We have been in full swing since the first of the year. It was very relaxing (and very NEEDED) to have two weeks off over Christmas. We went from whining about completing our daily work in a timely manner to being finished by lunch. As a mother and homeschooler, I am so happy to see everyone rejuvenated and productive!
To start this week off with a bang we made an unexpected trip to the Science Center of Iowa. Everyone had a brilliant time, launching hand-made rockets and testing their problem solving skills. There were also bubbles, who can resist a huge tank of bubble juice? Not me!
As we finished several units before break we have spent the week reviewing and testing in Math and Science. We have started fresh units in Spelling and Geography and continue to plug away at French, Finance, Language Arts, Home Economics and Nutrition . Of course ASL, Art, Physical Education and Reading remain a favorite in our family.
In History we continue our study of the Civil War. This week we enjoyed learning about the conditions of the soldiers camps, the enlistment ages and their food. Our 5th Grader was disturbed to learn that the food would often arrive to camp with maggots and was served to the soldiers anyway. During the winter months the soldiers were only issued one extra blanket and a wool coat, which was hardly enough protection against the harsh winter months, especially considering that they were sleeping in make-shift tents on the cold, damp earth. We also learned the average age of enlistment was 18-29 but there was also a large amount of older enlistees. The oldest enlistee on record was a man named Curtis King, who enlisted at the age of 80. He was an Iowan from the Thirty-Seventh Infantry otherwise known as the “Graybeards”. Their regiment boasted over 145 soldiers over the age of 60.
For Music Appreciation we have been studying Antonin Dvorak (An-TON-nee Dee-VOR-zack). His musical brilliance is truly timeless and breathtaking. His life story and music are fantastical. I found it truly amazing that he started out his career in 1866, at the age of 18, making $7.50 per month and by 1892 he was begged to take the position of Director for the National Conservatory of Music in New York City, making an outstanding $15.000.00 per year with four months vacation. One fun fact we learned was that Dvorak’s personal assistant persuaded him to vacation in Spillville, Iowa (a Czech village) before returning to Bohemia.
Please enjoy a taste of Dvorak’s work as you listen to this B minor Cello Concerto
**** Reading Logs are DUE TODAY! I’m hoping to see all of the families who expressed interested to submit tonight. ****