For my stitchy friends: Don't despair! I have some new projects to show you tomorrow! If homeschooling posts cause your eyes to glaze over, check out my finishes on the previous post, or scroll down and read about Buttercup's library tantrum. ;)
"If Music be the Food of Love..." ~William Shakespeare
Monday we started with violin. We have a new violin teacher this year; beginning next week she will be teaching 10 minutes from our house. This summer we have been driving an hour. She has a completely different approach than Nutmeg's former teacher - this one is all about technique. This has been a bit stressful for the entire family. Instead of listening to pleasant tunes, we hear odd, scuffly noises as Nutmeg tries to come to grips with a new bow hold, new bowings, and some other new things I forget. It's different...but Nutmeg is being a trooper about it. Thursday Nutmeg met her new piano teacher. I think they are going to be a great team! Buttercup starts her piano program next week; she cannot wait to get back to her class!
"The past is never dead. It's not even past." ~William Faulkner
We are valiantly trying to finish Story of the World volume 2. I added so much in to our syllabus last year, that I knew we would never finish on time. When I start to worry, I try and appreciate that I have chosen to teach history in 3 cycles of 4 years each. No lasting damage will occur if we study Mary Queen of Scots at the beginning of Year 3 or the end of Year 2. Indeed, it looks as though she will be our bridge between the two years.
This week we briefly covered Luther and the Tudors. I chose not to use the Story of the World chapters for these topics. I used All Ye Lands for Luther, and The History of England for Catholic Children from 1850 for the Tudors. I also was able to just talk to my children because this is an area I have read quite a bit about. Nutmeg is reading St. Thomas More of London. I think this book will pull the various ideas and personalities of this time together and anchor them in her mind. Nutmeg also wrestled with creating a Tudor/Stuart family tree. And yes, we could not resist the grisly "divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived," chant. **shudder** For me, those women come alive in the pages of Alison Weir's The Six Wives of Henry VIII. God have mercy on their souls!
I really wish there was some sort of Shakespeare Club around here. Let me clarify that: some sort of Shakespeare Club that someone else planned and executed - My plate is full! Shakespeare is covered in SOTW vol 2, but as an English Major, I believe he is always relevant! I think Year 3 (1600-1850) is an even better time to concentrate on the Bard and those who performed his plays. I have three Folger Library books Shakespeare Set Free, but I have yet to figure out how to make them work for my girls. They are definitely designed for a group setting. I would love to think I have the extra time and organizational skills to put together some awesome Shakespeare curriculum that could be used by large or small families throughout one year. Do all homeschooling mothers fantasize about putting together and selling life-changing curricula?
Many times my teaching becomes paralyzed as I wait to discover or create, and then implement the perfect lesson plan. "The perfect is the enemy of the good" is not my favorite sentiment, but it is often true in homeschool. So while I dream of writing a fabulous Shakespeare curriculum, I have a basic, simple, and tentative plan: We will listen to one retelling by Mary and Charles Lamb while we drive to piano on Thursdays. On Fridays, we will look through a book about Shakespeare's life, and attempt one or two of the 21 activities from Shakespeare for Kids
This is not an exciting plan.
Until an exciting plan presents itself (or until I stop sleeping and create the perfect Shakespeare curriculum), this will ensure my children have some acquaintance with the Bard.
Yesterday we read a beautifully illustrated retelling of The Tempest by Bruce Coville. In the car, we listened to the same story retold by the Lambs. After that we listened to Airs and Dances of Shakespeare's Time. This album is one of my favorites, and the girls recognized it immediately. Now, they can add and connect Shakespeare's name and immortal words to the music already in their mental files. Today we are making a pomander from Shakespeare for Kids.
"English: A language that lurks in dark alleys, beats up other languages and rifles through their pockets for spare vocabulary."
With a couple of exceptions, Language Arts continued much as it always does around here. Buttercup received her first Rod & Staff spelling book this week, and is very excited. She seems to want to work straight through like she does with her Explode the Code workbooks! She must listen during school: Yesterday, while I was on the treadmill, I saw her sitting at my place at the school table drilling her "class" (very likely Jar-Jar Binks, Heidi, Hyacinth Bucket, and Harry Potter) on pronouns!
Buttercup had a dramatic turning point a month or so ago. My mother signed Buttercup up for the summer reading program at the library. Buttercup accrued many hours listening to books on tape and to her family reading to her. One day at the library, I told her she would be checking out three library books to read. She proceeded to throw a whopper of a tantrum! "I hate books!" "I hate reading!" Book-laden Nutmeg fled to the other end of the library. My knees began knocking, and my book-filled life flashed before my eyes. Librarians looked at us over the rims of their glasses. It was mortifying.
Suddenly Buttercup stopped. "May I have your card and go to the check-out desk by myself?" "Uh, um, OK, sure." She grabbed some books from the shelf and marched herself proudly up the front desk. For the rest of the day, she would say, "Don't interrupt me - don't you see I have my nose in a book?" I don't know quite how it happened, but Buttercup has become a Reader!
Next week I hope to write more about our science, art, and handcraft studies.