Thursday, October 23, 2014

School plans for Friday: a short day

1. If it's nice enough, work on nature notebooks.

2. Finish ecology lesson for the week: coral reefs and estuaries.
2b. Chapter from Cousteau's The Silent World.  We are not reading the whole book, just this chapter.

3. Watch the You-tube movie of Maupassant's "The Necklace."  (In French.)

4. One lesson from Plutarch.

5. Probably a chapter from Out of the Silent Planet.

6. Lydia is going to work on her math and science in the afternoon, after Mama Squirrel has gone to the L'Harmas retreat.

Mama Squirrel's nature notebook

Don't be staring at the eclipse today

Yes, there are other things happening in the world...but a partial solar eclipse is interesting too.

Destroyed in translation: Would you like to build a snowman corporation? (Frozen parody)

We just can't let Frozen go...Lydia found this (and others from the same artist) on You-tube.

Lydia's Grade Eight: The last French lesson

Yesterday's lesson on "The Necklace" was straightforward: we read the two pages about how Mme Loisel borrowed a diamond necklace, had fun at the party, and then, back at home, found that the necklace was missing.
I did a doodled presentation of jewels, happiness/sadness, and a little horse-drawn taxicab on the white board (see photo), to use as a reference while I read through the story.  Lydia read a couple of paragraphs afterward, for practice, and I asked her to narrate.  ("Ooh la la, des diamants!")

Today is the fourth and last lesson.  For the sake of length, we are going to skip the details about them trying to find the necklace and borrow the money to pay for a replacement.  But we will go through some housework vocabulary with the help of Cinderella; write out some adjective phrases (see below), and read the portion of the Prayer of St. Francis I included in the first lesson.  And then we will read and narrate the rest of the story, from the point where their lifestyle changes drastically.

A list of household vocabulary:
la bonne: the maid
une mansarde:  a garret apartment
les travaux, les besognes: the duties
le ménage: the housework
la cuisine: the cooking
laver / faire la vaisselle: wash / do the dishes
une casserole: a pot
les mains rouges: red hands, dishpan hands
le linge sale: dirty laundry
les ordures: the garbage
laver les planchers: scrub the floors

More adjectives:  Say that he or she seems... (il / elle semble...)  Say that he or she has become... (il / elle est devenu(e)...)
odieux (odieuse)
vieux (vieille)
mal peignée (uncombed, bad hair day)

And a bonus for tomorrow:  the film, with captions too, in French!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Lost in translation

I borrowed Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good from the library, and now I have the audio book on my tablet, for two weeks, also a free download from our wonderful public library.  At one point in the story, Jan Karon mentions that the music playing in the Happy Endings Bookstore is one of Bach's Advent Cantatas.

I went to You-tube and found the cantata for the first Sunday of Advent: Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland.  The proper translation of that is Now Come, Saviour of the Heathens (or Heathen if you'd rather).

But the online translation site had a different opinion.  It came up with "the pagans clinic."

Maybe like this?

Lydia's Grade Eight: Today we are listening to Wagner's Lohengrin

"Even the feeling of "unremembered pleasure"--for it is possible to have the spring of association touched so lightly that one recovers the feeling of former pleasure without recovering the sensation, or the image, which produced the sensation, but merely just the vague feeling of the pleasure, as when one hears the word Lohengrin and does not wait, as it were, to recover the sensation of musical delight, but just catches a waft of the pleasure which the sensation brought--intangible, indefinite as they are, produce that glow of the heart which warms a good man to 'acts of kindness and of love,' as little, as nameless, and as unremembered as the feelings out of which they spring." ~~ Charlotte Mason, Parents and Children, page 197

"I just happened to be on the same bus as a party of young German children going back after the performance and they unanimously told their teacher they had enjoyed it and said out loud their favourite moments. More tellingly the teacher told one of her charges how he had shown he could concentrate for over an hour watching an opera and now she wanted him to do that in class. There was a reply from another adult in the party – possibly not an actual colleague – to the effect that perhaps the teacher should learn to sing!" ~~ "Bayreuth Opens Up Wagner to a Younger Audience", by Jim Pritchard, at Seen and Heard International (2014)


"Lohengrin," chapter in Stories of Favorite Operas, by Clyde Robert Bulla (free to read online!).  Retold for children.

Daily Telegraph article: "The opera novice: Wagner's Lohengrin," with one or two omissions.  You-tube video of the overture, at that link. You-tube video of Elsa's Procession to the Cathedrral.  And the Wedding March!  This description is interesting too, and goes a little more into the specific songs.

Prelude to Act III of Lohengrin, You-tube link above.  Does this sound familiar?

Many would find this offensive, but the Prelude to Act I was used (most ironically) in a scene from Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator, made in 1940, where the title character dances with a large globe.

It's also interesting to search You-tube for examples of Liszt's piano transcriptions of Wagner's music. We can imagine Mrs. Howard Glover, the first CM Music Appreciation mama, playing it in much the same way for her son.  "Elsa's Procession to the Cathedral" seems popular.

Sometimes I make things, again: Crocheted tablet case

I have a Samsung tablet so that I can take my cyberwanderings to places other than the basement.  But it didn't have anything to protect it.

I also had a partly-made crocheted cushion cover that I'd gotten bored with.  Folded in half, it was slightly too big for the tablet, but with some careful cutting and the help of the sewing machine, it worked.  I added trim on the flap, and a button to hold it closed.

Cost: basically free, since the piece of crocheting was just sitting around.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Check these out: family-friendly opera books, free online

Do you want to introduce your children to opera, particularly Richard Wagner, but worry about the often questionable content of the stories?  Clyde Robert Bulla, children's writer of many subjects, came to the rescue half a century ago, and two of his books are available for free on  We have had a copy of his Stories of Favorite Operas for years, and I think Lydia read some of the stories when, even with them family-friendlied up, she was a bit young for some of what is, still, not always meant for the nursery crowd.  Still, with Bulla, you know you are on fairly trustworthy ground; you are not going to get anything beyond general fairy-tales-and-legends sorts of violence and misbehaviour.

So, keeping that in mind, here are the links:

Stories of Favorite Operas (contains several by Wagner)

The Ring and the Fire (Bulla's retelling of Wagner's Ring Cycle operas).

What's for supper? Euro/Chinese (with photos)

Inspiration: Chow Mein recipe from the More With Less Cookbook
Thawed poppy-seed bread
Brown rice
Vegetable chow mein, made with a mix of Europe's Best Nature's Balance and Zen Garden frozen vegetables (on sale for $2 a bag this week).  Almonds at the table.
Ukrainian pork dumplings from the Euro store.
Orange slices.

Because this still makes me laugh: Hallowe'en popcorn idea

I don't generally post Hallowe'en crafts, but I was looking through our October archives from a few years ago and noticed this link.  Still a cute, non-scary, fairly healthy, and frugal idea!

More French lessons: The Necklace, continued

I. Subject: French Narration.
 Group: Languages. Class III. Time: 30 minutes

I. To give the children more facility in understanding French, when they hear it spoken and also in expressing themselves in it.
II. To teach them some new words and expressions.
III. To improve their pronunciation.
IV. To strengthen the habit of attention.
V. To have the following passage narrated by the children.


Passage Chosen: from Guy de Maupassant, "La Parure" ("The Necklace"), the scene at dinner where M. Loisel brings a party invitation and Mme Loisel insists she has nothing to wear.

Review work from yesterday:

1.  You are given a small pile of adjective cards, words that mean things like charming, distinguished, lazy, unhappy.  Sort them into two piles: positive and negative.

2.  Tell the story so far in English.

(Repeated from yesterday) CM steps in a French reading/narration lesson

Step I.—Read the passage slowly and distinctly, stopping frequently to make sure that the pupils understand. Write the new words and expressions on the board and give their meanings.  Yesterday I had things written out aheaad of time; today we will use the white board and write as we go.
Step II.—Let the pupils repeat the story in English.
Step III.—Read the passage straight through.
Step IV.—Let the pupils read the passage, paying special attention to the pronunciation. Since part of this passage is conversation between the Loisels, one person can be M. Loisel and the other can be his wife.
Step V.—Have the passage narrated in French, helping the children when necessary with questions. Speak as much French as possible throughout, but always make sure that the pupils understand.

 la soupière

Monday, October 20, 2014

Food and Fall (photo post)

Our perpetual calendar (inherited from relatives)
 What our red maple is looking like this week
Fall flower arrangement (bought last year at Michael's for half price)
Bowl of carrot sticks
Chicken chili with rigatoni
Cranberry-raspberry crisp (a little one)

Hey, psst, HSBA nominations end tonight

Nominations end tonight for the 2014 Homeschool Blog Awards.  Details here.

Drawn from the P.U.S.: a French lesson on The Necklace

Adapted from this Parents' Review French lesson

Based on the opening passage of "The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant.

I. Subject: French Narration.
Group: Languages. Class III. Time: 30 minutes

I. To give the children more facility in understanding French, when they hear it spoken and also in expressing themselves in it.
II. To teach them some new words and expressions.
III. To improve their pronunciation.
IV. To strengthen the habit of attention.
V. To have the following passage narrated by the children.


Passage Chosen: Guy de Maupassant, "La Parure" ("The Necklace").
C'était une de ces jolies et charmantes filles, nées, comme par une erreur du destin, dans une famille d'employés. Elle n'avait pas de dot, pas d'espérances, aucun moyen d'être connue, comprise, aimée, épousée par un homme riche et distingué; et elle se laissa marier avec un petit commis du ministère de l'Instruction publique.

Elle fut simple, ne pouvant être parée, mais malheureuse comme une déclassée; car les femmes n'ont point de caste ni de race, leur beauté, leur grâce et leur charme leur servant de naissance et de famille. Leur finesse native, leur instinct d'élégance, leur souplesse d'esprit sont leur seule hiérarchie, et font des filles du peuple les égales des plus grandes dames.*

Step I.—Read the passage slowly and distinctly, stopping frequently to make sure that the children understand. Write the new words and expressions on the board [I wrote them out] and give their meanings.
Step II.—Let the children repeat the story in English.
Step III.—Read the passage straight through.
Step IV.—Let the children read the passage, paying special attention to the pronunciation.
Step V.—Have the passage narrated in French, helping the children when necessary with questions. Speak as much French as possible throughout, but always make sure that the pupils understand.

Step VI.--In closing, read part of The Prayer of St. Francis in French, watching for the vocabulary from this lesson.

Ô Maître, que je ne cherche pas tant à être consolé qu'à consoler, à être compris qu'à comprendre,  à être aimé qu'à aimer, car c'est en donnant qu'on reçoit,
c'est en s'oubliant qu'on trouve, c'est en pardonnant qu'on est pardonné,
c'est en mourant qu'on ressuscite à l'éternelle vie. 

  * Translation (not mine):  She was one of those pretty and charming girls born, as though fate had blundered over her, into a family of artisans. She had no marriage portion, no expectations, no means of getting known, understood, loved, and wedded by a man of wealth and distinction; and she let herself be married off to a little clerk in the Ministry of Education. Her tastes were simple because she had never been able to afford any other, but she was as unhappy as though she had married beneath her; for women have no caste or class, their beauty, grace, and charm serving them for birth or family, their natural delicacy, their instinctive elegance, their nimbleness of wit, are their only mark of rank, and put the slum girl on a level with the highest lady in the land.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Drawn from the P.U.S.: how Charlotte Mason might have introduced aquatic ecosystems

Subject: Aquatic Ecosystems

Group: Science. Class III. Time: depends, can be split over two or three sessions.
Books used: The World Around You, by Gary Parker. The Usborne Living World Encyclopedia. Philip's Atlas of the Oceans. Optional: The Silent World, by J.Y. Cousteau and Frederic Dumas.

I. To introduce the concept of aquatic (vs. terrestrial) ecosystems
II. To describe inland and marine ecosystems.

III. To notice the common thread of this chapter: how each system is designed to support life

Introduction: review terms such as ecosystem, biotic and abiotic factors.  Name and describe some terrestrial ecosystems (rainforest, grassland, etc.).
Section One:  Lakes and Ponds, particularly about seasonal turnover. This section in The World Around You is written rather briefly; I prefer "Lake Turnover, How it Works" by R. Karl.

Hands-on demonstration of water density, with hot and cold water plus food colouring:  Lake Turnover, from Science North.  Draw a page for your science notebook, noting how seasonal turnover helps to sustain life in lakes.

Final notes on this section: rivers as a mixture of ecosystems (life in a river depends on factors such as what's on the bottom).

Section Two:  Marine Ecosystems, i.e. Oceans.  Look at the Vertical Distribution illustration on page 86 of the Atlas of the Oceans, showing the different depth zones. Read pages 25-27 in Parker, on the same topic.  Look at pages 22-23 in the Living World Encyclopedia, "The ocean surface," and pages 26-27, "The depths of the ocean."  Narrate, creatively, graphically, or otherwise.

Section Three:  Read pages 27-28 in Parker. Use the illustrated pages in The Living World Encyclopedia to look at Coral Reefs, Shorelines, and Estuaries.  Narrate, noting especially how life is sustained in different parts of the ocean and in special systems such as estuaries.

Bonus reading:  Chapter 13, "Beyond the Barrier," in The Silent World.(about coral reefs)

Bonus field trip:  Take a fall trip to the pond.
Adapted from Class Notes, as printed in various Parents' Reviews.

Lydia's Grade Eight, Week Eight: Air, Fire, and Water?

Illustration by Trina Schart Hyman for St. George and the Dragon, by Barbara Cooney

Reading together:

How to Be Your Own Selfish Pig, chapter 8, "You don't think anyone's going to hell, do you?"  An intense, serious chapter with big questions.  Read in two parts.

Exploring the World Around You (ecology): "Aquatic Ecosystems."

How to Read a Book: "Finding the Propositions."

Whatever Happened to Justice?, "Economic Calculation."  What makes a free trade?

Keep reading Out of the Silent Planet (from the AO Free Reads list)

Things to read alone:

Assigned Bible readings: 1 Samuel, Matthew, Psalms, Proverbs

Physical Science: finish Module 2, "Air."

Read The Bible Through the Ages, and make entries in the Book of Centuries. This week's topics are The Oracles of Isaiah, Baruch, and Jeremiah; The Making of Parchment; the Babylonian Captivity.

Read this week's English history, about Queen Mary, from either Churchill's New World or Arnold-Forster's History.  Book of Centuries.

Three chapters from History of English Literature, two about Spenser, one about theaters.  Three chapters from Westward Ho!  

Other things to do:

Music of Wagner

Math: "The Sequence of Squares."

French and Latin lessons

Know how to use and care for the stove and some of the small appliances in your home.  Keep notes in an Enquire Within notebook.

Make entries in your Reader's Journal, and at least one Nature Notebook entry.  This might be a good time to take a fall walk around the pond.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Sometimes I make things

My fabric stash is down to almost nothing, but I found enough orange broadcloth and green calico to make a fall decoration.  The flower trims were thrifted awhile back.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Charlotte Mason quote for the day: when is education done?

"[If a young woman is allowed to spend all her time amusing herself], the gain of the girl's whole education hitherto is at stake.  She might as well have been allowed to play ever since she was born as to play uninterruptedly now.  For the gain of her education is not the amount of geography, science, and French that she knows; she will forget these soon enough unless well-trodden tracks be kept up to the brain-growth marking these acquirements.  But the solid gain education has brought her lies in the powers and habits of attention, persistent effort, intellectual and moral endeavour, it has educed."

Illustration from Eight Cousins, by Louisa May Alcott

A Whole Different Week in the Life (Friday): Lydia's Grade Eight

President Johnson cartoon by Thomas Nast
A good quote for today: "Perhaps you are beginning to see how essential a part of reading it is to be perplexed and know it.  Wonder is the beginning of wisdom in learning from books as well as from nature." (Mortimer J. Adler, How to Read a Book.  Italics his.)  
Another one, also Adler: "But when you are reading for understanding it is not...novelty that you are seeking. Your interest in the author himself, or in his language, or in the world in which he wrote, is one thing; your concern to understand his ideas is quite another." 
Things to do on Friday, not necessarily in order:

1.  How to Read a Book, pages 121-124, "Finding the Key Sentences."  Listen for the clues Adler provides for locating key sentences.  Read this week's chapter from How to Be Your Own Selfish Pig, and choose the key sentences (no particular number, but I would suggest somewhere between three and six).  Explain why you chose these.

2.  Watch the rest of A Man for All Seasons   

3.  Get out the fabric box and do fabric flower handicrafts while watching the movie.

4.  Finish some math.

5.  Read the next two chapters of Out of the Silent Planet.

6.  Read the last bit of "Air Pollution" (Apologia Physical Science, Module 2).

7.  Do any extra readings (or grammar pages) not caught up yet.

8.  Make entries in the Book of Centuries.

9.  Finish the writing-a-speech unit and prepare to deliver it next Monday.

10.  Play Seterra Online (map drills) for 10 minutes.

What's for supper? Stuffed potatoes or potato casserole?

Tonight's dinner menu:

I found a Baked Potato Casserole recipe in the $5 Dinners One-Dish cookbook, then realized it was just a variation on this Taste of Home stuffed potato dish.  Same ingredients, different way of doing it, plus $5 Dinners adds chopped ham.  The potatoes are baking in the toaster oven, but I'm still deciding whether to put the broccoli, potato innards and cheese into the potato shells, or just bake them together in one dish.  Went with the casserole--it's kind of like a giant broken-open baked potato with toppings.  Left the ham out, steaming Euro wieners on the side.
Dessert:  Thinking about gingerbread, after the potatoes come out. We still have a bit of whipped cream left from Thanksgiving...and blueberries!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Charlotte Mason quote for the day: The common claims of womanhood

"And how is the mother to enhance her daughter's self-respect? is she to tell her, never so indirectly, that she is clever, pretty, charming, that no one can fail to admire her?  If she do [sic], her daughter may, not impossibly, become a forward young woman.  Nay, she must put forward none but common claims.  Because she is a woman, because she is a lady, because she is a guest, a fellow guest, because she is a stranger, or because she is a friend--these, and such as these, are incontestable claims upon the courteous attention of every person she meets in society...Whatever she may receive or give, over and above, on the score of personal merit, settles itself; but the thing to be established in a girl's mind is a due sense of the claims she has and of the claims she must yield."  ~~ Charlotte Mason, Formation of Character

A Whole Different Week in the Life (Thursday): Lydia's Grade Eight

Ourselves Book II, pages 129-130, "Will and Wilfulness."  What is, or isn't, a true act of the Will? "What of the person who always contrives to get his own way, whether he get it by means of stormy scenes, crafty management, sly evasion, or dogged persistence?....As a matter of fact, persons of these four classes may get each their own way, with as little action of the Will as is exercised by the casual person who lets things slide."

Start new readaloud:  Out of the Silent Planet., chapter 1.

Nature Journalling:
*Janet Marsh's Nature Diary, entries for Oct. 15, 16
*Keeping a Nature Journal: "Appreciating the Gifts of Each Day" (kind of like nature Twittering) *Keeping a Nature Journal: "Seasonal Changes": choose something autumnal and draw it in your notebook

Extra readings, including Bible

Speech Writing unit
The Easy Grammar Plus
Math: Geometric and Binary Sequences (all week)

Physical Science, "Air Pollution," read pages 45-48.

Read and discuss the excerpts from The Sky's Not Falling! Why it's OK to Chill about Global Warming, by Holly Fretwell.

Watch the rest of A Man For All Seasons. We didn't get to this, but we'll watch it tomorrow.

In the housekeeping category:  Lydia decided that because the rest of her room looks so good now, she needed to work on her closet shelf as well.  She reappeared some time and a couple of stuffed garbage bags later.  (It's a big shelf.) 

What's for supper? Tastes of fall

Tonight's menu:

Lentil-rice soup with a bit of bite (in the slow cooker).  Leftovers to freeze in small lunch containers.
Peasant Bread, one loaf with poppy seeds and one with sesame; bacon for bacon sandwiches.
 Corn on the cob
Local apples.

Charlotte Mason quote for the day: shopping as training for the Will

"Before she goes 'shopping,' she must use her reason, and that rapidly, to lay down the principles on which she is to choose her dress,--it is to be pretty, becoming, suitable for the occasions on which it is to be worn, in harmony with what else is worn with it.  Now, she goes to the shop; is able to describe definitely what she wants...judgment is prompt to decide upon the grounds already laid down by reason and what is more, the will steps in to make the decision final, not allowing so much as a twinge of after-regret for that 'sweet thing' which she did not buy." ~~ Charlotte Mason, Formation of Character

Photo from The Apprentice's Barbie story, here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Whole Different Week in the Life (Wednesday): Lydia's Grade Eight

A good thought for today:  "The best people to deal with are those who are very reluctant to encroach and who are careful to always give all they have agreed to."  ~~ Whatever Happened to Justice?, by Richard J. Maybury.

Current Events

Whatever Happened to Justice?, chapter 9, "Ambient Encroachment and Tacit Contracts."  "The best way to handle misunderstandings is to prevent them."

Nature Journalling:
*Appreciating the Gifts of Each Day (writing nature notes)
* make an illustrated entry

A Man for All Seasons, Act II

Picture Study: Titian, Portrait of Clarissa Strozzi

French & Latin


Speech Writing, grammar and math as for Tuesday

Physical Science, "Ozone." "So, we must have ozone to protect us from the sun's ultraviolet rays, but we cannot breathe it in, or it would kill us." (page 44) Read together and discuss the extra environment printouts.

Westward Ho! 17  already read

 Extra readings, including Bible.

What's for supper on guitar and choir night? Skillet Goulash (from $5 Dinners)

Skillet Goulash with Spinach, from The $5 Dinner Mom One-Dish Dinners Cookbook, by Erin Chase.  Includes ground beef and pasta; I'll cook the meat separately and add it at the end after taking out a vegetarian part.

Carrot sticks and ??

Chocolate chip oatmeal muffins.
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