That was the reading yesterday when I stopped at the Florida Welcome Center.
Today? Up here in B’ham? Just a little less warm.
(It’s supposed to get cold down there as well this week, too. And the boys said it was never really hot last week, either. So that was definitely an outlier. A very pleasant one that made everyone’s smiles just a little broader, but it wasn’t to last too long. Except for those driving the RV’s with plates from Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Ontario, who were driving in to settle down for the winter in their Snowbirdish ways…)
Back to school.
We accomplished a few things. Got the ball rolling. As per normal, we’re all over the place.
1. Prayer/Religion: We went All-Epiphany today. Prayed Morning Prayer, read Mass readings, talked about the meaning of the word, talked about “Theophany.” Talked about “magi” and what it means, various derivatives. Talked about this being Twelfth Night for real and doing a bit of a callback to our work on the play. 12-year old read the chapter on Epiphany from this old textbook – which is very good.
(Unfortunately, I didn’t end up getting Rosca de Reyes...both grocery stores I went to only had humongous cakes, and I didn’t think that made sense for us..they apparently had smaller ones at a store down in Pelham, but I wasn’t that committed…)
3. Introduced them to an old fellow, T. S. Eliot. We listened to him recite Journey of the Magi, then we talked about it. I was surprised at their insights. For copywork, they picked out 2 or 3 lines from the poem that they particularly liked and copied that.
4. We scoped out the next couple of months, which are going to be pretty busy with basketball, mostly, as well as Scout stuff. And music lessons and an art class. No more Huntsville Tuesdays, but they do have McWane homeschool classes. I’ve decided that we will do Taming of the Shrew for our Shakespeare for the next six weeks, culminating in a visit to the Shakespeare Tavern in late February or early March. I’m scoping out other small trips we can take on our few free days which it seems are going to be occasional Tuesdays and most Fridays…other than that, we’re booked.
5. A brief science experiment – absolutely, totally unrelated to anything we have been talking about over the past months (most of which has been about elements and some basic chemistry) – this one. Why did we do it? Because I ran across it last night, we have all the equipment on hand (um, a glass, water, a match, plastic wrap and an ice cube.) It actually worked, you could see the clouds forming, and they learned that clouds are more than just water vapor – emphasized the, er “lesson” by watching this video.
6. Tomorrow morning, we’ll see if this whole “blow bubbles and watch them freeze” thing that everyone’s been putting on Facebook works.
7. Oh, we’re going to do this – just a few weeks of simple drawing instruction. They started today and liked it, and it was interesting to talk about the challenges – mostly of how to see.
8. We went back over all the Shakespeare we’ve memorized so far from Ken Ludwig’s great book, and started If music be the food of love…... We take that very slowly. I let them be as silly and grandiose as they like. I want it to be entertaining and enjoyable, not a chore.
9. Then it was time for math review…the 12 year old really pushed through percentages pretty quickly before Christmas, so he’s taking a couple of days to review before jumping into square roots.
Tomorrow…a bit on some more plans for the next few months, including a new writing thing I’m throwing into the mix and the history and Latin. It’s all pretty crazy. But honestly, not as crazy as this:
I would love to teach, but I will not spend another day under the expectations that I prepare every student for the increasing numbers of meaningless tests that take advantage of children for the sake of profit. [<<<<<THIS. What do I keep telling you? New standards + new curricula + new textbooks + new training = $$$$$$] I refuse to subject students to every ridiculous standardized test that the state and/or district thinks is important. I refuse to have my higher-level and deep thinking lessons disrupted by meaningless assessments (like the Global Scholars test) that do little more than increase stress among children and teachers, waste instructional time and resources, and attempt to guide young adolescents into narrow choices.
Treasure the pockets of sanity in the educational world. Support them. Encourage everyone you can to think outside these dreadful boxes that fear, ignorance, power-seeking and economic opportunism have constructed and called “schools.”
(And in case you’re unfamiliar with my stance, I’ll reiterate – national or even state “standards” are unnecessary and self-defeating. I’m against them. I’m for a diverse, heterogeneous “system.” I’m for lots of different kinds of schools sponsored by whomever teaching whatever the local community wants. My nephew goes to a public high school with a medical career kind of focus, but also with the requisite dose of the humanities. His father tells me that as a freshman, he is dealing with material that he (his father) first encountered in nursing school. He will graduate from high school with an Associate’s degree in some science field, will be immediately employable in a variety areas of health care, including, if he chooses, an EMT, and will be ready to go on to college, again, beginning as a junior. More of that, please. )