In which we explain our “Stories and Studies” nightly agenda

We Write – this takes so many different forms. Sometimes I ask my son about something we learned the night before. Sometimes I set up math problems. Sometimes I ask him about somebody in the family. Sometimes I ask him how he is feeling. Sometimes he selects our classical music program for the evening. Sometimes we practice handwriting. We work with pen and paper and we also use a wonderful app on our iPad.  This is the time slot where I have taught him how to take a true/false test, a multiple-choice test, a matching test.

We Learn New Things – we set aside the desk top and open the books.  We usually have two academic subjects going on. Each academic unit lasts about two weeks.  We supplement the books with our iPad and a big globe

We Read Novels – we usually have two novels going. I read aloud. If the book doesn’t hold our attention, we stop reading it.   If we love the book, we may let a year go by and then we enjoy it again.

We Read Poems –  well, this is pretty self explanatory.

We Listen to Music – most of our study units last about 2 weeks, and this is what I thought would happen with our classical music unit. But this subject has proved so interesting that we have been on it for almost 3 years.

Background story – I had purchased a booklet that included posters of 16 classical composers. By day two, it occurred to me that it was ridiculous to read about composers without listening to their music, so I learned how to research music, purchase it, download it into an iTunes file, and then transfer it to my iPod. We have now listened to just under 500 compositions.

We listen to three compositions every night, and every night of the week has a music theme: composer spotlight, dance and march music, virtuoso night, etc. We might have a theme night, like “clocks” and then listen to music of different classical periods that have titles that refer to clocks (Haydn’s “The Clock” Symphony, Bizet’s “Carillon” from L’Arlesienne, LeRoy Anderson’s “Syncopated Clock”).  Here is what we don’t do:  listen to music in chronological order.  What is the fun in that?

Welcome to the best part of my day!

– Jane BH

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