Monday, February 28, 2011

::Bulrushes & Back-Ups::

A lot of life lived this week. Less schooling. Caelah very rarely complains when I ask her to help me with something. Her standard response is, "sure." I think the dearest thing to watch is Caelah's mother-like care of Annorah. She takes her into her bed at night if she cries, she dresses her every morning, and I can hear Norah babble at her the whole while. I love who she is, and who she is becoming.

We are into Exodus now. For fun, I took out some books from the library on Moses. Sadly, only one made the cut. The others were based on "Jewish legend" and took way too many liberties with the story. This only confused Caelah.

I purchased some Exodus studies to do alongside Caelah. One is from John Macarthur, who exposits in the usual way. The next, I went out on a limb for. His name is Tim Floyd, and the study is called ; "Treasure in the Sand." It reads far more like a Bath Moore study, but this guy doesn't have any real recommendations behind him, apart from a pastor in Alabama:
"In Treasure in the Sand, Tim Floyd has given us a trustworthy guide to enable us to dig out the gold found in the book of Exodus. His commentary is enlightening. His reflection questions are insightful. His focus is Christological." ~ Dr. Al Jackson, Pastor: Lakeview Baptist Church; Auburn, AL
I will let you know how I find it.

In English, Cae had to write a How-To. She decided to make up a recipe for Citrus Shortbread and send it to her Aunty Kate:

Hi auntie Katie, wrote a recipe that you can make if you want to.

PS. I hope you like it in your new home.

Our next author is Eva Ibbotson. Another quirky one. She is a fantasy writer, similar in style to Cornelia Funke and Roald Dahl. I remember loving her books. Caelah has begun "Island of the Aunts," also published under the name "Monster Mission."

It turns out I prepped for Chemistry using Grade 2 material. Caelah peeked over my shoulder last week while I was working on Properties of Matter, and she said; "I did that in Grade 2." Ok. So, instead we will play at being chemists in our own kitchen.

Why not take a year to establish the basics? There are many great books out there for burgeoning chemists. The one we will be working through is called; "Wholly Irresponsible Exploits: 65 Ways to Muck about With Science" by Sean Connelly.

Each week we will conduct a few of our favourite experiments and record the results.

Experiment #1
::Back-Up Plan::

Geography. . .

Ancient Egypt: Plants and Animals. . .

Music: A bit dry for the little ones, but I really enjoyed this film.

Art: Cae and I will be ordering a poster of this painting for her wall. It is our favourite painting so far!

Every now and then a book is an absolute delight. This was one of them. So beautiful! So captivating. It is written from the perspective of a little girl who began as the model for this painting. However, Sargent found her hair too dark, and soon replaced her for the two fair-haired girls from down the road. The story reveals a lot about the art and the artist.

A mid-year overhaul of Africa.
I have never been comfortable with how I set up our Africa studies. It was disjointed, and too sprawled out. Last week, after finding a newer kids atlas, I began to re-work the year to revolve around our map-making. I took a day to carefully help Caelah polish up all of her Africa maps. We have several on the go: Climate, Religion, Natural Wonders. . . It occurred to me that these maps could be used as a primary teaching resource.

A. Colour the country in. Label it, along with it's capital city.
B. Place the map into it's acetate sleeve. Trace the country's contour with a dry-erase marker.

C. Slip the map out of the sleeve, leaving the sleeve empty.

D. Now, overlay each of the other maps with the tracing. What do you see within it's boundaries?

North Africa has a dessert climate, is mostly Isalmic, has a low population density and cultivates cotton, oil and sheep.

Proof of success: "Mom, Can I try this with other countries now?" Yes. You certainly may, my girl.

Canadian History: Henry Hudson. . .

"And like a queen went down
Pale in her royal crown.
. . Till Joy shall overtake. . ."
"Dream Land"by Christina Rossetti

::White on Black::

A birthday mug for Ness.
I can't tell you much much I love these Pebeo Art pens.
Get some!

::Miss Captain Underpants::

"Mom! You have to get the camera."
My kids know that, these days, for me to haul out the camera spontaneously is rare. So it better be good. This was good. Annorah has grown into quite the character. A few of her babbles lately include; "Me poopy." "Mine." She folds her tiny hand into a fist, bops our waiting fist and says "Pwops." The other day, her brother had to go and sit on the stairs. She toddled over and placed her face very close to his; "BAD." And then she sucked on his nose.

Note: I did so a sniff test. These were clean underpants.

Friday, February 25, 2011


A bit of free-style expression from Caelah:

Friday, February 18, 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

::Fig Balls & Twig Pens::

My sister asked me why I take the time to photograph and document everything I teach. I had nothing to see but, "because I love it!" I know how much simpler it would all be if we just did the work for the work's sake, but memories are being made! I want to capture them.

A snippet of Cae's Compare and Contrast Piece:

Me and Leah are friends. We're alike and different in ways. I'm a girl just like her. We both have four siblings. She lives in Quebec, I live in Ontario. I have dark hair and she has almost white hair. . .

We left the Ramona path for a meander into fantasy. We began Elizabeth Goudge's "The Little White Horse" at the beginning of the year, and enjoyed cuddling up together in the evenings and getting lost in it. Goudge has a way with description.

Much like Tolkien, she wraps words around a place so well that you feel like you are walking around in her mind's eye. Nothing is more delightful than her description of Maria's room.

" . . . No pen could possibly do justice to the exquisite charm and beauty of Maria's room. It was at the top of the tower, and the tower was a round one, so Maria's room was circular, neither too large or too small, just the right size for a girl of thirteen. It had three windows, two narrow lancet windows and one large one with a window-seat in the thickness of the wall. The curtains had not been drawn across the windows, and through them she could see the stars. In each of the windows stood beautiful silver branched candlesticks with three lighted candles burning in each of them. . ."

Time got the best of us, and we put the book aside for awhile. But then the movie version called, "The Secret of Moonacre,"arrived at the library for us. Though it took great liberties with the plot-line, it was so stunning and vivid, we launched right back into the book. We may have to add Goudge to our Feature Author list.

This week, for our Nature Study, we went into the backyard and took in a panoramic view. We took note of a few things: the height of the trees at the edge of the forest, the leafless branches etc. In a few months we will take another snapshot and compare.

{I need a wider lens. Badly!}

We also chose a tree. This tree will be our Season Tree. As we watch in all four seasons, we will learn about the growth process.

Magellan was the very first explorer to circumnavigate the world.

We hoped to watch BBC's "Voyages of Discovery," but the library doesn't carry them. The first of our parts is available on youtube.

We finished of our look at the fur trade by trying our hand at beadwork. However, we used straws instead. Unlike beautiful beaded moccasins, these would not have been of any value to those who were trading for furs.

The Pastoral
"A Child's Introduction to Poetry"
". . . Alas, when people think of long-winded writers going on and on about the beauty of the sun shining on cows munching hay in a quiet pasture. . . those folks probably read one too many pastoral poems. . . a romanticized, idealistic image of how great things are in the country, or woods, or on a farm."

All the pretty flowers of the forest
Fill the air with a summer's chorus.
Beautiful butterflies come and go
Dancing on petals to and fro.

Mighty trees loom tall
Rustling leaves turn gold in Fall.
Squirrels gather nuts to hide
In tree hollows, deep inside.
::Cae's Cheesy Pastoral Poem::

Found a fun, interactive book on Egypt at the library:

Egyptian food & drink this week. We made Fig Balls using dates instead.

They were a hit! Especially with the tiniest.

Local Wonders
::Local Wonders at BuildingBig::

We decided to take a peek at a local structure that interested us and see what we could find out about how it was made.

We happen to live right by the Diefenbunker. I pass it's gates every time we visit our library. What's even more convenient; the library lends out a free pass. So, Cae & Isaiah and I went to take a tour. The guide was so good to us. He spoke at Caelah's level, and steered away from things that would make her uncomfortable, {affects of radiation and flashburns etc.} It was certainly driven home that steel-reinforced concrete makes for strong buildings.

::More Great Architecture Books::

While reading our weekly portion of "Shakespeare for Kids: His Life and Times" we came across a quill-making activity.
We had no feathers to craft into a quill, so we used a twig instead.

I whittled the twig down into a paint, then pulled out my old inks from my calligraphy days. It all worked!

Charlotte Mason gives a big nod to the hands-on. So do I! I want the kids to learn how to do practical things for themselves--gain some life skills. One of those things, I figure, is the art of building a good wood fire. {Not without parental supervision, of course.} Maybe Aidan can teach them how to change a flat tire next. I'll be a student in that class too.