……talk about St. Raymond of Penafort. Big discussion of canon law KIDDING. Also Andre Bessette, and the Oratory of St. Joseph, naturally.
….copywork, Sandburg’s Fog. They each read it aloud a couple of times first. Talked about the imagery. Discussed what haunches are. Some hilarity ensuing from that. After copywork, read Chicago and watched a video interpretation. Talked, again, about the imagery. Pulled out a map, discussed the historical importance of Chicago’s location, which led to all kinds of rabbit holes regarding the Great Lakes, Antarctica, and as per usual, Mexico. Whenever a map is in use, we always end up in Mexico, somehow.
…bit of drawing exercises.
In between all of this, regular trips were being made outside into the 15 degree weather. I know, that’s nothing. I’ve been there, believe me. They blew soap bubbles and watched them freeze. Took a hammer to some frozen water in a pail just for the heck of it. Decided to do an experiment re/freezing. Filled containers with equal amounts of water, discussed various potential adulterants. Settled on liquid soap, salt and a shot of my homemade vanilla extract. It was the only alcohol in the house (I made it with vodka), but as I’m typing this, I’m remembering that of course we have rubbing alcohol, so that was stupid of me.
Discussion of the definition of “control” and “hypothesis.” Results? Soapy water froze first, then unadulterated, then who knows because it was forgotten before dark. I guess I could go out and look at it right now, but you know what? I’m not. The exciting thing that happened was that the 12-year old called me out to see something, and when we got out to the back, he was amazed because in the fifteen seconds he’d been away from it, the surface of the plain water had frozen – just like that.
(Various internet rabbit holes into the definition of freezing, diagrams of frozen water molecules and then the ever popular liquid nitrogen subgenre. 9-year old remembered and talked about some of the liquid nitrogen demonstrations he’s seen at McWane. One of the videos on the sidebar was about mercury, so then that rabbit hole was followed. Chemical symbol (Hg) was learned, properties were learned about and seen, and stories were told my mother about how – back in the day when people still used mercury thermometers – it was a thing for kids to sometimes bring one to school and then break it on purpose, necessitating an evacuation. This usually occurred during exam week, just as, when I was in college, bomb scares were routinely called in during those times as well.)
Took a noontime break to run downtown to listen to a very good, and brief (less than 30 minutes) talk on one of the Birmingham Museum of Art’s prized holdings, Albert Bierstadt’s Looking down Yosemite Valley, California. It was direct and basic enough for the boys to get something out of it and not be bored (I don’t think). Before we left, we detoured at looked at a couple of pieces in the Renaissance room, and then upstairs to visit our friends the samurai armor and weaponry, as well as some of the other Chinese and Japanese pieces. Just a quick trip this time.
Back home, I broke out one of my recent risky purchases. The Great Courses was running a sale before Christmas, so I bought a couple, including this one on Greek and Roman Technological innovation. (and believe me, it was an excellent sale. I think I paid less than $60 for the course.) The previews looked good – the professor seemed engaging and it’s far more than a talking head, with plenty of animations and models used. Plus, it’s a topic in which the boys are interested and since they’ve actually seen some of the structures in person, from the Temple of Concord in Agrigento Sicily, to the Pantheon to Pont du Gard , and we’ve talked so much in our own way about topics like Roman urban planning and construction – it made sense.
Well, it went over well. Just the right length, the professor is, indeed, engaging, and it’s not at all over their heads. They liked it. Plus there’s a little book so I can keep track and reinforce concepts and vocabulary. Phew. We’ll watch a couple of those a week and discuss.
A couple of rabbit holes from this – he was explaining some Greek catapult thing (I hope they retain more than I do) and showed how the “springs” were made from animal tendons. I paused it and said, “Do you know what tendons are?” We had a fifty percent passing rate, so we broke and talked about tendons and ligaments and the difference between them. Mr. Sports knew about ACL’s and PCL’s, but we looked up some diagrams and got more specific – and then talked about the meaning of the words “lateral,” “anterior” and “posterior,” using the position of those ligaments to help understand and enforce.
It’s the kind of day I like. All over the place, constantly engaged, talking, asking questions and finding answers.
And Mexico. Always Mexico.