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Genevieve

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Everything posted by Genevieve

  1. Depends on who I am speaking to. If it's someone who only understood English, I converse in English. If it's who speaks Chinese and English, we usually mix it up - phrases or just single words. Now, mixing up Chinese, English and Spanish.... *laughs* Now that's fun! But I don't ranslate in my brain. It's almost as if all these languages are one and the same in my brain but the way I express my thoughts depends on which language comes faster out of my mouth. ;)
  2. We are and we are doing well. I am semi-fluent in Mandarin and can read, write and speak. We are using Chinese Made Easy series with the CCTV Learn Chinese videos. So far it's going well enough. The kids aren't fluent but I see progress and for that I'm appreciative since we aren't in a predominately Chinese environment. I admit Chinese takes as much time as Math and English so we have put less emphasis on History and Science but we are a strong believer of being multi-lingual and fluent in Chinese and Spanish. Time will only tell. :) Edited to add that we doing four exercises per foreign language that focuses on four different skill sets : reading, writing, listening & speaking. And I found it vital to review a previous lesson every day even from a few years back. *laughs*
  3. We have only enjoyed Johnny Tremain as an audio cd. Not sure why but we couldn't handle it as a read-aloud nor silent reading. But I'm glad we finally stumbled on the solution because it is my dh's favorite book after Farmer Boy. :)
  4. 8, I was never offended by your comments about plans. If anything, I am encouraged by them. I was thinking out loud elements of Memoria Press plans that I might want to incorporate into my existing plans. When I read your posts, I can see how you do have plans but they serve to educate you. When you have internalize the information, you tweak the existing purchased plans beyond recognition. You have always been very careful to remind us that curriculum and programs are not the magic pill. You can't just swallow it wholesale. Providing an education to our children is organic and unique. We, as teachers, need to educate ourselves and not just switch off our brains when we tick off the box. I understand completely about coping out because now the plans will do its magic. Excitement in learning alongside my children has kept me going. I never teach any grade the same way twice. I personally can't be excited about approaching the same subject in the same way. So don't feel like your comments are counter-productive to this thread or that your advice are as restrictive as pre-fab program. I don't think you bash up pre-fab programs, just the temptation to hand over the reins when you will do Grade X from School Y. I hope this was somewhat clear. I'm desperately eager to read a few books and think through ideas. I think I need to pause all these illuminating thoughts till I process what I have. :001_smile:
  5. I actually think it is helpful to look at different curriculum and lesson plans. It's like gathering collective wisdom into different people's quests for the ideals of truth and beauty. I appreciate Andrew for taking the time to guide our considerations when choosing our materials and teaching approaches. At the same time, there is much to learn in studying pre-fab programs. For example, I, too, was inspired by Dr Taylor's talk on good books. I went in search for the definition and examples of good books. It was like Andrew Kern's illustration on the poetic knowledge of science. You can give a student a dissection of a frog but in the end, it is only a frog's body and not a frog. However, it was only when I read "Tending the Heart of Virtue: How Classic Stories Awaken a Child’s Moral Imagination" did I found peace in my quest. The book has a finite booklist, abeit a very small one. But it is in the author's illustrations and explainations that has helped me recognize a good book when I see one. And this is the part where the broadness of the definition results in such large booklists. A good book has to meet the child at where he is, which brings me back to Dr Taylor's point. Not all books are able to awaken a child's perception of truth. It requires experience and expertise. In our household, we study fairy tales, Little House books, Narnia and Lord of the Rings. These are the core books in our literature program. That's a lot of repetition for me because I have a large family, but these are the books that have spoken to my children best. They are, in my family, the best of the good books. I am comfortable in letting the other good books speak quietly to my children. Not all good books are discussed formally here. Plenty are referred to in those eureka moments. I admit to studying Highland Latin School curriculum after Andrew's endorsement of Memoria Press products. I wanted to know how they have gone about in the pursuit of truth and honestly, I am impressed. In my analysis, I can see why and how they do certain things through Andrew's lens. Take, for example, their flow in their classical studies chart. It makes sense to me that if you want student to appreciate Greek and Rome classics, you need to understand Greek and Roman history. But why Greek and Roman classics. You could use any of the Great Books to teach Truth and Beauty. And here lies Highland Latin's explanation . "The classical civilization of Greece and Rome is the perfect civilization for the student to study and the teacher to teach. It has been thoroughly studied by many generations, and the lessons have been learned and are there for all to see. And we know the end of the story, and therefore we can see consequences and draw conclusions. In addition, all of the issues that we struggle with in the modern world – economic, political, religious, and social – are present in the ancient world in their simplest form. In Greece and Rome, the perennial problems of the human condition can be seen at their beginning, while it is still possible to grasp them, to understand them, and to really see the heart of the matter." Another enlightening moment was when I studied their workbooks. They are very simple, mainly memory and comprehension exercise. I appreciate this more because of Andrew's podcast on memory. Sometimes bringing attention to someone is enough to inspire contemplation and comparison. And Andrew and even Susan have given very simple questions to awaken contemplation. You don't need to have many thought-provoking questions. Sometimes, all it takes is one. The same goes for studying their lesson plan layout. The proportion of the seven liberal arts relative to the sciences shows me an example of priorities according to Circe's recommendations on the order of learning. Of course, it doesn't capture poetic knowledge which is the foundation of a classical education prior to the liberal arts but it does show me one tangible example to guiding principle to " When should we begin the study of the sciences? ", again lifted from Circe website. I've been known to follow closely what I am quietly deemed mentors on this board. But I think they, like pre-fab programs and lesson plans, can only be mentors if I ponder on their suggestions in a state of rest and not one of anxiety. We can never really capture everything in another person's homeschool or curriculum package. But in a state of rest, we can make small changes that can be fundamental in their outcomes.
  6. I've been pondering on this for a long time. Just to be clear, I realized our literature selections have been classic children books regardless of time period we are in. History are mainly biographies and non-fiction books that traces the development of different aspects of human culture like weaponary, food, agriculture and diseases. Historical fiction have unintentionally, yet naturally been moved to "light" and free reading. However, this evolution of our book selections have been made due to time constraints. We just can't read all those books and I'm protective of their free time. Another reason is my own familiarity with classic literature. I was schooled in Asia and read a lot of classic children books. I want to introduce my children to books that have not only survived through time but are also international in their appeal - Grimm Brothers and Robert Louis Stevenson are authors a well-read child in Asia, Europe and America would be familiar with. Madeleine Takes Command, as fascinating as it was, not so much. :001_smile: Can a historical fiction be a good book too? I wonder whether I am missing a point on what makes a good book. I looked at Angelicum's literature list and they do include a few historical fiction though I won't consider GA Henty's books equal to their other selections. The ClassicalHomeschool and AO booklists linked by Circe contain plenty of historical fiction. WTM's literature section list historical novels in the supplementary section. I love John Senior's and the other Circe talks but when I read their recommended reading list, I find a disparity. Perhaps I misunderstood the underlying philosophy. Or is it I misunderstand the purpose of their recommendations? Hope someone can help untangle this mess in my head. :bigear:
  7. It was in "Andrew Kern – Mimetic Teaching and the Cultivation of Virtue". I love his paradigm - " Attention, memory and contemplation leads to creativity" His disapproval of Shurley, Saxon and any grade-school science textbooks was because they don't encourage contemplation with the information. They do quite well with the attention and memory aspect but without actively engaging with the material, there is no ownership and manifestion of these ideas. This last part speaks to the creativity part of the process.
  8. Wanted to add that the Dr Taylor's comment on great requires experiences reminds me to Laura Berquist's assessment on great books not appropriate in high school in her essay at the end of her book, DYOCC.
  9. I agree. It's like the way I cook. A standard joke is I seldom repeat recipes. It's that thrill of learning something new even if I'll be teaching phonics/arithmetic/civil war all over again. It's the way my children operate with regards to chores. Why not apply that same to their education? I'm advocating "hands-on crafts". More along the lines of different focuses and perspectives towards a familiar subject and framework. Yes, the drive to learn is the most natural instinct of children. However, it is also the easiest to destroy and hardest to resurrect. How many times have my teachers told me "Just accept this is the right answer" or "You won't understand the answer. Wait till you are older." I hope you will share your glimpses here because I too, have this fleeting vision but lack focus to make changes. The audio certainly helps clarify some aspects but my vision requires more thought on goals and methodology.
  10. That's what I'm leaning towards. I have the Ninevah book on request. It looks fascinating. So far, I have the Sterling/Landmark book on Roy Chapmans, a great tie-in to China and an autobiography by Peter Larson, perhaps a tie-in with American government.
  11. 8, thanks for sharing! Looking forward to hearing more as you cement them. I want to do something similar with either paleontology or forensic science. However, I am weary about making it too contrived. The former has a much narrow time period but I might want to tie in the evolution of natural history museums and perhaps political climate of American and international excavation. The forensic science would have to be heavily edited but I've turned up some good ideas and might include a history of scientific inquiry. I haven't figured out how to include the more standard and famous biographies and history events. Oh well!:D If anyone has ideas, do share! Otherwise, I'm just have to go along the off-beaten trail!:tongue_smilie:
  12. 8, how do you build a themed study centering those books? Are you including more horse-centered history/culture books? Or using them as a spine to tie in historical events and themes?
  13. Do you have the isbn number? I have a hard time finding catholic American perspectives I like
  14. How are they structured differently? I can view '95 edition online but only the older Catholic version TOC via Seton. Because of my very limited understanding of grammar, they *appear* similar, i.e., going through the nine parts of speech each year but in greater depth. The older Catholic edition also uses less technical terms in the earlier grades, e.g. describing sentences. Also I like diagramming but can't seem to find it in the '95 edition. I do plan to use the writing suggestion across curriculum but need hand-holding in what skill to focus on at what stage.
  15. Eight, Curious... why did you choose the '95 edition of Voyages over the old Catholic reprints. I'm Catholic myself and if the content/presentation is similar, I would have thought the Catholic references a nice bonus. But if the teaching material isn't, then I'll try the newer editions. Thanks!
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