Cup board. *C-U-P-B-O-A-R-D* I will never look at the wall of a kitchen without hearing my father’s voice reciting “cup — board — cup — board”. It was tradition in our home to practice spelling words at the dinner table. As a homeschooling family, once the official word list was exhausted, my dad would select whatever term he felt had the best chance of stumping us. Cupboard was one of his more successful offerings.
My ZAP! board has been lurking in my classroom closet most of our CC year and this week it makes its grand debut in my Masters/Journeymen class of 3rd-5th graders. This game holds the edge-of-your-seat suspense of not knowing whether you’ll be rewarded or punished each turn. You may inflict the agony of losing points on the opposing team, or (GASP!) lose your points instead! Who knows? The uncertainty is thrilling!
Every single occasion I listen to this piece, I feel myself steadily descending into madness. One errant note at a time, I’m swirling into a crazed world of instruments playing out of range, rhythms that don’t make any logical sense, and seemingly no control whatsoever. Stravinsky has been called a genius. He is the father of modern music, and this piece is hugely important in breaking long-held “rules” of rhythm and instrumentality, but it also is a little nuts. So crazy in fact, it caused an actual riot when it was first performed in Paris on May 29, 1913. Gird your loins people. This piece is a wild ride.
My son played this review game with his tutor during our CC community day last year and loved it. It seems to have disappeared from CC Connected, so I attempted to recreate one for our own use. You can utilize it too…if you promise not to laugh at the slightly fuzzy around the edges version I created. My son thinks it’s great – that’s good enough for me. Continue reading
One of the most common questions I get regarding Classical Conversations is “You are just filling their head with rote memorization. They don’t understand half of it. What good is that? All that stuff doesn’t even mean anything to them.”. While it is quite true that many of the facts we memorize mean virtually nothing to my children (what 5-year-old cares about Newton’s Laws of Motion?), there is a purpose and a path in our style of schooling that begins at the beginning. With young children who, like sponges, absorb every ounce of data around them. We all learn from infancy by rote memorization. How to speak by repeating the basic words our parents babble to us. The alphabet, the Pledge of Allegiance, The Lord’s Prayer. Kids can sing every song in their favorite movie. Recite entire books that are frequent bedtime stories. All these things are retained and recalled because of rote memorization. I’d like to share a little from Leigh Bortins book “The Core“, and then a story of my own to demonstrate these principles in action. Continue reading
Last week, I had the opportunity to observe an Essentials class at my CC Community. Even if the next level of classical education is a few years away for your family, I’d highly encourage anyone with a Foundations child to take a looksie at an Essentials class. It broadened my view of this whole classical journey, and renewed my excitement for the process. Seeing English and Math memory work come to life in real application was a great motivator to keep plugging along with all those songs about gerunds and verb conjugations. Bonus, I saw math games in action that I immediately stole, and have been using at home ever since. Including this fun game, called SNAKE.
You can play this as a multiplication or addition game. We learn skip counting in our Classical Conversations memory work, so my 6-year-old can rattle off multiplication as fast (maybe even faster) than his addition facts. We play both multiplication and addition to reinforce both as a good math foundation. Continue reading
As a part of Classical Conversations, we study great composers and orchestral music for 6 weeks. As a classical music junkie, this is one of my favorite parts of the program. I think an appreciation of great scores and understanding the intricacies of classical music is sadly lacking in our society. There is such a wide range of styles in classical music – thousands upon thousands of fantastic melodies, harmonies and rhythms – if you give it a chance, I’m positive you’ll find something you love.
Do you have any old grungy pennies around the house? I’ll bet you do. Check under the couch cushions. Oh. Is it just my couch that collects money? Try the cup holders in the car. Still just me? We’ve been studying the first 12 elements on the periodic table, and this little experiment is an easy lesson with some pretty cool chemistry going on. Bonus, it’ll make your gross pennies look brand-spankin’ new. Like magic. Disclaimer: Vinegar is (apparently) the absolute worst smell on the planet. According to my kids, it may kill you with prolonged exposure. You may want to add “noseplug” to your list of materials.
Another morning, another trek down the path to find Gazelle stubbornly unmoved from the nest. (sigh)
We started spitballing names for the baby birds yesterday. Continue reading
There are three cycles of information spanning Ancient History to Modern in Classical Conversations. This upcoming year (cycle 3) the focus is on US History and Geography. We’ll be memorizing the states and capitols, as well as geographical features and historical timeline events.
As we hone in on the United States next year, I thought it would be exciting and enriching to see what stories and facts I could get regarding each state, from people who actually live there. So, I’ve set upon a great adventure to collect information in the form of mail (good mail…the kind with a stamp on it) for my kids. Mail is just flat out fun. Bonus: I got to sign my name 100 times. I love signing my name.