Skip to main content


Showing posts from August, 2011

Meeting the Masters: The Evolution of Mondrian

As much as I am enjoying Meet the Masters , I found today’s unit on Mondrian to be somewhat lacking.  It explains very nicely about his use of colour and balance, and I guess they can’t say EVERYTHING, but it only gives a brief mention of the fact that his style changed from the beginning to the end of his career.  There were no samples shown of his early art, so I started poking around to find out what it looked like… and was blown away by how much his style changed.  This is a theme we explored a little with Mary Cassatt, whose paintings started out in the stiff, formal portrait style that was popular when she studied art, and began to take on a more natural, contemporary, almost photographic style.  So I thought it would be helpful for the kids to see how Mondrian’s work ALSO changed, in a nice, light slideshow form. You can also download the slideshow as a PowerPoint Presentation here , or a printable / on-screen PDF from my General Studies printables page here (scroll dow


PROBLEM SOLVED – I hope.  Please let me know if it’s still redirecting you.  And please, avoid letting AuthorStream access your Blogger account.  Now I’m scared it will happen again, because I put in my password… :-o My apologies if you are redirected to a SPAM site, like I am working overtime to fix the problem. Note that this problem originated when I tried to share a video through a powerpoint sharing site called AuthorStream.  So there you go.  I haven’t provided a link… nobody should deal with this company, as the problem began about one second later.  Blah.

RonyPony Reviews: Homeschool Buyers Co-op

Looking for a new and fun way to spend those hard-saved and tightly-allocated homeschooling bucks???  I thought so! I don’t even remember when I joined the Homeschool Buyers Coop , a name which bugs me for a couple of reasons. [Please disregard the bombastic criticism which follows, as I have been duly and delightfully slapped down – see the Comments section - by no lesser experts than the folks at grammarlogues , a name which only slightly disturbs me because, as a proper noun, it ought to start with a capital letter.  Yet as a childishly graphic and whimsical logo, it kind of works.  And they are to be wholeheartedly praised for saying their software requires “fewer than eight minutes a day” instead of “LESS THAN” or any other inferior wording.] Is it a “co-op”?  Then it needs a hyphen (“Homeschool Buyers Co-op”) [doh – they USE a hyphen throughout their site; like I said, never mind me].  But if it’s a co-op, who participates?  Homeschool buyers?  Then it needs an apostrophe

Science Memory Work: Poems for Elemental Science (Plants, Animals)

Legal disclaimer:  I am not the owner or publisher or Elemental Science, and have no affiliation with anyone who is.  I’m just an ordinary parent looking forward to using this curriculum with my kids. As I have mentioned a few times , I like Elemental Science in general and think it will be a very do-able curriculum for this year – I’m looking forward to diving into it. I initially found it lacking in a few areas, one of which is the poems that are provided to help kids memorize characteristics of various living things (plants, mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and human body systems). A while ago, I created a one-page printout with two original poems to help memorize plant characteristics (parts of a plant; parts of a flower).  Now that we’re starting the animals section, I have created SIX original four-line poems detailing the major identifying characteristics of each of the major types of vertebrate. In case you’re curious, I used the Denver Zoo website – among

Animal Camouflage Science

After we did the “Newspaper Camouflage” experiment from Science Around the World , I gave Naomi Rivka a piece of newpaper to design her own “creatures,” one made of newspaper and one made of white paper, so we could find out which would be more vulnerable to predators.  Can you spot all three critters?     I can’t quite make out their shapes, but she was rather proud of how well they blend in with the backdrop.  And it’s pretty obvious which one I’d eat if he wasn’t so darned cute.

School Week… School Year

A few new “Daily Program” additions I’m trying out as we enter what will hopefully be our first real week of school. We may not stick with all of them through the school year, but I thought they’d be valuable, and they are included in my TeacherFileBox subscription:  Daily 6-Trait Writing , Daily Science , Daily Word Problems and A Word A Day . I’m not married to any of these, so I’ll just see which Naomi likes, if any, and go from there.  If I had to pick which one was the most important, I’d say the 6-trait writing (I don’t know what the traits are).  Although Charlotte Mason doesn’t really encourage “creative” writing at this stage (narration is sufficient to ensure that they’re articulate and voicing their own thoughts), I think it’s fun to explore and pick apart the mechanics of good, vivid writing.  The exercises are low-key and only require a sentence or two of actual writing. Also new this week, the next artist in our Meet the Masters curriculum:  Piet Mon

Awesome Parsha Graphic – Re’ay!

Or Re’eh, or however you spell it… here’s Naomi’s interpretation of the laws of shechita (kosher slaughter). I REALLY like how the cow is smiling cheerfully under the knife.  And the shochet (with Princess Leia buns on the sides of his head) is not at all put off his dinner by the thought of the bloodbath to come.  “Yam Im Hangry” indeed!!! I’m spending a sedentary day by the computer, but here’s a bit more inspiration for you from this week’s parsha… Parsha Poem for Parshas Re’ay Dvar Torah from Parshas Re’ay last year . And, of course, this week’s funky Godcast – with a song for Re’eh! Parshat Re'eh from

Two Projects for Elul – Carnival & NEW Rosh Hashanah Lapbook!

Yup, I’m resurrecting the Carnival of Jewish Homeschooling, and I hope you-all will come along for the ride.  Here’s some information and links to past carnivals . Or, just round up your best blog posts about teaching your kids – whether or not you homeschool full-time! – and submit them here . So what else is NU around here??? A brand-new Rosh Hashanah Lapbook is on its way, with VERY special original graphics (unlike the one at left) created especially by Ted (my super-talented husband). This will be a “paid” lapbook (like the ones I made for Tefillah and Pesach ) meaning you PayPal me whatever you think is reasonable, and I send you print-quality PDFs along with basic instructions.  You provide the content:  ie, find books to read and discuss the topics with your children in any way that fits your family’s beliefs and observances. Components I’m including in this fabulous lapbook! Months of the Jewish Year When is Rosh Hashanah? Rosh Hashanah… in the

Free Fun Early Reading Materials (phonics & sight)

Just came across this site, and I thought I’d share it:  Primarily Reading , by retired teacher Gloria Lapin. As a FREE alternative to Bob Books and other primary readers, I like the fact that the site offers both phonics-based and (Dolch) sight word-based easy readers available for download in both PDF and my new favourite, ePub format for your eReader!!!  (like my Kobo) No waiting for books to arrive, just download and go…. and it’s FREE.  There are a few super-cheap ebooks for sale on the site as well, as well as links to other items for sale. These look like a perfect easy read for Naomi Rivka – as well, possibly, as a decent beginning-read for Gavriel Zev.  The site also has games, activities and suggestions for beginning readers. If you’re looking for something a little more comprehensive (beginner to advanced), and still free, you could also try Progressive Phonics – but those materials aren’t available in ePub yet; only PDF for the time being.   (You must register t

Weekly Parsha Copywork

I don’t usually post when I put it up, but since I’ve missed a few weeks, and have a few new readers, I thought I’d mention that I try to post copywork on Sunday or Monday to match the weekly parsha.  Unlike what seems like most places in the US, school here starts after the Labour Day weekend (except for years like 2010, when the yamim tovim came super-early).  Our official “not going back to school” beach party is on Tuesday, September 6th. Still – we didn’t take the summer off, just eased off a bit to accomodate other activities, and this week, we’re ramping our way back up to a full curriculum. For this week’s parsha, Re’ay, I chose a very short excerpt (“do not cook a kid in its cmother’s milk”) along with a list of a few other types of animals found in this week’s parsha.  Enjoy! Download this and MANY other parsha/holiday resources from my Limudei Kodesh (Jewish Studies) page, here . For general-studies downloads and printables, including bilingual Hebrew-Eng

Naomi’s “anti-school” story

Here’s a story Naomi write at the cottage.  Ted created the cheerful illustration below to go along with it.  I was thrilled to see this and another story she spontaneously wrote while we were up there.  But I was totally surprised, given her occasional protestations and fantasizations about school, by the anti-school tone of the thing. I have corrected spelling and punctuation so it doesn’t give you a headache: “THE SCHOOL:  The Trouble” (by Naomi Rivka, age 6.5). Once upon a time there was a girl.  She lived close to school, so one day she went to school.  She did not like it so she went home and she said “I do not like school.” “Go to school.” [presumably, her mother says this] “But it is bad, like I told you.  I do not want to go.” “You have to go.  You are late.” “No, I want to stay with you.” “No, you can’t,” the mother interrupted.  [incharaptid]  “No.” The mother pushed [push’t] her out the door. (the end) (As a Charlotte Mason fan,

Cottage highlights

Back and exhausted!  Here are a few pictorial highlights: Arriving!  Everybody marvels at the irony that a cottage is supposed to be smaller and less luxurious than your regular home.  This is a mansion compared to where we usually live, with TWO floors (up AND down!) and TWO nice, clean bathrooms! YM found both a frog and a (garter) snake in the first 5 minutes… and then no other wildlife in the ten days thereafter.     Ahh… Shabbos.  “It’s time to order a honey glazed ham!!!”  The magnet was on the fridge, but I thought it looked better with the candles.  (mine aren’t lit yet; I was busy taking pictures)     It just wouldn’t be a vacation without Rainbow Monkey… and Aunt Sara to sweep up after him!     Schlep half an hour to the gorgeous, sunny beach and marvel cuz we have it all to ourselves… oh, wait, what does that sign say?  “Warning:  Unsafe for bathing.” Handy free WiFi hotspot.     Boys being boys…   When she wasn’t