Learning Notes Week of December 6

Sister Guadalupe and Sister Faustina.

Sister Guadalupe and Sister Faustina.

Saturday December 5

We went to the first profession of vows for two sisters of the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth. Even though we don’t see them very often, our family has a connection with the order. Dom worked with Mother Olga before Cardinal Sean asked her to start a new order and we were at the cathedral the day for their first Mass of blessing with the Cardinal. We also attended the first Mass in the new chapel at their first convent. Now they’ve moved to a new convent, conveniently closer to us, and we were so very excited to see dear Mother Olga again, but also to witness the growth and vitality of the order as two of the lovely sisters we met at that first Mass now made their first profession.

I cried as Sister Guadalupe and Sister Faustina made their promises and received their scapulars. It was a most beautiful Mass, even if it was a little long for the children. But not only do I cherish our connection to this dear community whose spirituality of Nazareth is so close to that of our own domestic church, as a homeschooling mother I also value the ability to introduce my children to the beautiful men and women we know who live these special vocations. I would love nothing more than for my daughters or sons to answer the call to religious life or for my sons to become priests. One way I can help foster their openness to that calling is to make sure they have the personal example of men and women living out those vocations so that it is not foreign to them. We really are blessed to have the opportunity to know this beautiful community and to pray with them and to pray for them.

Lucy peeks around during Mass.

Lucy peeks around during Mass.

Sister Faustina makes her profession.

Sister Faustina makes her profession.

Cardinal Sean congratulates Sister Faustina.

Cardinal Sean congratulates Sister Faustina.

Mother Olga, Sister Guadalupe and Sister Faustina.

Mother Olga, Sister Guadalupe and Sister Faustina.

Sophie hugs Mother Olga

Sophie hugs Mother Olga

Mother Olga hugs Bella

Mother Olga hugs Bella

Sunday December 6

We celebrated St Nicholas day with treats in the kids shoes: chocolate truffles, ornaments for the tree, holy cards, a new book about the Beatitudes. And of course Mass.

Note to St Nicholas?

Note to St Nicholas?

Ready for St Nicholas

Ready for St Nicholas

Sisters singing

Sisters singing

Monday December 7

Sophie did a page of the MEP math.We’re still doing her trying to figure out the lesson and coming to me when she gets stuck rather than me teaching her each lesson. She likes independent work and I like letting her have free reign. Maybe she’s missing something, but at least we’re making progress.

She also did copywork and cursive, but was kind of cranky about them. She did not like the lowercase cursive Zs. And she wasn’t thrilled with her copywork either. She read me All the World, a picture book we have from the library.

Bella did a partial page in the Miquon book. She finished her Little House copywork from last week. She read to Lucy but not to me.

Ben and Anthony did an MEP lesson with me and the practiced writing 3s on the whiteboards. Which devolved as usual to drawing boy things, cars and trucks and planes and ships and who knows what. With mouth noises like machines roaring and guns firing and such. Boys.

Anthony sat and read All the World with me. We actually read the first few pages together, I explained some new rules like the silent e at the end of the word. And then we got sidetracked into looking at the pictures, tracing the various people on their journeys, noticing all sorts of details and talking about the story.

All the kids took turns playing on the ipads.

After lunch we took a walk around the block and talked about Christmas decorations and Sophie and I talked about why dogs are territorial.

After that storytime. We’re reading a book about Pope Pius XII by Louis de Wohl, we read The Story of the World about France after the Revolution, the complex and convoluted history. Then we read The Mystery of the Periodic Table. Lastly, we read The Fellowship of the Ring but stopped after the company decided to go to Moria. Bella decided she needed a break before diving into the depths.

I spotted Bella reading: a book about the Civil War, By the Great Horn Spoon, re-reading These Happy Golden Years, and a book about St Edith Stein.

Over the weekend we enjoyed a book about the Civil War, a book about Paul Erdos, and several others. Bella’s liking several books about animals by Sophie Webb, who is both a scientist and artist and whose books are absolutely enchanting, mixing beautiful drawings, lively narratives, and scientific details.

Tuesday December 8

Feast of the Immaculate Conception. We got up early and went to Mass at the parish where Dom works. After Mass we went over to the parish house where the kids helped to set up a nativity, ate some stale donuts, and made a pit stop. Then we all went to the grocery store.

Bella likes to create math problems with sweet potatoes. She does it every week. How much would four sweet potatoes cost if they weighed one pound each? Sophie likes to help, gets bored if I don’t have little jobs for her to do.

Home in time for lunch. The kids played for a bit while I retreated and hid in my room.

Story time: Pope Pius XII, Mystery of the Periodic Table, Lord of the Rings.

The kids watched Life of Birds, I think it was about raptors.

Bedtime story: Brother Hugo and the Bear.

Bella is reading a library book about the Civil War.

Immaculate Conception

Immaculate Conception

Wednesday December 9

I felt so blah. Sophie did her math and copywork. Bella did her math. I didn’t do math with the boys. I took Ben to the doctor in the afternoon and that took all the reading time we had. So basically, I’m calling this a sick day.

Thursday December 10

Sophie did math and copywork and cursive. Bella did math. Anthony and I did math. Ben did not.

Afternoon stories: Pope Pius XII, getting a lot of history in this one. Microbe Hunters, about Koch. Faith and Life reading about Jacob and Esau. Lord of the Rings. First chapter of Coot Club.

Barefoot and jacketless, playing Bettinelli Ball.

Barefoot and jacketless, playing Bettinelli Ball.

Friday December 11

We had planned to go to the homeschooling advent retreat today, but I’ve been feeling under the weather, exhausted and queasy, and Anthony had laryngitis and Ben had a bad night.

So we stayed home and we spent a good part of the day cuddled together reading our way through some of our Christmas book stack: Good King Wenceslas, The Story of Holly and Ivy, Angela and the Baby Jesus, Strega Nona’s Christmas, The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, Little Drummer Boy, The Legend of the Christmas Rose. Probably a few more that I’ve missed.

We had really nice discussions about Angela, Holly and Ivy, Jonathan Toomey, and Strega Nona, like a mini book club. Bella and Sophie are starting to get into the habit of discussing at least some of the books we read. With Angela we talked about how Angela both seems to know and to not know that baby Jesus is a statue, looking at textual clues. We also discussed the poverty of the characters. Bella was looking at structure in Holly and Ivy, how is the story told, switching points of view, foreshadowing, certain recurring details. We discussed why Ivy tells stories and makes exclamations to cover up the hurt inside and to keep from crying. We all discussed structural elements of Jonathan Toomey, parallel structures, the hints the narrative gives of the woodcarver’s changing heart. We talked about grief and how art can be therapeutic and speculated about a future marriage of the woodcarver and the widow. It’s fun to see them developing into perceptive readers, seeing patterns and questioning the narrative.

We also read the second chapter of Coot Club and finished off our chapter in The Lord of the Rings. They’re still not sold on Coot Club, Dick and Dorothea without the Swallows and Amazons seems sad and not quite worth reading. I’m postive they will love the book so I push them on. Bella is very reluctant about Lord of the Rings but again we push past the discomfort a bit. We got to see Balin’s tomb and to hear Gimli’s song about Khazad-dum. The dramatic tension is hard for them to bear, but I think it will be good for them. They do love the story, just not the scary dark things.

For bedtime stories they wanted more Christmas books.

Lucia buns and bread

Lucia buns and bread

Santa Lucia

Santa Lucia

Hugging St Lucy

Hugging St Lucy

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