The Classical Cat Corner

Wear the old coat and buy the new book. --Austin Phelps

Sunday, August 28, 2005

If you are curious about my ramblings on our schooling....

such as "Latin-centered" vs. "Neo-classical", there are two good discussions that are going on about what "Latin-centered" means. Here are the links for those: First discussion and Second discussion

And here's Popeye and the Peas

Me and the Peas

Gee! My mom is right...I look JUST like my dad...especially when I'm not SMILING!!! I'll try to get a better pic up soon!

And a closer shot.

Look what we did!!!!

Those Sweet Peas! They built a Lego tank and found a driver for it! LOL

Friday, August 26, 2005

Fantastic Fun Friday

In my last blog entry (yes, I know it has been awhile, but I've been busy TEACHING!:)), was was working on revising "THE PLAN". It has now been modified and it is working GREAT! I just need to add that American History in there and we'll be off and running FULL speed. I guess you could say we are full speed now more or less and things are clicking along great.

I decided to make Fridays Fantastic Fun Days! Sweet Pea 2 doesn't think we do Fun days as well as the local public school. But I'm NOT going to let that deter me.

We did still do some work but it was in the form of games for the most part. We started off with devotions as usual. Then we had to run out to the "big truck" to get our Natural Food order which was being delivered. We came home for SP1 to practice piano while SP2 played trains upstairs. SP1 did his Latin in form of cool puzzles in the Activity Book from Classical Academic Press (Latin for Children). I did give him one math fact sheet to work on too. Then he got to read about Christopher Columbus. SP2 and I read his spelling words and I had him write a couple, then we played a few math games. We listened to Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries and Vivaldi's Four Seasons and talked about Vivaldi. These were the first 2 tracks on the Story of the Orchestra CD/book. We listened while reading poetry from Favorite Poems Old and New. Then it was off to lunch at Wendy's (Yes, I know, it is NOT the healthiest thing out there!) and roller skating with one of the local homeschool groups. I enjoyed today even if the Peas did not. They did like it though, but they would DIE before they admitted it! I want to work a little art into our Friday and I'm not sure how to get that in. I think it will work on those weeks that we don't have to pick up our food order. That took an hour that I did NOT have to waste truck driver so things moved slower than normal. All in all, I say it was a good day. Now, I'm off to have Italian Lemon Wedding Cake and coffee with a couple of friends at Barnes and Noble....ahhhhh!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Changing "THE PLAN"

Don't you just love it when you think you have things all planned out and then once you put it into action, it doesn't work????

That is what is happening here with American History. You probably read my entry below about Winter Promise. Sweet Pea 1 just isn't getting into Story of the 13 Colonies and neither am I. I feel lost and like I'm just wandering around without a plan. I really DON'T have a plan for Am. History (except to read from SO13C) and some books in the Truthquest Plan. That sounds good, right? A little craft thrown in here and there...sounds fun, huh? I think procrastination got the better of me in writing the plan DOWN....or using my handy-dandy Homeschool Tracker.

So, until I get my Winter Promise catalog in the mail (hopefully this week), American History will be put on hold.

Then comes our Christian Studies program from Memoria Press. It is really good. But we studied Creation, the Patriarchs and the Exodus (plus a lot more) last year using Bible Study Guide for All Ages. Hmmm....what to do. I do still have the Bible Study Guide because we didn't finish it. I think I'm going to look through the next levels of Christian Studies and the rest of Bible Study Guide and see how it compares as far as subject matter covered. I think whichever we do, the boys will like. I know they liked BSG but it took quite some time to do for devotions each day. Oh, and speaking of devotions, I'm revving up to start Sword Fighting. That sounds fun! LOL We've been doing Leading Little Ones to God and while it is fine for teaching all about God, I feel that we can actually put to practical use the Scriptures in character training and learn to really USE the Word of God in our daily lives.

Science.....I don't like teaching science. It bores me. I don't know why exactly, but it does. I do find it fascinating how God can put all this together like He did. I think I'm going to try approaching our science in a different manner. Until I get more books for Sweet Pea 1 to read during assigned reading time, I'm going to have him read the chapter from Real Science 4 Kids PreChemistry and write a few things that he remembers from the chapter. I'll have him do this tomorrow and since we won't be working on American History, we can do the experiment in the afternoon. I will probably only have him do this about once a week, maybe twice. Then when we get started back with American History, I'll have to adjust that plan. Originally, I was going to have us do science over the summer on our break. That didn't work too well. When we had a break, I wanted a BREAK! I didn't want to THINK about school (except for the buying and planning parts of it). In the Spring we are going to be doing Apologia's Elementary Botany course. I may enjoy that one. I think I will be able to have SP1 read and write narrations and then I can help him set up the experiments. Hense, giving him some responsibility without turning the whole science area over to him.

And then there is art....and music. I was reading on Well-trained Mind the other day and someone asked if anyone had a list of artists that would follow the timeline of Story of the World, Volume 2. I started thinking about art. Fine arts rather and then I guess you could throw in drawing and art techniques.

I never particularly cared for art. I can't draw and don't really care that I can't. I don't doodle (rarely) and never saw a real REASON to include art in our studies. When I questioned those on WTM about why they feel it is important, I got quite a bit of feedback. When I talked with Popeye about it, he said it really is just to make a well-rounded person. Then I started looking at some prints online from different artists. There are some that I really like! I had purchased Artistic Pursuits to use for this year, but I haven't gotten around to doing it. I bought it originally because it included picture study and had a project you can make using the topic (shapes, lines, color, etc). I still do like it, but for some reason it isn't calling my name, if you know what I mean. I'm thinking of selling it, but I'm still not sure.

I asked about a book called Discovering Great Artists and received several very positive replies. Someone on WTM even told me about a yahoo group that uses this book as the basis for art study once a week. The group gets an email that gives a short bio of an artist, links to sites online to see some the artist's work, and then a project that is similar to the technique and uses materials similar to the artist. THIS is what I'm looking for! It will really pull it together for us. AND I think I'll start a timeline (to include our history studies) and I'll be able to put a picture of the artist on there!

Music has been something we've casually done anyway.....besides Suzuki piano lessons. We get a small magazine each month called Piano Explorer. It highlights one piano composer, one orchestra instrument and has pieces composed by children of all ages. It also has some music theory thrown in too. I'm going to use that as the basis of our music study.

Latin is going great, Math is going great, Classical Studies is going well too! I just think a little tweaking is in order to have it all JUST right. I'm excited!!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

It's working, it's not working, it's working, it's not working

Latin and American History....the new thorns in my side. :)

Not really.

We are nearing the end of our journey with Prima Latina. Only a few more weeks. We have enjoyed it for the most part and I would recommend this program to anyone who wants a nice, gentle intro to Latin. So then I had planned on going on into Latina Christiana I, right? I had previewed it by borrowing a friend's DVDs. I had bought the whole program....Well, I just could NOT keep my fingers in my ears (or is that eyes off the computer screen?) when the subject of Latin for Children (LfC) came up. I tried and tried. I ignored it for quite some time. I read the samples online, looked at the DVD sample online and it just SCARED me too much! So I dismissed it again and again.....until one of the latest discussions came up. People whom I respect use LCI! People whom I respect use LfC!

I ordered it....and it arrived today!!!!!

I LOVE it!!!!!!!

BOTH LCI and LfC are wonderful programs.....but I find that this is more fun. A homeschool dad teaching his daughters and a friend....seeing the family dog, (and cat who tries to get into the show!), seeing the girls fidget and smile.....I hope Sweet Pea 1 likes it as much as I do. I think he will.

The activity book is filled with really cool puzzles to help reinforce what you are learning. We BOTH love that! SP1 saw it today and was THRILLED....he doesn't want to finish Prima! Hmmmm....that sure is tempting!! ;)

Now on to American History.

If you've read my blog, you know that we are taking our education toward a more traditional aka Latin-centered bent. That means putting Latin and math in the forefront of our studies, while still studying history through the Bible and Greek Myths and Men of Rome. We also will cover American History and World history but not as systematically (read WTM-ish) as some.

This year we are going to cover through 1775 of American History. I purchased Truthquest American History for Young Students I (TQ) along with several spines listed in TQ. We started reading last week. It just hasn't caught on. We tried again this week. The spine just isn't working for us. Too dry. The books I'm getting SP1 to read during assigned reading time are great! I love TQ for those, but the spines just are not getting it here.

So, I started reading about Winter Promise. This is very similar to Sonlight in that it is literature-based. The schedule is already made up for you. There are hands-on activities included and a book to guide you if you want to do more. I really think I need this. I should know myself well enough by now to know I need that done for me. (That is why I used BiblioPlan last year with Story of the World). I need the books here for me.

So. I ordered a catalog from them and I think this is the way we will go. I will be able to use this for 2 1/2 years. I will have to fill in readers for SP1 and 2 over that time (which is fine since I have TQ! :) ). I REALLY, REALLY think this will be a good thing for us.

I'm happy now....or I will be once I get my Winter Promise order (waiting on that catalog first though). :)

Friday, August 12, 2005

A nice ending to the week....but a tough couple of days.

It has been a tough couple of days with the boys. Sweet Pea 1 has been flying off the handle and I haven't been much better! I can handle myself fine, but when he gets angry, I just lose it! I don't LIKE it when I get so wound up and yelling. I can feel my heart rate just SHOOT up; I get hot; I tighten my jaw....not fun. I'm praying and praying, and trying to find solutions for SP1 and myself. But on to the good stuff.

I have been released of any guilt in not getting EVERYTHING done that is on my schedule. That is one thing I LOVE about the traditional classical method. If I cover math and Latin, the rest is gravy. :) We ended this week with devotions, short piano practice, 2 math games, a little practical latin, the reading of the story of Noah's ark and we were done!!!! We did read some of Narnia tonight. We also made a Cross necklace that goes with our American History studies. It was frustrating at first because the cord that came in our kit from Hand and Hearts wouldn't go through the glass beads. I even tried a tapestry needle but the cord was too large to go through the eye. We finally decided to see if we anything in my sewing supplies that would work....and I did. So everyone was happy then.

Popeye's birthday was today. So we sugared ourselves up with ice cream and cake....I say that is a nice way to end our week!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Shame on me....

for neglecting my blog! LOL We started school in full force on Monday....meaning adding in all of our afternoon subjects. SHEW! I'm TIRED by the time 2 pm rolls around. I'm loving it though. The boys are learning and I can see it sinking in....amazing! Sweet Pea 2's handwriting is coming along nicely and I can see Sweet Pea 1 just soaking everything in. We are loving our studies this year. I'm pleased with EVERYTHING we are doing. I really want to gush and gush about this, but I don't know how to express it any other way than what I've already said! Maybe, I just wish everyone else could be this happy. Now, this does NOT mean that I have two little boys with bright smiling faces begging for lessons each day. :) That is ONLY in my dreams! But, they are more receptive to what we are doing this year. I'm not sure if it is because they like the subject matter or because I'm taking turns with them, moreso than working with one until finished and then working with the other.

Well, off to put more lesson plans in Homeschool Tracker. They have a new upgrade. SO very cool!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Bloggin personality

Thanks, Mungo, for the link!

Your Blogging Type Is Thoughtful and Considerate
You're a well liked, though underrated, blogger.
You have a heart of gold, and are likely to blog for a cause.
You're a peaceful blogger - no drama for you!
A good listener and friend, you tend to leave thoughtful comments for others.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

I'm being naughty!!!

We celebrated the public school kids going back to school today by going to a movie. I was really torn between March of the Penguins and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Actually, Charlie wasn't even "on my list" until Sweet Pea 1 said he wanted to see it. I asked around and read reviews because I heard there were some "dark" elements to it. I talked to my friend A. and her sister had taken her children to see it and they all loved it. I know A. and her sister and respect their opinions so I took my chances. We LOVED it! Of course, A. and I caught a lot of the references to the Beatles song (All My Loving) and to the movie Psycho and a few other things that were thrown in that went RIGHT over the boys' heads. But, really, what is "dark" to one, is not "dark" to all. There were 2 scenes that I would not want sensitive children to see, but other than that, I thought everything was fine. Nothing "dark" to me. So, if you are wanting to see this, I recommend previewing it yourself. One mom online said that the orthodontic headgear that Willy Wonka wore as a boy would have just "done it" for her daughter. My boys thought nothing of it. One mom thought there was a "dark relationship between Willy and his father". Granted, his father probably wasn't the best father, but there were only two scenes with his father (when Willy was a boy). One was when he wouldn't let Willy have the candy he received trick or treating and the other was when Willy said he wanted to be a chocolateer and his father said "No son of mine will sell candy" (or something like that) and Willy said "Fine then, I'll run away from home." So take it for what you will. We liked it and will probably rent it or go see it again at the .99 movie theatre when Popeye can go with us.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Just a silly post....

I guess I AM inspired tonight!

I made my first SUCCESSFUL lasagne tonight. :) I tried one MANY, MANY moons ago, only to have the noodles come out crunchy. :(

But, tonight, it was PERFECT!

And I was just so proud of myself.

THANK you, Poppins!

I was just thinking the other day...."I wish there was a way for me to be able to know if a new entry had been made on some of my favorite blogs without me having to go through and check them all." Well, Poppins has saved me! With Bloglines I can just have my favorite blogs listed (under the My Feeds section) and then I bookmarked that and away we go!!! I just have to check one site (the Bloglines site) and then I don't have to waste time checking blogs that don't have new entries. Try it, you'll like it!

Missing our lessons....

This is our first week off since starting our 3 weeks on, 1 week off routine with school. Can you believe that I actually miss it? I just LOVE learning. I have the boys in a routine when we get going and everyone is happy with things to accomplish and learn, and then time to play.

I'm also glad though for a week off. I was really ready for a week off so I think this routine will work REALLY well for us.

The public schools in my county start back on Wednesday. The next county over (maybe 5 miles from my house) doesn't start until the 15th. Most of the private schools aren't starting back until the 15th either. ONE more day!!!! The library will not be crowded, the grocery store won't be crowded, the streets won't be crowded (until 2:30). Also my boys are more likely to want me to read to them during the day when friends aren't lurking around the neighborhood.

I'm looking forward to Friday night! My homeschool mom friends are getting together for a planning meeting. We will go to dinner and then off to the coffee shop to plan! I really miss seeing them over the summer as a group. It is hard for us to get together as a group then, so this will be nice. I always come home pumped up!

I'm off to get more lesson plans put into Homeschool Tracker!!

The American Classical League

This looks really cool! I don't have the $45 right now to join, but hopefully soon!

"The American Classical League was founded in 1919 for the purpose of fostering the study of classical languages in the United States and Canada. Membership is open to any person who is committed to the preservation and advancement of our classical inheritance from Greece and Rome.

The League includes teachers of Latin, Greek, and Classics on elementary, secondary, and college levels. The League celebrated its 75th anniversary in 1994. We are working together to help each other."

There are various memberships for elementary to high school levels!

Also, the National Mythology, Latin and Greek Exams to take - wow!

Thanks for the heads up, Kris!