2013-14 School Year–Week Fifteen

Well, this was about as normal a week as we can expect to have between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Our religion lessons now include the Jesse Tree reading for the day, in addition to our usual Bible readings. We’re also working on memorizing another Advent hymn (my personal favorite): “Savior of the Nations, Come.” This is doubly beneficial, because the children are also memorizing part of it in Sunday School.

We didn’t fully delve into Christmas School this week, but we did learn about Christmas in one country: Greece. In addition to learning the Greek Christmas greeting, which I think we did a pretty good job of pronouncing, we also learned about other Greek Christmas traditions. The children particularly enjoyed learning about the Greek Christmas goblins (Kallikantzaroi), and drew some elaborate pictures of the mischief they might make. We also spent an afternoon making baklava, which is a family favorite, but doesn’t get made too often. The children did a good deal of the work this time!

Our other Christmas activity was learning about the real Saint Nicholas, since today is the commemoration of St. Nicholas. This tied in nicely with our Christmas in Greece study, since St. Nicholas is an important figure in a country with so many miles of coastline, as patron saint of sailors. We’re looking forward to learning about Santa Lucia a week from today!

We did do our regular history and myth studies this week, as well, which also tied in nicely with our Christmas in Greece lesson. We learned about the Medes and Persians, as well as Athens and Sparta, in history. The last time we studied ancient history, I asked Turkey and Bunny if they would rather have lived in Athens or Sparta, and their answer this time remained the same–definitely Athens! I completely agree…it sounds like a much more civilized place!

We spent two full days of our mythology studies learning about Heracles (Hercules), and his many labors. I also had Turkey and Bunny write their own Greek myth, based on the gods and goddesses they’ve come to know so well. And, as long as we were learning so much about Greece and myths, we played a new game that I bought: Zeus on the Loose. This is a fun little card game which involves stealing Zeus from other players, and having him in hand when the discard pile totals 100. This is also good practice for mental math, as you have to keep a running total going of the discard pile (usually via addition, but occasionally subtraction, too). I highly recommend it…it’s doesn’t take long to learn, and plays quickly, plus, if you’re into mythology, it’s just a fun concept.

In math, Turkey and Bunny got a break from long division this week, and instead got to focus on equations and finding areas and perimeters. They were very relieved! Ladybug kept working on subtraction, which thankfully isn’t giving her too much trouble. They also kept up with their usual language arts assignments, except for Writing Strands, because I wanted them to work on creative writing with their myths.

We started Bartholomew’s Passage as our current read-aloud, in place of Scotland’s Story. We won’t get back to that until after the first of the year, now. The three Advent story books by Arnold Ytreeide are family favorites, and it’s our second time reading Bartholomew’s story. I can’t believe we’ve been reading them for so long!

The only thing we really didn’t get to was science. Between the baklava making, a rather unpleasant dentist appointment for Turkey, and a Moose snow/sick day, something just had to give. We’ll get back to astronomy next with, with a unit on Mars.

More Christmas School to come–we still have Christmas in Germany, France, Sweden, and Russia to learn about, plus a few field trips on the schedule. It’s a fun, busy time of year!

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