Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Back to the Homeschooling...um...routine?

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I confess we'd fallen off the "planned day" routine at the holidays this year. Further, I confess it took us longer than usual to get back on, in large part because we kept finding interesting things to do that were both educational and filled our time, in part because I hadn't taken the time to lay out our plan, and in part because the girls were getting along so well I really didn't want to interrupt these great social learning times with things like, oh, planned lessons.

But we're back on track, and, more than ever, balancing the recreation with the academic. Ideally, the recreation serves academic purposes as well, but sometimes we turn to old-school methods that aren't very entertaining.

In our "olden days," (you know - last year) events often collided happily in our favor to augment the days' planned lessons. It's happening again, now that we HAVE a plan.

We start each day with math, working through grade-level workbooks (both girls are forging ahead of standards) and some hands-on, real-life math demonstrations/problems. Then comes violin practice with an option to practice piano, too, if they're feeling inspired. From there on out, the plan varies.

Today, V began her work on her autobiography, a literary form we've been talking about lately. (The girls have already written an adventure, and a mystery. I wonder what their tragedies will be like when we get there in a few weeks?) Her first-draft spelling is atrocious, but I appreciated her effort, and her improved handwriting. Clearly she was working it, even though she knew this would be a work in progress.

Meanwhile, E read a bit about European recovery after two centuries of great invasions, and the feudal kingdoms that followed. Of course, "feudal" was a new term for the girls, so E looked it up in the dictionary (the book version, yes), and copied the definition to practice her handwriting. Then she used her own words to explain it to V and me. This led to a discussion of feudalism vs. democracy, and direct democracy vs. representative democracy. (The girls decided that, while their parents generally know their food preferences and act as fair representatives on their behalf on most issues, they'd prefer a direct democracy when it something important is on the line - like desert choices.) Talking about these times also led us to talking about architecture. We turned to our encyclopedias for information about Norman and Gothic architecture, and recapped Greek and Roman architectural points.

THIS led to a discussion of buttresses and columns and materials strength, hands-on demonstrations of how some of these support structures work (what kid isn't intrigued by something called a "flying butt" anything?). We talked about why the Greek and Roman structures, the Norman structures 1,000 years old, and other ancient structure still stand, what kinds of events would have caused their demise, and speculated on how modern structures will (or will not) stand the test of time (and why).

It was time for lunch and a break, so while I made lunch, the girls jumped on the trampoline and practiced their cartwheels.

Then it was time for music. Today's topics: "timbre," and instrumental groups. While E looked up "timbre," and again practiced her handwriting, V and I began collecting every musical instrument in the house. After E explained the new vocab word to us in her OWN words, we talked about and analyzed instruments - woodwinds, strings, percussion and brass. (Anyone know where kazoo fits in?) How did each work? We cleaned off the top of the piano and opened 'er up to watch the hammer and damper and tested out each pedal to see what changed INSIDE the piano, besides the sound that it puts OUT. We played everything we owned. We worked together to create rhythmic concoctions that were pretty interesting.

Then E asked what would happen if she used a bow on the guitar. What do you do? Try it, of course! The girls were THRILLED with their guillo and guilin, which they later renamed guitello and guitolin:

After their PROPER instruction in violin at the local music academy, the girls were given free reign. This is what happens when Mom removes the screens to clean the windows:

And here's where they ended up:

Academics? Out the window.

Wait. No. Those were stuffed animals.

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  1. Do these videos work for everyone? Mom says she can't see them.

  2. I couldn't see them. It states that they are "private," etc...

  3. Thanks, Sue! That's JUST what I needed to know. I've made them "public" for all to share. :)

  4. It is so neat to se and hear the girls in action. But it makes me miss them more!
    Hurry up September!!!!
    UT. K.P.


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