Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Terrific Tuesday

Today we talked about the difference between formal and informal language. If you met the President, would you say, "Hey, what's up? How's it going, bud?" Of course not! What if your best friend said, "Dude! Let's catch a flick!" What if the Queen of England offered you a cup of tea? There are times when informal language and slang are appropriate, and there are times when more formal language should be used.

We also discussed "clipped words" like limo, vet, sub, and dorm. I really, really don't like to use a lot of workbooks and worksheets, but Dr. Fry's Vocabulary Fun isn't too bad. I don't know where the "fun" from the title is--there are no pictures or games--but the lessons are quick and interesting enough to keep the attention of my worksheet-weary kids.

Then the kids settled in to work on their books. Super finished an ongoing project about one of our dogs meeting and rescuing a chupacabra. Don't ask me where that came from. Dude started a new book about Surtur, a Norse god. (He was inspired by one of his favorite Mythmatical Battles cards. By the way, I would like to thank whoever blogged about this wonderful game. I apologize because I can't remember where I read about it, but we LOVE Mythmatical Battles!)

We started math with a "quick six" problem set. Since we did a lot of computation yesterday, I thought the kids would like to do some geometry today. But Dude wanted to play Mythmatical Battles, and Super was really into working on her book. Once she finished writing, I made her join my team (we were Norse and Dude was Egyptian today.) But Dude still won, as usual.

After a snack, we sat on the couch (we had to evict two dogs first) and read Squanto's Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving by Joseph Bruchac and Greg Shed together. What a good book! And the illustrations are beautiful. I drive my kids crazy when we read together, because I'm always stopping the story and asking them, "What does he mean by that?" and "What do think she'll do next?" In this case I really wanted them to understand the tensions between the native peoples and the English, so I asked them to imagine how Squanto must have felt when the ship he was "visiting" set sail for Spain, and how the Pilgrims might have reacted when Samoset walked into their village. After a few more interruptions, Dude finally said, "Mom! Can we JUST READ THE STORY?"

Then Dude wanted to look at How Nearly Everything Was Invented with me, while Super offered to wash dishes. My kids will do anything for extra electronic time!

In the afternoon, Dad took over and they continued their unit on Mesopotamia/Sumeria. Today's theme was professions. They talked about doctor/priests, lawyers, tar-gatherers, slaves, and others. They read You Wouldn't Want to Be a Sumerian Slave and watched a truly frightening video about how people still gather tar with their hands today. Dad highly recommends this website. And this one. Coming soon: a sugar cube ziggurat and cuneiform tablets!

Hope your Tuesday was terrific, too!

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