Archive

Geography

We’ve come back to Geometry! It’s been a few long months since we started this subject and now we’re playing catching up….

Plane Geometry is fascinating at any stage, but in Montessori it seems pure fun. Below are pictures from my practice time. The key to these lessons is a material called “Geometry Sticks.” There are ten sets of each color and each a different length. Each stick has a hole in either end which allows for exploration. One end can be pinned down while the other end can be joined with another stick. This allows us to talk about lines in a “hands on way”: rays, line segments, point,common points of origin, etc. It also allows for making circle easily and, more importantly, for making angles! Of course, it’s a primitive study in this stage. But its an amazing start to plane geometry with little ones.

Both angles seen at the same time: concave and reflex angles.
IMG_3147

IMG_3144

IMG_3143

IMG_3146
In this instance, I was practicing angles: acute angle and obtuse angles seen here, along with vertically opposite angles.

IMG_3142

IMG_3145
Classified Nomenclature cards. An important step and follow-up to experiences and names of new things. There are nomenclature cards for just about everything in the Elementary classroom!
As a point of interest, these particular cards are ancient…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Forming complementary angles….
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Then we see that they share an adjacent side. We remove it and set it to the side.

Wonderful as it was, we did not spend every waking moment in the classroom! French schools are off every Wednesday, so that meant adventure and exploring for me and Valle. We met up in Cannes, a city right on the coast and straight away headed to the harbor. I think we both had an internal homing device that sent us straight to the sea. As it so happened, the ferry was waiting for us at the dock and we hopped aboard and headed out into the endless blue of sea and sky.

The Lerins Islands sit a few miles offshore of the French Riviera. They are massive rocks, jutting out from the water, impenetrable to constant push of water and wind or the changing monarchies who have fought over them for centuries. We disembarked onto St. Marguerite and let ourselves wander through the verdant garden that the Island is today. There are many ruins of monasteries, castles, and forts, though I suspect the fishing village is the one set of structures hasn’t changed an iota since the stone-age.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Goodbye, Cannes!

The French Alps are impressive: they tumble down from snow peaked ridges and throw themselves into the Mediterranean.

  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Approaching the Island dock:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The sky was clear, the water blue and the sun was warm. I curled up on a hot rock a fell fast asleep until a troop of hikers came by and woke me up with their ha-loo-ing and shouting. I could see wind-surfers and sail-boats out on the water too, and they made their fair share of fun!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The largest set of ruins isn’t so bad; in fact, it’s still used as a hostel and vacation house for families. The piles of stone of served their time as a monastery, a fortress, a prison, a yacht club, robbers den (what’s the difference?), and now a vacation hostel.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

The Man in the Iron Mask was the most famous prisoner held in the fort. Can you imagine? I shuddered to think of never leaving…..

Man_in_the_Iron_Masque_crop 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Break technically began on Tuesday night at 5:30 but we really couldn’t celebrate because we were too tired to move very fast. I think most of lethargy had to to with serious colds and all-pervading darkness of the evenings this time of year. In any case, Wednesday morning I ran away to Norcia. I needed TLM, confession in English, compatriots, children, discussions, and fermented hops. Not to mention the challenge of heading off into goodness-knows-where with limited Italian; its called a ‘wing and a prayer’ adventure and the secret is to know ~ before the trip begins ~ that no matter what, you will land feet-first into whatever comes along.

The first leg of the journey was more heart-throbbing than the rest of the travels. I stared out from my apartment with an hour to spare ~ and the train station is only twenty-five minutes away. It all seemed fine and glorious until I saw a the clock on the post-office read 8:45; the train was scheduled to 9:00. So I ran the rest of the way, huffing and puffing my way through morning traffic with desperate abandon for decorum or safety only to arrive at the Bergamo station a full forty minutes early. The clock had been fast, or maybe it had just stopped the night before ~ who knows!

The remaining trip had its moments, but those stories will have to wait for another time!

As I’m sure many of you already know, Norcia is the birthplace of St. Benedict and St. Scholastica. The Benedictine monks that live in the monastery now are under the leadership of Fr. Cassian Folsom. They have an incredible story and you can read more about them here: http://osbnorcia.org/ 

The benefactors of my studies are remembered in a special way. I prayed for each of you and for your intentions here. And you made this trip possible! Thank you!

Here are some photos of Basilica, the Crypt, St. Benedict and views of Norcia from a hike I took one afternoon. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This statue of St. Benedict stands in the Piazza of Norcia, outside the Basilica.

  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

St. Scholastica is portrayed with a dove. On the night she died, St. Benedict saw her soul, in the form of a dove. ascending to God. The words from the Song of Songs is ascribed to her: “Arise my love, my dove, my beautiful one, and come…”

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 

St. Benedict again, holding the Rule and crosier of an Abbott. At his feet there is a crow.

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A Romanesque  painting preserved in the Chapter room of the monastery.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I

If you notice the stones within the wall of the arch seem to be a diamond shape; this dates the house to before Benedict’s time. It was a style of Roman building popular in the 300’s. The stones are actually square, but turned on the point so they look like diamonds. Rather clever I think.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The crypt. The monks often chant the Divine Office here. These stones are the original of St. Benedict’s house.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mass finishing up and the choir monks processing out.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Around the City:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The picture on the left is interesting because you are looking at old official measures of wheat and grain and other items that would be sold at the market. The Latin words for grains are inscribed on the front of each bin.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And, of course, the wild boar meat or cinghiale of Norcia is famous!  It gave the air a distinctive scent; in fact, the smell of meat and cheese with the whiff of a wood-fire across the sharp autumn air had the effect of making us constantly hungry. But because our hostel didn’t have any cooking facilities available, we had little choice but to eat bread with cold meats and cheese, washed down with Monk Beer. By the way, words stumble over themselves to describe the monkish brew. Not even Gandalf himself could make a brew so good. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 More mountains and hills of Umbria on my way home (to Bergamo):

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Poppets,

Have you ever wished to enter a time-warp? You know, like Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy?  When they went to Narnia, time in England was ‘on hold’ while they adventured in other worlds and far distant lands. A part of me has always wanted their stories to come true in a literal way. I wanted to have tea with Tumnus and at least see the terrible White Witch and, most of all, feel the breath of Aslan. And then return to the real world in time to catch the next train.  But, as I might realize when I grow up, time doesn’t freeze. Books are wonderful, but time doesn’t stop. And this comes as a surprise to me every time I emerge from the mountains of papers and books around me. “What? The sun set? Did anyone see it rise?” “Today is Thursday? When did Wednesday happen?” “Time to go shopping AGAIN? We went yesterday…oh, no, that was last week.” I’m beginning to feel that the land of books and papers is the sum-total of my existence and the world out there is Narnia. 

Of course this is a dangerous way to live! But I prefer to look on the bright side: every time I emerge from studies, I’m on a new and unknown adventure ~ and its REAL with an ITALIAN  flavor!

Here are some notes from the past week:

Last Monday was our Second Album submission. Another milestone! No jumping picture this time because the book was to heavy for gymnastics. This mean only SIX more album submissions to go until completion!

For you Montesstorians out there, we are now onto Language. The wonderful and fascinating study that it is! I want more of it! I think we are quite lucky to know English as our mother-tongue. When it comes to language analysis, Italian is so much easier. In the course we are obliged to do English, but the presence of so many other nationals allows for great discussions on the development of linguistics and teaching language. (I’m so grateful that I studied Latin. Thanks, Mom! But why didn’t we do more Greek?)

 We are still doing Music, math (with fractions) and directed practicals.

A cultural adventure Last Friday: I dropped into the local church, S. Alessandro della Croce, and enjoyed a magnificent organ performance. Do you like the organ, I mean, do you enjoy it as an instrument? I’ve always been fascinated by it! First of all, they are huge. Then, there are two or more layers of keys and then pedals; in addition there are all kind of stops and pulls. How could anyone understand how it all works at once? And then the music seems to come from everywhere. The huge pipes, the cupola, the nave ~how does that work!

When I was a young girl, my dad and I stopped into the St. Louis Cathedral and happened upon the organist who was giving a tour of the organ to a high-school group. When he began to play Bach’s Fugue in D (minor)  I felt the tremors in the marble floors and the weight of the universe pressing on me. Never had I felt music in such a powerful way. It was all around me and shaking the very stones beneath my feet!

The music performed last Friday was from the Baroque period.  It couldn’t have been in more contrast to Bach’s Fugue; this music moved with life and joy and life. You could say it sparkled; where I felt the stones tremble in Bach’s music, Padre Davide’s music  ( the featured composer, German 1791 – 1863) was as though he was trying to breathe life into the cold marble and make it dance. To me, he very nearly succeeded.

Here is a link to Padre Davide’s Concertino per Flutta con Viola d’accompagnamento by the same musician who I heard  last week ~ Marco Ruggeri.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3dVodQA_NM

And a picture of the Church (at the end of the performance, just so I don’t scandalize the musicians who see this)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATonight I’m working on finishing up some geography charts.  Music playing, hot tea close by and the world at my finger-tips. Does it get any better than this?

You can see that I favor the islands. In fact, I did them first thing this morning. They are so tiny and I had to be precise. Okay, I know Alaska isn’t an island. I just happen to like Alaska. Greenland was done early on too because its…. well, I guess there is still a lot we could know about Greenland. But I definitely wouldn’t want to be found unemployed there.

But I do like coloring islands over continuous and unending land mass!