Golden Grasses

Sunday, December 14, 2014

5 Ways Classical Conversations Foundations Rocks

This is our first year back in a CC Community after a 7 year break. Ah, it's good to be back! We've done CC on our own and see and believe in the benefits of Memory work. Is that all of classical ed? Well, obviously not, but it's the back-bone. Memory is the Mother of learning, after all. And yes, its totally possible to do CC on your own and succeed. CC Community can't be beat for a couple of simple reasons, however, that are almost impossible to replicate at home (not that you can't, but lets face it, it rarely, if ever, happens).

1. The Tutor Tutors, the Parents Teach
Foundational to a CC Community is parental involvement. My role as a Tutor in the program is NOT, I repeat NOT, to teach the kids. I am teaching the parents and drilling memory work as we go. What am I teaching the parents? How to train their kids brains to retain, mnemonics, tips and tricks of the teaching trade. As a Tutor my goal is to fill the parents toolbox to overflowing so that they can teach their kids despite and because of their learning styles gifts, abilities, challenges.

2. Tools for the Memory Work Toolbox
We drill and drill and drill some more- the old kill and drill routine. But that drill is not boring. It can take the form of movement, call and response, copy work, kids leading, singing, etc. 7 subject areas recited 7 times in a 1/2 hour. There is no time to be bored! At home the kids drill memory work in the same way. oOur school doesn't look that text-booky but my kids sure learn a whole lotta stuff every year.

Kids ages 4-12 get over the #1 fear in life- that of public speaking- by getting up once  a week and  doing a 2-3 minute presentation. For the younger kids it's more show and tell. For my Master's class we talk about what makes a good presentation, what makes a good listener, applaud effort, ask questions and stand amazed at how much 2-3 minutes a week of concentrated effort contributes to self confidence and personal presentation.

4. The Scientific Method
The Scientific Method is presented to the kids over and over again. They realize that good science is re-producible and that solid science is not the same thing as a scientist demanding that their opinion be listened too. They begin to understand the importance of good note-taking (or picture drawing, depending on how old the kiddo is), they realize that good questions are a valuable piece of the inquisitive, creative life; they see that logic is useful and that directions -good or bad- can change everything. They get that good science can take place in their bedrooms, kitchens and million dollar labs. When kids show up during presentation time with science experiments they've created and implemented on their own at home, you know something profound and important has taken place.

5.  Art for Everybody! 
Foundations overviews art technique, music theory, great artists and the orchestra. What's so great about that? Kids are naturally creative. At the same time that they are memorizing history and math facts, Bible, Latin and grammar - filling their brains with non-negotiables- they are learning methods and techniques that allow them express their knowledge and take part in the great conversation of others who have expressed their knowledge, faith, love, hopes and dreams through the ages via art and music. Foundations gives our kids the grammar of artistic expression.

Of course there are other reasons to participate in Foundations, like MapBlobbing, Sack lunches and playtime in the gym, Human Tic-Tac-Toe, Mental Math, Speed Zap and much more, but you'll just have to visit your nearest community to find all that out for yourself!

 @Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Michael Jr Comedy Christian Church Comedian


@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

We laughed. We cried. It Was One of Those Weeks!

This week heralded the semester's end of both o our co-ops, both Classical Conversations and our small in-home co-op. Classical Conversations was a blast and went fast. We put Our Bodies together, went over week 12, played human Tic-Tac-Toe and then focused on Math games for review. I was gifted with wonderful presents by my sweet kiddos and their amazing parents. We are loving CC (come back tomorrow for 5 Ways CC's Foundations Rocks!)

Our co-op at home- all of the kids wrote a poem- trochaic or iambic or something with a rhyme scheme- stop by for more, because I'll be posting them! Everyone brought sumptuous snacks along with homemade presents for a gift exchange. The kids (ages 4-15) all drew a name and then had to create an item for their secret pal. It was...sweet, endearing, touching, precious. The kids were creative, generous and grateful. Then lunch, more food, playing, talking, laughing. I love this group. We all love this group and just stand amazed at how much the kids enjoy being together and how much we love being together. The kids are learning, but its almost a side benefit. And everyone loves my house. I love people who love my house. Yes, I am that shallow.

That is the sound of my finishing a massive project at work. What a week. The age of computer everything- oy vey. My grits are cooked but after a 15 hour day today to knock that baby out, I can focus on my actual job again.  (And yes, there are still some pesky little details to wrap up, but the bulk of it is ovah!)

Image result for tim hawkins image
Two words: Tim Hawkins. We laughed. We cried. O.k., we laughed until we cried. He is funny and weird. Our kind of people. Today we streamed Tim's YouTubes all day long as we sat across the living room from each other, working on computers. Laptops are wonderful things. So are Christian comedians.
The kids have been speed reading Wings of Fire. Speed reading, outloud, to each other. 3 books in a matter of days. Thank goodness for downloadable kindle books. A $5.38 download brought my kids so much joy you would have thought they won the lottery.


Map blobbing has been one of this falls hidden gems. Flower drew the U.S. map, above, complete with every state from memory today - as in NO Looking at or referencing  a map. Not bad for an 11 year old! Love that! Hats off to Classical Conversations. Kabam!

Have I mentioned I'm back on the Crew? As in the Schoolhouse Review Crew! Woop! Love my fellow Crewbies!! Stay tuned for more great reviews and awesome products coming soon!

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Carnival of Homeschooling- The Christmas Edition

Welcome to the 465th Carnival of Homeschooling! 
Carnival of Homeschooling

My sincere apologies for being a day late with the Carnival of Homeschooling- it's been one of those weeks that has tried my patience, tested my tenacity and caused me to cry, pray and laugh (albiet, at times, hysterically!). Oh, the joys of multi-tasking, working from home, technology and homeschooling.
Christmas on line - Christmas baubles

At the end of the day, though, despite the frustrations and the many, never ending tasks, I hope you can say, even if your day or week has gone like mine, that homeschooling is worth it. I hope that you are finding joy and fulfillment in these years of investing in a person.
Christmas Baubles Line Up
During the holidays, or really any season, it helps if we can just  R is Roll with It. Kym writes about how to make it happen, despite the season or your schedule!

Raventhreads shares at Homeschool Essentials: Praying for Peace and Love

Mom's Toolkit for a Peaceful Home

Taunna shares a great printable as well as a Toolkit for a peaceful home:

HomeMaking Organized brings us a terrific, chock-full post about creating A Schedule for Children at Home
Colorful deluxe glassblown baubles for Christmas and other celebrations
Years of homeschooling has given Henry Cate a unique perspective. Go here to read his advice to a New Homeschooler

Books are intergral to homeschooling! Susan R shares How to Create a Home Library 
Christmas Nutcracker Drummer

Those of us who raise kids or teach know how exciting a break-through can be for our kids! Christine shares Reading Progress 
Christmas in the country

Go here for the instructions on sending in a submission to the next Carnival. And, as always, thank-you to the Cates at Why Homeschool for keeping the Carnival going.

Entries to the Carnival of Homeschooling are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Christmas all through the House

I promised a whole post Christmas decor and here it is. Above is the outside of the house. Yes, looks like a frosted 3- tiered cake. Have I ever mentioned that we live in a 4-story 4x4 farmhouse?

The big Christmas Tree in the living room. Almost every window has a garland over it. The one in the living room has little snowmen perched in it. 

Another view of the tree.

This is one of my favorite spots in the house. It's an odd little corner in the kitchen, with tons of light, that we've turned into a little coffee/tea corner.

Here's the garland above the glass block window. I have a paper garland beneath that
 says, "Peace," "Merry Christmas" and "Joy." I found the printable here. 

An alpine tree, decorated in a copper, cowboy theme. 
Found the metal "Believe" sign on clearance somewhere. 

Moms' tea cup collection surrounded by jingle bells and Father Christmas, 
stitched 20 years ago by my dear friend, Michele. 

On the buffet.
I stitched the creche in NM.

This picture does not do the cute-factor justice here. This is the periwinkle blue off-the kitchen bathroom. The window is from one of the decrepit sheds, embellished with burlap, copper bells, berries and greenery. 

Christmas books, with a "Calvin" tucked in, sitting on our antique school desk turned end table. 

Another free printable, which you can find here.
I printed it out and popped it into a perfect frame. 

On the bookshelves. A chalkboard I painted years ago.

A Christmas quilt we were gifted the year after our house fire.
 It is warm and snugly.

Here's the view from the stairs. Garlands and more trees. 

I hope you enjoyed our Holiday Tour! 
Wishing each of you a blessed Holiday Season! 

Stop  by Tuesday, I'll be hosting the Carnival of Homeschooling! 

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Post Thanksgiving Reality

This is what science often looks like at our house. Dr. Dh sharing his latest science find- usually entailing some kind of archaeological or astronomical discovery, which he then shares with whatever  kid he can snag. The Orion landing was science du jour.

History consisted of some really fun videos, courtesy of @Mr. Betts Class. Some of these coordinate very nicely with Classical Conversations History sentences. Others don't. All are creative, entertaining and catchy.

Cub does not like shopping. I repeat, Cub does not like shopping. This is what shopping reduces him to; My very own Elf off the shelf. Isn't he adorable?!

On Tuesday, I Tutored both Foundations and Essentials. I was very grateful that it was a review weeks for Essentials. We continue to learn a ton every week. I'm amazed at how much we are learning through the simple act of copying charts and repetition. Simple, but very effective.

We had a blast decorating the house last week-end, both inside and out. Sneak peek above...stay tuned for a holiday house tour!

We got a killer deal on the entire Planet of the Apes series. It is so bad. Almost compelling in how awful it is. We started and stopped a couple; and sort of finished it. And struggled to understand why they kept changing the story line, and endings. It's over now. Dr. Dh declared it "the worst movie(s) ever." I told him that's only because he hasn't seen Noah. He has threatened to rent it this week-end because he is curious, and I think, he really doesn't believe me when I tell him  is awful. At least Planet of the Apes had the costumes and Roddy McDowell going for it, right?

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving, met KB's fiance in person for the first time, took walks and family photos, went to see the Lights Festival at the Falls, ate lots of pie, played Settlers and enjoyed   spending the holiday with Dr. Dh's brother and family, who are just plain totally fun to be around.
The men-folk at the Falls. Do they look related, or what?!
One more for cute-ness sake.

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Three Little Pigs

I've talked before about what a great program the Grammar of Poetry is. I get to teach it again this fall, and it's been a blast. 14 kids ages 8-14 are learning about Meter, Tropes, and Rhyme Scheme. Last week the older kids re-wrote The Three Little Pigs in Iambic Pentameter. I'm posting Patrick's terrific rendition.

Now three little pigs got sick of home life,
They set out for the hard house hunting strife
Pig numbered one found a cheap small straw faux
Mud-lover two bought a modern stick box
Swine three built a do-it-yourself Fort Knox
Pigs three set out. Pigs three homes bought. Only...
they did not know what lurked in the shadows.

Pig numbered one heard a knock on the door
then he heard "It is I little pig, the beast.
Let me in or rue this day of feast!"
Startled swine recalled from his early teachings,
Only he who bears the mark of insanity
Allows a wolf to enter the threshold!
Thinking of something snappy to reply, he said,
"Not by the hair on my chinny chin chin!"
the wolf, expecting this, drew in immense
Amounts of air, and by huffing and puffing
Blew the straw house down, pig and home combined.

Pig one fled to the sleek shack of pig two.
And as collapsing in doorway, sputtered, "Wolf!"
Hearing this, pigs bared door and fixed with flue
But alas, no match for wolf's mighty exhale.
Now two pigs off to piglet three's dwelling
As they entered the magnificent hall
The Wolf repeated the routine again
But the inexplicable domicile stood?!

So then pig three explained to the dim duo,
This fortress is made of a tungsten base,
With titanium and steel alloy siding, and
With a chromium finish, not to mention
A bedrock foundation and 1200 foot supports.

The two pigs, awestruck, asked, "How did you make it?"
Three said, "I found blueprints on the internet."
As pigs talked, the wolf saw a brick chimney.
It looked too good to be true, and it was,
For he landed in a boiling pot of stew.

By Patrick Hunt ~ age 12

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Fast, Fast the Fall doth Fly

My goal for regular blogging has meet my schedule and regular hasn't happened. What happens is that we start the week out have a solid day of homeschooling on Monday, go to Classical hit Conversations on Tuesday, have staff meeting on Wednesdays, have our in -home co-op on  Thursday, hit Friday, at which point we have no food in the fridge, I'm behind on work, the kids have papers and lab reports due, there is no laundry in anyones drawers and we are hitting the week-end, which is its own kind of special busy. So, yeah. We are mainly keeping up. Sort of. 

Cub and Flower finished their Bridgeway Academy on-line classes this week. Cub just finished up a 1/2 credit Chem Lab and Flower finished up Architecture with Brick Building The Chemistry Lab was every minute worth a 1/2 a credit. The Architecture class was just that and twenty over 7 of the 20 principals of Architecture- both classes included homeschoolers from around the globe, knowledgeable, encouraging teachers and challenging coursework. If you'd like to know more about BW's Learning Labs and get a discount code for the next couple of sessions: 

The Grammar of Poetry is still a blast. So far, we have gone through the following tropes: personification, pun, simile, metaphor, synedoche, and iambic, trocahic and anapestic meter. Found William Shakespeare's Star Wars by Ian Droescher in iambic pentameter. Thanksgiving break read-aloud for word nerds.
So, the kids have been blasting through books- Cub has read The Giver (after seeing the movie, which he liked), Tuck Everlasting, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Doom Wyte. Flower has read Little Women, Little Men, Ana and the King, the Narnia series, and is currently making her way through Pride and Prejudice, Lydia, Indian Captive and Alone Yet Not Alone. I have read very little but book reports of late.
The kids and I went to see Interstellar yesterday. Great CGI, fine acting, fantastical tale that stretched believability over and over again, relying heavily on deux ex machina for one false ending after another. Personally, I thought the graphics and the thought experiments on time were worth the price of admission, even if the story left a lot to be desired believability wise. Some interesting dialog on mortality and family thrown in for good measure. A fun holiday flick.

Latest finds for fun: Byrdseed for amazing academic helps. We've been doing mental math, ala Essentials daily, and there are some great exercises on here! 

I've been kind of going nuts with free printables lately- my desperate search for a creative outlet in my little world of staring at the computer screen. 
There are so many gorgeous graphics out there and are perfect for simple decorating as he couple of Secret Santa's exchanges we are part of .
Silly but good, clean, simple fun, I'll be making coffee filter pom poms with to compliment the coffee filter snowflakes she created for the windows (yes, we've had snow already). 

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!
@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!