This post contains both Wednesday and Thursday:
- Prayer: As per usual, the Mass readings of the day. We also read a bit of 1 Samuel 2 which the lectionary skips. Of course.
- Read about St. Hilary of Poitiers, looked where Poitiers is on a map, compared it to where we have been in France. (Around but not in Poitiers)
- Copywork: Wednesday is literature. In addition, the passage he copied will also be a dictation passage – it is a powerful way of teaching punctuation, spelling and structure. He copies a sentence one day, studies it, then writes it as I dictate it the next. Today was a passage from the current school-novel, Johnny Tremain. Just a couple of sentences to emphasize comma use.
- As he did his copywork, conversation happened along the following lines:
- Observations of the birds at the feeder – I just refilled it, after a few months of neglect.
- Telling me tales of the adventures he and his buddy down the street have with the other boy’s cat.
- He quoted from a Johnny Tremain passage that struck him as amusing, which led to a discussion of plastic and rubber pants for babies, a new concept to him, since he doesn’t remember his own infancy, which involved cloth diapers and diaper covers and all he’s seen on other babies are disposable diapers.
- I will note, fyi, that even though I have Safe Search, googling images for “plastic pants” takes one subtly but definitely close to fetish territory.
- He then went off to read some more of Johnny Tremain. He returned and narrated back what he had read.
- Math was only a single page in the Beast Academy work book – again reviewing multiplication of negative and positive integers, with questions like….
- Is the following product positive or negative? 99 x (-98) x 97 x (-96) x…..(-4) x 3 x (-2) x 1.
- To the kid, it seems impossible at first glance, but the point is that if you just stop and think about what you have learned – including material about counting in Beast Academy 4 – it’s not difficult at all.
- (negative – because 49 of the multipliers are negative. Odd # of negatives in the problem = negative product)
- We then finished watching episode 2 of Liberty! which ends with the Declaration of Independence. Read about same in the two texts, then read much of the document aloud – not all of the grievances, though. He will be memorizing a bit of the preamble by Friday.
- Break. I said 20 minutes, but it turned into almost an hour. Eh. It’s fine. He read some, drew, then played piano and his keyboard for a while.
- Then to the Writing and Rhetoric book – the first unit is about the legend of John Henry. We read and discussed – pages 7-11 in the sample here. Some of it was pretty elementary so we skipped through those parts. He’ll finish the chapter over the next couple of days. I really like the method.
- Latin – started the next chapter (20) and went over vocab, talked about what a Romance language is, looked at a chart comparing words in various Romance languages.
- Watched a couple of videos: This, about a Bronze-age related archaeological discovery in England, which led to a video about alligator-washing day in Japan.
- This one about the Jerboa – a cute, odd jumping rodent. Then he watched a couple more from The Kids Should See This, but I was out of the room, so I can’t tell you much about them.
Again, we cut early today because he needed a haircut, and we were going to make a second attempt at renewing his passport – but once again, the line was longer than I cared to stand and wait in. It’s the season for all the kids doing their spring break and summer trips to get their passports, and I thought I would miss it by going around 1:30, but evidently not, for most of those waiting were teens…
Well, let’s see. Thursday. I’m already thinking about next week, in which we lose Monday for MLK day and then most of Thursday for the co-op classes (drama and history of science) that start up and piano in the afternoon. Panic!
- Prayer: Mass readings and morning prayer petitions from Universalis.
- After: look at map of Old Testament times to orient ourselves re/Philistia.
- Watched this video on Blessed Peter Donders. M is an expert on South American geography, but we still looked at a map of Suriname on principle.
- Copywork – Thursday is pick-a-quote from the quote jar day. It was Thoreau – not too thrilling, but easy to do in cursive. What Lies Behind Us and What Lies Before Us are Tiny Matters Compared to What Lies Within Us. Attributed to Thoreau on the page I got it from, but probably most properly attributed to no one, according to this.
- So anyway, as he was writing and fooling with the paper the quote was printed on, he started snapping it. He looked at me and asked, “Why does paper make a sound when you do that to it?”
- I opened my mouth to say, “Well, probably because….”
- And then my brain broke.
- I mean…why? I had no idea.
- So while he finished that and did some quick math review, I Looked Stuff Up and discovered, as is often the case with these simple questions, the answers are ambiguous and actually up in the air.
- Time for the Teachable Moment! After he finished, we did some quick review – what
is the branch of science that studies sound? Physics. What is the study of sound called? Acoustics. What is sound? Vibrations. We revisited some simple demonstrations – tapping something on a table, and listening to the sound as it travels both through the air, and then with your ear to the table, as well as this one with a metal coat hanger.
- We then started tearing paper – different sorts of paper from copy paper to paper towels. Held the paper in different places while tearing it, wet the paper. Hypothesized. Talked about what I had picked up from my quick research – about molecules being rent and their agonized cries sending vibrations through the air..well, not really. We came to a vague understanding of why torn paper makes a sound, but not an entirely satisfying explanation of why the action of pulling paper by the ends makes a sound.
- The main point was to think, explore and experiment, and to let the kid see that, contrary to contemporary dogma the science is hardly ever “settled,” even on something as simple as the acoustics of snapping paper. The purpose is not to sow doubt, but rather interest, excitement and possibility. There is so much to learn – about everything.
- Then some Beast Academy puzzles. As is often the case, these particular puzzles were beyond me – or, let’s say, beyond my energy level to figure out. I hesitantly presented them to him. He read the explanation, nodded and said, “that’s easy,” and finished them off within minutes. This frequently happens: the math material I think is simple confuses him a bit, and what hurts my brain is a breeze for him. Honestly, I don’t have a brain for puzzles, so that’s part of it.
- Here are some blank templates of the puzzles. The workbook pages posited two players, one putting positive 1’s, the other negatives. The puzzles were partly filled out and the question was in what space did Player A have to put his number in order to win no matter what Player B’s other moves were. Yeah.
- After that, we read a couple of revolutionary-themed poems aloud: “Molly Pitcher” and (of course) “Paul Revere’s Ride.”
- He recited the bit of the Declaration of Independence I had asked him to memorize.
- Writing and Rhetoric – Writing, focusing mostly on adjectives. It’s the “copiousness” part of this sample.
- Latin – chapter 20, focused on the accusative case.
- Then I gave him a length of string that could be made into a square of an area of a square foot, a trowel, a magnifying glass and a container, and told him to go outside (it was in the 60’s) and fence in a square foot with his string and make a study of that area – a “square foot nature study.”
- Which he did, with moderately interesting results, but what REALLY got him going was that he found a bunch of fire ants, shoveled them up, put them in the container, and then filled the container with water….and the ants did the famous “make a raft of our bodies” lifesaving thing. He was thrilled. I kept telling him to dig up worms because (deep breath) next week we’re going to start the study which will end up in dissections (of preserved specimens, silly, not worms from the yard), and I wanted him to do some work with live worms, but the Ant Raft dominated, and then it was time to practice Beethoven, so too bad, worms. Or, lucky worms.
- Piano lesson today, so there was lunch, then practice, then off we went.
- I think tomorrow we are going to go to the Civil Rights Institute – we have been several times, but not for a year or so, and the confluence of MLK day and our study of the Declaration of Independence makes it quite fitting.
- Timeframe (including Ant Raft, but not including lunch or piano practice) 10am – 1pm