Week 2 – Challenge 2

My daughter and I met for our 2nd week of Challenge 2.  Here is a recap:

  • Devotional centered on Phil 4:8-9, and we did a topic wheel using our 6 subjects and how they might tie into this verse:

    Finally, brethren, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

    This was an important verse for this week.  We both were getting a little overwhelmed by the workload and the inability to “do it all”. I was convicted that, perhaps – somehow! – we need to be focused more on truth, goodness, and beauty, and getting to know our Creator through our studies, rather than the momentary thrill (or frustration) of striving after checklists.  It’s a hard balance!

  • We tailored our math time to focus on percents and calculating sales tax, wholesale, retail, etc.
  • In Latin, we raced on the whiteboard to write all the forms of SUM in indicative.  Then, we walked about our church parking lot memorizing and quizzing vocab.  We finished with an oral Latin translation from Henle 2.
  • In Biology, I introduced the LAB journal; rules and why the rules exist.  We played with our new microscope and practiced focusing on threads, hair, and cheek cells.  We did not succeed finding 400x with the cheek cells, but we made another attempt after CC and found it hooray!
  • In Logic, we learned about Porphyry and the Porphyrean tree.  We read aloud the intro to Strunk & White.
  • LUNCH – we enjoyed visiting with other tutors and students, and finding out about their day.
  • Literature is our favorite subject:)  My daughter was really expecting Beowulf to be revealed as a phony at the end, or expected some big reveal about his flawed character.  Nope. And so, Beowulf is not her favorite classic; although she thought Wiglaf was the real hero in the story.  We enjoyed talking about heroes and what makes a hero.
  • Last came Western Cultural History for Debate.  We explored art in the Middle Ages, pulling in some examples.  My daughter had an interesting view of this picture:
    It looks like the Baby Jesus is holding a red crayon:)  Seeing it online after the fact, I realize it’s probably a scroll – but my printout that we hung on the wall sure did look like a Crayola crayon!

We’re taking next week off, although we may keep plugging ahead.  We don’t have any breaks planned later in the year before Christmas, so we may need to steal a break later on.

1st Day of High School

Today, my 15 year old and I began Challenge 2 with Classical Conversations.  Last year, she commuted a long distance each week in order to participate in the Challenge 1 program.  She had an amazing tutor, great classmates, and it was a wonderful experience.  The downside was the travel time and the great distance we needed to travel to meet for group projects and events.  We opted to try starting our own Challenge 2 program this year, and decided to run with it – students or no students.

We had a fantastic day!
Yeah, another student or two would be a huge blessing.  But we’ll be finding ways to bring the group learning into our tiny little group of 2 (tutor and student; mom and daughter).  I’ll share a few highlights of our day:

  • We began with a devotional by reading Joshua 1:1-18.  After wandering the desert for 40 years, now the people were going to enter the promised land!  It was a new beginning for the Israelites.  They were continually reminded in the first chapter of Joshua to “be strong and of good courage”.  They were also admonished to keep God’s commandments and to obey Him.  This seemed a good verse to start our year, and tie into our Challenge 2 theme of “Choices”.
  • In Math, we used the CC Trivium tables to warm up with numbers by manipulating a single number to be a whole number, integer, fraction, decimal, percent, and scientific notation.  We also began this seminar with a quote: “A mathematical theory is not to be considered complete until you have made it so clear that you can explain it to the first man whom you meet on the street.” – David Hilbert.  We collaboratively worked some math problems and word problems together from Algebra 2.
  • Latin involved exploration of Napolean, Caesar, and Jesus.  We learned more about Napolean and Julius Caesar, and compared them to each other, and to Jesus.  We reviewed 3rd declension endings, and worked some examples.  We took a walk outside and quizzed each other on forms of SUM.
  • We kicked off our Science – Biology discussion over this article: http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/articles/article/even-insects-have-distinct-personalities/
    I liked how my daughter called personality a “spunk”, and that God has given each of us our own spunk 😉  We previewed what’s ahead, and talked about scientific classification.
  • Logic was a fun discussion of truth, validity, and soundness. We ended the last 10 minutes with a rousing reading of Strunk & White.  Note: when your child is your student, you BOTH need a copy of the book. Listening to correct punctuation is difficult – you really need to see it.  I’ll have that fixed for next week!
  • Lunch. I need to pack food that can be made and eaten faster.  Half an hour lunches go quick!
  • Literature: Beowulf.  We had a great time reading Beowulf together and picking out “kennings” (literary technique).  Our favorite phrase from Beowulf was “unlocked his word-hoard”.  We’re so going to use that! It was great hashing out the plot and mapping the family tree.
  • We ended our day with a glimpse of future speech assignments, and a discussion of How Shall We Then Live by Francis Shaffer. Note: I need to organize a group field trip to an art museum.  I’m looking forward to that!
  • We carried over the *mint* tradition from Challenge 1.  Life Saver Wint-o-green flavored mints were a big hit in my classroom of 2.
  • Having a timeline on the wall that we filled in as names and dates popped up was helpful.  I think I’d want to do that for any Challenge level.  It’ll be neat to see it by the end of the year!  Hint: the timeline is not perfection – we made it on cardstock and wrote with sharpie.  Mistakes were made, and we scribbled and re-wrote.  But the process is a beautiful thing.

How to learn Logic – an update

I’m pleased to announce that I finished Introductory Logic (Nance) earlier this summer.  A few of us moms made a schedule, and I doggedly stuck to it until the book’s completion.  Sailing along at the pace of one lesson per day, 5 lessons per week was do-able, and I only occasionally hit the slight snag.  After that, I confidently strode into Intermediate Logic.  This one has been a bit trickier.  In my previous post, I detailed making charts to aid in my memorization and comprehension.  Intermediate was not the same animal.  Whereas Intro was words and predictable word patterns to reach a valid conclusion, Intermediate was symbols and bore a striking resemblance to math laws.  Intermediate is just plain mathy.  For some of us, mathy = undecipherable alien gibberish.

I sailed through, hit the occasional snag, and then sailed through again; until lesson 14. (Queue suspense music).  And then lesson 15.  Lesson 16.  And now Lesson 17.  I’ve learned a few lessons that make these hiccups easier, and I will share them with you:

  1. Step away from the book.  (Don’t throw the book.  Don’t curse the book.  Walk away.  Walk away.)
  2. Come back to the book at a calmer, happier time:)  Go back a lesson or three.  Re-work them until you feel pretty brave and confident.
  3. Start that tricky lesson at your fresh time of day.  This seems like a no-brainer, but seriously – trying to work a hard lesson while kids were mom, Mom, MOM’ing me to tears was counter-productive.
  4. Have a cup of coffee, and set up a time of – ah, no kids – relaxation, while working the lesson.

Yeah, you’re probably thinking “why would I want to use my relaxation and coffee time to tackle Logic?”  Because the feeling you get finally conquering that massive, ugly string of alphabet letters and alien symbols is amazing!  (Queue Rocky music).  And, you can help your struggling kids with it later in the year.  Ultimately, though, if you can prove “A. Therefore, if B then A”, then you can accomplish anything.  (Bonus points if you can make that into an argument and prove it.  Just kidding!)