Monday October 26
We began the day slowly with math. First I helped Sophie with a lesson. Introduction to division. We sat at the table and worked through the problems on the little whiteboard, me drawing matrixes of dots for her to divide up. I wrote down the answers. Some days that’s more than they can bear, to manage both doing the arithmetic and having to write the numbers in the boxes. Do I pamper them too much? Maybe. But that’s why I homeschool. I don’t believe in sink or swim. I’ve known too many people who sank. And so what if today I write the numbers for her. Tomorrow she might get up early and finish her math lesson before I wake up.
Sophie did a line of copywork, she’s still working on All Things Bright and Beautiful. She loves the song but it’s long and she’s finding it heavy going at times. She did some cursive Xs too.
Then Ben and Anthony. A longish lesson that seemed to go pretty well until suddenly they were Done. No interest in writing letters. So they went to play.
I checked in with Bella several times. The first time she gave me an informal narration from This Country of Ours about Woodrow Wilson and tariffs and the end of the war. The second time I went to see if she was doing math yet and she was lost in a book and I prompted her to get her math books and do a bit of math before reading on. Use the book as a reward. Checked back in later she had been working in the Saxon 3 workbook but was reading again. She’d done a few problems on her own and then got stuck. The question was about perfect squares. So I got some graph paper and tried to draw out some simple diagrams. She got it for a bit and then the hurricane started in her brain. We’ll try again tomorrow. It’s a lot to absorb.
I had each kid read to me and then let them have a turn on the iPads. Ben and Anthony read Bob books. Ben seems to have memorized quite a bit, listening to the others reading them? I’m making him slow down and tell me what the letters are. But I let him guess and recite from memory too. He needs the experience of just getting through a book, I think. Sophie read me a few pages from Cinderella, the one set in Venice with the gorgeous pictures. Not my favorite telling, but I love the art. Bella read me a few pages of Peter Duck.
I gave Bella a sentence to copy out of Peter Duck, from where Peter is introduced, sitting on his bollard on the quay. We talked a bit about his character and the pronunciation of the word quay. And of gibber too.
Then lunch. Discussion about microbes and sour milk and pasteurization.
Then after lunch reading: Winter Holiday, with discussion about Nantsen and the Fram and polar exploration. This book is opening up all sorts of fun avenues to explore explorers. Saints Elizabeth Ann Seton and Junipero Serra with short discussions in lieu of narration. What happened last time? What will happen next? What does that mean? Faith and Life chapter about Cain and Abel. With a good discussion about sin and forgiveness, and about doubts and spiritual consolations and the dark night of the soul. Some good stuff there. I like the way the book opens up a space for those conversations. Then the first part of Lord of the Rings chapter 2. And looking at the map at the back of the book.
Bedtime stories: Harold and the Purple Crayon and Birthday for Frances.
Bella spotted reading St Patrick’s Summer and The Four Story Mistake.
Some informal map work at dinner, looking at Greenland, the Netherlands, China and Russia. Lots of discussion about maps since we hung the world map on the wall. And comparing the mercator projection with the globe to look at the way the projection distorts things at the poles.
Tuesday September 27
I began the day with Sophie and Anthony taking turns sitting with me for Morning Prayer. Sophie took the first part and Anthony the second.
Everyone had a hard time getting into the groove today. I did half a page of Miquon math with Sophie. Trying to work through division problems. Then a short math lesson with Ben and Anthony. Bella did a short lesson in her Miquon book.
Sophie copied the final stanza of All Things Bright and Beautiful and rewarded herself by drawing a beautiful picture. Bella copied a few lines of a psalm I’d written out for her.
Anthony read me a Bob book, he’s getting more and more confident as a reader. Ben is still struggling with letter recognition but gets along pretty well with memorization and guesswork. He doesn’t want to drill letters, though, he wants to read like Anthony. Sophie read me more from Cinderella and Bella read me a passage from Down to the Bonny Glen.
We discussed the Latin lesson on the board from yesterday, Bella finally noticed it and asked what “ego” means. I think the passive lesson on the board might be the most effective way to go about Latin for now.
Everyone played outside for a while.
We had more discussion about arctic explorers, I read them a short passage about Nansen and the Fram. Thanks to Winter Holiday, we’re all learning about exploration.
Afternoon stories: Winter Holiday, Junipero Serra and St Elizabeth Ann Seton, Microbe Hunters, the second half of the Story of the World chapter, the story of David Livingstone. Then finished the second chapter of The Fellowship of the Ring, a long selection, but we had to get through the grim stuff about the Dark Lord and the Ring Wraiths. They were happy to leave it with Sam cheering about getting to accompany Frodo and see elves. Bella spent the first part of the LotR selection standing and pacing. Then she said she had to sit down. She was pretty overwhelmed. At several points she exclaimed that she felt like a fairy. I think she means the book has an uncanny quality to it. Sophie got quite nervous at one point and needed to hold me hand. She also got up and paced a bit. Both Bella and Sophie were very engaged, speculating about the plot and the characters, about the ring, about the history, about the future of the story. They wanted to talk and talk and talk about it. So full of questions and theories and ideas and so very excited. It was delightful.
Bedtime stories: Oliver and Amanda Pig and Grandmother.
Today I spotted Bella reading Here in the Bonny Glen and Sophie reading St Therese and the Shower of Roses, I think it’s called.
Ended the day with Compline with Sophie who couldn’t sleep. And then we discussed the idea of keeping watch and of intercessory prayer. She seemed comforted and went back to bed.
Wednesday October 28
Bella did math, Miquon, and copywork. Sophie did Saxon math, copywork, and cursive. Brief math lesson with Ben and Anthony derailed by playing with the manipulatives.
No reading today. I had phone calls to make and then fights broke out.
Afternoon stories: Winter Holiday, Elizabeth Ann Seton, A Little Sister for Frances, St junipero Serra, Microbe Hunters. First part of chapter 3 of Fellowship of the Ring, we paused where the Hobbits sleep the first night on the road, under the tree.
Bedtime story: Stopping by Woods by Robert Frost.
Thursday October 29
I did a brief math lesson with Sophie and Bella did a math lesson, then we went grocery shopping. And did some real world math in the produce section.
Afternoon stories: Bible story, the Beatitudes; Winter Holiday; final chapter of Elizabeth Ann Seton; End of chapter 3 of The Fellowship of the Ring (elves!).
Dinner time. Sophie asked again “What is an element?” She keeps asking and our answersand not satisfying her. So I decided to go ahead and start reading them The Mystery of the Periodic Table. I read Chapter One then and there at the dinner table. And we had a little talk about chemicals and atoms and salt. And then Sophie asked about stainless steel (after looking at her fork) so we watched a video about how stainless steel is made. And we talked about how to spell “element”. Lord of the Rings continues to be a book that needs to be talked about at great length.
Bedtime story: Calvin and Hobbes.
Friday October 30
Everyone did a little math. We went for a walk around the book. A little nature walk, picking up catalpa bean pods, various leaves. Mostly looking at Halloween decorations.
Went to the pharmacy after lunch. Then home for stories.
Three chapters of Winter Holiday to get past the tense part about Captain Flint coming home unexpectedly. Then Junipero Serra. Then Mystery of the Periodic Table. Then Fellowship of th Ring, through the meeting with Farmer Maggot.
Sophie helped me with diner prep, washing and then cutting potatoes and celery.
The kids met some of the neighborhood kids, finally. They came by looking for their lost basketball and Bella went to help them find it, introduced herself, and then after that the others all drifted over and introduced themselves. It was a gang of kids, some live down the block, I’m not sure where the others live. I realized Bella had taken Lucy with her and went to go retrieve that wandering tot, a little mad they’d taken her out of the yard. Then I realized they’d taken her to meet another toddler who was outside with their mother. I met the mom and we chatted for a bit before I had to come home to make supper. But it was nice to finally make a connection. All the kids were excited at having new friends.
Bedtime Stories: Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things that Go and Grandpa Green.