I may or may not do this regularly, but I thought I’d share a little of what we did in school this week.
For literature, we read Leon Garfield’s adaptation of Merchant of Venice. Here’s Evan’s summary:
“Antonio had to pay money to Shylock before a pound of his flesh would be cut. Portia pretended to be a lawyer. She said it was against the law unless he could take the flesh without spilling blood. Shylock had to not take the pound of flesh.”
After reading that, we moved on to something I found at Half-Price Books. It has some nicely illustrated retellings of the folk stories that likely inspired several of Shakespeare’s plays. The one that goes with Merchant of Venice was called “A Bargain is a Bargain.” Here’s Evan’s summary of that:
“A man asked his sons, ‘Will you use my money wisely?’ The older son said, ‘I will use the money wisely.’ The younger son said, ‘I’ll use it wildly and have a fun time and nice clothes.’ They did what they said. The younger brother asked to borrow money from the older brother so he could marry the duke’s daughter. He promised to give his brother a pound of flesh because he didn’t think his brother was serious. He couldn’t pay back the money. His brother had him thrown in jail. The duke’s daughter pretended to be a lawyer and saved him. The lawyer made the brother pay with his ring. The duke’s daughter wouldn’t marry him because he did not have the ring.”
He definitely picked up more details in the shorter story. However, when we were reading the shorter story both boys interrupted several times to say, “Hey! That’s like Merchant of Venice!” or “Wait, that’s not how it went!”
Nathan declined to summarize Merchant of Venice (I think it was a little much for him, on the whole), but had this to offer for “A Bargain is a Bargain”:
“The father asked what his children would do with his money when he died. The older brother said that if his brother did not pay the money he would have to pay a pound of flesh.”
In history, we read about the Celts, Vortigern, and the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain. Here’s Evan’s version of it:
“The Celts lived in Britain. When they fought they wore blue paint. The Celts made the Romans leave Britain. The Celts repeated their stories over and over again instead of writing them down. The storytellers were called bards. The Angles and the Saxons came and took over the land. We call that part of Britain England, like Angle. One of the stories from the Angles and the Saxons is called Beowulf. Beowulf twisted off the arm of a monster named Grendel.”
Below is Evan’s picture of Beowulf.
“The Celts lived in Britain. They painted themselves blue to look scary. The Angles and the Saxons came to Britain and fought the Celts. The Angles got to keep part of their land and we call it England. The Celts and the Angles and the Saxons did not write down the stories, but told them to people so they would remember. One of their stories was called Beowulf.”
Below is Nathan’s picture of Beowulf.
On Friday we started reading an adaptation of Beowulf, which has the boys very excited. Nathan spent part of his quiet rest time drawing his own picture of the battle between Beowulf and Grendel.
And for science, I think this week was mostly earthquakes. Here’s what Evan learned:
“This week we learned about earthquakes. There was a lucky baby who lived nine days under the rubble of the hospital until he was rescued. Earthquakes are caused when two plates shift. One goes under the other and it’s happening right now. There is an earthquake every 30 seconds that people cannot feel because the plates are constantly moving under us. Once every year there is an earthquake on the edge of the plate [we discussed that this is more of an average, not a schedule!]. If there was an earthquake here it would be safest in our closet under the stairs. It’s safe because the stairwell is strong. Or we could go under the dining room table. In California they put an alarm [actually a shut-off] on the gas thing so there will not be an explosion, they bolt the computers down, they put a special kind of tape on the windows so they won’t break, and when the teacher says ‘drop’ everyone gets under their desks. There are P waves and S waves. P waves are when things are going up and down.”
He supplemented his summary with a drawing, below. Along the top is a seismograph reading, fairly accurate to a real earthquake. To the bottom left you can see a subduction zone, with the one plate going under the other. On the right there’s a volcano, complete with melted rock coming up from the subduction zone. And there’s a lot of lightning going on, because if you have earthquakes and volcanoes you might as well have lightning too.
Nathan didn’t stick around much for science, so most of his came secondhand from Evan later. Here’s what he picked up:
“In an earthquake there was a lucky baby who stayed alive under a building for nine days. Earthquakes can cause volcanoes.”
And Nathan was disappointed that I didn’t take a picture of his barbarian from last week so here it is: