Here is what is going on with us the people at the STORIES AND STUDIES CENTER (my son’s bed, every night, 10:30 pm):
The Preamble to the Constitution – our hearts are touched by the perfectly worded preamble, so I am having my son memorize it. For the past two weeks, every night after we read through the preamble, my son writes the missing words in a fill-in-the-blanks preamble. And every night, more words are missing – so we are doing the successive approximation thing. Interesting thought – what if schools alternated the Pledge of Allegiance with the Preamble every morning? Another thought – what if every proposed law was required to read as clearly and straightforward as the preamble?
Building a House – we’ve read through “How to Build a House” by Gail Gibbons. Yes, this is a little kids book, but seriously, it is so well organized, every contractor should hand one of these to each of his clients, so they can get the basic idea of what comes before what. This book provoked a yucky side study – my son wanted to know more about a house’s septic system. Ick.
Sharks! – from the excellent Usborne book series. Here is what has caught our eye so far – the eyes of the hammerhead shark. CRAZY. Also, so sad: baby sharks are left by their moms after they are born. So, apparently they raise themselves. No wonder they have such bad manners.
Reading for fun – We are laughing our way through #4 of the Tom Gates series, “Tom Gates – Genius Ideas (mostly)”, by Liz Pichon. We LOVE this series! Every single page is hilarious. What a treat at the end of each day. Love it, love it, love it.
Tips from Le Fictitious Local Diner – not exactly a story problem: We pretended that a waiter from Le Fictitious Local Diner gave my son a list of table order totals and asked him to figure out bare minimum tips (15%) and happy customer tips (20%). We talked about how waiters are paid and how much they depend upon their tips. We talked about the difference between good and poor service. We talked about whether it was the waiter’s fault if the food was substandard (of course this would never happen at Le Fictitious Local Diner – the food is always first rate at the diner).
EEEEEW, string quartets – I kept putting this off: listening to string quartets with my son. Of course, I want to my son to know about this classical music genre, but alas, I am not a fan of the string quartet. I have tried out dozens upon dozens of string quartets in the past few years, and all I hear is either spiders dancing across a hot pan or some poor soul gasping for breath. But the time has come – I found 3 string quartets that changed my EEEEEWs to AHHHHHs, and I was enthusiastic about sharing these with my son.
- First, because we knew that Franz Josef Haydn (1732 – 1809) is considered to be the “Father of the String Quartet”, I thought we should listen to the first movement of his very first string quartet “String Quartet in B flat Major” (“La Chasse”). This is the first of 68 (!!!) quartets Haydn composed between 1762 and 1803.
- Next, we listened to “String Quartet No. 2 in D Major”, composed by Alexander Borodin in 1881. We listened to movement 3 (“Nocturne”) over and over. This is the deeply romantic melody used in the (1953 American musical) “Kismet” song, “And This is My Beloved”, for which he was posthumously awarded the 1954 Tony Award. (Good show Alexander! Good show Tony Award selection committee! Good show Kismet people!)
- And lastly, we listened to a wonderful contemporary musical ensemble, “The Vitamin String Quartet” (I am still laughing at the name). This group is known for applying their classical skills to renditions of modern and rock songs. We loved listening to their version of John Williams’ “Cantina Band” from Star Wars.
There now, that wasn’t so bad after all!
Welcome to the best part of my day!
– Jane BH