Friday, March 21, 2008

Update on Learning

After taking a week off from school, the girls are very excitedly getting back into the swing of things. It's so much fun to see how school can be kept from being facts learned in a vacuum. Just the other day, Olivia asked a question about something. I can't even remember what it was, but I do remember that it related to something she'd been learning in math. I was able to show her how those pesky subtraction facts and the other things she's been learning in math could be put to every-day use. It was exciting for her!

History is quite fun right now. We are studying ancient world history this year, and with the help of our timeline we've been able to really see how it all fits together and how it fits with Biblical history. This week we've learned about the conflicts between the massive Persian empire and the relatively small and divided Greek city-states. We've learned about how King Darius had conquered most of the known world of the time, but those stubborn Greek cities were causing him great frustration. He and his successor King Xerxes were determined to conquer Greece! What is exciting is to tie that in to Bible history we know so well. King Darius appointed satraps to rule his conquered territories, and the Bible says that there were satraps under the rule of a certain King Darius who were jealous of Daniel and set up the events leading to his time in the lion's den. Meanwhile, the name Xerxes is familiar from the book of Esther. Although it is sometimes difficult to accurately line up all events of history, Xerxes' gathering of allies to continue the war against the Greeks could line up with the great banquet at the beginning of the story of Esther. The girls are absorbing all of this information with great excitement! It's fun to see how the old ties in with the new, even in history!

In science we are back to studying space after taking a brief break to learn a little about electricity. We are currently learning about the solar system. In reading, we are delving into the life of Helen Keller, a story that used to mesmerize me as a child. Olivia is fascinated by the concept of a world of silence and darkness and how Helen overcame those obstacles.

Angela is showing her readiness to read. She is soaking up spelling concepts. Olivia is teaching her to spell all sorts of words. She picked up a ball the other day and said, "B-A-L-L, ball!" When she found out what we were having for supper last night, she said, "Mommy, we're having P-I-Z-Z-A for supper!" She still hasn't quite figured out how to apply phonetic concepts to similar words, but hey - I've got to have something to teach her in kindergarten!! :-) Of course, she is regularly asking how to spell things, and I usually give Olivia the chance to spell the words first. Olivia is becoming quite the speller thanks to these fun little exercises!

Off to make lunch for the girls and let them pick out a piece of chocolate or two in honor of American Chocolate Week! A very thoughtful mother brought each member of the MDO office staff a small bucket full of chocolate as an Easter gift. I suppose maybe I can share a piece or two from my bucket!

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