We have wrapped up our study of Ancient Egypt. I’ll be honest, I wanted to stretch this Ancient History study so it would last the whole year. If we keep up this pace we’ll be done by August! The truth is, my boys did not want to stop once they started. We do a lesson a day (sometimes two) and even after I leave the classroom, they keep working away on their study. We’ll see if this trend lasts through our study of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome!
I’ll say once more that one of our favorite books for this unit was “Ancient Egypt and Her Neighbors” by Lorene Lambert. We also listened to the excellent Jim Weiss recording, “Pharaohs and Queens of Ancient Egypt.” We enjoyed a special Poetry Teatime Ancient Egypt Edition thanks to the book, “Voices of Ancient Egypt.” The boys wanted Ancient Egyptian food but after an overwhelming week we stuck with our normal fare and simply pretended it was Ancient Egyptian. We giggled quite a bit, “please pass the mummified scones and a scarab biscuit please!” Lastly, If you are able to find a copy of the book “The Egyptians Knew” by Tillie S Pine, it is a lovely addition to this study. The boys loved reading about how things were done then, how they are done today and how they could do it at home.
As for our long term projects, we finished our little homemade Tales of Egypt book, which was comprised of our narration work for the Roger Lancelyn Green Book. We also completed our field notes for David MacCaulay’s “Pyramid.” I gave each of the boys a small journal and told them to fill it with their favorite bits and pieces from the MacCaulay book. They could pretend to be chief architects or stone masons, taking notes and drawing observations. I loved seeing how each child had a different approach to this project. One was drawn to the technical side of building, another to the social side of constructing a pyramid. The boys also made a book report about “The Golden Goblet” and finished their report on Ancient Egypt. Strange how they are suddenly ready for so much more. I am so glad that I did not push them to do things before their time.
We spent one last day learning about Vivaldi and Corelli with our History of Classical Music Study. The boys had asked for “just a little bit more time!” and of course I could not say no to that. The correlating Music Masters CD that comes with the curriculum plays more than once a week at our house. We’ve been enjoying the music of Vivaldi as we set the table before meals, tidy up during blessing hour or when I send the kids to their rooms for quiet time (usually after someone sustains an injury after a poorly regulated light saber battle in the living room). We are so looking forward to beginning our study of Bach. The Story of the Orchestra book has started to cement a better understanding of the music periods in the boys minds. I quite enjoy their burgeoning conversations about music, everything is so awkward and limited right now, but I see the growth and it makes me smile.
My third born is progressing with his FIAR study and we continue to read through the Ambleside read aloud together. The older boys have been joining in on some of them. Recently we began reading the Burgess Bird Book for Children again, our third time through as a family, and the older children are still enchanted by each story. They pulled out the craft paper and began painting the Old Orchard, the Briar Patch, etc. and filled each tree with this beloved winged characters that brighten our lunch hour each day. We have done this story map exercise before, but this time the boys led the way alone. They helped their little brother walk through the story, pointing to the different characters as he giggled and narrated each tale.
Guys, I am in love with Right Start Math. I am so sad that I didn’t find it sooner, but I am relieved I found it in time. I am blown away by how much my children are learning, how greatly their fluency has increased, how much deeper their understanding of math is. My eldest has done a complete 180. Saxon was quite a burden for him because of his Dyslexia. The constant busy work was tantamount to torture for him. He is so thrilled to have so many games and tools and visual aids to lock these concepts in with. After struggling with place value for years, this two day exercise, the Cotter’s Tens Fractals, along with his abacus training and new terminology for number (i.e. one ten seven, instead of 17) helped establish a clear understanding of place value in his mind. He stopped guessing because he finally understood! In two days he went from uncertain computation of two digit numbers to confident addition with 4+ digits. I am thrilled and thankful.
We wrapped up our second year of Playing Skillfully and now our youngest will be repeating his favorite activities from the year along with a new round of in home therapies starting in June, including Suzuki violin. We are beginning a new focus on music training for our family and I am in the midst of tweaking our schedule once more to reflect this new change. I love that schedules are ever changing, it demonstrates how much growth is happening around here.
For those patiently waiting for our Charlotte Mason Approach to Classical Conversations Cycle 3 (what a mouthful!) we’ll be posting it by the end of next week!