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.