Learning Notes June 16

Learning Notes June 16

Bella musing.
Bella musing.

Monday June 16

Sophie got off to a slower start, had to be reminded it was a school day because she’d been distracted by Ben’s game. But she did her math— two pages in the new Miquon red book— and copy work and cursive practice. And she read me two Aesop’s fables. Seen reading Calvin and Hobbes and Half Magic and overheard discussing The Secret Garden and Half Magic with Bella.

Bella did a page in her new Miquon blue book. And a very little copywork. I actually made her rewrite one word because it was illegible. And a very little cursive. I think I’m going to have to have a motivational talk. I’m all about being lenient on days when she’s tired and distracted. But I can’t remember the last time she was diligent and did more than the bare minimum, under protest. Seen reading Calvin and Hobbes and The Secret Garden and a library book about Eli Whitney.

I did a math activity with Ben. And then alphabet pages with Ben and Anthony. They were doing a copy page of “Bb” and I asked them to think of words that start with B and wrote them down and did little pictures. And then we made big B and little b out of modeling clay. I’ve also been trying to ask them to identify letters in the books I read to them.

I read the kids a little bit of the book I’m reading, For All the Tea in China. There was an episode of the English botanist, Robert Fortune, being attacked by Chinese pirates that I thought they’d enjoy.

Afternoon stories: two chapters of Swallowdale, Joseph the dreamer in the Bible story book, a chapter of Treasure Island, and a picture book of a Chinese legend for Anthony.

The kids watched a bit of Merry Wives of Windsor.

Bedtime story: Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.

Anthony enjoying Calvin and Hobbes
Anthony enjoying Calvin and Hobbes

Tuesday June 17

A rocky start for both Sophie and Bella. I’m not sure why except maybe it’s that everyone’s allergies have been bad this week. But I did get both of them to do math and cursive. Bella has decided to alternate between copywork and cursive practice. I’d rather she did both, but that seems to overwhelm her. Well at least she did a drawing that involved writing labels for things.

I did math with Ben, playing with geoboards. And practiced words that start with C with Anthony.

Afternoon stories: Swallowdale, Across the Rolling River, Story of the World chapter about Napoleon. Then Anthony asked me to read him The Magician’s Nephew. So we read the first chapter of that.

Bedtime story: I read some pages of Mother Teresa for Bella and then she snuggled into Ben’s bed with him and read him the rest to settle a dispute over who got to take the book to bed.

Bella reads to Ben
Bella reads to Ben

Wednesday June 18

Sophie did a page in Miquon and oh I think adding numbers whose sum is greater than 10 is finally clicking. I think she’s finally getting the idea of tens and ones. She also did a page of Saxon. She did some cursive practice and a line of copywork.

Bella did a bit of copywork, messy, but done. She really struggled over her math page, but it led to a really good conversation in which she was able to articulate for me some of what’s going on in her head when she struggles. It now seems much less like an attention issue and much more likely to be something to do with her synesthesia. A very interesting conversation indeed. And talking about it did seem to ease things a bit and she was able to find a solution and get half the math page done.

I didn’t do anything formal with Ben and Anthony because they both had a rough night. But Ben was having a hard morning after a really bad night and we ended up cuddled in my bed and he asked me to read him a Pooh story. So we read In Which Piglet is Entirely Surrounded by Water. And Ben had fun finding Cs in the text. and even found a few As and Bs. So I counted that as reading practice. Anthony and Lucy came in and listened too.

Afternoon stories: Swallowdale, Joseph and his brothers in Egypt, The Magician’s Nephew. And then to Bella alone In a Patch of Fireweed.

Bedtime story: The Tale of Peter Rabbit for Lucy and for Ben a Chinese legend, The Water Dragon.

Ben and Anthony play on the new play set, which is waiting to be assembled.
Ben and Anthony play on the new play set, which is waiting to be assembled.
Anthony watches Bella running laps
Anthony watches Bella running laps

Thursday June 19

Sophie did a page of Saxon math. Actually a page and a half. Then some cursive practice and I think maybe some copy work too? Bella did a little math and some copywork. Not so much on the math today.

Grocery store day so morning lessons cut short.

Afternoon stories: Swallowdale, Across the Rolling River, The Magician’s Nephew. The final chapters of Why Not Lafayette?

Bella spent some time re-reading the Story of the World chapter on the American Revolution. Then went and hunted down This Country of Ours to read that take on the Revolution. I found the Landmark History and pulled that down so she could compare it as well. She really wants to read as much as she can get her hands on. Well, ok.

We got down the globe and Anthony and I talked about what the equator is. And about how Asia is the biggest continent. Everyone had a turn looking at their favorite places and turning it around. The globe is a favorite tool/toy. Sophie spent some time imagining sailing around and I started asking her a bit more, helping her figure out the names of the places her boat was sailing. A little geography lesson ensued. She began at Sri Lanka and sailed to Bangladesh and then to Java. She went diving off the western coast of Australia, sailed to Tasmania, then up to dive at the Great Barrier Reef. Then did more diving in the Coral Sea because she liked the sound of it. Then on to Fiji and more diving. Then over to Hawaii and finally on to Panama. Then an overland excursion through South America, passing through Medellin Colombia, and back to a ship to sail across the Atlantic with a little stop at Tristan da Cunha. She landed in South Africa and then sailed on to Madagascar and finally back to Sri Lanka. Then later she took a trip to Iceland.

Bella called me outside to show me a beetle. I need to get her a book so she can identify them. Also she wanted to show me a sparrow that looked different. I think it was a female house sparrow whose light over the eye mark was whiter than most.

Bedtime stories: Sophie wanted a library picture book, Bella wanted A Young Patriot. Lucy had a book about Eli Whitney.

Bella looks at the globe.
Bella looks at the globe.

Friday June 20

After reading about the Swallows catching fish in the beck and the tarn, the kids were very insistent that they needed to be taken fishing. Now. So they prevailed upon Dom to take them first thing in the morning. (First thing being at about 8:30.) I stayed home with Lucy and had a quiet breakfast and made muffins while Lucy played. They didn’t catch anything, but had fun and in addition to fishing they also climbed rocks and explored and saw geese and goslings.

I declared it a holiday so no math or copywork. But we did have afternoon stories. Two chapters of Swallowdale because we couldn’t very well stop in the middle of the surprise attack. Then The Magician’s Nephew, the final chapter of Across the Rolling River. And then Lucy woke up and that was the end of everyone’s attention for books.

We got up and went for a walk around the block, finding flowers and seeds and sticks. Ben rode his bike. Then they worked on drawings and then curating the art on the walls of their bedrooms, removing old pictures and putting up new ones.

Bella helped make grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner, made one of them all on her own.

Bedtime stories: Figgy Hobbin, poems by Cornish poet Charles Causley. Little Blue Truck. The Water Dragon.

Bella with St Kateri
Bella with St Kateri
Bella's house
Bella’s house
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    • It is such joy. She picked up Understood Betsy on Sunday. Read something like 97 pages on Sunday. Another 100 pages or so on Monday. Finished up the last little bit today. Three days. I can’t believe she whipped through it like that.

  • I think my favorite childhood milestone of all is literacy. It’s better than the first word spoke, the first steps, first lost baby tooth. Once reading ‘clicks’ and they are soaring with it …. It’s just gorgeous. And what I have found with my kids — where literacy clicked ages 7, 11, and 8 — is that after it does, most other academic subjects tumble gently in line. Reading with fluency and ease just makes so many other things easier. Sure, plenty, most?, kids have subjects that are a struggle no matter what, or ones they just plain don’t like, but reading makes all the difference.