Saturday, August 24, 2013

Tapestry Year 3-Week 1: When John Adams Was President

We had a great first week of school!  I am loving our new schedule this year.  It seems slimmed down and more to the point, and easier to accomplish, which leaves all of us feeling great.  And I'm confident that we're getting plenty of learning in!

This week we reviewed the Presidency of George Washington, and talked about the highlights of John Adams' Presidency.  The kids are both making a "Presidents" book, with one page of facts and pictures of each President as we go through this year and next.  I had thought about starting their timelines this year, but I think we'll wait until we go back to Year 1 again.  I don't think they would really get it yet...

Chemistry was fun this week!  Since Chemistry can be kind of boring (at least all the factual information), Elemental Science decided to start it off right by making ice cream.  Since my refrigerator has two small ice trays that hold about 12 miniature ice cubes each, we didn't have enough ice. :)  (I did freeze two rounds!)  But the cream got really really cold, and it made a mean milkshake!

I am really pleased with our new writing program, Classical Writing.  This week, Kiryn got to memorize a riddle about the days of the week, study a picture by Winslow Homer (Snap the Whip), and do a Nature study about north, south, east and west.  She did a bit of copywork, and turned singular nouns into plural ones.  So far, very pleased with the Primer.  It's similar to other programs I've used, but in my opinion, far superior.  I love the copywork, the interest that it has, and how basic it is, yet it challenges the student to think, and engage with the art and nature and the words.  Holistic learning.  Loving it.

I could say the same for Aesop A.  This week Luke spent the week analyzing the model, which was "The Hare and the Tortoise" by Aesop.  He had to read it, then tell it back, look for spelling words and analyze them, learn new words by looking them up in the dictionary, and learn the basics of a sentence.  Next week will spent putting these things into practice by imitating the model.  This is a totally different approach than modern writing programs.  There is no reliance upon, or even much room for, creative writing at this point.  Here is a quote from the Introduction to Aesop:

"Teachers and students should note that Classical Writing differs dramatically from typical modern writing programs.  With modern methods, only naturally gifted people learn to write with eloquence and persuasion.  A lack of critical thinking about meaningful content, a lack of precision and flexibility in the use of words and sentences, a lack of attention to the fitting organization and content of a composition for a given audience, and an abominable lack of style permeate most modern writing programs.  In short, modern writing has radically "dumbed down" the rich, classical heritage of true, beautiful, good and persuasive writing. 

In modern writing pedagogy, where "creativity" and "originality" are of the utmost importance, the classical method is thought to hamper student creativity in writing.  It is thought to be far too heavy on theory ("stifling rules and regulations") and far too rooted in imitation ("slavish copying").  Just the opposite is true." (Classical Writing: Aesop Introduction, pg. 3-4).

When I read that, I was sold.  There is so much more I could quote from that introduction that convinced me this was the way to learn writing.  Not just writing, but critical thinking as well.  I think I'm going to learn about how to be a good writer from this program. : )  I cannot figure out why more home-schoolers are not using this secret gem of a writing curriculum!

We also started Song School Latin this week!  The kids really enjoyed this, and it was a lot of fun. I caught them saying "Salve!" and "Vale!" as they were playing!  (Hello and Goodbye). We're doing this one day a week, and playing the matching game a few times, and I'm hoping it's just a lot of fun, and they get some vocabulary from it by the end of the year.

We had a great week, and I see the kids making big strides in their basic skills!  I so enjoy being home with them and seeing lightbulbs go off and accomplishments happen!

Working on our Unit 1 Tapestry lap books: Why we study history!

Mom shaking the ice cream!

Luke taking his turn with the shaking!

My studious one, looking up new vocabulary words in the dictionary!

We studied Israels Sin Cycle during the time of the judges this week with Veritas Bible, and made this chart.

And, since Planes came to town, we ended our first week of school by a morning at the movies with friends!

Planes in 3D was great! :) 

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