9.17.2013

At the Field Museum

"Scenes from the Stone Age: The Cave Paintings of Lascaux" closed earlier this month. We made it out to the Field Museum in time to see that and were able to catch "Creatures of Light: Nature's Bioluminescence," as well. A recent lecture series had reminded us of an old Field fave -- the permanent exhibit "Evolving Planet" -- so we also spent time there. 

9.16.2013

The Girls Rule! School: A sneak peek at 2013-2014


Although we've sorted our academic years into three terms for the last few years, we are forced to adopt a semester approach this year, as Miss M-mv(i) will graduate at the end of May 2014 and is planning to work over the summer, accept an internship, or both.

(In truth, Miss M-mv(ii) will also have met all of her graduation requirements, but we have already agreed to call this her junior year (when her same-age peers are sophomores), so the plan is simply to dual enroll at the local college next year. She, too, is planning to work this summer, and both girls plan to swim long-course season, too.)

So our terms will sort into fall semester (mid-August to end of December) and spring semester (January to late May).

Our reading plan includes:

Shakespeare studies:
The Merry Wives of Windsor
King Lear
Henry IV, Part I (review / revisit / reread)
Henry IV, Part II (review / revisit / reread)
Henry V (review / revisit / reread) *

Plays (other than Shakespeare's works):
Cyrano de Bergerac (Edmond Rostand) *
Death of a Salesman (Arthur Miller)
The Importance of Being Earnest (Oscar Wilde)
Hedda Gabler (Henrik Ibsen) *

Other works:
Gone with the Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
Moby Dick (Herman Melville)
The Iliad (Homer)
The Odyssey (Homer) 
All Quiet on the Western Front (Erich Maria Remarque)
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn)
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain)
■  The Bible (as literature)

Non-fiction:
The Narrative of Frederick Douglass
Night (Elie Wiesel)
Man’s Search for Meaning (Viktor Frankl)
Hiroshima (John Hersey)
Letters to a Young Scientist (Edward O. Wilson)

* Studies to include a live performance.

Yes, I've always been rather oblique about precisely what we're doing and what we're using for other subjects, which this year include trigonometry and pre-calculus, world history, science (animal behavior / ornithology and physics, respectively), and Spanish.

And I will continue to be so.

As for adventures, we already have many planned:

■ Our Chicago Shakespeare Theater subscription includes Cyrano de Bergerac, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Road Show, Gypsy, and Henry V.

■ We will see Wicked again, this time in Chicago. We also have tickets for "Broadway in Chicago" productions of Evita and The Phantom of the Opera. (Holy eighties, Batman!)

■ Timothy Edward Kane will reprise his role in An Iliad at the Court Theatre this fall. Color us stoked!

Madame Butterfly at the Lyric? We're in.

I will endeavor to be a little more active here than I have been, as I know a few readers are interested in how the high school years unfold for families who choose a less conventional path.

9.15.2013

Girls Rule! School reading list, 2012-2013

Shakespeare studies:
Hamlet (read and reread) *
Henry V
Julius Caesar (review / revisit / reread) *
Measure for Measure
Henry VIII *
Richard III
Much Ado about Nothing
Macbeth (review / revisit / reread) *
The Comedy of Errors
Othello (reviewed / revisited, then decided to reread) *

Plays (other than Shakespeare's works):
Three Sisters (Anton Chekhov) *
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Tom Stoppard)
Waiting for Godot (Samuel Beckett)
No Exit (Jean-Paul Sartre)
Oedipus Rex (Sophocles)
Elektra (Sophocles) *
The Misanthrope (Molière) *

Novels:
Frankenstein (Mary Shelley)
The Island of Dr. Moreau (H.G. Wells)
Animal Farm (George Orwell)
Watership Down (Richard Adams)
Dracula (Bram Stoker)
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Agatha Christie)
The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien)
Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
Flowers for Algernon (Daniel Keyes)
Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Philip K. Dick)
The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
The Metamorphosis (Franz Kafka)

Notable non-fiction:
Are You Liberal? Conservative? Or Confused? (Richard J. Maybury)
Letters to a Young Poet (Rainer Maria Rilke)
Physics for Future Presidents (Richard A. Muller) [Miss M-mv(ii)]
Essential Animal Behavior (Graham Scott) [Miss M-mv(i)]

Poetry: 
■ Poetry 180
■ Poetry Out Loud
■ “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” (Samuel Taylor Coleridge)
■ “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (T.S. Eliot)

* Studies included seeing a live performance.

Girls Rule! School field trips and adventures, 2012-2013

Theater:
Crowns at the Goodman Theatre
Three Sisters at the Steppenwolf Theatre
Sunday in the Park with George at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Hamlet at the Writers' Theatre
Equivocation at the Victory Gardens Theater
Black Watch at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater (Broadway Armory)
Metamorphoses at the Lookingglass Theatre
Les Miserables at the Cadillac Palace Theatre
A Christmas Carol at the Goodman Theatre
The School for Lies at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Julius Caesar at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Sweet Charity at the Writers' Theatre
Othello: The Remix at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater
■ "Exploring Henry VIII" at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater (discussions and rehearsal
)
Henry VIII at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Othello: The Remix at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater (yes, *blush* four times)
Oklahoma! at the Lyric Opera

The Misanthrope at the Court Theatre
Wicked at the Uihlein Hall / Marcus Center (Milwaukee) 
Macbeth at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival  

Music:

■ Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma at Chicago Symphony Orchestra 
■ Frank Vignola (guitar) at SecondSpace Theatre
■ Chris Thile (mandolin) and Brad Mehldau (piano) at Chicago Symphony Center

■ Open rehearsal for donors: Chicago Symphony Orchestra led by Ricardo Muti and featuring Maurizio Pollini (piano)
■ Yo-Yo Ma at Chicago Symphony Center

Opera:
 
Elektra at the Lyric
La Boheme at the Lyric
 
Giulio Cesare, a live broadcast of the Met performance at the movie theater 

Museums:
■ Volo Auto Museum
■ The Art Institute  of Chicago
■ Cantigny: The First Division Museum and the Robert R. McCormick Museum
■ The Field Museum

■ Lincoln Park Zoo
■ "Picasso and Chicago" at the Art Institute of Chicago
■ "Art in Bloom" at the Milwaukee Art Museum

■ Art Institute of Chicago: "Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity"  

Other:
■ Yankees v. White Sox
■ "Wild Encounter" (marine mammal training) at the Brookfield Zoo
■ The Vera Meineke Nature Center at Spring Valley
■ Miss M-mv(i)'s first violin recital
■ Weekly volunteer gig coaching young swimmers
■ Weekly piano (both Misses), violin (Miss M-mv(i)), and guitar (Miss M-mv(ii)) lessons and daily practice

■ Chicago Wolves hockey game
■ "Beluga Encounter" at the Shedd Aquarium
■ The Vera Meineke Nature Center at Spring Valley 
Volo Bog State Natural Area
Thirteen winter season swim meets: five rec team (including the conference meet) and eight USA Swimming (including last-chance time trials for regionals, a conference meet, and regional championships)
■ Work: Miss M-mv(i)'s regular assignment as a lifeguard and both Misses' as substitute swim instructors
■ A piano performance / evaluation at [insert college name here]
■ Driver education course
■ Lifeguard certification course (Miss M-mv(ii))
■ Stroke clinic
■ Miss M-mv(i)'s second violin recital
■ Swim camp at [insert college name here]
■ Architectural tour (from Navy Pier)
■ Behind-the-scenes tour for Chicago Symphony Orchestra donors

■ Behind-the-scenes tour at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival
■ White Sox v. New York Yankees
■ Bristol Renaissance Faire
■ Six summer season swim meets: two rec team and four USA Swimming (including three two-day LCM meets and the state Swimming Summer Regional Championship Meets)

9.14.2013

The Girls Rule! School: Final term of 2012-2013


As I mentioned here and here, the Girls Rule! School operates year-round. Our academic year begins in August, and for the last few years, our studies have sorted themselves into three terms of unequal length: August through December (five months), January through April (four months), and May through July (three months). Rather than taking an extended break of any sort, we generally enjoy relaxed periods of study that usually coincide with the winter holidays, the conclusion of winter swim season, and the conclusion of summer swim season. (For us, "relaxed" means, minimally, math-music-literature, but also includes wrapping up aspects of independent study projects, working on neglected art pursuits, and taking additional field trips, particularly those related to birding or nature study.)

For a number of reasons, our third and final term of our 2012-2013 academic year concluded in mid-August. Here are a few fun highlights:

LITERATURE
Shakespeare studies: 
■ Richard III 
■ Much Ado about Nothing 
■ Macbeth (review / revisit / reread)
■ The Comedy of Errors 
■ Othello (review / revisit / reread) *  

Novels: 
The Metamorphosis
(Franz Kafka)


Poetry:
Poetry 180: A Poem a Day for American High Schools
Poetry Out Loud

 
FIELD TRIPS AND OTHER ADVENTURES 
Theater:
Henry VIII at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Othello: The Remix at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater (yes, again and again and *blush* again)
Oklahoma! at the Lyric Opera

The Misanthrope at the Court Theatre
Wicked at the Uihlein Hall / Marcus Center (Milwaukee) 
Macbeth at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival  

Music:
■ Yo-Yo Ma at Chicago Symphony Center

Museums:
■ Art Institute of Chicago: "Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity"


Other:
■ Miss M-mv(i)'s second violin recital

■ Swim camp at [insert college name here]
■ Architectural tour (from Navy Pier)
■ Behind-the-scenes tour for Chicago Symphony Orchestra donors

■ Behind-the-scenes tour at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival
■ White Sox v. New York Yankees
■ Bristol Renaissance Faire
■ Six summer season swim meets: two rec team and four USA Swimming (including three two-day LCM meets and the state Swimming Summer Regional Championship Meets)

9.13.2013

Kafkaesque

Inspired by our reading of Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis earlier this summer.