Friday, January 9, 2009

Olympic Festivities

This was the day of our Ancient Greek Finale! What a wonderful few weeks it has been studying Greek culture, myths, history, people, along with the human body (for science). There is SO much more to learn in these areas - which is part of the beauty of unit studies. We walk away knowing so much more than we used to but realizing there is so much more knowledge to gain. We have just whet our children's appetites for more.

Today, the children held the Olympic Games at Mount Olympia. Well, the Mount looked much like our hay barn, but with imagination we were champions at the place of champions! I read through the names of the participants, the athletes repeated the Olympic pledge (they each wrote one and voted on the best pledge to repeat), and I began each event with the trumpet fanfare (otherwise known as the screeching of a recorder). Races were run, ropes were jumped and tugged, relays were...relayed. Fingers and feet were frozen, but all walked away winners.

The Olympic banquet consisted of Greek pizza (pitas topped with ricotta & feta cheeses, spinach, tomatoes, & olives), Greek tortellini salad (tortellini marinated in red wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, & salt and mixed with fresh spinach, red onion, and feta cheese), and, for dessert, Greek lemon cake. A very different meal, but one that most of us enjoyed. Best of all, it was a huge success with my husband!

Once we cleaned up from the banquet, the children presented the play they wrote together based on the fable, "The Boy Who Cried Wolf." It was quite good and it's always fun to see them successfully work together. I never enjoyed doing skits or family plays, but our children seem to live for it!

Then came the awards ceremony. I presented the medals for each race, always beginning with the bronze and ending with the gold. Of course, the gold medalist stood on a stool between the other two medal winners.

We then had a group recitation of Psalm 139:1-15. There are 24 verses in the chapter, but we had a rough time with a couple different verses. It is our goal to have the entire chapter memorized soon.

We topped the evening off with a reading that concluded Book 3 of Mary Pope Osborne's "Tales From the Okyssey" entitled "Sirens and Sea Monsters." This is an abridged version of Homer's Illiad & Odyssey written for children. It has been a great evening read aloud for the family and we will begin book 4 as soon as we can check it out of our library!

I am actually sad to say good-bye to the ancient civilization of Greece, but I anticipate a great adventure beginning next week in Ancient Rome!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Raising Story-tellers

This evening, my 3 year old daughter wanted me to read her a story. In fact, her favorite phrase lately has been, "Read me a story, Mommy." My "favorite" phrase is, "Later, honey." However, even though I don't drop everything and run to read to Gloria whenever she requests a story, I do spend a lot of time reading to this little girl.

Tonight I was too tired to read. So, I took the "easy" way out and made up a story. Of course, the main character's name was Gloria. It was a silly story involving flowers, birds, toads, and jungles but she was entranced. A few more of my children gathered around to listen, as well.

When I finished, Gloria and my 6 year old daughter both wanted to try telling a story. Theirs were even more silly than mine, but I enjoyed listening to the girls develop their creativity. It's hard to make sense of a 3 year old's story, but, with time and practice (if allowed) she will become a great story-teller.

Much better than her mother.