language arts

Easy English, Poetry, Day 1 of class

Today the students did a beautiful job of ‘pojacking’ a piece written by Mary Oliver called, “I’m Not The River.” Pojacking is hijacking a poem that you admire and using the structure, rhythm, rhyme scheme or other elements of the original poem as a frame for your own piece of writing. It is a great way to build confidence for reluctant writers…and not so reluctant writers. It is also a very non-assertive way to learn a few rules about poetry without actually discussing them.

We did discuss many things about writing in general and about poetry before we began but I won’t bore you with those details, here is the original poem by Ms. Oliver:


I’m not the river
that powerful presence.
And I’m not the black oak tree
which is patience personified.
And I’m not redbird
who is a brief life heartily enjoyed.
Nor am I mud nor rock nor sand
which is holding everything together.
No, I am none of these things. Not yet.

and here is what the students came up with based on her poem:


I am the war god
that fearless, mighty force
And I’m not a brittle twig
Which is weakness personified
I’m not the aurora
who is a dark night brightly lit
Nor am I a puppy nor wax nor fat
Which are kindness, softness, love
I shun those things. I fight, I slay.
I go to war.

This class is going to be AWESOME! Even if some of the students don’t realize it yet.


Categories: Easy English, homeschool, language arts, ObX, Weekly Summary | 1 Comment

and Then There Was School Stuff

I’ve been MIA for a while, particularly from this blog. In fact, I was thinking I might be finished with blogging. It’s something you have to do because you enjoy it, at least that’s why I do it. It’s not about fame and fortune but about sharing what we’re up to in our homeschool and sometimes, our family life and I don’t care about becoming famous. What I do care about is recording a few things for my kids to look back on and hopefully sharing some useful tidbit here and there for those of you who are also parenting and/or swimming along in the homeschooling currents with us. Maybe I’m not quite done after all.

This year Martina (and yes, I called her Minerva for a while thanks to a few creepers but I just can’t do it anymore) will be in 4th grade. We are moving away from a Waldorf focus, though not completely. What’s working for us right now is doing a lot of reading aloud in the mornings, music after lunch, then math and science, then hand work while we listen to audiobooks. Our days are fuller than they were and that’s part of advancing through the grades. I try not to answer the telephone until we are finished and often ignore my needy husband when he shows up in the midst of read-aloud time. We really do need to stay on-task this year.

In short, I’m feeling the pressure! Martina does well on the annual standardized tests required by state law each year and I want her to have that back-pat each summer. Regardless of my lack of enthusiasm for hoop-jumping, it is what it is: validation.

What are we reading aloud? So far our topics to cover are these: Vikings; the Middle Ages; English; Math; Science; Handwork; History; Nature Study; Foreign Language; Poetry; Local Geography; Zoology; Norse Mythology. Sounds like a lot, eh? But I’m not finished! We have a co-op where I teach and the Martian attends classes. I will be teaching Beowulf for Middle Grades and Norse Mythology for little people. My child will be in: Beowulf!; Girl Scouts; Celtic Choir and; Creative Gaming. Then there are the extra-curriculars! Piano; Ukelele; Recorder; dance; horseback riding; 4H.

Whew! It sounds like an awful lot and I think parents with school kids have a gigantic load what with school, homework and then soccer and PTA? Why do I think that? Oh yeah, I did it for a long time…yes, Kindy through a UNC degree for my eldest. I can’t see that either way is easier, except in specific ways that are so different they don’t even merit addressing. Parenting and schooling a child are work and no matter how you it, it’s hard and rewarding and wonderful.

Links for specific tomes are in the sidebar, listed by Grade Level and Subject.

Categories: 4H, 4th grade, animals, livestock, hand writing, homeschool, language arts, math, Norse Myths, ObX, pony, social studies, Waldorf | 2 Comments

Arabian Nights, Week 2

Maybe I missed something but I thought the Arabian Night block from Earthschooling was going to last us a month and it only lasted a week. Darn it! I love the format of the stories in our 3rd grade curriculum. Maybe we were supposed to focus on one story per week, which is entirely possible but either way, I know what works for Minerva (this is our new ‘internet name’) and doing a new story each day fits our style much better.

Last week we finished 3 stories, so we had one left from our Earthschooling book. I told the story of The Fisherman and then we drew the vase the genie came out of for her MLB. I crayon the picture while she watches and then she does her picture, editing as she sees fit. Generally she will change a few colors or move things around in order to exercise her creative license, which is fine by me. I’m amazed at how much nicer her drawings are this year than last, when we really started learning how to use our crayons for MLB drawings.

Open Sesame!

Today she outdid me for the first time ever. Her drawing is beautiful. They generally are but today hers was much better than mine. She is learning to go slowly, to take her time and look at what she is creating while she’s still in process. I see an amazing unfolding of this child as she grows and is formed by this beautiful approach to education.

Categories: 3rd Grade, Crayoning, language arts, Waldorf | Leave a comment

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