Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Family Studies: Weekly Work (2014-2015)

This year we had three defined areas where all my children worked together:  Morning Time,  Morning Read Aloud and Weekly Work.

Weekly Work
I also used Sarah's loop scheduling for this area as well.  I also moved this to the Reminders app about mid-year and that worked wonderfully.  We spent about 30 minutes on this block, and I generally would group Picture Study and Pilgrim's Progress since each only took about 10-15 min.

Emma (Y7) was present for all of these subjects, but Gregory (Y3) did not have to join us for Plutarch.  Nathan (Y1) was excused from Shakespeare and Plutarch.

Plutarch - Dion then Crassus, using Ann White's excellent (and free!) study guides.  These are absolutely invaluable in making Plutarch doable, especially in the beginning.  I had hoped to study three lives, but two ended up working out much better for us.

Shakespeare - Midsummer Night's Dream then Richard III (which we still haven't finished, but we're getting close!)  I should write more about how we study Shakespeare as a family...  I did several years ago, but we've expanded our studies now that I have older kids.  I had planned to study Julius Caesar in the spring, but I hadn't accounted for the length and the complexity of Richard III when I planned that.

Picture Study - Fra Angelico then Diego Velasquez.  We used Ambleside's art suggestions for both, but then I expanded our Velasquez study to include more paintings mentioned in I, Juan de Pareja.  I added a painting by Pareja as well.  I highly recommend reading that book if you study Velasquez, it was one of our best read alouds of the year.  I had planned to study Degas as listed in the AO schedule, but we were enjoying our Velasquez study so much I decided not to end it prematurely.

Music Study - St. Hildegard, using the AO suggestions, then we studied the orchestra using The Story of the Orchestra and a series of wonderful videos on YouTube from the London Philharmonic Orchestra.  I had intended on studying Rachmaninoff as well, but we didn't get to him.  I'm thinking we'll study him next year because he is a composer I really enjoy.

Pilgrim's Progress - We read this all year using the AO 72 week breakdown.  I'm continuing it over the summer so as to not lose momentum.  I hope to finish it somewhere around the end of the 2nd Term, which will give me some room to add a book I want to read next spring.

Handicrafts Instruction - In the first term we worked on small felt projects like felt food and some felt items from Big Little Felt Universe.  This book is not for (most) children but my boys were quite taken with the pocketknife and compass from the book so I made some modifications and they created some fun items.  In the second term we worked on knot tying which was also a big success.  In the third term, the kids all took a clay modeling class at a local art studio (that counts, right??) and made cups, boxes, bowls, pitchers and an assortment of small knives, hammers and other tools.  Emma made a beautiful earring holder for her various dangly earrings.

Nature Study - I did a special study of clover with Gregory (9) and Nathan (7) at the beginning of the year and Emma (13) did one about corn.  They were good studies and went well, but I neglected to have anything on deck to go next.  Emma and I informally studied mushrooms (meaning - we read about them, did lots of observations, intentionally went out to look for them, but didn't actually write anything down) as it was a great year for mushroom hunting, but that's about it.  Not that there weren't lots of nature discoveries and observations and some entries in our Calendar of Firsts, but we did not do any other special studies or nature study journal entries.

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