Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mt. Hope Academy @ The Live and Learn Studio ~ January 2012

Wisdom does not mean ‘being really smart.’
It refers to an intimacy with God that allows your life,
in every sense, to reflect something of the character of God.

~Peter Enns (Telling God’s Story)

:: Consider these thoughts by Michael Clay Thompson (emphasis mine):

There are times when memorization is out of favor in education. Some might say that “rote memorization” is not appropriate as a teaching strategy. “Rote memorization,” however, is loaded language, biased against the discipline and effort required to learn things permanently. There is nothing wrong with challenge. We must remember that the alternative to remembering is forgetting, and when we teach something as important as grammar, that will be needed for one’s entire life, the ban on memorization makes little sense. There are areas of knowledge that should be memorized, and in the past, there was a better term for it: to learn by heart.

:: Don’t miss this incredible conversation about Classical Education between Leigh Bortins (of The Core and Classical Conversations) and Andrew Kern (of the CiRCE Institute). It is an hour well spent. The seven liberal arts as a means to freedom. Bringing the eternal and timely together. Really seeing into the heart of reality. Finding harmony in the universe. Good stuff. Seriously, I had goosebumps. And if that talk doesn’t make you want to embrace the joy of learning, I don’t know what will. {grin} I need to re-listen to it monthly.



:: I’m in the middle of Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas. What an astounding picture of education, theology, character, history, and the destiny of a man ‘for such as time as this.’ There are so many quotable passages, but this one has been on my mind (pg. 248):

They had pushed away from the ‘world’ too much, had pushed away the very best of culture and education in a way that he didn’t feel was right. Christ must be brought into every square inch of the world and the culture, but one’s faith must be shining and bright and pure and robust. It must be free of cant and ‘phraseology’ and mere religiosity, or the Christ whom one was bringing into the world and the culture was not Christ at all, but a tawdry man-made counterfeit.

(This book prompted a fantabulous discussion at my book club. One of the best meetings we’ve had in 8 years!)

We’re wrapping up another month here at Mt. Hope Academy.

Classical Conversations (Cycle 3) Weeks 13-16 (One morning each week; includes social time and public speaking.)


CC Memorizing John 1:1-7 (in Latin and English)
Memorizing The Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-6, first verse in Hebrew)
The Children’s Illustrated Bible (reading together)
Telling God's Story
(Luke: weekly hymns on piano)

Mystery Math: A First Book of Algebra by David A. Adler
Algebra & Geometry: Anything But Square! (Basher Science) by Dan Green
Teaching Textbooks
Singapore CD-ROM math games and online math games
The Critical Thinking Co. math workbooks
Life of Fred
CC weekly memory work (skip counting/formulas/laws)
Math Workshop with PDLP teacher

Human Body: A Book With Guts! (Basher Science) by Dan Green
Biology: Life as We Know It (Basher Science) by Dan Green
Several Bill Nye DVDs including Measurement
Christian Kids Explore Chemistry (re-read chapters 1-6 with oral review) 
Created a Lithium atom model
Exploring the World of Chemistry by John Hudson Tiner (Levi-IR)
CC weekly science memory work (chemistry)
CC weekly science projects and experiments

building an atom science project Lithium Atom




Swim Team practices and meet (Levi), Swim Lessons (Luke and Leif)
(mini trampoline and outdoor play)

Fine Arts:
CC weekly famous artists and art projects
Monthly Fine Arts Study (Grandma Moses, Kipling, and Puccini)
13 Buildings Children Should Know by Prestel
Piano practice and lessons (Luke)

Language Arts:
IEW Writing (Levi: Fables, Myths, and Fairy Tales Writing Lessons)
MCT Caesar’s English (vocabulary)
MCT Grammar Town (finished reading book)
MCT Practice Town (4 level sentence analysis + diagramming)
MCT Paragraph Town (began)
Writing With Ease (Luke)
CC grammar memory work
All About Spelling Level 2
Handwriting Without Tears custom worksheets (vocabulary from MCT) 

Prima Latina (review with DVDs) 
CC Latin memory work

The Scrambled States of America DVD
CC U.S. geography (states, capitals, mountains, rivers, lakes, features, and more)
Geography games (capitals, states, landscapes)
Place the State online game
States games
Map drawing and 'blobbing' continents (CC) 

History/Literature/Historical Fiction:
The Story of the World: Early Modern Times (chapters 23-28)
CC weekly history memory work (American history)
The Usborne Encyclopedia of World History (select pages, Luke)
The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia (select pages, Levi)
DK Children's Encyclopedia of American History (select pages)
The Declaration of Independence: The Words That Made America illustrated and inscribed by Sam Fink
Will You Sign Here, John Hancock? by Jean Fritz
Why Don’t You Get a Horse, Sam Adams? by Jean Fritz
A Picture Book of John and Abigail Adams by David A. Adler
Patience Wright: America’s First Sculptor and Revolutionary Spy by Pegi Deitz Shea
Alexander Hamilton, The Outsider by Jean Fritz (135 pgs, Levi-IR)
Colonial Voices: Hear Them Speak by Kay Winters
Everybody’s Revolution: A New Look at the People Who Won America’s Freedom by Thomas Fleming
Duel! Burr and Hamilton’s Deadly War of Words by Dennis Brindell Fradin
George vs. George: The American Revolution as seen from Both Sides by Rosalyn Schanzer
History Maker Bios: Paul Revere by Jane Sutcliffe
History Maker Bios: Thomas Jefferson by Victoria Sherrow
Thomas Jefferson by Cheryl Harness
What’s the Big Idea, Ben Franklin? by Jean Fritz
The Many Lives of Benjamin Franklin by Aliki
The Amazing Mr. Franklin, or The Boy Who Read Everything by Ruth Ashby (103 pp, Levi-IR)
Benjamin Franklin, Young Printer (Childhood of Famous Americans series) (192 pp, Levi and Luke-IR)
Ben and Me by Robert Lawson (historical fiction, 114 pp, Levi and Luke-IR)
The 4th of July Story by Alice Dagliesh
John Adams Speaks for Freedom by Deborah Hopkinson
George Washington and the General’s Dog by Frank Murphy
George Washington’s Teeth by Chandra & Comora
…If You Grew Up With George Washington by Ruth Belov Gross
So You Want to Be President? by Judith St. George
How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightning by Rosalyn Schanzer
James Monroe (Getting to Know the U.S. Presidents) by Mike Venezia
James Monroe: Young Patriot by Rae Bains
If I Were President by Catherine Stier
We the Kids: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States illustrated by David Catrow
The American Revolution for Kids by Janis Herbert (Levi)
The Story of the Declaration of Independence by R. Conrad Stein (Levi)
The Story of The Constitution by Marilyn Prolman (Levi)
Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution by Jean Fritz
Abigail Adams by Ruth Langland Holberg
A More Perfect Union: The Story of Our Constitution by Betsy Maestro
The Eve of Revolution: The Colonial Adventures of Benjamin Wilcox (Levi)
U.S. Presidents (reviewed memorization)
George Washington (Getting to Know the U.S. Presidents) DVD
John Adams (“) DVD
Thomas Jefferson (“) DVD
Great Americans for Children: Revolutionary War Heroes DVD
National Treasure DVD (just for fun :)) 
America: The Story of US (Netflix streaming) (Rebels, Revolution
Liberty’s Kids and Uncle Sam Magoo (Netflix streaming), This is America, Charlie Brown (YouTube)
Stowaway by Karen Hesse (historical fiction, Captain Cook and the Endeavor-1768, 305 pp, Levi-IR)
The Mutiny on the Bounty by Patrick O’Brien
James Cook and the Exploration of the Pacific by Charles J. Shields
What if You Met a Pirate? by Jan Adkins
The Golden Age of Pirates: An Interactive History Adventure by Bob Temple
You Wouldn’t Want to Travel With Captain Cook! A Voyage You’d Rather Not Make by Mark Bergin
The Orange Trees of Versailles by Annie Pietri (historical fiction, France/Louis XIV, 137 pp, Levi-IR)
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy (historical fiction, French Revolution, Levi-IR)
Eli Whitney by Judith Alter
(Books on current history topics that Levi read previously, for my records: Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham, The Story of Eli Whitney by Jean Lee Latham, Michael Farady: Father of Electronics by Charles Ludwig, and Robert Fulton: Boy Craftsman by Marguerite Henry)

Literature Study:
Charles Dickens: Scenes from an Extraordinary Life by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom (a great picture book biography!)
David Copperfield abridged for public reading by Charles Dickens, illustrated by Alan Marks (Levi-IR)
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (unabridged, Levi and I read independently, part of the MCT Time Trilogy Literature Study)
Book Detectives (parent-child literary analysis book club)

Levi’s ‘Free’ Reading:
Corby Flood by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
Fergus Crane by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
Hugo Pepper by Paul Steward and Chris Riddell
Comet in Moominland by Tove Jansson
A Knight’s Story: Lake of Skulls by Paul Steward and Chris Riddell
Joust of Honor by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan
Muddle Earth by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce
The Fire Eternal by Chris D’Lacey
How to Train Your Dragon: How to Ride a Dragon’s Storm by Cressida Cowell
Beyond the Deepwoods by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
Stormchaser (“)
Midnight Over Sanctaphrax (“)
The Curse of the Gloamglozer (“)
Vespers Rising (The 39 Clues, Book 11)

Luke’s ‘Free’ Reading:
My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
Pippi in the South Seas by Astrid Lindgren 
lots of re-reads and half books and books we didn’t keep track of
and a bunch of Magic Tree House and Geronimo Stilton books

Leif’s ‘Free’ Reading:
Thanksgiving on Thursday by Mary Pope Osborne
Summer of the Sea Serpent
Afternoon on the Amazon
and lots more

A.C. Gilbert Children’s Museum with new friends (Connie, I’m so glad we were able to get together!!)
(I spent the time chatting and chasing Lola around while the boys went in all directions, so I only have photos of Lola…)

Lola @ the children's museum @ children's museum


Tsh @ Simple Mom said...

Love it when you do this, Heidi! Thanks so much. I'm especially thankful for the link to the convo between Leigh Bortins and Andrew Kern. I'm in a school slump, so I could use a good mid-year kick in the pants. :)

Tsh @ Simple Mom said...

Question for you... How do you use the Life of Fred stuff? Does it just complement other stuff, or is that your primary math curriculum? I'm desperately trying to find something that resonates with my very right-brained kiddo.

Anonymous said...

i'm sending my kids to your house, heidi. at least the two youngest boys (almost 9 and 6.5). my father died 2 weeks ago after a 2month intense caretaking of him on my end (in another state). i still care for my 89 and 86yo in-laws (4appts/week on average) and a 3yo girl 40 hours a week, as well as homeschooling my 5 youngest, helping my oldest finish college well (she lives at home while attending baking/pastry art school) and taking my 19 and 18yos to their jobs (back and forth. back and forth). and we have 2 teenage moms living with us.

i'm so done. we can't ever get school done. forget it.

really wishing we weren't on opposite coasts-
jodi in pa

Lora @ my blessed life said...

I love those atomic models! Can't wait to make some of those with my kiddos:)

Sounds like you're having an awesome school year!

Katie said...


You so often move me towards truth. Thank you! Love, love, LOVE the quotes from MC Thompson and Bonhoeffer. My heart resounded in a glad "YES!" as I read them.

Also, so appreciate the "Meet the Elements" link. Am excited to pass it on to our CC group here.

One question:

Where do you find the time to read all the History/Literature/Historical Fiction?!! I am honestly and humbly asking this. I find read aloud (except at bedtime) often gets a back seat to all else around our house. Can you help me find some great windows of time you take advantage of that perhaps I am missing out on in our day?

Thanks, Heidi!

Heidi said...

Tsh~ I haven't responded yet, because I'm not sure I can answer your question satisfactorily. :) Teaching Textbooks is our main math curriculum. It is the best thing I've found for independent work with an endlessly patient 'tutor' (ha!), instant feedback, and constant encouragement. Some people feel that it is 'behind' (whatever that means). I feel that if math is actually getting done daily, all basic skills are being covered and then reviewed in a spiral approach, and my son is finally understanding math, then it is worth its weight in gold. For what it's worth, we had to take a break with math around the end of 2nd grade before we imploded. I don't know if his brain just needed a little more time to mature, but things are better now. At least his understanding of math...not saying lessons are done without a fight. Sigh. Also, TT3 works really well with 2nd graders because it starts out REALLY easy. And many people use it a year or two ahead of schedule (as my other boys are doing). So, to answer your main question.... we use Life of Fred as a supplement. I can't see how one would use the elementary series as a main math curriculum unless the parent is willing to run with the concepts presented and do tons of practice and exploring math on the side. I think the higher levels of LOF are more complete from what I've heard, but most people still use it as a supplement. I almost hesitate to highly recommend LOF elementary because of complaints I've heard from other parents...namely that they don't get it--at all. But I DO get it for some reason. Even when the book seems really random and silly, I can totally see what the author is trying to do and how deceptively simple it is. I think it is a GREAT way to get kids interested in math, especially right-brained kids, and to see math in all sorts of new ways. And my boys love it, as does my 7 yo niece. I wish we lived closer so that you could borrow the first couple of books and see how you and Tate like them.

Jodi~ Wow, you've had a lot going on in your life. {{{Jodi}}} I can see how school would be put on the back burner!!

Katie~ I'm glad you enjoyed the quotes. About the history and literature reading... I don't read all those books aloud. ;-P All our lessons are very teacher-intensive. (Math is *supposed* to be done independently, but that one is a battle so it still feels teacher-intensive. :-P) So whenever I need the boys to do something independently (which is often), I hand them a stack of books for history, literature, fine arts, science, etc. And they read them. And I add them to our list. And it looks like I really accomplished a lot. :) I'm terrible about reading books aloud, mostly because it is very difficult to get uninterrupted reading time with my 5 yo who doesn't stop talking and the 1 yo who needs constant supervision, but also because the boys CAN and DO read independently and I need a break from teaching. For history I read The Story of the World chapters aloud, but that's about it. And this month our reading list was extra long because there were so many books available on the topics we were studying (mostly the revolutionary war). Not all months are like that.

Heasleye said...

Is that my friend Connie I see in the picture??! Oh, I hope it is! You and Connie are friends I wish I could connect with more!

Your book lists are always so impressive to me. While Ethan has finally become a "reader," he does not easily or willingly just pick up a book and read. It has to be a certain, known, sort of book.

I started reading Story of the World to him this morning. We're starting half-way through Vol 3 with early American history to cover cycle 3 material. I figure we'll finish 3, then 4, then go back to the beginning. Hopefully that's not too weird!

I desperately need to order more math curriculum, and I think we're ready for Teaching Textbooks. Every time I try to load one of their placement tests, it crashes, so I'm thinking of just ordering Book 5. Where did you start and were you happy with that starting point?

Hope you're getting the lovely sunshine that we're enjoying!