A Christmas Carol – oh, how we would have liked to listen to Charles Dickens read aloud from his “A Christmas Carol”. To hear the delicious phrasing verbalized as he would have envisioned. The wording is difficult, so I am often repeating sentences to get the rhythm and meaning – but so worth the extra time; we are loving the book’s message. We are midway through, currently reading about Scrooge’s encounter with the “Ghost of Christmas Present” (a bit of a talk about the difference between “Christmas Present” and “Christmas presents”). And we are making a running list of the many ways Dickens can say the word, “ghost”. So far: spirit, specter, apparition, supernatural medium, shadow, and phantom.
A new academic unit – we are learning about Joan of Arc, via another outstanding book by Diane Stanley. To set the stage, Stanley has written a clear description of the Hundred Years’ War that took place between England and France (the war began in 1337, 75 years before Joan of Arc was born). We are learning that Joan was complex young lady – pious, brave, charismatic, single-minded (let’s just say it: pushy). As I am reading this to my son, I cannot help but wonder what today’s world would have thought about Joan of Arc (the voices? the visions?).
NTC Champion! We held the “Name the Continent” finals last night! Our globe is practically a permanent resident in the STORIES AND STUDIES CENTER (my son’s bed); whatever we are reading, if a country is mentioned, we find it on the globe. So, last night, I made up a long list of countries and had my son match each country with its continent. A+! What can I say? He knows where everything is. He’s the NTC Champ!
Farmer Brown’s Thanksgiving food prep story problem – Farmer Brown has grown all of the vegetables that he is bringing to the family Thanksgiving gathering. He is bringing his famous steamed Brussels sprouts sautéed in browned butter, his famous green beans with bacon and onion, and his famous sticky sweet potato casserole with candied lemon slices. It takes Farmer Brown 45 minutes to prepare the sprouts for steaming, 1 hour and 15 minutes to trim the green beans, 25 minutes to prepare the bacon and onion, and 15 minutes to prepare the sweet potatoes for each casserole (for which there are 4). The good news is that he has two assistants who work just as quickly as he does. How long will it take the three of them to get the vegetables prepped?
Listening to Music – after a brief and sober discussion about the recent unthinkable evilness in Paris, we paid tribute to French heritage by listening to three reflective pieces written by French composers:
- “The Swan” from “Carnival of the Animals” by Camille Saint-Saens. This was composed in 1887 for piano and cello. It is a soulful, pensive piece. This video showcases Yo-Yo Ma, so we are listening to the best.
- The “Carillon” from “L’Arlesienne”, by Georges Bizet, composed in 1872. About one minute into the piece, the flute section takes over, and this is the part that tugs at our hearts – the sorrow, the regret, the wistfulness. It is all there in the music.
- “La Vie En Rose”, certainly the iconic Parisian melody, written and popularized by chanteuse (prettiest word of the month) Edith Piaf in 1945. Louis Armstrong made a well-loved recording of this, but we wanted to listen to the original voice (this is OLD film footage).
Welcome to the best part of my day!
– Jane BH