Monday, September 24, 2012

Cycle 1, Week 5

 "And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him." Acts 28:30-31


Paul in Rome
BIBLE: We'll read Acts 28 and discuss Paul's life in Rome. I really want to emphasize 1) Paul's dedication to preaching the Gospel, even in scary circumstances 2) God's provision and rewards to those who faithfully serve Him 3) Hospitality, especially the importance of allowing others into our home, even when it doesn't seem convenient for us, for the furtherance of God's kingdom. Actually, since I'm late getting this post up, I've already read the account of Paul at Rome aloud while the boys watched this slideshow. It held their attention, and I think it helped to "see" Paul and the setting. 

We'll also discuss the challenges Paul must've faced as he lived in Rome. We'll tie back into the Roman gods, and how Paul had to reason with the Romans about idol worship. He had to deal graciously with unbelievers and be a living example of Christ's love to the Romans. I'll have the boys make a house out of their cardboard bricks. They can take turns pretending to be Paul. I might have them say things like, "Jesus loves you," or "God sent his Son," "Jesus is the Messiah," etc. 

We'll continue using Doorposts' Put-On Chart for character study. This week, we'll continue to practice patience


Monday: Introduction to Ancient Rome. We'll watch clips of these videos, just so the boys can get a feel for the setting, time period, etc. Since Johnathan and Samuel are so young, they don't yet grasp the concept of hundreds or thousands of years, so I think it helps for them to see the buildings, people, dress, etc. of the time periods we're studying. That way, they understand that this isn't happening now, but a "long time ago." We'll also read Romulus and Remus. Thanks to CC's timeline, Johnathan is already familiar with Romulus and Remus!
We enjoy Kingfisher history books
Romulus and Remus
Tuesday: CC Community Day; no "school" at home
Wednesday: We'll delve into the mysterious Pompeii. I am over-the-top excited about learning more about Pompeii. I remember being a little girl in a small country school learning about Pompeii. I was captivated by a documentary that we watched in class; I can still picture the images of the preserved bodies! Fascinating! On Wednesday, I'll probably read bits of Pompeii...Buried Alive! before naps and bed, or if we have a comfy minute on the couch.

Thursday: Today's history hour will be spent recreating a Pompeii home! This looks easy and very fun. I'm thankful for the people who do the work for me sometimes.

Friday: We'll probably spend this day recapping. Here are some fun activities I've found on the web:

  • "Dress the Gladiator" online game (great for boys!)
  • Ancient Rome coloring pages
  • Have fun like the children of Rome: play tic-tac-toe, sword fight, play jacks, or throw a ball

GEOGRAPHY: Egypt! If you don't use CC's Geography Tables, I would highly recommend them. In fact, I think I'm going to have to buy another one for Samuel. These are beautifully done, match the maps that CC uses on community day, and are easy to wipe off. (The boys like using Vis-a-Vis markers on the maps. The fine tips on those markers help me to see that Johnathan knows the locations he's tracing or circling.)

ENGLISH: Continue using our Preposition Penguin to review and learn prepositions. 

MATH: Learn to skip-count 9s and 10s using the song (for the 9s) on CC's audio CD. We'll also use skip-counting charts and the skip-counting game (very helpful). 

LATIN: Learn the second declension noun endings. Johnathan is breezing through these noun endings, mostly due to the great songs on CC's audio CD.. Classical tools are beautiful things!

SCIENCE: We're learning the major groups of invertebrates this week. We'll use our plastic toys to find invertebrates and watch this fun, short video.

TIMELINE: Johnathan is continuing to obsess over the timeline. He wants to listen to the song as soon as he wakes up. He likes to line up his cards on the kitchen floor. I hear him singing "Israelite Conquest and Judges, Greek Dark Ages..." in the bathtub..Sometimes I wonder if he needs a little break... ;)

FINE ARTS: This week, we're focusing on perspective. I'll follow the ideas given in the back of the Foundations Guide. I also like some of the images and thoughts provided in this lesson.

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

CC at Home: Cycle 1, Week 4


Our boys are learning, learning, learning! I never thought that we'd be studying the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World with our three and four-year-olds, but I'm realizing that these little ones are so interested in history, people, and architecture. Nothing is more "cool" to my boys than a tall tower! They're going to love what we're delving into this week.

BIBLE: Read Exodus 20. Review the Ten Commandments using song and hand motions. I love beginning our school mornings this way. What a foundation! We'll put on "patience" this week using Doorposts' Put-On Chart. "Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools." ~Ecclesiastes 7:9. 

We'll take a look at the life of David each day and specifically focus on how he demonstrated patience, especially in dealing with King Saul. We'll also talk about the times when David and those around him didn't have patience. (1 Samuel 16-26) It's exciting for me when I'm able to integrate the subjects we're studying. This week, we have some overlaps, as we'll be studying the Hittite Empire, and Uriah the Hittite will appear in one of our stories. We won't go into detail about Bathsheba, but I find this verse to be so profound: "...because David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that He commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite." ~1 Kings 15:5. Here is a video introduction to the Hittite Empire. 


Monday: Introduce the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World using this site. It contains wonderful photos, paintings, and videos of the Seven Wonders. 

Wednesday: The boys love mini-books. This one is wonderful, because students must match the picture of the ancient wonder to the clue given in the book. (I'll read the clue aloud.) Then, they get to cut and glue in order to complete the book (very fun for my little ones!). Just a heads up, there is a typo in the word "pyramid" in the mini book, so we'll have to correct that!

Thursday: Seven Wonders of the Ancient World coloring pages. (Pharos Lighthouse, Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Temple of Artemis, Colossus of Rhodes, the Mausoleum, the Great Pyramids, Statue of Zeus) The boys probably won't color all of them. We'll use these images to help us replicate the structures with cardboard bricks or Legos. 

Friday: Read Voyage to the Pharos and play this Seven Wonders matching game.

ENGLISH: We're still working on prepositions. We're having lots of fun with our Preposition Penguin! We just place him in different places in relation to our bodies and have the boys call out where he is (over, under, beside, etc.). This week, I'm going to use a simple illustration to delve a bit deeper. I chose this one (I'm a Wind in the Willows fan!). We'll talk about where each character/object is, but we'll also talk about where each character/object isn't. (The mouse is on the chair; he ISN'T under the chair.) 

MATH: Johnathan struggles with skip counting. He doesn't understand why the numbers don't "go in order." He says, "NO! It's 1, 2, 3..." I understand his frustration! Skip counting seems a little abstract for his young mind! We'll continue on, though, and I'm thinking that seeing a simple chart like this will help him understand the "skipping" concept. I'll just slide the chart into a sheet protector and have him check off or color in each number that we're saying. During week four, we're focusing on skip counting the 7s and 8s, but we'll review all of the previous weeks as well. 

Here is a GREAT skip counting game. Since I originally typed this post, Johnathan has played the game and done so well. I think this will help! 

LATIN: Continue memorizing noun endings (1st declension) using the song on CC's audio CD.

SCIENCE: What are some parts of a plant cell? We'll use hand motions to learn them, and the boys will color this page.

TIMELINE: Johnathan LOVES his timeline. He begs me to take out more cards so he can move ahead. I think it really helps that CC's timeline song is FANTASTIC! My husband sat down at the kitchen table yesterday and turned the song on. When I asked why he wanted to listen to the Timeline Song, he replied, "I just like it..." We had a good laugh! It is catchy!

FINE ARTS: Abstract art. I just LOVE the idea of marble painting. I think the boys would love it as well. We might try a simplified version of this lesson plan OUTSIDE. ;)

Jackson Pollock Inspired Kids Art 1

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

CC at Home: Cycle 1, Week 3

"The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands." ~Acts 17:24

Ancient Greece is the name of the game this week! I can't wait to give the boys a fun glimpse into the lives of these interesting people.

BIBLE: Each day, we'll simply read Exodus 20. Review Ten Commandments with hand motions and song. Continuing using Doorposts' "Put On Chart" to discuss kindness. We usually do a simple, fun skit during this time, too.

Monday: Read Joshua 3-4 where the Joshua leads the Israelites across the Jordan River on dry land.

I like the idea of making a river to use during our Cycle 1 studies! How convenient it would be to just pull out our river whenever we study the Jordan, Nile, Ganges, and Huang He! We could reenact events on the "river". We could even cut out other cities or regions and place them on the appropriate side of the river. Countless possibilities! This week, we could place 12 memorial stones in the "Jordan" river. Fun!

Wednesday: Read Acts 17:22-31, which describes Paul's sermon on Mars Hill. This will be a great way to lead into our history sentence about the Greek and Roman gods. Here is a coloring page of Paul preaching to the Greeks. I'll point out the Greek architecture and clothing on the coloring page.

Thursday: Read Acts 19:23-41 and discuss how important it is to worship the one, true God. We'll talk about who did the right thing (Paul) and who did the wrong thing (Demetrius). I'll hold up a little statue and ask, "Can this little thing help me when I'm sick? Can this help you when you're scared?" (No.) I'll try talking to the little statue and waiting for it to answer me. We'll discuss how our God is the only One who listens to us, comforts us, and shows us how to do good. We'll reference the painting and drawing below.
"Paul preaching before the Temple of Diana at Ephesus" - by Adolf Pirsch, 1885
"Demetrius the silversmith stirs up a riot" by Edward H. Corbould, 1894  

HISTORY/BIBLE/GEOGRAPHY: Week 3's history sentence is: "Tell me about the Greek and Roman gods." We will focus on Ancient Greece this week, but we will not focus on the gods. I don't feel comfortable presenting that information to my children yet. Of course, as they mature, they'll need to know the names of the gods and what those gods represented. I just don't think preschool is the time. They are still getting to know the one true God of our family. This verse gives us caution:

"When the Lord thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise." ~Deuteronomy 12:29-30
I wish I had known about this book earlier. It looks wonderful. It's on my wish list!
Monday: GREEK ARCHITECTURE. This day always needs to be a bit simple, because we're getting ready for our CC community day on Tuesday. We'll just look at the little Parthenon in our Toob of landmarks and try to replicate it using these colored blocks. I'll point out the columns and symmetry (which is  timely, since we studied symmetry last week).

Tuesday: CC Community Day; no "school" at home.

Wednesday: GREEK ART. After reading a chapter 20 in The Story of the World, we'll create these very simple Greek "vases" using black markers and small terracotta flower pots. If you have older children, they might enjoy this worksheet on Greek vases.

Thursday: GREEK ATTIRE. Today is an important day, as we'll be making Greek clothes for our feast on Friday night. Our Greek attire is awfully complicated: a white sheet and a construction paper laurel wreath. ;)

Friday: GREEK FEAST. Tonight will be the Greek feast with Daddy! We'll all dress up and dine! The idea came from this blog; how inspiring! She even has recipe ideas for a Greek feast. We probably won't try the recipes, but we will recline at our very own homemade triclinium table using couch cushions and beach towels. It'll be fun and rather, um, interesting messy to eat while reclining!

After the meal, we'll cuddle on our triclinium and watch Disney's Hercules.

*This week, we'll be reading Susan Wise Bauer's Story of the World, chapters 18-25. 

*I haven't viewed these videos yet, but I'll preview them and see if they are suitable for our little study of Ancient Greece. 
Aesop's Fables are perfect to read while studying Ancient Greece. 

ENGLISH: Continue learning prepositions using our Preposition Penguin.

LATIN: Begin memorizing Latin noun endings (1st declension) using the song on the CC Audio CD.

SCIENCE: "What are some parts of an animal cell?" I had the urge again. I saw an animal cell pizza and an animal cell made out of JELL-O. I immediately began writing down the ingredients, but I stopped myself. We just aren't going to have the time. And would my boys really "get it" anyway? They don't even like the ingredients on the animal cell pizza! I had to let it go. We'll either do a coloring page or use an animal cell model for a reference.

MATH: Skip count by 5s and 6s. See this post for skip counting worksheets.

TIMELINE: Johnathan's favorite part of memory work, by far, is his timeline. He loves to sing the song, play with his timeline cards, and do the hand motions! We'll simply continue doing what's working!

FINE ARTS: Drawing upside-down images. This book looks so fun!

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Friday, August 31, 2012

Latin Noun Cases: Hand Motions

My camera isn't working properly, so my little one can't "model" these motions for you. As soon as I figure out the problem, I'll come back and post pictures (pictures would make this much easier to understand!). I learned these hand motions from a very talented CC mama. I met her at our recent Practicum and she showed us these motions. I wish I remembered her name to give her credit.

The words in bold are the words you say, of course. This looks complicated, but as you read, you'll see it's VERY simple and repetitive. My little Abecedarians love it!

NOMINATIVE: extend left arm in front of you and make a fist; hold it there
SUBJECT: extend right arm in front of you and make a fist; hold it there

You'll have two fists in front of your body. Now retract them!

GENITIVE: extend left arm in front of you and make a fist; hold it there
POSSESSIVE: make a "claw" with your right hand and use it to "grab" the left fist

You'll have a captured left fist in front of your body. Now retract them!

DATIVE: extend left arm in front of you and make a fist; hold it there
INDIRECT: extend right arm in front of you and make a fist; place right fist directly beside left fist. OBJECT: quickly swing right fist away from the left fist.

Retract them!

ACCUSATIVE: extend left arm and make a fist; hold it there
DIRECT: extend right arm out to the right side of your body and make a fist. OBJECT: quickly swing right fist towards the left fist and "slam" into it. Hold your two fists together for a second.

Retract them!

ABLATIVE: extend left arm and make a fist; hold it there
Now everyone's favorite part: OBJECT OF THE PREPOSITION: make a fist with your right hand; place it on top of the left fist. Quickly begin stacking your fists as you call out "Object of the preposition!"

Clear as mud??? :) Hopefully, I can have the pictures up before weeks 13 and 14, when we study noun cases again.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

CC at Home: Cycle 1, Week 2

He changes times and seasons;  he removes kings and sets up kings;he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. ~Daniel 2:21

How I love redeeming my own education through Classical Conversations! I never studied the Assyrian Empire when I was in school, nor do I remember learning the differences between protista and monera. This stuff is fascinating! Here is our slowed-down plan for Week Two:


Read Exodus 20 (our CC memory work for Cycle 1). Our family has used Doorposts for years during Bible time. We love their character lessons, and since our family really loves the book of Proverbs, Doorposts is a favorite. We've been focusing on the "Put-On Chart" during Bible time lately. The boys are learning so much--and putting it into practice. 

HISTORY/BIBLE/GEOGRAPHY: (Talk about integration of subjects! A friend asked why I group history and Bible together. Please tell me I'm not the only person who grew up thinking secular history occurred during a totally different time period than Biblical history! Where Biblical history and secular history coincide, I'll try to point it out to the boys.) We're focusing on the Ten Commandments and the Assyrian Empire this week. 

Monday: We'll continue reviewing the Ten Commandments. I've grown to love the song CC included on the audio CD. I caught myself singing, "These are the words of my GOD....these are the words of my GOD." Now THAT'S a song I don't mind getting stuck in my head. Our CC community has the most precious hand motions to use with the Ten Commandments.

I had these DVDs in a cabinet and had forgotten all about them, until this wonderful blogger posted them! What a timely reminder! Thanks, Melody! :) My boys have already watched them all! They're short and entertaining.

Listen to a child tell the story of the three Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace. Hopefully, Johnathan will be able to complete the puzzle on the site while he listens! We'll discuss the importance of commandment one: Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 

Tuesday: Community Day--no "school" at home

Wednesday: After reviewing our geography memory work (Assyrian Empire), I'll read Chapter 16 in Story of the World. What an interesting chapter, especially for boys! Seige towers, military tactics, lions--oh, my! They'll love it. This wonderful site has Assyrian Empire activities that are very simple and relaxed. We'll have time in the sandbox to recreate Ashurbanipal's siege tower tactics.

Thursday: More geography practice locating the Assyrian Empire and its features. We'll focus today on the Red Sea by reading Exodus 14, where God parted the Red Sea. The boys can watch this powerful video. I'm glad we'll be able to see the horse-drawn chariots in action, since we discussed them last week when studying the Egyptians. We'll color this page. I'm not big on coloring pages, but I do like the discussions that the page below could bring up: Did everyone look happy? Can you find someone who looks scared? What would you have been scared of? How do you think Moses felt? Find someone who looks like he or she is trusting God. Do you think the babies would remember this when they got older? If not, how will they know about it? 

Friday: More geography and Ten Commandments review. After reading pages 118-121 in Story of the World, we'll go out on the porch and make clay tablets! I'll write messages about our daily lives and I'll let the boys draw something on theirs. We'll discuss how important things written on paper would burn up if they caught on fire, but clay tablets would be preserved for a very long time.

*For those on CC connected, NoGreaterJoy5 has a Cycle 1 "History Coordinated Reading Schedule (A reading schedule which coordinates CC history sentences with World History Homework (Scholastic), SOTW, MOH, Kingfisher, VP Cards)." TALK ABOUT HELPFUL!!! 


We'll continue to practice skip counting by 1s, 2s, 3s, and 4s using songs. These charts really help Johnathan recognize the larger numbers. I also write the numbers on index cards and have him literally "skip" count! 


Skip through this video which shows great real-life images of protista, monera, fungi, etc. I'll also let the boys watch this video, which is more entertaining and child-friendly! We do have a big mushroom patch in our yard, so I'll put on gloves and we'll explore the fungi!


Johnathan is quickly memorizing his Latin noun cases. I am impressed! At a CC Practicum over the summer, we learned hand motions for the noun cases. If you'd like for me to share those, please let me know.


We'll continue our picture studies and drawing practice. This week, we'll focus on mirror images.


Johnathan really likes for me to mix up the timeline cards  so he can put them back in order. I also use them as flash cards. We love those cards!

getting real


Have you ever had one of those days (or moments) when you gained a clear understanding of who you really are? Well, Week One provided one of those times for me!

As a homeschool mom, I want the very best for my boys! I want them to know everything and do everything that is available to them. But, I realized

that is not going to happen.

Oh, there were so many great ideas! SO MANY! Pinterest, blogs, and other CC moms have given me so many creative ideas and plans. I could envision myself plowing through my day doing all of these great things with my three and four year olds. We would laugh and get messy, and I would be patient and sweet. They would follow my directions. I would rub their little backs while they watched five videos about Egyptians.


Needless to say, that didn't happen.

I eliminated several activities that I had planned, simply because we just didn't have the time. My boys didn't have the attention span.

I don't want to recreate school at home. I want us to LIVE. We simply can't do three activities before lunch that require glue and scissors.

I need to find my limits and delight in them. Psalm 16:6 says, "The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance." (For major encouragement in this area, read this precious post.) I realize that I should educate these boys while being the mom God created me to be. And that "me" is not a mom who loves messes and crafts. Those activities pile on stress for me. And you know what? My boys would rather build or read than glue or cut. Isn't God good?

I have two little boys who need to run and play and cuddle with Mama. That's fine with me!

Week Two will be much more realistic. I'm saying this while in the midst of week one...and I'm already feeling the urge to think,"Well, yes, this week was over-planned and hectic, but OH, LOOK at ALL of these great ideas for next week!" :) Needless to say, you'll find a much slower-paced Week Two on the blog later today. 

"Let your moderation be known unto all men." Philippians 4:5

Friday, August 24, 2012

CC Cycle 1: Resources We'll Use Year Round

This post will probably be updated as we begin the school year, but here are some of the sources that I know I'll be using as of now. These first three books are ones that Classical Conversations recommends for tutors and parents. I'm happy with them so far!

Of course, we'll use the wonderful CC Foundations Guide, 4th ed. I can't even begin to describe how impressed I am with the Foundations program. 

We love The Jesus Storybook Bible. I get teary-eyed almost every time I read it. The wording is profound, and the illustrations are beautiful. 

Rhymes Round the World is a precious book of poetry for children. It is one of the books that came in the mail from Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. It is filled with poems written by people from other countries. If I can find a poem written in a country that we're focusing on, then we'll read it!

The Story of the World. This is a wonderful resource, but I'm not yet sure if it's the perfect fit for our family. I chose this book for several reasons. I love the way Susan Wise Bauer writes, and I have tremendous respect for her. The book is in chronological order. It's told like a story. It's great! However, we believe that God is the center of everything--including history. This book uses Bible stories as an aside--just as it uses myths and tales as asides...I'm not sure about that. After hearing my concerns, a friend suggested that Mystery of History might be a better resource for our family. I probably won't switch over until next year, since the boys are so young anyway.
Seatbelts, everyone! I remember watching The Magic School Bus in school as a little girl. I loved the characters, and even though I didn't love science, these videos were fascinating to me! We've already been watching these DVDs at home. The boys love them. I haven't yet heard any references to evolution or "millions of years" (concepts my husband and I don't agree with), but if we do encounter them, I'll be sure to point out truth to the boys.

I purchased Usborne's Famous Paintings cards at a homeschool convention this year. I was planning on waiting a couple of years to use them, but Johnathan found them and was enthralled. He loved studying each painting. I was elated! So now, about every week or so, we pull out another picture card to study. Johnathan and Samuel are quickly memorizing the titles of the works and the artists who painted them. I'm an impressed mama! My plan is to continue doing picture studies all year, and I hope to purchase more cards at some point.

Alpha-Phonics. I purchased this recently, but I've always known that I wanted to use this book teach my children phonics. Notice I said book, not program. That's the beauty of Alpha-Phonics to me. Just a child, a mama, and a book. I wasn't planning on teaching phonics to Johnathan at four, but I think he has a different plan. We'll see!

An old photo I found of my "little boys" playing with their beloved bricks! In this photo, they had made a table and chair. :)
We ordered these cardboard bricks from Constructive Playthings a couple of years ago. Our boys have run on them, jumped on them, and knocked them down at least a thousand times. They're still in terrific shape! We'll love using these during Cycle One to construct pyramids, towers, homes, etc. My builder-boys will love this!

I'll update the list as the year goes on!