Friday, February 27, 2009

Colloquium Book Lists

At our colloquium this week, we had a great time talking about "The Age of Innocence" and planning for the rest of the year. We still had enough books we're dying to read that didn't fit in our year's schedule. *Smile* We thought about having an online discussion forum to talk about the book with those who can't make it for whatever reason, but read the book.

We decided to go ahead and start a second Colloquium meeting, this one for Statesman. We plan to read things like the Federalist papers, etc.

For March we are reading "Follow the River" by James Alexander Thom

Book Summary:

"Mary Ingles was twenty-three, married, and pregnant, when Shawnee Indians invaded her peaceful Virginia settlement, killed the men and women, then took her captive. For months, she lived with them, unbroken, until she escaped, and followed a thousand mile trail to freedom--an extraordinary story of a pioneer woman who risked her life to return to her people."

The book reading list is now as follows:

March: Follow the River by James Alexander Thom
April: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas (The first half of the book)
May: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas (The second half of the book)
June: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
July: Comedy of Errors by Shakespeare
August: The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
September: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
October: The Short Stories of Edgar Allen Poe
November: Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
December: The Other Wiseman (Suggested by Linda)

As far as the Statesman Colloquia we will meet the second Wednesday at the same time. I will send more information for that.

For March we'll be reading: 1776 by McCullough

At the next meeting we'll decide which to read next but our suggested book list is:

1) Future Shock by Toffler
2) The Roots of American Order
3) The Federalist Papers by Russell Kirk
4) Democracy in America by Tocqueville
5) The Constitution of the United States of America
6) The Declaration of Independence
7) Common Sense by Thomas Paine
8) John Adams Biography
9) The True End of Civil Government by John Locke
10) The Social Contract by Rousseau
11) The History of England by David Hume

I Went Used Book Store Shopping and...

these are the books I got today super duper CHEAP! I'm so excited and so are the kids. My Chrisy was intrigued by the book Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr and she read the entire book while we traveled from store to store.

Kid's List:

Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates by Mary Maples Dodge
A Little Princess by Francis Hodges Burnett
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
The World of Christopher Robin by A.A. Milne
The Handy Biology Answer Book by Naomi Balaban
Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
Parakeet Handbook, The (Barron's Pet Handbooks)by Annette Wolter
Hello Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne
I, Columbus: My Journal, 1492-1493 by Peter Roop
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr

For Me:

1776 by David McCollough
Sonnets from the Portuguese And Other Poems by Edwin A. Abbott, Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Selected Poems of William Wordsworth edited by George W Meyer
Teaching Your Children Values by Linda Eyre, Richard Eyre
The First American Cookbook: A Facsimile of "American Cookery," 1796 by Amelia Simmons
Speaking of Women's Health: The Book
Lost City of the Incas by Hiram Bingham (1948)
America's Garden Book by Louise And James Bush-Brown (1958)
The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
The Canterbury Tales by Geoffery Chaucer
The New York Times Garden Book by Joan Lee Faust (1962)
Herbal Medicine by Dian Dincin Buchman
Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette by Nesta Helen Webster

Monday, February 16, 2009

Our Family's reads

Atlas Shrugged (for March and April Women's Colloquium)
The Secret Life of Bees

A- (Core/LoL)
The 39 Clues Book 1
Various Books on Titanic
Boy's Life Magazine

Not reading much right now.

Anything mommy will read him

S-Thomas the Tank, Bob the Builder books

Inspire, Not Require

I will have to admit, that this is by far the hardest of the TJed Philosophies for me to implement. It isn't entirely that I don't subscribe to it, because I do, but it requires imagination and in my personal belief, Devine inspiration. While I consider myself, creative, it is only because I am great at copying and perhaps tweaking things to suit my own needs. I am just not entirely an original gal. Which makes this concept hard. What works for one family may not (and the chances can be good) that it won't work for another and yet what we do within our own families may inspire another family to take it, tweak it and make it their own.

So this last week, my inspirations were:

Candy Math- (Doing addition and subtraction with the older two kids with Math Wrap Ups and using Hershey Kisses if they needed a help of a manipulative and promising them 10 each seemed to work. They loved playing with the entire bag of Hershey Kisses, lining them up, creatively coming up to see how many were in the bag, adding and subtracting, making lines and shapes with candy. Too bad I can't get them to do that with carrots. Anyhow... Math inspired and accomplished. Candy Math is a hit. Will their teeth suffer though?

Muffin Tin Monday-"Muffin tin what?", you say. That's right. Muffin Tin Monday. Check it out here. Not only has Muffin Tin Monday been a source of inspiration/bribery to get their chores done so we could have our special lunch but took off into homeschool bliss. Muffin Tin Monday went to Thailand. I made Pad Thai and Turkey with Thai Peanut Sauce and served it in a muffin tin. I told them it was food from Thailand. All I got was "Where's Thailand? What do they look like?" And there you have it. A search in the atlas and an adventure online and now... my kids are out in the back yard doing Thai Folk Dancing.

Now I definately need to work on some Divine Inspiration as to what my family needs but we are having a great time around here.

So there you have it. I took an idea from somewhere else, tweaked and made it my own. Perhaps next week we will go somewhere else for Muffin Tin Monday. But this Mamma's inspired. So take a chance. Serve your lunch in a muffin tin and find some inspiration where you least expect it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Anyone Studying Nazi Germany?

Shiloah, I apologize. I don't know how this ties in with the theme of the week - but it's what's on my mind.

It's funny how sometimes our studies take a turn on their own. I accepted the book Defying Hitler from Tracy two months back. Then I lost The Time Machine that I had planned on giving to my oldest daughter to read while my core kids learned how to tell time. I kept going right where I had placed it, and it just wasn't there - but The Great Escape was. This isn't including the other book that stared me in the face, begging me to pick it up - Three Against Hitler.

Have you ever glanced at a bookshelf and no matter how many times you glanced at it, the same book always ended up in your line of vision? Or perhaps the title screamed for you to pick it up? Once opened, you found yourself memorized by the contents, wondering why in the world you took so long to open it?

Thus has been my experience the past week. I'm not sure WHO needed to learn about Nazi Germany. I put it that way because it's not the war itself we have been learning about. Defying Hitler is about the events leading up to the war. The Great Escape is (ya'll probably know this) about the POWs who escaped the prison camp by digging a tunnel under the Nazis. Three Against Hitler is the story of three young people (15, 16 & 17) who sought truth and through their actions ended up in front of the Blood Tribunal. One was executed while the other two were imprisoned during the war. All three stories are about resisting propaganda and surviving with convictions intact. Well, there's more than that, but that seems to be the reoccurring theme. All three are true stories, written by those who experienced it first hand.

My husband, myself, and my scholar are studying these things together. We've been trading books back and forth and discussing as we go. It's been an enriching experience - fascinating. And it wasn't even on my list for the year! Here's what we're reading this week:

My husband - Defying Hitler. He has already read Three Against Hitler and The Great Escape. I don't know which core book he's in.

Me - I finished Three Against Hitler Sunday. I've just started Defying Hitler. BOM scripture study.

Scholar - She just finished The Great Escape. She's in the middle of The Phantom Toll Booth - when she's done with that she's going to read the one I just finished. She's reading The New Testament for seminary.

Practice Scholar - The Freedom Factor. She's reading the BOM.

Love of Learner - Any and all phonics books she can get a hold of that she practice reading on her own.

Core - Stellaluna

Family scripture/core study - Doctrine and Covenants

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Baker Reads

I have been busy, but I hopefully my life will slow down a little bit near the end of the month. Hasn't it just begun? Reading will still happen, though. I'm excited to share the fruits of our new system. It is really working and I'm excited to see the flurry of reading activity in the home. I'm even more thrilled at the children's excitement over reading.

Shiloah (Me)

Finished last week and this week:

The Chosen by Chaim Potok

Working on this week:

The Age of Innocence by Edith Warton
Trying to finish Doctrine and Covenants

Cailynn (Practice Scholar)

Finished last week and this week:

A Mid Summer's Night Dream by Shakespeare
Time Machine (Abridge version)

Currently Reading:

Antony and Cleopatra by Shakespeare
In Loving Hands by Kris MacKay

Charisa (LOL)

Finished Last week:

All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor

Working on This Week:

How To Be A Lady: Useful Hints on the Formation of Womanly Character (Paperback)
by Harvey Newcomb

Benjamin Franklin: Young Printer (Childhood of Famous Americans) by: August Stevenson

The Mystery of the Queen's Jewels (Boxcar Children Special) by Gertrude Chandler Warner

Benjamin (Core/LOL)

Finished this week:

Viking Ships at Sunrise (Magic Tree House #15) by Mary Pope Osborne

Working on:

Castles and Forts (Usborne)
Horrible Harry Goes to the Moon


Finished this Week:

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

Working On:

Plum Fairy

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Quality, Not Conformity

I may be off base on a few of these thoughts, so bear with me. I have chosen to start using a unit study based curriculum this year (which I'm so loving and is working for everyone), but there are days that I'm overridden with guilt when life has happened and school hasn't. I picked up some workbooks at Sam's Club this past week. They are grade level, whole curriculum based workbooks, but it doesn't look they have too much of one thing in them, or that it's something that will take the entire 9 months of school to complete. They will be nice to fill in on days when the kids don't get our lessons plans done, but it eases some of my guilt that at least they got some kind of academic work in. If I let myself think too much about this, my guilt swings to the other side of the pendelum that I have conformed to workbooks, also known as busy work.

So, these thoughts bring me to this point. Quality vs. Conformity. We've talked about conveyor belt education, that being the normal laborious work usually pushed at the kids in public schooling. Homeschoolers can be guilty of the same thing, especially when we buy into the workbook type curriculums. I think they have their place (good for carschooling, rainy days, filling in), but I'm also very loyal to WHY I chose to homeschool my children: the public school system wasn't working for them. When I wasn't enjoying myself and kids were not enjoying themselves, we needed to change something. I have had to learn the very hard lesson of retraining myself to not push busywork and actually get creative and get down and dirty with the kids to teach them in unconventional ways.

Quality work is a chore for us too. I don't want to make the kids cry and end up hating writing, spelling, math or reading, but I do make them go back and correct their mistakes neatly. We had a motto to follow in the military: do it right, and do it right the first time. While I can't insist on that with the kids yet on a lot of things (they just aren't old enough yet for most things to have that motto down), it's still something we are teaching them. Handwriting and math are two subjects we try very much to ensure are correct, readable and neat.

All this being said, there is a comfort in conformity. The conveyor belt was probably how most of us led through our school years. I personally LOVE to do workbook pages, but my kids don't, and what fun is school if you are being forced to do stuff on a constant basis you just don't like to do? There is comfort in the regiment and schedule, the predictability of your schedule of daily life. What will your kids remember? Will they remember the pulling of hen's teeth to get them to do 1 page each of language arts, reading, math, spelling, writing, and grammer, or will they remember their excitment that they get to study something of their choice, or build a diarama of the most historical battle of our country, or any of these things that you have allowed them to passionate about, or run with their imagination?

Salisbury Reading
Family: Johnny Tremain
Can't you make them behave, King George
Sam Adams

Jesse: Nathanael Greene

Isaa: Paul Revere

Really quick I wanted to do a run down of some of the projects we've completed over the last few weeks.

They made a lap book out to look like a tea bag when we covered the Boston Tea Party.
I bought them 75 army men and they used shoe boxes and blankets to set up a replica of the Battle of Bunker (Breed's) Hill.
They have been reading all these books so they could test on them for Thanks to who suggested that!! It's been so motivational for them.
We studied codes and how the "Mechanics" were spies (but not very good ones to a degree) and how they helped us win the Revolutionary war.
We learned a lot about the Sons of Liberty and what it means to be a patriot.
We went out and surveyed some land beside the lake. I learned a bunch of stuff. I hope the kids enjoyed it as much as I did.
We are working on quilts and the boys are helping to pick out material and learn about the efforts that go into making quilts.

Goals for this week are to learn about laterns and make some (tin cans), Declaration of rights, make a bridge out of popscicle sticks, and make a "how to" book of either how a cannon works or how to make a silver utensil, and have a fire drill. I don't have anything planned this week, so we should be able to give good attention to our projects.