Books We Are Using This Year
  • The Story of the World: Ancient Times (Vol. 1)
    The Story of the World: Ancient Times (Vol. 1)
    by Jeff West,S. Wise Bauer,Jeff (ILT) West, Susan Wise Bauer
  • Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding: A Science Curriculum for K-2
    Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding: A Science Curriculum for K-2
    by Bernard J Nebel PhD
  • Math-U-See Epsilon Student Kit (Complete Kit)
    Math-U-See Epsilon Student Kit (Complete Kit)
    by Steven P. Demme
  • First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind: Level 4 Instructor Guide (First Language Lessons) By Jessie Wise, Sara Buffington
    First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind: Level 4 Instructor Guide (First Language Lessons) By Jessie Wise, Sara Buffington
    by -Author-
  • Drawing With Children: A Creative Method for Adult Beginners, Too
    Drawing With Children: A Creative Method for Adult Beginners, Too
    by Mona Brookes
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Entries in Poetry (9)


Weekly book shelf, 10/24/14

In History, we're up to the Merovingian Dynasty. We have used the Life and Times biography series for a few different points in history. I'm not in love with the books—they're a little disjointed for me. With all their insets and sidebars, or sidetracks, they're a little too like a textbook or one of those DK factoid explosion books that I try so hard to avoid. Also, right out of the gate, in the very first paragraph, the white Christian bias was loud and kicking. Still, these books do provide a pretty good general idea of the era in which these famous people lived.

In science we revisited the concept of seasons and the various movements of our multi-colored orb that brings about the seasonal and daily variations we observe in our neck of the woods. No books, just a few demonstrations with a globe and a flashlight.

One of my favorite parts about this week was our return to poetry performance. When we first started with more curriculum based learning, poem memorization was a big part of our weekly efforts. When we switched to our new curriculum, although we were still studying poetry, the memorization component kind of went out the window. But this week, after spending some time with Tennyson's The Charge of the Light Brigade, Calvin asked to memorize it. We have lots of poetry books, but we used Kennedy's book for this occasion. We also used The Poetry Archive for an amazing audio file of Tennyson reading his own poem.

Continuing in the tradition of October ghost stories, Calvin read The Ghost of Thomas Kempe this week. It is the story of a young boy who is being bullied by a ghost. Framed for destruction wrought by the ghost throughout the town, and believed by only two of the townspeople, he turns to a local man to help him get rid of the ghost's harassing presence. You can also read Calvin's review.


And one more ghost story from this week: The Specter from the Magician's Museum, by John Bellairs. This is one book in a mystery-adventure series. I don't know much about this one, but Calvin categorized it as an enjoyable junk food book.





Penguin, an acrostic poem 


Journal entry—lyrics on space

Last night Calvin turned the tables and sang his own bedtime song to Jon. It was somewhat of an improvisation, but then he also was able to repeat it pretty well, and remembered it again this morning, so that became his second journal for this week.


Weekly book shelf 8/13

Except that it isn't the 13th, because I'm behind again. As busy as we were over the past couple of weeks, though, we did do a lot of reading. I think my favorite thing now is when Calvin reads to me while I am driving.

Some of what Calvin read to himself this week...Bear Mouse is a new book I just picked up from our library sale room. It is exactly my kind of book—a true nature situation written as a story without personification or embellishment. The little mouse, who looks like a bear in her winter coat, must find nourishment so she can make milk for her babies, but she must avoid predators to do so. The pictures are perfect, the ending is happy, and Calvin loved the story. Berlioz the Bear is traditional Jan Brett, and although I'm not always fond of her work I do love the way she tells the extra story with the illustrations. This is about bear musicians whose wagon gets stuck in mud on their way to a party, and all the animals who try to help them.

The Hole in the Dike is a different take on the Dutch folk tale of the boy who saves the town by sticking his finger in a hole in the dike. For those who are familiar with the little hooligan hero from the traditional tale, the little boy in this story is just a happy little Dutch boy who does a good deed, and I like it oh so much better for that.

And last week he finished reading Mr. Popper's Penguins by himself. Even a month ago I would never have believed he'd be reading like this now, but he asked to try it, and after sitting with him and listening through the first chapter to make sure it went well, I left him to it. Although I believe some of the subtle humor was lost him he had no trouble reading the book and understanding it, and he thoroughly enjoyed it. Now I think he's even more in love with The Boxcar Children, which he started immediately after.

What we read together this week...The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, is one of the best ghost story of all time. We have read it together before out of my anthology of poetry, but I found this version at another library sale. The language of the poem is not changed at all, but it is written in a slightly larger and roomier format and is illustrated by Ed Young in charcoal sketches and watercolors that add to the tale. Calvin loved reading it by the fire pit after dark last weekend. 

And we've also started The Tale of Despereaux, which may be a bit over the top with the whole love bit, but it's also been a fun story with animal characters and pretty imagery.

And on my shelf these past two weeks...I took a break from Proust to read The Time Machine, and then the His Dark Materials trilogy. I enjoyed Pullman more than Wells, I reviewed all of the above, and now I'm back to Proust, although I also plan to start The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.


Writing and illustrating

It was towards the end of a particularly difficult day (chores, bad weather, snuffles) that Calvin up and declared he was going to write a poem and illustrate it. When he finished I suggested that he write a story about the same topic to feel the difference in composition. He illustrated that as well, and the next day he proceeded to write more poem and story combos with fun illustrations. I love this new found confidence not just in writing, but in creating.

The A, A, B, A down the left side is his plan for the rhyming scheme.

Note that the pig is clearly singing. *love

As he was drawing this one he made a line for the mat and told me that he knew that was how a mat would look from the side, but he wanted people to be able to see the pattern on the mat so he was drawing "a different perspective." *more love

I am linking this to the wonderful Saturday's Artist.