"God made us for joy. God is joy, and the joy of living reflects the original joy that God felt in creating us." (St. John Paul the Great)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

School Update - Part 3

And the conclusion to what's shakin' in our schoolroom ...

Art: After taking a couple of years off of formal art study, we returned to Artistic Pursuits this year. What I love about this program is that it is a combination of art appreciation and history with learning techniques and applying them. This year we are focusing on American art and the elements of art and composition.

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History: We continue to love Story of the World and just started Book Two on the Middle Ages. It takes us about two years to go through a book because we only do history one day a week and there are (again!) so many good things to read and do. We like to listen to the audio version of these books. If you've never listened to Jim Weiss, you're missing out. If you're not using Story of the World, check out his other stuff from Greathall Productions.

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Geography: We've had a smattering of geography here and there over the years with our history and literature studies. We've memorized the capitals and done some basic map work. We made North Dakota lapbooks our first year after moving here. We subscribe to magazines like Faces and own geography boardgames. My kids really enjoy studying different cultures, though, so this year we began a more formal geography study with Around the World in 180 Days. We have been focusing on one continent each quarter, and so will use this book for two years. Our studies include identifying land forms and defining geography terms, map work, and cultural studies, but the book also includes history and religion sections as well. The kids have studied Africa and Asia so far this year, and we just moved on to Europe. They have enjoyed making travel brochures and planning and preparing cultural meals among other things.

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Music: Here's a subject where we've been sporadic at best. Although I'd love the kids to have knowledge of the great composers and their major works, as well as be able to read music and play an instrument or two, I just haven't been good about fitting this into our curriculum. I don't feel too badly though, as they all share my love of music, and someone is almost always singing around here. This year I did purchase the Classical Kids series, and (when we get around to it) we all enjoy it. So far we've studied Beethoven and a little Handel. We're going to study Tchaikovsky this quarter. In addition, Miss Sunshine started playing the piano last summer and I just love listening to her playing some classical stuff like Mozart's Rondo alla Turca, Bach's Minuet in G, and Pachelbel's Canon. The Boy continues to work on his guitar skills. And Miss Rose has been bugging me to find her a flute teacher -- another thing on my list of "haven't got around to yet."

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And, Physical Education: Our area homeschool group has a great program we attend once a week. Each month they focus on a different sport/activity: soccer, tennis, flag football, basketball, bowling, volleyball, rhythms, swimming, gymnastics, and track and field. But what we ALL really miss in this German state is Irish dance!

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