Friday, September 09, 2011

First few days of school...musings

I am still re-reading Norms and Nobility, and thinking how much it reminds me of Marva Collins' Way (actually, they were both first published around the same time),  and how much it also reminds me of the Free Commot people in the Chronicles of Prydain, and thinking about how what we do in homeschool does or doesn't support that bigger picture.

And please don't think that because I'm in my sixteenth year of doing this, that I'm any more certain or perfectly consistent about those aims, and their application, than any newbie.  How many narrations?  How many experiments?  Are workbooks occasionally a good choice? What do I say, or not say, trying not to interfere but still trying to bring out the important ideas? What books, and what if the kid(s) start off the year already complaining that they don't like them?  There's so much I don't know myself.  Last year when I was reading Marva Collins, I went and read Candide and Emerson's "Self-Reliance" because I didn't want to have read that much less than her elementary students.  Should I admit also that I've never read Plato's Meno (as David Hicks recommends for ninth graders) or a lot of other things I should have read along the way, and that I still don't really understand how doorknobs work, or that I've never built a marshmallow catapult, or played hockey, or been to Boston in the fall?  We may be keeping our homeschooled kids free from particular educational follies, but does that mean we're immune from creating our own?

(I'm supposed to have answers to those questions?  Sometimes you just have to plunge ahead anyway.)

We actually only had three days of Grade Five this week, and in that time we managed to:

Sing He Leadeth Me, Strong Son of God, Focus My Life, Russian Vesper Hymn, and God Save the Queen (we like to sing)

Start the book of Ruth and the book of Ephesians (using the Phillips translation for that)

Start Luther's catechism on the Ten Commandments

Read two chapters of Great Expectations (Crayons really liked that)

Read a bit of Madam How and Lady Why (not quite as popular)

Do a lesson in Learning Language Arts Through Literature, which included looking words up in the dictionary and writing from dictation.

Read a couple of Tennyson's poems.

Start looking at the Artistic Pursuits book for this year.  That led to Crayons wanting to know what art supplies we had, and that led to some experimenting with charcoal and chalk pastels.

Work on the first French lesson, at which point it was obvious that we are going to have to at least begin by supplementing with some review...so we also used the Usborne book and cassette French for Beginners.  (Something that came our way from the discard shelf at the library.)

Get most of the setup week done for Math Pet Store, and complete four pages in Key to Fractions.

Look at what Ontario used to look like two hundred years ago, and locate Newark (now Niagara-on-the-Lake), York (now Toronto), and Kingston (they're all on Lake Ontario).  Talk about Conestoga wagons, look at a map of southeastern Pennsylvania, and start reading a historical novel about the Pennsylvania Germans who helped settle this area. (On Labour Day we visited a local pioneer memorial, so I guess that counts as a field trip.)

Learn what work, force, and machines are.

Talk about bones, and look at a lovely photograph of bone marrow.

Do the first lesson in Plutarch's Life of Poplicola.

Start reading Father's Big Improvements for free reading.

Put in an afternoon at the thrift store.

Do some major cleanup that had gotten put aside while school started.

Take a starting-school walk to buy gummies and talk about how things are going.

So all in all, it was not a bad week.

9 comments:

Woman of the House said...

I'm curious what led you to use Luther's Small Catechism. Are you Lutheran? We are, and it's rare to see anyone who's not Lutheran using it. Just curious. :-)

Looks like an excellent line-up. I've never Marva Collins Way, but I think I'll try to find it.

Mama Squirrel said...

We were members of a Lutheran church for a few years, and our girls were all baptized there. We used the catechism (the parts on the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and the Lord's Prayer) as memory work with our oldest daughter then, and have continued to use it with the younger ones.

Woman of the House said...

Ah, I see. Interesting! Thanks! :-)

Phyllis said...

I was going to ask what Russian Vesper Hymn is, but then I looked it up. I found this site:
http://www.hymnary.org/tune/vesper_hymn_bortnianski
They say it's not by Bortnyanski, but it IS. :-) Well, they say, "no tune resembling this one has been found in that Russian composer's published works." It's the same tune as one of our favorite Christmas hymns, which he definitely wrote.

Mama Squirrel said...

Yes, that's the right tune.

These are the words we have (from a Girl Guide songbook):

Now on land and sea descending
Brings the night its peace profound.
Let our vesper hymn be blending
With the holy calm around.

Chorus:
Jubilate! Jubilate! Jubilate! Amen.
Jubilate! Jubilate! Jubilate! Amen.

Soon as dies the sunset glory,
Stars of heav’n shine out above;
Telling still the ancient story,
Their Creator’s changeless love.


As the darkness deepens o’er us,
Lo, eternal stars arise;
Hope and faith and love rise glorious,
Shining in the spirit’s skies.

Phyllis said...

I like it! The chorus for the Christmas hymn we know is "Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, amen."

Gina said...

As a Pennsylvanian German myself - I'd love to know what historical fiction you are reading about the Pennsylvanian Germans!

As always, I learn much from your posts and come away inspired.
Gina

Mama Squirrel said...

Gina: We are reading The Trail of the Conestoga, by Mabel Dunham. It is a somewhat fictionalized account of the early settlers of Waterloo County (our part of Ontario). It's online, on Project Gutenberg Canada. http://tinyurl.com/438ga6c

amy in peru said...

I love how life dictates learning, and not the other way around. It sounds like you guys managed to do a lot in only three days! and you managed an afternoon at the thrift store on top?! wow.

:)

amy in peru

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