There has been a rather large time gap since my last post – I was doing the single-parenting thing last week (subsequently couldn’t summon up energy to write) while my husband visited his sweet mom in CA. But he is back, so I am back. Here is what my son and I have been learning about –
- Bison! Our primary take-away from this mini-mini-study was acknowledging that what we have in the United States are bison NOT buffalo (such a bummer for the “Home on the Range” song). We would like to know more about bison – regrettably, our book, though chock full of excellent photographs, was not chock full of information. I will be on the lookout for a more fact filled resource.
– Bison to the left, Buffalo to the right –
- Otto von Bismarck: very strong personality, probably responsible for unifying Germany during the latter half of 19th century (so that is good), but still, he was a diabolical strategist with a very difficult personality. Our von Bismarck book was from the “Wicked History” series, and it did not disappoint. Well researched, well written, well edited. Excellent reading.
- Shoe Business! We are reading our first business book, “Start Something that Matters” by Blake Mycoskie, of the inspiring TOMS (“tomorrow’s shoes”) win-win movement. We think Mr. Mycoskie has it so right! To enhance this learning unit, I brought my TOMS shoes to the “Stories and Studies Center” (my son’s large bed) (who wouldn’t want a stack of well worn shoes on their bed?).
- “The History of Music in Fifty Instruments“, by Philip Wilkinson: a good conversation starter book. We are picking and choosing what we are reading (some stuff is just too mind numbingly technical), but this book is well worth wading through because we have learned about THE UGLIEST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT EVER – the serpent. OH, IT IS SO CREEPY. Take a look and take a listen:
(note to daughter, HKH: I am just so hoping that we won’t be booking this type of music for your wedding reception.)
New topic –
Here’s what’s fun: the Tom Gates books, written by Liz Pichon; we are in the middle of book 2 (“Tom Gates – Excellent Excuses”). The series is sort of a British take on Jeff Kinney’s “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” (which we also really like) and has got us matching British words with their American counterpart: mate=friend, biscuit=cookie, crisps=potato chips, dodgy=not good, rubbish=the worst. Tom doodles all over the place, despises his sister, calls his grandparents “the Fossils”, and worships the rock band, “Dude3” (every time I read the band name I laugh). We like opening this book every night.
Beginning to think about the upcoming summer Olympics –
Story problem from Le Fictitious Local Diner – the local junior high school is seeking to bolster funds for their foreign language department so the diner has been coerced (vocab) into sponsoring a raffle (vocab), with the first prize being two first-class round-trip (concept) plane tickets to the summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro! If each plane ticket costs $1,500, and if the diner is hoping to contribute $2,000 to the foreign language department, how many $5 raffle tickets will need to be sold? (answer “A” at bottom of post).
– Oh my gosh, there’s more to this story problem: what if the airline can be persuaded to reduce the cost of the plane tickets by 20%, and what if the diner decides to try to up their contribution to $5,000. How many tickets need to be sold now? (answer”B” at bottom of post)
Classical music selections from last night – thinking about Brazil – we decided to cap off a discussion of the upcoming Olympics by listening to “The Little Train of Caipira”, written in 1930 by premiere Brazilian composer, Heitor Villa-Lobos. My son and I have listened to this delicious 5 minute gem about 75 times. Yeah, we like this piece.
First we listened to the recording we have on our iPod, from the Heidi Grant Murphy/Aureole “Sueño De Amor” (dreams of love) album. Soothing, flavorful, filled with yearning:
Then, an OUTSTANDING visual and auditory collage – music students in Brazil putting together “The Little Train of Caipira”. Did I say OUTSTANDING? I think I meant DOUBLE OUTSTANDING. Such a tribute to Villa-Lobos:
Then, what fun – from the fabulous Los Angeles Guitar Quartet , their version of “I Wanna Be Like You” (from “The Jungle Book”), orchestrated in the manner of Heitor Villa-Lobos:
Welcome to the best part of my day!
– Jane BH
(Story Problem A: 1,000)
(Story Problem B: 1,480)