Table time went pretty smoothly. Sophie did her copywork and a page of math and then drew a picture of a princess and a castle. I noticed that she’s regularly writing her name on her pictures.
Bella did a page of math from the Saxon book– I’m just going to have her do all the review pages instead of teaching her the lessons. If she gets stumped, then we’ll stop and do the lesson. I’m also working my way through a list of what a second grader should know, checking what she knows, teaching what she doesn’t. We reviewed greater than and less than and reading numbers with four digits. Then she colored a picture.
Then she struggled through a page of copywork while sitting on the couch. When she got too stressed she’d grab the globe and trace routes around the oceans following the arrows that mark the various currents. It seemed soothing to her and well, she’s working on geography that way too.
All this time Lucy and the boys were playing with math manipulatives.
Then we took a break and went outside and I made all the kids some fruit smoothies.
Then we came back in and Sophie read me a Bob book and then Bella read me some sentences off the white board. Then I read a chapter of history to Bella– Martin Luther and the beginnings of the Protestant Reformation. We’re doing these chapters from The World’s Story by O’Neill instead of The Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer. I much prefer the Catholic slant, thank you very much. Bella listened intently, Sophie listened at least a bit, enough to comment that she didn’t think Martin Luther was very nice. (Though I think the book is pretty balanced in its approach to him.)
Lucy and the boys popped in and out, playing in the dirt then playing with toys inside.
Then lunch time and after lunch I pulled out a basket of sea glass and shells and other bits I collected long ago. Bella and Ben and Sophie and Anthony all sorted them and investigated. Bella decided to have a museum and at my prompting sorted her objects into man made, organic, and inorganic categories. Then she arranged them for prettiness. Ben and Anthony and Sophie all decided they were running stores. Ben’s store was at the beach, Anthony’s store was at the farmer’s market.
Then playing with train tracks and cars and people in some massive game all over the living room floor.
When I picked up Beyond the Heather Hills suddenly all the noisy, rambunctious play stopped. First Bella plopped herself next to me on the couch. Then Sophie moved from the train tracks on the floor to sit on the rocking chair, listening attentively from the other side of the room. Ben and Anthony also grew still, came to the couch. Anthony grabbed Pegeen and flipped through it looking at the pictures, but he was clearly listening to Martha’s adventures. We did two short chapters of Martha and then one long chapter of Pegeen. Then a few short sections of the Bible catechism book with Bella, Sophie, and Ben taking turns answering the questions. The first few sections are all very familiar Creation and Fall, but I figure it’s never a bad thing to review. We finished out our afternoon reading session with The Princess and the Vagabone in the Princess Tales book, which is another Irish story and fit in well with Pegeen. Lucy woke up at the end of the story and that put an end to reading for the day. After that I made dinner while the children got up to all sorts of mischief. Before dinner I bathed three children who all got muddied playing in the rain and after dinner I bathed one child who fell asleep on the office floor before dinner and had an accident whilst sleeping, poor rudely awakened child.
Bedtime story. Ben requested Otis. I noticed Bella took the museum catalog of the Quilts exhibit to bed with her. Though when I went to tuck her in that book was on the floor and she was once again staring at North American Plants and Animals.
I notice most of this sounds nicely orchestrated and organized and leaves out the wandering and redirecting Bella and interruptions and distractions and nursing Lucy and changing her diaper and helping children use the bathroom and making chicken stock and so many other details.
Off to a slightly slow start, not because the kids were playing but because they were all reading. It was especially hard to get Sophie to transition. Once she stopped reading, she wanted to color. But I finally hooked her with the copywork. I’d written out the first line of High Flight, the poem we’ve been memorizing. Her eyes lit up when I told her what treat I had in store. She copied it right away and then illustrated with an airplane. After that she willingly did a page of math and then read me a Bob book.
Dom helped Bella do her math, which was a nice break for me. Though he didn’t know what a “number sentence” was and Bella didn’t remember either. Bella did her copywork, read me her sentences from the whiteboard and then we played with some numbers, looking at place values of four an five digit numbers and writing out the words for numbers up to ten.
I decided to make bread today without a recipe and it came out really well. That took up some of my attention as did a cranky Lucy. And the fact that Dom was home threw us all off a little bit.
Afternoon stories included a chapter of Pegeen (all four big kids still crowd around for it.) and one of Beyond the Heather Hills. Then I read a picture book each for Sophie, Ben, and Anthony. Anthony requested the Mike Venezia Georgia O’Keeffe and we started to realize she was born in Wisconsin two years after Laura Ingalls Wilder. We found her birthplace, Sun Prairie, on the map and it’s about 200 miles from Pepin where Laura was born in the Little House in the Big Woods. Funny to think of them growing up so close together in Wisconsin. I knew Laura lived well into the modern era but I still associate her with the rural life and the 19th century where I I know Georgia lived in New York and painted skyscrapers. Both women lived into their 90s too. So many parallels. We got out the US map and looked at Wisconsin and also looked up the prospective route for a trip to Grandma’s house in Virginia.
I’ve finally memorized High Flight and it’s been so fun to have Sophie and Bella cheering me on and prompting me when I stumble. They are great coaches. For us the best way to memorize poems is for me to do it. I copied out the poem and hung it on the kitchen cabinet and recite it while I cook and clean. They absorb it just by hearing me struggling to remember. Bella had it down long before I did. Sophie seems to have most of it, though she refuses to recite. Ben and Anthony both have phrases of it and are clearly listening. Even Lucy has been heard to echo a few words of it. I’ve also been trying to make a point of reciting other bits of poetry I know. Today it was the Prologue from Henry V: “O for a Muse of Fire that would ascend the highest heaven of invention…” I know it all the way to the bit about famine, sword and fire leashed like hounds and crouching for employment. I’d like to get the rest under my belt at some point. I was also reminded of Edna St Vincent Millay’s poem about the candle burning at both ends and recited that too:
My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light!
Also, today Sophie spontaneously made her bed and then with the momentum generated by that success, went on to clean her whole room. Well, “clean” might not be the exact word, but she got almost everything off the floor. And that, my friends, is a major accomplishment. I couldn’t even see the floor in there yesterday. So I celebrated by vacuuming it. I sort of knew this day would eventually come, but I also didn’t really believe it. I’m doing a happy dance and trying to figure out how to motivate maintenance of the clean room and made bed.
Bedtime stories: Feathers for Lunch for Sophie. Fern Hill for Bella.
Bella decided that instead of copywork she wanted to work on a story she’d started writing a while ago. So she wrote out a sentence of that in her notebook, I helped her spell all the words. The story is about the Fairy of the Animals and Bella is very proud that it starts in the middle of the story with stuff happening and not slowly.
She really didn’t want to focus on school work this morning, but I coaxed her to read me some sentences and we counted by threes on the hundreds board and then counted to 1000 by 100s. And that was good enough really for one day.
Sophie copied out the next line of High Flight and did a page of math and read me two Bob books. And colored a butterfly in her coloring book.
Ben copied out a few letters in his handwriting book. Pretty good ones: r and l and i and t and x and z.
Ben, Lucy, and Anthony had checkups this afternoon. When we came back we were exhausted. I read a chapter of Pegeen and that was it. Oh though we did glance through the new book about swords that Ben got for his birthday.
Bedtime stories: Feathers for Lunch and Blueberries for Sal.
Bella wrote another sentence of her story. Sophie wrote another line of the poem. Sophie discovered subtraction and did sums that add up to five and six. Bella learned how to count by making tally marks, how to apply that to counting coins, and also rounding up to the nearest ten and to the nearest hundred. Sophie read me a Bob book. Bella did not do a separate reading lesson, but did play a spelling game on the iPad.
Story time. Blueberries for Sal is Anthony’s current favorite. Also he requested that Dom read him Hist Whist. Ben wanted me to read from the illustrated Tales from Shakespeare for kids. We read Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Not sure how much of that sank in. Sophie requested Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Fir Tree. (After which Bella asked me a most perceptive question about whether it’s good to be always longing for some other time instead of the present. I said I didn’t think it was. It was better to appreciate where we are now. She said she agreed and she thought perhaps that was the lesson of the Little Fir Tree. Which she got at about the same time I did.)
We read about the Protestant Reformation in England and France. Two chapters of Beyond the Heather Hills. And a chapter of Minn of the Mississippi.
I made chocolate chip cookies and Sophie burned her leg on the pan. (She has a terrible habit of sitting on the dining room table.) After her burn was bandaged, Bella let Sophie sit in her bed, a coveted treat, where I spied them devouring Calvin and Hobbes, which has become a huge favorite of all my kids.)
Bedtime story was the Smithsonian Institution Backyard book about the raccoon. And Hist Whist. And Lucy has now firmly decided that after all the big kids go to bed it’s her turn to have a bedtime story from Daddy. It is so very cute.
I had to take Bella to a dentist appointment, to get teeth extracted, so I considered today a school-free day for her. But Sophie did copywork, math, and reading with Dom while we were gone. In the afternoon I had to do the food shopping so we didn’t have a story time.
We did watch a video about how to put on armor. So I guess that counts for a bit of history.
Bedtime stories were our only reading of the day. Fern Hill and Smithsonian Backyard: Raccoon at Clear Creek Road.
Trip to the farmer’s market followed by a picnic lunch at Wompatuck State Park. After we ate we took a little stroll down one of the fire roads, a nice broad paved way. We saw few people, three boys on bikes, one older guy walking. Mostly it was us and the birds.
We found wild blackberries and I let the kids pick and eat them. What a treat! We found a little brook.
The boys fell asleep on the way home. It was late when we got here. But we managed to squeeze in dinner and baths and then bedtime.
Bedtime stories. Monarch at Aster Way, Owl Moon.