Classical Conversations Cycle 2 Week 15 and 16
This is the time of year in our family when a couple of things typically happen: 1) We’re just really getting back into the school “groove” and I start to feel good about what we’re accomplishing and 2) tax season hits.
In some past life that I occasionally have flashbacks of, I was a CPA who had VERY, VERY little to do with taxes. I spent most of my time (and by that, I mean 50-80 hours/week) auditing fairly large, often publicly-traded companies. I won’t bore you with the details. I’ll just skip to the end of the story . . . I don’t do that any more.
Okay, if you want more details (skip on down if you don’t), I resigned because by husband operates his own business (now businesses) and needed more accounting and office management than I could provide him after exerting all my energy on someone else’s business. I resigned, got pregnant, felt yucky, had a baby, and now I exert all my energy on children and homeschool and my husband still needs more accounting and office management than I’m able to provide. See how well that worked out for him? One less income, more mouths to feed, same pitiful amount of attention. Have I mentioned that my husband is wonderful? Consequently, I really am always trying to balance it out, and at this time of year, the balance tips in his favor. I also help out another CPA doing business taxes at this time of year. So, more time on taxes and business = less time on cool CC stuff and blogging.
It only lasts for a few weeks, and then the scales will tip back the other direction.
I don’t think we’re actually going to Memory Master this year, but I like to act like we’re still shooting for it so we still push ourselves in review. I made the kids some sheets to keep up with what they’ve mastered and what they haven’t, based on what this CC mom had done. When they can answer the review question with absolutely no assistance, they get a sticker. And, because I am not above bribery (although I’m not usually prone to it, either), I offered them a chocolate chip for every 5 in a row they can get. Again, we got in a LOT of review in exchange for some stickers and a couple (really, just a couple . . . we need to do a lot more review!) of chocolate chips. You can download a copy for yourself by clicking on the image to the right, or by visiting the printables page.
This week, I decided that we needed a new review game at home to spice things up! I’ve seen Jenga versions of CC review games in abundance, so I decided to go with one of those. Like the CC mom at this blog, I did this the “quick and dirty” way . . . I just used a sharpie and wrote on my Jenga pieces. It’s fast, it doesn’t throw the balance of the blocks off, and you can just ignore it if you want to play Jenga and NOT review CC. The only difference I made, was that I did not write the weeks on my blocks, just the subjects. I didn’t want to be locked in to which weeks we were reviewing. I’d rather create piles of my CC memory review card by subject and then just draw from them based on what’s written on the block that you pull. There are 54 pieces in a complete Jenga set, so I just dealt them evenly into 7 stacks, and then any extras went into the stacks that I think we struggle more with (History sentences, Geography, etc. I avoided extra blocks for Timeline and Math, since we repeat those each cycle already.) After that, it was easy and fun and I ended up taking it to class with us and using it there, as well.
Jenga aside, do you know what my kids’ favorite way of reviewing this past week was? Using a card game that came in a Chic-Fil-A kids meal. My son got it as a prize for bringing his Bible and looking up his memory verse in his Wednesday night class at church (I love his teachers – encouraging Bible literacy in your Kindergarten class rocks!). It’s called “Cattle Drive,” but basically it’s just “War” with a smaller cow-themed deck of cards. My kids don’t play war all that fast (it’s just never occurred to them) and they’re totally used to using a game to review CC, so when I was asking them how they wanted to review last week, my son suggested this game and said they’d just answer a CC question on each turn. The loser (lowest number card) of the turn got to read the question for the winner (highest number of card). They reviewed a good chunk of CC that morning over breakfast this way . . . and the only effort it required on my part was pulling out our CC memory cards. Winner!
I recommended this WWI book in my last post before we’d really had a chance to use it. Now that we’ve had it and used it on our Kindle, I’m going to give this book a second shout out. I’m also going to recommend the WWII book. I think this book would work well in hard copy, as well, but we REALLY enjoyed it on our Kindle. It’s nice that we can walk through just a “path” or two and then put the book down and come back to it later. I’ve found it particularly amusing to hear my children advocate for choosing paths of totally different risk-levels (My son: “Skip the additional training, go straight to the front!!” vs My daughter: “Let’s stay in the U.S. and see if/when they decide to join the war.”). I will warn you that, as would often happen in war, a great deal of the paths don’t end well – you die, your lungs are damaged for the rest of your life, etc., but they aren’t gruesome.
The first time we chose a path that resulted in our character dying, my children stopped and looked at me. They don’t often (ever!) read books that don’t have happy endings, so this was a new experience. Not a bad one, though. Wars are NOT warm and fuzzy experiences, and while my natural tendency is to focus on heart-warming or heroic stories like these:
- the Christmas Truce of WWI,
- Nicholas Winton (who was responsible for the Czech Kindertransport of WWII that saved 669 children from concentration camps),
- or the Little Ships of Dunkirk where 700 privately owned boats (we’re talking fishing boats, ferries, and yachts) sailed across the English channel and assisted in rescuing 338,000 French and English troops who had been cut off from the rest of the forces and trapped on the beaches at Dunkirk
. . . those stories aren’t representative of the whole experience. These interactive books have done a good job of helping me to really explain to my children how horrible war can be without it being a traumatizing experience.
If you enjoy the Horrible Histories videos, here’s a link to a playlist of WWII related videos. While we did find these interesting, I didn’t find them to be as educational as they have been on other subjects.
I find these Crash Course History videos very interesting and educational. I almost always learn something I didn’t know or hear a perspective that I haven’t thought of. For the WWII video, I’m going to say that it’s generally not appropriate for elementary-aged kiddos. Preview it and make your own call. There’s just too much about WWII that is gruesome (and captured in photo and film) for young kids, plus there’s some language and imagery here that I would prefer my kiddos not to see (and there’s so much information covered so quickly, I think they’d struggle with digesting it, anyway). For adults, and high-school students, this is just what it says – a crash course in WWII . . .
There is, of course, also a crash course in WWI. I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether you think it’s appropriate for younger kiddos. It’s less gruesome, but still may not be something your younger children will be able to follow (or that you want them to watch).
Here’s a way to illustrate all three of Newton’s laws of motion using matchbox cars:
This video is a nice little overview of Newton’s First Law of motion:
The following video elaborates on Newton’s first law of motion and defines and illustrates different kinds of forces.
This awesome CC mom uses a different tune than we use in our community, but I love how she integrates hand motions into her geography songs. The hand motions often help me remember which countries are where!
Week 16 Balkans:
Week 15 Middle East:
I wasn’t able to find many resources for Gainsborough (week 15), but of course the resources for Monet are nearly unending! Here are my absolute favorites!
I keep recommending the books and videos in this “Getting to Know . . . ” series by Mike Venezia because I think they are so good! Again, the video is just cost prohibitive to purchase (check your library!), but the book is reasonable, and Monet is an artist that you and your children will enjoy revisiting year-after-year.
This is both an excellent book and video. It’s sweet with lots of great information about Monet, as told by a little girl who visits his art and his historic home.
These two books were new to us, this year. They’re great for pre-school and early elementary students. They contain easily understood information about Monet on well-illustrated pages. There are more in-depth biographies at the end of both books (but if you’re family is like ours, you children start to lose interest at that point). The first book, “Monet Paints a Day” has boxes on each page that are separate from the story-line but contain great information about the artist. I liked having the option to add in more elaborate information as I read.
This book was also a new discovery this year. It is EXCELLENT! Lots of good information about Monet and the Impressionist movement are woven through the story, and I loved that this book focused on paintings that we aren’t as familiar with.
Biography has a nice biography and a nice brief biographical video about Monet. http://www.biography.com/people/claude-monet-9411771
This is an interesting video about Monet, that focuses on his garden at Giverny.
One last note for those of you that live in the Middle Tennessee area. The Frist Center for the Arts in Nashville (free for children under 18, $10 for adults + parking) will be hosting an exhibit entitled “Looking East” through May 11, 2014. The pieces are on loan from the Museum of Fine Art in Boston. The purpose of the exhibit is to illustrate how Japanese art influenced other artists across the globe . . . after the U.S. restored trade with Japan (see Timeline Week #18). During Japan’s Isolation (see Timeline Week #15), Western artists weren’t able to see what was going on there, so after Japan re-opened its borders to the world (thanks to the work of U.S. Commodore Matthew Perry, see CC History Sentence from Cycle 1, Week 10), there was a shift in modern art around 1872. How cool to see our Timeline and Fine Art illustrated for us in one place! Japanese art will be on display beside paintings and prints of Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Edvard Munch and the furniture of Frank Lloyd Wright. Two of those artists – Claude Monet and Edgar Degas are covered in our current (Cycle 2) fine arts! It’s rare to get to see our history grammar and art illustrated this way, so take advantage of it, if you can!
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