Friday, September 24, 2010

::Teachable Moments: Math-Amnesia & Egg Paint::

::Week 3::
A peek into a week of learning.
{These are excerpts from my journal}
Monday, September 20th~ ::Math:: Cae  has quite the load to do this week. It has taken all morning to do about 1/3 of it. As I have heard from many parents, she seems to have suffered an inexplicable bout of math-amnesia. She has "forgotten" how to estimate. When I asked why she rounded 57 down to 30 she said; "because I like that number!" Agh! 

We moved on to ::English:: Grammar: A study in statements and questions. Cae had to compose a sentence using a question and a statement in order to finish. . . The idea was to make a personal narrative sound more interesting, but hers came out more like an interview: "What did you do this weekend? I went to Toronto to visit Katie M. What did you do this weekend?" I have a great paragraph: 
"Do you ever feel like you are living an alternate life inside your head,where no one else can see? Here's what mine looked like today: I was pulling my hair in frustration at the slow pace of things, and jumping up and down in frustration at my inability to change things. And this unpleasant drama in my head spilled out in unkind words that, mercifully, seemed not to land.

But, ah, the solace of the kitchen! It was my bake-day. Wooden spoon in hand, I managed to flit about making two dozen Cinnamon Raison Buns, two dozen Date and Walnut Buns, & two dozen Whole Wheat Buns, while issuing directives to Caelah across the island. Also, I produced one pan of Lemon, Coconut squares, another of Pecan Chocolate Squares and, finally, a last of good dutch Butter Cake. The freezer is packed! One of us was productive.

Aunty Karin and Uncle Josh arrived for dinner. I was so drained that, while Caelah had her ::Piano:: lesson, I vegged on the couch and indulged in baby-Julia time when I could have been cleaning and prepping. I think I made the right choice. I watched Caelah's pleasure at being a small part of a student/teacher duet. The sound of it made me smile-- a jumbly tune that fit together in a messy way. But the beauty of it still rose up out of it all. I look ahead in great anticipation for what is ahead for my burgeoning pianist. However, I noticed Aunty Karin grimacing at the sound of badly-tuned keys. Note to self, call a piano tuner.
Tuesday, September 20th 2010~ I am experiencing those first annoying situations where the library books I need for the next lessons are, either, due back at the library, or not yet arrived. In comes the flexible mindset. Because I have to return "Ms. Frizzle's Adventures: Ancient Egypt" Magic School Bus, I had Caelah curl up and read that first. Whenever she reads something I have her "narrate" it back to me in her own words. Often, there are funny results.
"Ms. Frizzle goes for a trip and they jumped out of parachutes and they flew over modern Egypt but landed in Ancient Egypt. They visit the King's palace because there was a party and there was dancing. At the end of the party the King was ill so the Queen and the King's son helped him to bed. Someone said he'd died and there was a big funeral. At the end fisherman gave them a ride to the airport and they flew back to their home airport. . . I learned about the costumes and how the Egyptians traveled: cars, trucks/ horses, mules."
~Caelah's Narration~
It made sense to get caught up on ::Egypt:: at this point, which meant working through a few more ::Bible:: lessons. "Break of Day" is a book I meant for her to read back when we started the year. It's a poetic retelling of the Creation. She was annoyed by the interpretation. "It isn't even true!" May she always be that sensitive to the Truth
We also studied where Noah's sons settled after the Flood. Caelah found the names from the chronologies in Genesis 10, searched for them on an old Bible map and marked where the sons all built their cities. Ham's sons migrated over to Africa. And so we answered our first big question regarding African History and Ancient Egypt: Where did the first people come from? 
 ::Egypt:: was briefly touched upon, as we discussed what dynasties are and coloured in some important info on our ::Outline Map of Egypt::

::French:: Grammar. . . This is where it feels like I need to ship her right back to school. My deficiencies in this area are startling. I have NO IDEA how to use commas. Now complicate that further by applying them into sentences that make me uncomfortable. I just might produce a family of horrid spellers. Pray for me.
In keeping with our study of quirky-writer Roald Dahl, Cae has read The Minpins"-- a book I adored as a kid. Now, I find myself reading deeply into the meaning behind Dahl's words. I get the feeling he wasn't a fan of the Church. His mother reads like a fiery Baptist.  Caelah's thoughts:
"About. . . A little boy named Little Billy who was sitting near the window looking out into The Forest of Sin and wondering what it would be like to go in. His mom said: "Little Billy, what are you doing?" Billy woulds say; "I'm being good, mommy." He heard a whisper from the devil. His mom said not to go out to the Forest of Sin because the Spittler will eat him in five seconds. A poem says: "You may go in but you never come out." When his mom was in the kitchen, he climbed out through the window and through the gate and started wandering. The trees looked the same so he couldn't get back. Red smoke came and Billy yelled; "The Spittler! Mommy save me!." He ran into a tree and started to climb until he couldn't see the top and the bottom. Then he saw this little patch of bark that looked like the shutters of a window. they started to open, and open, and open. He saw a small face and pale yellow light shining from the room. The face had a sweet smile and looked old and wrinkly with bright twinkly eyes like stars. The little person climbs out and says "Hello, my name is Don Mini." Billy asked if The Spittler was the thing chasing him. Don Little didn't know about a Spittler, but he knew about the Gruncher. . . Don Mini had suction boots. The Minpins say that the Gruncher will only die if he falls into really deep water. Billy asks if they have birds big enough for him, because the Minpins fly on robins. He would fly on a swan. They plan to fly Billy on the swan down to the Gruncher and he would smell Billy--because the Gruncher loves humans but has been on a Minpin diet--then zigzag to the lake. The Gruncher falls into the lake and dies in the huge waves. The fire he breathes out is like his heart and it went out." ~Caelah's Narration~

Wednesday, September 22nd~ Another day down the drain as far as school work goes. We all rushed out to W2W this morning. It was a lovely time.{Beth Moore is hilarious}. But then came groceries, and more groceries. And all Caelah had on her plate was to read "Angelique: The Buffalo Hunt" but she made it through a mere handful of pages... And then at home I tried picking away at her ::Math:: but, alas, she barely put a dent in it. I am feeling that despairing feeling again. I need perspective -- again. I don't need to rush through this stuff.

Thursday, September 23rd 2010~ For some fun, we began with ::Geology:: today. Caelah finished sketching her soil samples, now that they have sat for a long while. The clay that had previously muddied the water was now settled in a thin pale layer on top of the silt. I emptied the jars and found that the forest one stank! There was a dead worm in there. Pee-ew! Now she is out getting new samples for a study in drainage.

The drainage experiment worked perfectly. This secretly thrilled me, as had to come up with it on my own. There I was cheer-leading the clay on: "Don't let that water through! Don't make a liar out of me!" It complied. The clay let through a lot less water.
The next things we looked at was composting. Caelah began her own compost in an empty formula tin. This will be a long project: stirring and adding organic material and stirring...

::Africa::came next. Caelah read a bit about North Africa in "The Ultimate Atlas of the World" She then filled out the ::North Africa Factsheet:: We did some map work, colouring in the location of a few of the ancient civilizations in the region and labeling them on our ::North Africa Outline Map:: I had one of those happy-dance moments when I saw that the location of those civilization, as stated by a secular book, consistently corresponded to the biblical location of the cities built by Noah's sons. We lay our Bible Map beside the Africa Map to compare. Love it!  We then studied the first explorers of the area by reading "Great Explorers" & "Exploration Experience".

Finally, we learned about the Tuareg people who, in Cae's words are:
"Nomadic people who travelled across the desert bringing weapon and jewels to people. But they got smaller and smaller because their transportation is too slow: their camels are a lot slower than trucks." ~Cae Narration~

::Canadian History::  Caelah is reading "Angelique: The Buffalo
Hunt" again today to help her get to learn about the Plains People. I found a fun ::Bison Parts Activity:: for her to try. She was amazed by all of the things that could be made from one animal.
"Glue out of hooves!!! I doubt Tammy would do that to her horses..."

For a dose of ::French:: "La Dame et la Licorne" This was obviously a well-chosen book. She understood it perfectly. It's a sweet story, meant to shed some light on the strange painting by the same name.
"A unicorn came out of the sea. It was his first being out in the real world. He traveled along and met other animals who kept on saying "Go on. Go on." Without saying anything nice. He went left, right, left, right. At some point he found himself near a castle in a village and the princess shows him around the castle. She says he can be a part of the castle. He asked her some questions and the princess would answer. The princess says; "You can stay here with me." ~Caelah's Narration~
"The Shepherd" by William Blake
How sweet is the Shepherd's sweet lot!
From the morn to the evening he strays;
He shall follow his sheep all the day,
And his tongue shall be filled with praise.
For he hears the lamb's innocent call,
And he hears the ewe's tender reply;
He is watchful while they are in peace,
For they know when their Shepherd is nigh.
 "We are represented by the sheep and God is the Shepherd."
~Caelah's ::Poetry:: Analysis~

I had her pick her favourite line and Copy the poem using Cursive writing. Oddly enough, she chose the line that goes; "From morn to the evening he strays." I would have chosen any other line.  I wrote it out the line for her first, but she soon discovered I had strayed from the technical style of cursive writing she is currently learning: "Your 'r' is not right." I told her we each develop our own style as we learn to write, and she will too!

Friday, September 24th 2010~ The view from the window told me there would be no apple picking today. So sad. Next week, let's hope. . . That meant more time for teaching and learning!

First, I insisted Caelah write a full page in her journal. She did, but not without repeatedly insistently she had "nothing to write about."

We moved on to ::Art:: and the life and times of Raphael Sanzio. I came up with two fun activities to give Caelah a hands-on experience:

She finished off her day by reading "The Painter's Cat": a lovely book that describes the times.

And that, in a nutshell, was our week of learning.