Monday, October 11, 2010

 ::Week 5::
A peek into a week of learning.
{These are excerpts from my journal}
Monday, October 4th~We spent most of the day celebrating Aunty Kate's birthday. When we arrived at Grammie's house, Uncle Connor was busy with his homework too. But Cae spend most of her time trying to make them laugh than actually doing work. She did finish up a book she has been working through.

"Her friend Francois stops playing with her becasue he is beginning to be a buffalo runner. Learning how to load his gun on his horse, so he didn't have enough time for A. Angelique makes a new friend Mary. Mary's father thrown off his horse and under the feet of tons of buffalo, His legs got badly injured and they put this special type of gum thingy on his legs. They did the same with A's horse Michi because he got cut by his rump. The cuts started to heal. {The Cree speak French}. At the end Francois plays with A again, and A's father dances with Angelique and she starts to cry with happiness."~Cae's Narration~

Tuesday, October 5th~We avoided ::Math:: this morning. She had her fill yesterday. We worked through the ::French:: book she had read yesterday to look up words we didn't know.   
"A lion entered a library. He sniffed the papers and rubbed his mane against the books they put in order. Mr. Durbeuron ran to the director of the library and said ; "There's a lion in the library!" The director says; "Don't run!" The director asks if the lion is breaking the rules. Mr. D says "No, not really." The director says the lion can stay. So he listens to stories, helps children get books high up, dusts the Encyclopedia's.  The director falls and breaks her arm. The lion ROAR's at Mr. D because he wasn't listening, and then runs away because he broke the rules. Mr. D. looks all over for him; the gardens, tree houses. He finished by re-checking the path to the library and finds the lion looking at himself in the window. The lion comes back. The director runs to him. And Mr. D says "no running!" to the director.~Cae Narration~
It was a wormy day. Her soils studies in ::Geology:: required a look at these slimy critters. She read some amazing things about Lung Fish. They can sleep for 4 years without food or water. But as we read more and more about worms, we both grew more uncomfortably aware that the time was drawing near to go and collect one. . .

Interested facts:
~A Worm is like a pack of lifesavers-- Almost independant segments contained within a tube, each with its own organs. ~They have five hearts in the 7th to 11th segments. This might explain why they can regrow a tail if split in half at just the right point, but not a new head.
We have begun a wormery. It's just a large glass jar with layers of soil, sand and gravel. Oh, and three slimy worms. In a few weeks we should be able to see the earth grow rich and dark from the magic of worm digestion. Mmmm. Yum.

::Nature Study:: We studied The Apple. Not a super in-depth look at all. Just enough to marvel at God. I learned that the reason an apple is lopsided sometimes, is because the ovules/seeds on that side were not fertilized. I also never knew grafting was so wierd! So surgical! It brings me back to my C-section days... The cost & benefits of progress and science.

Cae and I managed to squeeze in a study of ::Egypt's:: Old Kingdom-- the "Age of Pyramids." She drew a diagram of the seven pyramids to scale on a graph paper. Alas, she Read a fun book called "The 5000-year-old Puzzle" by Claudia Logan. She read it out loud, which meant I could help with tricky words like "hieroglyph" and "sarcophogus."

::Piano:: Lessons with Aunty Karin fell on a Tuesday this week. Cae selectively practiced part of her homework, while omitting the rest. In this, too, will I have to be a hard task-mistress. . . 

Wednesday, October 6th~ For the first time this school year we stayed home from something social in order to catch up on work. This is very unlike me, and I do not do this lightly, but it was time.

::Africa::began our day. This has become my favourite subject to teach. I believe I missed my calling as an anthropologist. I love the study of people of different cultures. The book Cae and I read together had be completely captivated: "52 days by camel" by Lawrie Raskin. It is colourful and written in a vibrant style. It makes me want to hop on a camel and cross as desert-- something I would not, ordinarily find appealing.
"The man traveled by camels. At night the temperature is really, really cold. people eat with their right hand because they use their left hand to wipe their bums without any toilet paper. Mosque's always have minarets. Sometimes they have ostrich eggs on top. There can be big sand storms. The man went from Fez in Morocco. Then he decided to travel to Timbuktu. Then to the Salt Mines. They tie salt blocks onto the caravan camels."~Cae Narration~
A few things I learned:
1.North African Art is primarily based on pattern and colour because of the Koran's prohibition against creating likenesses of any living thing.

2.Being offered a third cup of mint tea in North Africa means; "Go Home!" 
3.The term "hobble" is now used to mean walking in an ungainly way. But it comes from the use of ties to "hobble" a camel's legs, keeping it from straying too far.
4.The Salt Mines of the Sahara are, along with the Antarctic, the least inhabited places on earth. The nearby city of Timbuktu became known as a "city of gold," not because of an over-abundance of or, but of alt! Salt was considered to be of the greatest value. In fact, the word "salary" comes from the Romans, who paid their soldiers partly in salt. This payment was known as a "salarium."
5.Camel dung is used for many things, including checker pieces!

I sent Cae off with the boys to watch "Desert":
"There's a type of desert called Dead Desert because in the daytime there are absolutely no animals. This changes at night because all the animals come out and see by the light of the moon. Another desert is in Asia and the mountains are cool because they have different colours of rock and when it rains the colours glow. Cactus. Some are called "Old Man Cactus" that have white hairs that stop the sun. Barrel Cactus are in the shape of a barrel and hold lots of water. Without the nomads, camels couldn't survive. Even they need water. If the camel has drunk, it can go for lots of days without water. Some animals can live even with the challenge of really hot and really cold temperatures in the desert. {Even in the hottest deserts}." ~Cae Narration~

We focused on Algeria and Tunisia this week.

We learned that Tunisia was once bursting with Christianity, but it has now been largely supplanted by Islam. It is, albeit, I fairly liberal country, when compared to other Islamic countries. Tunisian women enjoy maximum freedom when compared to women of Islamic states.

Our ::Canadian History:: lessons took a peek at the Salmon Fishermen of The Plateau: "The Okanagan." Caelah even constructed a paper version of a cornhusk doll. Not nearly as lovable as the real thing.

In ::Art:: we studied St. George Fighting the Dragon. Caelah couldn't get over the princess in the background. "Why is she clapping?" I was a bit confused by it as well. But we soon learned that she is, in fact, praying in flight. A very wise princess. Who was St. George anyways? He's featured in many renaissance paintings. It turns out he is the patron Saint of Engalnd. He was a Roman soldier who must have impressed the Church. All I know is, in the tale of St. George and the Dragon he refuses to defend the toen from the eveil beast until they all convert. . . Not a very admirable character, I'd say. For fun, I am having her read "The Reluctant Dragon" by Kenneth Grahame. It's a funny take on the traditional story.

Thursday, October, 7th~We delved straight into ::Geography:: with a look at the astrolabe. A tool sailors used to find their latitude via the latitude of the stars. We constructed a flimsy version of one out of a cereal box. We'll try it tonight. If all goes well we should be able to aim it at the North Star and find our latitude.

Listen! Piano Sonata 14 (Moonlight) Op 27

I LOVE this piece of ::Music:: It makes me think of a funeral taking place under black umbrellas in a grey drizzle. Very sonbre. But Caelah thinks otherwise: "Standing doing ballet. She then read; "Famous Children: Beethoven:"

"When B was a little kid he snuck eggs from the barn. Ludwig's father used to eat raw eggs and prunes to keep his voice good for singing-- warms his voice up. Ludwig's Father pretended that Beethoven was like Wolfgang Mozart. He didn't say how old he was, to make it seem like he was smarter.  Beethoven went to Mozart's house. Mozart went to tell the guests how good he was. Mr. Neefe knew that B was going to become a Mozart."~Cae's Narration~

We tried out our astrolabe. It worked! First we researched how to find the pole star. Then we wandered down the driveway in the dark. I had to flick off many of the lights in the house to really open up the sky. We rotated our "sighting tube"/straw upwards until it was aimed at our star. When we were back inside we saw that the angle of the straw's tilt was about 45 degrees. Sure enough, Ottawa is found at about 45 degrees North! Once again, I am deeply thrilled when these experiments work out.
::Poetry::"The Echoing Green" by William Blake

The Sun does arise,
And make happy the skies;
The merry bells ring
To welcome the Spring;
The skylark and thrush,
The birds of the bush,
Sing lounder around
To the bells' chearful sound,
While our sports shall be seen
On the Echoing Green.

Old John, with white hair,
Does laugh away care,
Sitting under the oak,
Among the old folk.
They laugh at our play,
And soon they all say:
``Such, such were the joys
When we all, girls & boys,
In our youth time were seen
On the Echoing Green.''

Till the little ones, weary,
No more can be merry;
The sun does descend,
And our sports have on end.
Round the laps of their mothers
Many sisters and brothers,
Like birds in their nest,
Are ready for rest,
And sports no more seen
On the darkening Green.

"A play about sports that someone did for old people." ~Cae's Narration~ I find it remarkable that she was able to uncover the truth about Blake's "Tyger" but couldn't see this poem for what it was: playtime and reminiscing. However, I very much approved of her choice of words to copy: Like birds in their nest, Are ready for rest. They were most appropriate, as she was long overdue for bed.
::Shakespeare:: It turns out Aidan was asked to babysit for the night at our neighbours. Cae and I slept downstairs by the fire and read from "Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children."

 Weekend~ We whipped up an Algerian "breakfast." I must admit, it was really bland. We are so very blessed to have the luxury of endless ingredients as our disposal. Apparently, only the wealthiest Algerians can afford to pop a few eggs into the tomato sauce.