18 November 2016

Day 13 / 106 - Dirty Dozen

In early October, my daughter participated in a 5K obstacle adventure race at the U.S. National Whitewater Center.  The 5K course included a dozen obstacles.  [The Whitewater Center has an amazing race series.  This entire blog could be about races we've participated in there.]

My daughter gets a little nervous before activities such as this, and she doesn't always want to complete them.  However, this time she was super motivated to earn the race day t-shirt.  She definitely earned it and has worn it with pride.

Day 12 / 106 - The Gupta Dynasty

Week three of our Middle Ages History class had us learning about The Gupta Dynasty.  [If you missed my original post on how this history class is structured, read it here.]

Throughout the week at home, my children and I gathered research on the Guptas, as well as on pivotal others during their empire [like the poet Kalidasa, pictured above].  My at-home goal is that my children read something, watch something, listen to something, and write something on each topic.  Some weeks are better than others.  

In class, after map and timeline work, we defined this influential period in India's history.  Our definition for The Gupta Dynasty reads:  The Gupta Dynasty was a ruling empire in India from 320 AD - 550 AD.  Because their strong military force kept peace, they made many advancements in arts, sciences, and culture.

Some notable hashtags: 
#zerotohero [the concept of zero as a digit was developed during this period]
#squadgoals [a military squad, including elephants and horses, guarded each village]

Day 11 / 106 - “I, Pencil”

We assigned our son the 1958 essay I, Pencil for one of his fall literature assignments along with several reflection questions about the essay.  If you are unfamiliar, the essay is written in the first person from the point of view of the pencil detailing the complexity of its own creation.  It hits on the idea that the economy consists of many separate parts working together in harmony.

You can read the entire essay here.

06 November 2016

Day 10 / 106 - October Happens At The Table

Despite our busy fall schedules, we've still be able to gather around our table for food, learning, and fun.

The following picture shows A Great Pumpkin puzzle that we purchased in 2007.  This puzzle has moved with us three different times.  We unearth it every Halloween and attempt to complete it.  It never gets easier.  Some years, we are unable to finish it because round puzzles are terribly difficult, and it's complete chaos to keep working on Great Pumpkin puzzles in mid-November.   This year, we completed it in under 24 hours.  Definitely a new record.  I guess the 10th time is a charm. 

05 November 2016

Day 9 / 106 - Charlotte City Ballet Company

This year, my daughter was invited to be an Apprentice member of the Charlotte City Ballet Company.  CCBC is a pre-professional dance company with students who study exclusively at her dance school.  Last spring, she was thrilled when she received the invite, and she has been rehearsing regularly since the beginning of September.  It has made her life [and ours] a little bit busier, but she has enjoyed every moment of it.

The Company has been anticipating their performance of Prelude to the Holidays which includes excerpts from The Nutcracker as well as several other pieces.  They have five different community performances between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

04 November 2016

Day 8 / 106 - October Learning With My Kids

Welcome to Daily Learning With My Kids.  Monthly, I'm highlighting when my children (or myself) have learned something new or noteworthy.  Oftentimes, my children will have these discoveries independently and without curriculum.  That's the best kind of learning.  I plan to remember these a-ha moments to keep the joy in the journey.


What we've been doing.

Reading. Laughing. Learning. Playing. Algebra-ing. Translating. Declining. Driving [mom and son]. Working. Solving. Creating. Enjoying. Running. Dancing. Scouting. 

What we haven't been doing.

Blogging.  [I have a list of posts a mile long, but as my children age I'm discovering I should become a once a month blogger.]

Studying the Middle Ages in a research format has been wonderful.  I do have plans to post all of our weekly topics and the various projects we've completed.  While learning about the Visigoths and their sack of Rome, we read the above words from St. Jerome who was in Bethlehem at the time of the attack.  King Alaric led the Visigoth campaign in 410 AD.  Prior to this, Rome had not fallen to a foreign enemy in over 700 years.

My daughter purchased herself a ukulele and has taught herself to play via youTube.  She also learned how to construct a capo using only a rubber band and a pencil, again thanks to youTube.  [I didn't even know what a capo was when I was 12.]  

We've used several different resources this fall to expand our knowledge of the Latin language.  I'm pleased to report we are learning much.  If you haven't already translated the above picture, it reads --

Come, O Great Pumpkin.

10 October 2016

Day 7 / 106 - Emperor Constantine

I have hinted at a fabulous history class that I have been facilitating, and I'm now eager to share all about it.

This fall, my children and I made the switch to a new homeschool community.  There have been a few minor adjustments, but overall the transition is going very well.  Last spring, I was approached to teach a Middle Ages World History class for junior/senior high students with a suggested curriculum.  After surveying the curriculum for a few weeks, I went back to the coordinator and said: I will teach the class, but can I use this idea instead?  Fortunately, she said yes.

My suggestion was to not use a text book or curriculum, but instead facilitate a research-based class where the students took much ownership of their work by completing weekly projects.  Each week the students are given an historical person or event to research.  Students use their at-home time to gather information on that topic using multiple sources, preferably living books.  After researching, students then prepare a presentation/project from their findings using whatever creative means necessary to keep them engaged.  THIS has brought me much joy!  In just three weeks, I've seen power point presentations, a recreation of The Edict of Milan, reports, dioramas, a billboard for an Attila the Hun themed hotel, and more!  The twenty students in my class are far more creative than me.

To begin our class, we time-traveled to a period a tad bit before the Middle Ages and researched Roman Emperor Constantine.  My children and I completed several activities for this assignment, mostly so I could have a few examples for the first week of class.  My daughter completed an acrostic poem with facts about the emperor, and my son drew a map of the Battle of Milvian Bridge.  I crafted a Time magazine showing Constantine as 'Man of the Year' in 313 AD.  We also made a shield with the Chi Rho symbol on it [from Constantine's vision prior to the Battle of Milvian Bridge].  

On Wednesday mornings, after the students have entertained each other [and me] with their projects, we complete four different activities.  First, we draw a map of where this event/person occurred/lived/reigned, etc.  [This should not surprise you, if you know me.]  Then we draw a timeline indicating the key events in this person's life, or the major occurrences leading up to and including the historical event.  Third, using tools from The Lost Tools of Writing, along with our weekly research, we write a definition for the person/event.  [My son claims this is the best part of the class.]  Finally, the Middle Ages meet the Modern Age as I have my class write a few hashtags for the person/event in an attempt to identify the common themes and entertainingly remember some of what we've discussed over the past hour.

Our class definition for Constantine reads: Constantine was a 4th century Roman emperor dedicated to uniting the Roman Empire and advocating for the Christian faith.

Our hashtags included;
#upsspecialdelivery [read my recent Daily Learning post to understand the context of this one!]

Learning is such fun!