Learning Notes Week of August 18

Lucy in a cape.

Lucy in a cape.

Monday

This morning went very smoothly. A good day indeed. I got the girls through math, copywork, and reading by 10. Granted, they did the easiest math– a workbook page in Miquon– and the easiest copywork– a sentence in the workbook, and the easiest reading– a Bob book each. But at least we hit the highlights.

I helped Sophie transform her page of subtraction into story problems. We got out the bears and made them go all sorts of places. Nine bears at the playground and five go home. Six bears at the museum and 2 go eat lunch. That sort of thing. Sophie still needs to count the bears every time. Bella can usually do the abstract math in her head for smaller numbers and with bigger numbers she can visually group them and know by looking.

Bella’s math page consisted of using Cuisinaire rods to calculate jumps on a number line. She was able to use one rod and move it down the line, she didn’t need to get six out and lay them end to end as Sophie would. I feel like this stuff isn’t really challenging Bella. But maybe we need to do one or two challenging days and then a few days of just practicing and not doing much new stuff. It must be tiring to always be doing new. And yet I hate how boring drill can be and Bella has limited patience.

As soon as they were done with their work they were back outside playing with the boys. Then I got to work cleaning the girls’ room and doing laundry. Dom had done a major overhaul of the office on Saturday, throwing out a bunch of junk, moving other stuff to the shed, reshelving books, dusting, vacuuming. It looks great and makes me want to get the rest of the house looking that good. Saturday I tidied up the school shelves, throwing away lots of old papers and organizing and making it all look neat.

Today I tossed a whole bag of stuff from the girls’ room. I organized and I vacuumed. Then everyone wanted to play in there. At bedtime Anthony reproached me for not doing his room. (I did tidy a bit.) You didn’t even vacuum!

Afternoon reading time was short. I read a chapter of Little House by Boston Bay and two chapters of Story Book of Science. And then I fell asleep.

Bedtime: I read Drop around the World with Bella. We’ve been making our way through it for a few days. It follows one rain drop as it circumnavigates the globe, exploring the water cycle and also geography. Tomorrow I want to get out the globe to follow the journey.

Lucy with strawberry

Lucy with strawberry

Lucy with strawberry

Lucy with strawberry

Lucy with strawberry

Lucy with strawberry

Lucy with strawberry

Lucy with strawberry

Lucy with strawberry

Lucy with strawberry

Tuesday

Hard to get the girls to settle down today but once we got going the schoolwork went pretty fast. Bella did her copywork in different colors, a new color for each line, “to help me focus,” she said. She also did her math in colored pencil. And she read me a Bob book.

Sophie did a math lesson where the sums were already written out but she had to supply the plus or minus sign. That was kind of fun. She did copywork and read me a Bob book too.

I baked a whole wheat loaf and a loaf of pumpkin bread with a mystery can from the pantry. The we had to drive my sister to the airport shuttle.

Not much time for reading since Lucy foiled my plan. She fell asleep in the car just fine but woke when I tried to put her into her bed. So Bella picked People in History and we read about Sir Walter Raleigh. Then we read a chapter of Little House in Boston Bay about Charlotte trying to walk to Scotland. The girls were very much amused. They of course realized how faulty Charlotte’s geography is.

Bella asked what an ox is and I found I really didn’t know. So we looked it up– Bella already knew to ask before I even got the words out. And it turns out that “ox” is a functional term . Oxen are bovines that do work like plowing and hauling. (The Difference Between Cows, Oxen, And Cattle)

The kids chalked in the driveway. Ben had a meltdown that I think had at its root the departure of his beloved Auntie. At bedtime Dom read more of David Macauley’s Castle.

girls chalking

girls chalking

Ben with chalk

Ben with chalk

Lucy with chalk

Lucy with chalk

Wednesday

Math and copywork first thing. Sophie didn’t need help with math today. Bella didn’t do a formal written lesson, but we did a little work with linking cubes. A very little work.

Then we read about Sir Walter Raleigh and the Virginia colonies in Story of the World and I tried to get Bella and Sophie to narrate for me.

Next an impromptu science lesson that involved Ben and Anthony too. We identified what things are made out of wood, metal, and plastic. And Bella examined which metals are magnetic. Then we watched videos about how pencils, colored pencils, crayons, and erasers are made. Several different videos for each one.

The kids went outside to chalk some more. I drew a sunflower and some geraniums. I’ve been meaning to try to get into a habit of keeping a nature notebook to inspire the kids by my example. My sketch pad has nature sketches– on average one or two sketches every six months to a year. No kids opted to follow my example today. Perhaps I’m too good and therefore what I do looks inimatable?

Afternoon story time: a chapter of Little House by Boston Bay and then a couple of Little Vear stories. I read one and then Sophie and I took turns reading alternate pages of a second one. the first part of David Macauley’s Pyramid, at Anthony’s insistence but he fell asleep after the first page. Then we read a bunch of articles from one of the Dig magazines the kids got last year from Archaeology Day at the Museum of Science. A bunch of articles on clothing and textiles. Pretty cool stuff. It involved us finding Bulgaria on the globe and Bella asking which is the biggest country in Europe. So tick geography off our list today too.

Definitely a high tide sort of day. Even if I did only get four hours of sleep– my own fault since Lucy and Anthony both slept until six. I think my introvert self was recovering from three weeks of my sister camping out in my living room, luxuriating in having the space to myself. I love, love, having her her and mis her to pieces but introvert self still needs recharge time.

What didn’t happen: Bella didn’t read to me. She didn’t do written math work.
What did that I’ve been meaning to get around to: lots of science! I seem to do science in spurts. Unit studies separated by months of inactivity. But when we do it, we do tend to go to town.

Bedtime stories: more of David Macauley’s Castle and Dahlia by Barbara McClintock– my favorite.

Bug house

Bug house

Thursday

A fairly good start to the morning. Sophie did math and a handwriting page with a short break in between to go outside and swing.

Bella did math, a page where she had to figure out the area of various rectangles using cuisinaire rods. I want to do more of those, it was fun to show her how the same rectangle could be covered by 7 of the brown 8 rods or 8 of the black 7 rods.

Bella did not get to her copywork, but she surprised me and herself by disappearing to her room to read a book to herself when she and Sophie both wanted to do their reading to me at the same time. While Sophie read me the first half of Harald and the Purple Crayon, Bella was snug in her bed reading Mouse Shapes, one of her favorite books. She wasn’t just looking at the pictures and reciting the memorized words, but actually scrutinizing the text on the page and finding all the places where her memorized version of the story doesn’t exactly match up.

She presented herself in the living room with this proud smile and told me what she’d been doing. “Reading is fun now!” she declared. And then she went back and finished the book. And then after that she tried to read a board book to Lucy, who refused to play along and grabbed the book from Bella. I suggested Anthony might be a more receptive audience.

Read alouds: I read them the Pauline Baynes’ illustrated Three Holy Children (the canticle from Daniel), but first I read them excerpts from Daniel to explain the context of the prayer. Bella scoffed because she already knew the story, but I explained that Sophie and Anthony and Ben did not. Then Gingerbread Baby for Anthony. Bella really wanted a Milly Molly Mandy story. And a chapter of St Louis and the Last Crusade. Finally, Pagoo.

No narration today. Bedtime. Gingerbread Baby again. More Castle.

Wilty sunfower

Wilty sunfower

Bee on sunflower

Bee on sunflower

Bee on sunflower

Bee on sunflower

Friday

Today all plans went out the window. First, our friend Karla was clothed as a novice at the local Benedictine Abbey. We didn’t make it because of a miscommunication. We weren’t sure it was open to the public, were told it wasn’t and so I didn’t cancel my doctor’s appointment. And then when it was too late to cancel we found out the clothing ceremony wasn’t open, but the celebratory Mass and reception afterward were. Well, while I was at the doctor Dom and the kids got to video chat with Sister Karla thanks to a friend who was at the reception.

But my doctor’s appointment was a huge surprise. I’d had a sore foot for a day after last week’s cranberry bog hike. Truly the foot has been hurting for more than a decade, but this was worse than it’s ever been. I decided that it was time to finally get it checked out. I expected that the doctor would give me a referral to an orthopedist. Instead, he told me he thought I had a stress fracture and that I needed to get an x-ray and to wear a walking cast for six weeks. In fact, he said that I need to not set foot on the floor without the walking cast for six weeks. This is already proving quite the challenge: How to take the boot off in the dark without waking the cranky toddler? How to deal with middle of the night bathroom trips? My friend Jocelyn suggested I need to get crutches. I think that sounds a marvelous idea, but I don’t know how to do that. What I do know: this is going to be a very, very, very long six weeks.

My appointment was at 8:15 and I didn’t have a chance to get the girls started on schoolwork before I left. I had to go three different places: to the doctor, to get the x-ray, and to get the cast. When I got home they hadn’t done anything. Then we had to go to the grocery store.

Afternoon read alouds: St Patrick’s Summer, Milly Molly Mandy, and a story from Princess Tales.

Lucy actually sat still and paid attention to the whole length of Little Blue Truck, saying “beep, beep” and “honk, honk.”

Bedtime story: the tedious book about Martin de Porres that I need to make go away. Bella tried to get me to read Pyramid but I kept nodding off. She substituted the Barefoot Book of Classic Poems and I was able to perk up a bit and read half a dozen of those.

Sword under the dome

Sword under the dome

Firetruck in the grass

Firetruck in the grass

Holy family with plant

Holy family with plant

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