23 October 2006

The Renaissance

Wow, it's been a month since I posted. Not that I haven't been feeling a wee bit guilty about it in the back of my mind or anything...

Of late, I have been somewhat frustrated in my preparations for the upcoming homeschool study of the Renaissance. We breezed through Pre-Columbian Americas and had a nice unit on Exploration and Discovery, after I spent a late night organizing (rearranging and condensing) the lesson plans I had found and synthesizing them with our library books.

Now we have hit the Renaissance. According to the 'master plan,' we should have started last week. I'm not really bothered by this except that when we go for a few days without working on a little of everything, it's hard to get back into gear.

According to our guidebook, we are to learn about Islamic Scholars (like Avicenna), Florence and the Medici, Artists of the time (Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli et al), Courtiers, Machiavelli, Gutenberg, Martin Luther and the Reformation, John Calvin, and the Counter-Reformation, and that's just for the 'Continent.' For England, there's Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, James I, Charles I, the English Civil War, Charles II and the Restoration of the monarchy, James II and the Glorious Revolution, William and Mary, and the English Bill of Rights. For Russia we have Ivan the Great, Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, and Catherine the Great. And that's just the history! We've also got science, art, literature (Shakespeare and Cervantes!) Maybe you can see why I'm a little out of sorts...

There is so much going on here, I can't seem to squeeze in the word 'synthesize.' I have a great personal interest in this time period (well, and history in general!) so it's hard to get something together for a fifth grader when I know so much additional information. I want him to be as astounded and amazed as I am by all the changes that took place during this time. Maybe this is unrealistic.

I was finally chastised by my husband (don't be too Virgo about this - you'll never have it perfect enough) and a coworker who is a homeschool graduate (this won't be the only chance he'll have to study the Renaissance). So I started to slowly eliminate books from the 'to read' pile. Which is probably a good thing - if anyone in my area wants a children's book on the Renaissance from the library, they are out of luck. I cleaned out the three closest branches. So I'll assuage my guilt by returning some of them tomorrow. I have a good general plan, and we'll read only the best books I found plus a few passages out of a few more, and we'll just have a lot of discussion.

Wish me luck.