Colors of the Wind

August 28, 2014 at 10:50 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

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A Weekly Low Down on Kids Books

Title: Colors of the Wind

Author: J.L. Powers

Publisher: Purple House Press

Genre: Picture Book/ Children’s

“J.L. Powers! I love that guy!” Kiddo shouts when she hears me telling my husband that we got a new picture book to review in the mail today.  Never mind that J.L. Powers is a woman and that we’ve never read her work before.  Kiddo just loves getting new books in the mail, loves discovering new authors as much as I do.

P1000277Colors of the Wind is the story of George Mendoza, two time blind Olympian runner who sees the world like a kaleidoscope and has become a painter.  The picture book is visually stimulating and intentionally motivational to do your best and pursue your dreams, no matter what trials you may face.

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“That book is beautiful, like Grandmother’s Cabin,” she says when we’re done.  Artistically speaking, Grandmother’s Cabin is the picture book by which all others are now measured in my three year old’s eyes.  Colors of the Wind gets her art stamp of approval and  she was particularly intrigued by the tribute to other paintings at the back that were not included in the story.  She’s officially asking when we can meet George and we can’t wait to share this story with the cousins, our friends, and the homeschooling groups we are a part of.

“An illumination of the persistent power of art.  Colors of the Wind reminds us all that our biggest burdens are often our greatest gifts,” Kathi Appelt is quoted on the marketing packet.  I couldn’t say it better.

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The Olympians

September 10, 2013 at 4:13 pm (Education) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

thelightningthief__spanWe finally finished The Lightning Thief (book one of the Percy Jackson series) a week or so ago.  Man, reading that thing out loud was a bit of  a doosey and took us a whole month of before bedtime reading.  While reading Percy Jackson by night, bless his little adventurous demi-god heart, we’ve been going over our next Magic Tree House Adventure by day…

Magic Tree House #16: Hour of the Olympics

Magic Tree House Research Guide: Ancient Greece and the Olympics (which we just finished this morning over breakfast and coffee).

Also during this little stint we’ve read and re-read the Golden Books: Disney’s Hercules… over and over and over again.  And the little Grecian wanna-be has enjoyed the movie probably too many times than can be good for her little developing brain.

Hercules_DisneyThe Odyssey retold by Robin Lister is a gem, but at this point – with kiddo not even three yet – we’ve only browsed through the pictures while actually reading Gods & Goddesses in the Daily Life of the Ancient Greeks.  Kiddo is really into all this stuff and is still insisting we have her “Percules Birthday Party with three candles.”  Which is poor people code for: all the children shall wear sheets and we’ll do a laurel wreath craft and play with cardboard swords because I’m not buying decorations.  Also, it will be a good excuse to serve a lot of grapes…

All in all, tromping through this stuff now with her so little has helped me wrap my brain around the plans we have for ages 5 & 10, roughly.  Keep lots of wiggle room in mind.

Ancient Greece & Rome Lesson Plan/ List Age 5

Start Latin Lessons

Haywood pages 46-57

Black Ships Before Troy – Sutcliffe (Iliad) along with Haywood pg. 206

The Odyssey Retold by Lister

Memorize some facts about the people listed on Haywood pgs. 50-51

Haywood pgs. 108-115 (2 crafts)

Gods & Goddesses from Greek Myths

Haywood pgs. 168-175 (2 crafts)

Haywood pgs. 228-233 (2 crafts)

Haywood pgs. 342-349 (3 crafts)

Haywood pgs. 404-411 (3 crafts)

In Search of a Homeland – Lively (Aeneid)

Haywood pg. 466 + Mosaic project

Haywood pgs. 472-477 (2 crafts)

Of course I’d like to include a trip to the museum.

Relevant Magic Tree House Books: #13 Vacation Under a Volcano, RG Ancient Rome & Pompeii, and of course #16 Hour of the Olympics, RG Ancient Greece & The Olympics

Relevant Magic School Bus during any Pompeii study: #15 Voyage to the Volcano (although this title occurs in modern Hawaii, it explains in true Magic School Bus form all the inner workings of a Volcano)

Then come age 10-ish, we will start repeating the Ancient school lessons, as per our classical education plan.  We’ll re-use Haywood, do projects we may have skipped over, repeat ones she liked a lot… but add these things…

Ancient Greece & Rome Lesson Plan/ List Age 9-10

Start covering the Greek Alphabet (we hope to be pretty Latin literate by then)

Archimedes and the Door of Science

Gods & Goddesses in the Daily Life of the Ancient Greeks

The Usborne Encyclopedia of the Roman World

The Odyssey as Retold Mary Pope Osborne (to be read on her own or together as a family), the author of the Magic Tree House books.

The Percy Jackson series by Riordan

 

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Experiencing the Olympics in England

August 4, 2012 at 4:54 pm (Events) (, , , )

Hey Americans! Chat about The Olympics with my friend who is over there, right now, in the thick of it!

M E Foley's Anglo-American Experience Blog

The ceremony may be old news, but the items director Danny Boyle chose as illustrations of Britishness could easily be a blueprint for a blog like mine, celebrating the differences between US and UK life.  This is the intro to a series of posts treating items in the opening ceremony that foreigners might not have understood.

It’s ironic that the Olympics turns so many people into couch potatoes for the duration, sitting on sofas watching the fittest people in sports (UK English: in sport) leap and twist and run and throw.  And it’s also ironic that an event that everyone is at pains to say promotes harmony between nations should be so overtly nationalistic, not least at the opening ceremonies, where the trick is to balance two human impulses: to celebrate the characteristics of your own tribe and to welcome visitors from other tribes.

This time last week British newspaper…

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A Rainy Day With the Olympics

July 13, 2012 at 4:05 am (Education, Events, Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Gabby Douglas, Winner of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials 2012

Bright and early this morning, I went to my best friend’s house to watch the Olympic Trials (old news, we were watching what we missed of the Women’s Gymnastics Team Trials on the DVR).  It had been pouring down rain most the night and well into the morning, keeping my sweet baby asleep much longer than usual.  So by the time I was heading over for some Olympic goodness, kiddo still cozy in her pajamas, the streets were quite flooded.  It was a delightful morning, sipping coffee, hanging out, watching the best athletes in the country do their thing.  It set me up for my whole day.

First, while watching Gabby Douglas rock day two and Sarah Finnegan do that fancy beam skill she shares with Terin Humphrey (Click to see the awesome beam skill I’m talking about: Sarah,  Terin), I heard a commentator say something that got me pretty curious about Olympic rules and regulations I wasn’t familiar with already.  They were talking about how young Sarah was.  Young? I thought. Dominque Moceanu was young.  This girl is normal… right? Nope, not anymore.

Dominique Moceanu was the youngest to win nationals at 13.  She was allowed to compete because she would turn 15 during the Olympic year, which means she was actually 14 during the summer Olympics when the Magnificent Seven awed the world.  That was 1996.  In 1997 the rules were changed.  Instead of gymnasts being required to turn 15 in the Olympic year, the eminent “they” that makes important Olympic rules added an extra year to that requirement, and now girls must be 16 (or turning 16).  So Dominique Moceanu will remain the youngest for quite sometime, because it will be impossible for any equally talented 13-year-old to even have the same chances to prove themselves.  In addition to that, there are rumors that the age may be increased to 18! I, personally, am not a fan of these rules.  Yes, our children should be protected, but I think there is a higher risk of injury for training that intensely after an athlete has peaked.  No, I was never an Olympian, but I am very familiar with peaking as an athlete and then things going downhill from there, no matter how hard you train.

Of course, I discovered all this and formed all these opinions today during kiddo’s nap time, while also polishing off my assigned reading for the day:

Title: The Naked Olympics: The True Story of the Ancient Games

Author: Tony Perrottet

Publisher: Random House

Genre: Sports, Ancient History

Length: 214 pages

Perrottet takes an already fascinating subject and presents it in the form of riveting history.  I was surprised how much detail had been discovered regarding the ancient games, and was impressed at how well Perrottet presents it step by step, without leaving anything out.   There were so many things included in the games back then, beauty contests, poetry readings; it wasn’t just for athletes, it was an all out ancient world pagan party honoring Zeus and Eros.  A lot of this information (though it makes perfect sense and fits right in with what I already knew about the times) was new to me.

I was fascinated by how often names I knew popped up in the commentary… Plato, Socrates, Herodotus… I didn’t expect them at the Olympic games!  I also was ignorant of the role the Nazi’s played in our modern view of today’s Olympics, and the lighting of the torch.  An interesting tidbit about the Nazis being so fascinated with Sparta kept popping up, along with tales that put shivers up my spine.

Regardless of the Olympic Games origins and history, and how much of it goes against my personal world view and moral standing, I still find the Olympics wonderful.  Should you purposely breed Olympians? No.  But if someone has the drive and talent and has a passion for it, competing in the Olympics is a beautiful dream and an awesome thing to behold.

Perrottet has done a great job portraying the Olympics for what they are, presenting a well-rounded quick study of the origins of an event which everyone is already familiar.  As I plan to educate kiddo classically, I think this would make a fun optional read during the summer games when she hits her teens.  I see us doing what we did today, eating tomato, avocado, honey mustard, parmesan cheese sandwiches on toasted wheat, sipping coffee, watching the trials, and doing some research.  It could be a fun study/ study break from regular school assignments.

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Now Time to Detox

July 11, 2012 at 9:00 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , )

The other night I finished City of Glass by Cassandra Clare, the 3rd part to The Mortal Instruments series.  Of course it was delicious.

Sigh.  I feel as though I can rest and breathe now.  The series isn’t over, but the ending of City of Glass serves for a solid intermission.  Well done, Cassandra Clare, well done.  If you have been following my blog this last week, there is not much more I can share regarding my feelings about this series.  Pure cotton candy for the intelligent teen, it is lovely and exciting.  However, I need a little detox after all that sugar before I dive back in with books 4, 5 and the 2nd of The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Prince.

So, my intentional break until the weekend (when I plan to whole-heartedly go on another bender) is a steady diet of meat.  I’ve been leisurely reading through Merchant Kings: When Companies Ruled The World by Stephen R. Brown, which is fascinating and makes me want to grow a nutmeg tree (Myristica), sail the seas, visit new countries, and basically be a well paid legal pirate.  Of course, today while waiting for kids to come to Half Price Books story time (which they didn’t because there was a pretty intense rain storm going on), I discovered something even more fascinating and seasonally relevant…

The Naked Olympics by Tony Perrottet is just what I need right now.  I’ve been working on getting back to my old shape.  I used to be pretty intense about my workouts and my body, and that has taken a back burner in my life for quite sometime now.  Ironically, the less you do, the more it seems to become a huge issue and chore.  Back when I worked out all the time and trained 5 hours a day, there was no thought in my head about working out and the agony of it all.  I actually enjoy martial arts and running and a whole host of physical activities, but stretching my mind has overtaken the part of my life when I used to stretch my body.  I want to get back to a healthy balance.  Just in time, too, because there are a few life-long hopes, dreams, and plans currently working their way into being.  Also, the summer olympics are upon us…. London 2012! has been the talk for so long its wild that its finally here.  I have scheduled Olympic date-nights with my bestie (because my husband doesn’t care to watch them), and everything just feels as though its falling into place… my love for studying ancient history, my goals to get back to my old training routines, picking up a new Kung Fu student, and teaching my daughter how to live well and have fun, the list goes on.

Who else is down for a mind and body detox? Grab a good book, mix yourself some vitamin water (http://www.food.com/recipe/homemade-vitamin-water-479989) and don’t shower until you’ve done 50 jumping jacks, 30 crunches, 20 pushups, all your stances for at least 30 seconds each (if you’re in martial arts), and had a good long stretch!
Here’s another earn your shower workout routine, and may I note that its been a good long while since I looked anything like this lady – man, she’s awesome. http://www.bodyrock.tv/2010/02/12/earn-your-shower-workout/

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