Friday, January 23, 2015

Third Grade in Our Home :: Morning Basket, Term 3

First, a note: I use the term "Morning Basket" to refer to all the work we do together as a family, with the littles. Even though I call it Morning Basket for organizational purposes, it is really broken up into two parts: one done over breakfast, and one done at the end of our Naptime School block.  Our Morning Basket is still very much the same as we did it last year, so if you'd like to read more specifics about how it works for us, feel free to click over to read more.  ~~ You can read about our Morning Basket for Term 1 and Term 2 of this year.

We finished a few books this past term that we have been working on since the beginning of our school year back in July:
:: Thomas Tapper's Music Talks for Children
:: Benson's A Child's Rule of Life and An Alphabet of Saints
:: Kingsley's The Water Babies
:: MacDonald's At the Back of the North Wind

I added a couple new ones to our rotation, but I'm also leaving a couple empty slots because I'll be adding in some Lenten reading shortly.  So we'll have a slightly lighter schedule until Ash Wednesday, which is just a few weeks away.

A look at our Morning Basket plans for Term 3 of this year...

Over Breakfast

Calendar Work - in English and Italian (daily)

Poetry - a poem from our poet for the term, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (daily)

Short Reading - from one of the following:
:: the Kirbys' The World at Home (two chapers per week)
:: Opal Wheeler's Handel (a chapter per week)
:: Pilgrim's Progress (a short section per week, following the AO 72-week rotation)

Read-Aloud - with any breakfast time I have left before the babies start fussing, I read from one of our scheduled read-alouds: Crossbows and Crucifixes, The Wheel on the School, and The Little Prince

In the Afternoon

Memory Work (daily) - includes review of that day's items from our memory "notebook" as well as our current selections:
:: Hymns - "Attende Domine," "Stabat Mater," and "Bring Flowers of the Fairest"
:: Folk Song - "Highland Mary" (finishing from Term 2), "Pull for the Shore," "Golden Years are Passing By"
:: Bible - The Parable of the Good Samaritan (finishing from Term 2), Matthew 5:13-16
:: Prayers - The Divine Praises and St. Alphonsus' Night Prayer
:: Poetry - Longfellow's "The Tide Rises," "The Arrow and the Song," "Snow-Flakes," and "A Day of Sunshine"
:: Shakespeare - Much Ado About Nothing 4.1.216-221, Hamlet 1.3.76-81
:: Bird Calls - California Quail, Belted Kingfisher

We move on to a new selection once we have the previous selection memorized rather than on a regular schedule, so our plans are just that--plans.  I'll update our Memory Work index with the ones we cover.

Italian Memory Work (daily) - The older three and I cover new concepts, games, and conversation at a different time of the day, but we do our Italian memory work with the littles:
(We took a bit longer on the previous unit than I expected, so we're still working on several from last term.)
:: Rhymes - "La bella lavanderia" from Filastrocche Italiane
:: Songs - "Tu canterai, "Cosi fan," "Giro giro tondo" from Teach Me Everyday Italian
:: Series - "I do something every day"

Picture Study on Georgia O'Keeffe (once weekly) - two weeks for each piece, alternating between observation/narration and a picture sketch
:: Landscapes: Canyon with Crows, 1917
:: More Landscapes: Cliffs Beyond Abiquiu--Dry Waterfall, 1943
:: Flowers in Black and White: Black Hollycock, Blue Larkspur, 1930 and The White Trumpet Flower, 1932
:: Flowers in Color: Red Poppy, 1927
:: Bones: Summer Days, 1936
:: Abstract: Music--Pink and Blue II

Music Study on Handel (once weekly) - including attentive listening and discussion
:: Water Music (four weeks)
:: Royal Fireworks Music (four weeks)
:: The Harmonious Blacksmith (one week)
:: Zadok the Priest (one week)
:: Messiah (two weeks)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

{From My Commonplace}

"You see,” said the stick, “there were as pretty little children once as you could wish to see, and might have been so still if they had been only left to grow up like human beings, and then handed over to me; but their foolish fathers and mothers, instead of letting them pick flowers, and make dirt-pies, and get birds’ nests, and dance round the gooseberry bush, as little children should, kept them always at lessons, working, working, working, learning week-day lessons all week-days, and Sunday lessons all Sunday, and weekly examinations every Saturday, and monthly examinations every month, and yearly examinations every year, everything seven times over, as if once was not enough, and enough as good as a feast—till their brains grew big, and their bodies grew small, and they were all changed into turnips, with little but water inside; and still their foolish parents actually pick the leaves off them as fast as they grow, lest they should have anything green about them.”

from Kingsley's The Water Babies

(Linking up with Wednesdays with Words this week, as usual!)

Friday, January 16, 2015

Nature Study Outing :: Life and Death

I mentioned that we took a little hike along the coast on New Year's Day.  One wonderful thing about where we live is that there are wildflowers all year, of different sorts. These two were in bloom during our chilly outing:

And our daffodils are, right on schedule, pushing themselves up through the cold muddy ground out back.

It is so heartening to see these bits of life blooming even on cold, foggy mornings of winter.

But not all nature study is wildflowers and daffodils.  I hate to say it but dead birds have been a theme around here lately.  For whatever reason we have seen quite a few in the last few weeks!  

We have been lucky in that twice now those birds were new sights for our Life Lists, and also that each time they have still been wonderfully whole.

And now, sensitive readers, avert your eyes!

This Common Murre was washed up among the wrack:

It looks almost elegant, lying still there like that.  I have seem murres at the aquarium and afar on the rocks by the bay, but never up close on the beach.

My 5yo daughter, the daintiest little girl you'll ever meet, asked if I could "please take a picture because I want to nature journal it, Mommy--especially that black, black eye."  Okay then.

And on a similar note, my oldest daughter took these up-close-and-personal photos of another freshly-dead bird, this time at a local park, while I was busy at the other side of the playground with the babies.

The colors and the texture of the feathers are beautiful, aren't they?  She wasn't the slightest bit squeamish, and I didn't know until I browsed the photo roll that she had gotten so close.  A friend's older son chuckled when I finally noticed and said (rather proudly, I think), "Yep, she sure was right up next to him with that camera!"

Thanks to her careful photos, we were able to identify this poor guy as a Varied Thrush, which aren't super-common in our part of California.  (They come down from the northern coast during winter, but usually stop around San Francisco, so we're at the tail end of their migration area.)  We had never seen one, but I know we'll all remember his striking coloring now.

And wouldn't you know it, at this week's nature study outing, we found three (!) dead pigeons at different spots in our park.  I handed Gianna the camera again, and since they were all fascinated by the claws, she took a few close-ups.

It may not feel like it when I'm trying to make sure my toddler doesn't accidentally step on dead sea gulls (true story!), but it's a gift for my suburban children to experience the natural order of life and death in these simple weekly ventures out and about.

And as my son pointed out, it's a lot easier to identify a dead bird than a live one! ;)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

{From My Commonplace}

Of a woman who has too long indulged the consolations that come from others' good opinion:

"The heart that found itself so unappeased would have liked, every now and again, to add to them, and enjoy, too, the consolations of religion; but these only come to those who renounce the others; as a shipwrecked man must open his hand and let go the seaweed which he has seized by instinct, if he is to grasp the plank that may bring him safely to the shore."

from Alessandro Manzoni's The Betrothed

Monday, January 12, 2015

Keeping Company :: January Link-Up

Are you all ready to share your Keeping?  I've already seen a few relevant posts floating around here and there, and I'm excited to open up the linky so we can start collecting them in one place.  And more than that, I'm looking forward to sitting down and reading each one, so I'll be "visiting you" soon!

First, a quick announcement...

Are you on Instagram?  I am, and I wanted a way to include the enthusiastic Charlotte Mason community over there in our fun.  (And besides, I think its format is so conducive to a Keeping link-up!  A meshing of photos and words is a great way of recording notebooking habits.)

So, if you have Keeping photos (or want to add them) over on Instagram and want them to be included in this link-up, tag them with #KeepingCompanyCM.  I'll be checking that tag and hope to pull some of the examples from over there as I curate a monthly round-up/announcement post.

Okay, on to the link-up...


You should see the linky below.  Click on the "Add my link" button, and it will prompt you to include the information for your post.  Once you submit it, your link will be added to the list, and others will be able to click over and read what you have shared.


:: Remember to link to a specific post and not to the homepage of your blog.  

:: Posts on private blogs obviously can't be included.

:: Any posts about CM-style Keeping are welcome!  The prompt is optional.  Your post can be as simple as a photo of your commonplace book!  And please don't feel like you have to be an expert.  We are all looking to grow in these habits together. :)

:: Feel free to add more than one post.  The link-up will be open for a month, so you can come back and add more if you are so inclined.

:: You can grab the button over there on the sidebar if you'd like to add it to your post or your own site.

:: Questions?  Feel free to ask me in the comments.

I'll be adding my own thoughts on how we organize our notebooks next week, but for now, I'm looking forward to reading about all the Keeping you're doing in your homes.  Thank you for sharing!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

What We're Reading :: January

For this month's "What We're Reading," I'll let my annual snapshot-share of the Christmas book haul stand in...because that's pretty much all my kids have been reading since Christmas Day!

But first, my own reads and our family read-alouds...

Alessandro Mazzoni's The Betrothed (moving along!)
The Christian Mother: the Education of her Children and Her Prayer (dipping in here and there)

To the Big Kids:
Goudge's I Saw Three Ships (just finished this lovely Christmas read)
Crossbows and Crucifixes (for a Catholic perspective on England under Queen Elizabeth)
Brinker's Caddie Woodlawn (on audio--not enjoying the reader as much as Cherry Jones, but the story is great, of course)
MacDonald's At the Back of the North Wind and Kingsley's Water Babies (we'll be reading these two AO Y3 "free reads" slowly over the course of the whole school year)

The Christmas Books for the Littles...

first, goodies from Grandma and Grandpa!
for 8yo Vincent
for 8yo Gianna (and that blue hardback at the bottom is a lovely edition of Lang's Rainbow Fairy book)
for 5yo Cate
for 4yo Xavier 
for 3yo Bridget
for 2yo Clara
Almost all the books were bought used from the thrift store or used online, which is how we can manage to gift so many!  As I buy used treasures through the year, I hide them away in a box to pull from when the next holiday rolls around.  I love selecting books from my secret stash for each child that I know he or she will love.

There was also a stack of music books for my big kids to enjoy, and my parents gifted me with the Chronicles of Narnia series on audio, which I'm looking forward to listening our way through this summer!

These books kept the kids happily occupied during their vacation days.  Did you have any favorite bookish gifts this Christmas?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

{From My Commonplace}

A Minuet of Mozart's by Sara Teasdale

Across the dimly lighted room
The violin drew wefts of sound,
Airily they wove and wound
And glimmered gold against the gloom.

I watched the music turn to light,
But at the pausing of the bow,
The web was broken and the glow
Was drowned within the wave of night.

A bit meta here: art about art.  Read this one aloud and delight in it.

"Mommy, hear the rhythm?  It's like music!  Oh--It's like Mozart!"

Yes, yes it is.