Monday, November 26, 2007

Plots and Plans #3


We are currently working our way through The Story of the Orchestra. I decided to start with the instruments of the orchestra, which we have now finished reading. SFS Kids is a fun place to visit, and they have information about the instruments. Both Levi and Luke beg to play around on the site.

Now we are reading about a composer each week. After covering the short biographical sketches in The Story of the Orchestra, we are listening to the Classical Kids CD (if we have one) such as Vivaldi's Ring of Mystery, reading a picture book about the composer (if we have one) such as The Heroic Symphony , and listening to the composer's show at Classics for Kids. I also have a collection of classical music CDs arranged by composer, so I am able to play those as background music during the week. We will spend more than a week on a few of the composers. If we do not finish the book by the end of the year we will just take as much time as we need at the beginning of the next. I am aiming for a light familiarity with the composers and an appetite for classical music. We will study the composers with a little more depth either later in the grammar stage or in the logic stage (middle school) while studying the corresponding historical time periods.

Christmas music is by far my favorite music! I am excited to be pulling out all my Christmas CDs. In particular, I adore the Classical Kids Christmas. In pageant style, the CD contains poetry, the nativity, Christmas traditions around the world, traditional carols, and more recent but beloved music. Gorgeous and highly recommended! We will also make our way through the Sacred Songs of Christmas book with songs, poems, Scripture, artwork, and accompanying CD.

I know that Levi and I will both greatly enjoy next year's music studies. Once we have finished with The Story of the Orchestra, I have decided to use A Child's Introduction to Ballet, The Young Person's Guide to the Opera, and Bravo! Brava! A Night at the Opera We will read through these books, love the stories, listen to the music, and hopefully attend live performances! Levi will begin piano lessons as well at some point during the year.


I had hoped to work in a bit more art study with Levi this year. We were looking at art cards during breakfast with the rest of our 'circle time,' but we were both distracted much of the time--certainly too distracted to appreciate the fine art. The last month we have been looking at one painting from Can You Find It? weekly and searching for the hidden items. This seems to be just the ticket for both of us. We will move on to the next books in the series when we finish with this one. I also have multiple pictures books showcasing fine art around the house for the boys to enjoy during quiet reading time.

The new resource I will be using this next year is Cave Paintings to Picasso which tells the story of art chronologically and will work well along side our history studies.


In addition to the music studies listed above, we have been listening to music that falls also in the Bible category. I cannot recommend enough the recordings from Sing the Word. We have finished memorizing the 26 Bible verses contained in Sing the Word From A to Z. The music quality is excellent, and the verse choices are wonderful. Next year we will be memorizing the selections from A New Commandment including the books of the New Testament, Psalm 1, Psalm 23, and Psalm 150. (We will be using a new CD from Sing the Word each year.)

We will also be listening to and learning classic hymns. Hymns for a Kid's Heart includes true stories of the hymn-writers.

This year we have read Five-Minute Devotions for Children, The Family Pilgrim's Progress and made our way through Children's Illustrated Bible cover to cover.

During Levi's first grade year we will be covering Bible stories in the context of ancient history using The Victor Journey Through the Bible and other resources, listening to an Audio Bible for Kids, discovering Big Truths for Little Kids (which includes devotionals and memorization of the First Catechism), and reading The Life of Our Lord by Charles Dickens.

We have memorized several prayers this past year, and if we feel we have room to add them, will memorize a few more during '1st grade.'


We have been working on memorizing the names and locations of our states, oceans, continents, and some basic map skills. The Legends and Leagues workbook has been a good addition to our geography studies, introducing map symbols, hemispheres, lines of latitude and longitude, grids, map icons, and more.

Every week I add an 'Around the World' card to our collection by printing off a picture of a world landmark, pasting it to a large index card, and writing basic information about the place on the back of the card. I place these cards in our 'circle time' notebook, and we review them a few times weekly. Levi, Luke, and I really enjoy identifying each picture, so we will continue to do this throughout the next year.

For Levi's first grade year we will study geography in conjunction with our history studies, and also study world geography using the Geography Songs CD and workbook.


We are just finishing up the first level of La Clase Divertida. The program is complete with DVD lessons, crafts, worksheets, practice CD, and projects. I think Levi has most enjoyed the crafts and projects.

I have a CD and workbook program as well as a DVD lesson collection (I don't know that either is readily available or I would give you a link) that we will be using next year in a fairly unstructured manner. My main goal is for the boys to be exposed to the sounds of the language.


Levi will continue to receive a subscription to God's World News. We enjoyed the picture books Things People Do and People this past year, both of which we will review periodically. I hope to read through The Usborne Encyclopedia of World Religions this next year. Most of our current events and social studies coverage happens through general conversation.


Levi is now enrolled in a local Tae Kwon Do class that meets three evenings a week for an hour and a half. I am thrilled with the skills he is learning such as focus and respect in addition to the amount of physical exercise and social time for an outgoing kid with endless energy (even if I am not quite as thrilled with getting him to and from class).

Living in the country affords our family more outside time than we had previously. Levi has learned to ride his bike without training wheels this year which gives him another physical activity to enjoy.

We made it to the local swimming pool often during this past summer and hope to get back in the habit in January. Levi can now 'swim' (float, dog paddle, whatever it takes to stay up in deep water...), but Russ (former swim instructor/coach) hopes to teach him to swim well this next year.

It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy
in creative expression and knowledge.
~Albert Einstein

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