4.29.2016

Lucy's Year 1 Term 1 Exams

I really enjoy reading the different exams that Celeste shares over at Joyous Lessons so I thought I'd share Lucy's. Plus this way, I know I can find them if I want to look back later. Yep, totally selfish mom blogger over here!  These were Lucy's first exams so I had no idea what to expect. She does a great job narrating normally but she's never had to recall things at a later time "on demand." Keep in mind that these are transcriptions of her oral narrations not her writing and that we did these over an entire week, just a few questions at a time.

Bible

Tell your favorite Bible story so far.

How about Moses. So God told him to build an ark (Mom interrupts. Do you mean Noah?). Oh yeah, Noah. So God told Noah to build an ark because God was going to send a flood. A big flood to cover the whole earth. To cover the whole world. And so he built an ark and how long did the ark take to be built? It took a whole year. Well, at least it took a year, it might have taken more than a year. So, uhm, he built the ark and then he put all the animals in. The animals came two by two. The animals were all on the ark and God sent a flood. And it lasted, how long did it last? Uhm, well. Then once the flood came and then there were mountains and mountain tops and they were stuck on top of the mountain so he sent a dove out and it came with a leaf in its beak. So they all went out and they went and lived in different places. The end. 

 Tell about Gideon and his three hundred.

There was an army being kinda rude to them so they decided to fight them. So they went to the stream and whoever lifts it doesn’t but whoever licks it like a dog, can. But God said “it's still too many, still too many.” So the man told his dream before the fighting but they didn’t really fight. They had pitchers and lamps in the pitchers and they broke the pitchers and blew the trumpets and everyone got scared and they ran away.

Copywork     

Copy “The friendly cow, All red and white" and add a picture narration.


Note the bucket of cream under the cow and the floating apple tart.

Literature

Tell a fairy tale you remember from this term. 

Beauty and the beast! So there once was an old man, a rich man, and his house got burnt so they
found a cabin in the woods and one day beauty had to go to the palace of a beast. And in one day,
he said, you can go but come back here just when I say or you should see your beast dead. And so
she didn’t, she said “oh no, I can’t go back’ but one day she came back and she found the beast in 
cave and it was the beast sleeping. And later, some dragonflies said “Long may the prince and 
his bride live!” And she turned to ask the beast because she didn’t understand this and he 
disappeared  and there was a prince there. And that’s all. They lived happily ever after.

Mom note: I was surprised she picked this one. Beauty and the Beast was one of the hardest stories we read (for her).  She really enjoyed the story but it is long. She does very lengthy involved narrations and struggles to let details go so we could only read a paragraph or two before she begged me to stop so she could narrate which means it took us a long time to get though. By the end, with a bit of encouragement, I got her to let me read a bit longer and had her focus on the bigger story and not panic about memorizing every single detail. Summarizing is hard so I wasn't expecting her to even make that much progress. She didn't struggle nearly so much with the later fairy tales. 

Tell how the Leopard got his spots, or Moses the Kitten.

Moses kitten was found by the reeds and that’s why they named him Moses. So next time I visited the vet, he was still there and the next time I visited the farm again the kitten was not there. And they said “wait! I’ll show you where he is.” and he was with the piggies. And he’s always there, the end.

Mom note: She remembered more about this story than I did! But what I found most interesting is that she narrated it (both this time and the original narrations) in the first person because it was written that way. The poetry book this term was Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses and she's written several poems since which definitely take their style from that too. I knew that narration was a form of composition and that kids would learn style from reading but I guess I didn't expect to see it emerge so soon. Fascinating!

Tell about Boadicea, or, about St. Alban.

St Alban was the first one to die there because he loved Jesus, right? (Me: Right, he was the first Christian Marty in Britain.)Hmm, Okay, so there was a queen whose name was Queen Boadicea and there was another army trying to get them. She lived in Britain. So she said you must all fight and she gave a speech. "And if we do not win, we must die!" And they didn’t win so they died. Because she poisoned her daughters and her because they didn’t want to be slaves. But you don’t think its better to die than to be a slave, do you mom? 

Tell the story of William Tell.

So William Tell was a great hunter and one time, well, William tell was not always happy because there were people who wanted to rule over the country so they tried to take the country. And one king he put his cap on a post, a fence post, and said “everyone who passes this tower must bow down to it” but William Tell didn’t bow down to it. And he said “you must put an apple on your son's head and shoot it off” and so he did shoot the apple and his country was saved. 

Geography

Find Canada, China, Japan and Italy on our scrunch map. Easy peasy!

Find Lake Superior on a map. She struggled with the world map but insisted on using it at first so I reminded  her to find the right countries first and she got it. She found it very easily on our paddle map)

What is the shape of the earth? A circle but not flat. 


Map work

Natural History and General Science

Describe your favorite nature study this term. What did you find?

This was the only question she really struggled with. We've done a ton of outdoor time (I've logged 190 hours since January) but I intentionally kept most of that informal since they are young. And it was hard for her to know what time period I was asking about. She kept mentioning nature things from last summer or even two years ago! Eventually I told her just this spring and she said "When we saw a black capped chickadee in the yard and we learned about it." which I don't particularly remember. I'm not saying it didn't happen, it probably did as we've done a lot of bird watching, just that it wasn't memorable to me. Later on when I was going through her paperwork to pick out a few things to save, we found a couple different paintings and drawings she did and we remembered a lot more of what we learned.





 So this was more an issue with the exam rather than what we did all term. Not sure the solution or even if it needs one. Maybe just mentioning that "This is nature study" would help her know that since I think she's just been thinking we've been playing outside and observing things. Because we've mostly just be playing outside and observing things ;-) But because of that, I wanted to add in another nature study questions so then I asked.

Can you tell me the difference between henbit, ground ivy and dead nettle?

The henbit has leaves going all around and they are separate and in clusters and the flowers are very light. And the ground ivy, its flowers are darkish blueish purple. And the dead nettle has a square stem (and the henbit has a square stem too) but then the dead nettle, its flowers are light and they seem to be turning. They were dark but now they are getting light.


 Tell about "the bully in the old orchard."

The bottom was not pretty white, dirty white and the top was ashy brown. And so the bully was trying to take the nest and he said “It was your nest before, but it is my nest now, you must make another nest or find one” “No it was my nest only!” and finally they just let him do it. He’s a house sparrow.   

 Describe three birds we’ve seen in our yard this spring.

Black capped chickadee – Black on the head, it’s not a woodpecker. It’s small and its white. It has white on it. That’s all.

(Eastern) Bluebird – Blue right here (demonstrates) on the wing and blue on the head. Not blue everywhere, they have some tanish and short little beaks. They are not a woodpecker. But I don’t know how to tell the males from the females.

Downy woodpecker – Downy woodpecker has a little red on its head here (again demonstrating). It doesn’t so south when it’s the winter. And it’s a woodpecker. It has a long beak for reaching into the tree.

Jonah was getting upset he didn't have "xams" too so I asked him to name three birds we've seen this spring in our yard: Black capped chickadee, robin, bluebird.

Foreign Language

     Pick a French song and sing me the first verse of it.

Jonah sang frere jacques and Lucy sang the first verse of Au Claire de la Lune, mostly correctly. She fudged a line or two. :-) 

Picture Study

     Describe your favorite picture from this term's picture study.

Jonah – The horse one. (Napoleon Crossing the Alps)

Lucy – I think my favorite is the horse one too. So there is a person riding a horse and he has a hat and he has a red cape, I think. And there are writings on a rock. 

Recitation

     Father should choose a poem, and two Bible verses learned this term for student to recite. 

Psalm 100 and another verse plus "I'm Nobody" for Lucy and "Celery Raw" for Jonah. 

Singing

Sing your favorite folksong from this term.

                She sang The Star Spangled Banner which technically was from last fall but she sang it                     with such gusto and heart that I didn't have the heart to correct her, especially since I've                     heard her sing each other folk song at least once this week while playing. Next time I'll list                 her options since she really doesn't know what a "term" is. 

Sing your favorite hymn from this term.

         She couldn't pick her favorite so I let her sing both Lift High the Cross and Come Ye Sinners,           Poor and Needy.

Art
Oil Pastel Piece from Artistic Pursuits


We did a bit of Artistic Pursuits but not as much as the fall because Norah was getting less sleepy. I had planned on that but Lucy wanted more drawing lessons so she picked out a few drawing books from the library and did some self studying. I'll let you figure out the topic of the drawing books she picked. 




Handicrafts

 We did paper folding/origami. She still needs quite a bit of help. I think I should have had her practice a few of the same ones more instead of doing as big of a variety. But instead of demonstrating step by step like I normally do, I talked her through one with the book and she managed just fine.


 I think she did great and I'll be back with more thoughts on term 1 overall soon.

4.25.2016

Happy Birthday Shakespeare!

Lucy is my little Shakespeare lover. We finished up the Tempest recently and it wasn't quite as big of a hit as A Midsummer Night's Dream but I'd say it was in her top 5 stories of Term 1. She's been asking for a Shakespeare birthday party but that isn't really going to work out for a couple different reasons but when I realized that April 23rd was Shakespeare's (supposed) birthday, I thought we could have a bit of fun with that for her sake.

I didn't get great shots but we all had fun so hopefully some of that shows through. We sang him happy birthday and ate some carrot cupcakes I had stashed in the freezer. (Sidenote: I love this recipe and it makes great cupcakes too but a lot of them. Last time I made it I got 36+ cupcakes! Good thing they freeze well.)



Played "Pin the birthday hat on Shakespeare"
 

 Neither kid wanted to use an actual blindfold so Lucy closed her eyes. Jonah pretended to but he's a bad liar so after three tries, Craig helped make it easier by covering his eyes.


They decided they all tied but me. I was way off and my blue hat is hidden by Lucy in this picture. At least no one can accuse me of cheating!


Then they dressed up as their favorite characters. Lucy had worn her hair in braids all day so it would be "bumpy" (aka wavy) because that's how she imagines Puck. She wore some silks. Jonah was bottom and drew himself a donkey face mask hat. Which was pretty hilarious because his drawing skills aren't great so it was basically just a smiley face on a piece of white printer paper. But he was excited. They were only going to recite their favorite lines but that quickly led into acting out their favorite scenes and a costume change or two. Jonah even made himself a microphone out of magnatiles and Lucy found a flower shaped bracelet for him to sprinkle in her eyes. At one point the needed an extra person and I asked if daddy could participate but I was told no. Apparently all the grownups were supposed to do was clap at the end and ask questions. They made do by having Jonah quickly change from puck to bottom and back again.

The play we watched last month included a q&a session afterwards with the actors so Lucy and Jonah included that in theirs as well, they sat on the edge of the stage just like those actors did and asked us to raise our hands. It was so cute! Front state to finish, the whole show really reminded me of that Christmas pagent scene from The Bells of St. Mary. Nothing was pre-planned and they talked it out as they went and made up lines to fill in the gaps of the passages they knew.

After that, the kids headed out to the backyard with Craig to test drive our new tent. That wasn't really part of the planned party but it was a nice addition. She told me "Yesterday was so fun. First Shakespeare and then camping. It was all my favorites!" I don't think this will be the last time we celebrate April 23rd.

4.20.2016

Baby gets baptized

Norah's baptism was last Sunday. It went well. Lucy and Jonah were wondering if she was going to cry when she got wet. Considering that she normally falls asleep around that time in the service, it was a legit question. But she did really well and appeared to be listening to Pastor Bill the whole time. Lucy and Jonah, especially Jonah, did a wonderful job of standing quietly next to us. I was more worried about that than any crying from the baby because about 10 minutes before this happened...


this was happening.



He was just not feeling the family photo op. I'm not sure why he gets like that. Sometimes he's just fine with photos and other times it's like he thinks the camera is going to suck his soul out. But Craig and the girls went inside and I was able to calm him down. We did get a decent one of the baptismal girl and me although I'm making a fake smile because what you can't see is Craig holding a thrashing tantruming Jonah just behind our lovely photographer. 


But after the service, he was all about the pictures and insisted we stop and take one of him and his favorite baby on her special day. Of course, I'm not in it, the lighting is bad and Norah's got her scrunch face on (its a common face of hers but it doesn't really reflect a bad mood). 


This is why the family portrait in our living room gallery wall is from the week after he was born. I haven't been able to get a really good one with all of us yet. It will happen! Until then, I'll just keep sharing the disastrous attempts.

4.18.2016

Classics Challenge: The Warden

The Warden is my first Trollope novel. It was published in 1855 so it will be my 19th century selection. To be honest, a few months ago I'd never even heard of Trollope which seems crazy now because having been made aware of his name, its everywhere I look. Funny how that happens ;-)

The Warden is the story of Mr. Harding, his daughter and her would-be suitor John Bold who spends the novel both trying to win her hand and trying to reform the hospital that Mr. Harding is in charge of because in his opinion, it's warden (Mr. Harding) is being unfairly compensated for his work. Just in case that was confusing - yes, Mr. Bold somehow thought it was going to be something other than a disaster to attacking the income of the father of the girl he hoped to marry. But was he wrong? Mr. Harding's other daughter is married to Archdeacon Grantley who considered it his personal duty to protect the church's rights. Because it wasn't messy enough already.

After picking him as my author of choice for this category, I did a bit of researching. This is the first in the Chronicles of Barsetshire series and while the series overall is often considered to be the his best, this particular book is thought of as the weakest of the set. Despite knowing that, I could not conceive of starting a series on the second book. I actually finished it about a month ago but have been pondering it since. Now that I'm about half way through the second, I think I've settled my feelings.

The Warden a short novel and focuses pretty much exclusively on this small issue and the few people involved in it. The issue itself gets a bit church politic-y for me. Even raised in a "high church" the various roles in the church (precentor versus bishop versus archdeacon) and what is occurring with church reform made me scratch my head at first but I persevered and Trollope does a good job putting up both sides of the story.

That seems to be what he does well, really getting inside the head of his characters and showing what they are thinking. He does this in an odd way. Most of us have probably heard that good authors should "show not tell" us but Trollope seems to do both. He shows and then tells. And when I say he "tells" I mean, Trollope as narrator actually steps into the book. Like breaking the fourth wall but in literature, is there a name for that? Its actually quite fun. After describing a character and then having us follow him/her along for a few chapters, he'll just flat out tell us we aren't supposed to like him. Of course, since he's the one painting the picture, its quite easy to agree with him and don't we all like to be told our opinions are valid? I liked his variety of characters. There were characters I was really routing for, one or two I just wanted to chuck out the window and a few that I was annoyed with but couldn't quite bring myself to hate. But of all the characters, I liked our dear warden the best. Poor guy.

As I mentioned, the plot itself isn't about the most interesting subject but I did enjoy it and I got much more engrossed in trying to figure out how it would all actually be settled that I would have thought at first. That was my biggest hang up. The end. It did end and not particularly badly. I don't do bad endings. Some people can get past it and say they enjoyed a book despite a less than satisfying ending but not m. To me, bad ending means bad book. But, and I'll try not to spoil anything here, I spent a lot of time thinking about what I felt like should happen and also what I felt like would and when the end came, it felt a little too realistic. A little sad but mostly just strangely unresolved. Although really they were resolved but felt like they weren't. I couldn't put my finger on it.

But now that I'm into the second, I can see that The Warden really was just an introduction to the series. This second book is meatier - we have a lot of the same characters but more of them and more interactions, more plot, just more. Keeping that in mind, the first book becomes more enjoyable. Because I really wasn't done with Mr. Harding and all the people in his life.

So I'd recommend it if you think the series is one that would interest you and you don't mind a bit of an investment. Just don't be fooled into thinking that you've found a nice short Victorian novel. Technically you have because The Warden is that, but I personally would have been unfulfilled if it ended there.

Sidenote: I'm reading Inside the Victorian Home by Judith Flanders. While obviously not a classic itself, I am really enjoying it and think it will add quite a bit to my understanding of the smaller details in many other classics that I would otherwise miss. But she quotes Trollope all over the place. She's mentioned Dickens and Gaskell a few times too as well as a few authors I wasn't familiar with but I feel like every other mention of an author or book involves Trollope!

The Warden is my 19th Century Classic Selection for the Back to the Classics Challenge. Head over to Books and Chocolate for more classics reviews and Challenge information. 

4.16.2016

Norah Jane @ 6 months

Dear Norah,


 You've made it through your first half of a year. Yay you!


Her first time sitting herself up....How did I get here? What just happened?

You've really started to make your way around. As of about a week ago, you can get into a sit by yourself and stay there without tumbling (you learned to get there before you learned how not to tumble so it was a rough few days but you're past that now).


That does not look comfortable but you did it to yourself. 

You can crawl forward 2-3 hands then you give up and just lunge forward. And if something is farther away than that, you just don't even try. So you can crawl*, you just don't know it yet. (Ahh, my baby is only 6 months old and has self esteem issues. I'm a parenting failure. Just kidding :-) You're a pro at going backwards though, both scooting and real arm and arm crawling. So the floor is getting cleaned much more than normal and I'm trying to help your big brother and sister keep their stuff of the ground. You've already ruined a few drawings with your drool so I'm sure they'll start learning. So far they haven't gotten mad at you for it which confirms my theory - you pretty much have everyone wrapped around your finger.


Happiest while being pushed around? Someone is happy to oblige. Although be careful what you request, it might be a bumpy ride if Jonah volunteers. 



As soon as they hear you start to make noise in the morning, they rush in. "It's me Norah! Your favorite brother!" and "Lucy's here, can you smile for your favorite sister?!" And you always do smile for them. I'm so glad you don't wake up noisy - sometimes we trick them into thinking your asleep for the first 15 minutes of the day so they stay in their beds talking to each other and let us ease into the day. It's our little secret.



We had your well baby back on the 5th but you were already 16 lbs, 3 oz and 26 inches long. I don't remember the head size but everything was 60-80% so your pretty well proportioned.

Learning the fine art of photobombing

You've started really sleeping through the night, as in 8-10hrs. It's glorious! None of my other babies have done that as babies at all. But I still get my snuggles because you tend to waken right about the time daddy goes to work so we nurse and sleep another couple hours in my bed. Best of both worlds! It know it may not last but can I just ask one thing - pretty pretty please will you keep sleeping?



In addition to loving sleep and your siblings, you love the swing. I only put you in it when I need you off the floor but you love it still. Especially when the big kids stand in front of it and make faces or rush at you. Really any face to face time is a hit with you. Its one of the only ways to make you laugh.  We've even tried the swing at the park and that was laugh inducing too. Generally you're pretty quiet. I worry about that a little (okay, a lot) but I'm hoping its because you're just mellow and relaxed. You're also a people lover. You don't mind being held by almost anyone and love to sit and watch people. I'm wondering if our family is finally gonna have an extrovert in it? I can't wait to find out!


*6 months and 1 day began to really crawl for a purpose. Lucy and I were calling and coaxing her to us and she just looked at us like, not gonna happen people. We gave up and a minute later, Lucy dropped a paper she was drawing and Norah was up and on her way to it in a second. Mom - none. Paper eating - 1. The kid's enthusiasm for this development is waning by the minute as they learn that no floor space is safe from the Nor-Nor monster and her drool.