First, before the First Take. Don’t forget:
(The image was made by a smaller pro-life group many years ago – I don’t remember what the group was or if it still exists. If you know, let me know, so I can credit.)
Thanks be to God for the witness in Washington this weekend, and the witness everywhere, every day offered for Life and Love.
Now, to dramatically shift gears:
This puzzle really gave me the vapors last week:
I can’t blame anyone except myself, though. It was a gift to THE BOYS, given with my full permission and consent. One of my older sons called and said, “Hey, there’s this 3-D historical puzzle of Paris…do you think the boys would like it?” Sure, I said, since I had seen it and was actually considering getting it myself. We waited until this week to break it out….. Well. As you can see, it’s finished. And it’s very nice. And we remembered/relearned/learned about Paris as we put it together. However the pronoun is not quite accurate. First-person singular is more like it. It turned out to be quite challenging – perhaps you can see this from looking at the bottom section.
So I ended up doing most of it – not that the others weren’t trying. But it’s done. Finally. Bottom section glued together and to posterboard – the top pieces are foam, and stay together pretty well without glue.
The amusing thing to me about this puzzle is that the Pompidieu Center isn’t one of the chosen landmarks. As controversial as it was and perhaps still is, the Center is a draw, it and the area about it seems to be always crowded and it is notable. I mean – far more notable than the cluster of so skyscrapers in La Defense that the puzzle-makers deemed worthy.
So I guess I know what their opinion is…
We had snow last Thursday I originally started this 7 takes for last week) and it sent Birmingham into a totally predictable panic. It began as light sleet in the morning and turned into heavy-ish snow in the afternoon – at which point school systems started shutting down early, having the (again) predictable effect of SENDING EVERYONE IN THE CITY OUT ON THE SNOWY ROADS AT THE SAME TIME. When, in truth, all you had to do was look at the radar and see that the system had a very defined border to it which would be hitting us not long after it began…which it did, and by 3:30, I was driving on wet roads under blue, only partially cloudy skies.
The other Christmas gift we broke out this week was their microscope. It’s a good compound scope, and while we haven’t gotten too formal about it yet, they are having a great time looking at prepared slides. It didn’t come with any blank slides, surprisingly, and so once we receive those, we’ll be all set. I had a microscope as a child, and I remember what a revelation it was the day I wondered what a drop of stump water would look like under the lens…and discovered a tiny little universe right there.
They’ve started doing some bi-monthly homeschool classes at the Zoo – the first one was on Snow Apocalypse Thursday, so the 11-year old’s was cut short, but they enjoyed them nonetheless. I’m kicking myself because the science center’s homeschool dissection sessions had filled up by the time I got around to inquiring about them, but perhaps we’ll have another chance someday. Although nothing’s stopping us from dissecting at home, right?
(I’m serious – a FB friend posted a series of photos of her child’s dissection of a cow’s eye – something I remember quite vividly (in a positive way) from 5th grade myself – so who knows? We’ve been talking about optics quite a bit around here…hmmm…)
We’ve been doing various random science experiments from our various random science activity books. Grown yeast in various host substances. Made bread. Did some optics experiments with magnifying glasses, water and other things. Air. Experimented to understand that air is “stuff” and not a vacuum. Played/worked with water, cooking oil and food coloring today – density/immiscibility – and then ended it all with a few drops of liquid detergent which sets everything a -scattering. That last move was Joseph’s idea after we talked about why you need the surfactants in soap to get oil off of your hands.
As I said, it’s random – more random than it probably should be for a 6th grader, but I’m working on that.
We are pretty much prisoners of basketball games, basketball practice, Scouts, altar serving schedules and Parish School of Religion for the next couple of months, so not much travelling will happen. I finally updated the other blog a bit with some more Paris material, though, so there’s that –
And, of course, there’s a lot to do around here – the Birmingham Museum of Art has just opened a really nice new children’s section, which was fun for the 8-year old, for example:
Started Julius Caesar this week. Began by reading one of the adaptations in this book, which the boys thought hysterical. Then watched the BBC animated version (which was very good). Now we’re reading it along with watching the 1953 version – Calhern, Brando, Gielgud, Mason – free streaming for Amazon Prime members –. Mason is stunning as Brutus. I’ve always loved him anyway, but really, he was born to play Brutus, don’t you think?
We watch a couple of scenes a day. I stop it occasionally to ask them to tell me what’s going on, answer questions and underscore particular speeches. We spend about 20 minutes on it before they run off to Legos or football outside. Michael has taken to saying, Yond’ Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous at random moments of the day. Such behavior is actually fairly normal for an 8-year old who apparently spoke in a British accent, even before Shakespeare week, during much of his religious education class a couple of weeks ago.
I hope we get over to Atlanta to the Shakespeare Tavern for one of their performances of the play in April, and perhaps even before that in March for Much Ado. I’ve never been, but have heard it’s very good.
— 6 —
None of this fits into no particular curriculum. I’m not even being very school-y with any of it. Sometimes I worry about that, and sometimes I don’t and chalk it up to unschooling. Perhaps I should have had the boys do lab reports on the yeast “experiment,” but I thought it was well and good enough to talk about what a “control” is and why it’s important, to stress exact measurements and cleanliness. The draw-er drew what the different results looked like, and the non-draw-er and I talked about and came up with some theories as to why. When I was researching supplementary materials for Julius Caesar, I happened upon some suggestions and examples of how other homeschoolers have used it, and the next several paragraphs and photographs were all of character charts and plot diagrams and narrative analysis and lapbooks and I just had to go shut it all down and go nudge Michael to tell me again what Caesar says about Cassius.
There is definitely a longer blog post brewing about these issues as I am pushed and pulled this way and that. Pushed and pulled just in my head, though. No one else is very concerned and I suppose if they were really confused about the characters, we would do a chart – I’m a fan of character lists in the front of complicated literary works, myself. But really – they’re getting it. And they’re enjoying it. And we’re talking about the themes as we go.
But anyway…for another time.
Books that have been read the last couple of weeks around here: Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain novels; Henry Reed’s Journey; The Thieves of Ostia; Dogs Don’t Tell Jokes; The Whipping Boy;Owls in the Family;John Billington: Friend of Squanto; The Matchlock Gun; Johnny Tremain; The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet; This Side of Paradise …(you can try to match up books to readers if you like)..as well as zillions of books about animals and Pre-Columbian cultures (because, “Mom, you know I’m not that much interested in Egypt anymore, don’t you?”)
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!