Saturday, October 06, 2007
Here is a picure of the Model Nile they made on the front porch. They are "flooding" it every few days to see where the fertile soil and plants end up growing. I bought a little tube of Egyptian people and they have buried all the mummies and put the pyramids in the appropriate places....I'll post another picture of the finished project in a few days.
And so we begin......This will be a fun way to keep out-of-town family caught up on what we are doing with the kids. I'll start with a run-down on what we are doing academically this year.
We are using http://www.tapestryofgrace.com/ for six subjects: history, literature, writing, geography, fine arts, and bible. It is divided into 4 years, with 4 nine-week units per year. Each unit ends with a unit celebration. It is by far the best curriculum I have ever used. I struggle with the fact that they give you so much to do, and expect you to choose what you like and not do it all. But I LOVE it all....so...........we have spend 3 weeks on the first week of the curriculum because the children are insisting on doing ALL the assignments and all the projects. Clearly this cannot go on all year, but I have decided to let them follow their own interests in Egypt for a few extra weeks. We have never studied ancients before, so I figure it will give me some time to get used to the new curriculum and help me see what types of things each child is gravitating toward and learning from the best.
Some fun moments over the past few weeks:
Coming into the room and overhearing their plans for Halloween costumes:
Rebecca (10)- Hatshepsut (complete with the double crown of Egypt)
Luke (7)- Hyksos warrior with leather armour and a bow and arrow
Samuel (4)- "the stinx" (the sphinx)
As I listened, they discussed the possiblility of wrapping up our 15 year old cat like a mummy(not) and I suggested perhaps they wrap up Samuel's (he's 4) webkin cat instead. He said "Oh no! Mommy, Miss Birdie is just not ready for costumes!" with that big eyed look. They have not decided what Baby Lilly Grace should be, but our new black kitten will be Bastet. They are very excited. They are considering memorizing poems to tell our neighbors about their characters as they trick or treat. I'm thinking that will pretty much seal their fates as homeschool geeks...but Okay! Of course this is alot of work for me...I'm thinking "Doesn't anyone want to be Spiderman? (that I can buy off the shelf)" But then again, this is why I got into this whole homeschooling thing in the first place, right? So if my computer keys start sticking, it's because I've hit the paper mache - helping with that double crown!
Yesterday we went to see an exhibit called http://www.carlos.emory.edu/cradle/ The Cradle of Christianity. The docent there told the children "Everything you are about to see proves that Jesus Christ was a real person." How often does that happen at a museum? It was very cool. We also saw the Egyptian collection there. There is a very cool story of how the Pharoah Ramses I ended up there....3000 years ago, you think you are a god, yet you end up in a cheesy souvenir shop in Niagra Falls. Truth is stranger than fiction! The Carlos Museum did return Ramses to Egypt, but we saw other cool things. One of my favorite moments was when Rebecca let out a loud gasp and yelled "MOM! CANOPIC JARS!" Again, homeschool geekdom on display....and proud of it! We were also able to take part in an hour long storytelling workshop with Jim Weiss, one of our favorites...the children have been listening to his tapes and CD's for years.
Probably the best thing about this curriculum is the way it integrates our faith into the teaching of history. As we are studying Egpyt, we are trying to think of it in terms of what Moses did on a daily basis, what he saw out of his bedroom window, the absolute luxury of his life compared to other ancient civilizations. Even the slaves had it pretty good in Egypt. Yet he chose to leave it. And the Israelites wandered in the desert, thinking about all they had left behind. They grumbled and complained and the blessing of entering into the promised land was taken from them. Rebecca and I were pondering this and she said "Mom, do you think there are blessings that we will never see or know about because we have grumbled and complained about things?" I said, "Yes, there probably are."...and we both had a solemn moment feeling a little sick to our stomachs about what we might have missed out on just by our attitudes.....and I thought to myself.....this is why I homeschool. This is why it's okay if my house is messy sometimes, or we don't always get the time to do what I want to do. If we can raise a house full of children who are thinkers and who love the Lord and want to please him, it's all worth it.