Since I last posted, that is.
What are we up to, you may ask?
Well, together we've been continuing to enjoy our journey through ancient history, with K12's Human Odyssey. We're getting ready to wrap up our time in Sumer this week, or perhaps next week, reading through the Gilgamesh trilogy by Ludmila Zemen, and finishing up The Golden Bull.
Scientifically speaking, we haven't been doing a whole lot, though the kids did watch a couple of episodes of Life (thank you, Netflix!), including "Reptiles & Amphibians", and "Mammals". It is really a beautifully made documentary, although I think the kids would have enjoyed it even more if we had been able to get hold of the David Attenborough (i.e. British) version, rather than the Oprah Winfrey version, but even so, it is very good! We're going to play around this week with something a little different...
This book, one of the GEMS teacher guides from the Lawrence Hall of Science looks fantastic. It blends chemistry, some math, and physics, all hands-on, all wrapped up in the world of bubbles. If we have fun with this one, I may look into getting more of the teacher guides! We've (obviously) dropped biology as our main focus at the moment. My problems were that 1. we've already covered a lot of biology over the years; 2. we wanted more hands-on; and 3. Cyrus really wants some physics! So I am relaxing our approach again, and going back to hands-on, interest-led science, heavy on documentaries and good books. I realized that we don't NEED to follow a specific path in science yet... at this stage, it is all about exposure. Cyrus is well aware that I intend him to do more rigorous science courses in high school, but that is still a couple of years off. We are going to do some work from The [New] Way Things Work, in deference to his physics requests, and this idea, but we'll follow tangents as we desire.
We're still enjoying Richard Halliburton's world travels in the Complete Book of Marvels. I realized though, that my kids are not good at identifying countries, or even continents and oceans (blushing with embarrassment here), so my plan is to work in some [fun] printouts from National Geographic, who, by the way, has a fantastic teacher resource section for map work!
And, instead of jumping around in art and music, I've decided to use the Core Knowledge sequence for those topics, as kind of units or blocks of study. In art, we're learning about color, continuing the theme of our project from a few weeks back, and in music we'll be learning about the elements of music--harmony, pitch, rhythm, and more--as well as the orchestra itself.
Other than that, Cyrus is on a major Star Wars kick. We re-watched A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. We're waiting on the others from Netflix (which strangely has a "long wait" for The Phantom Menace, but not the others?) He has been digging through his dad's vast Star Wars book collection, built a model of a pod racer out of Legos (I'll post a pic later), played a zillion hours of Star Wars Lego on the Wii, and so on, and so forth. He's still reading through A Series of Unfortunate Events as well, and is studying for the National Mythology Exam, as we did indeed get notice that he is officially registered!
Cassia is loving Dancing Shoes, and Samantha (American Girls) these days. She spends a lot of time lately doing intricate pen-and-ink artwork, and taking care of her new guinea pig, Emily, bought to replace the mouse Emily that unfortunately passed on. I've never been around guinea pigs much, and we all get a kick out of her funny noises, and cuddling capacity.
The semester is off to a good start for me. My writing professor approved my project for the semester--a series of personal essays/memoirs--and called my writing sample "exquisite". My Shakespeare class is all I hoped it would be. The professor is very enthusiastic about his subject matter, and the once-weekly, four-hour classes fly by!
I haven't posted much lately for a few reasons. One, we've been busy. Two, it looked like we might change directions a little on some things, but then we didn't, so I've been obsessing over my Winter/Spring 2013 page instead, and three, we didn't do a lot of "school" work last week, or the week before, in the midst of my curriculum angst. I just didn't feel that I had a lot to "report" or share, other than my wishy-washiness! We're sliding back into the groove now, so maybe I'll have more to share. I did make one bigger change, besides science, and that is that we've dropped Sundays, splitting the subjects up among Monday through Thursday. I need Sunday afternoons to get ready for the upcoming work week, and was feeling really hurried and somewhat overwrought by Sunday evenings each week. M supported this idea, and suggested we add in Nature Studies on Saturdays, which can be totally informal... the kids approved this idea--it means gardening, hiking, collecting insects and leaves, and all that. I'll be perusing the Outdoor Hour Challenges newsletters for more ideas!
I hope everyone out there is doing well too! Have a good week!