Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Current Events Scrapbook

The very best kind of homeschool day is one where I have dinner in the crockpot before we even begin! Today it's Crockpot Brown Sugar Cola Glazed Ham. We got a huge ham from the food pantry and I have had a lone can of RC Cola in the fridge since December, so this is perfect!

Yesterday we had a long and very intense discussion around the Article of the Day. One child chose the front page article (which was massive and took up the entire A section) of Sunday's Southern Illinoisan and the other child chose the editorial, which was related to the exposé.

People Still Live Here

One year after HUD took possession of the Alexander County Housing Authority, people still live with the roaches, rats, mold, and despair

This was such an important article (and the conversation, including busting the myth "what I don't understand is, why don't they just get a job" and explaining what your financial picture is like when you work 40 hrs a week at minimum wage) that I wished we could save it. And I felt the same way when we went to see the Holocaust survivor Marion Blumenthal Lazan and there was an article about her in the paper... and when we went to the local Women's March and there was an article about that in the paper... and finally I realized that a logical extension from AOTD is a Current Events Scrapbook.

Not everything we read will be worthy of keeping for posterity, but I sure wish I had kept some of the political cartoons from the presidential election!

So it's time to look through my stash of remaining MLBs for the year and bring out one of the extras for this purpose. I happen to think spiral bound MLBs would be better for this -- they lay flat when they open so they're easiser to paste things into -- and I think the ideal color is Red. Red is Art for us, and a scrapbook is a visual medium. Red is also a cousin to the Orange we use for History/Geography. I always get my MLBs from Pamela at Meadowsweet Naturals.

So today we will add Sunday's article from the Southern to inaugurate our new project. I see this as part of creating a portfolio for the school year, and I think it will be a great momento to look back on. Long term projects like this, or our daily gratitude journals, are worth so much as they slowly build, and gradually come to reflect the cumulative experience of our learning together in a shared time and space.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Percent Poetry

We had so much fun with the lesson Percent Poetry - 100% Me!.

I'm grateful that one of my students was willing to publish his work in the blog. Here it is:

    I'm 15% caring,
    5% happy,
    3% angry,
    20% friendly,
    1.1% attention,
    9.9% annoyed,
    5% fast,
    16.9% cat,
    10% fair,
    14.1% gamer.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Planning for Business Math and Geometric Drawing

Well, we have had a busy week!

I've been working hard on my planning for the two Math MLBs we are doing right now (one child Business Math and one child Geometric Drawing). You can find all of my notes on the website. I used to compile all of my notes and then create big PDF files and post them only at the very end of the block, but it's way too easy (being a single mom of four, from almost-2 to almost-15) to fall behind. I've found the best approach is to simply create web pages for each main lesson at the start of the block, which I then constantly update as I'm planning, teaching, or reflecting.

We just came back from a free event at the library:

    Art Workshops Inspired by Black History Month
    Sundays in February, 1:30-3:00 pm

    Join us each Sunday in February for a FREE art workshop for all ages and all skill levels.

    February 26 - Basket Weaving with the Mays Family
    Supplies provided for the first 45 participants. See the African tradition of basket weaving and weave your very own basket.

This was fun and our entire homeschool co-op went, plus one of my weekend Art/Handwork students! Today we also read They All Saw a Cat, made art inspired by the book (one child painted a cat from the point of view of a wolf, one child used oil pastels to draw a cat from the point of view of a bunny, and one child collaged a cat from the point of view of a fish), played outside, had snack, made handmade paper (we started soaking the pulp yesterday), did puppetry (my well-loved Hansel and Gretel marionettes), and knitted.

Yesterday in Art/Handwork, we read Leave Me Alone!, chose a yarn color (cherry) and wound it and began a knitted chicken, stopped and sanded our homemade needles a little bit more, had snack, wet felted an egg and put it in a (real) found bird's nest to be a Nature table decoration, chose our cookie cutters and our colors and prepared our pulp for papermaking, made apple flowers (with caramel dip, apple slices, and grapes), and played outside.

Our family went yesterday evening to the "Hate Has No Home Here" Dialogue Dinner at the Muslim Center and it was absolutely packed. I mean, packed. The entire time we were there they were bringing in more tables and chairs. We ate on chairs in the hallway. It was so great to see the whole community turn out to show so much support for the Muslim Center!

So our homeschool week looked something like this:

I also created a flyer for the Aesop's Fables & Puppetry Spring Break Camp which I'll be teaching next month, and began to promote that. Whew!

This post contains affiliate links to the materials I actually use for homeschooling. I hope you find them helpful. Thank you for your support!

Friday, February 24, 2017

While studying sports related words with a client , the word < court > came up. 
I asked myself, " What is that < u > doing?" It does not seem to have a phonological role. 
Upon looking to etymology I found my answer. The word < cortus> moved from Latin and through French. The French added an ou digraph. Although the pronunciation is different from what < ou> represents in other words, it is still a grapheme in the word. The < r > changes the pronunciation. 
Looking at the meaning of court became interesting! It origionally was used to refer to the enclosed gardens people came together in to discuss issues of the day. The people who gathered there were ' cohorts'. The word 'court' was also used to refer to the King's residence. People who came to court wanted to woo the king to do something in their favor. It is the same reason we go to court today, only we want to woo the judge in our favor. 
Today ' court ' is also used to refer to a place where some sports are played. I realized these courts could be inside or outside. They are all enclosed spaces where people come together to play a game. The difference between a court and a field is that a court has a floor or foundation of some type. 
All of this came to light just because I wondered where that < u> came from.

In SWI class for the past two weeks we have been investigating words that we use to praise. Awesome, perfect, nice, super.... and the list goes on. What we found is that over time we have moved away from understanding the denotative meanings and early connotative meanings of many of these words. I think we all agreed that we would never call anyone's work "nice" any longer. 

 The denotative meaning of nice: " foolish, stupid, senseless" also " weak, poor, needy, simple, stupid, silly, foolish" . From Latin 'nescius' " ignorant, unaware, literally, not knowing".

The connotative meanings developed sense the twelfth century. From " timid, fussy, fastidious" and on to " dainty and delicate". Further traveling to " precise, careful, agreeable, delightful"  to it's present day use, " kind, thoughtful ". 

Is it really a complement to say someone or their work is, " nice? " It certainly has not been for most of the work's history. It seems to me that it is a word we use when we want to semi-compliment someone who is agreeable and average. Someone who never, " rocks the boat," or discusses controversial topics. As someone who speaks out about the truth about language, explaining how phonics fails children who do not memorize words easily. I definitely would not fit the adjective, " nice". In fact I cannot imagine living a life spent turning my gaze the other direction when I see lies being told and children being harmed. In the 1800s is was a common occurrence to hear the phrase, " in polite company." This meant your expected cohorts would all be well to do and obey the rules of "polite" conversation. No calling out the elephant in the room at these gatherings unless you wanted to be shunned by the only community that it was "appropriate" to socialize among. The more I think about this word and how it was used, the more I realize it was used as a tool of society to keep women in their place. Thank goodness we have moved on from a time where women " knew their place ". I think we also need to move on to much more complimentary forms of praise that are authentic and genuine. 

The results of our investigations ( denotative meanings indicated): 

 terr + i + fic---->  <terrific>   " causing terror or fear " 

wonder + ful ---> < wonderful > " marvellous thing, miracle, object of astonishment " 

per + fect --> < perfect > " to do completely"  

awe + some --> awesome  " inspiring awe"

< great > " big, tell big, stout, massive" 

fantas + ic --->  < fantastic >   " existing only in imagination "

fab + ule + ous -->   < fabulous >   " mythical, legendary " ( fable ) 

< super > ---> " first rate, excellent " 

 < spectacular > This word is analyzable but cannot be put into a word sum. ( at least not by me at this point)   " a sight, show that is amazing to see"

magn + i + fic + ant --> < magnificant > " great, elevated, noble, distinguished "

There are more! I hope you readers are inspired to continue this investigation. We certainly had a great time investigating these words. We plan to start using them when they actually apply! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

MLB Pages - Man and Animal I & II

This is going to be a large post because I'm including both of the main lesson books Leah created for Man and Animal. Please note that she did them in sixth grade and so the amount and quality of writing is more than what you would expect from a fourth grader. I hope they are helpful, regardless.

We used the fabulous, fantastic, and free East African Teachers Training Manual 6: Human and Animal Studies.

I really like the diagram on page 29 of the "Threefold Human Being." I used this to help me choose which animals we'd study for each of the two blocks.

    "Thus we may see, as illustrated in the diagram, that just as a baby is born head first and slowly develops the trunk and limbs, so in the evolution of creation the ‘head’ creatures in the sea came first, then the ‘trunk’ creatures like the fishes, insects and reptiles and finally the ‘limb’ animals in the mammals. The different creatures are specifically linked to the form of the human being.

    On the opposite side of the diagram we may see a different division of the animal kingdom whereby the creatures are linked to the human being through the functions of the three areas of the body."

So in our first block, we did three groups of animals (head, trunk, limbs), and in our second block we did three different groups of animals (nerve/sense, rhythmic/breathing/blood - carnivores, metabolic - ungulates).

To give the briefest possible explanation of the anthroposophical view, the human being is the animals put together and so the animals are the human being taken apart. This view is what separates the Waldorf "Man and Animal" block from the traditional teaching of Zoology in the public school.

Here are the pages for Leah's main lesson book. I've tried to include notes as to the source of the story or illustration where I can. Click on any picture to enlarge it and scroll through the photos with ease.

her idea:  to draw one man and one animal for Man and Animal I
and two men and two animals for Man and Animal II

Man and Animal I was our fourth block of the year

self-portrait as a celestial being inspired by this picture

my version (watercolor pencil)

from my very first Waldorf chalkboard drawing

12 Phyla:  Porifera, Echinoderm, Cnidaria, Platyhelminth, Annelid, Mollusk, Arthropod, Fish, Amphibian, Reptile, Bird, Mammal

jellyfish poem which we found online

life cycle of the jellyfish

pull down to reveal...

beautiful jellyfish artwork which we made with a guest art teacher

too-wet paintings of a snail and an octopus

the snail was inspired by this one and the octopus came from instructions in the Dick Bruin and Attie Lichthart painting book

I love how she incorporated the octopus and snail into her title

page of soil with earthworm facts in the tunnels (her idea)

page inspired by this chalkboard drawing

"Fishes" poem for two voices from Georgia Heard's Creatures of Earth, Sea, and Sky

creating a fish by drawing the watery environment around it, inspired by this illustration from Live Ed!

"It Starts with a T and Lives in a Shell"
page about turtles and tortoises

wet on dry watercolor painting inspired by this one by Rick Tan

again, I love her fabulous titles and borders - so creative!

on to mammals... painting a seal by painting the watery environment around it, inspired by this one

"32 Things My Hands Do"

metaphors and similes which have to do with animals
this idea is from Roy Wilkinson's The Human Being and the Animal World and it's a good one for ending this block

Man and Animal II was our ninth block of the year

kicking off the block by participating in the annual Great Background Bird Count, done all around the world every February

"Sparrow" poem by Kaye Starbird, from Eric Carle's Animals Animals

map of all the bird feeders in our yard

"The Eagle" poem with young bald eagle talon illustration traced from the Eagle page in Maryjo Koch's Bird Egg Feather Nest

chapter 5 from Kovacs' The Human Being and the Animal World:
The Harvest Mouse
and then the poem "The Harvest" by Alice C. Henderson

for many of the remaining animals we used chapters from Thornton Burgess's EXCELLENT Burgess Animal Book for Children, copyright 1920

my edition is leather bound with the original pictures but apparently the modern edition only contains the stories - well worth getting however

chapter XXXII Buster Bear

chapter XXVII Reddy Fox

chapter XXVIII Old Man Coyote

"An Almost Dictionary Definition of Lions" - I love her titles!
chapter 13 from Kovacs and we must have watched a nature documentary for this as well but I have no idea which one

here we switched to Horns and Antlers by the inimitable Wilfrid S. Bronson

chapter 1 has a fantastic explanation of the stomachs

Ruminants AKA Cloven-Hoofed Cud Chewers

describing the step-by-step path through the four stomachs

horns vs antlers

then we returned to Thornton Burgess

XXXV Lightfoot the White-Tailed Deer

chapter XXXVI Flathorns the Moose

a moose submerged happily in watery vegetation

every leaf with a moose fact on it

have I mentioned how creative and adorable she is?
I LOVED her work for these blocks!

I hope this has been fun and inspirational!

My other blog posts from teaching Man and Animal:

This post contains affiliate links to the materials I actually use for homeschooling. I hope you find them helpful. Thank you for your support!