Monday, April 05, 2010

Grade 4, Spring Term, Beowulf Week 1, Day 1 ~ I Love My Local Library!

(Okay, I have decided that I have to stop writing posts and then leaving them to edit later. I seriously have at least half a dozen unfinished, unpublished posts. Seeing them sitting there I feel guilty and end up not writing about anything new. My new strategy is to keep current as best I can and then go back and fill in the gaps by finishing those other posts.)

We were all set to do a Man and Animal block this month, only reading the LE4 Man and Animal book I found that I couldn't connect to it. There are definitely times that Waldorf and I don't agree, especially when anthroposophy comes into play. I know that I can't teach anything that I can't connect to, so I decided that the animal block that we did with Oak Meadow during the fall term will have to suffice.

I had set aside two literature blocks for summer: Beowulf and The Kalevala. I figured we'd read them and do a few projects but not give them the full treatment, as it would technically be our summer break. I just wanted the boys to be exposed to both of them. After deciding not to do Man and Animal I thought we would do The Kalevala in April as it seemed to tie in closely with Norse mythology, only I couldn't find any of the source books recommended by Live Ed, not unless I wanted to spend $50. Hence we will be studying Beowulf, something this English major geek doesn't mind.

Last week I sat down at my computer and started looking for resources. Using the search database at the county library system and the search and reviews at Amazon I was able to place holds on 7 items and have them transferred to my local branch. I picked them up today. Here is what I got:

Beowulf, A Verse Translation by Michael Alexander (recommended by LE)
Beowulf, A New Prose Translation by E. Talbot Donaldson (recommended by LE)
Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney, An Illustrated Edition (considered the definitive translation)
Beowulf translated by Seamus Heany, audio CD version
Beowulf by Michael Morpurgo (children's picture book)
Beowulf, A Hero's Tale Retold, by James Rumford (children's picture book)
The Hero Beowulf, by Eric A. Kimmel (children's picture book)

Because I couldn't get my source materials until today we actually started our block minus Beowulf. Instead, we spent the morning with grammar, reviewing synonyms and interjections and exploring homonyms and homophones. Once again I found several books at the library that brought the concepts to the boys in a fun manner, and then we played games with the words. The books we used today were:

If You Were a Synonym by Dahl, et al

We didn't manage any practice work today as 3 of the 4 of us are ill and I wasn't able to get things fully planned. So it was grammar and free reading today, with a little science exploration via a handheld microscope my MIL gave to J-Baby for his birthday. T-Guy is off playing baseball and J-Baby is exploring the world of String Games for the very first time. So very fun!

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