It’s been a rather dispiriting week with everyone, all five kids, being sick. Not terrible illness, but coughs and runny noses and whiny, unhappy children. Yesterday was a true sick day. I stayed in bed as much as possible, nursing the sick baby who didn’t want to be put down. We didn’t do any school work. I did bake bread but I did not cook dinner. I think I read only one picture book all day. Today was a bit better. I’m feeling better and evidently so are Lucia and Sophie. At least well enough to get up and do a bit.
When I tally up the things we have accomplished, it always helps me feel like the week is much less of a washout, so here’s what we managed to do today.
Sophie’s done math two days so far, Monday and today. Today’s math lesson consisted of her filling out her calendar and me playing War with her. (Thereby learning about the values of the face cards, and greater than and less than comparisons of numbers. I had to explain each concept only once and then she was off.) She loves the game and I managed to survive the boredom. I can’t wait till I can teach her real card games.
Sophie also read me a chapter of Henry and Mudge (with some prompting on my part for several words she hadn’t encountered before) and we talked about contractions. The book’s a bit advanced for her, but she’s not complaining and in fact she’s really pretty good at guessing words that she’s never seen, even letter combinations she’s never seen. She’s getting an instinct for what the word should be. So since she wants to read the story and she seems to have pretty good reading comprehension, we’ll soldier on.
Bella has done nothing on the math and reading and writing end of things. She’s reluctant at the best of times and I know better than to try to push it when she’s sick. And she spent all of yesterday in bed too. She’s really been under the weather. But we’ve read about medieval castles and jousts and done lots of coloring pages from the Sense of the Sacred coloring book. And Bella sewed a squirrel out of felt that just needs stuffing. Not to mention the hours of Narnia she’s been listening to on the iPod, that’s just a given these days.
Also we spent at least an hour at lunch time listening to the Chieftains. First there was dancing in the kitchen and talking about what instruments we hear (Bella’s really good at identifying instruments by sound) then watching videos of performances and identifying the instruments we see and seeing real dancers dancing. Bella says she wants to learn to play the flute.
This afternoon while Lucia slept we read a bunch of different books and while we were in the same period of history we were all over the map. First, William the Conqueror in the People in History book. Then three samurai warriors stories. The children loved the story of the No Sword School. In The Story of the World we read about the Forbidden City, Kublai Khan, and Marco Polo. We followed up with internet image searches for the samurai Tsukahara Bokuden and of the Forbidden City. And then videos: a short documentary about the Forbidden City and a bit of one about Marco Polo and a bit of one about Kublai Khan. Enough to get a flavor.
Oh and I forgot the medieval manuscripts rabbit hole we went down. Beginning with looking at the digitized Sir Gawain manuscript, which turned into exploring the British library’s book conservation blog. Bella learned what a palimpsest is– one of my favorite words!
And our BBQ-inspired dinner time conversation was all about linguistic remnants of the Norman conquest: why we say “beef” vs “cow”, “pork” vs “pig”. And how the English suffix “chester” derives from the Latin “castrum” or military camp.
Also, it’s really cool to discover today that Ben is counting objects now. A couple of weeks ago he couldn’t. And today he was counting things in a book. He counted seven chicks and then ten chicks and did it several times. Only twice did he skip a chick or count too fast so that he ended up saying more numbers than actual objects that he pointed to. He’s been saying the numbers in the correct sequence for a while, but this is the first time he’s truly counted with one to one correspondence between object and number. He’s done the pointing at things and saying numbers before but it was clear he wasn’t really counting the things. Now he really is. He also counted people. Seven people in our family, pointing at each person and counting. I just love noticing these little jumps. How one day they can’t do something and then it seems to click and fall into place. Little joys.