Learning Notes Week of February 8

Bella reads Joy of Cooking.

Bella reads Joy of Cooking.

Sunday February 7

Bedtime story: Anthony and Lucy were fighting over whose book would go first. Everyone else was watching the Super Bowl. Finally I opened both books on my lap and read a sentence of one and then a sentence of the other. I thought they would protest, but they didn’t. I went on that way for a couple of pages and then started reading a couple of sentences out of each book. And then I began reading a page of each. Back and forth, two different stories. It wasn’t as headache-inducing as it might seem. And I followed them both fairly well. Of course I’ve read both of the books a few times.

Lucy on the slide.

Lucy on the slide.

Lucy on the slide.

Lucy on the slide.

Lucy on the slide.

Lucy on the slide.

Lucy on the slide.

Lucy on the slide.

Monday February 8

Kids stayed up to watch the Super Bowl so everyone was tired. I read the kids about St Josephine Bakhita and today’s readings.

Sophie did her math and copywork. Bella did math and a little copywork, she had a cut on her finger which made writing difficult.

I did math with the boys and each practiced some letters.

We watched birds in the backyard, always good bird watching during snowstorms. We saw several cardinals, a bunch of juncos, a song sparrow, a chipping sparrow.

Sophie read to me from her Bible. Opening it up at random she happened to pick Psalm 128, which is one of my favorites.

Kids played in the snow and made more Valentines. Glitter all over everything!

Bella is reading A Little Princess. She spent more time with the atlas and Peter Duck, finding places on the map.

Afternoon stories: Faith and Life: Ark of the Covenant and the tabernacle and wandering in the desert for 40 years. Good discussion about the Ark and tabernacle. Catechism: Apostle’s Creed, Conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. Pigeon Post. Story of the World: Ottoman Empire and Armenian massacre, which Bella narrated beautifully. Lord of the Rings: beginning of Part 2 of Two Towers about Frodo and Sam.

Bedtime story: St Felix and the Spider, Going to Bed Book.

Tuesday February 9

Sophie did math and copywork, we talked about cursive m and n. Bella did math and copywork, opting to do Khan Academy instead of her Miquon book. Bella and I worked on this past Friday’s Journey North Mystery Class charts and graphs and spent some time looking at the map.

I did math with the boys and some letter practice for Anthony. I don’t think Ben did any letters. Anthony also read me a Bob book. Sophie read me a picture book about an Australian family who live on a farm. Then Sophie helped Anthony read a board book.

We looked at Latin briefly, discussed est vs es. Bella and I had a brief exchange in Latin. Bella said “Sum poeta,” and I responded, “Es poeta.” She grinned at me. I said, “Sum mater.” she responded, “Es mater.” Slowly but surely we’re getting it. My goal is to give them just enough to tantalize them and make them want to learn more, not enough to overwhelm them. The Getting Started with Latin is just about the perfect speed for us right now, allowing us to take baby steps. Bella is also occasionally digging into the Little Latin Reader to supplement on her own.

We put away the nativity, finally and I also stowed the Christmas books in their box. A final farewell to the season. I repurposed an old printer table that was just holding an old unused computer in the office, dragging it to the living room and covering it with a table cloth since the laminate is peeling off the particle board. It makes a beautiful little oratory. I have colored clothes to match the liturgical seasons and a peat cross from Ireland, an icon of the Theotokos and a little one of Jesus the True Vine. Also a Bible and a pretty illustrated book of saint, a rosary and a candle, and a bowl of matches. At bedtime prayers we lit the candle and Bella and Anthony knelt for prayers, a distinct improvement.

Afternoon stories: we began with browsing through the Random House book of Children’s Poetry and read maybe a dozen poems. Then the Biffi Catechism. Then the Faith and Life book, a bit about entering the promised land and conquering Jericho. Ben also looked through the children’s picture Bible and we discussed the pictures of Moses. Sophie recalled the story about the staffs. Then Pigeon Post. Then Story Book of Science, reading about the oldest trees. We followed up with Google. Then Lord of the Rings.

Bedtime story: Calvin and Hobbes.

I seem to go through poetry phases where I want to read lots of poetry and then through phases where it doesn’t fascinate me so much. I don’t try to push it when I’m not in the mood because it’s something of a feast or famine. When we get into poetry moods everyone enjoys it. All the kids love poetry. So I don’t sweat it too, too much.

Wednesday February 10

Ash Wednesday, we began the day with Mass and then a quick trip to the grocery store and then home.

Bella and Sophie both did math and copywork in small amounts. Bella opted for Khan Academy of math because the cut on her finger was still hurting when she tried to write. I tried to do a math lesson with the boys. They were not settling to it and I finally gave up. I read the kids The Holy Twins since today is the feast of St Scholastica. They really enjoyed it, especially Ben, who hasn’t got into the book before now.

Afternoon stories: We began with the Random House Book of Poetry, reading several pages of selections. Then the Biffi Catechism, then Faith and Life story of Samson. And a picture book about St Brigid that I was looking for on her feast last week and couldn’t find, but better late than never. Then Pigeon Post. Then Story of the World about the next to last czar. Then My Path to Heaven, looking at the first picture and reading the meditation only once. We’ll read i a second time at a later date. Finally, Lord of the Rings, The Taming of Smeagol.

Then the kids got out the Mass kit and played Mass. Ben and Sophie took turns being priest and altar server. Bella organized everyone and was lector and cantor and altar server and fed Ben his lines. Then after a long while the boys got tired of playing and I let them watch a video, The BBC’s Wild China. The girls came in and watched the second half of it and after it was over I restarted it so they could see the beginning and they watched the whole thing all the way through again. Such a gorgeous documentary. Counts for science and geography, I’d say. I love the way it talks about both people and animals, culture and nature and they way they interact, the swallows and the rice planting, the cormorants fishing. And the landscapes and the people.The gorgeous rice paddies terracing the hillsides and the limestone precipices.

At dinner I began what I hope will be a nightly lectio divina, reading Pope Benedict’s Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week out loud. I read the first couple of pages and we had a nice discussion.

Bedtime story was The End of the Fiery Cross for Sophie and the big kids, Lucy asked for selections from the Winter Poems book. At bedtime prayers Bella and Sophie and Anthony all knelt and stared at the candle.

We are definitely in high tide mode for poetry and catechesis. Last night I strewed around the Easter books and placed a bunch of prayer books and saints books on the new oratory table and at the kneeler and put a small tin of holy cards on the oratory table. The kids did spend time looking at the cards and at some of the books.

Our new oratory table.

Our new oratory table.

Thursday February 11

Eco-science club today, which means we were out of the house early and no time for math and copywork. We spent an hour and a half in the woods looking at animal tracks in the snow and then the kids played animal charades in the big field, acting out the different animal gaits: walker, waddler, hopper, bounder and trying to guess which animals they were being. I discovered I need snow pants and I should have brought a thermos with something hot like the other smart, prepared moms. It was cold at 22 degrees, but not too, too bad. But we all had fun. Lucy walked most of the way and then passed out in the car on the way home and slept for three hours.

We listened to On the Banks of Plum Creek in the car, the contrast of the grasshoppers and heat with the snow and cold was funny.

Afternoon stories: A few poems from the Random House book. Catechism: resurrection of the body. Faith and Life about Ruth. Pigeon Post. Story Book of Science, age of animals. Lord of the Rings.

Then we watched two episodes of BBC Wild China on Netflix. Not quite as good as the first episode, but really good. I love the way they combine geography—discussion of topography and weather and climate and land forms— with discussion of the cultures of the various native peoples and lots about the various animals and plants. It’s science and geography all in one.

Bella is reading Joy of cooking and asking about various things in the recipes. What is a 13×9 pan? What is a 2 cup loaf pan? What firm white fish might you use instead of cod in this recipe that says or other white fish?

More lectio divina at dinner. Another chunk of Jesus of Nazareth. It’s dense, but there’s enough there that the kids can grasp so that we had another good discussion— of course with lots of interruptions from children who need more milk and more pasta and pass the broccoli. Don’t imagine this looked like a classroom discussion, it’s chaos and confusion. And somehow we got sidetracked to Hamilton— oh talking about how Jesus was not a revolutionary like the founding fathers. American history, Bible history, theology. I think this is a brilliant idea, quite elevating the tone of our crazy dinner.

As we were getting the kids ready for bed, brushing teeth and tidying the living room, Ben suddenly exclaimed, “On my bed I remember you,” and Bella responded, “for you I long through the night,” and then dredged up some more verses from memory. So then I looked up the Psalm number, Psalm 63, and Sophie read it to us.

Bedtime story: Thunder Cake.

Friday February 12

Began with morning prayer.

Sophie did math and copywork, she’s working on a passage from the beginning of Genesis. Bella did math and copywork, she’s still working on the ent poem from Lord of the Rings. I did math with the boys. Sophie read to me a chapter of Proverbs and we discussed briefly what a proverb is.

No reading practice for the boys. I let everyone play on the iPad for a bit.

Afternoon stories: poems from the Random House book, a section of the Biffi Catechism, a section of the Faith and Life book about Samuel. Pigeon Post. Story of the World about Ethiopia, two emperors and the only African country to successfully repel European invaders. Then My Path to Heaven. Finally, Lord of the Rings.

The children watched another episode of Wild China about the lands north of the Great Wall.

More lectio divina at dinner, a little chaotic, but still we read and discussed.

Sophie is a sloth.

Sophie is a sloth.

Anthony in the snow.

Anthony in the snow at eco-science club.

Lucy waits for the class to begin.

Lucy waits for the at eco-science club class to begin.

Looking at tracks.

Looking at tracks.

Canine tracks.

Canine tracks.

Looking at tracks.

Looking at tracks.

Our guide looks for tracks near the kill site.

Our guide looks for tracks near the kill site.

Lucy is not sure about this.

Lucy is not sure about this trekking through the woods in winter.

Kill site. We think the victim was probably a slate colored junco. No idea what the predator was. The tracks were not good. This was the most interesting of the tracks we investigated.

Kill site. We think the victim was probably a slate colored junco. No idea what the predator was. The tracks were not good. This was the most interesting of the tracks we investigated.

Anthony.

Anthony at eco-science club.

Bella plays a coyote for animal track charades

Bella plays a coyote for animal track charades

 Bella plays a howling coyote for animal track charades

Bella plays a howling coyote for animal track charades

Lucy is tuckered out after our trek through the woods.

Lucy is tuckered out after our trek through the woods.

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