Learning Notes Week of April 13

Three pirates. Sophie put the grackle in the tool box to be the pirate's parrot in a cage.

Three pirates. Sophie put the grackle in the tool box to be the pirate’s parrot in a cage.

Monday April 13

A really good start to our first full week back after Easter. I’m glad we did some school work on Thursday and Friday because I think it helped get them back into the groove.

I had to tear the girls away from books to get them to do do their written work. Bella began with copy work in the Memoria Press book while Ben worked on math, filling out his calendar and then making linking cube towers to match number cards, and Anthony practiced writing letters. Sophie also started with copy work in the Memoria book.

Everyone gathered around the table.

Everyone gathered around the table.

Ben does math.

Ben does math.

Then there was a little break for them to run outside. Then Sophie did a page of Saxon math, addition practice and then a page of Miquon, fractions, while I nursed Lucy.

Then she ran outside to play while Bella came in and I had her narrate from the books she’d been reading on her own. Two partial chapters from More All of a Kind Family, Hannukah and the dreidel and the May dance. And a few sections of Shh We’re Writing the Constitution. She narrates very well and I think I’m going to try to start focusing on having her narrate her own reading. Especially since trying to narrate the stuff I read to them never seems to happen. Maybe once they get used to narrating their own reading, we can move to narrating some of the history and science books I read to them. Then Bella read me several page of Boston Tea Party. Interrupted by my having to bandage Ben’s knee and then set him up to play on the iPad while his knee recuperated from the scrape. But she picked right back up where we were interrupted with no problem. She read me maybe three or four pages in all.

Then Bella ran outside to play and Sophie came in and narrated her morning’s reading, The Battle of Luke and Longnose. She needed a bit more prompting than Bella, but she did pretty well. Then she read me three poems from The Barefoot Book: Bed by Day, A Boy’s Song, and The Stolen Child.

Sophie reads poetry.

Sophie reads poetry.

Bella reads about the Boston Tea Party

Bella reads about the Boston Tea Party

Bella reads about the Boston Tea Party

Bella reads about the Boston Tea Party

Then I got out my nature journal and proceeded to write an entry and then draw several pages of plants, mostly shoots coming up: irises, green onions, tulips, also a crocus blossom. Then a little spruce tree that Bella has been protecting from the lawn mower with a circle of stones, the peach tree stump. And then some branches: holly azalea, and pieri. Then as sketch of the garden bed with the remaining stumps of sunflower stalks and the tulip shoots and the bird feeder pole.

Then Sophie decided she wanted to draw too (as I’d hoped.) Well, first she said she couldn’t draw. And asked me to draw her a sketch of her holly branch. I said I would but only if she drew it with me. I drew a pretty sad sketch of her bike helmet to show her what my drawing was like when attempting a new form that I hadn’t got the hang of. It was reassuring to her to see me trying something new. So she grabbed her pencil and sketched the holly with me. And was pretty pleased with the results. That sent her outside with her sketchbook where she drew most of the things I’d drawn plus some rose hips and a rock. Ben took paper outside and drew the grill cover and Bella drew a holly leaf. Anthony drew a machine for me and I drew a holly branch for him. Then I also demonstrated some cursive writing to Sophie, so she got a little lesson in how to read cursive.

Sophie's sketchbook filled with sketches of plants and rocks and stumps

Sophie’s sketchbook filled with sketches of plants and rocks and stumps

Ben drew Daddy's grill

Ben drew Daddy’s grill

My holly branch

My holly branch

Anthony watches as Sophie draws a holly branch

Anthony watches as Sophie draws a holly branch

Afternoon stories. We read outside. Hurray! The sun was so warm. The kids, barefoot in shorts and t-shirts, were complaining about the heat even while I was still wearing a light pullover sweater and wool socks. On Top of Concord Hill, Swallows and Amazons, Shh We’re Writing the Constitution, Faith and Life, The Story of the World. We had a nice discussion about the Eucharist as we read the Faith and Life chapter. And one about confession following the slightly disturbing chapter in On Top of Concord Hill about going to the Camp Meeting where the meet a preacher who rants and raves about sin, condemning dancing and smoking among other things. It was very interesting that the Quiner family left the meeting because Mother disagreed with the preacher, but there wasn’t much discussion on the part of the adults about why they left. The children were left to wonder and speculate.

I feel like the sunshine and warm weather has flipped a switch in my brain. Like I’ve been hibernating all winter and am now waking up. Things which seemed gloomy and impossible seem light and very possible. Oh spring is here and I feel liberated.

I got Bella and Sophie to narrate the history chapter at dinner tonight. I had them tell Dom about it. Bella balked at first: “I know it!” she groused. I explained again that the point wasn’t whether she knows it but whether she can tell someone else about it. Anyway, I got Sophie to start. I just asked her to tell us one thing she remembered and she volunteered that when Captain Cook got to Hawaii the natives thought he was a god. She answered a few follow up questions and then Bella took over, as I thought she would, unable to resist showing off how much she knew. She was very particular when Dom tried to jump ahead or Sophie or I. No, the story had to be told in the right way and the proper order, no getting ahead of yourself now. She did a fabulous job. So with Bella the challenge is just to get her over that initial hump of refusal. And to get practice in crafting her response. I also want her to model good narrating skills for Sophie. Eventually, of course, I’ll want her them to do some written narration.

I don’t really see the benefit of narrating right away vs doing it later in the day like this.

Bedtime story: I read part of Charlotte in Paris to Bella. Dom read Riptide to Sophie and Little Blue Truck to Lucy.

Tuesday April 14

Books out on the table, Sophie started before I got up, Bella had opened her books and then been distracted. She’d observed a woodlouse on the back step and drew a picture of it and then with my help wrote out some observations about it. I counted that as copywork.

Sophie did two math pages and a page of copywork.

I dragged Bella crying and recalcitrant through a page of math. She’s really resistant to learning division, no matter how much I tell her it’s just multiplication in reverse. Later, over lunch I asked her to do a bit of mental math, to divide smaller numbers into parts. She did it just fine, which I knew she would. So the blockage is more about the idea of learning a new concept than in actually doing division. We had a conversation about anxiety later in the day and she compared her math anxiety with Sophie’s anxiety about going to unfamiliar places. So at least she was able to verbalize something about the anxiety.

We had to go to the mall to get my broken iPhone repaired. We dropped off the phone and then had lunch at the food court and then picked up the phone and went to Target. Then we stopped at the library on the way home to pick up some books.

Bella read the Jean Fritz Sam Adams book when we got home. The whole book. Then began to narrate it to me while I cooked. She began at the beginning and was very detailed. Then she realized how long it was going to take to narrate the whole book in that level of detail and asked if she could skip ahead to a favorite bit. I told her that was fine. I was very impressed with the level of detail she could recall and convey.

Afternoon stories: Swallows and Amazons, On Top of Concord Hill, Faith and Life, Why Don’t You Get a Horse, Samuel Adams. Really, really liking the Jean Fritz stories about the personalities of the founding fathers.

Bedtime story: Tree read the pirate book that came with the little balsa model ship. Sophie loves that book so much. What Happened Next, Paul Revere? Oh I liked this one too! There’s more about Paul Revere than the midnight ride and his silversmithing.

Ben says, "Dinner is much funnier when Auntie Tree is here."

Ben says, “Dinner is much funnier when Auntie Tree is here.”

Auntie Tree is here!

Auntie Tree is here!

A heartfelt embrace

A heartfelt embrace

Ben is a little happy to see Auntie Tree

Ben is a little happy to see Auntie Tree

Wednesday

Sophie and Bella had already started on their work before I got up. My sister helped Sophie and Bella with math and admired their copy work and listened to them read aloud.

I took Lucy to the allergist. She’s allergic to wheat, corn, dairy, and eggs. Ugh.

When we came home they were all sitting in the front yard and my sister was teaching Bella and Sophie to crochet.

Afternoon stories: Swallows and Amazons, On Top of Concord Hill, Ben and Me.

Bedtime story: George Washington’s Mother.

Enjoying a warm sunny day. Poor Tree got a sunburn.

Enjoying a warm sunny day. Poor Tree got a sunburn.

Lunch on the front lawn. Bella dragged the table out front so they could have a picnic.

Lunch on the front lawn. Bella dragged the table out front so they could have a picnic.

Reading outside

Reading outside

Thursday

Sophie did two pages of math and copywork right after breakfast. She needed some help with the math as she’s just learning fractions.

Bella limped through copywork, very distracted, and yet her handwriting was pretty good. She also needed help with math. Division just isn’t clicking for her and she’s very frustrated. It’s not that she can’t do the math, it’s that she’s confused or frustrated about something of how the questions are structured or something.

I went to the store with Lucy and the big kids stayed home with Auntie Tree. Bella and Sophie both read to her. Bella read a whole chapter of Canadian Summer.

Afternoon stories: On Top of Concord Hill, Swallows and Amazons, Faith and Life, Story of the World— Australia, convict colony.

Bedtime story: The Boy Who Drew Birds.

Bella reads to Auntie Tree

Bella reads to Auntie Tree

The kids construct a ship. Or a plane. Something.

The kids construct a ship. Or a plane. Something.

Friday

A semi-holiday. Dom is taking off Fridays from now through June to use up his vacation. We were planning to go to the aquarium today, but it was too rainy.

So I did make Bella and Sophie do math. And Sophie did a page of copy work too.

Bella has a weird anxiety about learning division. It’s not that she can’t do the math. It seems more like new words and a new sign and a new approach she feels anxious about the new, worried that she doesn’t understand, that she’s doing it wrong.

She’s a whiz at the multiplication side of all the problems the book is throwing at her and can do all these problems easily from that end. So the anxiety is more like things haven’t clicked into place yet and she’s disoriented and disturbed. So I’m holding her hand and writing the answers in the book for her until the newness passes and she realizes she can do it. And I’m trying to give her some extra practice at doing division verbally when we’re away from the books. She’s fine with it I think except when the book tries to get her to do the multiplication and division side by side. Somehow that’s more of a hindrance than a help.

Today I tricked her into doing a second page. After we finished the first, I just looked ahead at the next one and said, “Huh I don’t understand the directions here. And I read them aloud but sort of to myself and we figured out together how to do it and she sort of didn’t even realize we were doing it until we’d done the whole page.

We went out to lunch at Red Robin and then to Bass Pro Shop. We got home too late for afternoon story time.

Bedtime stories: Boston Tea Party and Little Blue Truck and St Jerome and the Lion.

Lucy enjoys her chicken at Red Robin and does a little Charlie Chaplin number.

Lucy enjoys her chicken at Red Robin and does a little Charlie Chaplin number.

Lucy enjoys her chicken at Red Robin

Lucy enjoys her chicken at Red Robin

Books! From kind blog reader M.E. The children were thrilled.

New books! A wonderful gift from kind blog reader M.E. The children were thrilled.

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