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Weeks 25 and 26

March 24, 2012

Taking last week off for spring break apparently wasn’t enough, so we took this week off too!  I think I was in need of some serious down time.  The boys haven’t minded a bit.  They’ve kept up on their piano practice and we’ve made a weak stab at decluttering, but mostly they’ve been playing . . . hard.  And C has been drawing.  I have pages and pages of various Star Wars droids and spacecraft sitting here.  I think it’s safe to say that is his newest obsession.  It shows up quite a bit in the make believe play of the other two as well.  I, on the other hand, have been slightly obsessed with indexing and family history lately as I’ve been preparing to teach a class at a family history fair next month.

I’m pretty sure I can’t remember most of what we did in school those last two weeks before our break, but we did finish up ancient Greece in history and I wanted to write that up.  Finally.  Although we still have history club next Wednesday where we’ll be having our own Olympic Games.  It was supposed to be this week, but between sickness in another family and unpredictable spring weather, we decided to put it off another week.  I was glad; in theory it gave me more time to get the house straightened up before we host three other families here.  (In practice, there’s still a lot of work to be done!)

It doesn’t seem like we spent enough time on ancient Greece, but we covered everything in Story of the World, plus maps and coloring pages, and read a plethora of library books . . . at least the boys did.  I’ve been fighting a cough and a croaky voice for about three weeks now.   If it ever gets better, we can finally finish Black Ships Before Troy.  My best bet is probably to have A read it for me anyway.  I’m terrible at read alouds even without losing my voice.

Some of the books we read:

It seems like we did a lot more projects the last time we went through ancient history, or maybe it just feels that way because our focus this year has been more on writing about history.  We have fewer pictures of fun projects but more pretty notebook pages to show for our efforts this time around.  Here are a few (including C’s drawing of a Greek trireme, another popular subject for art):

I finally figured out how to type directly on our notebooking pages before printing.  That has made notebooking so much easier!  Although A will sometimes still handwrite his.  I’ve been trying to have him write something about each of the great men and women on the lists in The Well-Trained Mind, but we got behind and rather than make him write 5 summaries in one week, we opted for just a couple of sentences about Homer, Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates, and a bit more about Alexander the Great.  There are 12 or so people listed that coordinate with Rome, which works out to be about one a week from now until the end of this school year (if I can just stay on top of it!)

We also learned about Greek architecture and the three different types of columns.  They all colored the Parthenon and we had an art lesson on the Temple of Athena Nike and the Temple of Nereids.  We looked at the Parthenon on Google Earth and also looked at examples of classical architecture in Ephesus and Washington, D.C.  We pulled out our set of Greek building blocks and A built the Parthenon (a mini example anyway)

and D made the Acropolis as it looks today!

I’m sure there are things I’m forgetting, but that’s what I get for waiting two weeks to write it down!  Oh, I know, we played the Alexander the Great game from the Story of the World Activity Guide.  Now I see why she recommends to copy the game onto paper that’s 11×17.  The questions on the board were so small, we could hardly read them!

In science we’ve been growing crystals, similar to the way coral grows.  I finally found liquid bluing, and a mixture of that with salt, water, and ammonia, has produced quite a growth on top of a wet sponge.  Here’s the beginning of our experiment (before we messed it up on day 3 and had to begin anew with smaller sponges this time):

And here’s what it looks like today, after several weeks of growth.  We should do this again and experiment with different colors.  I thought it would stay blue from the bluing, but it didn’t.  The crystals grew white.  They’re quite hard.  For over a week or two you could actually hear them growing.

I think that covers the fun stuff.  The boys continue to work hard in math, grammar, and writing.  D is doing well with his reading lessons, although he still doesn’t consider himself a reader just yet.  Maybe I need to find some actual books he can tackle so he’ll quit saying he doesn’t know how to read.  Somehow reading in the “reading textbook” just doesn’t count!  A began Singapore 5B and has been speeding through the decimals section.  He really enjoys it.  He’s also doing fabulously on his Latin quizzes.  He amazes me with his understanding.  And what can I say about C?  He draws a lot, and reads a lot, and seems to tolerate his written work so he can get back to his sketchbook and his reading!  He does work hard though and is progressing.  I’ve been thinking about making a few changes after spring break, but my brain is still on spring break, so more on that later.  Maybe.

To wrap up school before our break, we had tickets to see the Utah Symphony children’s concert which was called “Carnival of the Animals.”  DH had to work that day so I took four boys to the symphony by myself.  It was actually E’s first time at a concert and I wasn’t too nervous about taking him after DH pointed out that he can manage to get through sacrament meeting every Sunday (70 minutes)  and the concert would be just under an hour.  Plus they play music!  And we played musical chairs.  E did great, but did not want to stay in one seat.  A kept him from wandering down one end of our row and I kept tabs on him on the other end and it worked out great.

Besides playing Carnival of the Animals (accompanied by the Children’s Dance Theatre in delightful costumes), the orchestra played Flight of the Bumblebee, La Poule (“The Chicken” by Haydn), “Dance of the Unhatched Chicks” from Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky, The Firebird, Ravel’s Beauty and the Beast suite, and another tone poem by an American composer that had something to do with an animal that I absolutely cannot remember at all.  It was really pretty though and I wish I could hear it again.  Anyway, the concert was great and a good way to end the week.

Here’s a picture in front of the Chihuly sculpture:

I’m not quite ready to jump back into school on Monday, but I do think it’s time.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 24, 2012 5:52 pm

    I felt the same way when we finished Greece. We seemed to have done so many more fun things when we did Ancient History the first time through. My boys aren’t excited about coloring pages and we have been drawing our maps rather than just coloring them so I haven’t been copying things from the activity book like I remember doing. I just feel less dependent on SoTW this time around. We are leaning more and more on our other books and things for topics to cover. We do still listen to the Chapters in SoTW but they aren’t quite as much of our focus.

    I do love your notebooking pages. I keep thinking I should get a membership. I don’t know why I am hesitant. You do get to have access to them for more than a year right? I have tried making my own and they aren’t that hard but it more my lack of preparing them before hand which is the problem.

    You do such a great job with your boys. They work hard!

  2. March 25, 2012 3:30 pm

    We read Black Ships Before Troy and we grew crystals same recipe. It was fun. Where do you get your notebooking pages?

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