Party Cruise Tunes for King George

It’s that time of year again! Time for Classical Conversations six weeks studying orchestra and great composers. This year, we’re tackling the Baroque to Classical periods studying Handel, Bach and Mozart. I’ve said it before, but 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. Today, we’re talking about partying like a rock star king, cruising down the river, with your own trailing dj boat.

Great Composers
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Card Countdown Math Game

In my ever continuing mission to make math practice enjoyable for my kids (or at least not torturous), I put together this little game based off one I saw in a Scholastic card game math book. You’ll need a deck of cards (jokers and faces removed) and printed copy of the game board for each person playing.

This Card Countdown Game provides practice subtracting in a fun and (if you want) competitive/speedy manner. The goal is to subtract down from 100 using a deck of cards to determine the next number you’ll be taking away from your previous total. Printable game boards and instructions at the bottom of this post, the image below is just so you can see what I’m talking about.

Card Countdown Game Board
My daughter and I played a few rounds today as some additional math practice, and had a grand old time. Way more fun than flashcards and still provided the opportunity for speedy mental math. Also, when everyone gets to zero, you swap boards and “correct” the work by adding up from the bottom. I don’t know about you, but I love anything that shows my kids the correlation between addition/subtraction and checking your work by doing the opposite function.

I slipped the game boards into a sheet protector, and used dry erase markers to keep track, but you can just print and pencil if that floats your boat. Enjoy! Happy Math-ing!

Print Card Countdown Game Board and Instructions

 

Classical Conversations Cycle 1 Copywork

Hello to everyone visiting in search of Classical Conversations copywork for Cycle 1. All of my copywork pages will be posted to CC Connected (C3) under the username “Wenderbell”.

Currently I’ve received requests for:
*Full page History copywork with blank top half for coloring
*Full page Geography copywork with map
*Two page weekly review copywork with all subjects but Timeline, including a map

Weeks 1-12 History and Geography copywork have been posted to C3 already and by the end of the day I’ll have up the weekly review sheets for weeks 1-12. The second semester will be posted by the end of August.

As we get closer to the end of the CC year, I’ll have my listening maps and orchestra pages done for this cycle as well.

If you have any questions, or specific requests, feel free to shoot me a message through the blog! I’m so happy to hear that these review/copywork pages were helpful to you all last year!

Forehead Math Master Game

Do you have kids who stress out and hate pressure? I sure do. My husband and I both LOVED flashcards as kids. My mom would drill us at home constantly & I remember enjoying every second of playing round-the-world in elementary school. Maybe because I’m competitive, love a challenge, being on “stage”, and have always been quick at math facts. Hmmm. Now that I think about it, that game probably wasn’t very fun for the majority of the class. But I digress. My children loathe flashcards. It is their absolute least favorite thing to do. So what’s a math drilling momma to do? Figure out a game that gets in the same practice, without the “pressure”. Clearly we need some character lessons on what real struggles and pressure look like, but sometimes, I just want to get the stinking math in any way I can. Enter Forehead Math Master. Continue reading

Pit Stop Popsicle Shop

One of my greatest struggles is giving my kids the latitude to explore their own ideas…but I know it’s really beneficial for them to go from concept to reality. The process of questioning them, prodding them, and convincing them to think deeper about their ideas is exhausting. It’s so much easier to just tell them what to do, but I know helping them process their thoughts in a logical manner will translate into learning anything well. Last summer, they had a “brilliant idea” to earn money. They would collect sticks from around the neighborhood and then sell bundles of them for $20 each. Genius right? They were highly disappointed when folks weren’t eagerly flocking to the stick stand. I took this opportunity to teach them the beautiful concept of supply and demand as well as some basic capitalistic principles.

Pit Stop Popsicle Shop

First, I questioned them about what they get excited to buy when it’s hot out (as it was that week). I asked if sticks were helpful or useful, if $20 was a fair price that others would pay. I suggested selling something they personally would love, and for a price they’d be willing to pay. My munchkins put their heads together, and thus the Pit Stop Popsicle Shop adventure was born. Continue reading

Causing a Riot With Rhythm

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.

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A Little Mud Never Hurt Anyone

In fact, muddy dirty play is incredibly good for you. According to research, playing outside in the grime and muck has health benefits for your heart, skin and immune system. Plus, studies show enjoying a good clean (dirty) day in the dirt increases happiness, reduces stress and enhances learning. Really. Here’s some reasons to encourage you to back away from the hand sanitizer, laundry soap and hand towels, and embrace the gloriously goopy joy of nature’s immune-system-builder extraordinaire.

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Why Should You Read Aloud to Your Children?

I’m a huge proponent of reading aloud. I read an article recently that expertly explained the benefits of reading to your children, far beyond the point they can read to themselves. Indeed, even through high school.

“In conversation, we tend to use verbal shorthand, not full sentences. But the language in books is very rich, and in books there are complete sentences. In books, newspapers, and magazines, the language is more complicated, more sophisticated. A child who hears more sophisticated words has a giant advantage over a child who hasn’t heard those words.”

When children are young, they are exposed to language exceeding their own reading level by being read to. This introduction to complex expression of thought equips them in a way reading to themselves cannot. Continue reading

Science Observation: Owl Pellets

If you are easily grossed out, I’d recommend finding some other reading material for today. You can come back next post. I won’t judge. My daughter’s math book recently had a reference to owl pellets, which, she’d never heard of (I know…I’ve completely failed as a parent educator). So of course, relieve my guilt, and satisfy her curiosity, I put together a little pellet party. What can I say? I’m a nerd to the core. Continue reading