Thursday, July 9, 2015

2015-16: 7th Grade Plans

Whoa, seventh grade already? It seems like I was making the leap into homeschooling not that long ago. I would say that I'm feeling completely prepared and calm to start our fifth year, but why lie?


Art of Problem Solving: Introduction to Algebra. While I felt she was ready for the subject last year, I knew that the way the material is presented would take a while to adjust to. She's great at math, quick to learn the concepts, but she'll still protest that she's bad at it. I was glad that I got talked into using Pre-Algebra; as predicted the format had a sharp learning curve. We developed a love-hate relationship with it, I may have even used Rusczyk's name as a swear once or twice. Overall though, it was love. The challenge problems delivered a mind stretch while still being fun.


Following the Well-Trained Mind schedule, we should be doing chemistry, but we did it last year, so this year we will be doing Earth Science &Astronomy. I can't rave enough about the way Elemental Science Classical Series books are laid out. The experiments are usually simple yet illustrative of the concept and use materials that are easy to find and likely to be found at home already. The use of an encyclopedia spine with discussion is well suited for the classical education model.


My favorite free resource, Classical House of Learning, unfortunately doesn't have a guide for Early Modern for the Logic Stage. I'm not entirely happy with History Odyssey, so I've hodge-podged together their Level Two Early Modern, recommendations from the WTM schedule, and my own requirements. You can find our combined history and literature list on Goodreads. Yes, yes I am justifying Raising Steam as discussion fodder for industrial revolution. Did you think I homeschooled without inflicting my literary preferences on my child? HA!



Vocabulary from Classical Roots. We use this differently than intended, going through a book a semester. D will be in the Autumn and E in the spring.

Poetry and Memorization

Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. We read it last year but didn't memorize.
Modern Elfland by G.K. Chesterton
The Goblin Market by Christina Rosetti
The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe
Invictus by William Ernest Henley
and one of her own choosing.

To be read and not recited:
For Which it Stands by Gregory Pardlo
I Grant You Ample Leave by George Eliot
Humanity I Love You by e.e. cummings

Grammar and Writing

Shrunk & White's Elements of Style
Phunny Stuph 
She'll also be taking a unique writing course that covers many writing formats as well as utilizing technology for enhancement and presentations. I love that we have the opportunity for these quality enrichment classes.


Combined with History; reading list. Socratic discussions, plot structure diagrams, and Goodreads reviews.


Critical Thinking Book 1


Our library partnered with Rosetta Stone to allow patrons to access the first level of their language program. We'll be utilizing that as well as Duolingo. We're hoping she can also practice by emailing a family member that knows the language.

A couple other fun sites:
Slow German podcasts
Television shows
German WotD 


Here is the first week to give you an idea of how we do this.  It's atypical in that grammar is only listed once. Also not seen are the plethora of activities that start in week 2.

I feel fortunate to be able to continue on this adventure and downright gleeful that she continues to choose homeschooling. The only thing I love more than a new school year is the accompanying justification for hitting up the school supply sales.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

R+J = Love. Not!

   Special blog post from The Kid sharing her thoughts on Romeo and Juliet.
If I were Juliet, this play would’ve been a lot shorter. Juliet was unimpressed with Romeo's antics, the end.
             There are several things wrong with this story, here are three of them: they got married within less than 24 hours of knowing each other, they were too young, and they were the royalty of overreaction.
              My first complaint is they got married within 24 hours of meeting. Then, to make matters worse, they got married in secret because their families, Juliet belonging to the Capulet house and Romeo to Montague, were mortal enemies. In modern times, we would just call that a bad weekend in Vegas. But alas, their stupidity doesn’t end there.
              Juliet was 13. I’m 12 and I don’t even like the same book I liked last week let alone be capable of forming a lasting familial bond with another human. Teenagers are fickle creatures. Their brains are not ready for that kind of decision-making. We go to our other interesting character, Romeo, who was ready to kill himself over Rosalind. Romeo, Romeo, why art thou so emo? He was capricious enough to never love again after Rosaline, yet she was forgotten entirely after seeing Juliet.
              How does one deal with their love being banished from their home city? Overreaction. Okay, technically Juliet was pretending to be dead to avoid being married to Paris, but that in of itself wasn’t the best way to handle that situation either. But then, Romeo ups the ante by convincing the apothecary to sell him illegal poison. To kill himself. Why? Because it totally makes sense to sneak into the cemetery and drink the Flavor Aid atop your beloved’s corpse. Then Juliet awakens to find dying Romeo, being the rational teenager that she is, drives a dagger through her heart. Well done you two, you’ve solved the family feud but you won’t be around to benefit from it. All in the name of love. 3 whole days of love. I don’t know about you, but I think this story gives Twilight a run for its money for being the worst love story ever. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Shakespeare For The Reluctant

...and possibly questionable parenting.

The Kid is 12 now, but lets face it, even some adults have trouble wrapping their mind around the antiquated language that comes with The Bard. I was really lucky. I had a teacher who instilled a love of Shakespeare by insisting we understand the importance of the delivery of lines and what they meant. Slowed it down, took the time to explain and made it fun. I want to share this adoration with my daughter but I needed a plan, lest I run full speed, biting my thumb and speaking of graves, and worms, and epitaphs.

Last year, while studying Ancients, we covered the play Julius Caesar but only by way of graphic novel. Slowly laying the bricks to a more in depth study this year, with our Medieval timeline. As we talked about Henry V, we watched the play version's Agincourt speech .

Over the next month she will be memorizing the aforementioned soliloquy from Richard II, Act 3 Scene 2. We used TedEd to learn about why Shakespeare loved iambic pentameter. Here's another neat little video about original pronunciation.

After the much abbreviated graphic novel spoon feeding, we moved on to Shakespeare Stories. I found that presenting the works in story format rather than as a play helped her understand what was going on before tackling the play.

I figured Hamlet as good as any other place to begin. After reading it in Shakespeare Stories, we read Act I on No Fear Shakespeare, which provides a side by side modern text translation. Following that we watched the BBC version. While the language is Shakespearean, the costumes and props are modern, another baby step.

Crash Course provides a great summary and points out the Hamlet - Lion King connection. And the slightly more vulgar (here is the questionable parenting part) Thug Notes has some worthwhile analysis points. For fun, we watched Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, though I've yet to get her to successfully play Questions.

We covered a few more, like Twelfth Night, by discussion of the story version. When we discussed Macbeth she excitedly made the connection that Throne of Blood, which we watched to (loosely) learn of medieval Japan, was the same story. I had hoped she would have mentioned Wyrd Sisters, but as soon as I brought it up, she saw the connection.

Following the same model of study we did for Hamlet, we're covering Romeo and Juliet over the next two weeks. She read the story in Shakespeare Stories, now we're tackling each Act on No Fear Shakespeare, following each by the section in Romeo + Juliet. Once we've completed the play, we'll watch West Side Story. Wrapping up Shakespeare for the year with a writing prompt I snagged off Pinterest.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

3.14159 Things About Pi Day!

I've been eagerly awaiting this year's Pi Day for a few years. On 3/14/15 9:26:53 the universe will align and my geeky little heart will squeak with joy. I've compiled a list of fun things to do with π

3 Interesting Facts:

1. What is pi? The ratio of the circumference of any circle to the diameter of that circle, it will always be approximately 3.14159.

2. Did you know that your birthday is probably in π? Find out where by going to Am I in Pi? 

3. How long has Pi been around?

The importance of pi has been recognized for at least 4,000 years. A History of Pi notes that by 2000 B.C., "the Babylonians and the Egyptians (at least) were aware of the existence and significance of the constant π," recognizing that every circle has the same ratio of circumference to diameter. Both the Babylonians and Egyptians had rough numerical approximations to the value of pi, and later mathematicians in ancient Greece, particularly Archimedes, improved on those approximations. By the start of the 20th century, about 500 digits of pi were known. With computation advances, thanks to computers, we now know more than the first six billion digits of pi. Read more here.


1 Website Showing Pi


Step right up and get 10,000 digits of pi right here folks! 

4 Arts and Crafts:

1. Pi-line
This is the project I'm most excited to do.What does a skyline have to do with math? Each building represents a digit of pi of course! How cool is that? Visit What We Do All Day for more information and other neat math art projects.

2. Make a pi necklace
Assign a color bead to each digit 0-9. Use a triangle pendant to represent the integer of 3. From Diana Funke.

3. Pink Stripey Socks has 2 more ways to make pi into art.

4. Design your own pi related shirt. 
Proof that math is it's own language

Aww, you are!

1 Song About Pi

5 Pi-tivities

1. Read a Sir Cumference book.

2. The Exploratorium shows you how to cut pi.

Carefully wrap string around the circumference of a circular object. Cut the string when it is exactly the same length as the circumference. Now take your “string circumference” and stretch it across the diameter of your circular object. Cut as many “string diameters” from your “string circumference” as you can. How many diameters could you cut? Compare your data with that of others. What do you notice?

3. Use pi with this freebie

 4. Enjoy some pi humor. My Town Tutor has 11 of them for you along with other math humor. 
5. Of course you could always eat some pi.

9 Recipes for Pi

1. Chicken Pot Pi
2. Pizza Pi
3. Apple Pi
4. Beef and Cheddar hand Pi
5. Cottage Pi

6. Chocolate Pi
7. Shape some pretzels into pi digits
8. Breakfast Pi (aka quiche)
9. Lastly the above pictured Apple Pi!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunday, December 1, 2013

December Celebrations Across the World

I hosted a holidays around the world craft fair this year for 35 kids. We had seven craft stations set up with ready to go crafts. It was a little chaotic and they enjoyed some crafts more than others but I'd say it was a success overall.

Here is a pdf passport for the kids to collect their stamps. Print the pages and cut in half and assemble.

Table Leader Information

Kwanzaa:  is a secular holiday and is celebrated in Pan-African homes across the world from December 26th to January 1st. Kwanzaa is a celebration of African culture throughout history. The word "Kwanzaa" comes from the phrase, "matunda ya kwanza" which means "first-fruits." There are many symbols but the most recognizable is the Mishumaa Saba (The Seven Candles). These are symbolic of the Nguzo Saba, the Seven Principles, the matrix and minimum set of values which African people are urged to live by in order to rescue and reconstruct their lives in their own image and according to their own needs.
**craft** Kwanzaa mat

China and Hong Kong: The Chinese New Year is the foremost winter holiday in China and occurs around February. This is a time for feasting, family reunions and fun. Food plays a major role in Chinese New Year celebrations, where families hand out oranges, lychee nuts and other snacks which symbolize good fortune.
Even though most Chinese are not Christians, you can still see signs of Christmas everywhere. Many people put up Christmas trees, decorated with paper chains, flowers, and paper lanterns. They also decorate houses with beautiful paper lanterns. Chinese children hang muslin stockings for Santa Claus whom they call “Dun Che Lao Ren (dwyn-chuh-lau-oh-run) which means “Christmas Old Man”.
 Ta Chiu, a Taoist festival of peace and renewal, takes place on December 27th in Hong Kong.
**Craft** Paper lantern

Ukrainian Christmas Spider: There once was a widow, who lived in a small hut. One day a pinecone dropped on the floor and it took root. Her children were excited that they would have a tree for Christmas. All summer long they made plans on how they would decorate the tree. They were very poor, so poor that they did not have anything to decorate the tree with. The widow went to bed on Christmas Eve knowing that the tree would not be decorated. Early on Christmas morning, the woman was awakened by her children. “Mother, mother wake up and see the tree it is beautiful!” The mother arose and saw that during the night a spider had spun a web around the tree. The youngest child opened the window to the first light of Christmas Day. As the shafts of the sun crept along the floor, it touched one of the threads of the spider web and instantly the web was changed into gold and silver. And from that day forward the widow never wanted for anything.
**Craft** Pipe cleaner spider: Take 2 (halved) glitter pipe cleaners and 2 (halved) black pipe cleaners and twist together. Bend legs.

Mexico: The festivities last from December 3rd (The feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe) to January 6th (The Epiphany) Businesses and homes alike are decorated with red flowers called poinsettias. Poinsettias originate from Mexico and have long been a part of the holiday season. In Mayan times, the poinsettia was called cuelaxochitl and was a symbol of the new life of fallen warriors.  
** Craft** Felt Poinsettia use small jingle bells.

Religious celebrations:
Chanukah:  is an eight day festival that celebrates the triumph of light over darkness. The holiday is celebrated beginning on the 25th day of the Jewish month Kislev. Because the Jewish calendar is lunisolar (lunar cycle based months with leap months sometimes added to account for the longer solar year) Chanukah doesn’t begin on the same day every year on our calendar. 
To commemorate the success of the Jews against the ancient Greeks defilement of their temple, they light a candle on a menorah, a nine branched candelabra, successively (one the first night, two the second, until all eight are lit). The middle candle holder is for the shamash, helper candle.
**craft** paper dreidel

Yule: The winter solstice (December 21st this year) is the longest night of the year and is celebrated by pagans as the rebirth or welcoming back of the sun. Ancient Norse would set fire to a large wooden wheel and roll it down a hill to entice the sun to return.
Festivities encompass nature, promote kindness, and offer reflection of the balance of light and dark.
**craft** air dry cinnamon ornaments. CAUTION: cinnamon can cause sensitive skin to react.

Christmas: Christians celebrate the 25th as the birthday of Jesus Christ. Depending on the denomination and location around the globe, the holiday is celebrated in many ways. The story of Christ's birth is depicted by a nativity scene and is the basis of many Christmas carols. It is a time from renewed charity work.
**craft** Nativity sun catcher.