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What are you up to these days?

January 14, 2009

Chers Amis,

Here are a few quick takes on what we are up to so far this semester. One new addition to how we ‘do’ school is “morning time” a concept I discovered at Dominion Family blog thanks to Kim at Starry Sky Ranch. The basic concept is to use time first thing in the day, maybe even at the breakfast table as a way, “to fit in the things that would slip between the cracks” I don’t know how homeschooling works at your house, but a lot of the finer things tend to slip, pushed aside by doctors, dinners, shopping, mopping, field trips, extra practices, runaway dogs, bickering children, headaches and life. I can (and do) beat myself up regularly (daily) for this, looking for ‘found time.’ Morning time is a bit of that. When the kids were younger, I did a lot of read alouds at meal time, but now they are more independent and prefer to read alone so breakfast had become ‘they eat while I maybe eat ‘ usually standing up, cleaning up, or while I check my e-mail, or put in a load of laundry. I have been bringing our art book and poetry to the table with my cold cereal to read and review. Lunchtime brings the Bard and a Shakespeare story. As we get more into the semester I hope to add more topics, composer study etc. The family at Dominion has extensive lists of the poems, hymns, composers, authors, Bible verses and more that they have reviewed during Morning Time for the last several years. Another change is a no TV, no computer policy for the kids Monday-Thursday. This is not winning me raves from my son and my dh thinks I am over the top too. Honestly, I have had ENOUGH fighting over those devices to last a lifetime re length of turn, choice of program, and every possible permutation thereof. Finis. Pippin petitions daily for a change in policy. No. My dh is much more cajoling a parent while I am a ‘get over it already’ type. C’est comme ca. File me as mean mom, I am fine with that as long as the screens are dark. I don’t think it will damage them.

So what are we doing? I won’t bore you with the workbooks, but here are a few areas that we are enjoying.

Poet: Carl Sandburg – favorite poems so far: From the Shore
(Caddie) and ArithmeticArithmetic is numbers you squeeze from your head to your hand
    to your pencil to your paper till you get the answer”

Artist: Rembrandt. A Weekend with Rembrandt is a nice read aloud illustrated by the artist himself and told in the first person.

Hamlet – will be showing this spring at the New American Shakespeare Tavern in Atlanta. I admit it, I have never read Hamlet before even though I know the characters and plot line. We are reading the story form in Shakespeare Stories by Leon Golden before trying to tackle the actual text. I reserved a copy of the film version by Laurence Olivier to watch at some point.

Geography/Continents: Africa, specifically North Africa and the Sahara and Antarctica and all things penguin (not Pippin’s book club book).

History: Ancient Egypt. Santa and a very generous family member bought our whole family tickets to see the King Tut exhibit that just arrived in Atlanta. I thought I was going to be an Egyptologist until reality set in at university so this will be a real treat. I can’t wait.

Science: Our FLL Lego robotics team has qualified for the state competition after a district qualifier and a superregional. We will tie up mosquito borne illnesses at the end of January and focus on everything that it displaced during the first semester. I should do some nature study, but I am cold blooded and it is chilly outside.

Literature: Maniac McGee (girls – February), Mr. Popper’s Penguins (Pippin – February)

Composer: Haydn. When I contributed to our local PBS radio station this fall (because I listen a good 4 hr + /day!) I chose The NPR Listener’s Encyclopedia of Classical Music as my ‘gift’. It is very good and includes a code to access a free data base of 500 downloads of musical selections mentioned in the entries. Excellent.

That is all for now. I hope you are enjoying the start of a new semester.


PS – I have given up editing for the sake of time, so forgive me.


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