Friday, December 17, 2010

Percy Jackson

When I read this book well over a year ago,  I dreamed of reading it with my girls.  It is a PERFECT read aloud book.  So far we are reading it, mostly a chapter at a time.  Sometimes we alternate reading, each taking a page.  My Aunt gave me a great suggestion for choral reading.   Sometimes I read more than they I have lately since Lilah has been so sick.  Next to us we have our D’Aulaires book of myths to refer back to.  I want to get the Usborne book of mythology as well.  We also have several books out from the library and have been using Centaurs, Sirens and Other Classical Creatures by Robin Palmer often.
On the wall I have the Zeus-Hera family tree.  As we come across a God we add a post it note with the God’s name, his or her offspring from the book and what they are the God of.  Secondary Gods like Pan and Eros, are placed under a separate category.  We have learned that Theseus and Perseus are both Heroic Myths and there are also cosmic myths.  
Today while reading, Lilah successfully guessed that Poseidon is Percy’s father.  It helped that we read The Odyssey before Percy Jackson so she was able to piece the clues together easily.  Grace commented that Camp Half Blood would be fun.  For her, it would!  She loves archery, running, boating, biking, basically anything athletic!  We decided that she and Lilah will make a list of all the components of the camp - the cabins, the forest, the lake, the ocean, the farmhouse, the strawberry fields, etc and we will make a gigantic floor map of Camp Half-Blood.  I can’t wait to get started!
Then the girls came up with the idea of a Camp Half-Blood party where they would do the things that they talk about in the book.  I recommended waiting until the spring or early summer when we can have boffer fights, races, swimming contests and other outdoor activities.  December in CT is not the best time for an outdoor party unless it is on a frozen pond with a fire pit.  Wait.....they have one of those in the book!
When we get really into something I always stop and think that this is why we homeschool.  I know that this can happen in public school too.  I know teachers who have done unit studies far superior to what I can do.  I rely heavily on my computer because unlike a school teacher who has the opportunity of trying a unit, then fine tuning it over and over again until it is just how they like it, I get one shot.  So I have to make it the best I can.  We won’t be revisiting the ancient Greeks in our history program any time soon. But we can do it in the comfort of our home, with our friends, and explore the concept in any way we choose.  Because these are their ideas, they will be very invested in the work.  The key is to capitalize on the idea quickly before they move on to something else.  Today we will begin the list of what to put on our map/mural and after our next read aloud we will begin!  
I think the other key to success is making their learning come alive in as many ways as possible.  For example, when we were walking in New York City this week, we stopped on the corner of 5th and 42nd.  This is the ever-impressive New York Public Library.  It is mentioned in Percy Jackson as an example of Greek influenced architecture.  We admired the tall white columns, similar to the ones we saw in the video we watched on Ancient Greece.    Then outside Grand Central Station we looked again.  Same similar white Grecian columns.  Huge statue of an eagle.  Didn’t Chiron say that the eagle was the sign on Zeus?  I am surprised that no Percy Jackson bus tour popped up in the City likes the ones for Seinfeld, Gossip Girl and Sex in the City.    There are so many monuments and buildings mentioned that are landmarks of New York City.
Today in the car we were driving home from church and Grace made reference to Mrs. Dodds, the fury masked as a substitute teacher.  It was funny and witty and showed her comprehension of the story.  History is the cornerstone of our curriculum.  I love it.  The girls love it too.  It pulls in our reading.  Most of the myths we have borrowed from the library are picture books.  Beautifully illustrated, complicatedly worded, retellings of ancient stories.  My girls know that picture books are not just for babies, they are an important resource for our learning.  History also pulls in writing.  They have been writing summaries of the myths they read.  The art projects we do are history based as well.  
I am looking forward to the new year.  While I have enjoyed the time we have taken this month to slow down, enjoy the season and celebrate with friends and family, I am ready to get back on track.  I want to continue Percy (we are 1/2 way through it) but I am ready to move on in SOTW, to the Romans.  I am ready to learn what new Audubon classes will be offered.  I want to explore more science resources for my girls, including taking the girls to visit my Aunt for her gifted .  I need a base for science.  Something that builds off the nature studies we have been involved with.  That is where my girl’s interests lie.  Perhaps Apologia’s Botany?  Or The Outdoor Hour: Nature Study Close to Home.  Ideally I would love to partner with another family for this.  Make it a set date/time.  Science needs to be shared, at least is does for me.  The wonder of the world around us is to great to be kept to one’s self. 
The new year is very enticing to me.  I feel like we have overcome the hurdles of adjustment.  Now we can really get into this homeschooling experience and live life fully.  But for the next two weeks, we will continue to live life slowly, focusing mainly on math and Percy Jackson as our formal lessons.  We will continue to experience the arts, practice our faith, visit with family, and count our blessings.  As this year comes to a close, I am mystified by all we have accomplished, and thankful for those who have helped me along the way.


Marcie said...

If you ever have the time or the desire I would love to know all that you are doing with Greek Mythology. My son has read all of the Percy Jackson books, I need to read them but haven't yet. His interest in it all overwhelms me, but I love that he is so interested in something. I would love to pick your brain about all that you are doing, have done, and will be doing.

Jessica said...


I will write down what we are doing and email it to you. We are not rushing though it. We read about a chapter a day, sometimes a little more. I am letting their questions and comments lead the way. Grace just told me tonight she could study Ancient Greece forever and become and expert on Zeus because she loves it that much!

Karen said...

I love reading about all the awesome things you did. I don't think I will ever stop reading aloud to Kei, I just love it.

Have you ever heard of "The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate"? It would go along with a nature study so well! I would love to be close enough to be 'the other family' to do the nature with you. Hmmm with video and blogs and email maybe we could figure something out. :)

Karen said...

Here is a link I found that you may like.

Jessica said...

Karen, Thank you. I really appreciate that no matter what I write about you have an amazing resource for me that I have never heard of before. I hope you realize what a tremendous help it is!
I am thinking about the video and blog idea.........I am talking to my friend about science soon and when we figure out what we are going to do, I will let you know and see if we can all link in together somehow. How exciting!!!

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