Class is in session for one hour every single night and my son and I LOVE this time together. We are focused, fascinated, and leaning forward to learn more. Here is how we divided up our studies and stories hours this past week:
Before Carl Linnaeus, before Charles Darwin, before John James Audubon: MARIA MERIAN (1647-1717), artist/nature observer. We learned all about Merian in the Sibert Medal 2019 book, “The Girl Who Drew Butterflies” (Joyce Sidman). Merian’s meticulous work documenting caterpillars/butterflies/host plants was cited 130 times by Carl Linnaeus in his major opus, “Systema Naturae”. Maria Merian was the first to bring scholarly attention to the caterpillar-to-butterfly connection. More, of note:
- We rolled our eyes: As a female in her native Germany, Maria Merian was forbidden to study at college, and yet her groundbreaking work was criticized because she was a “self-taught amateur”.
- We cheered: Tsar Peter the Great bought 300 of her original watercolors to start Russia’s first art museum. My son selected one of her works in poster form for his room:
“The World Jesus Knew – A Curious Kid’s Guide to Life in the First Century”, by Marc Olson/illustrated by Jemima Maybank. A scholarly work, accented with sly humor. Here is what caught our attention:
- Palestine was under the rule of the Roman Empire during the time of Jesus. This was actually a BIG deal – Roman rule infiltrated all aspects of life
- Because fisherman were in the water so often, they often fished WITH NO CLOTHES ON
- The Sanhedrin, what was it and how powerful was it?
“Vet Academy” (Martin/Keoghan) – My son’s cousin Kelly is a vet (and as far as we are concerned, THE BEST VET), so we thought we should learn more about her world:
- My son and I mused over three vet specializations and what each would mean in terms of life-style: small pets (vet treats animals at local veterinary clinic), farm animals (vet drives all over creation to check on “patients”), or zoo animals (vet essentially lives at the zoo).
- Our favorite page of the book was in the zoo animal section: we learned to distinguish between cheetahs, leopards, and jaguars by examining their spots. We keep getting smarter.
Language Arts Time:
We are still doing word scramble games every night – it is such an easy way to sneak in handwriting practice AND my son unscrambles these instantaneously with 100% accuracy. HOW DOES HE DO THAT???? Words (unscrambled at bottom of post) like:
After spending really a lot of time putting together months and months of puzzles, I bought a “Jumble Junior” book. Perfect.
A Farmer Brown Story Problem – Even though Farmer Brown has a perfectly good rooster to awaken his 8 farmhands, he has been under pressure to purchase an alarm clock for each worker. Farmer Brown is letting them choose between a digital (vocab) clock ($12) or a vintage analog (vocab) clock ($15). Three fourths of the farmhands want a digital clock, the rest have ordered the analog. Total shipping will be $10. Farmer Brown has budgeted $100 for new clocks, will this cover the costs? (answer at bottom of post)
Reading for Fun Time:
Three words: Hank the Cowdog. Years ago we read through the gigantic series and we are now revisiting our favorites. Two weeks ago we read, “The Mopwater Files”. Last week it was “The Disappearance of Drover”, this week, “The Incredible Priceless Corncob”. Hank time is Texas-sized smile time.
Arts and Crafts Time:
French curve – I found an envelope of plastic French curve templates that had belonged to my father (an engineer). Why shouldn’t my son know about Ludwig Burmester’s (a German mathematician) French curves? We got right to work swerving and curving. This was fun!
Music Appreciation Time: last night we listened to music for CLOCK-WATCHERS:
– Haydn’s Symphony No. 101 “The Clock” (movement 2, the “tick-tock movement”) composed in 1794. Performed competently (and adorably) by the Kawartha (Ontario, CA) Youth Orchestra –
– Zoltan Kodaly’s “Viennese Music Clock” from his Hungarian folk opera “Háry János” (1926). A spirited performance, complete with dancing clock, by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra –
– LeRoy Anderson’s “Syncopated Clock”. This piece was composed in 1945, while Anderson was serving in the US Army, as Chief of Scandinavian Desk of Military Intelligence (proving that he could do two things at once). I sort of think that Leroy Anderson (a brilliant man with a huge sense of humor) would have approved of this kookie performance by the St. Luke’s Bottle Band (and I totally want one of those feathered green hats). This ensemble is having WAY TOO MUCH FUN –
Welcome to the best part of my day!
– Jane BH
(Unscrambled words: COMPOSER, DISNEY, BEETHOVEN, SWEATER, RECYCLE, TRAMPOLINE)
(Story Problem answer: NO)