Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Gilmore Girls, Ancient Civ Project & Dorothea Lange

Gilmore Girls

I feel like we came to this show at THE PERFECT TIME FOR US!  I remember when it was on TV and I had infants and toddlers and I just never committed to it.  But now that it is on Netflix, it seems to have made this comeback and to be super popular with a whole new generation of girls and moms. Several of the girls' friends LOVE this show--they quote it and re-watch certain episodes over and over.  It's like Seinfeld for them.  Jason has been traveling for work and we decided to try it and we are HOOKED!  I love Lorelai's sense of humor.  Allie loves the town--which reminds me of the town we lived in in Connecticut (Stars Hollow is based on Washington, CT, which was about 15 minutes away from where we lived, but our old town is mentioned in this article as one that makes Stars Hollow come to life--it really is a beautiful town.  I cried the first time I saw the green and KNEW I wanted to live there!).


Allie often gets lost in her art studio.  The things she draws astound me.  I am in absolute awe of her talent (she is very shy about her work and hesitant to let me share).  She has taken art classes in a variety of studios around here, but she prefers to create when she is inspired and things that speak to her and she'll often consult a youtube video when she struggles with something--drawing an eye or learning a certain technique.  

She babysits and walks our neighbor's dog and makes some cash, half of which she is required to put in the bank and the rest goes to either her gerbils and hermit crab and fish or to art supplies.  She recently bought herself a Calligraphy set and has been spending HOURS upon HOURS working with it and honing this beautiful craft.  She went to a  friend's slumber birthday party last weekend and created a beautiful card for the friend.

Back to Ancient Egypt

The way I have decided to do World History (and it has been working well) is to take the topics in Story of the World 1 and have the girls research each, create a list of facts from which they create an outline, cite the sources on a Works Cited page in proper ALA style and then write a paragraph.  They have written about history, archaeology, nomads, nomadic farmers, the Nile River, cuneiform, hieroglyphs and the Egyptian calendar.  They have drawn detailed maps of Ancient Egypt for this project and are currently working on Tutenkomen's family tree.  They research 2-3 topics a week and write the paragraphs.  It has been going well and they are surprised at how much they remember from SoTW.  I have long thought that education needs to catch up with technology and to some extent, no one is going to remember every detail in a textbook and I don't want to get bogged down with details.  If we keep it simple, I think they are more likely to retain it and have enough info to look something up on their phone if they are in a conversation  and need more detail.
We have been supplementing this project with videos on youtube.  We love the Crash Course series by Hank and John Green (although sometimes we have to go back because they go so fast!).  We have found some other great videos as well--some students have made as projects, some that are cartoons and quite funny.

Dorothea Lange

I have always loved photography.  I used to buy coffee table photography books before I ever had a coffee table.  I love really gritty photography that really shows people's lives.  This year we discovered Jacob Riis and Lewis Hine when we did our Immigrant Study.  I can not get enough of their work.  The real people.  The reality of life.  The human condition.  There really are no words.  The photographs can only be experienced and they are experienced at such an emotional level.

After we watched Grapes of Wrath, I decided to get a Dorothea Lange book out of the library.  I found there was a documentary about Dorothea Lange in our library system--it took a while in inter-library loan, but we got it and watched it this week.  It was wonderful.  She is wonderful. She struggled so much as a mother because she felt called to make a difference in the world and that required her to travel and be away from her kids.  She was also so poor during the Depression that she had to send her kids to live with another family.   It seems logical that her own experiences of poverty allowed her to capture what really mattered, to see it and to know it in a way that someone who has never been there could never relate or understand, but with her experienced eye, we can all see and understand a little better.  She brought the plight of the migrant worker to light.  She worked as a government photographer, allowing the government to see what different Americans lives were really like--until our government stopped wanting to see such things.  Her photos of the Japanese Internment Camps were impounded by the government for decades.  Her catalog is astounding and her vision breathtaking.

I have decided to start counting credit hours for art.  This documentary counts as two hours.  I already counted the Jacob Riis and Lewis Hine books as history, but the hours Allie spends drawing or perfecting her calligraphy can be counted as art as well.  I think we will call it Studio Arts & Art History.  Whenever I try to plan art projects they tend to fall off the schedule (the girls prefer to create their own way in their own time).  I am realizing that art journaling is not my thing--our Writing and Art Circle has turned much more into Writing and the girls are happy with it.  But, I think that all the hours Piper spends with her pearler beads (she has pulled them out again and is having fun with them) and the hours Allie spends in front of her easel or in her art studio or sewing or knitting, I can count toward a Studio Art & Art History credit.  I am sure we already have 60 hours this year, but I am going to start counting as of last week.
this book is amazing.  i had to buy it for myself.

Film Study - Singin' in the Rain 

The girls wanted to watch "Singin' in the Rain".  It was mentioned in The Art of Watching Film and they were intrigued since my mom often sings the song.  We discussed how both "Singin' in the Rain" and "The Wizard of Oz" are musicals, but the latter is a fantastical musical and the former is a "show" musical.  Some say "Singin' in the Rain" is the best musical movie ever made.  We also discussed the deep, rich colors of the film and the effects and what makes a movie a classic.


Allie LOVED The Help, she read it in just a few days and wrote a beautiful literary analysis of it.  The Civil Rights Movement and justice and people being treated fairly are things she is interested in.  At times she talks about being an attorney.  I could definitely see her doing that.  At other times she talks about being a teacher or a journalist (like Miss Skeeter in The Help), I could also see her doing either of those.

Allie and a friend want to run the Book Club at e-cubed next year.  I think this book would be perfect, so even though I did not include it on her Freshman Reading List (I planned to put it on the list for next year) we decided that if she reads it and writes a reaction, we will count it.

Piper is still reading and enjoying Fan Girl by Rainbow Rowell.


Allie has gotten into Galileo and Kepler--things we learned about our first year homeschooling and had followed several rabbit trails on--it's been SO COOL to see how chasing rabbit trails lead to TRUE LEARNING and recall and connections.  It's amazing to see!

Piper is working on percents, which she likes.  She's quite a shopper and a bargain hunter and sale shopper, so she feels like this helps her :)  We were at Hobby Lobby and had 40% off coupons and Piper kept figuring out how much different things would cost if we bought them with our coupon!  Real Math.


We made up for lost time this week.  I don't know what it is, but it's clicking and we find ourselves talking about the words and quizzing each other at random times.  I love this learning together!


With Jason traveling for work and a lot on his plate at work when he gets back, I have taken Chemistry over again.  I am so impressed with the work they did with Jason.  They understand polarization of atoms and attractions and why things dissolve.  They know how molecules work differently in cold and hot water and how that affects dissolving substances.  I was very impressed.  We did a lot of review this week and covered another part of chapter 5.  I also realized we need to do more, explore more, in order to count this as a full year course, so we ordered an alcohol burner, flasks and some other accoutrements.  The girls also spent about three hours exploring science kits that we had in the closet and doing the experiments and explaining to me why all of the bigger balls fell to the bottom (they were heavier) and the smaller ones rose to the top when shaken and how the glass spheres worked with water to make a spongy surface, etc.  As long as they did the reading for the experiment and could explain it to me in their own words and show me they understood it, I told them I can count it as science.

Cooking & Baking

With Jason away, we took an anti-cooking stance.  It's been Chipotle, Fro-yo for dinner, cereal, grilled cheese, tuna sandwiches, salads and my favorite: rice bowls!  I make a ton of rice, sautee some greens (kale and spinach with lots of garlic), make a lentil salad (ok, so I did cook, but I cooked enough on one day to last for three meals for each of us!!)...and we just pull from that and fry an egg to put on top!  Sometimes we add kimchi!  YUM!