Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Rainy Days and School

It has been a rainy three days and conducive for sleep, but school must prevail!  We have been plugging away and making progress.

I have been reading "Lord Of The Nutcracker Men" by Iain Lawrence to the children.  We are studying World War I and this book provides a historical fiction view of the war through letters from Johnny's father.  Johnny plays war with his toy soldiers that his father has made and sends to him while in the trenches of France.  I wanted a non gory account of the war for the children and thus far the book has delivered.

We have been watching the movie Sgt. York during lunch to supplement our WWI studies.  The children have seen the movie at my parents before, but now it makes more sense to them.  We have discussed how people lived in the South during the early 1900s.  The children have been to areas near where Sgt. York lived and realize how different the world was a hundred years ago.

During the war scenes, I pointed out the trenches that Johnny's father mentioned in the book we are reading.  Little Man was particularly impressed with the shooting accuracy of Sgt. York.  Egee was shocked at the numbers of men shot during the battle.

We have read "Casey Over There" by Staton Rabin.  The artwork is beautiful and again it provides imagery for the children to reflect upon as we read "Lord of the Nutcracker Men".  The story is a fictional tale of an older and younger brother.  The older brother must go fight in the war and his younger brother worries about him.  The younger brother sends letters to his older brother and even writes to Uncle Sam in concern for his big brother. 

Egee is reading "Ruthie's Gift" by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley.  It is set on a farm a year prior to the United States entering WWI.  Young Ruth is the only girl among seven brothers and is trying hard to become a lady.  She doesn't have any friends at school and is the only third grader.  Finally, things start to look up for her when a family moves into the farm next to her family.  Twin girls, that happen to be in the third grade!  But before long, poor Ruthie is isolated again.  The story provides suspense for the reader and compassion for Ruthie.  The book hints at the coming of WWI and Ruth's older brother is worried he may have to fight.  Ruth loves her older brother and in turn does a nice jester for him.  He repays her with a gift.  Bradley bases her book loosely on her own grandmother's life.  It is a very nice read.

Along with our studies of WWI, we are pursuing our other school work.  Little Man is plugging away at his Time4Learning work on the computer.  He is doing great in his reading.

I have been hoping that his reading would come along.  I have not pressured him into reading and sometimes I wander if I am doing the right thing.  I have just worked on letters and phonics with him using Time4Learning and allowed him to make connections on his own. The days that he reads his stories on the computer, reinforce that yes I am doing the right thing.

Egee is tackling long division using two digit divisors.  She is doing fine, but hates having to erase and try another number when things don't work out the first go around.  However, persistence pays off and things are starting to get easier.  I remind her that one divisor long division was painful last year, but she thinks it is a breeze this year.

We had library class today, so the monotony was broken.  The children learned about poetry from a fellow home school mom.  They listened to different poems from Robert Frost, Rita Dove, Carl Sandburg, and Billy Collins.  Mrs. Conner even had them write their own poetry and share.  Egee wrote a poem about being a horse and read it aloud to the class.  Little Man dictated his poem to me, but would not recite it to the class.

We were going to stay for Music Sandwiched In.  We ate lunch and socialized with fellow homeschoolers.  However, prior to the program starting, we were told that some of the pieces may not be appropriate for children.  So, we didn't stay.  Oh well, we will attend the cello performance later this month.

Tomorrow we go to Chesnee for a fun hands on science experiment with Mr. Jack!