Learning Notes Week of January 4

Learning Notes Week of January 4

Everyone is schooling.
Everyone is schooling.

Monday January 4

Slow start. Everyone did a bit of math. Short lesson for boys. Half a page of Miquon for Bella. Partial MEP page for Sophie. Sophie did a bit of copywork and cursive too. Not a lot, a bit. Bella wrote a short little story. She wants to practice spelling.

Sophie read me several pages of Dare the Wind. Anthony read me two Bob books. Ben read some letters with me.

Afternoon stories: Coot Club, And Then There Were Five (the new Melendy book Sophie got for Christmas) Pope Pius XII, The Lord of the Rings. Long discussion about WWII, Nazis, 2oth century political movements like communism and socialism arising from the Pope Pius book.

Zita the Spacegirl for bedtime stories.

Tuesday January 5

Began by reading Sophie and Bella the biographies of the saints of the day: St John Neumann, St Simon Stylites, St Genoveva Torres Morales.

Everyone did a bit more today, though it still had some very rocky patches.

Sophie eventually did the rest of yesterday’s math page. And a bit of copywork. And she looked at the cursive and did a word maybe.

Bella didn’t buckle down to the math till after lunch and the copywork she didn’t really do. She wrote one word, got frustrated, gave up. But she did a page and a half of math, which was huge. I coaxed her through the full page after she’d done the remaining half of yesterday’s work. What about two problems? Can you do two? And then two more? What about one more? How many are left? Can you do those last few?

And Bella did some spelling. It took a bit to figure that out. She didn’t want to take dictation because she’d be too focused on handwriting and not on the spelling. But I wanted her to write not just say the letters. I found a compromise letting her use the Montessori moveable letters app on the iPad. She could use the letters in the boxes to spell the words I called the words to her, no worry about handwriting, but also I could be sure she was really seeing the words. And easier for me to check since I’m better at checking visually than focusing on what she’s saying in our noisy house. Bonus: Sophie and Anthony joined her on the other iPads and did spelling too. Both of them are more confident than Bella. Anthony was doing really well. I just used the Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading for lists of easy words to boost confidence. We’re going to work through all of those and then find more word lists elsewhere.

Ben did a little letter practice with me, he’s still very hesitant and does not remember the letters well at all. We need to figure out how to drill him on them. He just doesn’t seem to remember the letters at all. Why not?

We took Tree to the airport shuttle and were sad to bid farewell. Over lunch I read the girls the lectionary readings of the day.

Afternoon stories: Coot Club, Then There Were Five, Story of the World chapter about Dutch East Indies, Lord of the Rings, Story Book of Science. Three Billy Goats Gruff. Bella and Sophie narrated the history chapter. Bella did an amazing job with her narration. She is passionate, detailed, and expressive in her narration. Sophie hooks onto a few facts that catch her imagination. She’s not so thorough and her narrations show she doesn’t have Bella’s grasp of the sweep of events, but she does pretty well. We discussed but did not narrate the science book and the literature selections. The Melendys brought us back to WWII and Bella’s eagerness to get cracking on history is in large part due to her eagerness to get up the the World Wars.

Aside: there are many, many kids books set during WWII or shortly thereafter, but I can’t think of any set during WWI. Why is that?

Also I read Zita the Spacegirl.

Bedtime stories: The Little Match Girl.

Note: I really want Bella to drill her multiplication facts. How do I get her to do this when she is so resistant to that kind of boring rote work and I am too? A math game would be perfect, I thought so I tried Math vs Zombies since that’s been recommended to me, but Bella did not like racing the clock. Xtra Math is just addition unless you unlock multiplication by mastering addition, which could take forever, I can’t figure it out. Khan Academy seems not to be drilling enough and sort of hard to navigate. Ideally I”d like a fun game that drills without being beat the clock. Is there such a game?

Anthony uses the Montessori Moveable Letters app.
Anthony uses the Montessori Moveable Letters app.
Lucy writes letters.
Lucy writes letters.
Sophie practices spelling.
Sophie practices spelling.

Wednesday January 6

Began the day reading about St Andre Bessette to Sophie.

Sophie had a hard time getting started with math but eventually did a whole page. And then some cursive and copywork, breaking up the school work with a session of coloring in her new coloring book. She read me a book about lobsters.

Ben and Anthony did a page of math with me. Both practiced some handwriting and I drilled Ben with letter flashcards. Anthony practiced spelling with the moveable alphabet app.

Bella did a page of math, a line of copywork, some spelling with the moveable alphabet app. She and I listened to evening prayer together and the Office of Readings and today’s lectionary readings and discussed some of the readings briefly.

Afternoon stories were interrupted repeatedly by the electrician. We read Coot Club and Then There Were Five and Story of the World chapter about the war between Russia and the Ottomans.

Post dinner: a long Hamilton singalong session. The kids really like singing these songs. Um, gotta talk about some of the lyrics they maybe shouldn’t be singing. Oops.

Bedtime stories: Huron Carol with a good discussion about the way the nativity story was adapted by St Jean de Brebeuf for the Hurons to whom shepherds and frankincense and myrrh were unknown (we listened to a recording of it after I read.) Then The Three Trees and Rose Red and the Bear Prince.

Thursday January 7

We got off to a very slow start. No one did any math or copywork or any table work. We went to the grocery store and came home and put away groceries and had lunch.

Afternoon stories with big bowls of popcorn, which we haven’t had in ages since Lucy can’t eat it. Coot Club, Then There Were Five, Mystery of the Periodic Table, Faith and Life, Story Book of Science, Lord of the Rings. Three hour marathon reading, well except it was interrupted by a brief nap as I dozed off on the couch. And quite a few bathroom breaks. I guess that makes up for no school stuff this morning.

Friday January 8

Did a math lesson with the boys. Sophie was feeling under the weather but still did a little math and some copywork. Bella did math and then asked to play Scrabble.

Played Scrabble with Bella and Sophie until lunch time. Ben and Anthony played with a second set of Scrabble tiles.

Afternoon stories: Coot Club, And then There Were Five, Story of the World, Mystery of the Periodic Table, Lord of the Rings.

Bella did her copywork while I was cooking dinner.

Playing Scrabble.
Playing Scrabble.
Playing Scrabble.
Playing Scrabble.
Join the discussion

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • A delightful WW1 children’s picture book is The Bantam and the Soldier by Jennifer Beck. From the publisher Scholastic, 2014, “It is wartime in Europe. A young soldier from ‘a country on the other side of the world’ rescues and brings back to health a little bantam, and in the midst of the fighting and devastation an unusual friendship is formed. Every morning the bantam lays an egg for the soldier and his friends and becomes the center of their affection and hopes for the end of the war”. The illustrations are lovely.
    Also here’s an article from The Guardian:

    The former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo has written a number of exceptional books set in WW1 times. The Best Christmas Present in the World is a beautiful one published last year. If the show The War Horse, based on his book, ever comes to to a nearby city maybe consider taking the children. It is the story of a horse, from the time he’s a newborn foal, and the boy who loves him. The horses are acted with life-size puppets. The two go to France in 1914 and the events of the war are seen through the eyes of these two innocents. It’s breathtaking- unforgettable.

  • WW1 books for children:
    “Rilla of Ingleside” by L. M. Montgomery;
    any of the First World War “Biggles” books by W. E. Johns. (” Great fun, action, adventure, and at least the author had been in action on the Western Front during the war.”)
    And this is one of the “Billabong” series.

    • Thanks. We haven’t read any of the Anne books yet. They’re of course on my list, but I’ve been holding off because I think of them as being just a tad older. I wonder if Rilla would stand alone as a read aloud or if we should just wait till we can read the whole series.


    Or… we can make a date to get together and I can give you our (very old) Mathblaster disc, which my son reminds me is NOT a family heirloom (if we can find it).

    There are some race-against-time parts, but the timing is reasonable and can be set at “slow” for people who don’t want to feel pressured.

    These games also work for addition and subtraction if needed for Other People.