I’ve still got the last two weeks of learning notes that I’ve written but not posted. Life has been…complicated. Or something. And now I’m sick, most of the kids are sick too, but I’m posting this week’s notes tonight at least because tomorrow is St Lucy’s day and I have baking to do– our traditional Lucia bread– and we’re putting up our tree and all going to confession and all the kids will need to have their weekly bath. Can we do all that in one day? Probably not. But we’re going to try.
Anyway, here’s this week’s notes.
Feast of the Immaculate Conception
We went to 9 am Mass. In the snow and biting cold. I decided that we’d take a school holiday so came home and made fudge and the kids played.
We did have our usual afternoon story time though. That’s the part that doesn’t feel like “school” to them.
Anthony wanted Amy Welborn’s Assisi book, my first time reading it. I liked the idea though at times the prose felt a bit rushed.
The 24 Days Until Christmas by L’Engle. I love the traditions but I’m getting really tired of Vicki Austin harping about how ugly she is and ungainly and how she ruins everything. So not appealing in a character.
Also a chapter of the first Caroline novel, Little House in Brookfield. I don’t think it’s just that I’m biased in her favor because I’ve been blog friends with Melissa Wiley for almost a decade, I really think that Wilkes isn’t half the storyteller Wiley is. Her prose plods and the dialog is often hard to follow. So not enjoying the first chapter.
A chapter of St Rose of Lima, a little gushy but the kids really like it. St Rose is a family favorite.
An Otis Christmas, totally secular but the kids liked the themes of a Christmas birth and a star and gifts and helping others. Bella thought it was appropriate.
The first chapter of the Thirteen Days of Christmas. I can see where this totally artificial story is going: a reenactment of the Twelve Days of Christmas song. The kids can’t. I look forward to them sussing it out.
A chapter in Marigold Hunt’s angels book. This one on angels in the NT after the infancy narrative. Demonic possession and comforting angels.
Bedtime stories: Rapunzel, the Baker’s Dozen, The Miracle of St Nicholas. And Lucy wanted to read I Like It When over and over again.
Anthony prayed the second half of Morning Prayer with me. I love it when that happens. Also, Lucy tries to mouth the prayers even when she’s nursing. I suppose if she’s ever canonized that can go in the hagiography.
After taking Monday off, Sophie complained that it was too hard to get started. But Bella breezed through her work because we’d been invited to an ornament making party by some friends. Bella did math, copywork, and a page of spelling. Sophie eventually did math and copywork. Neither of them read to me. We had to leave to make it to our party on time.
We had a blast with our homeschooling friends. The kids made birdseed ornaments to hang outside. Then we stayed for lunch and then played some more. By the time we got home it was time to make dinner, so we didn’t get through any reading, though eventually both girls read to me from the same Boynton book.
I don’t remember what we read for bedtime stories. Hedgie’s Surprise and something else, maybe?
To start off the morning Anthony and Ben came in and prayed Morning Prayer with me. So delightful. Then over breakfast I read Bella today’s lectionary readings. We discussed how the end of the passage from Isaiah reminded us of The Last Battle: “you shall run and never grow tired.” And we discussed the Gospel at length. What is a yoke, what is a burden? What does it mean for our burdens to be easy? What kind of burdens would people have carried in the first century? Carrying our crosses, Jesus carrying the cross…. Good stuff.
Have I mentioned how lovely it is to have an 8 year old? Bella gets Lucy dressed about half the time. Today Lucy was running away and being a pain so Bella bribed her with some stickers: “I’ll give you a sticker if you let me get you dressed.” And then Bella decided to make Lucy a sticker chart: “Every time you do something like let me get you dressed, I’ll give you a sticker and you can put it on your paper.”
This morning it was Sophie who was more on the ball with seat work. She whizzed through math and copy work and then read me Goodnight Moon. Bella did math– she even spent some time doing her own problems on a page that was figuring out the area of some rectangles. she figured out how many rows she’d need to add to make them squares— and then read to me from the Ordinary Parent’s Guide reading book but that was it. Ben did a bit of math.
I read Bella the Christmas Proclamation and we talked about different ways of reckoning time, talked about how we count centuries from Christ’s birth how the 1100s are the 12th century, etc. How the Greeks and Romans would have figured time and the Israelites. How I was born in the last century and saw the new millennium and how if she lives to be 94 she’ll see the next century.
Afternoon stories: 24 days Until Christmas, 13 Days of Christmas, St Rose of Lima, On the Banks of Plum Creek. I fell asleep and the kids ran off to play.
Then we all went to the library so Bella could participate in Book Club discussion and activities for Half Magic. There were only two other girls, one from the parish school and the other I think from the public school. While they were waiting Bella sat down and introduced herself. I overheard her telling the other girl about homeschooling. Bella is not shy around other kids or other adults for that matter. She said it was fun and they made a snow globe and had milk and cookies and also made paper chains to hang up in the library. The rest of us read books, colored, and amused ourselves. Lucy kept asking, “Where’s Bella? Let’s go find her! I want Bella.”
Over dinner we talked about how Christ came to us while we were yet sinful. This in the context of loving brothers and sisters and doing kind deeds for them even while they are still in a snit, even after they have hit us. Ben received copious praise for his Christlike love of a sister who was in a bad mood and taking it out on everyone.
After dinner Anthony asked Dom about the Trinity. He’s been pondering it a lot recently. We’ve been discussing the catechism and he so wants to take part.
Bella was sick and spent the morning sitting on the couch making paper dolls. Sophie did math, copywork, reading— she read an Elephant and Piggie book to Ben and Anthony. Ben did math.
I baked bread. The kids played on the iPads while I tried to put Lucy down for a nap. Lucy refused to sleep.
We did get in plenty of afternoon stories: The Donkey’s Dream, a biography of Pocohantas, The Legend of the Christmas Rose, another library book I can’t recall. Chapters from: On the Banks of Plum Creek, Stone Fox, Thirteen Days of Christmas, 24 Days Before Christmas.
Listening to today’s Office of Readings with me while I was cooking dinner, Anthony had some questions that led to a great discussion: Anthony’s questions:
“Who are God’s people?” I asked him what he thought: “Us?” and having agreed with him, I also talked about Biblical understandings, how God chose certain people to be especially his.
“How do you love God?” We talked about prayer, loving others, I listed off the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Anthony joined in with some of his own examples.
“Why does God love us?” And, when I told him God is love, he answered: ”If God is love, then Jesus is love! And the Father Son and Holy Spirit is love.” We chatted a bit more about how much God loves us and how he made us for love.
You can tell Anthony’s really been paying attention to the catechism lessons and the prayers and mulling things over.
Bedtime stories: St George and the Dragon, and Oliver by Kevin Henkes.
Grocery store. No table work this morning. Sophie did read some signage at the store. And we did some mental math.
Afternoon reading: a book about snails and one about ladybugs. A chapter of On the Banks of Plum Creek and one of Stone Fox. Then Jean Fritz’s book about Columbus: Where Do You Think You’re Going, Christopher Columbus. (Or something like that.)
Then a chapter of Faith and Life (in which I was annoyed at the changes in the Fall narrative which made the serpent say something else slightly different in meaning but with vastly different theological implications (This is what happens when you marry a former theology student.) Then that lead to reading the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew for Sophie who wanted to know how it began but lost interest partway through. And then we read a huge chunk of Revelation, because Bella asked me to. Anthony is smoking it on answering catechism questions. Ben answers a few. Sophie is pretty good.
After that I let the kids watch the first episode of Blue Planet, on blue whales. They were thrilled. I haven’t seen them so pumped since I can’t remember when. All through dinner they talked and talked and talked about it. Especially Ben.
And thus you get the way we do science around here: feast or famine. Nothing for weeks and weeks and weeks and then in one day two books and a documentary. Well, at least they liked it.
Bedtime story: Fiona’s Lace by Patricia Polacco again. And then after that a discussion about the Great Chicago Fire and the legend of Mrs O’Leary’s cow and the Irish Potato Famine. Heady stuff for bedtime.