Tuesday, September 04, 2007

It's because of days like this...

Technically, we have a schedule. It’s a loose one (a living document of sorts), but it’s a schedule… goals for the year, for the semester, for the week, for the day. Some days, the schedule bends and twists and some days we just put our fingers in our ears, hum, and pretend we don’t know it’s there. These days may be light on “school” but they’re heavy with education. Today was one of those days.

While checking the news for a weather update, a story came on about the conviction of a high school student (the first of 6 to go on trial) after a series of escalating race-related violence at the high school in Jena, LA that ended in the beating of a student. Tension at the school began a year ago when black students apparently sat under a tree where white students traditionally sat. The next day, there were three nooses hanging in the tree. From behind me Terzo asks, “Mom, what’s a noose?”

“Remember the end of Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? when the four men are standing under the tree and there are ropes with loops above their heads hanging from the tree? Those are nooses.” (Praise God for movies! They can be such a great teaching tool.)

“But why were the kids mad about the nooses in the tree?”

Thus began our impromptu lesson on the American involvement in the slave trade, the Civil War, the KKK (with more references to Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?), Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and the Civil Rights Movement… the elementary level, Cliff Notes version.

During lunch, Primo mentioned the movie Flushed Away, which we watched over the weekend. “What other movies have we seen that take place in England?” she asked. Secondo is happy to answer with her favorite movie, “Peter Pan!” This begins a brief listing of movies (mainly cartoons) set in England: The Great Mouse Detective, Winnie the Pooh. Beauty and the Beast?” someone asks. “No. That’s France.” Thus begins the game of calling out movies and seeing if we can figure out where they are set… or if we can stump everyone else. Seizing the chance to test deduction skills, I ask, “What about The Emperor’s New Groove?” (Sneaky Mommy.) Frodo goes to get our copy of The Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of World History while I begin giving hints:

“Where do llamas live?”

“Where are ponchos part of the traditional costume?”

“Who built step temples?”

We finally have it narrowed down to ancient Central or South America… probably Inca, Aztec, or Maya. Frodo reads the pages covering “The People of Ancient Peru”, “The Olmecs”, “Ancient Cities of the Americas”, and “Empires of the Andes”. In this last, we read about the city of Cusco, Peru (in the movie, the Emperor’s name is Kuzco) and see a picture of a knife shaped like a Chimú noble (the headpiece on the noble looks like Kuzco’s crown). Therefore, we conclude that the story takes place in what is now Peru, but we aren’t sure if the characters are supposed to be Chimú or Inca.

Secondo hops up from the table to go check the world map that we have posted in the hall. I assume she is going to find Peru on the map, but when she comes back she announces, “I know where Aladdin takes place! Agra Bah!” I ask her if she can find it on a map. (To be honest, I wasn’t even sure how to spell Agra Bah; I thought it was Aggraba. I had to look it up and found out that the Taj Mahal is in Agra... no “Bah”. Who knew?) Frodo reminds the kids that the original story of Aladdin is from One Thousand and One Arabian Nights. “So it takes place in Arabia! Where’s Arabia?” Back to the map we go and discuss what modern countries now cover the area known as Arabia.

This leads to a discussion of the coolest sounding place names (which, of course, we look-up on the map). Addis Ababa. Djibouti (which is ruled by a president, but Frodo, in his 3rd grade humor mode, wishes was ruled by a sheik… Sheik of Djibouti. Get it? *snort* Hee hee.) Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

Yes, we had “school” today, too. Latin finally clicked… yay! And Quarto stunned us all during our Bible time. For Bible, we alternate time between Veritas Press Bible Cards and Training Hearts, Teaching Minds (which goes through the Westminster Shorter Catechism). Today, we reviewed question 21. Secondo answered first (only getting stuck once), but I noticed that Quarto’s mouth was moving along with Secondo’s answer. Terzo’s turn came next, and again Quarto’s mouth was moving through the answer. When Terzo was done, I asked Frodo to let Quarto go next:

Frodo: Who is the redeemer of God’s chosen ones?

Quarto: The only redeemer of God’s chosen is the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God… um

Me: Wh…

Quarto: …who became man. He was and continues to be God and man in two dis… dis…

Me: Tuh

Quarto: … distinct natures and one person forever.

Ha! He did better than I did!

I love days like this! This is why we homeschool.

Note: Frodo felt the need to add to our "adult education" by sharing with me what a merkin is. Apparently, this came up in the Shakespeare class he is TA-ing. (BTW, from now on I am calling Shakespeare the "Baudy Bard".) There are just some things you don't need to know. Seriously, if you feel the need to look it up, I don't recommend having the kids around. Aren't you glad I mentioned it? *wry grin*


Petunia said...

Eeewww! I just had to know.

We went through Training Hearts, Teaching Minds when my youngest was 2. He surprised us all by reciting the answers one night on the second night of the week. He had memorized the answer by the second go-through! It was great.

Sounds like a wonderful day.

Aduladi' said...

OYE! I had to know, so I Googled. Not only did I get a description, but a picture as well in the search results.

I think that will be burned in my brain forever. Mercy.

Queen of Carrots said...

This is terrible, but I knew what it was. Without looking it up. I have read a lot of books of obscure words, and let's face it, obscure improper words get included a lot more than obscure agricultural implements.

Now I find myself wondering where it is in Shakespeare. Never mind. My mother always thought Shakespeare was dirty, so I read him when she wasn't looking.