"'Education is the Science of Relations'; that is, that a child has natural relations with a vast number of things and thoughts: so we train him upon physical exercises, nature lore, handicrafts, science and art, and upon many living books, for we know that our business is not to teach him all about anything, but to help him to make valid as many as may be of––
'Those first-born affinities,
That fit our new existence to existing things.'"

Charlotte Mason, A Philosophy of Education
with a quote from The Prelude by William Wordsworth

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Money rabbit trails

Yesterday, ds#2 had to "make change" for his MEP lesson. Not wanting to do this on paper, I took out our play plastic coins and a money puzzle in which half the pieces had priced items pictured on them.

I gave ds#2 money and asked him what to buy something and then figure out how much change he should get.

Ds#1 & ds#3 though that was great fun so I let them get out the large money kit and go shopping. I only asked that they make change rather than give exact amounts.

Interestingly, ds#1, who learned addition and subtraction with Math-U-See, wanted a dry erase board to figure out change from $1. Ds#2, learning addition and subtraction with MEP level 2, explained to him how to subtract 2 digit numbers from 100 mentally. Ds#1 picked right up on it, since he has been asked to do that for review at MEP level 3 as well.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Because I love board games

You Are Chess

You are brilliant and shrewd. You can often predict what people will do in the future.

You thrive in complex situations. You deal with contradictions well.

You can have many streams of though going on at your mind at once. You keep track of things well.

You are very patient. You have lots of endurance, even when your energy dwindles

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Geo Bee, and how to learn facts

Today we had our first Families of Faith Geography Bee focusing on the United States. Our family spent the term creating our own state sheets so my dss would have at least been exposed to states, capitols, nicknames, flowers, birds, and trees. As the bee approached, though, I knew that they knew very few of the facts they filled out over the past several weeks.

I let them play the states and capitols games at sheppardsoftware.com a few times, and before long they knew their state capitols! There's nothing like trivia games for learning facts. We seem to remember even better the ones we get wrong, and we also review what we do know.

I went hunting for other online games for the state nicknames and symbols. I found a web site called purposegames.com that has dozens upon dozens of these games for a variety of subjects. They have simple but nice graphics, and the games are no more than matching, yet they are a fun and effective way to drill facts. I had the kids playing them this morning and by noon they knew a lot of those symbols and nicknames!

You can register for free at purposegames.com and create your own games, too, should you not be able to find just the right one already made. Hmmm, maybe a saints game, since they actually don't appear to have one yet...

Friday, November 14, 2008

String Art

This week I went back to our Color book and got this idea for string art.

We use only primary colors for this and blend them to form secondary colors.

We cut lengths of string and dipped two at a time each into a different primary color, wiping of the excess. We placed the strings randomly onto a folded piece of paper, leaving a tail outside of it, and then slowly pulled out the strings one at a time while holding light pressure on the folded paper.

Ds#2 figured out even before we pulled the strings that the result would be symmetrical.

When we were done I mixed together small areas of the intense primary colors to form the more muted secondary ones.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rabbit trail of dominoes

As our first term winds down, it seems the kids are wanting to go off on more "rabbit trails" than usual. I don't mind too much, depending on the trail they choose.

Yesterday the tin of dominoes that has been there for years finally found some appeal. They built a house with them and, well, even though they did not play the game of dominoes they did used them for their arguably better known use:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Starry Night

Last week the boys interpreted Van Gogh's Starry Night. I thought it interesting that they found the old tree to be the focus of the painting; personally, I am always drawn to the bright swirls of stars.

For some reason I don't know where ds#3's composition ended up. Hopefully it will turn up soon!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Artist study and art project

I got this idea from this post at Eclectic Education. It is so natural, so obvious, yet I didn't think of it until the post, part of the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival, probably because of my general art neglect, LOL.

I read the post but did not do the art project until a few days later. I chose Van Gogh's Sunflowers because ds#3 has actually drawn that picture before (yes, and still the idea did not occur to me.) I went back to comment on the post and saw she had actually used the same work! I must have really liked the whole idea, LOL!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Husbands and Food TV

This is what you get when your hungry husband watches The Food Network.

He made the dough from scratch.
He even went out to buy some of the toppings.

This was very popular with the boys.