Category Archives: Homeschool 6th grade

Songwriting Workshop for Teens

We are so excited to be hosting this workshop for teens with singer/songwriter Hayley Reardon

March 12th 2016

Ashfield MA

HayleyReardon

In 2012, The Boston Globe Magazine named her a Bostonian of the Year for both her music and her work to pair it with a message of teen empowerment. The feature article characterized her as “a confident, radiant teenage singer/songwriter who is helping to pen the next chapter of the Boston folk scene….while Reardon is rapidly making a name for herself under the stage lights, it could be said that she’s having a bigger impact on her peers across the country as an effective teen-to-teen ambassador, sought after by schools nationwide.”

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Join Hayley Reardon in this intimate setting as she leads a workshop for teens on Song Writing.
This workshop will focus on the process of songwriting and offer tips for getting started and fleshing out initial song ideas. We will discuss chordal and structural choices and how they can influence the direction of a song. Beyond the practical aspects, the workshop will emphasize uncovering unique, authentic voices as artists and songwriters, as well as the power of learning to express ourselves (through song or whatever art form you might choose!) Lastly, we will touch upon performing and creative confidence.

The participants are invited (not required) to come prepared with either a song idea/concept or unfinished song that we can work on together by developing a list of related images and outlining a structure.

Noted for her thoughtful, vivid songwriting and engaging stage performance, Hayley has spent the past five years sharing the stage with acts like Tom Rush, Peter Yarrow, Buskin & Batteau, Christine Lavin, and opening for the likes of Lori McKenna, Mark Erelli, and Catie Curtis. She has been selected for official showcases at Folk Alliance International and New England Regional Folk Alliance, as well as The Boston Folk Festival, New York Songwriter’s Circle, and Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Emerging Artist Showcase.

Workshop limited to 15 participants
$50
for more info /to register please email blazingstarclinic@gmail.com

Hayley will also be performing a concert that evening! with local youth band “Felixis Jinx “opening!HayleyReardonPoster (1)

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Canoptic Jars, Blue Period, Bulbs and Basketball…

 

We are still plodding along.

In concluding Zoe’s study of Ancient Egypt we headed over to a friends house, who is a potter and she led us in a Canoptic jar Project….Canoptic Jars were used by the Ancient Egyptians during the mummification process to store and preserve the viscera of their owner for the afterlife. They were commonly either carved from limestone or were made of pottery.

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Though still fired and glazed the building stage is done. We used the coil method and slowly built up the jars.

 

Here she is working on her Anubis Canoptic JarCanoptic jars

My canoptic jar became more of an urn! I have had this owl head for years and finally found a use for it!

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The poem inscribed on the jar/urn is a Mary Oliver poem- Thirst! I’ll post more photos once they are glazed and fired!

 

As for art studies we discovered a new favorite artist a German artist Mary Bauermeister and her Lens Boxes, also known as her NYC Decade- There was a showing at the Smith College museum of Art, followed by a hands on art project! Very Inspiring.

Here is a sampling of her work followed by our projects…

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I loved the combo of natural findings and ocean items, and the botanical art look, with a zentangle feel. Reminded me a little of another favorite, self-taught artist Joseph Cornell (1903–1972)who also created boxes using found objects, pages from old books, and dime-store trinkets,  transformed everyday materials into curiosity cabinets … He was a kind of magician, turning everyday objects into mysterious treasures.

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Here is mine, I am now eager to make a natural curiosity lens box coffee table! Already collecting items for it!

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We have also been studying Picasso specifically his Blue Period, and the beginnings of abstract art and Cubism.  Here is her interpretation of abstract cubism! (collage and pastels)

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A trip to the Smith College Botanical Gardens bulb show last week introduced us to Impressionism…..when we are done with Picasso we will move onto the Impressionists. The flower show was a great way to introduce Impressionism and to compare to the abstract, realist and cubist styles. Zoe seems to really like history of art and history of music.

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Being at the flower show also allowed to take some pictures as she has been eager for good photo project

Here are creation:

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In other non art related news! Basketball Season finally ended! We have Saturday mornings back! But rejoice not for long as baseball/softball season begins tomorrow!

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The song writing is coming a long well….as soon as i get a chance to record her I’ll post her newest song “Send Romeo”

We are using the rest of April for finish off some loose ends, finish the Coursera Guitar Class, complete our Black History Month, finish up our Picasso unit, complete reading the Lord of the Flies, and focus on a mini women’s history unit which consists of  “The Diary of Anne Frank” and a biography on Elizabeth Cady Stanton. While still moving ahead with Math (Khan Academy), writing/spelling unit and latin.

Keep calm and carry on!

“Write 12 songs and I’ll take you on a road trip to Nashville…..”

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Did I really say that?

My little dreamer has completely romanticized the Nashville music scene! She dreams about sitting at cafes writing songs, jamming with friends and meeting musicians! I think it can be traced back to reading Taylor Swifts Biography…but wherever it began -she is serious, all business

After watching an episode of Modern Family last week  when Hayley is promised a car if she stays off electronics devices for a week, she crafts a bar soap into a smart phone, paints it and spends the week talking into that- but after she wins the bet, the parents decide go back on their word,  Zoe decides we need a written deal- Well, now there is written proof.

Twelve songs gets her a trip to Nashville next Spring.

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Song number 2 was written today inspired by the Biography of Langston Hughes and his “Dream” poems.

(here is the first draft. she is still working on the chorus and bridge.)

I wonder……What happens to a Dream Deferred? 

ef466cf9fddcf8a1a00529ab36e1507a(b y Langston Hughes)

Checking in…..So much for weekly write ups!

Not even one post! and it is half way through the school year, SO it is only fair to summarize our experience so far. It has been hard, really hard. There are days when I think that we are falling so far behind that she will never catch up, ever and be so far behind, and it is all my fault, and then there are days when i flip through her binders and take a deep breath realizing that we are squeaking by!

My girl has changed so much this year! Last years crazy foot growth was the beginning, growing a foot size a month for almost 3 months!. She is no longer a little happy go lucky country girl! but a tall, strong preteen, experiencing life to its fullest! What a ride!

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Her love of music has also grown deep. Picking up her guitar several times a day to sing a song, practice her bar chords, or unwind. or sometimes a quick break downstairs to bang out a new rhythmn on the drums, or create a rhythm when memorizing a poem or speech. And in her spare time she mixes music on her expanding Dj set up. Yes the little girl who I tried to keep of electronics and pop media away  as long as I could! Now she has fully immersed in the pop music scene!  and I embrace it as i see her grow…in the past few months her musical taste has expanded (as has her physical taste she eats salami now!) Recently she developed an interest in playing cello and has started taking weekly lessons. Lucky for us out here in the boonies there is no shortage of really talented cello teachers.

We are both totally smitten with the cellist Zoe Keating, her CD “into the trees” is hauntingly gorgeous! We hope she makes it back to NY soon as we missed her this time around.

As well as her usual summer plans at the IMA PreTeen Rock and Roll Camp she has decided to try out the Village Harmony Program a teenage chorus/choir camp, in preparation for this she joined a weekly chorus in Northampton.

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I have taken advantage of her love of music and used it as a jump off point for History of Music. We are presently doing a short unit on the History of Hip Hop, and The Roaring 20’s and Harlem Rennaissance as part of music and Black History Month. We have also tied in some Poetry specifically that of Langston Hughes. (I would like to keep going through the depression as some of my fav music styles came from that period but I know as soon as I mention Woody Guthrie I have lost her- unless i get creative! (wink wink)

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Before this unit is over she will write a rap song, complete a unit on Song Writing with GarageBand too. The book she is presently reading for fun is  The Young Musician’s Guide to Songwriting: How to Create Music & Lyrics which in my opinion is written well for this age group.

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In terms of Visual Arts we began the year studying Chuck Close the artist who has overcome such adversity. We recently saw The Theory of Everything about the life of Stephen Hawking and compared his life with that of Chuck Close. By the end of the year we will also study the Art and Life of Frida Kahlo another artist who overcame physical adversity.MV5BMTAwMTU4MDA3NDNeQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU4MDk4NTMxNTIx._V1_SX214_AL_

So far we have also studies Andy Warhol and the Pop Art movement. Zoe made her own pop art version of Taylor Swift! Presently we are studying Georgia O Keefe and she is working on a cow skull piece.

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We are linking our somewhat abstract topics together by creating a master timeline! I hope to introduce a few photographers to her before the end of the year namely Vivian Maier, Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, Steve McCurry and a new to me but instant fav. Imogen Cunningham (which we will tie in back to Friday Kahlo)

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The other big area we have focussed on so far and almost completed is Ancient Egypt, as planned we mostly followed Pandia Press Ancient History Odyssey- but I must admit to have hated the History Pockets book it recommended exactly what kills me about school all busy work no substance. I guess, if you have a detail oriented child it may work but it’s not for mine! We watched several Smithsian and National Geographic, History Channel Documentaries , the one on finding the mummy of  King Queen Hatshepsut was definitely a fav! as was the research project on her! Zoe has read The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw, The Egypt Game byby Zilpha Keatley Snyder (def her least favorite) and Tales of Ancient Egypt by by Roger Lancelyn Green. She may still read Mara Daughter of the Nile also

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She looks like she is reading but this fuzzy little trouble maker keeps her from focussing time and time again. Don’t let either of them fool you!

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In math we have been moving slowly along with kumon workbooks, and more recently some of the Math Mammouth Make it Real series, it seems to be working well for her. I still would like to return to some compass art and History of math. We will see!

English has been less inspiring that I had hoped and other than some creative writing  (642 Things to Write About: Young Writer’s Edition, songwriting (more on this in another post) and book reports and biographies) we are relying on the workbook MegaWords. She seems comfortable with it as it is what they used in school last year. She is reading ” The Hobbit; or, There and Back Again ” by J. R. R. Tolkien (book report and author bio) and listening to the “Lord Of The Flies” by William Golding on Audible (book report and author bio as well as a short paper on Dystopian Fiction as she has read “The Giver “and the “Hunger Games Trilogy” and “Divergent”, for fun)

We are way behind on the Geography mapping program I was so excited about! She finds it quite dull 😦 We will plod along and through Geography lessons in whenever I can. We also have abandoned Latin and Spanish

For current affairs/science she has been reading Going Blue: A Teen Guide to Saving Our Oceans, Lakes, Rivers, & Wetlands Kaye M.A., Cathryn Berger and The Down-to-Earth Guide To Global Warming – by Laurie David which I hope to end with a photo essay on the environment to integrate her passion for photograhy. I am toying with the idea of introducing Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, but I am learning to get go of my attachments! 

Here are two of her photographs that she is pretty proud of

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Also for current affairs she has chosen to memorize the Emma Watson HeForShe Speech at the United Nations | UN Women 2014.

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In terms of physical eduction she took a modern dance class this Fall with a local hero  Christina Gabriel who volunteer teaches fabulous dance classes in order to raise money for the Community Hall  in town (and she is juliard trained!) It was her first dance class in years! and looks forward to it again in the Spring. In the meantime she plays on the local 4-6 grade basketball team and an indoor soccer league which she also really enjoys.

Looking ahead, to next year while I feel like we are starting to find our groove, it’s not always graceful though! Zoe is eager to go back to school we have our fingers crossed that she will get into a regional local performing arts charter middle/high school- it seems like a good fit for this alternative young woman. And while I am up for the challenge on continuing on this path, I will be happy to have my days back again!

Maps, Mapping the World

It is better to see something once, than to hear about it a thousand times. – Asian Proverb

Lets go on an adventure

 ::Wanderlust:: Noun; Strong desire or urge to wander or travel and explore the world

I have always loved maps and globes. Vintage or new. Imaginary or real.  To me they represent open space, hope, adventure, freedom, art and education at its best. They feed my gypsy loving soul! In my 20’s I honored that wanderlust deep within and got to experience world travel (including an expedition to Southern Chile where we helped the park and rec department map an unexplored territory!) I’m so grateful that I chose the path of life long learner (that is another story for another day). Travel has shaped me as a human, seeing first hand how people live around the world, what people eat, how food is grown, how people learn, how people sit in council has taught be a lot, top of that list gratitude and compassion. Seeing how absolutely beautiful the world is, and seeing people all over the world smile has given me hope, deep down hope. Hope that we’ll (the greater we) will find our way again, that we will remember what it is like to treat our fellow citizens with love and respect , that we will rediscover what it means to be human.  I believe that Travel is a vital part of education led me to experience travel.

I am always up for an adventure! Up until fairly recently this was 100% truth. In many ways I still am though recently I feel like I’n not being completely honest as I seem to have settled into home routine more than ever. That scares me, it seems I have let some of my day to day responsibilities, stresses and feelings of exhaustion take over. I have been observing this over the past year or so, is not good for me or Zoe so I repeat and will own it “I am always up for an adventure!”

Zoe has inherited this love of adventure, travel and globes (not so much maps, yet!). As we navigate these middle years where apathy seems so prevalent one of my parenting goals is to travel as much as we can, see pockets of the world, meet people.  She has always been a great little traveler, and this past Winter in Ecuador she proved that she is not so much a little traveler, as a traveler now!

“Once a year go someplace you have NEVER BEEN BEFORE” Dalai Lama

My favorite subject in school was always geography, cultural geography. Whether at Channing School in Highgate England or at Campion in Athens Greece , I was in awe of those Geography teachers who knew so much about the world. I thank them for inspiring me. Its been such a disappointment seeing how little Geography is taught in the early grades, here in the US (it was so obvious when some British friends of mine visited with two young girls age 5-7 they looked at our world map and had so much to say!)  so when picking a curriculum for our 6th Grade homeschool year, geography was a priority for me! My secret homeschool agenda  (i know, I know agendas when homeschooling a 6th grader are a set up for disappointment- still can a girl have a fantasy!) was that Zoe will have a good understanding of the countries of the world and know where to located them on a map globe and know general facts about them like language spoken, major geographic features, cities and major world events. I looked hard for a curriculum we could follow to help me meet this goal (you’ll see what I chose in the previous post where I outline our 2014/15 academic plan) They’ll be plenty of cartology and map art. If any of you have old globes or maps you are not using please send them our way….They’ll be put to good use.

As I perused and previewed our resources I came across, this book, which I promptly got from our local library. I have been enjoying it for days, boy it will be hard to return. It is a map lovers delight! A visual feast! It is artsy take on Geography, so much info here…I recommend it to any map loving family.

Mapsby Aleksandra Mizielinska

It’s all illustrated, every page is filled with images of people, plants, buildings, geographical features you’ll find in a given country/region. Many games can be invented and played on each page depending on the ages of your little one(s).

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If you are looking for books on world Geography/Travel, I have done several book posts previously here and here .

And just because it is thursday here is a #TBT photo!

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For the love of learning. . .

 

IMG_0305It’s been a Summer of planning.

(the back story)

This time last year we decided that we would return to homeschooling this school year, the decision was initially based on the fact that  charter school Zoe was attending was moving a little too far for our daily commute. She’s been there since 2nd grade and up until this past year it was a good experience for her,  but as this year progressed things took a turn for the worse and to be honest I wish I had pulled her at Christmas. I kept talking myself out of it, she needs closure, I’m not ready to take her on…i need to plan better, all valid, but as a result over a period of 5 months her self confidence lowered steadily and she lost her love of learning and apathy set it. Of course part of this is age, at almost 11 hormones are raging, as it attitude. . .

So as we embark on this homeschooling journey I have my hands full….My main goals for this  academic year are simple

1. To build self confidence

2. To (re-)install a love of learning

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(the academic plan)

We plan to integrate language arts, math and art into our social studies as much as possible.

We are beginning the Fall using Pandia Press History Odyssey Ancients Level 2 to supplement this History/Geography Program we will be using Mapping The World With Art by Ellen McHenry which includes a lot of map making and atlas work.

Related literature will include:

Tales of Ancient Egypt (Puffin Classics)
  by Roger Lancelyn Green

Mara, Daughter of the Nile (Puffin Story Books)

by Eloise Jarvis McGraw

The Golden Goblet (Newbery Library, Puffin)
 by Eloise Jarvis McGraw

 

And for integrated Math she will be reading

String, Straight-edge & Shadow the Story of Geometry
by Julia E. Diggins

As well as doing some Compass Drawings: Construction designs using a compass and a ruler (Grades 4-6)
, and some Geometry & Measurement Grade 6 (Kumon Math Workbooks)
for practice starting with Grade 5 and onto Grade 6

She is also signed up for a Minecraft Homeschool class, this was mostly out of curiosity, she likes minecraft but is not crazy into it, it sounded interesting, a different way of learning so we’ll see how it goes!  7 Wonders of the Ancient World

Also for language arts:

We will work with the “Mega Words” work book (as this is a continuation on what she has already been doing)  and the “Wordsmith Apprentice” for extra writing practice. As well as a unit study on The Giver Movie Tie-In Edition (Giver Quartet)
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They’ll be Latin, and Spanish (hoping to use Rosetta Stone Homeschool Latin American Spanish when the budget allows)

They’ll be Art projects, Photography and Music (Guitar, Ukulele and Drums, songwriting too!)

And of course anyone who knows Zoe knows they’ll be athletics, Soccer in the Fall, Basketball in the Winter and Baseball in the Spring…and plenty of adventures in between I am sure!

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(full enclosure)

We are not sure what comes next academically whether we will continue to homeschool beyond 6th grade or whether we will apply to  The Academy at Charlemont and pray that somehow we can pull it off, or whether The North Star Self Directed Learning will be a better fit for us, she has expressed interest in both options or whether we will settle in at home. We will  wait and see how this year pans out