Sunday, December 7, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up: A Christmas Carol

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.
Charles Dickens

When I reflect back on the past few months, I am in awe of how reading has become a shared experience in my family.  Last night our family gathered together with Aunt Kris and a cousin and through the laughter and the barks of a puppy and the chaos of Christmas preparations, there were references to books we have read this fall.  

For example, the kids were watching an Episode of The Big Bang Theory and from the dining room I heard Sheldon mutter the words,  “Curiouser and curiouser”.  Immediately I piped in, “Name the book!” and Lilah immediately quipped back, “Alice in Wonderland!” 

Then later, as I was going up to bed, leaving the children and Greg at the dining room table playing and intense game of Clue, he mentioned to be not to be alarmed if I hear him in the attic, getting the sleep over mattress down.  I told him I would never be alarmed, for it is not as if the ghost of Jacob Marley would be appearing at the foot of my bed.  

Over and over again book quotes, references and characters pop up in our daily conversations.  I believe this would not happen as much if we were not all experiencing the same book, at the same time, and following it up with very cool literary experiences, like completing projects, going to plays, viewing movie adaptations and attending staged readings.

Yesterday the four of us and Aunt Kris had the true pleasure of attending a staged reading of Dickens A Christmas Carol performed in a gorgeous old room at the Plumb Library.  Seven actors and a handful of props brought this story to life.  There was no set, no lighting, no sound system, no intermission, no concession stand, just readers, and brilliant words to be read and interpreted.

I first read Dickens in high school when I read A Tale of Two Cities.  I may not remember the entire story line, but I do remember loving the book.  Listening to A Christmas Carol made me remember why.  This was the hardest book we have read to date.  There were times I had to pause, reflect, replay and then explain.  I researched The Ghost of Christmas Present and I still don’t have a clear understanding of the symbolism behind his character.  But oh man can Dickens set a scene, and evoke emotion, and show character development, and use language that will bring tears to your eyes.  

Having these words brought to life through a reading was a perfect way to celebrate reading this book.  Far better than a theatrical performance where artistic license is given to the director to alter the story or lines as he or she sees fit.  The very best part of all is when my twelve year old leans into me and whispers softly in my ear, “Mom, this is very cool.”  And all I could so is smile.

Lilah #20 - long division
#21 - remainders
Grace Chapter 3 test - 94 but received some assistance.
#28 - multiple coefficients
#29 - don’t remember title of this lesson
Language Arts
Continuing on with A Christmas Carol.  Attended staged reading of A Christmas Carol performed by Valley Shakespeare Festival.  Watched the George C. Scott version of the movie and loved it. (4 hours)

Grace and I began our book club book, Wendy Mass’ Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life.  Lilah is almost done.

Added quotes to their quote journal.
Lilah added a two page entry in her Crosby Journal.

art journaling with 2 friends (1 1/2 hours)

Final writing group gathering before taking a 5 week winter break.  Group will resume January 9th with the possible addition of two of our previous members who moved to Florida! It was a wonderful session where we worked on memoir, shared several of our pieces and designed our next unit study - fairy tales! (1 1/2hrs)

Week 11: Life Science - Plants.
Week 12: Life Sciecne - Plants

Grace was glued to the tv, getting up early to watch the rocket launch from Cape Canaveral.  She is also very concerned about the typhoon in The Philippines and has been following that closely.
Grace is really getting the hang of tacking and untacking Lilly.  They both worked on ground poles.  Lilah is working on proper body position and Grace is working on cantering with 8 strides with ground poles.
#3 at The Peabody Museum.  Ornithology.  Lilah focused on an owl and Grace focused on a hawk.  I have seen their drawing progress in just 3 weeks.  This class has sparked a flurry of drawing in our house and I hope that it is offered again this winter.  
lesson #4
Dog Training
Crosby did well this week.  A walk beforehand and some playing outside before we left helped focus his energy.  We worked on sit, down, walking on a leash, taking a treat gently, walking through hoops.  He is doing well.  It can be frustrating trying to teach a dog in a group setting. He acts very differently than he does at home.  I will be glad when this class is over in 2 weeks.  I know Grace has dreams of agility with him and that will require a great deal of training so we’ll see....
There has been lots of window shopping for a new piano.  The hammers on our current 1930s Ivers & Pond cannot keep up with the level of Grace’s playing.  We are very sentimentally attached to our piano (it was my Grandmother’s).  It will stay with us with the possibility of being moved to my mothers.  During these store visits, the girls were given mini lessons by the store manager, a very accomplished concert pianist. 

Both girls are preparing Christmas Carols to play at an assisted living center December 14th.  Grace is also practicing songs to play the same day at our church’s annual Christmas Pageant.

Grace also had a lesson with the music director from church to rehearse the songs she will play at mass on Sunday.
Grace volunteered at the kennel Monday.  She made arrangements for Crosby to attend doggie daycare next week while she works.


Sandra said...

I love how shared reading becomes embedded in family culture. We have lots of little phrases that the kids still use that came from their favourite preschool picturebooks. I said something just the otherday and we all knewnit came from a book but we could not remember which one. Google saved the day. Turns out it was from a picture book I probably last read aloud 10 years ago. That staged reading of A Christmas Carol sounds fabulous. We normally read it - and watch a movie version - each year. This year we are doing an online course to enhance the experience. The bird display in your heading looks wonderful - something my bird-lover would appreciate.

Jessica said...

I would love to know the online class. It would be fun to revisit this story next year. Thanks!

Karen said...

I've been so impressed with your reading this year. I honestly don't know how you find the time!! I love that you got to go to this reading. I know it was wonderful. The rest of your week looks amazing too. We haven't done anything in over a WEEK!

Sandra said...

Here's the link -

Just in case I've messed up the link google ed x. Then search for A Christmas Carol. It's a four week course via Berkeley that is supposed to resemble a book club, except it has homework and quizzes. So far the quizzes have been basic multi-choice, and the homework is graded by peers, which can be problematic. There is not a lot of input from the staff. However, the questions to discuss have given us an added dimension to this year's reread.

Post a Comment

Don't You Just Stay Home All Day?

It’s funny because last night at youth group some of the kids friends were discussing homeschooling and really truly felt that we stay home...