Substantive Education

September 29, 2008

Cave Painting

Filed under: Art,Friday classes — kbagdanov @ 5:14 pm
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Evidently in this group we have 3 supervisors.

Just thought I would share some of the work my Art Appreciation students have been doing. We have been studying the prehistoric art found in caves throughout Europe. One of the unique things about these pieces of art is that they use the contours of the caves to suggest animals and use these contours in their work. We used crumpled up paper bags to give us some ‘contours’ to work with. If you are interested in more information on cave painting you can check out our homework page where I included more info for my class. I was having trouble getting all of the photos where I wanted them, so bear with me. I’ll get this technical stuff down eventually.

Love seeing the elementary kids working with high schoolers....

Love seeing the elementary kids working with high schoolers...

Dani, Desiree, Briana, and Melanie work together


September 25, 2008

Ancient Egypt Website

Filed under: Education,History — kbagdanov @ 9:24 pm
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This is a really fun website about Ancient Egypt in the larger website of the British Museum. You (or your child) can research everyday life, pharaohs, mummification, gods and goddesses, among other things.. As you make your way through the site there are games, puzzles, stories, and lots of pictures and illustrations. It’s a perfect addition to a Unit Study on Ancient Egypt.

September 24, 2008


Filed under: Homeschooling — kbagdanov @ 5:55 am
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The battleground

Today was a fun water day at the park. We normally spend Tuesday afternoons at the park. It’s a time for the mom’s in our group to socialize and find encouragement in their homeschooling adventure. For the kids it’s a time to play and get in that all important socialization. Normally our kids play foursquare, soccer, or ground free tag…meaning they can’t touch the ground. Today however was special. Today all came equipped with water, whether in the form of water balloons, water guns, or jugs of water and after dividing up onto the playground equipment, well, we had ourselves a war. So much for socialization. Fun was had by all. Enjoy. (Oh, parents, you can see any of the photos enlarged by clicking on them.)

Here’s Morgan giving me the thumbs up after emptying her water bottle on the head of the unsuspecting….well maybe they suspected. Watch out Joe plans to retaliate. Don’t you just love Trenton’s expression, he’s got them now. We also have Desiree prepared to defend her post and Stevie dumping water on the enemy below.

September 23, 2008

Forever Free- Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation

Just a heads up that this exhibit will be at the Ronald Regan Presidential Library for the next month. We won’t be able to go there as a group, but it would be a great family trip.

Friday, August 22, 2008-Friday, October 24, 2008

Forever Free – Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation:

• On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed, “[that] all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State…shall be then, thenceforward… forever free.” And thus began the Emancipation Proclamation, a presidential order which freed slaves in those States that did not return to Union control. Forever Free – Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation, a new exhibition designed and staged by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, follows the story of slavery and Abraham Lincoln’s role in ending it.

Running August 22, 2008 through October 24, 2008, Forever Free will provide a glimpse into Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. The exhibit will include hand-signed letters and manuscripts by Abraham Lincoln, including a California Emancipation Proclamation – a copy printed in California in 1864 and signed by President Lincoln for commemorative purposes, one of only three known to exist. The exhibit will also display some of Abraham Lincoln’s personal effects, including a handkerchief monogrammed by Mary Todd Lincoln, an 1831 law book from the Lincoln-Herndon Law Office in Springfield, Illinois and a Paris porcelain purple ground chamber pot from the Lincoln White House. The exhibit will also contain a photographical timeline of slavery throughout the ages, beginning with the 1760 B.C. Code of Hammurabi which declared that slaves could be sold or inherited and ending with the proposal and ratification of the Constitution’s 13th amendment in 1865 stating that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude…shall exist within the United States…”

September 20, 2008

Fun with Shakespeare

As you’ve probably deduced from past posts I think everyone should be exposed to Shakespeare. My Shakespeare class is studying Twelfth Night, and last night we were able to go and see a production of the play at Cal Poly Pomona, which hosts the Southern California Shakespeare Festival.  6 guest actors joined 9 student actors for this production. If you are free next weekend you should check it out. (Check availability of tickets in advance as the show could be sold out.) It was performed in a small, intimate theater and had a fabulous cast, the perfect introduction for many of my students who had never seen one of Shakespeare’s plays performed. Twelfth Night is funny, quick moving, and although we’ve only worked through Act 1 in class, the kids (some as young as 9) didn’t have any trouble following the story and enjoying the antics of some of the more ‘out there’ characters.

At the end of the play we were able to stay and have a brief question and answer time with the cast. The kids got to hear a little more of what goes into putting together a production. All in all it was an enjoyable and productive evening. The kids are already asking about coming back in the spring to see Romeo and Juliet…so success. As I’ve said in a past post….’Every student is entitled to make the acquaintance of genius. Shakespeare remains a genius of outstanding significance in the development of English language, literature and drama. All students should have opportunities through practical experience, to make up their own minds about what Shakespeare might hold for them.’

While the kids enjoy studying the plays in class and playing with scenes themselves…nothing can replace going to see a performance. After all Shakespeare was meant to be watched, not read. So if you get the opportunity, GO!.

For those wishing more information about the Festival, here is a copy of their mission.

The mission of the Southern California Shakespeare Festival, SCSF is to establish a classical, professional repertory Theatre Company, dedicated to nurturing artists, student-artists and enriching the diverse community of the Inland Empire. SCSF endeavors to explore the eternal human questions seeking to enlighten and excite contemporary audiences with the timeless relevance of Shakespeare’s literature. We are committed to providing the Inland Empire with a professional theatre company of multicultural actors and students that will reach our audience.

September 18, 2008

Shakespeare’s England

Filed under: Education,Homeschooling,Shakespeare — kbagdanov @ 7:40 pm
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Since I’m sharing on the blog things I’m writing or thinking of I thought I’d post this. It’s a quick summary of Shakespeare’s England I just wrote up for my students. (With some help from several sources…all easily available on the internet. One has to love the ease of research these days.)

This is how Shakespeare described England in his day.

This royal throne of kings, this sceptered isle,

This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,

This other Eden, demi-paradise,

This fortress built by Nature for herself

Against infection and the hand of war

This happy breed of men, this little world,

This precious stone set in the silver sea,

Which serves it in the office of a wall,

Or as a moat defensive to a house,

Against the envy of less happier lands,

This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

In 1588, under the rule of Queen Elizabeth, England was a force to be reckoned with. The Tudor dynasty had been around for 100 years or so. Queen Elizabeth (Good Queen Bess to her friends) had blown the Spanish Armada out of the water, a feat some said could never be done, and emerged as the dominant sea power in Europe. She was also expanding her colonial empire. Within England itself, art, literature and music were flourishing. (Although since she didn’t have an heir she would also be the end of the Tudor’s, and James would start off the Stewart’s.)

This was during the Renaissance, or rebirth of Europe. It was a time of incredible advances in art, science, scholarship, and literature during the 15th and 16th centuries in England. (Although Italy was the birthplace of the movement in the 14th century.)

This was also the time of the Reformation, a movement away from the dominance of the Roman Catholic church as leaders of the movement sought ‘reforms’. In England the movement was begun when Henry VIII split from the Pope and founded the Protestant Church of England so that he could marry Queen Elizabeth’s mother, Anne Boelyn.

As if that weren’t enough, this is also the Age of Exploration. During this era there was a huge expansion in terms of geographical knowledge and trade and commerce. This is the era of Columbus, Cabot, etc. as they sought India and instead found new lands (the America’s) that they hadn’t known existed. They also began to explore the continent of Africa. New knowledge of the rest of the world was flowing into Europe at an unprecedented pace.

Age of Discovery is also used to describe the many scientific discoveries made during this period. We discovered that blood circulates, that veins have valves, that planets move, and how to make a telescope. Science was infused with new scientist who began to examine the world in a truly scientific fashion.

The English Renaissance was at it’s height under the reign of Queen Elizabeth and this time came to be known as the Elizabethan Age. Shakespeare was able to cash in on this because Queen Elizabeth’s gathered the best and the brightest around her. This provided financial stability and respectability, something actors and those involved with the theater had rarely experienced in England.

While this may have been an exciting time to live if you were royalty or wealthy, it was still a very difficult time for the average citizen. Richard III comments in one of Shakespeare’s plays, “Now is the winter of our discontent.” Most families lived in the countryside barely scraping up enough food to eat. Disease and disasters were a given. The population was growing faster than crops and famine frequently threatened. Many people, in desperation, fled to the cities. London grew in size. In 1563 London had 93,000 people, which grew to 224,000 people in 1605. The Bubonic Plague was the number one killer as it spread across Europe carried by diseased rats who lived among the filth that was Renaissance Europe. Sanitary conditions was a concept whose time had not come. Even the toothbrush wouldn’t be invented for another century. Ditches were used as public toilets. Trash, slop, and bedpans were emptied out windows onto the streets. Butchers threw their carcasses out into the streets to rot…it was not a pretty place. The Plague was not the only threat, smallpox and tuberculosis were also spreading. (Small wonder.) Most people had rotten teeth, running sores, and constant stomach aches.

People needed distractions from the realities of their lives, and the theater was one of their favorites. There was also bear of bull-baiting. (dogs attacking the bull or bear which was tied to a stake…seems pretty unfair, but there you go.) There was cockfighting, public executions and burnings, and your general riots and brawls. Not a very ‘civilized place.

There was a strict social order in place in Elizabeth’s England. Just as rulers ruled the country, father’s ruled families. People didn’t marry outside of their class, race, or financial groups. The church and the state were tightly connected with made for it’s own challenges. This structure had been in place for a long time, but it was beginning to crumble from within. Just as science was beginning to challenge the idea that the Earth was the center of the universe, and geographers were challenging the idea that Europe was the only great civilization, so people were beginning to question the social order at home. The unrest that this brought is often reflected in Shakespeare’s plays.

On a side note, most of us have been taught that people married younger in Shakespeare’s day, but that seems to actually not be the case. Although there were brides as young as 14 or 15 like Juliet it was less common than you may have been led to believe. Most people had the practical consideration of having to feed and provide for their families so having too many children was a real problem. In a world where birth control was non-existent most people just waited longer to get married. The average age for a woman was 25 and for a man 28. Considering that the average life expectancy was only 20-30 years, well, often marriages were short.

September 15, 2008

Parental Authority

Filed under: Parenting — kbagdanov @ 6:00 pm
Tim and his cousin, Melissa

Tim and his cousin, Melissa

While cleaning out some old files I came across this newsletter article I wrote some years ago. (Hence, it may sound familiar to some.) As the school year is kicking off it seemed a good time to revisit this idea.

When Timothy was about 7 years old I was in line in a store with him and the man in line behind us asked Tim what school he went to. Timothy said, “I don’t. I’m homeschooled.” The man sent me a scathing look and snapped at Timothy, “What’s 7 plus 8?” Timothy picked up on the animosity and looked over at me. I told the man, not very politely, that I was sorry he didn’t approve, but I didn’t want him quizzing my son.

Unfortunately that kind of encounter was not all that unusual when I first started homeschooling. I was amazed at the amount of animosity I encountered because Tim wasn’t in traditional school. It seems much better these days. I’m sure many of you have had similar encounters with relatives and friends over homeschooling.

I’ve also had friends and family question other decisions I’ve made over the years as a parent. I was too strict, not strict enough, too protective, to lenient, etc. For the most part none of this has been problematic, but occasionally there would be an instance when someone did an end run around me, like the man in line, and went directly to my kids.

When my kids were little we made an effort to avoid the whole boyfriend/girlfriend thing. Our goal was to keep our kids from looking for those kind of relationships in Jr. High and High School so why start the conversations at 5,6,7. When comments by other adults were made to me kids like, “Do you have a girlfriend? or “like someone?” I would politely intervene to tell them we choose not to encourage that, they would often ignore me and directly ask the kids, “Come on, you can tell me, who do you like?”

On the surface I suppose it’s not that big a deal, but it negates my rights as a parent to decide what I want for my children. It undermines my authority with them. That is a big deal. Sometimes the situation is one where I’ve allowed the boys to do something like read a book, listen to rock music, or grow their hair out to a horrific length This has caused people to question not just my rights as a parent, but whether or not I’m really a Christian.

Over the years I’ve learned several valuable lessons from these encounters. First, and foremost, I am responsible for my children to God. He is the one I answer to. I’ve learned it’s impossible to live up to everyone else’s constantly changing and shifting standards without making my kids neurotic in the process. Trying to maintain the image of the perfect family is exhausting, and in the end, destructive. Instead of trying to figure out what other people expect, I need to figure out what God expects. I need to look at the heart, see what is truly important, pray, seek wise counsel, and take responsibility for my choices.

Second, I’ve had to learn to stand up to people who want to try to make an end run around me, to take away my authority with my children. With the stranger in line behind me it was easy. I’ll never see him again. With close friends it’s harder. A family member who quizzes your children every time you see them because they don’t like homeschooling needs to be spoken to, perhaps firmly. A friend who knows you only let your children see G movies and thinks it’s silly, and allows them to watch other movies at their house needs to b e confronted. As difficult as these confrontations can be, they need to happen.

Third, I’ve learned to be very careful that I don’t undermine anoher parent’s authority. It’s easy to think the way we do things is right and plow on ahead, without thinking about our words and actions. Because I disagree with the decisions another parent has made doesn’t give me the right to interfere with their children. I’ve known homeschoolers who bristle at having their children quizzed by relatives, yet, they turn around and do the same things to a public school child because they don’t believe the child should be in school. The golden rule about ‘doing unto others’ certainly applies here.

September 8, 2008


Filed under: Uncategorized — kbagdanov @ 1:37 am
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Reminder, tonight is our Parent Meeting. We will be in the Annex. Be sure to have everything you need for registration, forms, check, shot records etc. We will be going over some policy changes and we already have two great field trips for September so you don’t want to miss out. See you all there.

September 6, 2008


Filed under: Education,Field Trips,Shakespeare — kbagdanov @ 7:33 pm
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Here are the details of our visit to see Twelfth Night at Cal Poly Pomona. We will be going on Friday Sept. 19th. We need to be at the school at 7:00.  I will need to reserve our seats so we will not be able to refund your money if you can’t go at the last minute. Tickets must be paid for by Tuesday classes before the performance…that would be Sept. 16th.  Students are $12 and Adults $15.  See you there.

September 5, 2008

Friday Classes Homework

Filed under: Friday classes — kbagdanov @ 12:52 pm
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Just click on the class you are taking to find your homework assignments. Because we are expecting additional students after the parent meeting this will be a light homework week. Have a great week Those of you in Tuesday classes need to check the Tuesday schedule for homework.

Hands-on Art

Art Appreciation

Ancient History


World Geography

Elementary Science

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