Learning Notes Week of September 5

Our relic of St Teresa of Calcutta.

Our relic of St Teresa of Calcutta.

Sunday September 4

Watched a bit of the St Teresa of Calcutta canonization Mass.

Bella was reading a picture book we got from the library about Duke Ellington and so I pulled up some You Tube videos and we watched some clips and listened to some songs.

Monday September 5

Began with math for Sophie. For at least a week now I’ve been reading the problems to her and having her do the math orally while I write the answer. She’s taken to barking the answer at me, in a rather angry manner. But that seems to help defuse some of the tension (or do I mean diffuse?) so that even though she sounds angry I think she’s actually calmer than when she tries to stay calm. So it seems to work for her, I’m going to let it slide.

She did her copywork, finished writing the Twelve Tribes of Israel and drew a picture. She read to me from A Child’s Geography. I think she also took a peek at Bella’s Latin and grammar lesson on the white board.

Miquon with Bella. She did a bit with me, went to the other room and tried some problems on her own, then came back for help and we did some more together. We looked at her Latin and decided we need to back track and talk about grammar for a bit, so today we reviewed nouns and verbs and adjectives and adverbs. Tomorrow we’ll try conjunctions and prepositions. Then we need to look at what gender and number mean and adjective agreement. And then at singular and plural verb forms and first, second and third person. And maybe tense as well. Yep, we’re going to do a week of grammar review, just looking at English grammar, and then try to dive back into the Latin.

Bella finished Friday’s copywork, too. No read aloud. We need to decide on a book for that.

Ben did a page of math and a brief letter review.

Anthony did not want to do his schoolwork this morning, but decided around 4:30 or 5 that he wanted to play on the iPad, so he did a page of math and read me a Bob book and then copied a sentence. And earned his turn.

Afternoon stories: began Missee Lee, Pagoo, began Story of the World vol 1 (What is history?), Mother Teresa, Anne of Green Gables. Then looked at some Scott family historical documents. Family photos, family tree, my grandmother’s diary, and an account of a silver button, a sort of family heirloom that dates from Ireland in the 1700s. Bella was especially taken with the diary. She loves novels in diary form and seeing a real one (transcribed, not photographed) was kind of exciting. It covers the time period when my grandparents met and got engaged and were married and when the first babies were born. Bella and I got through where Addison proposed and the Millie accepted him two weeks later. The account of the button really fascinated me, a really interesting look at how to trace an artifact’s provenance, complete with various letter dating to the 40s and 50s and a report of a silversmith on what can be determined of the button’s origin by looking at the artifact itself.

Bedtime stories: Book about Duke Ellington, Greek Myths story of Apollo.

Anthony just loves showing off his copywork.

Anthony just loves showing off his copywork.

Tuesday September 6

Started off with math with Anthony while I ate my breakfast. Then Ben sat down and did his math too. I did a short letter review with Ben. Anthony read me a Bob book and copied a sentence. Then both boys went to play on their earned turns with the iPads.

Next Sophie did her math. More drill sergeant barking of answers, but she got through it. Her tone and demeanor changed when she got to copywork and saw today’s selection was The Lord is My Shepherd. She copied quite happily and her handwriting was the best I’ve seen it in a long time. I guess her ability really does depend on what she’s writing as well as her mood.

Bella did some math and had a revelation about finding the area of a rectangle. The lightbulb moment. Then we did some Latin grammar, conjunctions and prepositions. She likes the grammar section of Dangerous Book for Boys and consulted it while we had our discussion. It was a good lesson and she kept wanting to tell me about scenes in Missee Lee where Miss Lee teaches the children Latin. The book really inspires her to crack down on her Latin. As does the book she’s reading about St Helena.

I asked on FB whether people could think of other books featuring kids learning Latin or sprinkled with Latin phrases that might likewise inspire. Asterix comics were suggested and several other books, and a friend reminded me of Pooh in Latin, which I happen to have a copy of. My initial reaction was dismissal: that would be too hard for her, she has barely any Latin. But I dug it out anyway, mom mom’s old copy with her maiden name in it, so a very old copy indeed. And Bella had fun looking at the map and then began to flip through the pages looking for familiar scenes. And she began to pick out words here and there. My girl who has practically memorized Pooh from her daily Pooh stories when she was 2 on. Watching how her mind works as she jumps around comparing this Latin text to her memory of the stories and sussing out this word and that. “Dixit means he said,” she concluded. And, well, yes, Milne uses “he said” and “said he” in a distinctive way so that’s easy to spot, but I was proud and impressed. She had me doing some sight translation too. And looking up words. All in all it was one of those moments when I sat back and watched her autodidact mind soaking up new information like a sponge. She learns so very differently than I do, but when she gets the scent, boy get out of her way, the hunt is afoot. I think the answer to her learning Latin is definitely more translations of books she already knows.

Bella and I also began her Book of Centuries, a timeline book she’ll begin keeping this year. We began dating the pages and she made her first entries. First, the birth of Christ and his death. Then the beginning of the reign of Emperor Augustus (and an illustration, a bust of Augustus) and then the founding of the city of Rome. Then she illustrated the crucifixion. A good beginning and she’s very excited to do more and more and more with it.

The kids worked on map puzzles and legos. A few brief forays outside, but it was rainy, so it was mostly an indoor day. Oh and a lot of time spent poring over the Smithsonian Natural History book, that tome is such a gem!

Story time: Lucy wanted a picture book about astronauts, then Missee Lee, Blood and Guts (intro and section on kidneys), Mother Teresa, Pagoo.

Sophie and Bella took turns reading a Pooh story to Lucy, handing off the book so they didn’t get too tired. Eventually Lucy fell asleep in the middle of a second story read by Sophie. Those girls (especially Bella) are determined that Lucy must be read to and if I’m too busy they will do it.

Bedtime story: D’Aulaire’s Greek Myths and a library picture book whose name I can’t recall.

Anthony with copywork.

Anthony with copywork.

Bella dives into Winnie Ille Pu.

Bella dives into Winnie Ille Pu.

Bella begins her Book of Centuries

Bella begins her Book of Centuries

Sophie reads a Pooh story to Lucy and the boys.

Sophie reads a Pooh story to Lucy and the boys.

Wednesday September 7

Ben did a math page.

Sophie did math, copywork, read to me from Child’s Geography, then did the first lesson in her new Miss Mason and Francois French book.

Bella did some math, copywork (from Treasure Island), and worked on her Book of Centuries. And looked at Latin.

Afternoon stories: Missee Lee, Pagoo, Mother Teresa, Anne of Green Gables.

Bella and Sophie both spent a lot of time poring over the new book my awesome mom sent today: Audubon’s Aviary, a gorgeous full color collection of Audubon’s Birds of America that comes with introductory material about Audubon’ life with portraits of the Audubon family. I need to spend more time with it myself to see what else it has, but there are the kids looking at it.

Lots of Legos today and some digging in the mud. Bella did some drawing too. Ben did coloring. Boys and Sophie had iPad time. We had fun playing an internet quiz where you try to identify the Hamilton song by a single sung syllable: “Yo!” Amazing how many Yo’s there are in the play and how hard it can be to figure out who is saying which one. Collectively they got 8 out of 10.

Sophie’s spending iPad time obsessed with a new math game where you eliminate falling balls by adding numbers to make a target number. At bedtime she was figuring out all the addends of 17 for when she achieves that level. Math win!

Bedtime story: D’Aulaire’s Greek Myths (Orion!!!)

Beautiful sleeping toddler.

Beautiful sleeping toddler.

Thurdsay September 8

Bella did math. Sophie did math, copywork, and worked on her French lesson. Ben did math.

We went to the pharmacy and the grocery store and dropped books off at the library.

Afternoon stories: Missee Lee, Pagoo, Mother Teresa, Story of the World.

Kids played on iPads, ran about outide, Bella cleaned her seashell collection and made a house for her doll.

Bedtime story: D’Aulaires Greek Myths (Hermes).

Friday September 9

Everyone did math: Ben, Sophie, Bella, Anthony. Sophie also did copywork and worked on French and read to me from Child’s Geography. Ben did a short letter review. Anthony read me a Frog and Toad story and copied a sentence. Bella recopied old copywork in her best handwriting.

We had friends over for a playdate. Ben is in love with babies. He loved Lucy when she was a baby and he adores baby Fionna. Lucy and her best friend Emma played nicely together. All the kids were happy to have a baby here, really and all worked to amuse our guests.

Afternoon stories: Missee Lee, Mother Teresa, Pagoo, Anne of Green Gables.

Bedtime story: D’Aulaires Greek Myths.

Lucy plays dolls with her best friend.

Lucy plays dolls with her best friend.

Anthony with copywork.

Anthony with copywork.

4 Responses to Learning Notes Week of September 5

  1. The Sojourner September 18, 2016 at 8:12 am #

    I am overcome by cuteness at the thought of Bella and Sophie being so insistent that Lucy get stories that they traded off.

    • Melanie Bettinelli September 19, 2016 at 12:49 am #

      I know! Bella is so very serious about making sure Lucy gets read to… at least until Bella gets distracted by her own book.

  2. Cristina @ Linguavert September 20, 2016 at 3:26 am #

    I loved reading about Bella’s Latin learning! When I worked as an English trainer, I learned about the three “zones” of language learning: the comfort zone, the stretch zone, and the danger zone. You don’t want to stay in the comfort zone too much because you learn nothing new, but you won’t learn much in the danger zone, where too much is new. The stretch zone is the ideal mix of easy (to keep you confident) and challenging (to keep you learning). It looks as if Bella has found her comfort zone in Winne Ille Pooh!

    The first novels I read in German were all translations, too. I called them my “training wheels.”

    • Melanie Bettinelli September 24, 2016 at 2:44 am #

      I hope so. Right now she seems to be picking up something Latin once a week or so. I’d like to be more regular, but I have so many balls in the air. She’s not quite at the point where she’s self-motivated enough to push herself every day. She advances by fits and spurts.

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