Saturday, April 30, 2011

Another Latin Happy Moment (okay so a Mom brag)

Hannah and Ellie entered the Phaedrus Latin Contest this spring.  They were required to write an original fable 200 words or less in length in Latin and then translate it into English.  Both did and the results were sent to the teachers this week while the results will be posted on the website by June 1st.

There were 160 entries from all over the United States and England and Russia.  The top three were awarded cash prizes.  The top ten were ranked, with the finalists and semi-finalists acknowledged, a grand total of 46 given some sort of honor.

Ellie, who had to be cajoled and prodded and who, finally, the day before it was due wrote her fable, was named a semi-finalist - one of the top forty-six!  She is one of eight eighth-graders who were in the top forty-six.  We are thrilled!  And Hannah said it best when she told her sister, "Now don't say you don't know Latin and aren't very good.  You just earned Suma Cum Laude on the National Latin Exam, and you finished as a semi-finalist in this competition."

Hannah placed fourth!  Yes, fourth overall! A senior placed first, who also won last year's inaugural competition.  Two juniors placed second and third, while our own freshman placed fourth!  We are thrilled!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I Wonder

One day I wondered about kids' behavior in church.  There was a good article in the Lutheran Witness awhile ago authored by a mom who gave very good ideas on how to teach children how to behave and learn in church.  Many of those things I had done with my own children.  But the other day I wondered if working moms is part of the problem.

If a child's mom is not home during the day but instead attends a day care, they are not around each other as much as a mom and child who are home all day every day with each other.  I wonder if this plays a part in how the mom and child react to each other during a church service.

Does the working mom not know as well the limit her child has before melt down?
Does the daycare child not know as well the looks of mom which signal, "this must stop now?"
Does the working mom get flustered more easily or is that more a difference in a person's make-up?
Does the daycare child not know as well how to simply sit and be beside Mom?

I know that there are differences in parents, in what they expect, think, and can tolerate.  I also know there are differences in children, in what they can tolerate and think.  And I understand those play a part in church behavior as well.  But what I wonder is if a mother who spends her days working while her child spends his day in day care are at a disadvantage, because they haven't gotten to know those limits in each other.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Happy Latin Day!

This year Hannah and Ellie took, for the first time, the National Latin Exam.  We received the results today.

Ellie took the Latin II test.  She scored 33 out of 40 beating the National Average of 24 and earning a Summa Cum Laude!  She received a gold medal and a certificate.

Hannah took the Latin III test.  She scored a perfect 40 beating the National Average of 26 and earning a Summa Cum Laude!  She received a gold medal and a certificate plus will also be sent a Perfect Paper Certificate.

Needless to say both girls are thrilled, and so are their parents!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Pipes, Pedals, and Pizza

Hannah and I had a fun time yesterday afternoon at a first annual Pipes, Pedals, and Pizza gathering in a nearby town.  There were about twenty-five kids ages 4th grade - high school (plus a few of their parents) who took advantage of this opportunity that was sponsored by an ELCA church, a local organ builder, and the local group of the American Organ Guild Association.

The afternoon began in the organ loft where the organist of the host church gave a demonstration - Bach's Fugue in G minor.  After that, a local organ builder, who had built the organ we were gathered around, explained to us how an organ works.  He had a small demonstration organ there to help with his explaination.  It was simply two ranks, but it really helped show how an organ works.

Next we were able to crawl inside the organ (a tracker action of 30 stops, 44 ranks and 2019 pipes) and look at all the moving parts.  We saw the bellows and heard the sound when it was deflated, we felt the air move out of the pedal pipes, we saw the trackers move as the organ keys were pressed.  It was really a neat thing!

After that, the kids (and interested parents) were divided into three groups and we made rounds to three spots.  Our rotation started with listening to various organ pieces on cd, from hymn preludes to My Country Tis of Thee variations.  There were also free cd's for the kids to choose from.  Hannah chose one of Bach.

Our next stop was in dinning room where the leader had a slide show (via laptop and big screen) that showed various organs throughout the world and history.  Quite a variety was shown and it was rather interesting.

The last stop was at the organ loft where those who wanted were able to play on the organ.  Hannah took her turn as did two others in the group.

After that, the whole group met back in the dinning room where we watched one episode of Howard Goodall's Organ Works.  That was quite neat, and, I thought, funny.  I have now put it in my Netflix queue in order to subject all my children to this series and more British humor.

After the half-hour episode was complete we made our way back to the sanctuary where we heard an organ recital performed by local high school and college students (two each).

Finally after all this fun (which had lasted about three and a half hours) we gathered together to eat pizza.

Hannah and I really enjoyed our time and learned quite a bit.  We were quite thrilled that this event was free and that the leaders hope to do this again next year.  What a great way to get kids excited and interested about playing the organ!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Kings and Queens of England Lapbook

Four years ago while studying these years in history (The Middle Ages, The Renaissance, and The Reformation), I wanted to make a lapbook for the Kings and Queens of England.  I had come across this neat site with nice pictures of all the kings and queens.  Hannah, Ellie, and I thought and thought and thought but never came up with any good ideas.  Fast forward to this year when we're back in the same time period once again.  In my binder with the outline for this year, I had those printed pages of the kings and queens of England staring at me, crying out to be put together into something useful.  Fortunately for me, I now know someone who is very creative and together we came up with a very neat idea.

The front cover of the lapbook

Mindy is talented at using Photoshop and her Wish Blade.  I'm talented at coming up with crazy ideas, throwing them at her and watching her create wonderful things with them.  This project wasn't much different.

First she made castle shapes on Photoshop and then cut them out along with the name of each house with her Wish Blade.  I, in the meantime, found on the Internet the various symbols for the houses.  Mindy sized these in Photoshop to fit on the center of the castle and then we printed them in color onto cardstock.  I also  had found a neat poem that would help memorize all the kings and queens of England in order.  But this poem started with William the Conqueror and I had figures for the Saxons and Danes who had come before.

Hannah to the rescue!  She wrote poems to cover those kings in those two houses and I typed them all into a document, sized them, and printed them to add to the lapbook.  Now we had all the parts so we began assembly!  Here is how it looks.

The front flap opens to the right.  The inside of the front flap has the entire King and Queen of England poem printed.  On the left begins the individual houses which are glued to card stock (two houses per sheet).

Carefully grab hold of the lower left corner of the houses' page:

and stretch out the accordion fold to reveal all ten houses:
Isn't that cool?

With each of the ten houses, you can pull down the front castle to reveal a timeline with figures.
Name that King!

The timeline is also accordion folded in order to stretch out to the right to reveal the length of time that house ruled England.

On each of these individual time lines (made with card stock) we used a pen to draw a timeline on the bottom of the page.  We then used strips of colored paper taped above to show the length of the individual king's reign.  Then we took the figures which had been printed in color and glued them first onto a folded card stock strip (6in x 2in and when folded it is 3in x 2in), then onto the proper spot on the timeline.  
As we learn about the kings, we can fold them down and right about them underneath.

Finally, on the inside of the castle, with the folded front open, and the timeline stretched to the right, I added the portion of the poem for that house.

Here is the entire poem.  We are slowly learning it.

Another great thing about this project is that as we continue reading Our Island Story, our poem helps us (read me) remember who we're reading about. I'm under no illusion that we'll be experts on the Kings and Queens after this.  But I am happy that this is one more thing aid our learning.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

The Reason? Spring

Homeschool moms the world over know that come spring time means more restless children and restless moms.  We've marched through the winter accomplishing (hopefully) a bulk of the work for the year.  But with sunshine mornings, bikes beckon, and thoughts turn to next year, and this year gets left to melt away with the last of the snow piles.

In order to have (force) motivation we've decided to change things up a bit in our household.  We've done a good deal of talking about trips this year and plans for next year, but that doesn't finish the work now.  So one thing I did is have Nathan and Abby start a new workbook because a new journey is always fun at the beginning.  And David has agreed to take over the teaching of Latin to them while I agreed to finish reading the various literature books with Hannah and Ellie. This change with the ability to go outside and ride bikes once the work is done, is the motivation (I hope) we can all take advantage of to finish this year strong.  Wish me luck.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Different Perspective

I went shopping this week on a different day and at a different time than I normally do, and I learned some things.

1. There are other people who fill their carts heaping full at Aldi.

2. There can be more than one express lane and two normal lanes open at Wal-Mart.

3. There are more people with kids and a lot less elderly, retired couples shopping.