Wednesday, September 04, 2013

The Whole Schamoley

This week we added math and science to our schedule -- the school year is truly underway! As I expected, the full program is a bit daunting. To put it mildly. Partly because we are now in the second week of our doubled-up Tapestry of Grace weeks (to finish the school year when my fellow co-op moms wanted to finish, without dropping any weeks, which they didn't want to do, we had to combine six weeks into three. Which makes for a pretty massive reading load. But, once we've done those three the rest of the year should seem easy!?), and partly because.... well....geometry and physics are not so easy! Still, I think we will be fine. The materials/programs we are using are good, and the kids ready for the work (though Katie initially seemed to have forgotten All the Math. but she got better.)

I spent most of last week fitting the Teaching Company courses I want to use into the schedule so that they correspond (roughly) with our history and literature readings. Sixteen courses. We listen to our TC professors (or watch, but mostly we have them as audios) right after breakfast, and although I sometimes catch Travis dozing a bit, the kids are mostly following the lectures pretty well and retaining enough to make the time well spent. This week in co-op one of the readings we discussed was Enuma Elish, and Travis, who had listened to a couple TC professors talk about this work, was the only boy in my little class who had any idea of what it was about. I need at least one. I hate waxing enthusiastic about a bit of literature and getting only blank looks in return. (Once I'd read some of the goriest bits aloud, and explained the basic plot, they did light up a little!) Anyway, I love sitting with my kids on the couch and listening to clever people explain ancient history/literature/religion to me.

Sixteen lecture courses sounds like a lot, but they do fit, sort of, with overflow into the summer which will help us prepare for the next year's work! (We watched some wonderful courses last summer, including the one on Egypt, which made us all so much more excited about ancient Egypt!) Also, with several of them we are only watching some of the lectures -- the ones pertaining to the ancient world. We'll be listening to/watching...
The Western Literary Canon in Context
Introduction to the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible)
History of the Ancient World: A Global Perspective
Religion in the Ancient Mediterranean World  (skipping a few of these)
Great Authors of the Western Literary Tradition
Great Ideas of Philosophy
The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World  (also skipping a few of these)
The Iliad
The Odyssey
The Aeneid
Greek Mythology
St. Augustine's Confessions
Ethics of Aristotle
Rome and the Barbarians
Fall of the Pagans and the Origins of Medieval Christianity

I also cleared the table of the books I'd stacked up to add to the year's reading schedule! I found places for some, but not all, of the books I wanted to add in. Actually, it turned out to be a good thing that it took me so long to get around to doing this, because seeing how full the schedule is inspired me to cut back on the number of books I added. The kids really are reading a mountain of great stuff this year! However, I think I found room for....
Understanding Genesis, by Nahum Sarna (actually, Travis is almost done with this one)
The Gifts of the Jews, by Thomas Cahill (skipping the funky bit at the beginning)
On the Road with the Archangel, by Frederick Buechner
The Philosophy Book, by Will Buckingham (just the parts about ancient philosophy)
Jason and the Argonauts, by Neil Smith
Till We Have Faces, by C.S. Lewis
Galen and the Gateway to Medicine, by Jeanne Bendick
Dialogues and Essays, by Seneca
Hannibal: Rome's Worst Nightmare, by Philip Brooks
Women of Ancient Rome, by Don Nardo
The Essential Marcus Aurelius, by Jacob Needleman
The Confessions, by Saint Augustine

So now the schedules are made (set... if not in stone, at least in thick mud!) and on we go!

 Co-op met on Tuesday this week, in honor of Labor Day. No great highs (although we got through our discussion of the early parts of Genesis without anyone expressing outrage, which I thought was something of an accomplishment), but the kids' composition skills show some slight signs of improvement. And Katie made a Mesopotamian seal, so she can sign her decrees! Unfortunately she didn't reverse the letters, so her name will stamp backwards, but who will know?

And, in the spirit of equal time for showing off talent, here is a hot dog Travis made....
Actually, I made the hot dog. And the chili. And chopped up the onions. But he put them all together into this work of art. Just looking at it gives me heartburn.

Oh to be young, with a sturdy stomach!

And, because I know the internet needs at least one more cat picture, here is Emma with her teddy bear. She loves her bear.

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