days a year (barring sick days and family trips) and there has always been a definite beginning and end of the school year.

When we have our children at home, we have the luxury of making that beginning and end a little fuzzier and should embrace that.

With that said, I made the mistake last year of counting days and letting the children know what number day we were on. This mainly evolved out of the fact that I homeschooled two other students with my family*. To meet state requirements and to come up with an agreement with their parents, the days had to be calculated.
This year, I am not tutoring, but the effects of last year are still being felt.

As I come to my computer and try to plan for the upcoming year, I am sure about what we will be doing. We are going to study the middle ages and possibly go into the renaissance by spring.

The difficulty I am having right now is figuring out when to start what I am calling our regular schedule. We have had so much activity this summer, that we do not have a regular schedule and as much fun as it is, it also creates a lot of stress with fluctuating bedtimes and being in different places each day and each week.

For now, it looks like we will be able to get into our regular schedule at the end of August. In the meantime, I am hoping to read "The Door in the Wall" with the kids and do some activities with it. We'll see.

* Yes, in Pennsylvania it's legal. It falls under the Private Tutoring Provision of the Pennsylvania School Code. Although, some argued with me that I could only take one student from another family, I read the law differently. My argument was that my Pennsylvania teaching certificate enabled me to teach in a classroom with children from 30+ different families at one time. Why then in my home could I only teach children from one family? Once again, I think the law is poorly written.