Monday, October 5, 2015

Latin Noun Declension File Folder Games & Cues {Printables}

Several months ago, someone asked if I had a noun declension game like our verb conjugation file folder game. Since then, I've been working on this little somethin' a little bit at a time (as much as a toddler and life full of other stuff will allow). And finally, it is finished (I think?)!

First, a little bit about Latin noun declensions.

  1. Latin comes in five different spelling groups called declensions. I liken this to the different spelling groups we have in English. For example, for some words, we add an "s" to make the word plural, in others we add an "es," and in others we change the "y" to "i" and add "es." Declensions are quite a bit more complicated than that, but recognizing them as spelling groups helps me to connect them with that which I already know in the English language.
  2. Once you are working within a spelling group or declension, the Latin noun endings change according to the noun case, which are the duties or usages of nouns in a sentence. For example, a noun may act as the subject of the sentence, or it may act as the direct object. In Latin, the order of the words do not tell us what role the noun is playing in the sentence. It's all about the endings. The changes in endings due to noun case are similar (in a far-fetched sort of way) to the endings of pronouns in English. If "He" is a subject, it ends in "e." If it is used as a direct object, it would instead end in "im" as "him." (Some of the base game board charts here were created to help learn which ending goes with each case within the declension that you're practicing.)

Clear as mud? I thought so! I hope not! It's my own layman's way of understanding declensions and maybe it will help another person who is just learning Latin?

As I started pulling this together, I also decided to include some memory aids as we did a couple of years ago with the verb conjugation picture and story cues.

Because of my tendency towards indecisiveness, we have choices here....

Friday, October 2, 2015

What about Worldview? {Studying Ancient Religions}

"Learning to discern the worldviews behind the literature we read or the entertainment we watch is a powerful safeguard against becoming the 'simple person' to which Solomon referred.*  Many people absorb their worldview from the influences around them rather than learning to think critically about what is being communicated and to evaluate whether or not it is true and worthy of belief." (A Young Historian's Introduction to Worldview, page 33)
*A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps." Proverbs 14:15
Last year our family struggled in a spiritual sense as we took our first steps into learning about different world religions.  I wasn't sure how to balance such discussions; I want my children to know about other religions, but how do we really grasp it when we already have a worldview of our own though which we view all other religion? And... how in the world can we study other worldviews without delving too deep too early and confusing our children? And... how can I help them to understand such things when I understand so little myself?
This does not apply so much to my younger children as it does to our oldest, who has already entered the Logic stage even though he still has two more years before he enters the Classical Conversations Challenge Program.  Among many other things, we've had (what I consider) advanced studies in apologetics.  We've even discussed the Nuremberg Trials as he struggled with the whys of the holocaust.  It was appropriate and timely for us to address this issue of worldview. We all have learned so much from this week-long study (in a hotel room).
The Young Historian's Introduction to Worldview:  This program comes as a kit which includes a workbook, pre-printed cardstock activity sheets, 3D glasses, pre-cut wrapping papers, and three six-by-six boxes.  Surprisingly, it's only four lessons long, but the length of each lesson lends itself to being completed over one or two days (or even a week).  Each section includes a lesson on worldview, hands-on activities, literature activities, and a "Table Talk" discussion guide.  Although everyone in our family participated to some extent, this program is recommended for Grades 5-8 (although I learned just as much as - or even more than - my children did!).
"Worldview is the lens through which people see and understand...."  (page 6)  First, we defined worldview using an observation in seeing.  We each took our turns staring at and describing a geodesic picture using different lenses.  
We discovered what worldviews have in common by completing a question sort activity.  It never occurred to me that all worldviews answer the same BIG questions.  
The rest of the study examined the four basic beliefs of four worldview families using boxes wrapped with different materials that represented the basic beliefs of a worldview family.  In the end, we had a brown box, a shiny box, a woven box with hanger, and a mirrored box. 
After wrapping the boxes, we divided the answers to the those same BIG questions, classifying them under:  Naturalism, Pantheism, Monotheism, Polytheism.  These were the eyes, or "lenses," of each of our boxes.
We then took a look at a summary of each world religion and classified it under its respective worldview family.
[Not the best photos, as we completed this entire study in a hotel room.]
Although this was a highly simplified version of world religion study, it was exactly what we needed as an introduction before we embark on a deeper study of Christian Theology and Ancient Polytheism in future months!  It helped us to understand the importance of worldview, how it impacts culture and history, and the importance of our worldview and how it affects all of the important decisions we face in life.  By focusing on the worldview families, we were able to understand so much more about world religion as a whole.  The concrete examples simplified a complex, abstract concept. [We even talked about the pantheism in Star Wars!] In short, this study was AMAZING. 
A Young Historian's Introduction to Worldview is written from a neutral standpoint but encourages families to ask and answer questions that help to solidify the family's beliefs while exposing them to the beliefs of others.
No matter who you are, worldview matters.  
So... what do you believe?
This guide can be purchased from Brimwood Press, or you can purchase it as part of the Conversations Worldview Kit, a nine-month study into worldview.

The items included in the Conversations Worldview Kit aim to build a Christian worldview in students and parents as they approach the topic from different angles. In addition to A Young Historian's Introduction to Worldview reviewed in this post, Conversations from the Garden teaches worldview using Socratic dialogue to explore the first chapters of Genesis to form a Christian understanding of the world. Christian Theology and Ancient Polytheism addresses worldview as an introductory, middle-school-to-high-school version of a college-level religion course in which students are enabled to discover and conclude that Christianity is the true worldview. And finally, Historical Novels for Engaging Thinkers offers (in novel form) four contrasting worldview lived out by non-Christian protagonists. Although these novels are written about the lives of non-Christians, they provide material to practice comparing and contrasting others' beliefs to Christianity.

As a set, the Conversations Worldview Kit offers an in-depth comparison of Christianity to ancient paganism. Although we are not battling the religions of the ancient world, our culture is indeed saturated with idolatry, and this study prepares students for secular thoughts and arguments against the Bible as it provides knowledge that can protect against a faltering faith. If you are interested in the kit, please read Brimwood's detailed explanation on how to use the kit and for what ages it would be most appropriate!

To read more about the wonderful Brimwood studies we have completed, click here.

Free Shipping through October 31, 2015!  

During the month of October, take advantage of free shipping on the Introduction to Worldview or Conversations Worldview Kit.
Code for Introduction to Worldview is  BWPWV (applied to your order as a $4.55 credit)
Code for Conversations Worldview Kit is OctWV for free shipping on the entire order.

We received this product in exchange for a review. Please know that I would not so highly recommend anything I did not feel was worth others' time, effort, or money.  The opinions expressed herein are my own and have not been influenced by any outside source.  We truly enjoyed this program and will likely purchase other products available from Brimwood Press in the future.  This post contains affiliate links.  To find out why we use affiliate links, I encourage you to read our disclosure policy.  By using our affiliate links, you not only allow us to invest in this site and provide Half-a-Hundred-Acre-Wood-funded giveaways to our readers, but you also support ministries from around the world. It may even one day bring my husband home from his rotational career overseas!

Article originally published October 14, 2013. Updated and republished October 2, 2015.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Making of a Gigantic Music Staff

Well, I guess we can add this to the list of things I never would have thought to do had it not been for our Classical Conversations community - and those precious 4 and 5 year olds who are too cute (and quite perplexing) when being introduced to music theory.

For years now our community has had a gigantic music staff, but this year found us in need of a new one.  So... equipped with a roll of black duct tape,  a 52"x70" vinyl tablecloth (affiliate link),  a marker, and a ruler, I ventured to make a new duct tape creation...

The clear-as-mud method of making a gigantic music staff:
  1. Measure 11 inches from the bottom of the tablecloth and mark several spots as a guideline for the bottom staff line. 
  2. Align the bottom of the duct tape along these marks for the bottom line of the staff. 
  3. Measure 9 inches from the bottom edge of this first line of duct tape to mark a place to align the top edge of the next line of duct tape (as shown in the above photo by the green arrow). 
  4. Continue until you have five lines of duct tape. 
  5. After you have the five lines and four spaces that make up the music staff, tape a vertical bar line to each edge to hold the tape in place.
To make the treble clef, refer to a picture of a treble clef and use a bajillion (or maybe just 50) smaller pieces of duct tape. My favorite way to draw a treble clef is to start at the bottom to make the letter "J" and then come straight up to make the letter "P" and then circle around to make a curvy letter "G" or a number "6."

On second thought, after reading back over my instructions, I'm not so sure this was all that helpful. But, at least I have some pictures here that show the idea?

You can make paper-plate, cardstock, or construction paper note-name (letter) labels and note symbols to introduce music theory to younger students. (Pictured below are a whole note, half note, and quarter note made of paper plates and straw flags).

During review, we have students stand on the spaces and lines to represent the note names. You can even use a bean bag to play games as you review the notes with your students - or have students play notes as you attempt to keep up with them by hopping from line to line or space to space on the staff.

Looking for more tin whistle and music theory ideas? Visit our page, Tin Whistle and Music Theory for boatloads of other resources!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Drawing Stick-Figures through the Bible {Review & Giveaway!}

There are certain things our family comes back to because they are such a joy to us. There are certain things we come back to because they help me as the parent-teacher stay on track with teaching. There are certain things we come back to because they incorporate and integrate multiple thoughts/subjects and provide ah-ha moments we find much delight in. For our family, all three of these hold true in Grapevine Bible Studies. In fact, we've enjoyed drawing stick figures to memorize persons, scriptures, and events concerning...

the Resurrection
the Birth of Jesus
Creation to Jacob (Old Testament Overview, Part 1)
Joseph to the Promised Land (Old Testament Overview, Part 2)
The Jordan River to the Temple (Old Testament Overview, Part 3)
The Prophets (and Kings of Israel) through Nehemiah (Old Testament Overview, Part 4)

After completing the Old Testament Overview Study (Parts 1-4), we embarked on a review last year using the Old Testament Catechism Study, which set us up for a new journey this year as we stick-figure our way through the New Testament.

New Testament Overview: What It Is

Written for ages 3 through adult, the four parts of New Testament Overview comprise a chronological Bible study that helps to solidify our understanding of each major section of the New Testament as follows:

  1. The Birth of John to Jesus's Ministry
  2. Jesus's Ministry to His Trials
  3. The Cross the the Upper Room
  4. Acts to Revelation
Each book starts with a Timeline Overview, followed by 10 lessons that delve deeper into the main events recorded in that portion of the New Testament, followed by a Final Review at the end of the study. This gives a total of 12 weekly lessons or about 45 daily lessons. Our family has taken the first six weeks of our school year to complete the New Testament Overview: The Birth of John to Jesus's Ministry and is now preparing to embark on a study of Jesus's ministry through his trials. In Grapevine Bible Studies, you use the elements of shape (OiLS) to make drawings that represent various events within the Bible. 

Although there exists room for creativity, the Teacher's Manual includes all the details and drawings for each event or topic for parents like myself who may need some extra guidance.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

How to Draw a Crayfish & Crayfish Anatomy

The children in our Classical Conversations community are recording their thoughts, observations, and conclusions in a science journal this semester. The science journals consist of blank copy paper stapled together with cardstock covers. 

For me, when drawing from a specimen, it can be difficult to know where to start. When I contemplated ways to help tutors and parents/students with the grammar and drawing of a crayfish, I kept searching the Internet for something I could not find, so... I made an attempt here to draw up something that might help. It has not yet been tested, but I thought I'd share it in case others are looking to draw a crayfish while identifying its anatomy. 

This does not take the place of observation, but it is simply a tool to connect what is difficult and new for some of us. (In the past we have had crayfish anatomy printouts for students to label; this will be the first time we will be drawing from scratch.) Our plan is to examine and identify the parts of the crayfish on the specimen and then review each part as we draw and label a crayfish in our science journals.

Download the files below: