Friday, February 6, 2015

Coco Chanel & The Great Depression ~ February 1 - 6

Persistence pays off...

Allie has been talking about learning to ski or snowboard since the end of last winter!  She and Jason joined a homeschool ski and snowboard club and all she talked about was learning to ski or snowboard.  She tried snowboarding the first week and it was really icy and she fell a lot, but she came home saying she was going to try again next week.  The next week she had an unfortunate experience with a nasty lift operator that made her want to stay inside.  She asked if she could switch to skiing and after a lot of discussion, we decided to let her switch.  She LOVED it!  Her really good friend helped her and taught her and they had a blast together!  She got off the learning hill and was skiing on the intermediate hills her first week on skis!  She texted me from the mountain to say skiing was so graceful and she felt like she was flying and she would see me in March because she didn't want to stop skiing!  I am so, so, so happy for her!  This is something that she really wanted and she just kept at it, kept trying, tried in a new way...and found something she LOVES!!!!
  Her dad and I are SO PROUD of her!

More Changes?  Freshman Reading List?

Allie loves to read.  She came to me in December to say that she can't read more than one novel at a time, so she hadn't had a lot of time to read for pleasure when we were reading historical novels for our Immigration Study.  I agreed to give her time at the end of December and the month of January to read for pleasure.  She came to me again at the end of January and proposed that I give her a list of books to read for the rest of the year and she can write reports on them but learn to manage her time to be able to read for pleasure as well.  I can see the value in that, so I told her that I would think about it.  I am thinking about.  I have not made a decision yet.

If it looks like I know what I am doing...I don't.  I have no clue.  I am just faking it and praying that I make the right decisions. 

When you have a reason to make sure your web sources are good...

Allie was a bit obsessed with Coco Chanel.  She loved her chic, classic look.  She saved her babysitting and dog walking money to buy a Coco Chanel lipstick--Pirate, which is closest to the signature color Coco wore.  She is reading and watching everything she can get her hands on regarding Coco Chanel.  She learned about how Coco Chanel supported the Nazis and was very upset by that.  This lead to Allie poring over websites and asking how you can tell which sites are good sources and which are not, she wanted to make sure that she had all of her facts straight.  She would spend hours researching and then come and talk to me about her findings.  At one point she said, "Wow, it's really important to look deeper than what the media tells you."  Yes, yes, it is, don't take things for face value, don't just accept what someone else tells you, do your own research.  In the end, her research convinced her that Coco Chanel was a Nazi, she is not going to throw away her lipstick but she lost a lot of respect for someone she idolized for a while and she probably won't buy more Chanel products.  "Whew, guess I just saved a thousand bucks or more!"  she told Jason and I the other night.

A family friend took this to a new level by asking her under what circumstances might someone follow something against their will.  But, from Allie's research, she does not believe that survival was Coco Chanel's reason for being a Nazi spy.

The Grapes of Wrath & Cinderella Man

We watched The Grapes of Wrath and Cinderella Man for both history (Great Depression which is the period we are learning about right now in our Immigration Study) and for film study (character analysis, discussion of plot and theme).  I counted the time spent watching them and discussing the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression as hours for history so we got to 60--half year, half high school credit.


We are just chugging along.  Allie is working on Radical Expressions and doing well.  She has maintained an A average.  As her program is computer based and she normally does it in her room on her own time, I periodically go in and check her grades and look at the problems she got wrong and make sure it is not a concept that she is missing.  Sometimes we go over the problems she got incorrect together.  

Piper has moved on to Multiplying and Dividing Fractions and is finding that easier than Adding and Subtracting Fractions.  She got 100% on a couple of lessons all by herself and was quite proud of herself!


Jason and the girls finished chapter 4 and I had not printed the materials for Chapter 5 and needed to order ink for the printer.  The girls did watch a Crash Course Chemistry Video on Water and Solutions for Dirty Laundry and created a notebook page about the video. 



I was not really happy with the girls descriptions of their floor plans using the framework in Writing Strands, so I had them re-work their writing and we were all much happier with it.  Allie is making oatmeal chocolate chip bar cookies right now in preparation for my parents visit this afternoon where we will compare my parents' floor plans based on the girls descriptive writing pieces.  I can't wait to see them!  I think it will be very interesting to see how they visualized the floor plans and to see how close they are or if the girls could have re-worked their writing in any way.

Film Study 

We have covered a lot of what I wanted to cover from The Art of Watching Film, maybe not in the depth that the book goes in to but to a level that I think is appropriate for a 7th and 9th grader (The Art of Watching Film is normally used in college courses).  We moved on to the Yale Film Studies Guide.  This week, the girls defined 7 terms and we discussed them in depth. 


The girls and I continued to work on Lesson 2.  We are learning the names of Animals and beginning to speak in sentences.

E-Cubed Every month they cover a different country in e3.  This month it was Cuba.  The kids give presentations, they play games and learn about the geography and culture of the country.  They also bring food typical of the country to share.  Allie brought black bean dip and chips. She learned more about Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, why Americans can't travel to Cuba and games and sports that are popular in Cuba.


Cooking & Baking The girls learned to make chili this week.  Allie also made oatmeal chocolate-chip bar cookies this morning for my parents' visit this afternoon.

Writing Club

The girls had finished their fanfiction pieces at home.  Some were hesitant to share, but others were comfortable sharing.  We discussed fan fiction some more, but decided to end the fan fiction unit.  I had emailed all of the girls and asked them to take a Google survey several weeks ago and we went over the results: the general consensus was more time art journaling and more time talking and hanging out.  The girls prefer different unrelated prompts each week.  I had pre-selected some Valentine theme writing prompts.  The girls also wrote their names at the top of a page and passed their notebook around and each girl took a turn writing something nice about the person whose name was at the top of the page (the owner of the notebook).  We ended our time together working freestyle in the art studio on a Valentine page.