Thursday, October 30, 2014

Drawn from the P.U.S.: picture talk on Titian

A Teacher's Notes for Titian's "Equestrian Portrait of Charles V" (also called "Emperor Charles V on Horseback" or "Charles V at Mühlberg.")  (Lesson adapted from this Parents' Review Article by K.M. Claxton, 1915.)

1.  Ask the student what she knows about Titian.
Possible answers:  Titian was the greatest painter of 16th-century Venice.  He was believed to have lived to be 100, but he was more likely about 90 years old when he died. He painted religious art and portraits of princes and emperors all over Europe.

2.  What is the painting?  
Created between April and September 1548 while Titian was at the imperial court of Augsburg, it is a tribute to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, following his victory in the April 1547 Battle of Mühlberg against the Protestant armies. (Wikipedia article)
3. Who was Charles V?  See "Subject" in this article from The Guardian (really useful). 

4. The history of the picture:  
Some sources say that Titian was the official court painter for Charles V., but he seems to have had a special freedom to travel and to paint other subjects, and he is described as almost more of a personal friend of the Emperor.  Read this passage from Titian's Portraits through Aretino's Lens, by Luba Freedman: "Charles's affection for Titian was common knowledge. Certainly Titian was not the only artist ever to have been aditted to the court and to have become a favourite of rulers, but his close relationship with the emperor was unusual for the time...Aretino opines that this privilege was bestowed on Titian not only because of his talent in painting but also because of his virtuous agent of the Duke of Urbino..also reported that Titian had become the august favourite and even had a room near the emperor so he could converse privately with his patron. That this privilege was exceptional can be seen in a letter of Nov 10, the skeptical Giovanni Della Casa: “Messer Titian has spent a long time with His Imperial Majesty painting his portrait, and seems to have had plenty of opportunities to talk with him, while he was painting and so on...In thinking about the relationship between Titian and Charles V, one should keep in mind...that he had priority over most persons in attendance upon the emperor, for he was an independent citizen of the Venetian Republic, and as such served Charles only by special invitation. Titian was in no sense a court painter dependent on imperial favor. His independence may have played a part in his unique approach to portraying the emperor."

5.  After studying the picture for several minutes, the student describes it out loud. 
6.  Then we read a few appreciative words on the life and energy displayed, on the beauty of the forms, and on the beautiful shading of the picture.

"The portrait in part gains its impact by its directness and sense of contained power: the horse's strength seems just in check, and Charles' brilliantly shining armour and the painting's deep reds are reminders of battle and heroism." (Wikipedia article)  See also the "Distinguishing Features" section of the article from The Guardian. I especially like the part about "Charles V rides out of the woods, across a sweeping landscape, in front of one of Titian's most unforgettable skies..."

7.  The student draws the chief lines of the composition.

8. A final note:  Titian's seventeenth-century biographer Carlo Ridolfi recounts an anecdote concerning their relationship..."It is told of Titian that while he was painting the portrait, he dropped a brush, which the emperor picked up, and bowing low, Titian declared: 'Sire, one of your servants does not deserve such an honour.' To this Charles replied: 'Titian deserves to be served by Caesar.'"  Pierre-Nolasque Bergeret painted this scene in 1808 ("Charles V Picking Up Titian's Paintbrush"). (Quote and painting found here.)

In this way delight (L'Harmas posts)

Some final thoughts from Laurie Bestvater's talk (I'm not cribbing here, just thinking about it)

You cannot stop God from speaking.  Jesus said that if the children's praises were silenced, the rocks would cry out in their place.  
I read that although Bibles were confiscated in Russia under Communist rule, the authorities forgot to ban some of the country's great novelists, like Dostoevsky. "For example, a character in one of his novels meets a young peasant woman with a baby. When the baby smiles for the first time, the woman makes the Sign of the Cross. When asked why she made this sign, the woman answers: ``All the joy that a mother feels when she sees her child smiling for the first time... God feels every time He sees... a sinner praying to him from the bottom of his heart."  (found here)

God's voice has a way of capturing our hearts, inspiring deep reactions and also actions. We learn to listen for that voice, and to see it as well.  We may seem to hear and see most clearly at certain times, at certain places, or through the words of certain authors that seem to bring us through magic doorways (sometimes found at the back of old wardrobes).  Mark Patrick Hederman calls those times and places "thresholds, where the very pores are kept open between the visible and the invisible."

And as teachers, what does all that have to do with the way we want students to learn?

We encourage the relationship between authors and readers. We direct students to the doorway, but we don't shove them through it.

We use lessons as an instrument for building relationships.

We allow grace to come as and when it will. "Grace is not so poor a thing that it cannot present itself in any number of ways,' writes Marilynne Robinson in Gilead.

We count on delight.
And in this way delight is necessary for happiness. For it is caused by the appetite being at rest in the good attained ~~ St. Thomas Aquinas
Tomorrow:: one last post about L'Harmas, Charlotte Mason, and what happens when CM homeschoolers meet up. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Kindergarten, work or play?

Another round of studies that say kindergarten is changing, not for the better.  (Thanks, DHM.)

Cartoon found here.

Quote, and quote, on parents and love

"Contact with the new ideas is not doing for us what it ought, if it does not act as a powerful stimulant to the whole body of our thought about life. It should make us think, and think hard, not only about how to teach our children the alphabet more easily, but about such fundamental matters as what we actually mean by moral life ; whether we really honestly wish the spiritually best for our children, or only the materially best."--Dorothy Canfield Fisher, A Montessori Mother

“Excess of love, did ye say? There was no excess, there was defect. She loved her son too little, not too much [by selfishly wishing him back with her]. If she had loved him more there'd be no difficulty.” ~~C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

Let the wild rumpus start (L'Harmas posts)

Have you seen the movie Hop? (Terrible reviews, but it did have its moments.) The main character is an out-of-work young man named Fred.  Fred's sister takes pity on him and sets up a job interview. Fred mumbles that he'll think about it.  His sister says, "You don't think about it. You shave, you shower, and you show up."  At the least, right?

Sometimes it does start with showing up, being there, human beans getting involved. I'm thinking of the kids who showed up to play in Roxaboxen, and in Maurice Sendak's The Sign on Rosie's Door. Somebody (Marian, Rosie) had ideas...but the others had to come too.
Laurie Bestvater asked a question (at L'Harmas) that came out of her son's studies in political science. What is the moment when an idea leads to some kind of action, positive or negative?  If the air is charged with something about to happen, how do you get from thinking about it to doing something about it?  What moves you from just considering an idea to acting on it?

And when it's an idea that you're taking in, from someone or somewhere else, how do you define that moment of learning, the lightbulb flash?   If there's an element of mystery about how this happens, what is our part as teachers?  Is it something we can control, or do we just help set up the conditions for that to happen? Charlotte Mason had some things to say about not getting in the way of the Holy Spirit, even in religious instruction.
On the other hand, are there things that teachers and parents do (or hopefully don't do) that kill the mystery, that strip the body down to the bones?  Last  Friday, Lydia and I read this in Adler's How to Read a Book:  "The vice of 'verbalism' can be defined as the bad habit of using words without regard for the thoughts they should convey and without awareness of the experiences to which they should refer...'verbalism' is the besetting sin of those who fail to read analytically. [Note that 'analytically' is used here in a positive sense, meaning the reader searches for the big ideas in an argument by noting the key words, terms, and sentences, and not in the synthesis vs. analysis argument of classical education.] Such readers never get beyond the words ...lack of such discipline results in slavery to words rather than mastery of them."

As Laurie pointed out, another way of killing books (and the enjoyment of reading) is to drag them to pieces in unit studies (or blog posts). Or to give multiple-choice tests on them. (Do you notice that that test is part of a unit on Imagination?)

Roxaboxen is set in Arizona.  It mentions cactus and ocotillo. It gives us an idea of what it was like to play outdoors in a desert climate. But it is not a botany or geography book, any more than Miss Rumphius is a scientific study of lupines. The text has to be taken on its own terms. (That is where synthesis, not analysis in its pulling-apart sense, becomes important.)

Dallas Willard said that the Kingdom of God means that God is doing something, and that He invites us to join in whatever this thing is that he is doing, this divine conspiracy.  There's a clear invitation but also a certain sense of mystery, something that calls to us, something that we can give to our children so clearly that they themselves dream of a place they've never seen.  As our friend Cindy says, that "thing" is more often found in poetry than in grammar lessons, unless, again, our 'verbalism' destroys the poem that "should not mean but be."

In The Sign on Rosie's Door, Rosie entices her friends into spending a hot afternoon sitting on her cellar door with her, waiting for someone called "Magic Man" to show up.
"That evening, when their mothers asked them what they had done all afternoon, they said they had done so much there wasn't even enough time to do it in and they were going to do it all over again tomorrow.  'Good!' all their mothers said." ~~ Maurice Sendak, The Sign on Rosie's Door

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sweet home Ontari-ama (L'Harmas posts)

Leaves all down now on the red maple

Melanie Walker-Malone may be a less familiar name to some Treehouse readers.  I met Melanie for the first time at last year's L'Harmas, while I was still trying to wrap my head around the idea that people would actually come up HERE for a conference, from down THERE.

This year Melanie's talk was about the world-famous and inspiring people who were born in her home state, Alabama, and how learning about the heroes right around you often creates wider connections.  For instance, Helen Keller, from Alabama, had a close connection with Alexander Graham Bell, and when we were chatting after her talk Melanie mentioned that she (Melanie) had been to the Bell Historic Site in Nova Scotia.  But she didn't know that there's also a Bell Homestead in Brantford, Ontario, much closer to us, where the first telephone calls were made! So the connections continue to grow.

Melanie mentioned not only people but local resources; in her case, marble which is quarried nearby and used in Birmingham for everything from statues to kitchen islands.  The next day when some of us were walking around the corner to check out the Gothic architecture of the Church of the Epiphany (shown in the photo--thank you, Sandra), Jeanne mentioned that her church in Australia is built of sandstone. (See Jeanne's post about rocks in her area.)  Teaching children to recognize their "own" rocks, wood, whatever, is another way to get them to notice what's around them in a new way.  A building, a wall, a monument that they would have passed over before, takes on new meaning when they know not only who or what it represents, but also why the material was chosen, where it came from.

So guess what I found online today? A local geologist has put together a self-guided walking tour of some of the city buildings, pointing out what they're made of, where fossils are embedded in stone walls, and so on.  Anybody local who wants to know, contact me and I'll send you the link.  Is that cool or what?
Our front steps and retaining wall

Little ideas...they just hatch out and hop all over the place.

Sonia Trigueros on nanomedicine

One of the videos I watched during the TedxCern event: the really really big, the really really small, and where cancer research is going with those. Amazing.

Now online: the antimatter cartoon!

This animation was shown as part of this fall's TedxCern event.  Now at Youtube!  And some of the speaker videos are now available at TedXCern.

Funny Quote for the Day

I shall not want Honour in Heaven
For I shall meet Sir Philip Sidney
And have talk with Coriolanus
And other heroes of that kidney.

from T.S. Eliot, "A Cooking Egg"

Tammy Glaser (and the DHM) on teaching the whole child (L'Harmas posts)

One of the keynote speakers at this year's L'Harmas weekend was Tammy Glaser.  Most Treehouse readers know who Tammy is. (She also brought her daughter Pamela with her, and we got to see Pamela's artwork.) Many of you will also know that she has been involved with a small school, so she has been getting the chance to see how CM works with even more shapes and sizes and styles of children.

Tammy talked about teaching vs. what you might call therapizing. The Deputy Headmistress posted on a similar theme, awhile back, saying, 'Intimidated by the condescending attitude of the perky expert, who spoke kindly but loftily to all of us as though we were small and more than unusually dim children, we found ourselves responding by feeling small and dim and mentally shrinking down to her expectations."

If we are to teach with things and thoughts, then the teacher--of any student, including one with particular limitations--needs to know what potential things and thoughts are in the lesson, what might be in the way, and how we can get around those obstacles, make the lesson meaningful...and not make anybody feel small and dim.  Sometimes, in a classroom, that just means doing what teachers have always done: seating one child away from chattering friends or other distractions, or putting another one right up front to keep an eye on them.  It might mean letting certain children "break the rules"--letting them narrate a picture talk with the picture in front of them instead of hidden.  In a one-on-one situation, there's even more room for taking things as slow or making things as concrete as they need to be for that student.

And, to take something else away from what Tammy said, that makes outdoor time even more valuable for all children.  What sorts of things happen...naturally...on nature walks, during outdoor play time, in an afternoon at the beach? What happens when you encounter a real praying mantis? How can you match that in a therapy room?

We want to give everyone access to real things, big thoughts. It might help to remember that "a person's a person no matter how small," but only in the sense, maybe, of physical size or chronological age.  Because nobody wants to feel small and dim.

Another post you might like:  Illegal Moves.

More posts about L'Harmas 2014

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sometimes I make other things

Crocheted tote bag, made to cover up an older bag that was getting of these.
That way I could still use the webbing handles and the strength of the canvas fabric, but it just looks better.

What's for supper?

Tonight's menu:

Spinach-tortilla lasagna.  Meat-eaters' option: put your serving of lasagna on some browned ground beef.

Sweet potato slices, leftover salad

Baked apples from the Old Farmhouse orchard in Kingsville.

A gift from L'Harmas (L'Harmas posts)

This year's L'Harmas theme was the praying mantis.  They popped up, so to speak, all over; there was even a live one on the nature table in the hall.

And just before we left, each of us was given our own hand-collected, Mason-jarred praying mantis egg sac, to keep somewhere cool over the winter.  In the spring it will hatch into lots and lots of tiny praying mantises (see video below).

Charlotte Mason said that the mind is no mere sac to hold ideas, but in this case I think it's true. From small beginnings, many great things spread.

Thanks extremely to the families of the L'Harmas organizers who put all those jars together!  May you never find a forgotten one hatching in your kitchen.

(Jeanne didn't think it would be a very good idea to take one back to Australia.)

Roxaboxen and Mitford, two safe places (L'Harmas posts)

Do you ever have stories twine together in your mind?
This is Roxaboxen, by Alice McLerran. Laurie Bestvater read it to us at L'Harmas.
These are the "houses" in Roxaboxen, and "Marian the Mayor" in her place of honour.
This is Jan Karon's Mitford.
This Hal Just's illustration of Mitford mayor Esther Cunningham, in Out to Canaan.
Laurie Bestvater did a talk on commonplace books.  I wrote down "commonplace" and then wrote it as "common place."  A common place where each person has their way of belonging.  
"Everybody had a car. 
All you needed was something round for a steering wheel.
Of course, if you broke the speed limit you had to go to jail...
Anna May, quiet little Anna May, was always speeding-
you'd think she liked to go to jail."  ~~ Roxaboxen

"Who is your St. Nicholas?"
"Just someone having some fun that is funny." ~~ Jan Karon, Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good

Laurie also asked us to imagine that we were in Roxaboxen.  What would we see ourselves doing in the children's imaginary worldl? A couple of us said that if we had been there as children, we might have felt too shy to join in at all, but be watching from the edges. (Or possibly cutting loose like Anna May, see above.)
This weekend, L'Harmas has been a safe place for us to come and join the game. It's a place where ideas can come out and play.
A Roxaboxen, a Mitford.  We need more of both.

Lydia's Grade Eight, Week Nine (school plans)

What's up for school this week?

We are starting Module 3 in Apologia Physical Science, "The Atmosphere."

We are also reading a chapter called "Light and the Rhythms of Life" in Exploring the World Around You.  It's about migration and hibernation, which seems like a good topic for this time of year.  The page to read in Keeping a Nature Journal is "Autumn Changes."

In How to Read a Book we will be "Finding the Arguments."

In history, we get into the reign of Elizabeth.  In History of English Literature there are two chapters about the life of Shakespeare.  Since the end of the week is Reformation Day, we will also be reading a speech by Martin Luther.

And in How to Be Your Own Selfish Pig, we have chapter 9, "That does not compute."  What happens when people are viewed or treated as machines?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Look who dropped in at L'Harmas

I will be posting more about L'Harmas over the next week, but here was surprise #1.  (Yes, that is me, Mama Squirrel, in the brown coat.)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Quote for the day: I've been waiting to use this one

"I'm as excited as a very excited person who's got a special reason to be excited." ~~ Hugh Laurie in Blackadder Goes Forth

(the coffee mug didn't get it quite right)

See you Sunday.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

School plans for Friday: a short day

1. If it's nice enough, work on nature notebooks.

2. Finish ecology lesson for the week: coral reefs and estuaries.
2b. Chapter from Cousteau's The Silent World.  We are not reading the whole book, just this chapter.

3. Watch the You-tube movie of Maupassant's "The Necklace."  (In French.)

4. One lesson from Plutarch.

5. Probably a chapter from Out of the Silent Planet.

6. Lydia is going to work on her math and science in the afternoon, after Mama Squirrel has gone to the L'Harmas retreat.

Mama Squirrel's nature notebook

Don't be staring at the eclipse today

Yes, there are other things happening in the world...but a partial solar eclipse is interesting too.

Destroyed in translation: Would you like to build a snowman corporation? (Frozen parody)

We just can't let Frozen go...Lydia found this (and others from the same artist) on You-tube.

Lydia's Grade Eight: The last French lesson

Yesterday's lesson on "The Necklace" was straightforward: we read the two pages about how Mme Loisel borrowed a diamond necklace, had fun at the party, and then, back at home, found that the necklace was missing.
I did a doodled presentation of jewels, happiness/sadness, and a little horse-drawn taxicab on the white board (see photo), to use as a reference while I read through the story.  Lydia read a couple of paragraphs afterward, for practice, and I asked her to narrate.  ("Ooh la la, des diamants!")

Today is the fourth and last lesson.  For the sake of length, we are going to skip the details about them trying to find the necklace and borrow the money to pay for a replacement.  But we will go through some housework vocabulary with the help of Cinderella; write out some adjective phrases (see below), and read the portion of the Prayer of St. Francis I included in the first lesson.  And then we will read and narrate the rest of the story, from the point where their lifestyle changes drastically.

A list of household vocabulary:
la bonne: the maid
une mansarde:  a garret apartment
les travaux, les besognes: the duties
le ménage: the housework
la cuisine: the cooking
laver / faire la vaisselle: wash / do the dishes
une casserole: a pot
les mains rouges: red hands, dishpan hands
le linge sale: dirty laundry
les ordures: the garbage
laver les planchers: scrub the floors

More adjectives:  Say that he or she seems... (il / elle semble...)  Say that he or she has become... (il / elle est devenu(e)...)
odieux (odieuse)
vieux (vieille)
mal peignée (uncombed, bad hair day)

And a bonus for tomorrow:  the film, with captions too, in French!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Lost in translation

I borrowed Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good from the library, and now I have the audio book on my tablet, for two weeks, also a free download from our wonderful public library.  At one point in the story, Jan Karon mentions that the music playing in the Happy Endings Bookstore is one of Bach's Advent Cantatas.

I went to You-tube and found the cantata for the first Sunday of Advent: Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland.  The proper translation of that is Now Come, Saviour of the Heathens (or Heathen if you'd rather).

But the online translation site had a different opinion.  It came up with "the pagans clinic."

Maybe like this?

Lydia's Grade Eight: Today we are listening to Wagner's Lohengrin

"Even the feeling of "unremembered pleasure"--for it is possible to have the spring of association touched so lightly that one recovers the feeling of former pleasure without recovering the sensation, or the image, which produced the sensation, but merely just the vague feeling of the pleasure, as when one hears the word Lohengrin and does not wait, as it were, to recover the sensation of musical delight, but just catches a waft of the pleasure which the sensation brought--intangible, indefinite as they are, produce that glow of the heart which warms a good man to 'acts of kindness and of love,' as little, as nameless, and as unremembered as the feelings out of which they spring." ~~ Charlotte Mason, Parents and Children, page 197

"I just happened to be on the same bus as a party of young German children going back after the performance and they unanimously told their teacher they had enjoyed it and said out loud their favourite moments. More tellingly the teacher told one of her charges how he had shown he could concentrate for over an hour watching an opera and now she wanted him to do that in class. There was a reply from another adult in the party – possibly not an actual colleague – to the effect that perhaps the teacher should learn to sing!" ~~ "Bayreuth Opens Up Wagner to a Younger Audience", by Jim Pritchard, at Seen and Heard International (2014)


"Lohengrin," chapter in Stories of Favorite Operas, by Clyde Robert Bulla (free to read online!).  Retold for children.

Daily Telegraph article: "The opera novice: Wagner's Lohengrin," with one or two omissions.  You-tube video of the overture, at that link. You-tube video of Elsa's Procession to the Cathedrral.  And the Wedding March!  This description is interesting too, and goes a little more into the specific songs.

Prelude to Act III of Lohengrin, You-tube link above.  Does this sound familiar?

Many would find this offensive, but the Prelude to Act I was used (most ironically) in a scene from Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator, made in 1940, where the title character dances with a large globe.

It's also interesting to search You-tube for examples of Liszt's piano transcriptions of Wagner's music. We can imagine Mrs. Howard Glover, the first CM Music Appreciation mama, playing it in much the same way for her son.  "Elsa's Procession to the Cathedral" seems popular.

Sometimes I make things, again: Crocheted tablet case

I have a Samsung tablet so that I can take my cyberwanderings to places other than the basement.  But it didn't have anything to protect it.

I also had a partly-made crocheted cushion cover that I'd gotten bored with.  Folded in half, it was slightly too big for the tablet, but with some careful cutting and the help of the sewing machine, it worked.  I added trim on the flap, and a button to hold it closed.

Cost: basically free, since the piece of crocheting was just sitting around.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Check these out: family-friendly opera books, free online

Do you want to introduce your children to opera, particularly Richard Wagner, but worry about the often questionable content of the stories?  Clyde Robert Bulla, children's writer of many subjects, came to the rescue half a century ago, and two of his books are available for free on  We have had a copy of his Stories of Favorite Operas for years, and I think Lydia read some of the stories when, even with them family-friendlied up, she was a bit young for some of what is, still, not always meant for the nursery crowd.  Still, with Bulla, you know you are on fairly trustworthy ground; you are not going to get anything beyond general fairy-tales-and-legends sorts of violence and misbehaviour.

So, keeping that in mind, here are the links:

Stories of Favorite Operas (contains several by Wagner)

The Ring and the Fire (Bulla's retelling of Wagner's Ring Cycle operas).

What's for supper? Euro/Chinese (with photos)

Inspiration: Chow Mein recipe from the More With Less Cookbook
Thawed poppy-seed bread
Brown rice
Vegetable chow mein, made with a mix of Europe's Best Nature's Balance and Zen Garden frozen vegetables (on sale for $2 a bag this week).  Almonds at the table.
Ukrainian pork dumplings from the Euro store.
Orange slices.

Because this still makes me laugh: Hallowe'en popcorn idea

I don't generally post Hallowe'en crafts, but I was looking through our October archives from a few years ago and noticed this link.  Still a cute, non-scary, fairly healthy, and frugal idea!

More French lessons: The Necklace, continued

I. Subject: French Narration.
 Group: Languages. Class III. Time: 30 minutes

I. To give the children more facility in understanding French, when they hear it spoken and also in expressing themselves in it.
II. To teach them some new words and expressions.
III. To improve their pronunciation.
IV. To strengthen the habit of attention.
V. To have the following passage narrated by the children.


Passage Chosen: from Guy de Maupassant, "La Parure" ("The Necklace"), the scene at dinner where M. Loisel brings a party invitation and Mme Loisel insists she has nothing to wear.

Review work from yesterday:

1.  You are given a small pile of adjective cards, words that mean things like charming, distinguished, lazy, unhappy.  Sort them into two piles: positive and negative.

2.  Tell the story so far in English.

(Repeated from yesterday) CM steps in a French reading/narration lesson

Step I.—Read the passage slowly and distinctly, stopping frequently to make sure that the pupils understand. Write the new words and expressions on the board and give their meanings.  Yesterday I had things written out aheaad of time; today we will use the white board and write as we go.
Step II.—Let the pupils repeat the story in English.
Step III.—Read the passage straight through.
Step IV.—Let the pupils read the passage, paying special attention to the pronunciation. Since part of this passage is conversation between the Loisels, one person can be M. Loisel and the other can be his wife.
Step V.—Have the passage narrated in French, helping the children when necessary with questions. Speak as much French as possible throughout, but always make sure that the pupils understand.

 la soupière

Monday, October 20, 2014

Food and Fall (photo post)

Our perpetual calendar (inherited from relatives)
 What our red maple is looking like this week
Fall flower arrangement (bought last year at Michael's for half price)
Bowl of carrot sticks
Chicken chili with rigatoni
Cranberry-raspberry crisp (a little one)

Hey, psst, HSBA nominations end tonight

Nominations end tonight for the 2014 Homeschool Blog Awards.  Details here.

Drawn from the P.U.S.: a French lesson on The Necklace

Adapted from this Parents' Review French lesson

Based on the opening passage of "The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant.

I. Subject: French Narration.
Group: Languages. Class III. Time: 30 minutes

I. To give the children more facility in understanding French, when they hear it spoken and also in expressing themselves in it.
II. To teach them some new words and expressions.
III. To improve their pronunciation.
IV. To strengthen the habit of attention.
V. To have the following passage narrated by the children.


Passage Chosen: Guy de Maupassant, "La Parure" ("The Necklace").
C'était une de ces jolies et charmantes filles, nées, comme par une erreur du destin, dans une famille d'employés. Elle n'avait pas de dot, pas d'espérances, aucun moyen d'être connue, comprise, aimée, épousée par un homme riche et distingué; et elle se laissa marier avec un petit commis du ministère de l'Instruction publique.

Elle fut simple, ne pouvant être parée, mais malheureuse comme une déclassée; car les femmes n'ont point de caste ni de race, leur beauté, leur grâce et leur charme leur servant de naissance et de famille. Leur finesse native, leur instinct d'élégance, leur souplesse d'esprit sont leur seule hiérarchie, et font des filles du peuple les égales des plus grandes dames.*

Step I.—Read the passage slowly and distinctly, stopping frequently to make sure that the children understand. Write the new words and expressions on the board [I wrote them out] and give their meanings.
Step II.—Let the children repeat the story in English.
Step III.—Read the passage straight through.
Step IV.—Let the children read the passage, paying special attention to the pronunciation.
Step V.—Have the passage narrated in French, helping the children when necessary with questions. Speak as much French as possible throughout, but always make sure that the pupils understand.

Step VI.--In closing, read part of The Prayer of St. Francis in French, watching for the vocabulary from this lesson.

Ô Maître, que je ne cherche pas tant à être consolé qu'à consoler, à être compris qu'à comprendre,  à être aimé qu'à aimer, car c'est en donnant qu'on reçoit,
c'est en s'oubliant qu'on trouve, c'est en pardonnant qu'on est pardonné,
c'est en mourant qu'on ressuscite à l'éternelle vie. 

  * Translation (not mine):  She was one of those pretty and charming girls born, as though fate had blundered over her, into a family of artisans. She had no marriage portion, no expectations, no means of getting known, understood, loved, and wedded by a man of wealth and distinction; and she let herself be married off to a little clerk in the Ministry of Education. Her tastes were simple because she had never been able to afford any other, but she was as unhappy as though she had married beneath her; for women have no caste or class, their beauty, grace, and charm serving them for birth or family, their natural delicacy, their instinctive elegance, their nimbleness of wit, are their only mark of rank, and put the slum girl on a level with the highest lady in the land.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Drawn from the P.U.S.: how Charlotte Mason might have introduced aquatic ecosystems

Subject: Aquatic Ecosystems

Group: Science. Class III. Time: depends, can be split over two or three sessions.
Books used: The World Around You, by Gary Parker. The Usborne Living World Encyclopedia. Philip's Atlas of the Oceans. Optional: The Silent World, by J.Y. Cousteau and Frederic Dumas.

I. To introduce the concept of aquatic (vs. terrestrial) ecosystems
II. To describe inland and marine ecosystems.

III. To notice the common thread of this chapter: how each system is designed to support life

Introduction: review terms such as ecosystem, biotic and abiotic factors.  Name and describe some terrestrial ecosystems (rainforest, grassland, etc.).
Section One:  Lakes and Ponds, particularly about seasonal turnover. This section in The World Around You is written rather briefly; I prefer "Lake Turnover, How it Works" by R. Karl.

Hands-on demonstration of water density, with hot and cold water plus food colouring:  Lake Turnover, from Science North.  Draw a page for your science notebook, noting how seasonal turnover helps to sustain life in lakes.

Final notes on this section: rivers as a mixture of ecosystems (life in a river depends on factors such as what's on the bottom).

Section Two:  Marine Ecosystems, i.e. Oceans.  Look at the Vertical Distribution illustration on page 86 of the Atlas of the Oceans, showing the different depth zones. Read pages 25-27 in Parker, on the same topic.  Look at pages 22-23 in the Living World Encyclopedia, "The ocean surface," and pages 26-27, "The depths of the ocean."  Narrate, creatively, graphically, or otherwise.

Section Three:  Read pages 27-28 in Parker. Use the illustrated pages in The Living World Encyclopedia to look at Coral Reefs, Shorelines, and Estuaries.  Narrate, noting especially how life is sustained in different parts of the ocean and in special systems such as estuaries.

Bonus reading:  Chapter 13, "Beyond the Barrier," in The Silent World.(about coral reefs)

Bonus field trip:  Take a fall trip to the pond.
Adapted from Class Notes, as printed in various Parents' Reviews.

Lydia's Grade Eight, Week Eight: Air, Fire, and Water?

Illustration by Trina Schart Hyman for St. George and the Dragon, by Barbara Cooney

Reading together:

How to Be Your Own Selfish Pig, chapter 8, "You don't think anyone's going to hell, do you?"  An intense, serious chapter with big questions.  Read in two parts.

Exploring the World Around You (ecology): "Aquatic Ecosystems."

How to Read a Book: "Finding the Propositions."

Whatever Happened to Justice?, "Economic Calculation."  What makes a free trade?

Keep reading Out of the Silent Planet (from the AO Free Reads list)

Things to read alone:

Assigned Bible readings: 1 Samuel, Matthew, Psalms, Proverbs

Physical Science: finish Module 2, "Air."

Read The Bible Through the Ages, and make entries in the Book of Centuries. This week's topics are The Oracles of Isaiah, Baruch, and Jeremiah; The Making of Parchment; the Babylonian Captivity.

Read this week's English history, about Queen Mary, from either Churchill's New World or Arnold-Forster's History.  Book of Centuries.

Three chapters from History of English Literature, two about Spenser, one about theaters.  Three chapters from Westward Ho!  

Other things to do:

Music of Wagner

Math: "The Sequence of Squares."

French and Latin lessons

Know how to use and care for the stove and some of the small appliances in your home.  Keep notes in an Enquire Within notebook.

Make entries in your Reader's Journal, and at least one Nature Notebook entry.  This might be a good time to take a fall walk around the pond.
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