Saturday, July 5, 2014

July Update

Year Three Science and Nature Study

I'm currently spending some time on this, since I'm planning on using these books with my younger daughter. Although these are placed in Year Three, I'm sure that many of you will find that they will work just as well for students who are slightly older as well. I would suggest that this study be used with ages 8-11, using extensions for ages 10-11. I'm going to add The Sea Around Us by Rachel Carson to our study of Tide Pools to further advance the work for my rising 6th grader and to fill in the study more and make it a more complete marine biology study. I'm adding a link here for a rough draft of the scope and sequence for Year Three Science and Nature Study to give you a quick peek at what this will cover. I reserve the right to make changes and adjustments as I go along...:) I have completed the notes for Pagoo and Life in the Tidal Pool and will begin typing them soon. Once I add the labs, this section will be complete. I wrote out a rough schedule to be sure that all that I wanted to cover in this year would fit. Nature Study will revolve around the topic of tracks, scats and signs.

Y3 Science and Nature Study- Scope and Sequence Rough Draft

ETA: Here is the guide for Tide Pool Life. I do still need to write the 6 Science Investigations and any teaching notes and supplemental pages. I'll add those in very soon, because this study starts off with two Science Investigations and I will need them too.

The Book of the Ancient Romans

I recently added in chapters 4-8 and will be working on adding more this month.

ETA: currently working on this...added 7-8

Year One

I have been working on Year One lately and hope to add Term Two C soon. I try to set goals for myself, but life gets in the way sometimes. :)

ETA: I have added Term 2 C and now Term 2 is complete as well. This means that Weeks 1-24 are available. While I don't have Semester Two listed, Weeks 19-24 can be found under Term 2 B and Term 2 C.

Still Adding Notes

Age of Fable
English Literature for Boys and Girls
A Child's History of the World-ETA: Added 51-54
Our Island Story
Isaac Newton
William Penn's World
Children of the New Forest
and others...

ETA: The first chapter of Science Matters is ready and can be found under Book Notes.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

New Notes for More Books

I've started working on The Book of the Ancient Romans by Dorothy Mills and have uploaded the first two weeks. I'm currently working on Week 3 and should have this ready soon too.

The World of William Penn by Genevieve Foster was a new plan that I put into place with my younger daughter. The time period it covers along with our book on Isaac Newton and Children of the New Forest all line up nicely. I decided to add the Foster book to expand on this time period better. I have even added this to Year Four and the notes can be used here too. I cannot find an image for the cover of our book on Isaac Newton. It is titled Isaac Newton: Mastermind of Modern Science by David C. Knight. I currently have the first three reading for the book on Isaac Newton ready and have read and written out the notes for the first three readings in The World of William Penn. I should have these up very soon. ETA: These are ready now! I will continue to work on Children of the New Forest as I've not worked on this book in a little while. I currently have the first 13 chapters available now. This book has also been moved and is now in Year Four too.

I will use this post as a place to come back with more updates as I add more notes.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Changing an Artist in Year One

I've  made a change in Year One. I've been trying very hard to leave Year One alone as it is essentially complete, but I felt very compelled to make this change. I will be going back and editing the complete guide to reflect this change. I'm very sorry if this proves to be an inconvenience for some of you. :(

I've been a little bothered all along by some of Francisco Goya's works and knew that a number of his works would be very inappropriate for children. He does have some beautiful pieces with children that are fine for children to study, but as I don't have a copy of Francisco Goya (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists) by Mike Venezia and still cannot find it at a library, I cannot be sure if the works in this book would be acceptable for most families . I'm also having trouble finding the works that I had listed and knew were child-friendly available in the public domain to use for the printable collection. Because of these reasons, I've decided to move Mary Cassatt into this year. I will add the Mary Cassatt collection soon and update the complete guide.

ETA: I've added the Mary Cassatt Collection and will update the guide soon. ETA: I've updated the guide now.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Just a Few New Additions

  • I've just added three more chapters for A Child's History of the World. This would be chapters 47-50. I should have this middle section complete in a month or so. This will then make the entire book complete.
  • I also combined all of the Book Notes for A Child's History of the World for Year One into one download. This is for those who just want notes for this particular book. I will eventually add a set for the notes for Year Two and for Year Three. This will divide the book into the following sections: Ancient, Medieval and Modern.
  • I'm almost finished with a Book List for Year Three.
  • ETA: I've also combined the Book Notes for CHOW for Year Three. I wasn't able to contain all of the pages into one download. Adobe Acrobat Workspaces (which I will be moving from still in the near future) will not hold more than 50 pages in one set. I have this labeled as CHOW Year Three and CHOW Year Three B.
  • ETA: I've just added the Mary Cassatt Collection and Cezanne Collection for Year One. These are the selected art pieces for artist study and are linked under Year One.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

May Update

This is just a quick post to share the newest updates and changes.

I have made some changes with the book lists for each year. To be forthright about this, I made the book lists for each year based largely off of what I already own, what is freely available online and the remaining books which I thought that I could either include in my own library over time or borrow the shorter books from the library. I can still write Book Notes for these shorter types of books and not own them. As it turns out, the library system in my area is not that great. I'm finding the majority of the books are just not available.

Financially, I just cannot afford to buy books just to own them for writing curricula. My younger daughter is getting older now and she will not need a number of the books for the younger years. I chose the books that I did because I considered them to be good quality choices, but often other books would work well too. Also, I own some older out-of-print books that we love but that I replaced when designing this curriculum because I knew that if would be difficult for others who would like to use this curriculum to find/buy them.

As a result, I've had to make some changes. I am trying to get these settled into a final form. I can't promise that there may not be small adjustments along the way, but the overall layout should be the same. I've also made some adjustments in that I had suggested more than one book title in some cases and I've had to make a choice of one book over another in these cases.

I was also aware all along that the lists for each year were probably a bit too long. It is so hard to choose. I'd love to include so many more, but that wouldn't be wise. I try to move all of these into additional reading suggestion lists, so that you can always feel free to add more if you'd like. The additional reading lists offer additional books in a series, books by the same author, historical fiction books that fit the time period(s) being studied that year and great books that I just couldn't fit into the schedule. You are always welcome and encouraged to make any substitutions or adjustments as you see fit. I will be writing complete guides for additional years and I need to write it for one list of books. :) I'm overwhelmed with all that I want to do and need to do!

Here is what I've added recently:
  • Book List for Year Two
  • Year One, Term Two B
  • Age of Fable Chapter 21 and Chapter 22
  • Classification Study (with High School Extensions)
ETA: The supplemental pages have been added to the Classification Study and can be printed as one whole set.

I have written the notes for Life in a Tidal Pool, but I still need to write the notes for Pagoo. Once this is complete, I will put both sets of notes together into one guide. This will be part of Year Three's Science and Nature Study section.

I'm also working on The Book of the Ancient Romans and will put up the first two or three weeks soon.

I'll also try to put up a Goya collection of art pieces to study for Year One as soon as I get a chance.

I will continue to add in more from A Child's History of the World, Our Island Story and so many others...:)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Art of Narrating


Narrating is an art, like poetry-making or painting, because it is there, in every child’s mind, waiting to be discovered, and is not the result of any process of disciplinary education. A creative fiat calls it forth. ‘Let him narrate’; and the child narrates, fluently, copiously, in ordered sequence, with fit and graphic details, with a just choice of words, without verbosity or tautology, so soon as he can speak with ease.
(Vol. 1 Part IX.–The Art of Narrating, p.231)

Why is narration so important?

1) It trains the mind to take something that was read or heard and mark it as important and to then file it away differently.

2) Attention and narration are tied together. Without the former, the latter doesn't follow.

3) It gives a child the assurance that his/her thoughts matter. When children feel as if their thoughts and ideas are important, then it naturally follows that they become more invested in their own knowledge.

4) Narrating trains the child's mind to process new information and to readily turn it around as something they then communicate to others.

How does narration improve the mind?

Imparting knowledge is more complicated than simply telling a child what he/she needs to know or reading a book which tells them what he/she needs to know. Narrating allows the child to handle new knowledge in a natural manner but with more complexity than is readily apparent. It is much easier for someone to choose the type and amount of information, transfer it to the child through lecture or reading and then have the child learn just enough to answer questions about it, than it is to have this same child read or listen to a large amount of information, freely choose as they read or listen to what inspires, interests or connects with their own mind and life experiences upon which they wish to focus, and then be ready to turn this input of information into an output in the form of a narration. They will be expected to turn this information over in their mind and share their new knowledge. This expectation will naturally train the mind to pay attention and to process the new information in a manner differently than when it is known that the important information has already been selected and there is nothing through which the child must sort.

How is narration a creative process?

A child who narrates is one who is given the freedom to express their own thoughts and feelings in response to something they've read or have had read to them and, in turn, the freedom to choose their own words or images. Painting a picture, creating an image from modeling clay, acting out a scene, writing a letter, creating a dialogue, extending a scene, turning poetry into prose, writing a character sketch, writing from a different viewpoint, constructing a scene with blocks, turning information into a chart or diagram, writing an essay which take a position and supports it, creating a map based on a vivid description, etc. They are so many ways to narrate. The output or narration a child can give in response to what they have read or have had read to them is almost without limit. The child can be creative in many different ways and this variety cycles back to the same points mentioned above. It is an assurance that their thoughts and ideas matter. They have a voice in this world too.This will lend itself to creating a child who is very invested in their own education and will want to find his/her own path for learning.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sharing the Same Time Period...A Sample Week Up-Close

I thought it would be helpful to show how sharing the same time period with your students would work by examining a sample week. Below is a reduced version of Week Eight from Ancient History Level One.

Week Eight

A Child’s History of the World
Proper Nouns
Read-Aloud Set for Lower Elementary
Literature Set for Level One
Chapter  10
(Pages 64-72)
Lower Elementary:
_____Narrate the above reading.
Narration Break:
Page 69 at the beginning of the first new paragraph
Upper elementary: _____Write a narration for the above reading.
Map/Globe Work:
Mount Parnassus
Zeus (Jupiter)
Hera (Juno)
Poseidon (Neptune)
Hephaestus (Vulcan)
Artemis (Diana)
Ares (Mars)
Hermes (Mercury)
Athena (Minerva)
Aphrodite (Venus)
Hestia (Vesta)
Demeter (Ceres)
Hades (Pluto)
Ask your student if the Roman versions of the gods and goddesses remind them of the name of something else. (Pluto, Mercury, Venus, Mars, etc. are the names of our planets.)
Greek Myths
Read p. 16-23
_____Narrate the above reading.
Independent Readers
Architecture Addition
Read-Aloud Set for Upper Elementary
Additional Literature for Upper Elementary
Additional Activities and Resources
Book of Centuries Entries
The Story of the Greek People
 Read Chapters 1-2
_____Narrate the above reading.
_____Narrate the above reading.
The Heroes
Read Heracles-Wild Bull, Mares of Diomede and Girdle of Hippolyte
_____Narrate the above reading
Coloring pages for the gods and goddesses.
Go to A Mind in the Light for links to the above pages.
1300 B. C. E. Iron Age, Hellenes

Narration Suggestions:

Narration Topic
Who were the Hellenes?
Choose two of the dozen gods and goddesses of the early Greek people and describe them.

Here are the steps involved for this week:
  • Gather your students together along with a globe, map or atlas plus your copy of A Child's History of the World, a copy of the Book Notes for this week (or your binder, if you've chosen to print everything and put it together in a binder), pencils, a dictionary and other books/supplies depending on how much you plan to accomplish at this time.
  • Discuss the meanings of the vocabulary words, if listed, and locate the places on a map or globe.

  • Read the chapter aloud. Stop reading at the narration break. Have one of your students narrate orally for this first section of the book. He/she may use the list of proper nouns as a reference, if needed.

Have your students draw from a jar to see who will need to narrate for this reading.

  • Finish reading the chapter. Have another student narrate this section of the reading.  Again, draw from the jar. And again, the student may use the list of proper nouns as a reference, if needed.

This creates an unknown aspect to the lesson as to who will be narrating. Not knowing who will be narrating requires everyone to pay attention. This is one of the most important points in narration.

  • Have the students who are writing narrations choose to either write a narration retelling this chapter or allow them to choose one of the other narration suggestions. (Or just tell them which one you prefer for them to do. I let my children choose most of the time, but you may choose to do this differently.) Feel free to adapt or adjust the narration suggestions.

This is one of many times when the flexibility of this curriculum is displayed. There are many different ways to handle all of these aspects. You should choose what works best for your family.

  •  This is the end of this lesson. You may wish to give your students copies of printable coloring pages or save them for another day. Any additional resources or optional reading suggestions are listed in the chart for the week. These can be completed this day or saved for another day. Or you can also choose to omit them entirely. You could also substitute my book suggestion for one of your own.

  • Your older students will need you to sit with them again on another day of the week to add their upper level readings or you may also have them read the chapter independently. The books chosen for this level, The Story of the Greek People and The Story of the Roman People, are free to download and print and contain composition suggestions at the end of each chapter. These make good narration suggestions and this is one reason as to why I chose them.

  • Literature Set One for Level One is designed to be book suggestions which can be read aloud to all of your students. This week the reading is from Greek Myths. Draw a name, after the reading is complete, for a chosen narrator. You can also have them all go back and draw a picture of their favorite character or favorite scene from the reading. The coloring pages might be helpful during this reading too.

  • Choose a different time to read the additional literature for your older student. This week the reading is from The Heroes. Ask your older student to draw, orally retell or write a narration for this reading. There are many other general narration suggestions from which to choose as well.

  • If you would like to have your students keep a timeline or just have your older student keep a Book of Centuries (Year 4 or 5 is a good time to start a Book of Centuries), important dates are sometimes included in the chart. These dates are only taken from A Child's History of the World and as this book does not focus on dates, there are many chapters without specific dates.

ETA: The narration break is very helpful with students new to narration or younger children, which this guide specifically covers. However, if you are using this with slightly older and/or experienced narrators, you may wish to omit the narration break. I found it very helpful with my daughters when they were younger and saw a great improvement in the length and detail of their narrations. Usually, somewhere in 3rd grade or so, the need for this break is outgrown.