Monday, February 6, 2012

Switzerland Prep Part I

An update from another "inspired teacher,*" who helped introduce the girls to our February study of Switzerland.

We "looked at a map of Switzerland and made a giant map on butcher paper. We looked at the continent, the countries in Europe we've studied so far... the countries surrounding Switzerland, and some major cities in Switzerland (the capital Bern, Zurich, Laguno, Geneva, Interlaken and Basel). We also put the major lakes in the map as well as Rhone River and Rhine River. We looked at where Alps are in Switzerland (south) and what areas are lowlands (north). We looked at the languages of Switzerland and its correlation to the surrounding countries. We looked at the special location of Basel and K guessed the people there speak French and German.

We talked about the bears of Switzerland, the cheese, the flower edelweiss that grows in the mountains (and looked at picture), we looked at the country's flag. We looked at the alphorn -- saw picture, made of wood, used originally by herders to call herds, listened to alphorn played (YouTube), and finally learned that W A Mozart's father Leopold Mozart composed a symphonies with alphorns. We listened to a song and all the girls really enjoyed it.

We next learned about yodeling... Uses high voice and low voice, originally used by herders in mountains to talk to their herds, then we watched a YouTube video of how to yodel and we all practiced. Then we watched Peter Hinnen on Switzerland perform a song, and then a 12 year old Taylor Ware perform who taught herself at age seven. We then recorded each of the girls on microphone singing part of Sound if Music's Lonely Goatherd."

* Note, this references with irony a recent Newsweek article about the "growing trend" of homeschooling. while the author was good at gathering facts, she lacked interpretive skills and as a result her conclusions were at times misaligned with the facts that she reported. For example, while she cited the many classes that homeschoolers take (leading to the growing use of the term "custom schooling"), she still speculated that homeschoolers potentially miss out on opportunities to be inspired by a gifted teacher. We've never felt deprived in the least when it comes to this, with many gifted teachers enriching our lives. I am grateful for this update, for the wonderful learning of this day, and for the opportunity to learn so much from inspired teachers whom I am lucky also to call friends....

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