Friday, September 23, 2011

Mystery of History, Volume 2, Weeks 1 & 2, (Which Actually Took Us 3 Weeks)

We are excitedly jumping into our next phase of history, one I've never even been in: the Early Church and Medieval times.

Somehow, we've skipped over this time period.  Rose Bud was working through ancient history when she went off to public school.  Daisy was small and was lightly going through a little ancient history with us.  When Rose Bud was very small, we went through Sonlight's Core 1 and only half-heartedly through Core 2, which contained the medieval period.  Somehow it was much more fun to reach American history and we took our sweet time enjoying Cores 3 and 4.  Somewhere in there Rose Bud and I (with Daisy tagging along) also did Core 5.

When Rose Bud went to public school, Daisy and Pepper and I tackled Cores 3 and 4 again, enjoying American history all over.  I then debated and agonized over doing Core 5.  So many wise ones who had gone before discouraged its use by a 4th grader, which Pepper was.  So after investing in it and deciding to use it, at the 11th hour I bailed and we went for Core 6, Ancient History.

Well, it wasn't many days after that decision that I decided Mystery of History, which, being a Curriculum Junkie, I already owned was a better fit.  And we never looked back.

And now we are beginning MOH2.

So without further ado, here are our first two weeks:
Mystery of History 2

Pentecost and the First Followers of Jesus c. A.D. 29 
Saul, Who is Also Called Paul A.D. 31
Paul's Missionary Journeys c. A.D. 46-66
Nero A.D. 37-68
Martyrs of the Early Church c. A.D. 64-257

Read-Alouds (books I read to them)
Stephen, A Soldier of the Cross  This book was written in 1896 and republished by Lamplighter Books.  Although it is written in archaic language (lots of thees and thous and doest thou) the girls (and I) loved it!  It was a great story with an exciting plot intertwining actual characters from the Bible with some fictional go-alongs in a story of how-it-might-have-been.  It gave a good overview of what everyday life was like for various levels of society in the deserts of Egypt and in Jerusalem just after Jesus' death.
The Ides of April This very exciting story takes place in A.D. 62 during the time of Nero.  It's not related to the Christians of the time, but rather tells the life of a Roman household and its slaves.  One slave, having been accused of the murder of his master, has endangered all the slaves of the household.  Another slave who has escaped capture endeavors to save them all.  I began reading this aloud and then passed it off to the girls to finish. (I can only read so much before my voice gives out!)
The Life of St. Paul by Fosdick  This is a Landmark book and thus very easy to read.  I could assign it as a reader, however this article highlights some concerns about the author, Harry Emerson Fosdick.  These concerns didn't keep us from reading the book.  Instead, I chose to do it as a read-aloud so that we could discuss concerns as they came up.  The book does point out some interesting  ideas about Paul's life which I hadn't realized before.  For example, he points out how Jesus was a country boy, growing up in a rural area and being familiar with rural ideas and farming practices.  Along with that, the people he preached to were also mainly rural people and this is evident in the illustrations he uses; illustrations about sheep, crops, birds of the field, vineyards.  Paul, on the other hand, was a city boy from Tarsus, a booming metropolis.  He was well-educated, knew several languages and was a Roman citizen.  Hence his illustrations were of things like running the race (a reference to Roman athletics) and such.  He seldom mentioned anything related to farming or livestock.  In any case, we did notice that there is no mention of Jesus' divinity or the Holy Spirit in the book.  Also, in the later chapters, Paul is painted as being concerned about losing the respect and love of the churches, whereas the Biblical Paul would have been concerned with the churches losing love and respect for GOD (not himself).  We discussed this discrepancy and pointed out how one needs to be aware of the perspective and world-view of the author whatever one is reading.
(Incidently, here is a list of Landmark books listed chronologically)

On-going Read-Alouds
We are reading  each day from the One-Year Chronological Bible (NLT).  This is the Bible that got me to finally read through the whole Bible.  And I love the readability of the NLT.  Whichever version you choose, this is organized chronologically, so we've had Galatians inserted into our Acts of the Apostles already.  Readings are short, 15 min. a day.  We began with Acts.

Trial and Triumph  I have probably too many books about Early Church history, but I am finding, as we read through them, that they each bring something different to our experience.  Thus far we have only read about Polycarp and Blandina in this book, but both came to us in nice, short, story-format chapters.  Sometimes it's nice just to have something easy to read.

In that same vein, we are reading from Foxe: Voice of the Martyrs.  This version is published by Voice of the Martyrs organization.  This book tells the stories of the apostles, as well as early martyrs.  It has an old-fashioned feel with very old drawings (gory!) throughout.

AND we are reading from Peril and Peace, Volume 1: Chronicles of the Ancient Church.  Again, this is more of a story format.  However, rather than JUST stories of the martyrs, it also gives the history of the ancient church, such as background of the martyring Roman emperors and what worship in the early church looked like.

Pepper somehow escaped reading The Bronze Bow, although Daisy had finished it last spring, so Pepper has read that already this fall.  Pepper also read The Beast of Lor by Clyde Robert Bulla, about the Romans in early Britain.  Daisy read Titus: Comrade of the Cross, which is a prequel to Stephen listed above.  It was too challenging for Pepper, but Daisy enjoyed it, in spite of its 32 chapters and the 5 days I gave her to read it!  Both girls also paged through The Roman Colosseum by Elizabeth Mann when we read about Nero.

Other Media
"Prisoner for Christ,"  from Adventures in Odyssey Bible Eyewitness  (CD#3) told the story of Onesimus, the slave of Philemon (of Philemon in the Bible).  Twice Freed also tells the story, but the girls deemed the book, "boring."
They've been working through the Drive Thru History series and watched episodes from Greece and the Word DVD which touched on the travels of Paul.
And we love the Diana Waring CDs!  This year we are listening to the Romans, Reformers and Revolutionaries set.  For these two weeks, we are listening to Digging Deeper, Disc 1: The Exploding Church and What in the World's Going On Here? Disc 1, Track 2: 1st century Church & Emperors.

Maps and Timeline
We are combing the map exercises in MOH2 with our MapTrek maps.  And we use the Homeschool in the Woods timeline figures on our timeline.  We add the figures suggested in MOH and any others that we've read about for the week.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rosie's Walk

During our Read-Aloud time aloud to Sunshine. The first book I chose was Rosie's Walk and he's been obsessed with it for two weeks. Each day I throw in a new story, but every day he also wants Rosie's Walk.

He's actually always been that way, latching on to a book and having us read it day after day until we can hardly stand it.

Anyway, his latest love is Rosie's Walk, so I thought I'd throw in some fun extras for him.

We watched this Scholastic video on YouTube:

I printed this book to make. The link downloads the pdf of the book. I think we'll make the book to practice reading the words (he already read this out loud to me one day, just to shake things up). I think we'll also use a copy of this to work on the position words (prepositions) and he can move Rosie over, under, around, etc.

We didn't do this, but here are discussion and activity ideas for reading the book.

If you had older children you wanted to incorporate into the lesson, you could do these higher-level sequencing activities.

We'll do these activities until he loses interest in this book. Then we'll find a new obsession for him.

1st Grade Summer School

Sunshine has been in public school this past year for kindergarten.  The plan is also for him to go to public school for 1st grade.  He still needs speech services pretty intensely.

However, HE thinks he will be homeschooling. Every time I mention school in fall he mildly says, "No, Mom. I homeschooling!"


So I promised him we'd homeschool this summer and he's been LOVING it! We have a little schedule with a chart and stickers to mark each subject we accomplish. He's very motivated by stickers and prizes (thank you public school!)

Every morning he is sitting at the dining room table with his binder and his books out.

So far, he hasn't be the least bit interested in any of the workbooks I have, which is fine, I guess. Hands-on, living learning is better anyway. I may have some kindergartenish workbooks for sale later this summer!

Our schedule consists of:

Electives (one a day: Science, Nature Journal, Art, Music, Workbooks)

I went to Target and picked up a few things I thought he'd like for prizes: Flip-Flops and a tiny pot with seeds from the dollar spot, new watercolors, markers and colored pencils, gum (his very favorite thing in all the world). He also wants his own camera, so I'm thinking of a cheap digital camera for an end-of-summer prize. (he excitedly told someone how at the end of summer homeschool he was getting a camera and a phone! Uh, no, not a phone, sir!)

He's already earned one prize and for his first reward he picked.... (drumroll) the pot to plant marigolds! REALLY. Of all the things in the box, I'd have pegged that for last. huh. Next on his list of desires are the flip-flops. Another surprise.

He's also scheduled for (rather, he's been "invited" to (ie: targeted for extra help)) public school summer school for 5 weeks, but if this keeps going so well, I'm thinking of having him skip it. He's intense with this and we're spending about 2 hours at it, but it beats driving him in twice a morning every day. We'll see.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Not Getting Any School Done

Here Pepper is reciting her "lesson" about George Washington in their one-room (outdoor) schoolhouse.

Only problem is that we are studying ancient WORLD history.

It's beautiful outside here (about 50!) and the kids keep oozing away from the school table and slipping outside to play. After lunch they got all dressed up in their "outfits" and gathered a string full of books and went outside to play (wait for it)... School.

At their "desks"

I guess it's the least I can allow after they've been cooped up inside for 4.5 months.

Daisy is doing her recitations:

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wheels for Noah

Noah is the son of a fellow homeschooling family, the Estes, who own Hands and Hearts, the company that makes the awesome hands-on history kits.  We own a bunch of these kits and they are great.  Hands and Hearts just got great news that he Consumer Product Safety Commission voted to extend the stay of enforcement on the CPSIA through December 31 of this year. If you recall, the gov't was requiring extensive testing on all small toys and parts used in toys, even in educational kits. For small businesses, this would require an enormous cost for the testing and it threatened to put H&H out of business. Their business HAS suffered, but it's good news that they can continue to sell their fun kits.

The Estes are parents to 8 children, one of whom has a progressive genetic mitochondrial disease. I have followed 4 yo Noah's story for, well, 4 years and he is an incredible little boy, in spite of his major health issues. Recently they were able to get a wheel chair for him since mitochondrial disease makes kids super tired. In his wheelchair, Noah is able to get himself around the house to play in short bursts and to be with his family where ever they are, rather than having to just rest on the couch.

The Estes have a 15 passenger van to transport their family, but because of the type of wheelchair Noah has (it doesn't fold flat like a typical limited-use wheelchair) their isn't room for the chair AND all of their family in the van. Some of their blog readers and friends are hosting a fundraiser to help the family raise money for a transit bus. This vehicle will have room for Noah's chair (and will have a lift! It takes 2-3 adults to lift the chair into their current van!) and the whole family.

Please click on the picture of Noah to go to their online auction and support this wonderful family! There are all sorts of neat products and homeschool items there. If you aren't interested in any of the items, consider making a donation.

This family is such a blessing to everyone around them. They have shared the love of Jesus, through Noah's trials, on their blog, in person at hospitals or just around town with him. They have an incredible faith in the goodness of God and his plan for Noah in spite of the pain and suffering he faces here on earth, and they are not shy about sharing it. God is surely using this little boy and his story to further His kingdom in a big way.

The online auction will start Wednesday, March 2 and end Saturday, March 5 at 10 PM Eastern. All items are FREE SHIPPING with the donors paying the shipping to the winners.