Going slow

In case you’re wondering if I dropped off the edge of the world…I did. I have the worst case of morning sickness imaginable. Well, others have out done me, for sure, but I just don’t feel one bit good. So I s’pect that over the next couple or more months, my blog posting will be sparse…on an as I feel like it basis. Just because I know you want the rest of the story–I’m due the middle of July. That’s so far away.

Composer Study – Handel

It’s already November, so hard to believe. I just now finally feel like I’m in the swing of school and now the holidays are just around the corner. It seems the days, weeks and months go so much faster than I do. We had intended on finishing up this composer study a long time ago. All I can say is at least we are finished now.

Zippy chose Handel as the composer to study this time because my husband and the kids went to a Messiah performance at Benaroya Hall around Christmas time last year. Zippy enjoyed it so much, so she wanted to learn more about the composer, Handel. To learn about Handel’s life, we read the book Handel at the Court of Kings (Great Musicians Series) by Opal Wheeler. It was a very interesting book. The part that seemed to get everybody’s attention the most in the book was the page about Bach walking a long ways to meet Handel and then missing him by a matter of minutes. JD Boy felt so bad that he had tears in his eyes. He tried to figure out how to solve the problem, but I reminded him that they are both deceased at this point.

We also listened to the The Story Of Handel in Words and Music several times and enjoyed that very much. We have found that listening to this series in the car is a great way to learn about composers and their music.

We listened mostly to two albums of Handel music. One was of the Messiah and the other was Water Music. I also managed to find a few other Handel pieces on different CD’s around the house. So we enjoyed immersing ourselves in Handel’s music. I definitely have some favorite pieces and not so favorite, but they don’t necessarily match with my kids. They enjoy uncommon pieces as well as the famous ones. Guess that means that they are definitely appreciating music.

The kids also did some notebook pages to go with this study. Even my three-year-old did one of these.

Handel Pages

Notebook page sources are: (top) from the Handel/Schumann Companion CD (goes with the Opal Wheeler book that we read); (bottom left and right) Great Composers (Coloring Book); (bottom center) Hold That Thought Advanced History Notebook Pages.

Learning about Oak Trees

It seems that oak trees live everywhere in the States. However different types tend to prefer different climates. We were able to actually to observe oaks in two parts of the country, some in the Pacific Northwest and some in the Midwest.

We identified the Oak tree that we saw in Kansas as the Bur Oak  We found this tree at a little park where we stopped for lunch one day. We hunted and hunted for acorns on the tree and on the ground. We found a couple of misshaped nuts. We concluded that the people in the neighborhood must have collected all of the acorns before we visited the park.

Oak Tree

Unfortunately, due to the fact that my camera is broken, we weren’t able to get pictures of the trees that we checked out in the Pacific Northwest.  My kids, along with some of their friends, collected leaves from these oaks as well as all the other bushes and trees in the immediate area and this is one of the last pictures that I got before my camera went crazy.

Autumn Leaves

We had a hard time identifying the oak that we saw in Washington state, as it matched most closely with the California Black Oak, it seems to me. However,  the furthest north that the California Black Oak grows is southern Oregon. The only oak that we could find that is supposed to grow in Western Washington is the Oregon White Oak, but our leaves and acorns did not match this oak. The lobes on the leaves of our trees came to a point and had a little barb on the end. Maybe these trees were planted and were not native to this area or maybe there is more variation to the White Oak than we saw in our field guide.

The kids both chose to illustrate the tree closer to home.

Oak Tree (by Aippy age 9)

Zippy was the only one who did an illustration of the tree. Both chose to do illustrations of the leaves and acorns.

Oak Leaf & Acorn (by JD Boy age 6)

By JD Boy (age 6)

Oak Leaf & Acorn (by Zippy age 9)

By Zippy (age 9)

I nearly forgot to say that we found a couple of excellent books on trees. The illustrations are just beautiful and the information and writing style is charming as well. They are The Big Tree and My Favorite Tree: Terrific Trees of North America (Sharing Nature With Children Book). I promise that if you have children the ages of my children, you will love both books and no matter what age you are, you’ll love the second book.

Our New Zip Line

My husband is still a kid. I wish I was more like him in that respect. He recently decided that he would really have fun if we would put a zip line in for the kids. You notice, who I said would have fun? Well, he has. The rest of us have too. In less than two weeks, we have spent so much fun time on the zip line. Even G’tums, our three-year old rides it with thrill.

Here is a short video of the kids ziplining (And just so you know, even though that isn’t in the dictionary, I did find other people who knew that it was the verb form of zip line.)