Learning Notes Week of October 5

Bella's clay figures.

Bella’s clay figures.

Saturday October 3

Winter Holiday arrived on Saturday. Bella grabbed it and had finished reading it by Sunday night.

Monday October 5

Slow start, but a start nonetheless. Bella decided to write a story.

Sophie copied a prayer in honor of St Therese, a streamlined version of the feast day collect that I’d put on the board on Friday.

Anthony had me write out St Anthony, pray for us. Which he then decided he didn’t want to try to copy. Too long, I guess. So instead he asked me how to spell, “I love you,” and wrote that instead.

Ben was not interested in doing any writing.

I did a math lesson with Anthony and Ben, mostly on the whiteboard, we didn’t use their workbook pages at all. They seem to have a pretty good grasp of greater than and less than now.

Sophie was feeling stuck with math and so she had me copy out problems from the Miquon book onto the whiteboard and she told me that answers and I wrote them down. It was social, interactive, manageable. I was proud of her coming up with a solution which enabled her to get through the work. Good problem solving.

I did a little bit of math with Bella, too, some pages from the Singapore book. She was still feeling sick, the cold has settled in her chest and I’m worried about bronchitis. Might have to go to the doctor.

Anthony read the first five sentences in the first Bob book in set 2. He’s really getting blending now, read quite a few new words with no help or prompting. Got stuck a few times and needed a bit of help, reminder to first identify the letters, then their sounds, then blend the sounds. He also had a funny observation. The story had Mom wearing a red wig. Anthony remembered a history discussion about powdered wigs from a week or two ago. I think we were looking at the illustrations in the Elizabeth Ann Seton book and wondering if the picture that showed powdered wigs was accurate to the period. So I looked up an article about the history of wigs and found it likely was. Anthony is making connections.

Afternoon stories: Four Story Mistake, first chapter of Winter Holliday (some good discussion about the novel’s point of view from the new characters), St Elizabeth Ann Seton (good narration by Sophie and Bella), Don Quixote for Anthony.

Bedtime story: Small Acts of Kindness, A Fine Dessert.

Today Bella was reading Swallowdale and St John Bosco.

Tuesday October 6

I did the rest of yesterday’s math lesson with Ben and Anthony. Ben wrote out his name with letter tiles.

Sophie copied out the final lines of Psalm 23. She balked at math and so I made up a math game for her. I drew a pirate map and she had to find her way to the treasure, but the directions were all taken from her math page. Walk 5+4 paces, turn north, walk 9-1 paces, etc.

Bella copied a line of poetry, one of the Tolkien poems. She did a bit of math. Mostly she read, still feeling under the weather.

I took Bella to the doctor after lunch. We just had time to read a short Bible story, excerpt from the Gospel, and the rest of the chapter about New Zealand in Story of the World.

Wednesday October 7

Morning Prayer opened up a discussion about Our Lady of Victory. I printed off some coloring pages about Lepanto, read them a short explanation of the battle. We listened to Chesterton’s poem, then I read Bella a longer detailed historical article about the battle that provided more context. Then listened to another version of the poem, this one sung.

Somewhere in there I did a math lesson with the boys and some letter practice with them too. Anthony wrote some Ls and Ben some Os. We talked about words starting with both letters. That led to us talking about the etymology of the kids’ names. (L is for Lucia, Lucia means light, what does my name mean?)

I helped Sophie do a page of math. Some tears over the clock, she does not like the clock and I was the same way at her age.

Bella did a bit of math. Then distracted herself with the atlas most of the morning, learned a bunch of geography, she told me. I think Massachusetts and Canada. I traced our honeymoon route for her, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. The atlas even had the ferry routes on it.

Bella and I also watched some clips from the Hamilton musical and talked about Alexander Hamilton and George Washington and the Constitutional Convention.

The kids found a praying mantis on the fence in the backyard and observed it for a while.

While I put Lucy down for her nap the others four decided to weed the garden. Pulling up the crazy oregano that has taken over the bed. They found some worms an a spider.

Afternoon stories. Since the weather was lovely we pulled chairs into a sunny spot for the beginning of stories. We read Winter Holiday and the first half of the chapter in Four Story Mistake before the shadows got too long and the chill sent us inside. Then we read Elizabeth Ann Seton, Faith and Life, My Family and Other Animals, and The Microbe Hunters.

Bedtime stories: I read Dahlia with Ben. Dom read a book about Davy Crockett to Anthony.

Battle of Lepanto coloring page by Lucy and me.

Battle of Lepanto coloring page by Lucy and me.

Digging out the oregano.

Digging out the oregano.

Digging out the oregano.

Digging out the oregano.

Afternoon stories outside.

Afternoon stories outside.

Setting the stage for a play.

Setting the stage for a play.

Thursday October 8

Grocery day and everyone got a slow start, no school work before we left to go shopping. I’m still feeling a bit under the weather, hitting the albuterol too much to cope with the lingering chest congestion.

When we came home I did get Bella to finish yesterday’s copywork, to do a little cursive, and to do a little math. Not a lot, but better than nothing.

The kids were very helpful at the store. They now all love to take turns weighing and labeling the produce. It’s good number practice for Ben and Anthony. Bella was doing some mental math, figuring out how much two items would cost, doing some adding of three digit numbers.

After lunch the kids set up an outdoor theater in the backyard with rows of patio chairs filled with stuffed animals and dolls. They put on a few plays for the toy audience: A Nativity play, Goldilocks and the Three Bears; a play Bella made up that included fairies named Oberon and Puck; and something about the Battle of Five Armies. Lucy was part of these productions and did not want to stop to take a nap. It didn’t help that she could hear them playing outside the bedroom window. She argued with me, Why do I have to take a nap? And it soon became clear that she was digging in her heels and would not give in. So I told her she wasn’t going to get to go play with the other kids, that even if she wasn’t taking a nap we were still having our usual story time.

So we did decide to have stories outside. I sat in the sun in a chair with my feet up on another chair and a blanket on my lap. The kids spread their blankets in the shade. I had to move several times as the shadows crept across the yard. Fall is my favorite season for reading outside except for the way the shadows fall so fast. It was much too chilly in the shade for my thin Texan blood. More proof that my kids are funny alien creatures.

We read Winter Holiday, Sophie was thrilled that Dick and Dorothea finally met the Swallows and Amazons. She did not like starting the novel with strangers.

Then The Four Story Mistake, reading about the Melendy’s Christmas pageant yesterday was undoubtedly part of the inspiration for today’s post-lunch dramatics.

Then Elizabeth Ann Seton, My Family and Other Animals (met the Magenpies!), Faith and Life selection on the Fall with good discussion about what it means to eat the fruit of the tree and die or was God lying or was the serpent telling the truth, then Microbe Hunters. I suggested that we need to pull out our microscope and look at some pond water so we can be real microbe hunters. Sophie seemed thrilled by that practical application of the ideas in the book.

Bedtime stories: Harry McLarry from Donaldson’s Dairy and a picture book about Abigail Adams, who was born and lived in towns adjacent to our own. Very exciting.

Afternoon stories outside.

Afternoon stories outside.

Afternoon stories outside.

Afternoon stories outside.

Afternoon stories outside.

Afternoon stories outside.

Afternoon stories outside.

Afternoon stories outside.

Friday October 9

When I got up Sophie had already copied out a verse of All Things Bright and Beautiful. I worked through part of a page of math with Sophie on the whiteboard, multiplication and addition, halves and doubles.

Then a math lesson with the boys, more greater than less than, now with zeros. Then Anthony wrote an entire page of Ls and Ben finished copying a letter to Auntie Tree. He dictated, I wrote it on a piece of notebook paper, he copied it onto a card. I was pretty impressed by his handwriting. He also drew a picture.

Bella struggled through a page of math, then copied out the first line of God’s Grandeur.

Then we packed up a lunch and went to the state park for a picnic and nature walk/expedition. The kids climbed rocks, picked up acorns and leaves. Found an oak gall, a frog, lots of mushrooms, milkweed pods. Collected some pond water to examine under the microscope.

The kids explored trails and poked at things with sticks and fell a bunch of times and cried and then played some more.

Finally we went home, Lucy falling asleep in the car on the way and thus sidestepping the nap question.

We read Winter Holiday, Four Story Mistake, Elizabeth Ann Seton, Microbe Hunters. Then we looked at stuff with the microscope. I couldn’t see much, but the kids had fun just trying.

Bedtime stories: Calvin and Hobbes, Mother Goose.

Friday afternoon park day.

Friday afternoon park day.

Picnic on the rock.

Picnic on the rock.

Picnic on the rock

Picnic on the rock

Picnic on the rock.

Picnic on the rock.

Friday afternoon park day.

Friday afternoon park day.

Friday afternoon park day.

Friday afternoon park day.

Friday afternoon park day.

Friday afternoon park day.

Friday afternoon park day.

Friday afternoon park day.

Friday afternoon park day.

Friday afternoon park day.

Fungus

Fungus

Friday afternoon park day.

Friday afternoon park day.

Friday afternoon park day.

Friday afternoon park day.

Friday afternoon park day.

Friday afternoon park day.

Friday afternoon park day.

Friday afternoon park day.

Friday afternoon park day.

Friday afternoon park day.

Saturday October 10

Sophie played Slice Fractions

Bedtime story: George Washington by the D’Aulaires

8 Responses to Learning Notes Week of October 5

  1. Valerie, NZ October 12, 2015 at 12:41 pm #

    “Winter Holiday” is a marvellously-crafted story: I still love to read it myself.

    • Melanie Bettinelli October 12, 2015 at 5:36 pm #

      This is my first time reading it. I read some of the Swallows and Amazons books on my own a few years ago when my kids were still too young to enjoy them. But Winter Holiday wasn’t one of the ones I was able to find at that point. I’m sort of secretly hoping it inspires my kids to want to learn Morse Code and semaphore and to make up codes and signals.

  2. Kimberlee October 12, 2015 at 4:29 pm #

    I love reading about your family enjoying some of our favorite books – Swallows and Amazons and the Enright books. My eldest slowly collected the 12 S&A, and for years the beginning of summer was marked by folks getting them out and re-reading them all. One of my little boys rigged up a sail on his scooter and the other made a pulley to run a signal lantern up the side of the house. And the Saturdays etc. are such an integral part of our family culture. The Melendys might be my absolute favorite children’s book depiction of sibling life. So satisfying.
    Your outdoor fall photos are beautiful, and Bella’s clay creations are delightful.

    • Melanie Bettinelli October 12, 2015 at 5:41 pm #

      I’m really having fun discovering the Melendys for the first time. There are so many good books I can’t believe I missed when I was a kid. I’m so glad I get to share them with my kids. I think discovering new favorites is one of the best parts about being a homeschooling family. Seeing my kids pretending to be the Swallows at the park, hearing how they blend it into their own pirate games. I love the signal lantern pulleys. I hope we get some of those around here.

  3. kim schildbach October 18, 2015 at 4:12 pm #

    Do you have a resource list? I feel a bit lost – having been raised Catholic (and now practicing) but not really raised Catholic (we went to church but not much else.) I don’t know where to turn to help my children (and myself) with the richness and history of our faith.

    Thank you so much!

    Kim

    • Melanie Bettinelli October 18, 2015 at 10:49 pm #

      Hi Kim. I’d like to help, but that’s a really vague, open-ended question. If you could be more specific about what kinds of questions you have, what ages your kids are, what sorts of things you’re looking for, then I might be able to recommend a book or two or point you in the right direction for finding good resources. But your best bet is probably to hit up your local parish and talk to folks there.

  4. kim schildbach October 27, 2015 at 12:28 pm #

    Just checking back….. thank you so much. I wish I could ask my librarians – but when I ask about Catholic books – I get a blank stare.

    You always seem to have wonderful books about the faith, saints, feast days that you are reading to your children.

    Do you have a book resource that helps you know whose feast day/saint day it is (and the story/history of it)? And do you have any favorite books that you read over and over to your kids about the faith (just a few would be wonderful!)

    Thank you again!

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