Monday, March 29, 2010


For the past 7 years, we have dutifully followed the Well Trained Mind history rotations...Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, then Modern History. The boys made it through their first complete rotation and began their second when Haley joined them. Newt went to school this year so Haley and Dylan worked together on Medieval History. We used Story of the World 2, History Portfolios for Medieval History, and a number of other resources and project guides.

We finished early this year and, since Dylan will be going to school next year, I decided against beginning the next course. Instead, we began reading through Joy Hakim's History of US. I have had these books for years...a wonderful find for cheap on an eBay auction but until now, hadn't found a good way to incorporate them into our history curriculum. We are nearly finished the first of the series and the kids have enjoyed finding all the places mentioned on the map (and discussing those places we have seen and those we'd like to see), so are also getting a course in United States geography. We've added in some extra readings and projects as well so I doubt we will finish the entire series before September.

Haley is very lucky to have a violin teacher who homeschooled and who is finished homeschooling so getting rid of many great resources!
Here are some of the books we are using with the first History of US book.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

St. Patrick's Day...

I am learning that March is a very busy month for Irish musicians. Haley and Dylan played their 1st St. Patrick's gig of the week on Sunday at Haddonfield Home, a retirement home. They enjoyed playing for the residents and their families during their St. Patrick's Day party.

On Monday night, all 3 kids played on WVLT radio for an hour on the Cruisin' with Philly Carol show. They played tunes, told jokes, and answered questions from Carol and call-in guests. Haley did most of the talking during the show since there was only one mic in the studio for them and she took it over (it always amazes the kids and I that they broadcast radio from such a small building not much bigger than a mobile home). Her confidence, poise, and humor during the show were amazing for a 7yo...she did better than I would ever have done. They loved that their cousins in college in NC were listening on the net and called in to the show to say "Hi."

Wednesday morning I received a call for the kids to play at Sacred Heart Church for a St. Patrick's Day concert. Haley and Dylan played and probably played had their best performance together so far. They both smiled and flirted with the audience plus played wonderfully together. They had a great time and also were able to hear a woman with a wonderful voice singing both Irish music and a few selections from musicals and a priest who writes poetry recited some of his works. The photos above were sent to me by a couple attending the event.

Last Sunday, Haley had one of the best days of her far. She was asked to play in a concert with one of her fiddling idols, Kevin Burke and a group of musicians. Kevin and Cal Scott played a concert first then the other musicians, including Haley, played a concert "session style." In between the different parts of the concert, a pipe band played. Before and after the concert Haley was able to talk with Kevin and Cal and played some of the tunes she's learned recently from their latest CD including her current favorite written by Cal, "Stella's Waltz." After the concert, Cal took Dylan backstage and gave him a quick lesson on the guitar chords for "Stella's Waltz" which was very nice of him. The photos of the concert were taken during the sound check prior to the concert because no photography was allowed during the program.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Could it be???

Could it be nearly spring? It sure felt like it today with temps in the low 60s. After a very cold, record-breaking snow filled winter, it seems almost too good to be true. The kids (Haley and Dylan) and I took the day off of school, practiced various instruments, then headed to the State Park for a long walk on a very muddy, slosh in the mud kind of trail! We had a great time!

Newt experienced his first day of wishing he were home rather than at school. The rest of us will do school this of the benefits of homeschooling.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


Yesterday, on her teacher's recommendation, I took Haley to watch the Greenfield Competition in Philadelphia. We stayed to watch the Junior and Children's divisions. The very first violinist played Bruch's Scottish Fantasy, Op.48. Haley's eye's shone the entire piece and she kept glancing at me smiling from ear to ear. After the performance she said, "Oh, Mommy, she held that first beautiful note so long I felt like I could cry." I felt the same way!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Music, Music Everywhere...

No, the music isn't everywhere but it feels as if we are travelling everywhere to play it. LOL This has been a crazy weekend. It snowed all day on Friday and although it didn't amount to much...3-4 inches is nothing compared to the 20-24 we've gotten the last 2 storm...I still didn't feel comfortable driving while the snow was coming down so we had one of those rare "stay at home" days.

Saturday, Dylan had Irish guitar lessons then we drove home to pick up Grammy who rode with us the rest of the day to Haley's orchestra rehearsal in the city then another 1.5 hours the opposite direction for an Irish Ceili the kids had been invited to attend. The ceili was so much fun. We girls danced some of the dances. The man hosting the event would come over to us and say "You know this one."

We didn't know any of the ceili dances but it would be an easy one for them to teach us. Haley danced more than Grammy and I did. All her partners were twice as tall as she. She and Dylan played the tunes they knew during the dancing sets then inbetween the dances they had "songs" times and would ask the kids to play something together or one of the guitarists would sing and play. We stayed to 11pm and the kids were still upset that they had to leave "so early."

Sunday, Haley had a make-up violin lesson because of the snow on Friday. After the lesson we drove back home to pick up Grammy and Poppop so they could accompany us to back to the city for an Irish seisun. Today Haley and I are off to watch the Greenfield Competition at the Kimmel Center. We are looking forward to hearing some wonderful young classical musicians performing.