Saturday, December 01, 2007

Ancient Greece at Wonderwood

We have been studying Ancient Greece at Wonderwood Academy since the end of May. We use Learning Adventures, A World of Adventure, as our main curriculum. Our favorite add-ins are hands-on history kits and Color and Learn coloring books from Hands and Hearts, lapbooks from Hands of a Child, pocket books from Evan-Moore, and notebooking pages from NotebookingPages. We took from the middle of June through the end of August off this year, which is a month and a half longer than we usually take for "summer vacation". (My hospital stay and convalesence accounted for the extra time.) All that to say that our three-month study of Ancient Greece is finally coming to a close. We have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves as we immersed ourselves in all things Greek, including Aesop's Fables, Greek Mythology, and a study of the human body.

We actually haven't finished putting together our lapbooks quite yet, our final "assessment" project - we'll do that right after Christmas before we start our new unit study of Ancient Rome. Last year our holiday was anything but relaxed and festive so we've decided to take December and "study Christmas!" More about that later.

We don't "do" testing here at Wonderwood, because there are so many more accurate ways to find out just how much we're learning. A review as we put minibook projects and photos into lapbook form is usually more than sufficient. So the "final exam" we did for Ancient Greece was a bit unusual. It consisted of 15 questions. You can find it here.

You won't, I'm sure, be as thrilled as the girls were when the screen informed us: "You have won a million pounds! (Must have been a British programmer.) Congratulations!" The celebration was huge as Jelly and Doodle realized just how much they really had learned about Ancient Greece. Truly, I only had to assist the girls' memories twice as we proceeded through the questions, and there was just one (a question about an exact date, which we never focus on) that Jelly completely guessed at and got right. If we did grades, the girls would most definitely get an A for this unit, not because a test declared it, but because they know for themselves just how much they learned.

Yesterday they had a chance to share their enthusiasm and knowledge of Ancient Greece with some homeschooled friends as our family sponsored a field trip for our local support group. We went to the Getty Villa, in Malibu, CA. A wonderful time was had by all! You know it was a success when Jelly asked if we can go there again, and "just explore on our own." We did two tours - one of museum highlights, and the other focusing on architecture and gardens, and also spent some time in the Family Forum, a hands-on place that lets kids really get into things. The girls both correctly identified all three types of columns (Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian) found at the Villa, as I pointed and asked everytime we entered a new area! Both of our tour guides were impressed with the kids and were great at keeping things at the right level and really interesting. I highly recommend this field trip. We'll be going again when we finish our study of Ancient Rome.

We're going to eat Greek food today at Daphne's, and then we're going to a Creche Exhibit. We started this tradition last year, and were more than amazed by the hundreds of nativities from around the world, from super simple to incredibly intricate. The experience also includes a concert, with musicians from around the county, including our own Woody, who will be featured in a selection from Amahl and the Night Visitors. When we get home tonight, our family Christmas devotionals begin. And tomorrow is the Doodle's 8th birthday.

Whew. But the good news is, it doesn't feel crazy-busy, just wonderful Wonderwoody fun!

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