Thursday, August 27, 2015

It's All Greek to Me

Last week Thursday started quite rainy. And the boys were staying with my parents, so I had a double excuse not to do my Thursday training early, but instead to stay in bed drinking multiple cups of coffee.

I was planning to spend the morning reading and reading some more. But, then I remembered the fact that we were due to start school in approximately two weeks, and I had done very little planning for that imminent event.

So...I surrounded myself with a stack of school books instead of novels, and I had a tremendous morning planning school.

We are basically going to follow the weekly pattern that we have used the past two years. Monday-Thursday are "regular school" days. Fridays are "fun" school days. This schedule has helped us to finish the week on a strong note, doing studies that we all enjoy.

Our break down of regular subjects is pretty much the same as last year. Except...

BMV will be in 8th grade. He will be adding vocabulary to the mix this year (on top of creative writing, math and Bible study), and a hefty reading list. But, we will be subtracting his typing course. For each book on his reading list he will be doing kind of an "overview" paper about the author, the time in history it was written, and other stuff like that. Then he will do a book report, evaluation, or some other type of paper that covers the content of the book. I will be having him type both his rough and final drafts, so I think this will give him sufficient typing practice.

Freckles will be in 6th grade. His main (independent) subjects will be spelling, math, grammar, typing, and Bible study. He also will have a reading list, and will be writing book reviews for each book.

LC will be in 3rd grade. Her main subjects are spelling, handwriting, grammar, math, and Bible study.

Meres will be doing just a wee bit of "preschool" this year. Cutting, mazes, numbers. All that good stuff. That will require very little supervision from me.

The three oldest will continue both in Spanish and Science. The change this year is that we will only be doing these two subjects Monday-Thursday. Not Friday. We have 2 chapters to finish of last year's general science and then we are moving on to Physical Science. There are experiments to do, and the boys both have "journals" to fill out. I may have LC orally give me the answers this year.

Our daily "schedule" looks something like this: (meaning-this is what we aim for, but exact times vary by day)

8:00 Breakfast (dressed and beds made by breakfast, brush teeth after)
8:30 Devotions (reading Bible, prayer, singing, memorization)
9:00 Reading time
9:30 Spelling, Typing, Math, Grammar, Handwriting, Bible Study
11:00 Recess
11:15 Science (and then more book work if needed)
12:00 Spanish
12:30 Literary Lunch (they eat while I read to them)
1:00-3:00-Quiet time (reading time for 1 hour, then free to play quietly, or finish school work as needed)

So, essentially we "do school" for 5-1/2 to 6 hours each do, with a 15 minute recess break. I consider reading time school time. for the "fun" school. The part that I am REALLY excited about!

If you've been around these parts long, you know that I love history. And you also may know that we do a history based education. I have split world history into 7 (possibly 8) sections, and we are moving through them one by one, year by year. This is our third year at this.

We covered 1600-1800 two years ago. We studied the events and people of that time period. We listened to lectures about world and U.S. history. We read books written then, and also written about then. We did art (music, poetry, and art) from that period. We learned about science from that period. It was such a fun year.

(You may be wondering why we started in such a random point in history. Well, because it is such a happening point, and I knew it would be easy and fun. And it was.)

Last year we went all the way back to the beginning. Ancient times up to Alexander the Great. There was less to read from this period, but we did find enough to read about it. Our music and science courses both started way back at the beginning too, so that was helpful and cohesive.

(the remaining periods will be Roman history [through the fall of Rome]; the Middle Ages [400-1600]; the 1800s, the 1900s-present day.)

(Also, I realize that Middle Ages chunk is quite substantial, but I think it is doable.)

(This will get us through BMV's senior year of high school, and then we will start all over.)

This year we are studying Ancient Greece-History and Mythology.! It's going to be fun. We have four lecture series that we will be watching. One in on Greek history. One is on Mythology. One is on famous Greek people. One is all about Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic period.

So, Fridays will consist of listening to 4 lectures. (the first 3 series, and also music. We will have a few weeks of school left when we get through these, which is when we will hit the Alexander series hard and fast.)

I also have thought up some "extra-curricular" projects that will be hands-on, and kind of artsy. Each project is assigned a 8-10 week period. The last 10 weeks of school we will be working through a workbook called Tools of Ancient Greece. There are hands on projects for each chapter-like building a model Acropolis.

Here is the list of projects:
1. The Olympus throne room. I'm looking for drawings of each of the Pantheon's thrones, plus kind of a family tree. Who is connected with whom?

2. The Battle of Troy and Odysseus' travels. This will be more of a timeline with the players and events. Events will be illustrated.

3. Greek History timeline. That's fairly self-explanatory.

Reading is foundational to our school year. Like I've mentioned before, the kids each have a reading list. But, new this year, is also general reading that needs done each week. We have a scheduled reading time each day, where the kids previously had worked through their reading lists. This year I may switch the format of that reading period. I am thinking of having them work through the general reading at that time. BMV can read aloud to LC, and Freckles can read aloud to Meredith and I. (then I make it through the required reading too. I know...clever!) Then they will spend the first hour of quiet time each day reading the books from their reading lists. It's a new format, so we will see how it works out...

On the General reading list is:
Susan Wise Bauer's ancient history book, Bulfinch's Mythology, Edith Hamilton's Mythology, and the Oxford handbook of Ancient Greece.

BMV's reading list includes:
The Odyssey and the Illiad. The Histories by Herodotus.
The Greeks. Heroes, Gods, and Monsters. Greek Myths. The Greek Way. Aesops Fables. Last Days of Socrates. The Trojan War. Ancient Greece. Tale of Troy. Apocrypha.

It is quite the mixed list. Some are rather short. Some are very long. And there is some overlap. The two that may be dispensable are The Trojan War and the Tale of Troy, since both are on the same subject, and will have been covered in the Illiad.

Freckles and LC have the same reading list. It's about 15 books long, but all are considerably shorter than The Odyssey and the Illiad or The Histories. They are a lot of books written about mythology or history that is put to a kid's level. They are both quite excited to dig in.

So, this is what we are planning.

It reminds me of the verse from Proverbs...(16:9)

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.