Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wednesday Fun Day

Today began in earnest our newest experiment.  Our new schedule includes Mondays and Tuesdays with "heavy work" like Math and English, a break on Wednesday for "light work" like unit studies, art, music, and back to the "Grindstone" for Thursday and Fridays.  So far, so good!  It has been nice to take a break from the other topics on Wednesdays and schedule "fun" stuff into our plan.

So today, we started our unit study on Beethoven.  The girls have been listening to his music all month and soaking it in as they just can not get enough.  Even Magnolia says in the car, "Mom, is this Beethoven? Can we listen to more Beethoven?"  Now in fairness, we have been listening to 2 wonderful cd's that are very kid-friendly.  Beethoven's Wig which is a hilarious symphony sing along with vocal and instrumental versions of the classical pieces.  And a Classical Kids cd about Beethoven's life set to his music called Beethoven Lives Upstairs which apparently also comes in a dvd and a book version.  Rose has been reading the book too.  It is fabulous and had them transfixed immediately!

So we worked on our Beethoven unit and that was when I realized Daisy did not know her continents when doing our map work to find out about Beethoven's home in Austria.  So after some quick maneuvering on my part, we added geography and continent study to our syllabus for today and the rest of the year.  (I had been planning on doing some continents and some countries every week, but after today, we are foregoing the countries to focus on continents for the rest of the year.  We will start again with countries in September once we have the continents down!)

We have been doing mapwork and geography with every history lesson, but since those are ancient maps, I figured we needed an overall world view of the current global geography in order to understand that Austria is NOT Australia and it is NOT located in North America!  LOL!  So we started our study of North America today and while it was difficult work for them, I can already sense it will get easier as they get used to it and I get bigger maps to work with ;),

We also started our study of the Latin parts of the Mass with an introduction to the Kyrie.  That was probably the hardest part of the day, but they were already fried from the map work at that point, so we listened, we translated, we tried to sing and out they went to build a fort while the sun was shining!

The Arts

Tuesday we ventured back downtown for a performance of the Jungle Book, Jr. by Cincinnati Children's Theater.  Although it was not my favorite performance, the company of our homeschool friends was highly enjoyable.  Plus even with gymnastics in the evening and a big chunk of the day missing, we managed to get all of our scheduled work completed with good attitudes!  Way to go girls!

Walking past St. X church reminded me again that hopefully our next trip downtown will include a tour of this historic site and perhaps a visit to St. Peter in Chains too.

Our Trip Downtown

So we have been busy the past 3 days.

For President's Day, we intended to head to the Cincinnati Museum Center, but turned around when we saw both parking lots were completely full.  EEEK, no point in visiting when it is that crazy,  being able to go on a quiet day is just one of the benefits of making our own schedule. :)

So instead, since the Art Museum was closed on Mondays and the Krohn Conservatory is now closed Mondays for budget cuts, we headed downtown for a new adventure ... we visited the Downtown Public Library.  Since it was pouring down rain, the library was busy, so we checked out a calligraphy exhibit and spent our time in the new children's section.  It has been so long since I have been in the library downtown, I am not sure it still qualifies as "new", but it was new to us.  After going over the ground rules with the girls, we had a nice visit and got to check out all of the great books available downtown.  I will say though, it seems most of the adult books have been put away in the stacks, replaced by computer terminals, audio books, cds and dvds.  Entire 2 floors of the library.  Oh how I miss the days when you would bring your slip to the info desk and wait for your number to light up so you could go collect your treasured research from the elevator dumb waiter behind the desk.

We are so fortunate to live in a city with such a fantastic public library system.  The collection of resources owned by PLCHC is fantastic and we appreciate it everyday that we take another book from our library box, or get an email that another requested book is now available.  I need to make a mental note to remember that next time the library has another levy on the ballot..  If only they would not resort to the same scare tactics they used last time but focused on all the wonders of their system..   Oh well.... yay! for books!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Semester I Summary

Well the first half of the year has finished up and I think we have gotten off to a great start! Here is a rundown of the activities and experiences we had:
Lincoln's Boyhood Home National Park in Indiana
Visit to Chicago, IL and the Field Museum, American Girl Place, Adler Planetarium, Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago Children's Museum
Walt Disney World Homeschool Days, including a tour or world cultures through Epcot :)
Cincinnati Children's Theater productions of How I Became a Pirate and Holiday Follies
Multiple visits to the Cincinnati Zoo
Cincinnati Ballet production of Sleeping Beauty
Multiple visits to Cincinnati Museum Center:  Cincinnati History Museum, Cincinnati Children's Museum, Cincinnati Natural History Museum, Hubble IMAX film
Visit to Washington DC to the Newseum, the Monuments of the National Mall, the National Zoo and the Smithsonian Museums
University of Dayton exhibit Nativities Around the World

Whew! It seems like we were busy.  And we still managed to finish our semester on time!

So SH and I sat down during Christmas to discuss this "homeschool experiment" so far.  We looked at each other and said, "Well I don't see any reason to not keep doing this next year."  So as for now, it looks like we will continue on this adventure.  That is somewhat a relief as I felt like I had to cram all sorts of "we will never have this opportunity again" trips into the last semester. ;)

Semester II here we come!