Learning Notes
New coloring book! So very exciting.
New coloring book! So very exciting.


Knowing this was going to be a week of appointments, I got on the school wagon early on Monday. Well sort of early. Math, reading, handwriting.

Read alouds: Francie on the Run. Because we had to dive into the new book.

Bella examines her new Illuminated Manuscripts coloring book. Thanks, Grandma and Grandad!
Bella examines her new Illuminated Manuscripts coloring book. Thanks, Grandma and Grandad!


Pediatrician first thing. Physicals for Bella and Sophie.

Then came home and Bella did math (LoF) and read me a Bob book and even a bit of writing (a three word sentence she composed and I helped her to spell.)

Ben wanted to listen to French songs on the iPad. So they did for about 45 minutes.

Read alouds: Francie on the Run, chapter of history. Elephant and Piggie. Bella’s new Smithsonian Backyard book about robins.

Bella got a lovely new dress for her birthday from my parents.
Bella got a lovely new dress for her birthday from my parents.


Bella: Life of Fred. Had a breakthrough when I realized that math was so much easier when she didn’t have to write her answers on lined paper. It was a revelation. She was so much happier. At this point she can either spend all her energy trying to write neatly or on getting the answers right. She can only handle one or the other. I’d rather correct answers written messily.

Read sentences on white board.

Did not complete handwriting.

She came in very excited about the dandelions she’d been deconstructing and wanted to learn more about them so I got out the Comstock handbook and we went outside and picked flowers and read about them and looked at them until she was totally distracted by a caterpillar.

We also spent some time watching bumblebees and marveling at their ability to hover and change direction and wondering why this one bee kept coming back and hovering in the same spot.

Sophie: A page in Miquon math.

She read two Bob books. She’s wanting to read two most days. I like that she’s pushing herself a bit. Yesterday she was raving about them to the pediatrician. Very chatty.

No handwriting or copywork.

Played Mancala with Sophie. I figured out a bit of strategy and won three games. She got mad and started throwing things. Oops.

Library trip in the afternoon so we read through a pile of books. Many of them mediocre.

Also a chapter of The Far Side of the Loch, a chapter of history. Smithsonian Backyard book about grey squirrels. The new Bink and Gollie book, an Aliki book about zoos.

Someone suggested giving Bella caffeine to help her focus. I am very much going to try that. Right now we’re figuring out what tastes she likes. I drink only decaf tea and coffee, So I may have to go out and buy some for her.

Ben and Lucy at Jake's in Hull.
Ben and Lucy at Jake’s in Hull.


I think I got four hours of sleep. I stayed up too late. My own damn fault. But then Anthony woke me up at 2:30. I think he just needed a diaper change. Then Ben woke me up about half an hour later. He said he was hungry. So I gave him a bowl of Cheerios and stumbled back to bed. Then right as I was drifting off he started crying outside the door, wanting me to tuck him back in. Then while I was tucking his blankets in he spied the Bible story book he’d been reading when he fell asleep still open on the bed next to him and he decided he wanted to read it. And got mad because the night light wasn’t bright enough to read by. I told him I refused to turn on the light so he could read. It would wake his brother and he needed to sleep because it was 3 in the morning. So I had to sit and wait for the tantrum to pass before I could go back to bed. Then half an hour after than Lucy woke me up. I think it’s her teeth. And she needed her diaper changed.

So I was a zombie when Dom came in at 6:30 to say that someone had an accident and I needed to help clean it up. I took care of it and then crawled back into bed to nurse the baby and doze even though I was supposed to be getting everyone else breakfast. Bella had a dentist appointment and I was supposed to be making sure she was ready to go. Well, they made it out the door on time anyway. Then I made breakfast, tidied up the kitchen and dining room, and did math with Sophie. All other schoolish stuff scrapped for the day except Bella reading some sentences I’d written on the white board. Story time was in the morning. I read The Far Side of the Loch and Elephant and Piggie and some book about a Moroccan woman who had a magic carpet which was really very charming. Then I fell asleep for a bit and the kids wandered off.

I baked two loaves of bread, did some laundry, put Lucy in and out of the swing a bunch of times. Picked her up from the bottom of the slide after she fell. Made lunch. Put Lucy down for a nap. Fell asleep while putting her down. Read a couple more library books to the kids. Took another cat nap. Made meatloaf for dinner. Also made chocolate chip cookies and a big pot of tomato sauce to take over to a homeschooling mom who just had a baby. I’ll take her the second loaf of bread I made too.

The kids are on a bird book kick, listening to all the bird calls. Bella is also looking at the field guides. She adores them.

After dinner I found a copy of a French book, Le Petit Chaperone Rouge, and read the whole thing to the kids. Ben and Anthony came and sat next to me and stayed there while I read. Bella picked out the word “fleur” and knew it was “flower” and the word “grandmere” and knew it meant “grandmother.” So there you go. Practically fluent.

Ben and Lucy at Jake's in Hull.
Ben and Lucy at Jake’s in Hull.


Grocery day so no math or reading or writing. After we bought our groceries we stopped to deliver a meal and some home-baked treats to a local homeschooling mom who just had a baby. It was sweet how once they understood what I was doing, all the kids wanted to get in on making chocolate chip cookies. Everyone had to do something. It’s been nice the few times that other people have brought me a meal, this is the first time I’ve been able to pay it forward and bring a meal to another mom.

Home and put away groceries and did a wee bit of gardening and then read a few books: Francie on the Run, The Far Side of the Loch, St Louis and the Last Crusade. And also St George and the Dragon.

Lucy is sick. She’s had a runny nose. Now it’s a cough. She was up for hours coughing and crying last night. I hope we don’t have a repeat tonight.

One of Sophie's creations.
One of Sophie’s creations.


Farmer’s market. So much green! I filled a bag with radishes, arugula, scallions, salad turnips, two kinds of sprouts, and beautiful young chard. We bought some mussels and scallops from our favorite fish guy– the guy who always says nice things about the kids and gives them lollipops. Also fresh eggs, yogurt, bagels and potato chips. We tried some artisan sodas too.

My plan was to go to science day at the library, which is organized by a very nice lady from our parish. But Lucy and Anthony fell asleep in the car on the way home and I couldn’t wake them. Too bad, it was fun with circuits, and I know Bella, Ben, and Sophie would have had a blast. I’m seriously thinking of asking her if she’d be willing to teach a weekly class if I could get a group of homescholers together.

Bella practiced riding her bike. I did a bit of yard work, a bit of weeding, planting some more seeds. Sunflowers and cosmos. Dom mowed the lawn. Bella was fascinated when I turned over an old paver stone and uncovered an ant colony. She watched as the ants carried the larvae away.

Top view of Sophie's edifice.
Top view of Sophie’s edifice.


Mass. Pancakes and bacon. More garden work: pruning and weeding. More bike practice. Afternoon read alouds outside in the sun: St Louis and the Last Crusade, The Far Side of the Loch. I believe Dom read Brambley Hedge. Leftover meatloaf, fried rice, and a lovely garden salad for dinner.

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  • I wonder if your kids would like to help you out with writing things like the grocery list, the daily menu,, simple recipes and other useful tasks like that. Just a thought …

    • The thing is we are too wired. I almost never hand write things anymore myself so there is little need or ability to farm out such tasks. I use an app on my phone for my grocery lists- it syncs with Dom’s phone and the kitchen computer and means we can both add items to the list from wherever we are and both shop for items on the list when we happen to be at the store. Likewise I have most of my recipes on the computer in the kitchen– the program we use can display them in large font, white on black so I can see it from across the room. I don’t write up menus or meal plans and I’m not the type of person to whom that appeals.

      They sometimes do spontaneously write “for fun” shopping lists and menus for imaginary restaurants they are going to open. Bella sometimes likes to copy words off cans and cartons. But it’s an interest that waxes and wanes.

  • Grace wants to tell you about your bees. I will type while she dictates:

    It is a carpenter bee because carpenter bees are in one spot and they hover in that spot then they may fly off for a little bit and then they come back and hover in that very same spot. They may do that a few times. They are doing this to protect the hive. The hovering bees that are around wood are usually males. Male carpenter bees DO NOT sting. They try to fly around you to scare you off. But females do sting if you mess with them enough. Males have a yellow or white dot on their face and females are just completely black. But you barely see females. They are usually in the nest taking care of the babies.

  • Grace says she did not learn about carpenter bees in a book, but by researching on the computer and observing the bees.