Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Music of the Hemispheres

In my search for a delightful, rigorous grammar program, over the last two years, I kept coming back to look at Michael Clay Thompson's language arts.  This year, I finally spent the time to figure out how the program worked, and decided to give it a try. I didn't want to buy the whole program, first because it's expensive as a whole program. Secondly, I'm very happy with our writing and Latin programs, and didn't want to switch over. But I did feel that his grammar and poetics books could work for us, even apart from the whole program.

So I bought Grammar Town and Music of the Hemispheres, the poetics book. I did not know what to expect, but thought, it can't hurt to give it a try.

We've been reading it aloud together for a week and a half now, and can I tell you, I have learned so much about poetry!  I had no idea that poets were such artists not just with the meanings of words, but with the sounds an using sounds to evoke feeling.  In the first third of this book, we have really come to understand end rhyme, internal rhyme, eye rhyme, and alliteration and more.

Today, at the end of the reading, the book issued a challenge: write a short poem using words and sounds that make you think of a specific sound or place.  We have NEVER attempted to write poetry before, I had no idea where to start or what to do. But this seemed like something we could do.  So here was what we all came up with. I share mine hesitantly, only to show that I am trying to learn alongside the kids and set an example of trying my best.  But it's terrible, really. :)  I am no poet, ha!


The sharp knife swished through the produce
Crunched as it chopped it to bits
Hoping to create a crispy, delicious dish
That could strengthen the body and give tastebuds fits!


The Forest
Who is that rustling the bushes
Who is that chirping in the trees;
Listen to the silent swinging in the canopy
Oh, how I would love to go to the forest, you see.


As I walk through stables of horses I stare
At beasts wild and mighty
They are furry, shaggy and covered with hair
But the creatures are rather friendly

For first attempts at poems, I think these are so delightful! :) I'm really pleased with what we're learning from Music of the Hemispheres!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Astronomy: awakening our wonder

Last year we began working our way through the Memoria Press nature study series.  We had spent a lot of time on mammals already, so we jumped into insects last year. We chose to dive into astronomy this year, because we are studying the middle ages, and historically they correlate well.

I love the Memoria Press guides, they provide a great backbone of factual scientific knowledge to learn. But I also want to awaken a sense of wonder in the kids, so I always look for other resources to pull in to do that.  In researching resources for astronomy, I found a book from long ago called Storyland of the Stars, free for download.

We began reading it this week, and today, we read about the "music of the spheres," a theory by Pythagoras that was correct, but that he could not prove.  (Not coincidentally, we began reading "The Music of the Hemispheres" by Michael Clay Thompson to learn about sounds in words and poetry this week too!)

As we read how he thought the stars and planets actually made sounds in the universe, it reminded me of a video I had seen of Louie Giglio years ago.  So I googled it and pulled it up.  We spent twenty minutes listening to the actual sounds planets make, stars make, and Louie's mashup of stars and whales singing together! Here's the links:

Louie's mashup

The Music of the Spheres: sounds of the planets:

Talk about awakening wonder!  All the kids now want to go to outer space and to listen to the stars all day.  This was a great way to start off our study: by realizing that all the stars we will learn about this year actually make noises of praise to their Creator, he set them in place, and enjoys their worship twenty-four-seven.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Memory Work Tips

Okay, really just one tip. :)


I randomly happened upon this book on Rainbow Resource earlier this summer. I'd never heard of it, but was intrigued by the title. I did a little googling and looking at Amazon to see if I could see inside or read any reviews.  There was very little out there. And even though it was $32.95, I decided to take a chance on this, not knowing much about it, because it looked so interesting. 

This is a total hidden treasure!  This book lays out suggestions for memory work in the above categories: Latin, Greek, Math, Grammar & Composition, Literature, Religion, Geography, World History, United States & Civics, Natural Sciences, as well as a guide to how and why to memorize things. 

Last year, I spent hours scrolling through blogs and suggested memory, wondering what was worth memorizing and what wasn't, how to choose. I was never taught to memorize anything besides a few Bible verses, so this is all totally new to me. It took me weeks to sift through all the suggestions and decide last summer. 

This book did it all for me this year!  I decided what categories we wanted to focus on, flipped through the chapter, chose how many selections I needed, and then typed them into my formate to print straight out of the book.  It's not just a list. Campbell provides the actual text of each poem, hymn, literature selection recommended.  I only spent one morning while my kids were at VBS planning out and printing our memory work for the entire year!

In addition to being just about anything and everything you might ever want to memorize, it's also a GREAT reference book.  It has lists of historical info, like the Roman emperors in order with dates, all Latin declensions in charts, traditional prayers and creeds from church history, mathematics tables an charts full of formulas, and so much more.  

So, get this book! :) 

Here's some other pictures from inside: (I have tried about fourteen times and cannot get the pictures to rotate to the right direction...)