Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sir Isaac Newton (more cathcing up)

For science this year, we focused quite a bit of time learning about Isaac Newton and his laws of motion. We were able to get a couple of  kits from the Academy of Science for Kids to help with our learning experience. The boys mostly just did the experiments and participated in some discussion. The girls also used the workbooks that came with the kits and watched several videos. We were pretty impressed and I will look for more opportunities to use their science kits in the future.

Easter Weekend (over 3 months ago)

Catching up is a bit therapeutic and a bigger bit of a pain at the same time but I do it to help me remember the good things in life.

For me, this Easter was especially spiritual. For a few years now, the week leading up to Easter we have focused our scripture study on the last week of Christ's ministry on Earth. This year the experience was enriched with art and music depicting those sacred events and then to top it off we were able to attend The Pageant of Our Lord and Forrest Lawn in Glendale the day before Easter.

We started with The Pageant of Our Lord at Rolling Hills Covenant Church. They did a beautiful job portraying Christ's life through life size masterpieces of paintings and sculptures using live models, music, and narration. When the show ended with a beautiful scene of the resurrection and singing the Hallelujah chorus from Handel's Messiah my soul was soaring. But when the curtain stayed closed and people started rising from their seats I was hit with a wave of sadness along with a myriad of other emotions.  They are wonderful, God fearing, Christian people doing a great service to the community, but they don't know the whole story. They don't know there is more! I was overwhelmed with a feeling of gratitude for the knowledge I have and at the same time a heightened desire to share that knowledge with others. I don't know if anyone outside of my family will read this, but if you do and you want to know what happened after Christ's resurrection and what your purpose here on Earth is, please visit here.

After our experience at Rolling Hills Covenant Church we headed to the Forest Lawn in Glendale. Once again I found my soul soaring. They have exact replicas of many of Michelangelo's works and a spectacular stained glass window of the Last Supper. I knew they had those things and was looking forward to viewing them, but I was not expecting to see Jan Styka's painting of The Crucifixion. Honestly, I had never even heard of it but I will never forget the way I felt when the curtains were opened and I saw the life size image of Christ, standing resolute, the moment before he was raised on the cross. The overwhelming awe I felt literally took my breath away. It wasn't until the tears were falling from my cheeks that I even realized I was crying. I look forward to going again and if it happens to be on Easter weekend, well that would be superb.

Anna, Alahna, Robert and William reading "The Builder's Creed" at Forest Lawn.

I can not even begin to say how much I love this picture!

I truly believe this and pray someday it becomes valued again in our society.
My handsome, happy boys on Easter morning.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Romantic Fanatics

As we started our Romantic Fanatic component, in which we learned about the Romantic period, we met at Mormon Rocks. There, we listened to music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, learned about patronymic names, and also went on a short hike to meet Casper David Friedrich who taught us about atmospheric perspective. Then to top off the day we had a personal tour at a train museum in San Bernardino.

The kids with Friedrich, or maybe we should say Fredrika.

While at the train museum we learned about the Harvey girls. A few days later we ordered the movie form Netflix and now have another favorite!

David had the day off and it was an unusual treat to have him along for a field trip! And don't you just love the little girl hugging Robert. He was so embarrassed!

After learning about Casper David Friedrich we decided do some science and make fog using ice, a match, and a little warm water. It was just a quick little activity for the girls, but the boys loved it and spent about an hour on it. It then led to some great discussion about the water cycle.
Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog by Casper David Friedrich was our inspiration for the experiment. This is also the picture on the front of Robert's journal making it one of his favorites!
Waiting for the fog to form. Anna hamming it up as usual. She keeps things fun and Alahna keeps things sane. They make a good pair.

Being allowed to play with matches just might have been the real reason they loved this activity so much.

If you look closely at the top of the jar you can actually see the fog coming out.

President's Day

Meeting Honest Abe himself and watching some Civil War reenactments at Calico Ghost Town was not a bad way to spend President's Day. We listened to him tell stories of his childhood, then later give the Gettysburg address, and afterward we all joined in to sing some patriotic songs.

We also mined for some gold while we were there, fools gold, that is.

And looky there, Sheriff William just caught an Outlaw. And I must say that is a fine looking outlaw, and sheriff too.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Getty and Getty Villa

Within a weeks period we were able to go to the Getty and the Getty Villa, both free and both very inspiring. The kids and I began this year knowing very little about art and music and while we still have much to learn we now have a good base and a true appreciation for truth, goodness, and beauty. I even overheard Anna defending classical music to a friend recently. Shhhhhh, don't tell her.

The Getty had Woman Reading a Letter  by Vermeer on loan and we had just finished listening to a book about Vermeer so we were all super excited to go see it in person. Well, mostly I was super excited and everyone else was happy to go along, but we all loved the experience. 

These were Alahna's favorite pieces.

Anna's favorite piece from Jaques Louis David, I think?

The kids each had a booklet of certain pieces they were supposed to find. Here is Robert with his book and a piece from Turner that he found.

Alahna, Anna, and William listening to one of the audio tours. At times I found these very enriching and at other times they just seemed to be a distraction. I'm not sure I would recommend it with little kids.
A few days later, at the Getty Villa, the girls attended a Roman Antiquities class and the boys and I meandered through at a very slow pace. We spent most of our time in the children's room where the boys did shadow plays and colored on vases.  At the end of their class the girls' instructor talked to me and told me how impressed he was with their knowledge of the antiquities. (Inside my head I was jumping up and down pumping my fist!)  He also teaches several Shakespeare acting classes and inquired why they haven't attended any. Can you guess what they will be signing up for this coming year? 

Fun with Shadows!

More fun with shadows. They wanted to make sure I got good pictures so they kept posing and then coming out to check the picture and then reposing. So cute!

William loved drawing on the vases.

William-The Vetruvian Man, Alahna-Venus de Milo, Anna-The Thinker, Robert-David

Mozart, Orchestras, and Opera Singers

I am trying to get a little caught up on things. They will not be in chronological order, or order of importance, or any other order for that matter. Why? Because I'm nutty like that.

When we started learning about the classical period we met Mozart, built a mock orchestra, and then spent a couple of hours with professional opera singers learning about what life is like in the opera. We even learned some warm-up exercises and a song from the opera Hansel and Gretel. Later we watched a version of the opera. It was in English and not very good, in my opinion. I have found I prefer them in their original tongue. Until this year we had never experienced an opera. Now Anna has seen 2 live, Alahna and I have seen one live (It was incredible!), and we have all seen several on DVD. Mozart's The Magic Flute was my favorite  because William made me read every single word. He didn't want to miss a thing!

Our mock orchestra. 

The kids and Mozart. Wasn't it nice of him to return from the grave just to meet our school group!

Singing the Children's Chorus from Humperdink's Hansel and Gretel