Friday, December 21, 2012

Timeline Binders

Ok - I admit it.  It took me over 3 years to get our Timeline Binders started.  Sometimes my perfectionist tendencies paralise me, and I just can't get something going.   I want to have my students start an actual "Book of Centuries" (like the one sold at Simply Charlotte Mason) once they start about Year 6, or are about age 12 - but I wanted the simple version for their earlier years.  I didn't want them to have to do a lot of writing.  I wanted a 2 page spread to be 100 years, and I didn't want it to be too much work, or cost a lot.  I wanted a lot.  I looked at various options.... areas divided by type of event/person?  Lists, or pictures, or lifespan bars?  There are so many choices!

Well, this year, I decided we would get going on this and that I'd find something no matter what.  I even bought a couple of inexpensive scrap-books to do it - then realized that they were counting a page as both sides of a page, so they wouldn't have enough pages!     I finally found a set of 4 files that I'd have to write the dates in, but that would look fairly nice.  (The difference in the files is the name of the Era.)  I bit the bullet, printed them off, and hand dated them.  (I quickly used Adobe to add in A.D. or B.C. to reduce my writing!)

Delta's 1801-1850 page
So, here are our "rules".  During the week, the kids are supposed to tell me people/events they want to add to their timeline.  They don't automatically get the people/events the other person has listed - nor do I go through and add everyone from their history readings.  This is a "connections" thing.  My kids do ask for things that they haven't done in school yet.... as shown by the sample pages.  Delta is still in the Middle Ages (AO Year 2) and Echo is in earlier history (AO Year 1) - but they have people and events in the 1800's and 1900's!

Thursday evening or Friday morning, I start googling from the list of what/who they want.  Sometimes I pick out the pictures, and sometimes I'll ask them to pick from the options I find.    I am using the Avery DesignPro software to make the entries.  (I found one for labels or something that are 2"x2") - this makes our entries large enough, yet small enough, and consistent in size.  It would be easy to use Word or other software too - I already had this.  I like that it makes a little "tab" page for each item, and I can organize them easily.  But to print, I have to jot down the tab numbers (like page numbers) of what I want to print.  

The kids are basically just cutting and pasting - but they care about it, and that is my main desire.  Actually, they do much more than cut and paste - they determine what goes in it, and often select the pictures.  That is the part that makes them "own" the project.  (And I don't think they will "turn their nose up" at their earlier work as they get older either. - a problem that can happen with something like a Timeline Binder that is used for years.)

I do think that for the later years, I'll eventually have to add in a partial page (cut to be below where the timeline arrows are) because it is going to fill up before they even get there!)

They are enjoying it (although sometimes I have to bug them to give me things they want to add....) - and find it interesting when they discover things that are occurring at about the same time.  Also, sometimes adding one thing adds a whole bunch about the same time.  The request for "Winnipeg the Bear" caused related entries like WWI, Capt. Colebourne, A.A. Milne, E.H. Shepard.  The request for "John MacDonnell", then caused "Isaac Brock" to be requested and "The War of 1812".  

Little things I have started doing - if they want an Author, I try to get a picture of the Author AND the Book the child relates them with - on the same entry.   For an Artist, we are using Self-Portraits, if there is one [yes, the one below of Renoir was before we did that...] - and will have the child's favourite painting - on the same entry. [So we will not be adding the Term artiest until done all their pictures from now on...]

Yes, there will be gaps.  Delta has some of the British Rulers he has read about - but not all of them.  I presume if he didn't ask for one, that that ruler didn't make a big impression on him.  But the ones he asked for generally did something that Delta cared about.  He will be more likely to remember them.  Each child's book will be different.

I have to admit - I'm tempted to make my own!  (I don't think I will.)

Echo's 1901-1950 page

Friday, December 7, 2012

Week in Review - Dec 7, 2012

I don't do these very often, but thought you might like to know what we are doing recently!

We have just started Term 2 of our AO year.  So for Delta, he is in term 2 of Year 2; Echo is in term 2 of Year 1.  Things have been going quite well this year overall - once we got the routine going.  That said - I made a minor change this term....

I decided to try having Friday being a "Family Studies" day.... instead of having a Rotation of things like Hymn Study and Folk Songs, and Drawing, etc.... (that often seemed to never happen) - these will now happen on Friday.

Here is a breakdown of our new Fridays!  They will go roughly in this order.... but not always

  • Scriptures (everyday)
  • Memory Work  (everyday)
  • PhysEd  (5BX or XBX)
  • Hymn Study
  • Composer Study (will probably try to have this playing in the background mostly)
  • Picture Study
  • Mapping
  • Timeline
  • German Songs
  • ASL Songs
  • Folk Songs
  • Drawing
  • Poetry
  • Math Lesson (usually a game)
  • Leftover Readings from the AO Week (or a Free Reading)
  • Nature Study

I think this is going to work out well.  That said - we haven't done Nature Study yet... (sigh).  But most of the rest was done - and I hope to get things going smoothly by having things prepared the day before.

Oh, one other change I made - I've taken our scripture memory box - found out which scriptures Delta and Echo knew well... and made scripture cards in different colours for each child.  Doing it together as a family wasn't working for Foxtrot - and sometimes Delta and Echo didn't know them either. This seems to work better so far.

As for the rest of the week - here is the basic plan we use...   I do mostly encourage them to do it in order (because I have it setup to try to vary items - and they are more likely to miss things if they do it out of order.)  They have a list of the AO (and modifications) Readings for the week, and choose when to do them.  This is working out great - I remember our first year trying AO I had things assigned on certain days - and we ended up being on Week 12 of some book, Week 9 of another, etc...  it got confusing.  But by just having times scheduled to read from the list, with the rule that they must finish the readings from one week before starting the next - well, it is so simple!  And as a bonus - I get to find out which books they love and which ones they really don't....

  • Scriptures
  • Memory Work
  • PhysEd (5BX or XBX)
  • Copywork (& Dictation)
  • Readings from List
  • Foreign Language (German one day, ASL the next...)
  • Readings from List
  • Math
  • Free Reading
So - what are we up to?

  • Enjoying learning about the Crusades and Richard the Lion Heart. He can't wait to start Robin Hood next term.
  • Doing great with RightStart Math.
  • Writing quite neatly with Joined Italic.  Moving towards no longer using a middle line, and then copying from another book (no model)
  • Loving Tree in the Trail
  • Was thrilled that Understood Betsy is done.  (He never liked that book....)
  • Wants to draw a map of Tree in the Trail (although the other week he said of the Crusades.....)
  • Discovered that Moroni hid the plates close to the time that the Romans left Britain.  (You have to love timeline books!)
  • Enjoying RightStart Math level C
  • Doing much better at writing with Italic.  She was thrilled to be moved to using the Copywork Jar.  She does still sometimes write letters/numbers backwards still (something she has always struggle with more than the other kids.)
  • Loves Paddle to the Sea
  • Is on Lesson 90 in "Teach your Child to read in 100 Easy Lessons".  She is also reading books on her own to herself.
  • LOVES RightStart Math Level A
  • We are starting "Drawing with Children"... and I did the evaluation exercises to see where to start - she is firmly in Level 2!  Wow!
  • Is happy to have her own Scripture to learn
  • Enjoys Picture Study - wishes she had her own "Masterpieces" Album.  (That is something they get when they start Year 1 - as a special thing....)
  • Loves to play with Tally Sticks and Tiles while I do math with Foxtrot.
  • Loves drawing and colouring (and is definitely Right Handed)
Well - not sure how interesting this is - but that is what is going on here!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Term Exams

Hard to argue with that!

Last week, we had our first try at Term Exams.  Ambleside Online had put up potential exam questions, and I felt like it was time to give it a try.  Students of the Charlotte Mason method generally enjoy exams as a time to show what they know.  I think Delta and Echo did pretty good for our first time.

Echo  (Year 1, Term 1)

Bible (These are examples; adapt to what you read this term.)
1. What do you remember about Joseph and his dreams? OR In your own words, tell about your favorite character that you read in your Bible reading this term.

2. Tell the story of what happened to Jericho. OR In your own words, tell about your favorite event that you read in your Bible reading this term.

[1 - changed to Nephi and his boat]
[2 - changed to Samuel the Lamanite]

1. I remember that when the boat was done, that they would travel to the promised land.  He got Laman and Lemuel to help him. 

2. I remember that he said that Jesus would be born in 5 years and in that night it would not get dark.

Copy "How the leopard got his spots."
[worked on copywork instead]

1. Tell a fairy tale you remember from this term.
2. Tell how the Leopard got his spots, or Moses the Kitten.

1. There were 2 children.  One was named Hansel, the other one was named Gretel.  And Hansel and Gretel and the family had almost nothing to eat.  They only got a little slice of bread every day.  One time their father and mother took them out into the woods. The night before that, Hansel went out and grabbed some pebbles.  And he put them in his pocket.  Then, when they were walking on the trail, Hansel put some pebbles on the ground so he would remember their way home.  When night came, they followed the trail, and then they found their way home.  And also, then, the next day they got a little piece of bread, and their mother said not to eat it so quick.  As that was the only piece they got a day.  Later that day, they went out in to the woods again, but they went deeper into the woods.  The adults went to their house without the children.  But Hansel had not gotten more rocks because the door was locked, so he couldn't get out.  So, they were lost.  They walked around until they found a house made out of gingerbread and goodies.  Then they started to eat the house!  It was a witches house.  Then the witch made a comfortable bed for them.  She wanted to eat Hansel.  She wanted to cook him up for supper.  She said, "Even I could fit in that oven".  So she climbed in the oven, and Hansel and Gretel shut the door!  And the witch couldn't get out.  And the witch got killed. And also, they found their way home.  The End.

2. Moses the Kitten got put in a house to make it warm. 

1. Tell about Boadicea, or, about St. Alban.

2. Tell the story of William Tell.

1. The bad queen and the 2 children died.  [Boadicea]

2.  There was a person that could shoot bows and arrows really well.  His name was William Tell.  He had a son.  His son had an apple over his head and William Tell had to shoot the apple - but if he missed his son would have to die because his son had the apple on his head.  And the son knew his father was really, really good at shooting arrows. And William Tell shot the apple and not his son. 


1. Find Italy and Switzerland on the globe.

2. Find Lake Superior on a map.

1. found ok

2. couldn't find

Natural History and General Science
1. Describe your favorite nature walk this term. What did you find?
2. Tell about "the bully in the old orchard."
3. Choose one question matched to your term's Nature Study theme from here
[1 and 3 - skipped]

1. we saw some deer!   (then started singing "trees and rocks" song....)

2. can't remember.  [I mentioned that the fact that her narrations from the BBB tends to be "Peter rabbit talked to some birds" was why she couldn't remember at all...]

Reading Skill
Father or friend should select a passage for student to read aloud.
1. Randomly picked McGuffy 1st Reader, Lesson 42.  Read it well.

Arithmetic (Questions from your math program may be substituted.)
1. 8 + 5 = ___
2. Skip count by 5's.
[did math test from program]

Foreign Language
1. Recite or sing something you have learned in your foreign language.
2. Introduce yourself in your foreign language.

1. Sang "Grun, Grun, Grun" in German (3 verses)
2. did it in ASL.

Picture Study
1. Describe your favorite picture from this term's picture study.

2 girls at the piano.  There are 2 young girls.  One is playing the piano, and the other is looking.  There is a little stand to light a fire to see the books. 

Father should choose a poem, and two Bible verses learned this term for student to recite.

[we need to be more regular about working on these!]

Sing your favorite folksong and hymn from this term.
sang "The Crusader"
sang "Nephi's Courage"

Show some work in handicrafts from this term to someone outside your family.

Delta [Year 2, Term 1]

1. In your own words, tell about your favorite character that you read in your Bible reading this term.
2. In your own words, tell about your favorite event that you read in your Bible reading this term.

1. Moses parted the sea to free the Isrealites.
2. Joshua takes Jericho.  There was a group of people and they were blowing horns, they didn't make any sound at all until the men were carrying the thing that had the 10 commandments in it.  They did it for 6 days, and on the 7th day, they went around it 7 times, and they stomped and shouted and blew their horns, and the walls came tumbling down.

Copy "She took a book out of her desk."
[did our own copywork instead]

1. Tell about William the Conqueror and the Battle of Hastings.
2. Tell the story of the White Ship.

1.  William the Conqueror conquered the whole of Normandy, and then he died by just falling off of a horse.  [note - he wasn't sure about the Battle of Hastings, so I told him to tell me what he remembered of William the Conqueror.]

2. There was a king named Henry I, and he had a son, and his son - he didn't want his father, the king, to come with him.  But they came, and they went on a white ship called "The White Ship", but then the ship sunk.  There were 2 people on top of the mast.  One was a butcher, the other was - I don't remember - maybe a baker or candlestick maker - Then a fishing boat came and saved them.  Then they told them about the ship.  And then a little boy was supposed to tell the king about this.  Then when the king heard this he stood still for the rest of the whole day.  Then later, he died.

1. Tell about little 'Lias.
2. Tell about two things Christian saw in the House of the Interpreter, or about Mr. Worldly Wiseman.

1.  There was a boy named 'Lias, and he was poor, and he had ragged clothes, and Betsy wanted to make some clothes for him.  Later they did make him some clothes.  And then they gave it to him.

2. Christian, when he was going, he found an old man, and his name was Mr. Worldly Wiseman - a wierd name - he is probably wise.  He is kind of like an alien.  He told him that he should not go to the place that he is trying to get to.

1. What is a butte? Can you describe one?
2. Tell everything you know about the plains.

1. [no idea]
2. The plains are like a flat lands, and they have tall grass, and that's where the Indians lived.

Natural History and General Science
1. Tell what you know about a squirrel or a beaver.
2. Describe a favorite nature walk, and tell about something you found.
3. Choose one question matched to your term's Nature Study theme from here

1.Squirrel - They jump from tree to tree.  If it is a flying squirrel, they can climb to the tallest tree and just jump down and it is kind of like they have wings, and they just glide.  They like to eat nuts.  They kind of look like mouses [sic] with long tails.  LIke a beaver but not flat - poofed up.

2. We saw lots of (started singing) "Trees and Rocks...."

3. [we didn't do this this term]

Reading Skill

Father or friend should select a passage for student to read aloud.

[Read from McGuffy 2nd Reader, Lesson 50 (picked randomly) - did ok]

Arithmetic (Questions from your math program may be substituted.)
[Did test from math program]

Foreign Language
1. Recite or sing something you have learned in your foreign language.
2. In your foreign language name the members of your family, using full sentences.

1.  [not at this point yet]
2. [did, faultering... started to call his sisters as cousins.]

1.  sang "Grun, Grun, Grun"
2.  [couldn't (but neither can I... sigh)]

Picture Study
1. Describe your favorite picture from this term's picture study.

Favourite is the Self Portrait (earlier one).   The man is kind of in a park.  He has fancy clothes on. 

Father should choose a poem, and two Bible verses learned this term for student to recite.

[haven't memorized a poem yet]
D&C 59:7 - good
AofF #1 - good (after given the first couple of words)

Sing your favorite folksong and hymn from this term.

Hymn: "Love is Spoken Here" (boys part)
Folksong:  [he has been singing "The Crusader" and "MacDonnell on the Heights" for weeks on his own accord - but didn't want to today.]  With some suggestions of songs from me - he sang "Jack was Every Inch a Sailor", with the music

Show some work in handicrafts from this term to someone outside your family.