Learning Notes: First week of August

Bella sips coffee

Bella sips coffee

She looks much, much too old.

She looks much, much too old. But then there’s Piggy on the table next to her.

Monday

Oh it was a very Mondayish sort of Monday. Maybe because last night was a late night? The kids were watching a movie when we got back from our dinner date and we let them finish it, but they got to bed latish. Anyway, neither Bella or Sophie settled easily to their work. I finally got Sophie to do a page of copywork and a page of math, but the copywork was sloppy. Bella grudgingly grunted through a page of copywork and that was it for the day. Much more engaging was the collaborative picture I drew with Lucy, Ben, and Bella. Lucy began scribbling on a paper and I scribbled with her. Then I started coloring in the scribbles with colored pencils. Ben and Bella joined in. Eventually we covered the whole paper with color, me smoothing things out quite a bit

Collaborative drawing

Collaborative drawing

Collaborative picture by Lucy, Ben, Bella, and me.

Collaborative picture by Lucy, Ben, Bella, and me.

But I did read quite a bit of history to them. People in history: From Caractacus to Alexander Fleming by R. J. Undstead has been an unfailing favorite for history read alouds. Short lively bios of famous people in British history, it’s been a wonderful supplement. I enjoy the stories and so do the kids. Today we read Thomas More, Richard Chancellor, and Princess Elizabeth (i.e. the life of Elizabeth I up to the death of her sister Queen Mary.) I’ve found it’s treatment of the Reformation to be very fair and not to need amending at all. The author seems to be Protestant, not referring to Thomas More as a saint, but his account is one that works perfectly well as an overview. Also, Bella guffawed at the joke Thomas More makes on the scaffold when, laying his head on the block, he moves aside his beard saying, “You have not committed treason.” I couldn’t believe she got the joke. And how much she laughed. She later said to my sister that it might have been the first joke she ever got.

After lunch we read a chapter of St. Patrick’s Summer and then I fell asleep in the chair. Oh well.

Anthony building.

Anthony building.

Anthony with Legos

Anthony with Legos

Tuesday

A little more “on” today than yesterday. Sophie got right to it with little fuss and did math and copywork. Come to think of it, she never did read to me, though. Bella did a bit of math, and I let it go. For copywork she decided to write more of her story about the Fairy of the Animals. She dictated a couple of sentences to me and I wrote them down on a paper. Then I copied the first bit of it out on the dry erase sentence strips. Bella took the strips and her notebook outside and did manage to copy two strips worth into her notebook, leaving another two strips to do tomorrow and then maybe another two that I need to write out. At this rate the story will take years to write, but maybe the need to get it down will accelerate her pace of writing. We can hope.

Anthony helped me make a loaf of bread. He did a lot of measuring and stirring and he was very curious about how the mixer works. I showed him how the bread hook locks on and how the mixing bowl locks on and how the plug fits into the socket. He was very excited when I lifted him up to push the buttons on the microwave (to heat the milk and butter).

For history we read about Sir Francis Drake trying to steal Spanish gold in Panama. At the end of the chapter Sophie came up with eyes shining: “I liked that one,” she said.

We also read a chapter of Pegeen and a chapter of St Patrick’s Summer. And Bella did a bit of sewing.

In the World’s Story history book there was a picture of Holbein’s portrait of Edward VI as a toddler and Bella recognized that she’d seen it before. Tonight she found the picture book that it is in and brought it to me. She couldn’t remember his name, keeps calling him Charles for some reason. But she didn’t forget the portrait. Of course she did it when she was supposed to be helping tidy up. Sent to drop some toys in her room and she was supposed to come back to finish the cleaning. But falling into a book is an excuse I can sympathize with, even as it frustrates me to no end.

Kids on dome

Kids on dome

Posing faces

Posing faces

Wednesday

Well, Bella and Sophie got through copywork and math and reading today. Bella did two more lines of the story she’s writing, Sophie copied the next line of the poem we’ve been working on. Both girls did a page of Miquon Math. Bella read me some sentences from The Ordinary Parent’s Guide and then read my sister a Bob book. Sophie read a few pages of Ping to me and then I read the rest to her.

With Auntie Tree they asked how knees worked so she looked at some diagrams of knees. And talked about other anatomy questions as well.

No history reading today. Drat I really wanted to read about Shakespeare. But we read Pegeen, Beyond the Heather Hills, and St Patrick’s Summer. And Mouse Shapes and How Much Is a Million and I think they were looking at Anno’s Math Games too.

Everyone helped Auntie Tree make lemon bars. Auntie Tree taught Bella and Sophie the basics of crocheting.

Helping Auntie Tree cook.

Helping Auntie Tree cook.

Learning to crochet.

Learning to crochet.

Thursday

Not bad, not bad. Grocery day, but both girls managed to knock out math and writing before we left for the store. Then after lunch I got them both to do reading as well. We sat outside on a blanket in the shade and that made it much easier.

Afternoon reading: life of Shakespeare in the Unstead People in History; Pegeen, Beyond the Heather Hills, St Patrick’s Summer. And from Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare we read the Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Our afternoon reading was interrupted by a summer storm. First the thunder drove us inside. Later, there was a downpour and even hail. Very exciting. The kids had never seen hail before and had to go outside and pick it up once the storm had blown over. Ben says, “It’s just like ice!”

The girls are really loving St Patrick’s Summer. Bella seems really to be following the theological language about the nature of the Trinity. One moment today really hit home. St Patrick admonishes Cecilia to let Michael answer first and Cecilia asks why. Because, says St Patrick, you think faster than he does and if you answer first he doesn’t think it through and really understand the answer. I could see that gave Bella pause and I drew out the lesson a bit. I pointed out that the same applied to Sophie and herself for she has a habit of racing to answer before Sophie. Sophie chimed in and both girls seemed very thoughtful. They’re really loving this book more than I’d have guessed. I’m not sure Sophie follows it as well as Bella, but it really gives her joy. She jumps up and she’s glowing. She says she loves talking about God and learning about him and it makes her feel warm and happy.

Bedtime: Harold and the Purple Crayon and a Japanese Fairy Tale about a tricky badger and some long nosed goblins.

Lucy in the light

Lucy in the light

Crooked smile

Crooked smile

Friday

Bella had to go to the dentist this morning to have a tooth extracted. So naturally she did no school work. I tried to coax her to do a bit before we left but I didn’t get up very early and there were so many things that had to happen before we could go. I didn’t even get poor Bella’s hair brushed so she had to go in the braids she’d had in overnight. They didn’t look too bad, I’m sure, to anyone but me. Anyway, I did pull out Sophie’s books before we left and urged her to do some work with Auntie Tree to supervise. Which I was pretty sure would get done. Added incentive, though, she asked to play on the iPad, which I’d promised her she could do last night when the batteries were recharged but we forgot. So she had a nice little carrot waiting when she completed all the schoolwork. I have it on good authority that she did a page of copywork and a page of math and read the first chapter of Fox and Crow Are Not Friends. And that she and Auntie Tree both practiced writing with their non-dominant hand. Sophie evidently did quite well trying to write right handed but pronounced all the words she produced thusly to be icky ugly and stinky. So she was happily playing at the iPad when we got home.

Sophie does school.

Sophie does school.

Poor Bella. The tooth itself came out pretty easily, though it had a fairly longish root. But the novocaine was pretty terrible. The whole ordeal was over in less than half an hour and we were on our way back home, pausing to admire the mushrooms growing in the dentist’s front lawn because after all they were fascinating. We stopped at CVS to get some applesauce and ice cream because, as Bella pointed out, she had nothing to eat. When we got there I opened the door and found the poor thing with bloody drool pouring down her face. I packed in a new piece of gauze and wiped her up with a tissue because I didn’t want to scare any of the other customers, as I told her. I got her some butterfly stickers too because what toothache can’t be made better with sparkly butterflies.

The kids– especially the boys– have been bugging me to go to the town playground for weeks, so I decided we’d take a picnic there as long as Bella felt up to it. A nice distraction from the tooth. She was and so after making the kids all fruit smoothies I packed up lunch stuff and we were on our way.

It was a really lovely day, cool with a crisp little breeze and very warm bright sun. New England summer at its best. With just the barest hint of the coming autumn. I spotted a few red leaves on our maple the other day. It always seem so ridiculous to me to spot the first color in August, which in Texas is the very height of summer with autumn a full month away. But there it is. Kids are already heading back to school and the summer is rapidly winding to a close.

Lucy swings

Lucy swings

We stayed almost two hours and then headed home. Lucy fell asleep in the car, which was a feat since the playground is little more than a mile away.

Afternoon reading was abbreviated because I couldn’t keep my eyes open. We read The Tempest from Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare. And a chapter of Beyond the Heather Hills. I also read a book of nursery rhymes and a boring library book that nearly did me in.

My birthday cake and Ben's baptism candle.

From last week: My birthday cake and Ben’s baptism candle.

4 Responses to Learning Notes: First week of August

  1. The Sojourner August 18, 2014 at 12:29 pm #

    Lucy is adorable. And that cake is pretty awesome looking too. 🙂

    • Melanie Bettinelli August 20, 2014 at 1:54 am #

      The frosting was too sweet, as grocery store frosting always is, but the cake was pretty good. I mainly got the cake for Ben not me, anyway.

      What was really awesome was that I got myself a little fudge brownie cheesecake– you can see it there by my hand– and ate it all by myself. Oh it was decadent.

      • The Sojourner August 20, 2014 at 6:46 am #

        Fudge cheesecake sounds amazing.

        Speaking of celebrations intersecting, I am still trying to decide what to do for birthdays this year. In my family of origin we celebrate them according to the “USCCB method” (yes, that’s what we call it; we are terrible people) where we celebrate it on the nearest Sunday, unless the nearest Sunday is occupied by a larger “feast”, in which case we move it to the next-nearest Sunday. So this year we have Nov. 16 (a Sunday) Nov. 17 (my birthday), Nov. 20 (J’s birthday) and Nov. 23 (a Sunday, when we will be having early Thanksgiving with my family). I would just celebrate both our birthdays on the 16th but it seems as if one’s very first birthday should be celebrated on the day itself and not moved around. Perhaps he will be permitted to smash some cake around on his actual birthday and then we’ll call it a day. It’s not like he’d notice lack of presents. (And if he does we’ll give him a cardboard box of his very own and he will die of bliss.)

        That was a long comment. Oh well.

        • Melanie Bettinelli August 20, 2014 at 11:01 pm #

          We’ve always done birthday celebrations on the day of. But we aren’t trying to incorporate extended family. And I’m pretty laid back with presents for a first birthday.

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