From Homeschooler

“Nakedly Religious Overtones”

Considering that the previous Narnia movies weren’t 100% satisfactory (see Narnia Invaded for examples), it was heartening to see a review of the new movie, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. This gives me hope. If a secular writer can say that about Dawn Treader, those of us that actually want Narnia movies to have those religious overtones just might find it more to our liking. I was alerted to the review while listening this afternoon to Ave Maria Radio.

Nine more days! Do you have your tickets yet?

I <3 Teaching Company

Last month I ordered Herodotus, The Iliad and The Odyssey from The Teaching Company. Last week the 19-mo climbed up a chair to get a DVD case from the shelf without any of us noticing . He took down the Herodotus DVDs and broke Disc 2. I shot them an e-mail to ask if I could perhaps purchase another copy, hopefully discounted. This morning in my inbox I find an e-mail from them telling me that they will replace it free of charge. Aren’t they the best? Their materials are always first rate!

The Teaching Company

Sentence Diagramming Helps

One skill that I believe my children should learn is diagramming sentences. When they diagram sentences, I can see how the lightbulbs come on and they understand better. Diagramming helps them not just in their English and Latin lessons, but more generally in comprehending how words are strung together to make sentences meaningful, no matter the language.

My favorite diagramming resource is — my kids prefer doing this together so what we usually do is gather round, and then I read the lesson to them. They then pass the book from person to person, each person reading the examples aloud. They spend 10 minutes or so making up their own sentences and diagramming them afterwards. Quick and relatively painless.

I thought I’d spice things up a bit this year, though, so I went online to look for some additional helps, and I found a couple you might like as well:

Sentence Diagrams by Eugene R. Moutoux — you’ll have to click on each link to see the examples. Might help if you use tab browsing and have everything open in different tabs, rather than backspace after each example.

Wisconsin Technical College has a Flash page where you can try diagramming. There are 33 pages in all. I found it easy to use and easy to understand; my only quibble is that it’s difficult to place the slanted downward lines into their proper spots. The words are much easier to move to the exact locations, but you can’t move forward to the next lessons unless you put the lines in also.

Free Sheet Music, “Sight Reading” Pages, Sight Reading Practice Online

So I’m trying to be a better piano teacher this year. To that end, I was searching for free printable music sheets that we can use for sight reading, since what I’ve been doing is hand-printing sight reading sheets myself.

Making Music Fun has many that we can use. They have several levels available.

I also found the following online sight reading practice tools, if you would prefer to forego the paper practice sheets.

Treble Clef Study Tool
Bass Clef Study Tool

Ranger’s Apprentice Teacher Helps

Finishing up Migi’s course plans for the year. I’ve got several book studies lined up for him, but he wants to round it all out with some Ranger’s Apprentice material. And Harry Potter, but I think I may have to come up with those myself (more on the HP subject later).

I did find these, yay!

Random House Australia’s Teacher’s Guide for Book 1 (The Ruins of Gorlan)

Guides for Books 1 through 6 at the official site

If you’ve got teen boys and you haven’t read the Ranger’s Apprentice series yet, I’d highly recommend you do it and SOON. I judged most of the books appropriate for my 11-yo…. up to Book 6. I let him read Book 7 though I think it’s got way more violence than I’m comfortable with at this age, but we did it with lots of (continuing) discussion and guidance. Our 14-yo has read all the books as well and the 19-yo. Excellent series for dinnertime discussion, except we try to avoid that as the 8-yo feels left out. I’m usually not into stories about knights, etc. but this series got me. I’m so glad my 14-yo convinced me to read them all. Tried to read RA Book 1 several times and couldn’t get past the first few pages, but after that hurdle I am so addicted myself to this series and can’t wait for the next one. October 5, Halt’s Peril comes out!

Ready for Takeoff

Whew! Finally, after weeks and weeks of not having phone, internet, and a few days where I didn’t have my right thumb (long story), we are ready.

Paco is enrolled at Kolbe Academy shooting for Honors. I’ve got his curriculum figured out and agreed upon (very important 🙂 ) and here it is:

+ he’s shooting for several merit badges on his way to Eagle Scout.

Africa Unit Study, Day 20

Read aloud: Galimoto

Art activity: Make your own galimoto with different grade wires from the hardware store. More ideas here.

Read and narrate: Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. (3rd grade and up)

Continue to work on African Saints today.

Mom: Food Culture in Sub-Saharan Africa provides a wealth of information that can be used for the African scrapbook — can also be used as a jump-off point for further unit studies/rabbit trails.

Today’s Menu, from Food Culture in Sub-Saharan Africa:

Green Plantain Chips, p. 21 or Akara, p. 22
Mango Fool, p. 33
Hibiscus Tea steeped with lemon grass and flavored with vanilla or rum extract
Suya, p. 41

(optional — a more involved stew maybe for dinner: Palaver Sauce, p. 31)

Africa Unit Study, Day 19

Fun Read Alouds or for Beginning Readers: What’s Cooking, Jamela?

Fun Read for Older Kids: King Solomon’s Mines (Mom, pre-read please). For discussion: Should fiction be included in a serious study of history? Why or why not? In reading King Solomon’s Mines, what did you learn about Africa that you did not learn from other sources we’ve used?

Reading and Narration: St. Augustine and His Search for Faith. Don’t forget to add St. Augustine to our Saints section!

Revisiting Ancient History:
Dig: Leptis Magna
Here’s a handy Teacher’s Guide with activities.

Today’s Menu, from A Taste of Africa:

Shiro Wot, p. 69
Sweet Potato Pone, p. 137
Lemon Grass Tea, p. 45

Africa Unit Study, Day 18

Mom and older kids: Saints of Africa. Can also read aloud certain sections. Pick 12 saints to include in our Africa scrapbook.

(Note about this book: It is a worthy compilation of well-known, lesser-known and obscure African saints. What bothers me about it (so far, and I’m only into the first few pages) is that the author chooses to put down other saints while lifting up others. I understand that the saints weren’t perfect, and that all of them had their own inner demons to deal with, but I’d rather read biographies of saints that highlight their particular strengths and challenges they had to overcome, without resorting to criticizing their “fellow saints” in the process. For instance, I did not like the author’s reference to St. Jerome being “acrimonious”. I tend to regard the saints as somewhat like my parents — I know they’ve got faults, but I love them anyway, and would prefer to focus on what’s admirable and inspiring about them.)

Read Aloud: The Day of Ahmed’s Secret Study questions: 1. What was Ahmed’s secret? 2. Do you remember the first time you learned to read? 3. Describe in a few sentences what it felt like to finally be able to read. Add notes to the Egypt section of our Africa scrapbook.

Today’s Menu:
from The Momo Cookbook

Tomato Confit (p. 56)
Harira (p. 69)
Potato Gratin with Fresh Coriander (p. 100)
Dried Fruit Salad (p. 173)

Africa Unit Study, Day 17

Read Aloud: A is for Africa. Add notes to the Nigeria page.

Read Aloud: Moja Means One. Copy and illustrate the numbers in the book.

Older kids: Read African Fractals. Take note of interesting information and include in the Math section of the Africa scrapbook.

Print out banknotes to add to your country pages. You can find them here, and here. Or use the Rand workpages here.

Read Kingfisher History Encyclopedia, pages 332, 343, 362-363. Make entries into Book of Centuries/Adventure: Africa scrapbook.

Today’s Menu, from The Momo Cookbook:

Zaalouk, p. 63
Kesra, p, 137
Briouats of Saffron Chicken, p. 73
Almond Milk, p. 143

Africa Unit Study, Soccer Time!

The oldest boy is reading Cry, the Beloved Country. Here’s a set of questions from if you want to go that route. I’ve watched the movie and highly recommend for late teens to adults.

The younger ones are reading Nelson Mandela’s Favorite African Folktales and Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

For dessert tonight — melktert!! Made with homemade buttermilk from my cultured butter experiment the other day. It should work, given that it’s apparently very similar to buttermilk pie.

Africa Unit Study, Day 16

Read Aloud: Chidi Only Likes Blue. Make a color wheel. You can use this blank wheel if you like. In each section of the wheel, write down your notes or draw the items Chidi and Nneka like. Put this page in our African scrapbook.

Read Aloud: The Jungle Grapevine. Make sure you read the Author’s Note at the back of the book!

Music:: Listen to (and dance to, if you like) Kronos Quartet’s Pieces of Africa all day.

Movie for Mom and Dad: Amistad. Must-read reviews.

Older Kids: Read Amos Fortune. There is a sample study guide here, but we probably won’t use it… dinner time discussion should be good enough for this, and maybe a one-page narration. I’m also letting the kids peruse some links:

Today’s Menu

Chicken Stewed in Coconut Milk
Atar Allecha
Tunisian Potato Salad
Rooibos Chocolate Cake