In an already busy household and week, when you add in a birthday celebration, a late-running meeting for Steady Eddie (on a night when he usually takes the girls to dance class, giving me the night “off” ), and a night at work for me, you have the makings of a sort of crazy week. We managed to do quite a bit of formal learning this week anyway. Here’s how the week went:
I think we had some semblance of circle time three times this week. One time we worked on our hymns it while I was bathing the girls and washing their hair! This is consistently the thing I find hardest to fit into our schedule, so what I’m finding is that I’m having to break down what I want to do (Bible story, memory work, poetry, picture books) into more manageable pieces and stick them in here and there when we find time. It’s better than not doing it at all, right? Lulu has completely memorized “Good Morning, Merry Sunshine,” her poetry selection, so I need to find something else for her to memorize. I’m thinking something Christmas-y would be nice. Louise almost has “There Once Was a Puffin” down, too, so the same goes for her.
This week Lulu added subtracting by going down to her skills set, and then we took a break from focusing on subtraction to work on money. We played Money War several times this week. Every five lessons or so in RS C a review day is scheduled, and I’m finding this sort of ongoing review of work helpful in seeing what we need more work on. Lulu completed lessons 40-43 this week.
Louise completed lessons 67 and 68 in RS A. This entailed more clock and half-hours practice, as well as a fun little measuring lesson. Working with Louise on math has been a joy and delight. We also played a little Addition War on Fun Friday. We are getting to the place where the girls can play some games together, which is nice. (Louise even helped me play Money War with Lulu, and I was surprised to learn that she knows many of the coins and can add their values. Trickle-down, atmospheric learning works!)
Literature, language, and writing:
Lulu completed lessons 19 and 20 in Sequential Spelling this week. I feel a curriculum change coming on for spelling. I am not happy with Sequential Spelling. She did lessons 25-28 in FLL level two, which involved more adjective and contraction work. I sometimes feel like Lulu would benefit more from a curriculum that requires more reading and less oral learning; she will sometimes even ask me if she can look on the scripted questions and work with me in FLL. I’m putting off making a decision about this until Christmas break, though. We were on to week 9 in WWE level two this week, which deals with an excerpt from Pippi Longstocking. Ah, the joy of Pippi! Lulu did very well with her summary narrations this week.
We are so enjoying our study of Native Americans! We finished the chapters on the people of the lakes and forests in Holling C. Hollings’ Book of Indians, and the girls completed a notebooking page on something they learned about these Native Americans. We also started Louise Erdrich’s The Birchbark House as our read-aloud to tie in with our history studies, and it is a definite winner. I’ll have much more to say about all of this in some future posts.
We celebrated Louise’s sixth birthday this week, so on Tuesday we took off before lunchtime and had a short field trip to a local Indian mound. I hadn’t been here since I was a little girl, and although it’s really just a big hill to climb with a small museum at the bottom of it, we really enjoyed it.
From the top we had a nice view of the port of Florence.
The small museum was mostly display cases of artifacts. However, the docent was knowledgeable and interested in sharing, and I think it was a worthwhile trip to make, steeped as we are right now in things aboriginal.
Probably the neatest thing for me this week as far as history goes is when Lulu came into the bathroom where I was getting ready and announced that in Caddie Woodlawn, the Native Americans (yes, she called them Indians) were making a birchbark canoe. Earlier in the week we had made our own “birchbark” containers out of paper, and we took the time to look up birchbark to find out what it looks like. I love the layers and connections of our learning-together days. I love that education has become an atmosphere (to borrow a phrase from Charlotte Mason) in our home.
Lulu did a couple pages in her book. Both girls worked on their months books, copying lines from the poem “The Months” by Christina Rossetti into it. Lulu did the requisite copywork from WWE. Louise does a lot of writing in her artwork and drawings, just for fun. I’m sure there’s more.
I assigned a couple of books for Lulu to read this week, which she did in short order: Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner, and when she finished this short book very quickly, Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgreen. She did a book report (like the one I posted here) on Stone Fox, but honestly, it’s hard for me to know exactly how she’s done when I’ve either never read the book myself or it has been so long since I’ve read it that I remember almost nothing about it. I’m thinking that eventually I want to move into having her keep a reader response journal of some kind, using Jimmie’s writing prompts as a jumping-off place for this.
Louise completed two lessons in OPGTTR this week, and we started working on The Fire Cat by Esther Averill together. It is very gratifying to me to have almost nurtured another reader into spreading her wings and flying.
It was a good science week at our house this week. This week we talked about the properties of gases: that they have mass (we said weight) and take up space. Getting a hard copy of BFSU instead of relying on my Kindle version made it so much easier to see and implement the activities! We had a few hiccups in carrying out the activities, but all in all things went extremely well. Instead of being frustrated by them, I try to remember to emphasize (to myself first, then the girls) that “real” scientists face these same problems.
Although this is neither incidental nor extra, I thought I’d include it here: Christmas preparations are in full swing here, at least as far as music is concerned. A big part of our day each day is piano practice time, and both girls are working on Christmas music for their recitals.
Both girls have speaking parts in the children’s musical at church, so we’re gearing up to work on that, too. Anybody have any ideas for sheep or flower costumes?
What we’re reading:
In addition to her assigned reading, Lulu has enjoyed Mr. Popper’s Penguins (again) this week, even going so far as to underline in the book her favorite passages/sentences. I think she’s a future book blogger. She has also carried around Caddie Woodlawn a good bit this week, although I doubt she read it from cover to cover this time. I think she also re-read a Marguerite Henry book, but I’m not sure about that, either.
Together we finished My Brother, the Robot and (oh, yeah! now I remember!) Lulu immediately took it to her bedroom for rest time and re-read it silently. Our current read-aloud is the aforementioned Birchbark House.
I finished On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness and loved it. It would make a fantastic read-aloud for kids slightly older or more daring than mine. I then started reading Geraldine McCaughrean’s The Glorious Adventures of the Sunshine Queen, promptly misplaced it, and picked up Kekla Magoon’s Camo Girl. This is knock-your-socks-off middle grade/YA novel that I can’t wait to share here, so stay tuned.
I had planned for us to go on a hike with some homeschooling buddies on Friday, but Louise has had a really nasty cough this week. Instead, we went to a Veterans Day parade and had lunch with my sister and her family (since she and her boys were off work and out of school for the holiday) at Pizza Hut. The girls used their Book-It coupons. I’m usually at loose-ends on holidays, not knowing whether to truly take the day off (which I really didn’t want to do) or how to handle it, exactly. The Veterans Day parade was good, and certainly this is a worthwhile thing to do in the transmission of our values.
We played math games, the girls listened to most of The Door in the Wall during rest time, and we even got outside in the afternoon for a bit of nature study.
My favorite thing this week:
My favorite thing this week was celebrating my middle child’s sixth birthday. She got some much longed-for cow
boy girl boots, and she has worn them every day since.
Taking her out for lunch at her favorite Italian restaurant, having Steady Eddie join us, and coming out of the restaurant to see this gorgeous display of autumn splendor made for a very nice day:
That night as Louise and I we were leaving music class together and heading home to her birthday supper, we noticed that the moon was particularly luminous, with a ring of brightness around it, then surrounded by clouds. Never one to let an Educational Moment slip by, I asked Louise wonderingly, “Why do you think it looks like that?” She didn’t miss a beat: “Because it’s someone’s birthday?” Oh, to see the world through a child’s eyes. I hope she always thinks the moon shines a bit brighter on her birthday!
As if that weren’t enough to make my entire week, Steady Eddie and I got away on Friday night sans children to see the movie Courageous.
I am blessed. Thank you, Lord.
Links to share:
Have you been keeping up with Heart of the Matter Online’s 10 Days of . . . series? I’ve been reading along here and there. Here are my favorites:
- Jimmie’s Collage–10 Days of Language Arts
- Sally Clarkson at I Take Joy–10 Days of Winning Your Child’s Heart, especially this one entitled “The Voices in My Head” and this one about reading aloud
- Blog, She Wrote–10 Days of Science with Math
Have a lovely weekend, everyone!