Learning Notes Third Week of Advent

Bella colors a coloring book page of Van Gogh's Starry Night

Bella colors a coloring book page of Van Gogh’s Starry Night

Catching up on posting old learning notes from before Christmas. The final week of Advent we did no school work. We all needed a Christmas break.


I got the kids in gear this morning by promising we could make cookies if they finished school early enough. And then I failed to deliver on that promise because I realized I needed to make bread and that took all my allotted baking time. I did get the cookie dough made, but not rolled out and cut. That will have to wait until tomorrow. But hey, maybe I can get them to finish their schoolwork early again tomorrow.

So Bella did a page in the red Miquon book. And copied a line from the Belinda poem. And read me a few sentences from the whiteboard. Then I read her Clara and Davie, Patricia Polacco’s book about Clara Barton. Bella took a break between math and copy work and swept the kitchen floor because “my body needed something to do not just my hands.”

Sophie did a page of Saxon math, copied a line in her Memoria Press book, and read me Brown Bear, Brown Bear. Lucy picked up the book later and recited a few lines from it. She was even saying the right words on the right pages: goldfish, orange duck, etc.

Ben and I did a Saxon lesson. Anthony did some counting and one to one correspondence with the bear counters and the linking cubes. Anthony made a half hearted attempt to copy some letters.

We all except Bella worked on learning a few more lines of the Belinda poem.

While we were doing that Bella listened to Prince Caspian and then after lunch she did some reading and math drills on the iPad.

Story time we read: a chapter in Story of the World, the closing of Japan and something about the Manchu dynasty in China. We also looked at the globe and Bella identified Japan, China, England, France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy. And I pointed out The Netherlands, which she knew was in Europe but wasn’t sure where. And we talked about Russia and Germany too.

We also read a chapter in On the Banks of Plum Creek and one in the Book of Angels. Then we read Strega Nona’s Christmas and the first part of The Story of Holly and Ivy.

Bedtime stories: more Holly and Ivy for Ben and Bella while Anthony picked Clara and Davie.

Ben wanted to wear shorts and t-shirt but then got cold

Ben wanted to wear shorts and t-shirt but then got cold


Dangling making Christmas cookies as a carrot was ineffective. Oh Sophie did a page of Saxon math, a page of copywork, and read me a Little Bear Story. Ben did a Saxon lesson. Bella did a page of copying, then page of Miquon math… finally. And eventually read me a Bob book. But by the time she got round to that it was after 11 and I wasn’t about to start with the cookies right before lunch. The kids were all wrapped up in a game they were playing and getting their heads out of it was hard. Bella was complaining about being tired.

While I put Lucy down for a nap I did let them play some iPad apps. Bella and Sophie did some reading drill. I think they also did some more musical instruments. At dinner Sophie asked me what “crescendo” means.

Afternoon stories: a chapter in the Book of Angels about angels in the Acts of the Apostles. The end of The Story of Holly and Ivy, a tearjerker, always. The Thirteen Days of Christmas. The 24 Days Until Christmas. The Pirates book— Sophie was thrilled to learn that her favorite geographical locale, Madagascar, was once known as Pirate Island.

Bella drew her own pirates flag.

Bedtime stories: The Baker’s Dozen, Seabird, and the first part of The Miracle of Jonathan Toomey.

Bella's pirate flag. She says the hour glass means "Don't wait!" (Presumably: don't wait to surrender.)

Bella’s pirate flag. She says the hour glass means “Don’t wait!” (Presumably: don’t wait to surrender.)



Lucy with swords singing: "Glory God in highst an peace on erfs"

Lucy with swords singing: “Glory God in highst an peace on erfs”


Both girls were pretty on the ball today, wanting to make cookies. Bella did a page of Miquon, a page of copying from The Baker’s Dozen, and read to me from Little Bear. Sophie did a page of copy work in the Memoria Press book, a page of Saxon math, and read to me from a Flower Fairy book.

Sophie worked on reciting Belinda.

We made cookies. The kids played on the ipads while I put Lucy down. Bella listened to Prince Caspian on her iPod.

Story time: last chapter in A Book of Angels, Who Is Coming to Our House, 24 Days Until Christmas, 13 Days of Christmas.

Kids watched another episode of Blue Planet. I wish I could sit and watch too, but dinner must be made.

Bedtime stories: Clara and Davie for Anthony, Bambinelli Sunday for Ben.

After watching Blue Planet, Sophie is one of the attendants of the Fairy of the Sea. Bella is the Fairy of the Dark Depths.

After watching Blue Planet, Sophie is one of the attendants of the Fairy of the Sea. Bella is the Fairy of the Dark Depths.

Christmas cookies

Christmas cookies


Bella and Sophie each did a page of Miquon math and some copy work in their Memoria Press books. Dom was working from home so I took Anthony and Lucy to the grocery store and left the big three home with him. Bella did some math and reading drill on the iPad.

Afternoon stories: a chapter of Little House in Brookfield. (The prose still seems dreadfully flat.) and several chapters of Stone Fox, which turns out not to be the book club book, but it’s short and we all want to know what happens.

We drove to La Salette Shrine to see the Christmas lights and made a little pilgrimage. I was most impressed with Bella who decided she wanted to climb the holy stairs on her knees. She said a Hail Mary on each step and told Dom that she’d offered her prayers for North Korea. We were talking about North Korea at dinner last night and tried to explain a little bit about that oppressive regime. I guess she took it to heart. My sweet, tender girl. We got home late so I’m thinking tomorrow we’re going to have a holiday. I’m wondering if we shouldn’t just take off next week too and start our Christmas holidays now.

I did French braids for the doll's hair

I did French braids for the doll’s hair


Well, I felt wretched and I gave the kids a holiday. But Bella’s conscience was pricking her so she did a page of copy work while she listened to her iPod. And did it well, too.

Anthony begged to play on the iPad and he even cleaned up a mess that Lucy had made with the modeling clay in order to win the privilege. So I caved and they all spent oodles of time playing on the wretched thing. I was quite impressed with Anthony doing a sight words game. He seemed to know which was the right answer immediately more than half the time. I think he’s going to learn how to read from the iPad. Since most of the games are educational, I have high hopes that they are spending at least part of that time learning something: reading math, French, musical instruments of the orchestra, etc.

We did have a lovely afternoon reading time: We finished Stone Fox and I was shocked when the dog died. I really, honestly did not see it coming. At least with Charlotte’s Web I was braced for Charlotte’s demise. This was an unhappy surprise. Poor Bella was sobbing. I wasn’t much better off, Sophie and the boys seemed to be in shock. But we had a nice conversation about the ending and everyone seemed satisfied that it was both a happy and a sad ending.

We also read chapters of On the Banks of Plum Creek, Little House in Brookfield, 13 Days of Christmas, 24 Days before Christmas. And we red/sang the Jan Brett 12 Days of Christmas an speculated about the gifts coming in the 13 Days book. And we read A New Coat for Anna and two stories and three songs from the Tomie dePaola Christmas book: The Night of Las Posadas and the Story of the Three Wise Kings. It felt very snug and Christmas-y.

And after all that they watched a bunch of Chip and Dale and Donald Duck cartoons.

Bedtime stories was a bit of Hallelujah Handel and a bit of The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey.

Lucy eats something sour, I can no longer remember what it was

Lucy eats something sour, I can no longer remember what it was

Lucy eats a pomegranate

Lucy eats a pomegranate

St Edith Stein

St Edith Stein with Bella


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