Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Classical Conversations Cycle 1 Week 3

We just got finished with our new CC material for week 3 today.  We have upped the silly fun factor a little with our frog puppet aka Latin Leo during Latin (I decided not to skip the Latin it's not that big a deal to throw in there after all and the kids are already used to it) and Leaping Leo for math skip counting. My 5 year old actually tried harder than ever to get the skip counting down because he wanted a turn making the frog say it.  I haven't been worried if he got the skip counting yet because he's only 5 but the frog definitely made it more exciting to get it right.

We caught up on the art lessons of CC that we "missed" so far due to other art projects we happened to be having fun with.  We did the OiLs intro and talked about elements of shape which took me back to my days as a Monart Teacher (an art school franchise started by Mona Brooks and her distinct teaching method that starts with the elements if shape).

 Next we did a lesson on mirror image. First we took a mirror and we held it against parts of pictures to see the mirror image effect.  Then we folded white paper in half and started cutting into them and opening to reveal the mirror image.  After they were happy with their images we glued them onto black paper.

Then we got a little more practice on the chalkboard.  I drew a line down the middle and started it with a big curved line for half the head and then had the kids take turns adding onto the image one side at a time then replicating on the opposite side.  Then I let them start their own but they started fighting about how the picture was supposed to turn out so we moved on to something else!  Ahh yes one of the joys of homeschooling...lots of opportunity for character development. 

Next was the actual week 3 project...an upside down image project remembering to focus more on the elements of shape than trying to draw an upsidedown crab. (That's just what we happened to pick).

My 5 year old picked an octopus

For our Science we learned some parts of an Animal Cell and drew a simple picture and labeled the parts.  Labeling our art projects and animal cell parts made for some good copy work/notebooking that they didn't mind doing ;)

Here the 2 books I got to go with our Greek Mythology which is part of the year 3 history from Ambleside and was a nice time to introduce this week since some of the Greek and Roman Gods were the week 3 history song for CC. 

 These aren't the books I saw recommended for Greek Mythology by Ambleside but after looking at a few different books in person at a bookstore and reading reviews online, I decided on these two.  I'm using Ambleside Online for my big picture planning for ideas on what to cover this year and looking at their book/reading lists but coordinating it with CC when possible and not necessarily using the exact books Ambleside Recommends but others that may cover the same topics.  Other times we select books straight from Ambleside's reading recommendations... Just depends. 
It's a little different each day and I like it that way! It might sound like chaos or confusing to have a different rhythm to each day but overall we have a weekly rhythm with our daily rhythms that work for us.  Every family is so different, I think the goal for us is to pace ourselves, gently lead not push, cultivate relationship and connection through living simply and hopefully be a good example on how to enjoy life, be content, choose joy, count blessings and I don't want my kids to think that mommyies and daddies only laugh and smile on special occasions. One day might be very classical, another very Charlotte Masony, the next full on Montessori and Waldof inspired etc....I'm reading a lot myself and getting ideas and things prepared ahead of time so I can gently lead them rather than push them. So we can have a relaxed feel yet actually be really engaged and productive. It's not always easy but we accomplish more when I can do that successfully and everyone is happy.  Sometimes I have to just let go of my grand ideas for the day and save them for later and be flexible so we can follow the curiosity of the moment and seize the day in some unexpected way.  The one thing that happens daily is math practice. It doesn't always have to be Singapore but can also include our supplemental practice and review current skills whether with workbooks, xtramath or other games, books or hands on activities we can use, pulling ideas from Montessori and Waldorf to make it more hands on since Singapore isn't very tactile. Once we finish our current workbook I will decide if we will stick with this program or try something else but my daughter recently started saying math is her favorite so I kinda don't want to mess with that.

We will continue with our Greek Mythology after this week but it was a good time to introduce it.  We will also introduce the MAPS book this week for studying world countries and cultures and start with Greece.  I didn't really know where I wanted to start but since we are kinda starting off with Greek history I figured it would be a good starting point.  

I plan on having the kids dress up like Greeks, make togas, learn about foods and act out Ancient Greek times.  Maybe we'll talk about gladiators a little bit...my son would love acting that out.  I'll let ya'll know what we end up doing.  

I'm enjoying the start of this school year.  We are figuring out a good weekly and daily rhythm where we are enjoying life and learning together in as natural a way possible and trying to apply all the great educational ideas and philosophies in a way that feels natural and enjoyable to us.  I consider us...if I could label it...Classical Masonorri Waldunschoolers?  Lol sounds like an identity crisis but I think you can be a bit of all wrapped up into one.  I think back to the book The Thomas Jefferson Education that I read when considering homeschooling in th very beginning of this journey.  Education is an atmosphere.  We mentor our children and also find them other mentors.  We read to them from the classics.  We don't play "school" and mom doesn't have a double identity as "teacher" during "school" time and then try and switch off and into mom the rest of the day to switch back and forth from. We lead by example and invite them to join us.  We strew and create play and learning invitations that may turn into a deeply covered topic or may not be taken much interest in other than some initial exposure and that's fine too.  We play games.  We play spelling games in the car, taking mental pictures of a word and then recalling the word and spelling it for the next couple days.  Language arts we learn through practical writing with letters to pen pals and grandparents.  We focus on proper form, spelling and punctuation.  We continue that practice doing partner writing, helping my daughter compose stories on the computer or iPad we take turns typing as she dictates and then we edit and she looks for errors, capitalizations, punctuation, rereads parts I point out to see if it makes sense etc.  She also does copy work of poems and verses on her waldorf-y watercolor paintings. 
Narration of stories we've read often happens naturally as the kids will set out in an elaborate make believe playtime together reinacting a story, plot, characters, historical events/ time periods and it's self initiated, I just stay out of the way.  They have reinacted the Vikings, pilgrims from the mayflower, Jamestown and Squanto, they've been pioneer children and cowboys, they've been boxcar children as well as the Children of The New Forest, they've been on Captain Ahabs ship looking for Moby Dick, they've been Fern and Avery from Charlottes Web, and so much more.  These special play times where their learning comes to life and their friendship and roles as playmates continues to blossom wouldn't happen if we were on a rigid schedule and I was stressed about getting everything done on certain days or at certain times. I consider their play to be very important work too.  I love incorporating songs into our day about what we're doing or going to do or making up a song to remember something or just something silly to help a child transition, singing your day is a great thing gleaned from Waldorf and I think part of why Classical Conversations is fun for us because the memory work for Foundations is all put into little songs and I let my kids make up their own actions.  Singing our day helps everyone in our home from mommy to my third grader, kindergartener to 24 Month old. I'm not a great singer but my kids don't seem to mind!  Singing about what is going to happen next is such a nice way to get the kids to transition without having to repeat myself and feel frustrated that their ignoring or dawdling. I like to joke in my songs to my daughter to get her attention like "it's math time it's math time it's time to do some math it's math time it's math time or else you'll take a nap!" Since we typically transition into math once my toddler is napping and we can focus uninterrupted. 

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