Cats

Let’s Get This Party Started!

This is post #148, ever so close to our 150th post; definitely cause for a party, so my son and I started the festivities by laughing through two favorite story problems from the vault – 

From the Oct 2, 2018 post (Did absence make the heart grow fonder?):  A  Farmer Brown Story Problem –

Poor Farmer Brown, literally, poor Farmer Brown. He is spending so much money replacing items that his cats, Olive and Owl (the hissing sisters), have destroyed. Over the past twelve months, Farmer Brown spent:

– $300: area rug in kitchen (shredded)
– $150: winter coat (clawed to death)
– $100 each: 3 farmhand bed quilts (each mistaken for litter box)
– $200: office blinds (permanently bent from bird watching)
– $100: large ceramic planter (tipped over so many times that it finally cracked)
– $ 78: small ficus tree (casualty of repeatedly tipped over planter)
– $300: neighbor’s yarn stash (don’t ask)

Judging the past year to be typical, how much should Farmer Brown budget per month to replace things Olive and Owl will most likely have their way with in the coming year? 

A). $59      B). $79      C). $99      D). $119  (answer at bottom of post)

From the September 19, 2015 post (Lights! Camera!  Edison!):  A Local Diner Story Problem – 

Art at the Local Diner – The diner is gussying up the place with selected pieces of what some might call art. Of course, they are installing the classic “A Friend in Need” (the rest of us know it as “Dogs Playing Poker”) by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge, purchased for $45. A portrait of Elvis on black velvet has also been purchased for $90. Posters of Batman, Superman, and Marilyn Monroe round out the collection, the lot acquired at a garage sale for $10. 

How much has the diner spent on “artwork”? (Heh, heh, the answer is not “zero”.)

A).  $10     B).  $145     C).  $175     D).  $900 

 Money to purchase the exciting wall decor came from the diner’s tabletop jukeboxes. At 25 cents per song, how many songs had to be played before the art could be purchased? 

A).  45     B).  580     C).  850     D).  1,000  (answers at bottom of post)

We take a break from story problem frivolity to present a few notes from the current academic focus:  our “Shining Stars of the 1860’s” unit –

Ely S. Parker – “One Real American – The Life of Ely S. Parker”, by Joseph Bruchac.   A larger-than-life man:  Seneca sachem (which we learned is pronounced “say-chem”, meaning chief), Mason, Civil War General (close aide to General Ulysses S. Grant), competent engineer, skilled writer, diplomat, bi-lingual, you name it.  We love this man and we loved this book.

Abraham Lincoln – “Abraham Lincoln – A Life from Beginning to End”, an Hourly History book by Henry Freeman.  Of course, there are so many books written about Lincoln, but this one speaks to my son’s level of comprehension.  Here is something that caught our attention:  before marrying Lincoln, one of Mary Todd’s previous suitors was NONE OTHER THAN Stephan A. Douglas, YES that Stephan A. Douglas of the Lincoln-Douglas debates!!!!  

Matthew Brady –  “Matthew Brady, Historian with a Camera”, by James D. Horan.  This book includes 450 of Matthew Brady branded photographs (many were taken by his trained assistants).  Totally interesting to us:  a Matthew Brady photograph of Lincoln is used for both the $5 bill and the copper penny.

Harriet Tubman –  “Harriet Tubman – A Life from Beginning to End”, another Hourly History book.  Excellent resource.  This caught our attention:  as Harriet Tubman would guide fugitives along the underground railroad, she would change the tempo of the spiritual “Go Down Moses” to indicate whether it was safe to move forward.  Of course, we had to listen to “Go Down Moses” and consider the parallels between the tasks of Moses and Harriet Tubman:

Back to the party!  What is a festive gathering without a prize drawing? 

I have set up a container for my son to draw three surprise classical music suggestions for Saturday night listening.  I did not know this was going to involve a learning curve – my son does not have the grasp of selecting only three items from the container, but we will get there.  Here are last Saturday’s winners –

“The Hen Symphony” – from Haydn’s Symphony No. 83 in G minor, “The Hen”, movement 4, (1785).  We LOVE this super merry movement and have probably listened to it 15 times so far.  We sort of think we can hear a few measures from “Three Blind Mice” stuck right in the middle:

“Arrival of the Queen of Sheba” – from Handel’s Old Testament-based (Book of Kings and Book of Chronicles) oratorio, “Solomon” (1748).  The 18th century “Englishness” of this piece almost makes us smirk, but then we hear those oboe harmonies and all is forgiven:

“Brandenburg Concerto No. 3” in G major, movement 3 –  from Bach’s 1721 assemblage of the 6 concertos.  Hurries along at a fast clip.  Who can’t like this?

As if two story problems and a surprise drawing for music listening were not enough, there is EVEN MORE partying to come in the next two blog posts! 

Welcome to the best part of my day!
– Jane BH
(story problem answers:  D.  $119, B.  $145,  B.  580 songs)

Desperately Seeking Ganesha

From our “World Religions” unit – we are reading from the Usborne Book of World Religions, last night finishing the chapter on Hinduism. How can our favorite Hindu deity not be Ganesha (the elephant-headed god in charge of removing obstacles)?  GANESHA STOP HERE!  We have obstacles aplenty that need removing.

ganesha line

Math Concept Check – we reviewed fractions, percentages, and ratios last night with the help of jillions of Legos.  So much fun!  Did my son like this?  Well, he went to sleep clutching a Lego tower.  I am taking that as a yes.

 lego math

Current Events – we dipped our toes into current events, using “The Economist” magazine as our resource. We found two articles of interest – first, an update on space probe “Philae” (which had us spellbound in November, when it landed on comet 67P – way way way way way far away).  And, since we just finished a unit on cats, we also read about the latest census of wild tigers in India (numbers way up last year!)(Good show India!).

 philae     tiger

Last night’s music theme was “Classical Broadway” – we listened to a few American musical comedy songs that were either embellished or inspired by particular classical music compositions:

  • “Rosemary” from “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” (Frank Loesser, 1961) references Edvard Grieg’s “Piano Concerto in A minor” (1868).

  • “Baby Face” from the 1967 movie “Thoroughly Modern Millie” (although the song was actually a MAJOR hit in 1926) includes a bit of the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s “Messiah” (1742). (spoiler alert – the music is perfect, but this is one of the lamest youtube pages ever)

  • “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” from “Evita” (Rice/Webber, 1976).  A significant musical phrase in the chorus certainly must have been inspired from Johannes Brahms’ 1878 “Violin Concerto in D minor”, movement 3. (Have a listen, it is glorious!)

(the Brahms) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOx0eKhD9f0

(Don’t Cry) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0d01NpclvlE

Welcome to the best part of my day!

– Jane BH

 

Fly By

hawk

Well, look who came visiting.  This gorgeous hawk swooped down yesterday and perched on our fence for some 20 minutes. So, of course we had to read about hawks last night. Most interesting fact:  the people of ancient Egypt believed the hawk (Horus) to be a guardian of the pharaoh, and therefore was considered sacred.

horus_3

Check out the cool hawk headwear!

We continue to read: “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”.  As of last night, Dorothy and crew had just entered the territory of the Wicked Witch of the West.  So entertaining, and like all books that become movies, so different from the movie.

We continue our study of cats:  we are reading from another DK Eyewitness book, “CATS”, and it is another well done effort.  Maybe too well done?  If there is one thing our book stresses (seriously, page after page), it is how much cats are interested in spreading their scent around. (Like I want to keep reading about THAT) (but I act like it is no big deal/part of nature’s plan/circle of life, etc.) (even though it is gross).

Because it is January: we talked about New Year’s Resolutions, so our Farmer Brown Story Problem revolved around such resolutions. Here comes a semi-troublesome division problem – there are 15 adults in Farmer Brown’s extended family and they have each made a New Year’s Resolution for the past 10 years. If only one person kept one resolution one year, what percentage of the total efforts were successful?

pirate

(from our STORIES AND STUDIES CENTER wall)

Our Music Theme: Putting an illustration to music – “Pirate Chief”.   This is the first time we’ve tried this: I had my son select one of the posters on his wall, then we put together a music program that would bring the artwork to life. He chose the kicking-butt-and-taking-names “Pirate Chief” by Howard Pyle (Howard Pyle was not only a most important American illustrator, he was also an influential teacher/mentor of the likes of N.C. Wyeth).  Hey!  This was fun!  I think we will set another poster to music in a few weeks.

  • “The Maid of Amsterdam” (sometimes known as “A-Roving”), a lusty sea chantey, just the type of thing that pirates, or anyone with access to a bottle of rum, would want to sing.
  • Overture to “The Flying Dutchman”, by Richard Wagner. This is a fave for children’s orchestras.  The story of the opera (cursed man on a ghost ship) is intriguing, the music is motivating, and every instrument gets a crucial part to play
  • “Pirates of the Caribbean Suite”, by Klaus Badelt.  This is consummate sea storms-and-skullduggery pirate music.  The video footage of a performance in Vienna has an added bonus – composer Klaus Badelt is seated in the audience.

Welcome to the best part of my day!

– Jane BH

One thing leads to another

Our December was as jam packed as everyone else’s, so although I didn’t post, my son and I still gathered nightly for STUDIES AND STORIES.  In the midst of Christmas chaos, we discussed/looked up/whatever: the concept of alliteration – charm bracelets – the Chunnel – poppies – rafts – storks – submarines. Good month.  But now, we are back in business!

lighthouse  dominator  fog

One thing leads to another – for some reason, my son and I were reading about the big lenses used in lighthouses…this led me to show him a photo of the lighthouse in the town where I grew up….this led me to tell him about the SS Dominator, an unlucky freighter that sank pretty darn close to our local lighthouse in 1961 (fog issues)…this led us to look at photos of the Dominator, where we noticed: RUST.  So this led us to do a bit of a study on rust.  And fog.  Yay to the freedom of studying in a zigzag fashion.

Last night we began a unit on CATS – all kinds of felines, wild and domesticated (vocab word).   Interesting take-aways from last night: (1) take any type of feline, and the male and female look pretty much alike, EXCEPT one type of cat.  Can you guess?  Answer: LIONS (the male lion looking way different than his female counter-part).  Just the kind of fact that interests us, and (2) the Clouded Leopard: weird weird weird fur pattern.  Doesn’t it look like the design on the back of a tortoise?

clouded leopard

Our current novel: L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”.  Our book has extreme, contemporary, WONDERFUL graphics by Olimpia Zagnoli.

oz book

Thought: Baum wrote this as a book for children, so is there a need for so many watered down “children’s” versions? Don’t you think that diluted re-writes are an insult to our children’s minds?

Our Farmer Brown story problem: Farmer Brown’s cousin, Farmer Jimmy, produces maple syrup from the trees on his Vermont farm. He has asked Farmer Brown to sell the syrup for him, so he can concentrate on his syrup making techniques.  Farmer Jimmy is going to pay Farmer Brown 20% of everything sold.  A pint of maple syrup will sell for $8.00.  If Farmer Brown can sell 200 pints, how much money will he earn after he forks over most of the money to his cousin?

Our music theme: “One Thing Leads To Another” – we thought 2014 should go out with a bang and 2015 should enter with a bang…so we selected music that prominently features a booming instrument we want so badly to play – the TIMPANI (kettledrums):

  • Two by Richard Strauss!  “Dance of the Seven Veils” from his opera, “Salome” (pha-yew!  This is IN YOUR FACE sensuality set to music, but I would NEVER say this in front of my son – rather, I DO say that this is a staggering work of genius, and let’s concentrate on listening for the timpani) and “Also Sprach Zarathustra” (otherwise known as the theme music to the movie “2001, A Space Odyssey”).
  • Aram Khachaturian’s “Sabre Dance” – who cannot be delighted by this piece? C’mon! It’s a circus staple, what’s not to love? In the video, you will find the timpani positioned smack in the middle of the back row. What a great instrument!

 Welcome to the best part of my day!

– Jane BH