Archive | September, 2011

Geography Ball

12 Sep

I found a little sponge world globe ball
for geography class.
Very fun.

As a warm-up, we start out
throwing the ball back and forth,
and calling out the name
of the first country we see.

Then comes the more challenging part.
I throw him the ball
and call out the name of a country.

He catches it and finds the country as fast as he can,
and throws it back.

Greek Mythology

8 Sep
When my son was born, my grandmother gave me a very special book – Myths and Enchantment Tales, 1949 edition. It was my father’s when he was a boy, and my favorite book on Granny’s bookshelf when I was a child. It meant the world to me that she remembered how much I loved it. We recently gave Greek Mythology a whole hour of its own on our schedule. We are reading one story a week from the beloved book, which is getting so old that I had to put it in the “untouchables” box of our homeschool library, for fear of it completely disintegrating from too much handling. After reading, he sight-copies one of the illustrations and writes a short summary. The illustrations are dreamy. The English is ancient and full of new, old words to learn. He is fascinated by the stories, which seem even more magical when read from the worn, yellowed pages. The preface (though severely politically incorrect) does a fantastic job of explaining how these stories might have been born from observing nature, and gave for a wonderful discussion on how we have always been looking for the answers to who we are, where we come from and how we got here.

The Bone Eater

1 Sep

After taking a month off, it’s been hard getting my son back into the practice of writing. He did keep a travel journal during our trip, but it wasn’t daily.

Before the break, we’d mostly been working on writing summaries, but now I’m finding that I need to be more creative.

I looked for some prompts on the internet, but wasn’t very happy with what I found. So, I decided to make up my own. Here are some of them:

Describe a Monster
Give it a name. What does it look like? Where does it live? What does it eat? What does it do? What kind of sounds does it make? Use rich adjectives. Try to start each sentence differently.

If you could choose any super power, what would it be? What would you do with it?

A Magical Place
Imagine a place where anything can happen. Where are you? How did you get there? What are you doing there? What do you see around you?

The World-Saving Invention
Imagine that you have invented something that saved the world by solving one of our biggest problems. How does it work? What problem does it solve?

Letter to a Bully
Think about a time when you were bullied. Write a letter to the bully. Explain your version of what happened and how you felt. Explain why you think what he or she did was wrong.

I let him write as much as he wants, and don’t try to force him to “make it longer”. The better the prompt I give him, the more he wants to write. I figure in enough time for discussion before writing and after reading aloud what he wrote. Today we did “Describe a Monster”.  He wrote it in Spanish (his first language), but here’s a rough translation: 

The Bone Eater is an evil and ferocious monster who eats children wandering up the mountain. He has a son named Cuchumolongo who also eats bones. They have claws that are one meter long and two centimeters thick. They’re red and their eyes are the color of fire. They have pointy ears and tails, and they can jump very high.