Thursday, December 31, 2009

Read-Aloud Thursday

This week we read an old favorite, Tikki Tikki Tembo. Every child should get to recite Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Christmas Monkey enjoys view above my mom's kitchen sink!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tuesday Teatime Poetry

A Serenade for New Year's Eve, author unknown

The old year departed, how swiftly it flew,
'Tis gone, and with rapture we welcome the new;--
We trust a bright morning will dawn on your eyes,--
And sun beams unclouded illumine the skies.
Then wake from your slumbers, our serenade hear,--
We wish you a happy, a happy New Year!

After you read this you could discuss couplets or the em-dash, but we just read and enjoyed it! Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday- Homeschool Week in Review for Duncan

This was going to be our last sort of full week. However, Duncan began running a fever Wednesday night, so our week was cut short. Next week we will do only Kumon, Charlotte’s Web, and violin. Then, pick back up on Monday, 12/28.

Language Arts
Duncan participated in Teatime Tuesday Poetry and talked about A Christmas Carol by G.K.Chesterton and similes and metaphors.

He did 15 Kumon reading pages and Monday went to the Kumon center.

We read The Night Before Christmas and Olive, the other Reindeer together for Read-Aloud Thursday. I read-aloud Toads and Diamonds and Prince Darling from The Blue Fairy Book and page 32 from The Aesop for Children. Duncan read chapters 7-9 of Charlotte’s Web.

Monday afternoon he went to Kumon and Tuesday afternoon he went to the math tutor. He did 15 Kumon math pages at home and finished Key to Fractions Book 2. He already completed Key to Fractions Book 3, so he will be starting Book 4 the week after Christmas.

Monday and Tuesday we reviewed some Earth science information.

We had planned to go to the MTSU Rock and Fossil museum on Thursday, but with Duncan being feverish and puny we cancelled. I hope we can go another time.

History and Geography
Duncan again played with The Seven Continents of the World Jigsaw Book.

We discussed Jesus and Mary and Duncan read the Nativity Story from his children’s Bible.

Duncan practiced violin about 20 minutes on Monday and went to a lesson on Tuesday.

On Sunday we went to our town’s Charles Dickens themed Christmas street festival.

Other Stuff
Wednesday morning we went to see Santa and I even guilted my big boys into the Santa picture. LOL It is a good shot and I am glad to have it.

Wednesday afternoon Duncan and I went with a homeschool group to the TN Ag Center’s Christmas field trip.

We watched The Best Christmas Pageant Ever on DVD. In the past my big boys and I have read it at Christmas, but alas that didn’t happen this year (or last year either for that matter) so it was nice to see it on video. Perhaps, next year Duncan will read it with me.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Read-Aloud Thursday

This was a Christmas Read-Aloud week!

Olive, the Other Reindeer is a cute, cute book about a little dog named Olive who, when listening to the song Rudolph, instead of hearing All of the Other Reindeer hears Olive, the other reindeer. This leads to Olive joining Santa on his Christmas rounds!

This is, hands-down, the best illustrated Night Before Christmas book! Although I own Jan Brett's and Mary Engelbreit's versions and really enjoy both of their work, this version from my childhood just can't be beat.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday- Favorite Christmas Ornaments

Well, I guess this another Short Explanation Wednesday

Dh's ornament is a peacock. He is prissy and likes to primp. I have a number of peacocks in my home, because they remind me of him. Notice that he put his peacock at the top of the tree.

The dancing, prancing zebra in a tutu is my ornament.

OTOH, who can resist a sock monkey in a pink polka-dot bikini!

I have several ornaments that are representative of my three boys, but this Mary Engelbreit elephant with the little guys on its back is my favorite. The littlest one up front is Duncan. The big guy holding him safely is Christian and the one on the back who is along for the ride is Grayson.

This lion is Christian's favorite. He got this the Christmas he was 9yo. This was the first year that he read the Narnia books, so this lion will always be Aslan to him.

Grayson's favorite is a this poison dart frog. When he was 4yo, he was a black and blue poison dart frog for Halloween. I put a sign on him, so that people would know what he was.

We obviously need to find little Duncan an animal ornament, but this year he is the odd man out. He chose his new violin ornament as his favorite.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tuesday Teatime Poetry

A Christmas Carol, by G.K.Chesterton

The Christ-child lay on Mary's lap,
His hair was like a light.
(O weary, weary were the world,
But here is all aright.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary's breast,
His hair was like a star.
(O stern and cunning are the kings,
But here the true hearts are.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary's heart,
His hair was like a fire.
(O weary, weary is the world,
But here the world's desire.)

The Christ-child stood at Mary's knee,
His hair was like a crown.
And all the flowers looked up at Him,
And all the stars looked down.

As a “carol,” this poem like last week’s has nice stanzas and repetition, but that isn’t what we discussed today. We discussed similes and metaphors. In A Christmas Carol, by G.K.Chesterton the second line of each stanza is a simile. These lines compare Christ’s hair to something else.

A simile is a figure of speech in which two unlike things are explicitly compared and usually connected by the words like, as, or seems.

"Life is like an onion: You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep."
Carl Sandburg

In a metaphor two things are implicitly compared by using a word or phrase that typically denotes one thing to denote another in order to show that these two things have something important in common. Unlike similes that use the words as, like, or seems to make a comparison, metaphors state that something is something else.

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
William Shakespeare, As You Like It

This contains two metaphors. The world is said to be a theater stage and people are said to be actors.

Here are some similes and metaphors from my children and me.

First, use these simple formulas almost like madlibs and you can have fun making some similes of your own.

(verb) + like + (noun)
Christian, verb- munched
Duncan, animal- vulture

He munched like a vulture.

as + (adjective) + as + (noun)
Grayson, adjective- stinky
Christian, noun- road kill

He is as stinky as road kill.

as + (adjective) + as + (noun)
temperament donated by Mom
Christian, adjective- volatile
Grayson, noun- dynamite

His temperament is as volatile as dynamite.

Now rewrite the similes as metaphors by eliminating like and as. This can be fun and yield some really good descriptive metaphors. Here is how my big guys changed our similes to metaphors.

During dinner, the hungry teenager was a vulture scavenging off other people’s plates.

He smells awful: his cologne is road kill!

His volatile temperament is dynamite waiting to be lit.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Meditative Monday- several meaningful things accomplished

While I want to teach my children to move slowly and decisively toward goals, I also want to instill a learning lifestyle. A life where we acknowledge that everything we do is a learning experience. This weekend we did some meaningful things that underscore the time we spend looking at the arts, literature, and learning to live as a family.

Time has no meaning in itself unless we choose to give it significance. -Leo Buscaglia

Duncan and I went to see The King and I on Saturday night. He gave his little friend MeiMei (cute nickname, but Cuppycake also works LOL) three red roses. I was going to get pink, but he said that she needed red, because that is her favorite color. She was one of the royal children and had a little cameo where laughing she chased another royal child around the legs of the king. It was cute and MeiMei has a contagious laugh- even a fake one on stage.

On Sunday dh, Duncan, and I went to Dickens of a Christmas. Every year our little town presents a Victorian Christmas street festival complete with characters from Dickens’ books. Even the police are dressed in costume. We listened to Christmas music on hand bells and water glasses, ate a late lunch at the local Irish pub, road around the square in a horse drawn carriage, admired the wandering Scrooge, Fagan and others, and Duncan went on a pony ride.

Then, we finally put up our Christmas tree. Outside we already have lights up, but the tree was buried in the garage storage and nearly inaccessible. Last night Christian and dh wrestled it free and brought it and the ornaments to me. Dh decorated our little banister himself. Here is his handiwork.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday- Homeschool Week in Review for Duncan

Language Arts
Duncan is wrapping up his study of Emily Dickinson. He participated in Teatime Tuesday Poetry and talked about verse, stanza, meter, rhyme pattern, repetition, and imagery as related to Christmas Carol by Sara Teasdale.

He did some Kumon reading packs and Monday and Thursday went to the Kumon center.

We read The Cable Car and the Dragon together for read-aloud Thursday. I read-aloud the retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest from Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare by Nesbit, How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin from Kipling’s Just So Stories (this isn't the illustrated version that I have, but I can't find mine!), and pages 27-31 from The Aesop for Children. Duncan began reading Charlotte’s Web independently and completed through chapter 6.

We also discussed regular/ irregular past tense verbs and began studying helping verbs. He did pages 56-59 in Easy Grammar 3. He also did pages 62-66 in MCP Phonics Level C. We haven’t used MCP phonics in over a month. I realized it was too easy and ditched it, but we found it under my bed this week and he wanted to do it. He also added his history sentence to his copybook.

Monday and Thursday afternoon he went to Kumon. He did some Kumon math pages at home, some pages in Key to Fractions Book 2, and lessons 40-47 in Saxon Math 65.

This week we talked about fossils using DK Eyewitness Rocks & Minerals. “A fossil is a rock containing the preserved remains of once-living animals or plants.” –DK Eyewitness Rocks & Minerals.

He also watched some science videos from the library: Magic School Bus In the Rainforest, Eyewitness Rock & Mineral, I Dig Fossils, and Zoboomafoo Sense- sational Animal Friends.

History and Geography
Duncan again played with The Seven Continents of the World Jigsaw Book.

We continued studying Mohammed this week.

In the year 610, Mohammed began teaching Islam in Arabia.

We read about Mohammed in the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia. We also looked at Mosque by David Macaulay.

Foreign Language
Duncan used Rosetta Stone Farsi twice this week.

Twice he watched parts of Professor Parrot Speaks Spanish.

Duncan practiced violin about 20 minutes a day except on Monday when we ran out of time. He didn’t have a lesson this week.

We continued looking at Giotto. This week we looked at Giotto is Sister Wendy’s Story of Painting.

Tomorrow we are going to see a local theater production of The King and I. One of Duncan’s closest buddies is having her acting debut as one of the royal children, so Duncan is excited to attend.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Read-Aloud Thursday

This week’s read-aloud is The Cable Car and the Dragon by Herb Caen. The story explores San Francisco and Chinatown from the perspective of a cable car and a Chinese dragon. It has lots of good information about the city and demonstrates (rather than preaches) cultural appreciation.

"When the city is all covered with fog, it's like living inside a great gray pearl." This quote from the book reminds me of the poem Fog by Carl Sandburg.

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Duncan starring in Sleeping Beauty at the Momma's Bed Theatre!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tuesday Teatime Poetry

Christmas Carol
by Sara Teasdale

The kings they came from out the south,
All dressed in ermine fine,
They bore Him gold and chrysoprase,
And gifts of precious wine.

The shepherds came from out the north,
Their coats were brown and old,
They brought Him little new-born lambs--
They had not any gold.

The wise-men came from out the east,
And they were wrapped in white;
The star that led them all the way
Did glorify the night.

The angels came from heaven high,
And they were clad with wings;
And lo, they brought a joyful song
The host of heaven sings.

The kings they knocked upon the door,
The wise-men entered in,
The shepherds followed after them
To hear the song begin.

And Mary held the little child
And sat upon the ground;
She looked up, she looked down,
She looked all around.

The angels sang thro' all the night
Until the rising sun,
But little Jesus fell asleep
Before the song was done.

Not only is this poem appropriate to the season, but it is wonderful for discussing poetry!

Stanzas are to poems as paragraphs are to essays. In a poem a stanza is a unit of two or more lines that usually have a pattern of meter, rhyme, and number of lines. This poem is just lovely for explaining this due to the fact that the meter, rhyme, and number of lines in each stanza never changes throughout the poem. Also, at seven stanzas it is long enough to drive home this point without being so long that a younger child would become distracted.

This consistent metrical pattern throughout the poem means that it is really easy for young children this to clap out the number of syllables in each line. This is a nice way to introduce meter without getting too technical. (However, in the sixth stanza be sure to say looked as two-syllables.) Even young elementary school children can see the 8-6-8-6 pattern of syllables in each stanza.

Each stanza has the same ABCB rhyme pattern that can easily be seen with Legos.
South- red lego
Fine (Does fine rhyme with south? No, so let’s use a different color lego.)- green lego
Chrysoprase (Does chrysoprase rhyme with south? No. Does chrysoprase rhyme with fine? No, so let’s use a different color lego.) - yellow lego
Wine (Does wine rhyme with south? No. Does wine rhyme with fine? Yes, so let’s use the same color lego that we used for fine.) - green lego

It is easy to see that each stanza has four lines of verse. This is a good time for remembering that a line of poetry is called a verse.

In the first four stanzas there is also some nice repetition. The first verse follows a The (blank) from (blank) repetition. Then, the second verse tells what they are wearing and the third tells what they brought. This is nice parallel structure/ repetition to discuss.

With the repetition is a strong sense of imagery. We can visualize these kings, shepherds, wise-men, and angels. The simple descriptions feed into a story that we already know and give us a mental picture of everyone arriving from such different places, wearing such different clothing, bringing such different gifts and yet coming together to see Jesus who is in Mary’s arms as she sits on the ground.

Isn’t it cool that such a short work can lead to so much discussion before you even get into the meaning?!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Meditative Monday- Kumon Awards Ceremony (Brag Alert)

Toru Kumon was the Japanese educator who developed Kumon math for his son. Essentially, in his program children are started at a level where they already have mastery and progress through the levels as they develop the speed and accuracy that indicates mastery of a topic. To reach this mastery of topic there is a level of consistency, working just a little every day, inherent to the program.

Children who are working ahead of grade level are ranked on the Kumon of North America Honor Roll. The rankings are released quarterly and I had not seen the quarterly rankings from the end of September. So, when Duncan received his awards and certificates, I did not know his ranking. As of September, of 13,407 first graders studying Kumon math in the South-Eastern Region of United States, Duncan is ranked 19!

If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.
Buddhist Proverb

WooHoo, to Toru Kumon for helping my Doodle Bug walk in the right direction to achieve mathematically proficiency!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday- Homeschool Week in Review for Duncan

Language Arts
Duncan is still working on some Emily Dickinson poems. He participated in Teatime Tuesday Poetry and talked about personification and nonsense. He did some Kumon reading packs and Monday and Thursday went to the Kumon center.

We read Boris & Amos together. I read-aloud Why the Sea is Salt from The Blue Fairy Book and pages 24-26 from The Aesop for Children.

We also discussed action verbs and did pages 52-55 in Easy Grammar 3.

On Tuesday afternoon he went to the math tutor and on Monday and Thursday afternoon he went to Kumon. He did some Kumon pages at home, some pages in Key to Fractions Book 2, and lessons 36-39 in Saxon Math 65.

We talked about the rock cycle. The description from Living Memory by Andrew A. Campbell was a little much, so I just used a sentence that I liked in a book from the library. “The process by which rocks form, break down, and reform is called the rock cycle.” – Science Matters: The Rock Cycle. He also read about the rock cycle in DK Eyewitness Rocks & Minerals.

He also watched a couple of Magic School Bus videos (Hops Home and Out of this World) from the library.

History and Geography
Duncan again played with The Seven Continents of the World Jigsaw Book.

Duncan also learned about Mohammed this week. We read about Mohammed in The Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of World History. I detest the anti-Muslim slant to the memory sentence from Classical Conversations, so we are using our own based on the Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of World History.

In the year 610, Mohammed began teaching Islam in Arabia.

I plan to continue talking about Mohammed next week, but this weekend we will look at St. Nicholas.

Foreign Language
Duncan used Rosetta Stone Farsi twice this week for only 10 minutes each time- maybe I can get him on it again this afternoon.

He also watched Kids Love Spanish- Volume 4: Food a couple of times. He thought it was interesting that the word for potato is so close to the word for daddy.

Duncan went to his violin lesson on Tuesday and practiced about 30 minutes a day except on Thursday when we ran out of time.

This week we continued looking at Giotto. We looked at Getting to Know the World’s Great Artists- Giotto and Duncan chose his favorite picture in the book. He chose the detail of Nativity on page 30. We also looked at Masters of Art: Giotto and Medieval Art. He was fascinated by Crucifix and Giotto’s choice to show blood spewing out of the wound in Christ’s side.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Read-Aloud Thursday

Boris & Amos is a story of the friendship between a whale and a mouse.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wordless Wednesday- Persian Wedding Sofreh

Persian Wedding Sofreh

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tuesday Teatime Poetry

The Duel, by Eugene Field

The gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;
'Twas half-past twelve, and (what do you think!)
Nor one nor t' other had slept a wink!
The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
Appeared to know as sure as fate
There was going to be a terrible spat.
(I wasn't there; I simply state
What was told to me by the Chinese plate!)

The gingham dog went "bow-wow-wow!"
And the calico cat replied "mee-ow!"
The air was littered, an hour or so,
With bits of gingham and calico,
While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place
Up with its hands before its face,
For it always dreaded a family row!
(Never mind: I 'm only telling you
What the old Dutch clock declares is true!)

The Chinese plate looked very blue,
And wailed, "Oh, dear! what shall we do!"
But the gingham dog and the calico cat
Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
Employing every tooth and claw
In the awfullest way you ever saw
And, oh! how the gingham and calico flew!
(Don't fancy I exaggerate
I got my news from the Chinese plate!)

Next morning where the two had sat
They found no trace of dog or cat;
And some folks think unto this day
That burglars stole that pair away!
But the truth about the cat and pup
Is this: they ate each other up!
Now what do you really think of that!
(The old Dutch clock it told me so,
And that is how I came to know.)

We read this poem and talked about the personification (A figure of speech where human qualities or abilities are given to inanimate objects or abstract notions.) of the clock and plate. We discussed how, even though it is part of the personification, clocks actually do have hands in front of their face and that Chinese plates often are literally blue. We also discussed the nonsense of two stuffed animals fighting.

This poem reminds me of the folk poem about two dead boys.

One bright day in the middle of the night,
Two dead boys got up to fight.
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot each other.

A deaf policeman heard the noise
And came to arrest the two dead boys.
If you don't believe my story’s true,
ask the blind man, he saw, too.

This is how I remember my mom telling it to me. However, there are many versions. Here is a link to The British Columbia Folklore Society’s information and analysis of the poem.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Persian Wedding

Dh and I went to his cousin's wedding last night. This is the first Persian wedding that I have attended. I have seen photos and video of dh's sister's wedding, but I have never been to one. Dh said that it was a really wonderful wedding and reception. I thought so too, but I have no memories of other Persian weddings for comparison and so was glad for his confirmation of my assessment.

First Dance

Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday- Homeschool Week in Review for Duncan

Other than the read-alouds and poetry that I have already posted, Duncan also did Kumon and violin on Monday and Tuesday. Then, on Wednesday we drove to my mom's house for Thanksgiving. Today we drove home.

Perhaps playing hide-and-seek with relatives counts as PE!:-)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Berea Acceptance Letter!

This warrants a special posting. Christian's first acceptance letter arrived today!

He has been accepted at Berea College in Berea, KY. This acceptance comes with a 4-year, full tuition scholarship.

Yes, I am doing a happy dance!

The It's-Not-Yet-Thursday Read-Aloud

I do not believe that I will post tomorrow, so here is our Read-Aloud Thursday posted on Wednesday morning.

The Thankgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh
The quintessential Thanksgiving picture book

Mean Soup
A lovely book demonstrating an appropriate way to channel a child's anger
(I used to take my big boys outside to howl at the moon.)

Chicken Soup with Rice: A Book of Months by Maurice Sendak
While Chicken Soup is indeed full of fun Sendak pictures and poetry, this book and Mean Soup were chosen by one of my little Kumon students who is obviously wanting soup this week!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Mandy in TN

Wordless Wednesday- Big Man on Campus

Christian, just ahead in the black trench coat, walking his favorite (and may I also add very attractive) college campus.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tuesday Teatime Poetry- Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Comes But Once a Year
by Thornton W. Burgess

Thanksgiving comes but once a year,
But when it comes it brings good cheer.
For in my storehouse on this day
Are piles of good things hid away.
Each day I’ve worked from early morn
To gather acorns, nuts, and corn,
Till now I’ve plenty and to spare
Without a worry or a care.
So light of heart the whole day long,
I’ll sing a glad Thanksgiving song.

This poem is good for discussing rhyming couplets!

Circle the last word in the first two lines in one color; circle the last word in the next two lines in a different color; so forth and so on. Ask your child to look at year and cheer and tell you what he notices about the two words. He should tell you that they rhyme. Then, look at day and away and discuss that they rhyme with each other but not with year and cheer. Explain that when a poem contains a rhyming pair of successive lines, two lines one after another that end with words that rhyme, they are called a rhyming couplet.

You can demonstrate rhyming patterns with legos, colored beads, or little pieces of construction paper. For example, in this poem you could use two white legos (year, cheer), two red legos (day, away), two green legos (morn, corn), two blue legos (spare, care), and two yellow legos (long, song).

If your child is older or you want to move past the simple explanation of a pair of successive rhyming lines, you can discuss how couplets usually form a syntactic unit (phrase, clause, or sentence) and share the same meter (pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in lines of a set length).

Monday, November 23, 2009

Meditative Monday- In Which I Roll from One Quote to the Next!

Initially, I had thought that I would continue in the same vein as last week- discussing little snail’s journey from the point of view of direction. However, with it being Thanksgiving week, two quotes are walking around arm in arm in my mind grinning at me.

“If a fellow isn't thankful for what he's got, he isn't likely to be thankful for what he's going to get.” Frank A. Clark

“Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Abraham Lincoln

Of course I have days that are just downright overemotional in truly negative ways- frustrating or infuriating, difficult or downright dreadful. If I didn’t, if I were detached from and unaffected by my surroundings and the people in them, then I would not be human. An emotionally healthy person does not live without feeling the impact of unpleasantness. In spite of this, to dwell on this unpleasantness would be like tending the thistle rather than the rose. As Frances Hodgson Burnett put it in The Secret Garden:

One of the new things people began to find out in the last century was that thoughts--just mere thoughts--are as powerful as electric batteries--as good for one as sunlight is, or as bad for one as poison. To let a sad thought or a bad one get into your mind is as dangerous as letting a scarlet fever germ get into your body. If you let it stay there after it has got in you may never get over it as long as you live…
Much more surprising things can happen to any one who, when a disagreeable or discouraged thought comes into his mind, just has the sense to remember in time and push it out by putting in an agreeable determinedly courageous one. Two things cannot be in one place.
Where, you tend a rose, my lad, A thistle cannot grow.

As a whole when looking at my existence, I can choose to be thankful and happy. But, oh my goodness (LOL), this has indeed led me back to little snail’s journey!

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.” Dr. Seuss

As I steer through this journey, rather than choose to wallow in the excrement, I make up my mind to tend with thankfulness and happiness the abundance of good fortune.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday- Homeschool Week in Review for Duncan

DUNCAN- 1st grade
Well, with Mr. Duncan I’ll just do a week in review and tell you what we managed to accomplish this week.

Language Arts
Duncan continued to work on some Emily Dickinson poems. He participated in Teatime Tuesday Poetry and talked about haiku. He made a copybook and sewed in the pages like the one we saw at the TN Ag Center that was used at the turn of the century. In his copybook he wrote out the first stanza of "Nobody" by Emily Dickinson. He did some Kumon reading packs and Thursday went to the Kumon center. We also read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day together.

He actually does have more workbook type stuff that he didn't do this week. With Thanksgiving I doubt that we will get around to any more language arts next week.

On Tuesday afternoon he went to the math tutor and on Thursday afternoon he went to Kumon. He did some Kumon pages at home and some pages in Key to Fractions Book 2. He wrote some measurement conversions in his copybook. Due to the amount of driving that we have been doing, right now the number of feet in a mile is really interesting to him.

He actually does have a textbook that he didn't do this week. With Thanksgiving I doubt that we will get around to any more math next week.

We talked about rock classes- Igneous, Sedimentary, and Metamorphic. We used the list from Living Memory by Andrew A. Campbell. He looked at the different types of rock in Grayson’s rock collections and read about them in DK Eyewitness Earth and DK Eyewitness Rocks & Minerals. He watched a couple of Magic School Bus videos (Busasaurus and Taking Flight) from the library. This led to looking books and talking about dinosaurs, but sparked no interest in flight.

History and Geography
This year Duncan is using a book called The Seven Continents of the World Jigsaw Book. The goal is that by the end of the year he can locate the seven continents on a globe and a number of countries in them. This week we looked at the continent of Australia, because in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Alexander says repeatedly that he is going to move to Australia. This map also includes Oceania, so we talked about Tasmania and New Zealand. This led to us going down a rabbit trail following Tasmanian Devils.

Duncan also learned about Charlemagne this week. We read about Charlemagne in The Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of World History and in my old, beat-up Kingfisher History Encyclopedia.

Foreign Language
Duncan is using Rosetta Stone Farsi and sat on it twice this week for 15 minutes. Thursday night he talked to his grandparents, Aziz and Baba Haji, in Iran.

He also watched Kids Love Spanish- Volume 3: Family a couple of times which led to him calling me ma-ma like the children in the video.

Duncan went to his violin lesson on Tuesday and practiced about 30 minutes a day except on Thursday when we ran out of time. At his lesson he learned Jingle Bells!

This week we began looking at Giotto. We looked at Getting to Know the World’s Great Artists- Giotto and began reading it. I plan to continue looking at Giotto until we break for Christmas.

Today we went to see a play based on Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Friday- Homeschool Overview of Grayson

GRAYSON- 10th grade

Grayson goes to a tutor for math, uses SOS for Spanish, and is continuing Conceptual Physics. Everything else is more Charlotte Mason inspired.

Personal Pursuits
Ourselves: Book 1- Self-Knowledge by Charlotte Mason, about 1 Chapter each week
Nature Walks

Language Arts
Literary Lessons from the Lord of the Rings

Ancient History
The Teaching Company Foundations of Western Civilization, lectures 16-48 about 1 Lecture each week
TRISMS Expansion of Civilization

Fine Arts
The Teaching Company Great Artists of the Italian Renaissance, about 1 Lecture each week
Sister Wendy's Story of Painting
Sister Wendy's- 1000 Masterpieces

Human Anatomy
The Teaching Company Understanding the Human Body, about 1 Lecture each week
DK’s The Human Body Book
Body by Design
START EXPLORING Gray's Anatomy - A Fact-Filled Coloring Book

Church History
Christian History Made Easy
100 Most Important Events in Christian History

Friday- Homeschool Overview of Christian

CHRISTIAN- 12 grade

Christian is studying the New Testament with the lectures from The Teaching Company, College Algebra at the community college, Spanish 2 with ABeka and a tutor, Southern History through his umbrella, a senior research project through this umbrella, and Language Arts. Southern History is 1 semester. Next semester he will do SOS Economics. He is almost entirely outsourced and has one foot out the door.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Read-Aloud Thursday

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Today Duncan and I read this old favorite, because tomorrow we are going to see the play at the children's theater!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Not So Wordless Wednesday Photo

From left to right, this is Duncan, Grayson, Maple the Dog, and Christian walking into the wooded common area of our neighborhood.

Wordless Wednesday- Autumn Scarlet

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday Teatime Poetry- Haiku

Currently, Duncan is memorizing some Emily Dickinson poems. But, I have haiku on the brain. After all, last week I named this blog after a haiku. Also, when we were out looking at the college this past weekend, we stayed overnight with a dear friend who I have known since childhood. Her daughter Moe, not her real name, is currently doing a poetry unit at school and we talked about favorite poems and haiku.

So, I wanted to talk about haiku and share some websites.
I really like this haiku explanation. It is thorough and clear.
This page gives you a good idea of what isn’t a haiku.
This is a nice how-to if you are interested in writing a haiku, but don’t know where to start.

I enjoy writing haiku. It is calming to think of an entertaining juxtaposition in nature that also says something about the human condition and then attempting to boil it down to a few syllables devoid of the emotional analysis so common in Western poetry.

Here is one of mine that sticks to a 5-7-5 syllable structure.

Turtle’s jaws snap closed
On water and nothing else.
The fish speeds away.

Have you ever watched a snapping turtle miss its meal? It reminds me of wanting something so badly that I can taste it. I just know I am going to have whatever it is that I am wanting, so much so that I am counting on it. Then, the opportunity slips right past me. oops

Monday, November 16, 2009

Meditative Monday- College Selection Process Take 2

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.
Henry David Thoreau

Christian has always wanted to work with animals. When he was little, we kept a pass to the zoo and went frequently. In the summer we often went more than once a week. Christian loved the zoo so much. He would say that when he grew up he was going to work at the zoo so that he could go everyday. (To which at one point his little brother Grayson replied that he was going to grow up and be a hippo so that he could see Christian everyday.)

This weekend we found a new number one college choice. It offers a biology major with a concentration in wildlife rehabilitation. The initial presentations about the college had Christian thrilled. Then, the prospective students were able to sit in on three discussions given by the different departments. After hearing the spiel from the biology department wildlife group, he was smiling from ear to ear. He reluctantly went to the humanities department second and chose to go to the cafeteria instead of attending a third department discussion.

After lunch we went and visited the wildlife rehabilitation center. At this point, he developed perma-grin. We walked around looking at turtles, squirrels, red-tailed hawks, etc. Christian knew the animals and the literary references behind the names that the students had given them. He fit right in with the group of people working there. I could have told him that he was going to complete his senior year living in the rehab center sleeping on the floor in the room with the opossum and he would have thanked me as he waved dismissively while walking away.

As we drove away, Christian declared that his safety school was okay and that his reach school was very nice, but that he loved this college. While the other two schools offer biology degrees that with some tailoring could create a somewhat similar experience, neither would offer the support and camaraderie of a group of like-minded people. I know that right now this college is front and center. However, no matter what institution he attends, now is the time to pour his energies into making this life he imagines into a reality.

Friday, November 13, 2009

College Selection Process

Well, today the boys and I are packing up and heading out of town to look at a college for the big guy. It is a certainly a one-day drive, but it is not a short one. So, I want to head out the door soon.

For the most part, I would say that I am a relaxed parent. However, graduating and going to college have me wound up and anxious. There is this overwhelming feeling that these are the last and most important decisions in my child's life for which I will contribute a deciding or major vote. I don't want to vote wrong!

There is no path to follow. I did not graduate from college; his father did not graduate from college; none of his grandparents graduated from college. I try to be informed and give appropriate guidance, but there is a ton of information and what if I miss something. It makes my chest feel heavy if I ponder it for too long.

Last month we looked at a college that is the bee’s knees. If he is accepted, it is where he will go. However, keeping in mind that his odds at his reach school are only 20% at best, we are excited about the college we are touring tomorrow. I hope that in Christian’s eyes it measures up or at least comes close to college number one.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

More About Me- Kumon

Three half days a week I work in the junior room at the Kumon Center. I am privileged to sit for several hours with kids who are just beginning reading and arithmetic. I read phonics charts, flip through flashcards, go over common words, count by 5’s and 10’s, write numbers, and explain simple addition. I have worked in the junior room for just a little over one year. In that time I have been fortunate to witness numerous little people move from pre-reading activities to really reading and graduating to the “big” room at the center.

What a joyful way to spend the afternoon! And, although it is not much, I do actually get PAID to do this.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More Introductions

Today, while I continue playing with my blog's layout and deciding what direction I want to take with this endeavor, I will share a fun post from a message board I frequent. Someone asked, "If you came with instructions, what would your instructions say?"

Me- Requires very little sleep and when asleep only does so lightly thus is available at any time to meet the needs of the other products in the home. Silences loud noises. Melts in heat. Must be prompted to enter the kitchen. Also, any sort of gentle touching or tickling agitates, but appreciates genuine hugs. Capable of super-whistle power in order to confirm the position or attention of the other products in the home.

DH- Be aware that you have chosen a product with selective hearing and/ or selective mutism. To improve hearing and speech quality remove TV remotes and make sure product is in the upright position. Also, be aware that this product is capable of superhuman endurance and will work without food until collapse. To end work mode return TV remote.

Christian- Product is sensitive to heat and light. For happiest results keep product in cool, dimly lit, teenage boy cave and only remove for short periods of time. When outside the cave, this product is equipped with empathy software and may intuitively seek to do things to better the home environment. However, being within an undetermined radius of the two smaller products in the home may short out the empathy software.

Grayson- Sensitive speech software. Expect to speak clearly and patiently in order to achieve maximum output. This product can typically be expected to handle smallest product with great tolerance. Also does dishes!

Duncan- Danger. High Voltage. Do not expose to any measurable amount of sugar as this increases the likelihood of output overload. Be aware that this product is self-teaching and adorable while sleeping.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

In Which I Begin Introductions!

I will start with the boys, because it seems easier to describe them than my husband and myself. I have two sons from a previous marriage who for internet purposes I will call Christian and Grayson. Then, together we had a third son who henceforth shall be referred to as Duncan.

Christian is a senior in high school; Grayson is a sophomore in high school; Duncan is in first grade. I home-educate all three. However, although technically I am still responsible for his transcript, this year Christian is reporting to someone other than me for all of his classes, so I am really more of a guidance counselor than a teacher.

Christian, my mirror- born an old soul, moves when necessary
Grayson, my heart- my sunshine, moves to the tune in his head
Duncan, my angel- the child I never thought that I would have, moves with tenacity

They are 3 huggy, kissy lovebugs. Why bother having a loveseat and a recliner when they all sit right next to me on the couch?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Beginning with the Snail-ku

To begin, I suppose I should explain the blog title. It is a nod to Issa's famous snail-ku. My favorite translations leave the surprise for the end.

Snail slowly--
Slowly climb Mt. Fuji.

Oh, my little snail,
Slowly, ah, very slowly-
Climb up Mt. Fuji!

Like the Tortoise and the Hare, this haiku expresses that slow and steady wins the race, but I love that in this version there is no race, no competition, but instead just the self and the ultimate attainment through moving steadily in the correct direction.