Saturday, September 28, 2013

Tapestry of Grace Year 3: Week 6- Madison and the War of 1812

Happy birthday to me!  Monday was my 35th birthday.  Dad celebrated in style by taking us for a night away to the Marriott! It's always been a dream of mine to go to the Marriott for a night, ever since it opened a couple of years ago in our city.  We got to eat two meals in a row there, dinner buffet and breakfast buffet.  We swam in their gorgeous pool twice, and all enjoyed the luxurious bath tub and room. Truly relaxing and we so enjoyed ourselves!

So, that started our week off strangely.  We missed our learning work entirely on Monday, because we were busy soaking up all the Marriott we could. : )

We tried to get the all of our work done in the rest of the four days!  This week, we studied the life of James Madison, and his wife, Dolley.  She was known as the host-est with the most-est at the White House.  She was technically the first First Lady to live there.  John and Abigail Adams moved in just before his term ended, while it was still largely unfinished.  Thomas Jefferson lived there, but his wife had already passed away.  Even during Jefferson's term, Mrs. Madison played hostess in his wife's absence, since her husband was serving as Secretary of State and working closely with Jefferson.

We did an experiment to try to absorb the pigment of spinach into a coffee filter. 

It didn't work. :(

Enjoying our Latin memory match game.  Their vocabulary is building quickly, and they always look forward to Latin! Kiryn has even been using Latin words in regular conversation!

Luke's Classical Writing Composition this week: The Crow and the Pitcher. 

Aaaaaaa. : )  Pictures from my birthday at the Marriott below!

Fun times swimming!

Kind of blurry... the lighting in the rooms was not great for pictures, but all my kids are in it! :) 

Paul ordered a personal birthday cake to be delivered to the room!  Fudgy mousse chocolate cake. With peaches and white chocolate on top! :) 

The amazing beds!

It was a great week and we had tons of fun!  Looking forward to the next three weeks in which we'll dive into an in-depth study of South America!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Tapestry of Grace Year 3-Week 5: Jefferson and the Supreme Court

The last couple of weeks, I've been reading more about Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling.  I've read a few books about it before, but I got onto the Ambleside Online website this week to figure it out a bit more.  Even though I'm happy with what we're doing, I just always really like to evaluate other curriculums and glean the best stuff from them to implement in what we are doing.  I loved a lot of what I saw on Ambleside Online!  

The entire curriculum is free online. You can access the schedules and titles, and many of the literature selections have links to free Kindle or audio versions here.  I ended up downloading about 40 books from the Years 2 and 3 list to my Kindle... for FREE!  We have been enjoying the Burgess Book of Animals, and This Country of Ours since then.  

Charlotte Mason is not technically a classical education. But there are many elements that overlap.  A chronological study of history paired with historical literature, some memory work, the study of Latin and Greek, for a few examples.  I really love the philosophy of education in CM method, and hope to implement some of her ideas as I learn more about them (how to do them!). I think it will dovetail nicely into a more strictly classical approach in the upper grades.  I'm grateful for the literature recommendations.  Tapestry is wonderful, and their literature picks are great, but are all historical in nature.  CM is giving me lots of good reading for the kids outside of that!

One of the things I love about CM is the focus on nature.  That's always been a challenge for me, though, because we just don't have a lot of it around.  This week, for Kiryn's Classical Writing Primer nature study, she was to draw what she can see from the west side of our house.  Well, we could see the park from there.  So we took a walk.  We spent about an hour that morning at the park.  

She got a much better view of it in order to draw it more accurately.

Luke enjoyed running around and throwing sticks. : ) He did listen to some Aesop though!

She found a bug....

Toward the end of our hour, a female peacock swooped down over us and landed at the other end of the park.  We were able to watch her for quite a few minutes as she walked around, then flew up on the fence, then flew up on top of the house across the street.  The kids were fascinated!

In Tapestry this week, we studied the judicial branch of the government, the Supreme Court, and the Constitution.  So we wrote down our own rules on parchment paper. 

We also made silhouettes!  This was a fun activity!

We began a cumulative map project this year.  We're adding each state as we come to it in history with it's date it joined the Union. 

Here is Luke's notebook page for history.  He drew a tree with three branches to represent the government. 

Here's Kiryn's drawing of the park!

I love Kiryn's illustrations of the Aesop's fables she's reading! :)  

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The First Steps

When I first began our homeschooling journey, my oldest child was three.  I had been planning to enroll him in a local play school, as people in our country do.  I had never considered homeschooling, and never really wanted to. I had a prejudice against it, I guess. It feels so long ago, I have no idea now even what that prejudice was based in.  But there it was.

I felt a prompting by the Holy Spirit to ask a good friend of mine about homeschooling. I just felt like I should at least consider it based on its true merits, because I had never taken the time to learn about it.  I sent her a quick email and said, "I've never considered homeschooling, but feel like I ought to, so give me your hard sell."

Well, she did.

Literally, after reading the email she sent me back, I couldn't NOT do it anymore.  The benefits were incredible, and she had laid it all out in a way I could not argue my way out of. She summarized her points in this blog post.  Jess has a lot of other great, inspiring articles about homeschooling on her blog too, Making Home.

I began furiously researching curriculums, and became very quickly overwhelmed.

Over the next two years before Luke began school, I spent quite a bit of time reading reviews, reading forums and threads, downloading samples from curriculum websites, talking to other moms, trying to figure out what was the "best" thing.  (News flash: There is no "best.")

I wasted a lot of time, though, because I was looking at all kinds of different methods of homeschooling and comparing the curriculums to each other.  But comparing a school-in-a-box curriculum to a Classical curriculum is like apples and oranges.

We've only been at this three years, but now I realize that instead of reading about every curriculum out there, I should have studied up on the different philosophies of education to see which one resonated most with me.  If I had done that, and realized that Classical education is the way for us, it would have narrowed down my choices a lot. In the end, I figured that out by realizing all the curriculums that were the most appealing to me were Classical. But that was the long way around. :)

I'm really tempted to write my own summaries of the different methods.  Even though this is my blog, I don't think that would be fair.  Because through researching them, I've become really, really sold on classical education.  I think it would be great for everyone. : )  Not everyone agrees, so I don't want to try to influence people.  So, since my goal is just to get you to find your homeschool style, instead, here's links to a quick run-down of a variety of homeschooling philosophies and methods. If you're just starting out, or if you've never thought about this, give them a quick read to see which fits you the best! (Better yet, google them yourself after you read this and find things other moms have written about why they chose what they did!)

-Classical Education

-Charlotte Mason



-Wikipedia Overview of Homeschooling

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Tapestry of Grace Year 3-Week 4: Jefferson and the Louisiana Purchase

Week four we dove into Thomas Jefferson.  He was a fascinating person.  I was challenged by his passions and giftings in so many different areas:  music, violin, writing, surveying, anti-slavery, building, architecture, nature.  200 years ago, many men were truly "jack-of-all-traders."  I'd love for my kids to grow up to be interested and versed in a wide variety of things, like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.

We are making a Presidents book this year and next.  This year, we began the page for Thomas Jefferson.  We also read a really fascinating story about Aaron Burr in "This Country of Ours".  
Did you know he challenged Alexander Hamilton to a duel and killed him!!??  Really!

 Luke is doing really well with Classical Writing.  This was his writing project for week 4. He did a fantastic job!  I'm so pleased!

We did a neat experiment this week to see how ionization happens...

We studied about Gideon delivering Israel!

Meryn had a "fancy dress" competition at school. I'm SURE she won...

We drilled math facts with this fun game...

It was a great week! :)  Next week, we're taking a look at Jefferson's second term and the judicial branch of the government.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Tapestry of Grace Year 3, Week 3: Early Industrial Revolution

Dad was gone this week!  We kind of did the basics and minimal other activities.  We also tried to get all the necessary school work done in four days so we could hang out with friends who were in town on Friday, and get ready for Luke's birthday party!  Yes, Luke turns 8 today!  

In Tapestry this week, we learned about how the Industrial Revolution in the early 1800's began to change the way people worked, lived, and traveled.  Prior to the revolution, people had had the same options for travel and speed for literally thousands of years. It was interesting to read about Eli Whitney and how the cotton gin came to be, as well as the challenges they faced in creating it for widespread use.  

In Chemistry this week, we learned about different elements, including sodium and hydrogen.  We did a little experiment to see how sodium effects water when it turns to ice.  The kids really enjoyed that, and were excited to check the cups every 30 minutes and record their observations. 

I didn't get too many pictures of this week, but here's what I did get!
I finally got my Tapestry of Grace history flash cards printed and laminated! I love the way the kids have retained the story of the Bible through the Veritas flash cards, so I thought I'd make something similar based on our weekly Tapestry studies.  I love the way these turned out, and I hope it will help us catch the threads of the story over the course of the whole year.

On the backs of the cards, I created a main idea sentence for them to memorize for each week.  Something simple, but that would help tie things together.  I the idea from  from Classical Conversations for their "Tell me about..."

We had fun with Wiki Stix one day.  Thanks, Grammy!  Can you tell who this is supposed to be?  I'll give you a hint, she lives in a tower and has magical long blond hair....

Levi is having fun with his preschool. He got really into cutting and glue this week.  He did a fantastic job with this project!  : )  

We are having lots of fun and enjoying life and learning together!  And we CAN'T WAIT for dad to get home.  Our home is so empty without him!