Learning Notes Labor Day Week

Lounging pirate.

Lounging pirate.

Monday September 7

Pool party at Uncle John’s house. Highlight of the day was visiting with Father Michael, a Franciscan of the Primitive Observance who was formerly a member of the youth group that my brother-in-law led. Father Michael led everyone in praying the rosary at the end of the day and then spoke a little, answering questions about his order, his vocation, his habit and the community’s extreme lifestyle, and about hitchhiking to World Youth Day in Brazil. Such a wonderful witness and example for the kids, well, for everyone really.

Praying the rosary with Father Michael of the Franciscans of the Primitive Observance

Praying the rosary with Father Michael of the Franciscans of the Primitive Observance

Tuesday September 8

Sophie did math, copywork, cursive.

Bella did math, working on times tables, multiples of 5. Copywork, a very little bit

Then Bella read This Country of Ours about the start of the Civil War, narrated to me about the Monitor and the Merrimack.

I did letters with Ben and Anthony. J and N respectively. Then I did a math lesson with them. Anthony wants to do the same math as Ben. MEP Year 1. I’ll let him tag along until it gets too hard, if it gets too hard. Maybe it won’t. We’ll see how it goes.

iPad time. Anthony did a math game. Ben did a phonics game. Sophie did Xtra Math and then some other games.

Stories: The Hobbit, The Saturdays, Bible story, childhood of Jesus.

Fun doubling of dragons and dwarves and magic rings in our read alouds today. First we read the first chapter of Hobbit with the tale of Smaug and the song about the long forgotten gold. And then the chapter of The Saturdays where Rush goes to see Siegfried. It all felt very thematic. So then inspired by Rush’s adventure in The Saturdays, I put on some excerpts from Siegfried on You Tube, which the four oldest watched intently. I thought that having had it first described in such an intriguing way they might have their interest piqued. I was right. I started with some short clips of Siegfried forging the sword and killing Fafnir. Then they watched a good 50 minutes of Act I. They’d have kept going, but it was time for dinner.

Bedtime story: Calvin and Hobbes.

Watching Siegfried.

Watching Siegfried.

Wednesday September 9

Sophie did math and copywork. Bella did math in the Singapore book for the first time. Bella did her copywork late this afternoon, right before dinner.

Ben and Anthony did some letter practice. Ben wrote some Ms.

I did a MEP math lesson with Ben and Anthony. A little frustration as Anthony colors much more slowly than Ben. Anthony didn’t want Ben to do the next thing without him, Ben got tired waiting for Anthony to finish. And the distraction of Lucy playing on Grandad’s iPad didn’t help. But we got through most of the lesson.

Grocery store. Lucy had already warmed up to my dad enough to let him get her out of her car seat and to hold his hand up to the store entrance. (He came in last night after the kids were all in bed.)

Afternoon stories: two picture books about Jean Lafitte. Then a chapter of The Saturdays and one of The Hobbit. And then Lucy woke up and story time was over.

At dinner Ben was practicing writing letters. He wrote some random letters and then “zoo” and then I helped him spell his name.

Bedtime stories: The Bobbin Girl (about a mill worker in Lowell MA), Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site, and a section from Pioneer Sampler about keeping hens.

Bella has been re-reading The Hobbit on her own. She read it with Dom two years ago and is finding it funny not scary now that she knows how it ends. She also read a library book about the War of 1812.

Grandad's here!

Grandad’s here!

Thursday September 10

Sophie did a page of Saxon math.

We had a field trip, our first Eco-Science Club meeting. The lesson was about trees, estimating their height, their age, and identifying them. Sadly, after we’d been there only an hour or so it began to rain pretty hard. The kids got whiny and we decided to go home.

Afternoon stories: The Hobbit, The Saturdays, the first part of the first chapter of The Microbe Hunters, a picture book about Napoleon on St Helena, My Family and Other Animals.

Bedtime stories: Calvin and Hobbes.

Learning about trees

Learning about trees

Measuring the circumference of a tree.

Measuring the circumference of a tree.

Lucy and Grandad.

Lucy and Grandad.

Friday September 11

Everyone out of sorts, but we soldiered on a bit. It throws me when Sophie is off because I guess I rely on her to be the dependable one. But today she was having none of it. Eventually she did do a page of math and stumbled through a tiny bit of copywork. No cursive. Bella did a page of math and a line of copywork.

The boys and I did a math lesson, actually two lessons in the MEP book. And then I set Ben to sorting alphabet cards into the correct order. He got halfway through before he was distracted. Anthony an I talked about words that begin with K.

And that was all I could get out of them today. Anthony did not want to read with me. Sophie and Bella did not want to read to me. No one was at all engaging.

Afternoon stories: The Hobbit, The Saturdays, first chapter of Elizabeth Ann Seton, chapter on South Africa and the Boer War in SotW, My Napoleon, more on Leeuwenhoek in Microbe Hunters— the last just with Bella as the others had grown too restless. Too bad because it’s good stuff.

Bedtime stories: a book about Beethoven’s Heroic Symphony.

Ben's log cabin.

Ben’s log cabin.

Bella's baby bonnet.

Bella’s baby bonnet.

Bella's baby bonnet, rear view.

Bella’s baby bonnet, rear view.

Sophie copies out a list of all the Flower Fairies.

Sophie copies out a list of all the Flower Fairies.

Grandad pushes Lucy on the swing.

Grandad pushes Lucy on the swing.

Saturday September 12

On the way to and from the farmer’s market we listened to Beethoven’s Heroic Symphony. And Bella read This Country of Ours.

We don’t usually do read alouds on Saturday, but this afternoon was gorgeous. We took blankets out into the backyard and I read a chapter of The Hobbit (Riddles in the Dark). Then The Trees of the Dancing Goats at Sophie’s request. And at Anthony’s request a selection from Story of the World. Anthony really wanted to read history. We read about the Trail of Tears.

I played some Duolingo on the iPad with Sophie hanging over my shoulder and Anthony and Lucy listening in a bit too. Sophie wants to learn French but I haven’t found a really good, cheap age-appropriate app for that. Duolingo is a bit too hard for her, but she love to listen in as I play an I think she picks up quite a bit that way. It was also fun to hear Lucy saying merci and bonjour.

I finally gave in and bought myself a copy of Trees of New England: A Natural History. I had it out from the library and really loved it, but never quite could bring myself to purchase it. And now that I have I’m so happy. And I’ve already learned that for the last six years I’ve been misidentifying half the trees in my neighborhood. I’ve been calling them honey locusts, but now I know they are actually black locusts. And now I have to teach the kids to say the correct name. This book fits nicely in with our forestry lesson on Thursday. Another of those teach myself so I can teach the kids books. And leave around to see if maybe Bella will pick it up and read a bit for herself.

Bedtime story: Frog and Toad for Ben and Anthony. (Bella was thrilled when she realized it was boy’s night to pick. She ran off with a squeal to read The Hobbit in bed. Now that she’s read it once, she’s finding it very fun, not at all scary. Oh and this copy of The Hobbit has the first chapter of The Fellowship of the Ring in it and Bella read it and now wants desperately for us all to finish The Hobbit so we can get on with The Lord of the Rings.)

Bella reads This Country of Ours.

Bella reads This Country of Ours.

Sunday September 13

Sophie and I played with Duolingo and she actually did a lot of the exercises herself. I let her play for quite a while and then cut her off when she started to get tired and frustrated. Better to keep sessions short and her in good temper, I need to remember that. After that she played Xtra Math and then I played a math game too, where you pick balls that add up to a certain number, and then Bella did it too. The kids were watching as I was playing and trying to give me advice, so I think they were following it a bit. It’s a good math drill for learning addition and I should try to get the girls to play it more.

I read Bella some discussion notes on the Heroic Symphony that my friend Julia sent me. She was exited and it made her want to go watch some Khan Academy videos about the orchestra. After that we watched a BBC movie about the Eroica, a dramatization of the first rehearsal. All the big kids watched the whole movie.

My dad watched the kids while Dom and I had a date. When we came home Dad was reading Frog and Toad to Ben and Anthony.

Bella is shuttling back and forth between The Hobbit and This Country of Ours.

Bedtime stories: I read a book about the War of 1812 to Sophie.

Bella the witch.

Bella the witch.

Watching a BBC movie about the genesis of Beethoven's Symphony No 3, the Eroica

Watching a BBC movie about the genesis of Beethoven’s Symphony No 3, the Eroica

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