Archive | August, 2011

Shaherazade Interactive and Week 1 & 2 Nitty Gritty

31 Aug

The school year is in full swing.  I’m not going to have a lot of time to blog, but when I do, I’m going to try to use this as an accountability tool.  So here goes…

We started last week.  I was satisfied with the actual amount of work we got done though not with our adherence to the schedule.  This was due in part to needing to go on Monday afternoon to buy some of the materials we should have already had.  As a result of The Headmaster having to work very late several nights, we ended up staying up late, which I was trying to curtail after a long summer of late nights.

Tuesday we had our first co-op.  Last year, we only did History and Science and one mom would teach/host per meeting.  This year, we are still meeting every other week, but we’re dividing the day up into 5 classes, with each mom being in charge of a subject.  We’re doing History, Science, English, French and Art.  It seemed to go really well, and I was most impressed that we actually stuck to the schedule we had planned.  I was amazed at how much learning we got in in the same amount of time we used to meet for last year.

We’re beginning this year with a review of last year.  I’m focusing on the Acts of the Apostles, but we’re also getting a headstart on Arabian Nights, since we’ll be covering the Islamic Empire in a few weeks.  While I’m trying to make sure we study music that correlates to the time period (Byzantine Empire through Renaissance) as much as possible, one of my favorite pieces of classical music is the symphony Shaherazade.  Yesterday I found the most amazing tool to go along with our reading of Arabian Nights.  It’s called Shaherazade Interactive and it tells the story of how Shaherazade saved her own life through storytelling, even as it introduces kids to the symphony, showing them how different instruments are the voices of the different characters and how the music gets sweeter or more dramatic to reflect the action in the story.  It has games that have kids sequence a part of the symphony and match of parts of an instrument, as well as more information on storytelling, the Persian miniature art form, the geography of Persia, and more.  On top of that, IT’S GORGEOUS!!!  They also have a create-your-own-opera of Hansel and Gretel and another one about Brahms.

This Week’s Nitty Gritty

Sacred Studies–Selected passages from Acts.  Last week we covered Paul’s conversion.  This week, we’ve done Ananaias and Sapphira (always a good one) and Peter’s imprisonment.  We’re also working on Acts 2:38 as a memory verse, as well as the Apostles’ Creed, complete with hand movements.  It’s amazing: those hand movements even helped me.

Math–We haven’t got our math program yet, so I’m doing it old school style by making up worksheets for Mustard Seed to practice her facts from last year and begin work on double digit addition.  I’m not sure if I’m teaching it the way Math-U-See does, but she seems to be getting it pretty easily.  I also introduced her to simple carrying, but I’m keeping this as “bonus” material until we’ve had a little more practice with the simpler stuff.

LiteratureArabian Nights

SpellingSpelling Power.  I’m working on using their system, rather than just flying through word lists.  This involves entering each word into a dictionary, doing a 10-step kinesthetic/visualizing/writing worksheet and making sentences with the words.  So far, there seems to be an improvement.

Vocabulary–We are making sure to hit the vocab words listed in Tapestry of Grace (most of which is geography-related this week), and we are keeping some old business cards nearby and jotting down unknown words we come across in Arabian Nights, the Bible, or our science reading.

Grammar–Building Christian English from Rod and Staff, Unit 1.  So far the going is slow, not because it’s difficult to understand but because we haven’t gotten to it.  We’ve done the first 2 lessons.

Penmanship–We haven’t gotten to this yet, but she has had plenty of practice writing for other subjects.  I can tell that we need to work on this though because I still see letter reversals, letters made with the wrong order of strokes and a general disregard for proportion and caps/non-caps.  On the plus side, she loves writing letters and lists, so we should be able to get plenty of practice in.

Latin–Let’s not talk about Latin, okay?

History–So far we have worked on geographical terms.  We’ve practiced finding things on the globe and found peninsulas, isthmuses, mountain ranges, and archipelagos.  We talked about the parts of a river and Isabella made her own labeled drawing of one.  Now she is eager to make her own world with all these landforms.  I taught her about latitude and longitude and then we used that knowledge to map out the daily progress of Hurricane Katrina on a hurricane tracking map.

Science–We’re working on Chapter 1 in Apologia Astronomy and doing the notebook that goes along with it.  We’ve made part of Stonehenge and discussed its significance.  At co-op she made a model of the solar system using paper clips and marshmallows to demonstrate the relative distances.  She came up with her own mnemonic for the planets.  We are also reading Along Came Galileo.

Art–She made beetle scarabs at coop and learned about the different kinds of lines one can use to draw things.  Now that we have Sister Wendy’s Book of Art, we will be able to look at some of the ancient art and move ahead to some Byzantine stuff.

Music–Shaherazade Interactive and listening to ShaherazadeHansel and Gretel create-your-own opera

French–I taught the kids several commands at coop: sautez, marchez, nagez, volez, as well as “Je m’appelle…” and “Je suis un garçon/une fille.”  We also chanted the verb to be.  At home, we need to review these, as well as the vocabulary already learned from Le Français Facile.