Last Thursday and Friday are sort of a blur. I know we did things, but I really don’t remember what. Why is that? Oh maybe because my book club met Thursday night at a place that sells wine, that’s why.
This past weekend was a landmark. For the first time ever, athletic teams in which my offspring were involved had nothing but solid wins. Katie played volleyball and basketball all through upper elementary and middle school, and I don’t think her team won but one or two games in all of that. But this weekend, the 9-year old had two games, and won both, and the 12-year old’s team won as well. I was stunned. Now I can go to subsequent games without that sick sense of “here we go again” dread in my soul. A good start.
Mass/serving Saturday evening, PSR on Sunday morning. 12-year old didn’t go to the 9-year old’s game because he was deep in the Chargers vibe. Which was ironic since my oldest was actually at the game in Denver, channeling that Broncos vibe. Age won.
1. Prayer took a while.
Daily Mass readings are starting with 1 Samuel, which is my absolute favorite Old Testament book, so lucky boys, eh? Talked about that. Talked about Hilary of Poitiers. Looked at the painting of him from this book, which is part of our daily routine. Talked a little bit more about the Baptism of the Lord, looked at art related to that. A little bit of geography: Shiloh (plus why Jerusalem was not yet in the picture) and the Jordan River.
Then I started this thing that I’m starting – which means, it will last two days, natch. But we’re trying! I went over Kyrie Eleison, and we unpacked language and meaning, and listened to/watched three versions: this, this, and – what interested them the most – from Mozart’s Missa Brevis:
I can’t blame them. Mesmerizing and so impressive.
2. No copywork or drawing today. No excuses, just didn’t force it.
3. Math. More square roots, which are being grasped,
and yet more division and remainders.
This problem (Alex is decorating cookies. Each cookie gets exactly 3 chocolate chips and 4 cinnamon candies. Alex has 100 chocolate chips and 125 cinnamon candies. How many cookies can Alex decorate?) gave Someone fits, and we all got involved to the point of breaking out my go-to multiplication and division aide:
I honestly thought he would get it before we had to get to the manipulatives, as they call them, since the problem comes down to: “If you have enough chocolate chips for 33 cookies, and enough cinnamon chips for 31, how many cookies can you decorate that have the proper amount of both kinds?” (31 obvs) But no. Tears were narrowly averted, but I do think he finally grasped the concept. I finally got that light bulb, “Oh!” that is the mark of success in this house.
Ditalini were swept into the trash, no worries.
4. Then limericks. Why? DON’T ASK ME WHY. I just decided: poetry? Okay. Limericks!
We read a bunch of Lear, then I asked them to pick out the rhyme scheme and the rhythm. Nice opportunity to review what an iamb is. I used this and this to teach it. They’ll write their own on Wednesday.
5. Joseph got started on this little mini-course. It should take a couple of weeks.
6. After he read and did the writing work, he decided to create some compounds and mixtures and explain them to me, which was just fine.
7. After that, I wrote on (ON THE WHITEBOARD) the names of a bunch of musical forms and we talked about what each one was – someone mentioned rap, which then led me to talk about musical style and the difference between form and style and that yes, you could have a rock opera or a blues sonata. All of this was a way for me to rationalize showing them this:
Which they insisted on watching twice. I mean, I wanted them to understand what a “concerto” is, right?
8. Then: art! We started playing around with watercolors today. The intrepid Ann Engelhart had given me suggestions on how to get them started…which we didn’t follow because the masking tape she told me to use ended up being so cheap, considering it was from the dollar store, that it was all stuck together…so I ended up just having them explore the medium and see what happened when they had dry paper, wet paper, when they blended colors, when the put salt or rubbing alcohol on it, etc.
I honestly don’t know why I don’t just do art and science demonstrations and call it a day every day.
We’ll be more disciplined on Wednesday and Thursday, and probably do one of the zillion projects on my Pinterest board.
Then basketball practice for both, and a very interesting visit to a local art supply store for Michael and me while Joseph had his practice. (Joseph is a helper at Michael’s practice)
I’m revving up to start Taming of the Shrew – finally got the last book I needed from the library today to get rolling on that. (And I discovered that not only is the Shakespeare Tavern doing it, but so is the Alabama Shakespeare Festival….) Opera Birmingham is doing Rigoletto in a couple of weeks, and although it’s probably not the best entry-level opera, it’s something, and so I spent too much of last night watching this and thinking about whether or not I wanted to do it with them. And then getting sucked down the rabbit hole of finding clips from the Met’s version that set it in Vegas, and then being absolutely delighted by this woman’s video review and hoping I’m like her when I grow up, and then regretting that I didn’t get to see the Falstaff. So yes, another very fruitful Sunday evening.
Nashville is doing the Barber of Seville in a few weeks – that was my entry-level opera as a child, along with Tales of Hoffman – both in Kansas City, and still experiences I remember. So maybe. Maybe not.
I got this for Joseph, and it looks decent – I think this will be the formal way we approach lit for the next few months with him. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Oh, and we took the Christmas tree down. It always makes me a little sad as well as more happy to do this. I’m not a Christmas sentimentalist, and I hate putting the tree up more than almost anything (partly because it evokes all kinds of crap why do I have to do EVERYTHING resentment) but I do like it once it’s up, so it’s a rather melancholy hour in which it comes down…but then I do love the space that’s created by its absence, a space that seems so new and clean and ready for anything…….
Random enough for you????
Homemade Stracciatella ice cream from this weekend…
I interact with friends and acquaintances with kids in school all the time. And asking me, “Er, how’s it going on the homeschool front?” is a regular part of the conversation. Here’s what I say to them, and what I say to you: Everything’s a trade-off. You have to put up with crap and nonsense and frustration no matter what you do. (in anything) So what crap and nonsense and frustration do you choose? Right now, the frustration of teaching my own children (Are they learning enough? Are they learning the right things? Are they learning what they want to learn? Are they following their bliss and call? CAN THEY SPELL THEIR OWN LAST NAMES FOR HEAVENS’ SAKE?) are preferable to the frustration of similar questions asked regarding situations over which I would have no control and for which I would be regularly writing checks.
So there you have it. A truly inspiring philosophy of homeschooling. “I’d rather deal with my own limitations and issues than yours and for less money. Thanks.”