Learning Notes Week of January 30

Princess Lucy

Monday January 30

Ben did two pages in his Miquon and two pages in his letter book and then took a whiteboard around the house to copy words from boxes and books and things.

Anthony did a page of Miquon and played some hands of Speed with me. We never got around to him reading to me.

Sophie did two pages in Miquon, copied an entire stanza of her poem (albeit with several misspellings) and read me several pages from her geography. She did not do French.

Bella attempted a page in Miquon and was just too flustered. I realized that the long division wasn’t clicking because she doesn’t have the multiplication facts at her fingertips. So I decided it’s now time to focus hard on drilling those. We got out the box of Speed cards, our handy multiplication game and we played a good 10 rounds or so of 7s Speed. When I was shuffling and dealing I recited the 7 times table and had Bella repeat it. The game requires you to count both backwards and forwards by 7s, which is quite a challenge. I asked her after dinner to recite the 7s and she did it, quickly and with only one mistake. I was pretty impressed how effective the drill was. Partly, though, it was that she was ready to do it. Previously she’s been pretty disinterested.

I also played a few hands of 5 Speed with Anthony and 4 Speed with Sophie.

Bella did some cursive copywork, we reviewed some Latin grammar, and she read me a poem and we discussed it, it turns out to be a song from Love’s Labors Lost. She also studied her dictation sentence from last week. We’re doing it again because we gave it short shrift.

Bella’s deep into the volcano books and the Royal Diary books and the Roman Mysteries series, I think the Pirates of Pompeii. Sophie finished one of the volcano books, is reading Thieves of Ostia. She’s becoming almost as much of a bookworm as Bella.

Afternoon stories: Anne of Avonlea, Calpurnia Tate, then reviewing how to go to confession and examination of Conscience with Ben.

Bedtime story: Bronze Cauldron, story of Sisyphus.

Girls doing copy work and math.

Math is cooler when you’re wearing your Hamilton coat.

Math is cooler when you’re wearing your Hamilton coat.

Tuesday January 31

Sophie, Ben, Anthony each did some Miquon math. (Ben did three pages, Sophie did 2, Anthony did 1). Bella did some cursive copywork. Sophie copied half a stanza. Anthony read about St Columba and wrote a sentence. Ben did two practice letter pages.

Bella read me a selection from the Boston Massacre book and a poem from Winter Poems.

Bella is reading: A book about the Boston Massacre (very interesting! she says) She’s especially interested in the details of the trial of Captain Preston and the soldiers, represented by John Adams. She’s also reading a book called The Volcano Adventure Guide. She and Sophie both finished Into the Volcano, a book about a female vulcanologist. I think Bella also read Surtsey, about a new volcanic island near Iceland. Sophie is reading a book about St Elizabeth of Hungary and Thieves of Ostia. Bella is also reading Pirates of Pompeii and picked up The Mitchells.

Afternoon stories: Anne of Avonlea, Calpurnia Tate, Africa Trek. We watched a short video about a different Africa Trek, a couple from Belgium who walked from Cape of Good Hope to the Sea of Galilee.

Bedtime story: Bronze Cauldron, story from Tonga about the Sun’s son.

Wednesday February 1

Sophie did a page of math, some copywork, read her Geography, and helped Ben do his letter page.

Ben did a page of Miqon math, he’s moved to the red book, and two letter pages, and copied four words. His handwriting is really good. If only he could read the words he’s writing.

Anthony did a math page. No reading today. He ran out to play in the snow.

Bella read Archimedes and the Door of Science and narrated four sentences which I transcribed. She did some cursive copywok, read Charge of the Light Brigade, did most of a math page. She’s been reading Peter Duck and Arabian Nights.

Afternoon stories: Anne of Avonlea, Calpurnia Tate, Life of Our Lord, Story of the World (Greeks), Secret Soldier, Biblical story of Deborah in the book of Judges.

Bedtime story: Bronze Cauldron, Viking legend about founding of London.

Bella told me that while she is loving Volcano Explorers Guide and she enjoyed Surtsey and Into the Volcano, she didn’t really love The Twenty-one Balloons. “It’s too silly,” she said. She enjoyed many of the humorous parts, “Some of it is very funny,” but too much of it played fast and loose with either the history or the science and that offended her sensibilities. She doesn’t mind playfulness but she does want the historical and scientific details to be accurate.

Thursday February 2


Went to the grocery store. No school work before we left. 

Afternoon stories: Anne of Avonlea, Calpurnia Tate. I’m not sure what else. I think we spent the rest of the time talking about confession and the examination of conscience in preparation for Ben’s first confession on Sunday. I didn’t write any notes at the end of the day. A little distracted, I guess, thinking about Uncle Paul.

Bedtime story: Bronze Cauldron.

Friday February 3

I didn’t write any notes on Friday, but I know we did math and copywork. Bella did a bit of Latin. We played Speed.

Afternoon stories: Anne of Avonlea, Calpurnia Tate, Secret Soldier, Life of Our Lord, Story of the World.

Bedtime story: Bronze Cauldron.


On Saturday Sophie and I sang Tolkien’s Bath Song, which she’s been copying, as I washed her hair. 

On Sunday Ben made his first confession.



General thoughts on how things are going: 

I’ve been trying to slowly ease Bella into dictation and written narration/reading journal. We’re aiming at one dictation sentence a week and one journal entry a week. Dictation kind of got dropped over Christmas and we’re slow at picking it back up. Trying to move more in that direction.

Major success this weekend was Ben’s first confession. That was even bigger for him because it meant overcoming extreme shyness. He never talks to people who aren’t family. Now we’re going to step up first communion prep. I think we’ll read St Patrick’s Summer. I really want to get him to focus more at Mass and say the Mass prayers. It’s harder for him because he isn’t reading yet and can’t follow along in a Missal, but he can try to memorize and recite the shorter prayers at least. I think we’re going to spend some time just going over the structure of the Mass and the order of the Mass.

We’re going very slowly still with Ben learning the alphabet. He just cannot remember the letters, which shapes go with which sounds. But he’s liking the Before the Code workbooks from Explode the Code and they’re going very slowly, focusing on drilling just a few letters at a time. I think it’s working.

Our big success on memorizing times tables has been a Speed game I got. You play it like the traditional card game of the same name, which I used to love when I was in high school, but it has separate decks of cards for skip counting by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. Bella has mastered the 7 times table just by playing speed and doing a very quick drill as I shuffle and deal the cards. And it’s stuck and she still remembers a week later and can answer the questions on traditional flash cards, which shows she can apply the knowledge outside the context of the game. We’re going to slowly work on mastering all the times tables. It’s really a fun and painless way to drill.

Sophie’s French has been faltering, but she seems to go through periods of higher and lower interest. Usually after it falls off for a couple of weeks she comes back with renewed interest. So I’ll suggest but let it slide another week if she’s resistant I think, and then gently push her back toward the habit after she’s enjoyed her break.

I want to get better at doing saint of the day and readings of the day. I used to do them at breakfast, but people (including me!) have been sleeping in and breakfast has been more erratic. So I need to figure out where to peg them so they get done consistently. Or I just need to be better at getting to bed on time, getting up on time, and doing them at breakfast.

Hamilton dance party

Hamilton dance party

Hamilton dance party

Hamilton dance party

Hamilton dance party

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