Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Midsummer Night's Dream - Book 4 of 52 in 52

It's been several years since I last read Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.  I remember reading aloud in class, analyzing, stopping every few lines to discuss literary devices or allusions, etc.  It was a slow painstaking process, and I think back then I vowed never to read Shakespeare again.  Never say never I suppose.

DD1 and I have been reading the play as part of her Omnibus work, and I'm surprised to say I actually enjoyed it.  It took some time to get used to the style; but there is definitely something to be said for just taking time to sit back, read, and enjoy the work in its entirety apart from the analysis.  To laugh at the silliness of the play within the play.  To shake your head at the mischief caused by the fairies.  To cheer the final outcome when all is put to right again.  It's been great to simply enjoy Shakespeare together.  We'll top it off with a video of the play later in the week.  Dare I say I'm actually looking forward to the other Shakespeare titles on our list for this year.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Week 20: A Brief Week

We had a bit of a short week due to a two day visit by my parents and Henry being sick.  Overall, it was still a pretty good week.

Jessie's 7th Grade
  • Jessie's finished up her 6th chapter of Lial's this week and began working with percentages in chapter 7.
  • In CW, she finished analyzing FDR's speech and wrote her own imitation of it changing the event from the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
  • We squeezed in one of her CE chapters, a bit of logic, and three grammar lessons on adjectives.
  • She finished reading Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream but otherwise had the week off from Omnibus as we wait for the next primary book to arrive.
  • She worked with the dative case in Greek and completed four days of Latin assignments.
Violet's 5th Grade
  • Violet began her new Singapore 5B books this week working with decimals.
  • She did three days of reading from Verne's Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Brill's Madeline Takes Command
  • In CW, she rewrote "The Wooden Horse" from Colum's The Children's Homer and practiced working with adjectives.
  • Three days of spelling, dictation, and grammar rounded out the week for language arts.
  • She did complete lesson 19 in LfC B and three days of logic as well.

Benny's 2nd Grade
  • Benny worked on mental addition in Singapore and the relationship between multiplication and division in Miquon.
  • We continued reading Ginger Pye by Estes together.  He read a few more chapters in Speare's The Sign of the Beaver to me, and in our Bible reading we began the book of Acts.
  • He did three days of spelling, copywork, and cursive handwriting in which he is now up to the letter L.
  • He did complete all five days of his critical thinking in three days.

No notebooking pages this week.  The girls learned about slavery and wrote a summary of Haskin's Bound for America.  They took a closer look at pioneer life by reading Jared's Island by de Angeli and The Golden Horseshoe by Coatsworth.  On Wednesday, they summarized a chapter from Trial and Triumph on the missionary David Brainerd.  Benny got the week off from history because I couldn't really find anything appropriate.  We will read Jared's Island next week once we've finished Ginger Pye for literature.  No notebooking pages.  We'll do both weeks next Friday.

Jessie finished up the second chapter on invertebrates this week learning about arthropods and mollusks, complete and incomplete metamorphosis, and did a fair job on her test.  We also completed an investigation of the cuttlefish comparing the actual facts about the species to the description from Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
Violet learned about centripetal and centrifugal forces this week.  Here she is spinning a cup half filled with water over her head.  (Even though she had already read the lesson, she still thought she might get wet.)
 She also tied one of the dog's tennis balls to some yarn and compared the speed and force necessary to spin the ball on a short string versus a longer one.

Benny and I read more about fish.


Violet wanted to complete some art this week, so she chose a lesson on drawing a beach house from my folder.
 Henry started out the week with his normal energy riding on Jessie's shoulders so he could tower above everyone else,
building towers out of Battleship pegs when Benny forgot to put the game away,

and teasing the dog with the Violet's tennis ball on a piece of yarn until the yarn finally slid off.

By the end of the week, he was running a fever and didn't have the energy to do much but listen to books or watch television.  Hopefully, it will pass quickly.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Journey to the Centre of the Earth - Book 3 of 52 in 52

Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne is a classic story by the man some consider the father of science fiction.  Professor Lindenbrock, a famous geologist, rushes home one evening ecstatic over his latest discovery of a very old Icelandic manuscript at the local book store.  His excitement increases as a piece of parchment written in code falls out of the book.  Once decoded the professor is determined to follow in the footsteps of its author and journey to the center of the Earth dragging his rather reluctant nephew along for the expedition.  They journey to Iceland where they hire a guide to take them into the crater of an extinct volcano.  Then the descent begins.  They take wrong turns, get separated, and run low on supplies for a time; yet they continually overcome each new difficulty, press on their way, and are astounded by the marvels they encounter along the way.

It's great classic work for age 10 and up.  Some of the geology and description can be a bit tedious at times, but their is plenty of adventure to move the story along.  Definitely worth the effort to read.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Week 19: Still going

Jessie's 7th Grade
  • Jessie worked on rate, ratio, proportion, and angles this week in Lial's Prealgebra.  Many of the concepts were review, but there was some new terminology to learn.
  • In R&S, she completed all but the test for her unit on adjectives and gave an oral report on the Mayflower Compact.
  • In CW, she paraphrased Portia's speech in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, learned about deliberative speech, and began analyzing FDR's congressional address in response to the attack on Pearl Harbor.
  • We completed Beowulf by Heaney for Omnibus primary and began A Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare for Omnibus secondary.
  • She completed another lesson in CE and her regular logic work.
  • For Latin she finished up personal pronouns and began working on demonstrative and imperative pronouns.  In EG2, she worked on the second person pronouns.

Violet's 5th Grade
  • Violet spent her week in math working on the semester review in her Singapore IP book, completing word problems covering area and perimeter, and continuing to work on her math facts with the Flashmaster and multiplication charts.
  • In R&S, she learned about demonstrative and indefinite pronouns.
  • She completed a review chapter in SWO G, her dictation, and her regular logic assignments.
  • In CW, she rewrote "Damon and Pythias", focused on adjectives for analysis, and practice paraphrasing by expanding.
  • In Latin, she had a review chapter with some more practice with Roman numerals.
  • Her literature continues to be Verne's Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Brill's Madeline Takes Command.
Benny's Second Grade
  • Benny finished his last page in his 2A IP book this week and began his Singapore 2B math books. YEAH!! His Miquon Green book had him focusing on patterns in multiplying like 3x4=12, 3x40=120, 3x400=1200.
  • In grammar, we learned about state of being verbs and worked on memorizing the chant.  He also finished copying the definition of a verb and the list of state of being verbs for his manuscript copywork.  In cursive, we're up to the letter I.
  • He finished reading Farley's The Black Stallion to me and began reading Speare's The Sign of the Beaver.  We're still working through Ginger Pye by Estes as our read aloud.  In Egermeier's Bible story book we're finally into the book of Acts.
  • On the right is one of his Mind Benders pages from his critical thinking work.  He also completed another one and a half lesson in SWO B.

The girls read and summarized John Peter Zenger:  Free Press Advocate by Westermann, outlined a portion of a chapter from Guerber's The Story of the Thirteen Colonies covering the War of Austrian Succession, and summarized two chapters from Marshall's Our Island Story covering the failed attempt by the Jacobites to place a Stuart back on the throne of England.  Jessie's summaries were of much better quality this week after I had her revise some the previous week.  This week I focused on Violet's writing.  She was not happy to revise her first summary and completed rewrite her second summary twice, but at least I know she comprehends the material and can give a well ordered summary with detail when she chooses (or is required) to do so.

I couldn't find any books covering the same topics for Benny, so we learned about Edmund Halley using Halley's Comet by Fradin.  He got a break from narration this week.

Jessie finished chapter 15 in BJU, dissected an earthworm, and began learning about mollusks in lesson 16 this week.
We also checked back up on her bean seed experiment.  There were 4 control, 1 refrigerated, and 2 frozen bean sprouting.
Violet completed unit 4 this week.  One of the lessons covered gravitational acceleration and challenged her to design a parachute for an egg.  She used a Tupperware container with a folded paper towel attached to a fabric parachute.
Then we dropped it about 5 or 6 feet.  The shell did crack, but most of the egg stayed inside the shell.  She was thrilled to take it inside and scramble it for a second breakfast.

Benny and I read about ichthyosaurs and began learning about fish this week.  There weren't any activities to go along with the reading.


Jessie has started learning the countries of South America.  Violet is on level 4 of her states game.  Benny has made it to Texas in his state song and has almost mastered all of the midwestern states.
Violet drew a duck and colored it in with watercolor pencils.  Benny's art for the week is in the Wednesday post below.

We stepped it up a notch in Benny's preschool this week.  We added a couple of songs to our reading time, acted out the Jack be nimble rhyme by jumping over candlesticks, and made sure to fit in a few Kumon pages as well. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

WW: Benny's Creations

Benny decided to test out the art kit that he received for Christmas and drew a picture of a catfish.
He was also very proud of his extremely long plane.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Beowulf - Book 2 of 52 in 52

Beowulf: A New Verse Translation by Heaney is an excellent rendering of the enduring ancient tale (far better than whatever version I read excerpts of in high school that I detested).  Beowulf, who as a youth first proved his strength in fending off and slaying a group of sea monsters, travels to the Danes to offer his assistance to King Hrothgar whose hall is under nightly attack by the monster Grendel.  After proving his strength and heroism against first Grendel and then Grendel's mother, Beowulf returns triumphant to his homeland.  Later after the death of his king and the king's son, Beowulf is made ruler of his people and reigns wisely for 50 years until a foolish slave stumbles upon a dragon asleep on an ancient hoard and steals a golden goblet.  The dragon awakens and begins to lay waste to the surrounding land in his anger.  Beowulf once again steps forward to defeat this latest monster, but his sword fails him.  The dragon is able to inflict a mortal wound before Beowulf slays the beast with his dagger.

I confess that I started reading Beowulf simply because it is one of those great books people say everyone should read and because it was on the list for my DD's Omnibus lessons.  I have to say I have truly come to love and appreciate the tale.  Yes, there is plenty of action to draw the reader's interest, but there is also beautiful imagery and description of a world that disappeared long ago.  The juxtaposition of the obvious Christian worldview of the original author and the futility of the pagan culture with its constant feuding and warfare has made for some excellent discussion with DD.  I would encourage anyone who has not read it to set aside their preconceived notions and read it for themselves.  You may be surprised and actually enjoy it.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Week 18: Midway Point!!

 Jessie's 7th Grade
  • Jessie finished up the 5th chapter of Lial's this week on decimals.
  • She analyzed two excerpts from Shakespeare's King Lear and The Merchant of Venice for CW.
  • In Omnibus, she completed Pyle's The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood and made it through another third of Beowulf by Heaney.
  • Grammar covered demonstrative and indefinite pronouns as well as writing an outline from notes on index cards.
  • As always there was vocabulary, logic, and memory work.
  • In LA1, she completed chapter 18 and moved on to Latin pronouns in chapter 19.

 Violet's 5th Grade
  • Violet finished up her Singapore 5A textbook this week.
  • She worked on pronoun cases in grammar and did well on her spelling test.
  • For writing, she rewrote "The Retreat of the Ten Thousand" for CW and did some dictation from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
  • She continues to progress through Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Verne and Madeline Takes Command by Brill.
  • She completed the second Mind Benders book and moved on to B3 this week in logic.
  • In Latin, she learned to decline tres, tria and a couple of more uses for the genitive case.


Benny's 2nd Grade
  • Benny completed the final pages in his Singapore 2A textbook and workbook this week and began his new Miquon Green book.
  • In grammar, we began discussing verbs and copied the first portion of the copywork. 
  • Copywork was random Bible verses.  We also worked on cursive Ee and Ff and spent a few days practicing putting the letters he has learned so far together in words both for him to trace and to copy.
  • We contined with The Black Stallion by Farley for phonics practice and began Ginger Pye by Estes for our read aloud. 
  • He also did his regular memory work and critical thinking.

Jessie continues to work on North American landforms.  Violet is working on capitals.  Benny added Oklahoma, Oregon, and Pennsylvania to his song and Oklanhoma and Texas to his mapwork.


Jessie and Violet outlined a chapter of Our Island Story by Marshall covering the death of Queen Anne and the reign of George I and wrote summaries of the colonies of New Orleans and Georgia based on chapters from Marshall's This Country of Ours.  Jessie learned about the First Great Awakening by reading Trial and Triumph by Hannula to cover John Wesley, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, and John Newton.  Violet read some background information about the Great Awakening, two chapters covering Jonathan Edwards and John Wesley, and a few pages covering hymn writing during the period from Hearts and Hands by Withrow.  Each of the girls wrote summaries of their reading.  Benny and I read the same information from Hearts and Hands spread over the week and also enjoyed the chapter on Bach for fun.  Benny answered questions on the First Great Awakening and hymn writing for his first narration and told me about Jonathan Edwards for the second.

Jessie took her chapter 14 test in the A book of BJU Life Science.  She was very excited to started book B this week.  (I was very excited to finally move on to animals.)  This week we covered sponges, jellyfish, flatworms, and roundworms.

Violet worked on the laws of motion and gravity this week.

 She observed the first law of motion by pulling a basketball in a wagon and observing the basketball first try to stay at rest when she started pulling the wagon and then try to stay moving when we stopped the wagon.
To illustrate the second law of motion, we first tapped two identical rollerskates with different forces and observed that the skate receiving the great force moved the greatest distance.  Then we added a can of fruit to one skate and applied the same force to each making the lighter skate travel a farther distance.
Benny and I read about aquatic frogs, toads, and salamanders.  We also started the 5th chapter reading about nothosaurs, monosaurs, plesiosaurs, and pliosaurs.  We laid out a 9 foot head for a pliosaur with a tennis ball to mark the eye and the sock to mark the nostril and imagined banana sized teeth in its mouth.

Benny also tried to hold the broom out by one end as we tried to imagine how a plesiosaur manuevered with its extra long neck.

Violet completed a painting of a winter scene.

Benny chose a couple of projects out of his Kumon art book.


Henry and I read an assortment of books this week.  We also spent a portion of our time two days this week building the horse and then the pig with our 16 cube puzzle set. 

 He snuck Jessie's bird book from her room and quite happily pushed buttons and listened to different big calls for half an hour one morning.
Today, he gave Jessie a good workout by making her drag him through the house.  I was impressed at how long he managed to hold on.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

WW: Imaginative fun

I think the boys had a distinct advantage in position, number, and arms.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Weeks 17: Starting Back Up

Jessie's 7th Grade
  • Jessie continued working with decimals this week in Lial's Prealgebra. The final section on mean, weighted mean, median, and mode gave her a little trouble, so I'll have her do the even problems Monday after a bit of review.
  • In R&S, she moved on to a new unit on pronouns and worked mainly with the proper use of different cases.
  • She focused on the opposite and cause paragraphs for CW Diogenes and did her regular vocabulary.
  • We continued with Pyle's The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood for Omnibus secondary while beginning Beowulf by Heaney for primary. The picture to the left is an omnibus writing assignment for a 4 stanza ballad with a 2 line refrain.
  • In addition to regular logic, she completed lesson 15 in EG2 and after 2 days of review began working on lesson 18 in LA1.
Violet's 5th Grade
  • Violet began working with angles this week in math. She did a bit of measuring with a compass and lots of calculating based on the information given.  In CWP 5, she's begun working on problems of area and perimeter as seen on the right.
  • She also began a new R&S unit on pronouns and completed another spelling chapter.
  • For CW, she analyzed and rewrote the model "The Defeat of Cyrus".
  • Her new literature selections are Journey to the Center of the Earth by Verne and Madeline Takes Command by Brill.
  • She finished her first Think-a-Grams book for logic and worked on the declination of duo in LfC B

    Benny's 2nd grade
  • Benny completed his IP unit on multiplying and dividing by 2 and 3 this week and has begun the midyear review exercises. In Miquon he used a hundred chart to answer questions of where he would end up after starting on a specific number and moving different ways.
  • We reviewed sentence types in FLL.
  • In addition to his regular spelling assignments and copywork, he began learning cursive this week as well.
  • We finished The Story of the Amulet by Nesbit as our read aloud and continued on The Black Stallion by Farley which we take turns reading.
  • He completed his critical thinking as well.
    This week's topics for history included the Salem Witch Trials, Queen Anne's War, and the composers Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi.
    Jessie read The Witchcraft of Salem Village by Jackson, Johann Sebastian Bach and the Art of Baroque Music by Getzinger, George Handel by Venezia, and Antonio Vivaldi and the Baroque Tradition by Getzinger.  She wrote summaries of all the material except Handel and did a brief outline for Queen Anne's War.  Violet used the Guerber Thirteen Colonies book for the first two topics and read Johann Sebastian Bach by Venezia and Venezia's Handel book as well.  She completed three very brief summaries and an outline.  Benny and I read about the war in SOTW 3.  Other books for the week included Sebastian: A Book About Bach by Winter, Bach by Rachlin, Handel Who Knew What He Liked by Anderson, and Handel by Rachlin.  Rather than hands on, we watched two short films this week from the library:  Bach's Fight for Freedom and Handel's Last Chance.
    Jessie worked on flowering plants this week in BJU.
    Here she is started an experiment with 3 groups of bean seeds:  one control, one set refrigerated for an hour, and one set frozen for an hour.
    We also soaked some food coloring into celery.
    Violet has been studying kinematics.
    We calculated her running speed over three different distances.
    and calculated the acceleration of a toy car down our improvised ramp.
    Benny did science!  YEAH! 
     We read a portion of chapter 4 on sea turtle and sea snakes and made our clay figures
    We also marked out the size of a leatherback sea turtle on our living room floor.  Benny thought it was neat that he couldn't even reach across the width of the turtle.
    We resumed our regular geography activities.
     Violet drew a winter scene and dotted on some paint for snow.  Benny counted his science as art, and Jessie didn't get around to it.  No music this week. HENRY'S CORNER In addition to our regular reading time, Henry and I also did some Kumon cutting pages this week and spent some time just playing together.
    He gets Jessie to tell him stories about our lives.
    He's also been building towers out of our tuna cans when bored.