Category Archives: Classical Conversations
It’s officially sprummer and I am so excited! You know the season where one day you’re excited because you can wear a short sleeved shirt, but you have to settle for pants, the next day your fishing a heavy sweater out of the tupperware tote bin you thought you wouldn’t have to lay eyes on until next winter? And then SURPRISE! Just when you didn’t bother to shave your legs, the next day it’s 95*F outside! So you sweat in your jeans, or wear really low capris and sit with your ankles crossed and hope no one looks down.
I’ve gotten some cool and inexpensive things this spring to liven up my post-maternity wardrobe (yeah, she’s turning two and we’re not having anymore so it’s about time). I got a green 3/4-length sweater set from Ann Taylor, a bunch of tee-shirts from Target (love! But if you buy one with writing on it, go UP a size, they are not stretchy!), some shorts from Target, two pair of Lucky Brand sandals (Milan 2 – canvas and canvas/blue stripe – LOVE the latter), and a new whitish/creamish purse and some scarves to mix in with older pieces so they look newer. I think that’s it. Part of that was for Mother’s day, part was my “Teacher of the Year” award. *snicker*
I think the pollen is finally gone. Why did I type that? It’s like an automatic electronic groundhog burrowing in and cursing us with six more weeks of pollen. Maybe I should erase that.
So many things have happened since I last blogged I’m not sure where to start. Not huge things, just tiny little things that are hilarious, that I should record daily HERE instead of Facebook, where they’re lost forever. Lots of funny quotes from the kids, silly acts I’ve caught them committing, that sort of thing.
They’re all bursting with excitement because Grandma is coming up today to spend today through Wednesday or (I suspect) Thursday with us. I’m going to the Classical Conversations praciticum in Durham from Monday through Wednesday (so if you read this and I’ve never met you and you are going to be there – please introduce yourself!!! I’ll be the one that looks like me!) I’m only staying half a day. It says the second half is about Challenge and Henry is only going to be seven this summer. We may all be dead before he hits Challenge and he’ll be the first so…yeah. I’d rather spend the afternoon with my mom. When I say “we” might all be dead I mean all of us, not my mom. I realize that sounded bad; Jesus could be here within that time frame, you know? Not trying to kill you off. Or a plane could land on our house. We could be stampeded by buffalo as we drive down I-85. I could kill us with my cooking some day, I am always afraid of undercooking pork, that’s why our chops usually feel like cutting into frisbees.
I’ve gone to several CC meetings recently and met a lot of nice new ladies who will be joining us next year. I’m going to end this entry now so I can type up a new entry on what curriculums I’m using next year (and a bit about the practicum) in hopes it might help – or overwhelm, hopefully not! – and encourage and get them excited about next year’s homeschooling adventure!
NOTE: I fell directly asleep after I wrote this. And I wrote it at 6 am so if you read it’s first incarnation, it was full of errors! Fixed now.
Well, some stuff stuck I am glad to say! We are reviewing Cycle 3 of Classical Conversations and Henry remembered the history sentence about the Mayflower Compact and the cute little boat hand sign his tutor, Mrs. Lori taught them. I LOVE the boat hand sign, I cannot express how much I love that silly boat. I used to make him do this over and over just to see his little fingers do the boat. This may be why he remembers it…hmm…
Our little orchestra has been practicing and here are the fruits of our labors:
Today was week 23 of the program and there was a sense of urgency in the air, to spend time with those you will miss, to talk to those you haven’t seen much, to find the elusive tissue in your purse and avoid the dreaded pollen that was killing half the group. We had a great time. I can’t believe next week is our final week – then on to Cycle TWO!
Sunday was Easter! We had a wonderful sermon at church, a dinner that took way too long to prepare (though the chicken WAS DONE when we got home) and three very cute kids:
Then on Monday, Grandma came up and Sarah clung to her like a monkey. She would not let Grandma out of her sight, it was a bit obsessive. If the boys came over to get some attention, she tried to swat them away. That was her Grandma. Others need not apply.
Monday night the kids stayed up really late, like 9:30 pm. They usually go to bed by 8:00 pm. The next day was CC so I was really dreading how that was going to go. Miraculously, they got up and got dressed. I attribute this to the magic of Grandma. We missed the beginning convocation (what else is new? I hate it, but we miss it almost EVERY week) but made it there before the classes started. Grandma went with Rhys to Mrs. Lori’s room and I went with Henry to Mrs. Roxanne’s class. We hung out for a little while after CC was over and let the kids run around but I was tired from them being tired and sort of grouchy and just wanted to go home.
Wednesday we had a field trip to NBC-17, our local NBC affiliate. We don’t even know what number on the tv NBC is, we never watch it, but Henry wanted to go so I drug myself out of bed and took him. I was exhausted. I’d sat up in a horrible, rickety chair in Sarah’s room from 2 am – 4 am, sleeping with my head thrown back, and I felt like I’d been run over. But he wanted to go and I wasn’t going to wimp out and say no. I thought Rhys wanted to go, but in the end, he stayed home with Sarah and Grandma. We met Bill Reh who explained how all the weather computers worked (really, you can just look on the internet and figure out what the weather is going to be like) and he let us play on the green screen:
We came back home and I collapsed on the couch and took a half-eye-closed nap. I got to visit with my mom like 20 minutes the entire week. The kids occupied her attention relentlessly. Hogs. I thought I’d get some time Wednesday night after the kids went to bed and we were sitting downstairs together, but no. Rhys started crying so I went upstairs and found him in my bed. I laid down with him and that was the end of me. Maybe I can convince Dave to watch them sometime and let us go somewhere and get our toes done (she refuses, says they’re too hideous – she hasn’t seen mine – as I told my friend, you could sand a birdhouse with my heels) or go to the beach or even out to eat. Something.
Today is Friday and she left so I’m just waiting for the call to make sure she made it home. It’s like our roles have reversed. I am the worrying mother and she’s the kid. So I guess I got my long-desired fourth kid after all and she’s potty-trained. For now.
- Right Back at You! (lifewithoutpeanutbutter.com)
- Presentations! (lifewithoutpeanutbutter.com)
- CC Memory Work Incentive Results: We Owe… (lifewithoutpeanutbutter.com)
- Just Released Children’s Book on Divorce Strikes an Emotional Chord in NBC Interview with Author Amy Kite (prweb.com)
- Easter celebrations in Westfield (wwlp.com)
- From covering the governor to flacking for him (jimromenesko.com)
- Has NBC learned transition lessons? (miamiherald.com)
Today was CC day and I thought I’d tape the boys’ presentations. I particularly wanted to tape Rhys’ since he was reciting poems, so I thought I shouldn’t exclude Henry.
First up, Rhys reciting three poems: ”The Caterpillar” by Christina G. Rosetti, “Hearts Are Like Doors” by Anonymous, and “Work” by Anonymous.
I think he was a little nervous at first because he knows “The Caterpillar” the best and he messed it up a bit. But once he got over his nerves he did fine. I am so proud of my Rhysie! There’s no way I could have stood up in front of a group and recited poems when I was four – and these are poems he’s learned by hanging around the table while Henry does his school work, they are from Henry’s book, First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind by Jessie Wise (a great book, by the way).
Now for Henry. We finished up Little House on the Prairie last night so I coaxed him into taking it in today as his presentation. He was going to take “The Odyssey” in but since we haven’t read it yet he didn’t have anything to say about it. The Little House book just made a lot more sense. We’ve found a lot of other CC’ers reading the series, so we’re either spoiling it for them or we’re getting spoilers ourselves. It’s kind of funny. ”CLOSE YOUR EARS!” Gosh, I hope no one tells them Mary goes blind, that’s a biggie.
This is one thing I really love about the CC program. Notice how the presentations evolve and mature between Rhys’ class and Henry’s class. Both classes use the same method (child stands at the front, introduces himself – mother doesn’t get the camera on quickly enough…) and then addresses the class with their presentation. When it’s complete, they know to ask if there are any questions. They call on the question askers and answer the best they can. Usually there isn’t any chaos. Usually
This type of presentation (in Rhys’ room it’s more like show-and-tell most weeks) starts them on the road to public speaking, giving them the ability to speak clearly and confidently in front of a group of peers and adults starting at four years of age. By the time they’re ten, they’re poised, confident and old pros at public speaking. I’m 36, never had this kind of opportunity and I want to stammer and stare at my feet when I have to speak to a group. Where was this when I was growing up?!
Oh and fever and auge is malaria. Sorry we never clarified that, but you probably guessed it.
Part of our fine arts curriculum this cycle of Classical Conversations is learning the “Orchestra Song.” I first saw it performed way back in…gosh, when would that have been? 2011, I guess, at the Durham, NC Classical Conversations group when we visited one day. The group is divided up into “instruments” and they each “play” a part with their voices. Rhys’ class is the violin and Henry’s class is the trumpet. There are also drums, clarinets, and the horns. I think that’s it, I hope I’m not missing anyone!
Today was the first time we put our vocal orchestra together and we sounded pretty good if I say so myself! The video will show everyone singing after a brief glimpse at my jeans, shoes and purse.
Sorry, no Ricky Martin. Actually, you’re welcome.
We’ve been working pretty hard on Classical Conversations the last two weeks even though we’ve been struck down by the plague for the last 10 school days. So far this week we’ve gotten all of Henry’s core subjects done and spent a generous amount of time on CC. I found a great little motivational sticker chart on Half-a-Hundred Acre Woods to use for Memory Master Proofing. I just realized she also has a sticker chart simply for memory work, this may have worked better in truth. But the former is already decorated and printed, so we’ll use it for now. Next cycle I’d like Henry to proof for at least me, if not me and his tutor and possibly our director. He’s getting to the age that he can be a memory master, if not next year then definitely the next. I’m putting it on next year’s goals as a “hopeful” goal and 3rd grade year as an expected goal.
Here’s the charts I made for their memory work. I attached a piece of construction paper to the front and they decorated it with crayons and stickers as they saw fit. Whatever inspired them!
So they’ve started allowing me to record them working on their memory work when the mood strikes. They are temperamental artists. Yesterday they granted me the privilege of recording their latin recitation. They’re doing singular and plural declensions (noun endings). Rhys has the plural endings down-pat, Henry has the singular. Now we’ve just got to meld the minds somehow so both have each other’s knowledge. You know how brothers hate to share.
Today is a sick day so I got a few minutes to myself to blog. This should automatically clue you in that it’s not a stomach virus.
I hadn’t felt well Monday, my stomach hurt like my (non-existent) belt was on too tight and I didn’t eat much. Yes, this in and of itself is astounding. This morning I woke up to Rhys beside me in bed and then I looked down and Henry was curled up at my feet like a cat. He said he’d been there half the night and felt awful but didn’t want to interrupt my sleep because “he was brave” and could handle this himself. Aww. I felt his head and he was burning up, said his stomach still hurt but he didn’t feel like he was going to get sick.
So he’s laying on the couch with his pillow and I’m trying to do 14 things at once.
And this blog entry was one of them. It’s now 6 pm, I started at 9 am and I typed three paragraphs of nothing.
I’m having homeschool malaise. I have so many ambitions but we always end up doing our schoolwork aaaaand….that’s it. We’ve been slowly working on this awesome CC lapbook that I will be reviewing sometime soon. I feel like an Egyptian slave driver “CUT FASTER! GLUE FASTER! NO, NO EXTRA BRADS, DO IT WITH WHAT YOU HAVE, ISRAELITE!” because we need to get it finished but it’s my fault we’re behind because I don’t make them work on it every day.
Several friends at CC recommended a website called edHelper.com and it’s come in handy the small bit I’ve used it. So far I’ve made several hidden word searches with Henry’s spelling words and printed out a book for him to read and color (waste – he did not color it. What a surprise). I tried to print out some stuff for Rhys but the printer sort of flaked out and it was indecipherable. I think I need a new ink cartridge. Time to cash in that 5-year CD.
Ah! We finished Farmer Boy and we’re on to Little House on the Prairie tonight. Averaging a chapter a night, I think it will take until October to finish the series unless they get bored and want to mix things up – or I do!
Two Henry funnies and then I am off to lay down because I think he’s given me his funk:
Yesterday he told me that robins enjoy being in the rain because they get moisturized. I knew he was paying attention to shopNBC the other night when I was watching a segment on eye creams! I knew it!
Last night as we were reading in Mark, we came across the story of the man whose son was possessed by a demon that would throw him into fire and water and do all sorts of horrid things – Jesus said if you have faith he will be healed and the man said “I have faith. Help me with my faith!” (I wonder how many people notice this as they read the story?). At any rate, Henry asks again,
“Can I be possessed by a demon?”
“Why? Because only the Holy Spirit is partying up in here?” Points to self.
“Yes and haa!”