Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Journey through Ancient Rome

We finished our study of Ancient Rome here at Wonderwood Academy, and celebrated by taking the entire staff and student body to dinner at Daphne’s Greek Café. Next time we’ll eat out on the patio! It was the closest we could find to Ancient Roman food – the girls just wouldn’t fall for it when we suggested pizza or spaghetti! LOL Guess they learned their lessons well.

These are some of the largest lapbooks the girls have ever done, and are unique for a few reasons I’ll detail as we go along. The spine of our study was the unit on Ancient Rome from Learning Adventures – A World of Adventure.
To accompany the study, we used a bazillion books from our library! We read everything we could find on Ancient Rome, as well as on volcanoes, rocks, and minerals, which was the science focus for this unit.

This was the first time that the girls actually completely organized and assembled their own lapbooks. We only lapbooked Rome, and not the science, this time around. They had a wonderful time! When we finally declared our study done (for this time around!), I handed each dd her zip bag full of minibooks and other projects, and instructed them to divide things into categories. They decided on their own categories, with the Doodle needing only minimal help to combine some of the groups she had that didn’t really have enough minibooks in them to warrant being a category. After doing the classification, they decided in what order they wanted to present their information.

I used clear packing tape to attach three folders together, without refolding them. As the girls did their layouts, then began attaching things to the folders, (we use scrapbook mounting squares in two sizes, as well as colored masking tape) each one ended up needing one extension. Doodle chose to attach hers like a “regular page” in a book.
Jelly preferred an extension page that lifts up to reveal the hidden minibooks.
The file folder tabs serve as dividers for the categories, and the girls labeled them. Doodle only did her labels on one side, so the labels aren’t always visible in the pictures. The end products are lapbooks that resemble thumb-indexed books. We’ll do this style again when we know we have a LOT of information to include.

Our main lapbook support was HOCPP1020, an awesome Project Pack on Ancient Rome from Hands of a Child. It says it is for grades 5 and up, but Doodle (just finishing 3rd grade) did as well with it as our 5th grader, Jelly. The HOAC products are VERY easy to adapt, both up and down.

HOAC also has a lapbook on Gladiators, HOCPP1078. We used the information in the guide, but the girls didn’t want to make the minibooks. (Sorry, HOAC ladies, I tried!) Being girly girls, they just did NOT want so many “mean” things in their books. If you check out their war/soldier pages, you’ll notice that I managed to convince them to include these by making paperdolls, and putting their “clothes” and equipment in a closet!!
(For further insights into our girly girls, see a post I haven’t written yet on the unit study we’re currently involved with – Cinderella Stories Around the World!) If your study goes further than ours did, you may also want to check out HOCPP1092, Romans in Britain.

We also included in our lapbooks some free projects that we got from a Hands-On Teaching Tips newsletter from Homeschool in the Woods. The People of Impact envelope in the lower right corner holds cards with Amy Pak's gorgeous illustrations and information. We use Amy’s time line figures in our Book of the Centuries. They’re just beautiful! You can sign up for the newsletter here. They have a wonderful free new mini unit each month for newsletter subscribers. Unfortunately they aren’t archived, so you need to make sure you save them while you can!! We’re planning to use some of the Time Travelers series when we get to our study of U.S. history.

Another free resource we used was a lapbook on Roman Numerals from Homeschool Helper. This Homeschool Helper lapbook creator, JoAnn S., recommended the book called Roman Numerals I to MM. We read that and had a lot of fun with it, so we turned that into a minibook, too. Roman Numerals turned out to be one of the page divisions in the girls lapbooks.
Evan-Moor Pocket books have been favorites of ours since long before we discovered lapbooking. For this study, we used EMC 3701 History Pockets, Ancient Civilizations – the section on Ancient Rome. Some of the activities we put in the lapbooks, and others the girls added to their Book of the Centuries. Doodle especially likes the “paper dolls/puppets” showing the clothing worn.
We discovered a series of books we fell in love with after just one chapter. Be sure to explore the Roman Mysteries website – there are LOTS of hidden treasures! You can read and even hear some samples from the books, as well as go on a virtual tour of Ostia, a city in Ancient Rome. If you check out the author page, she even includes some music that complements the series and gives ties to why it does. We read the first two books in the series as read-alouds, and I promise you I heard LOTS of “NOoooo… don’t stop yet! Pleeeaassse, Mama, just ONE more chapter!!”
The series is quite true to the period, and so may not be for the faint of heart or the very young, but is really good, so please preview, and see if this would be a good fit for your family. This is a link to the teacher resources available on the site, including how to make a stola out of an old white bedsheet. I’m sure, though we are technically “finished” with our study of Ancient Rome, we will be checking out many more of this series from our local library! If you’re lucky enough to live in the U.K., you can check out the series on the telly! It’s supposed to be coming to the U.S.A. in September (2008). I sure hope we can get the right cable channel!

I’m sure I’ve left out at least a few resources that we used to enjoy a great time with the Ancient Romans. One thing left to do – Jelly wants to go back to the Getty Villa, where we celebrated the finish of our study of Ancient Greece, and this time put our focus on their Roman items.
Hmmm… they also have a great exhibit that focuses on mythological creatures. That would make a nice transition from our magical study of Cinderella stories from around the world. How is a mama to decide what to do next when there are so many incredible things to learn! :o)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

New School Posts Soon

We have been so busy learning that I just plain haven't had time to post about it!

We finished our four-month study of Ancient Rome,(hurray!) so I'll post lapbook pictures soon.

We are currently working on a unit study called "Cinderella Stories Around the World," and having an absolutely wonderful time! It is an e-co-op sponsored by Hands of a Child, and made possible at Wonderwood Academy through a Hogwarts Correspondence Course in the History of Magic. Details to come.

Next up, and I'm not exactly sure of the order yet, are:
* Mythological Creatures Around the World
* Art Appreciation
* Music Appreciation
* The Middle Ages

Busy, busy, busy! :o)

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Monday, April 07, 2008

“I Stand All Amazed.”

Truly, “I stand all amazed.”

It was a weekend like no other. We were spiritually fed and indeed, my cup runneth over.

Last month at our stake leadership training, I was given a new journal with the admonition to use it to record “things of the spirit” – notes taken while listening to a talk in sacrament meeting, participating in a class lesson in Sunday School or Relief Society, studying the scriptures, or whenever an inspirational thought occurs. On the cover, it says, “Allow the spirit within you to illuminate your path.”

I broke in the little book as I soaked up the words of wisdom and counsel given to us by inspired leaders in the 178th Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held last weekend (Apr. 5-6, 2008). I’ve always enjoyed conference (well, maybe not ALWAYS) but this one stands out because the messages from the first to the last were ALL amazing.

The highlight of the conference, though, without a doubt, was being allowed to be a witness as the prophetic mantle descended upon our new prophet and president of the church, Thomas S. Monson. Sharing the experience with Woody made it even more a memory I will treasure always. As Pres. Monson spoke of the on-going battle between good and evil, I have no doubt but that it was a prophetic utterance when he said that we need not despair because we WILL win the war because our God is a God of light and hope!

As the mantle settled on him, I heard it in his voice, and I felt it in my spirit.

“I believe we’re all the more determined to live the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” ~ Pres. Monson

I believe he’s right, and I will follow him. Paraphrasing the words of our new prophet, “Together we shall move forward doing His work… according to His will, and by His inspiration.”

Together, Woody and I will guide our daughters as we all move forward. Our path is illuminated by the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We may stumble occasionally, but we WILL keep moving forward because we won't forget that witness of the spirit.

I do, I do... I stand ALL amazed.

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