Learning Notes Week of February 19

Woke up Sunday morning to a winter elfland.

Elfland. I can almost hear horns.

Winter magic.

Princess Lucy did not want to wear the dress, but I asked her about Star Wars and she perked up.

Monday February 19

Anthony did math, copywork, read from Child’s History. Also narrated to me everything he knew about cub scouts.

Ben did math, copywork, Explode the Code.

Sophie did math (Beast Academy), copywork.

Bella did math, copywork, Latin, and we read Act I of Henry V, she read the Chorus and Henry and I read the other parts. She also narrated to me about a naturalist book about birds. Sophie and Anthony sat in and listened to most of the Shakespeare and over dinner Anthony wanted to talk about the scene and had obviously been paying close attention.

Read alouds: Sword Song (Lucy narrated, she managed two sentences), St Margaret Mary (I narrated), Book of Angels (Ben narrated, one sentence), Augustus Caesar’s World chapter about India (Bella narrated), Blood and Guts chapter about cells (Sophie narrated), Good Masters Sweet Ladies, story about Hugh and the boar (Anthony narrated, he agrees with Hugh about liking fatty meat).

Bedtime story: Castle in the Air.

Reading Henry V from my Riverside Shakespeare.

Inspired by Escher, Bella tries her hand at drawing impossible spaces.

Tuesday February 20

Anthony’s birthday haul.

Anthony’s birthday.

Anthony’s birthday

Try as I might, I couldn’t move anyone to begin doing math this morning. Birthday presents were too much of a distraction. So I gave in and let them have a half-holiday.

Soon they were outside in the warm sunshine, changing long sleeves and long pants for shorts and t-shirts and sandals. Riding their bikes was inevitable since Anthony got a new bike helmet among his presents. And ride they did. And set up a sort of gypsy camp on the front lawn where they had a picnic lunch and where we read our stories.

Stories were a little more distracted than usual, but we still read Sword Song, St Margaret Mary, Blood and Guts, Good Masters Sweet Ladies, and Heroes of the Middle Ages.

Bedtime story was one of Anthony’s new books, Mistakes That Worked.

The front yard became a gipsy camp, much to the distress of the neighbors.

Gipsy camp– though the children said it was an “elders camp” because they were pretending to be characters from the game Alto’s Adventure.

Sunny day, Lucy does pretend tricks on the bike.

Bella reading outside.

Anthony reads his new Rube Goldberg book while wearing his new bike helmet.

Wednesday February 21

Anthony did math, copywork, read from Child’s History.

Ben did math, copywork, Explode the Code.

Sophie did math (Beast Academy), copywork, French, read Child’s Geography.

Bella did math, copywork, Latin, and we read the first two scenes in Act II of Henry V. She also narrated to me about Catherine Called Birdie.

Kids spent the rest of the morning outside enjoying the warm weather, riding bikes, camping on blankets on the front lawn.

We read stories on the back patio: Sword Song, St Margaret Mary, Good Masters Sweet Ladies, Augustus Caesar’s World, North with the Spring, Book of Angels.

Bedtime story: Castle in the Air.

Sophie’s Lego creation, inspired by Hokusai’s The Barrel Maker. She’s posing with Anthony’s postcard of the Hokusai print.

Thursday February 22

Anthony did math and copywork.

Ben did math and copywork and Explode the Code.

Bella did math and copywork.

Sophie was having a bad morning.

We headed in to Cambridge on the train and had lunch in the city. Then we headed to the Longfellow House, a National Historic Site, to go on a George Washington’s birthday themed tour. In 1775-1776 the house was George Washington’s headquarters as he commanded the Continental Army during the siege of Boston.

We got a late start but managed to find a parking space at the train station in Quincy– a spot that was in a puddle that looked deeper than it was. The kids love taking the train and that is a treat. So we arrived in Cambridge a little before lunch. Enough time to wander into Curious George and let the kids look around at the books and toys. We had lunch at Tasty Burger, cheeseburgers for the girls, chicken nuggets for the boys, and Anthony got onion rings. I brought a sandwich for Lucy and got her a lemonade and let her eat some fries. Then we still had an hour to kill. So we took a circuitous route and then walked the six blocks to the house very slowly as snow was slowly beginning to fall. When we got there we explored the formal garden, mostly dead in February, but the first snowdrops were peeking out and the children had fun walking thorough the maze-like walkways between the low box hedges. And we looked at the labels and imagined the flowers growing there.

When we checked in for the tour, the rangers at the desk told us we were in luck because our guide is a huge Washington fan. I think the younger kids wished he’d talked a little less about Washington, but Bella and I at least loved every minute of it. We only saw the four main rooms on the ground floor and our guide spent about 15 minutes in each room, telling us about Washington, reading letters, and really being very passionate and thorough. At the end of our tour he showed us two letters– the real things not copies– signed by Washington himself during the time he was in Cambridge. One was to Longfellow’s grandfather, General Peleg Wadsworth.

I want to go back and take the usual tour which has more Longfellow in it. And preferably in the late spring or summer when the garden is in bloom.

It is certainly a much easier day when I don’t have to drive home from the city. Taking the T to Quincy and driving from there is so much more restful, even when there’s standing room only for most of the trip.

We’re actually waiting for the inbound train.

Bella and Sophie on the train with a stuffed parrot.

Bella reading Ivanhoe on the train. Ben all bundled up.

Anthony admires street art in Harvard Square.

Bella eats a tasty burger.

Sophie with snowdrops.

At the Longfellow House.

The historians believe the front door and even the door lock were there in George Washington’s day.

Crossing Longfellow Bridge in the snow, you can barely see the Hancock tower and the Pru.

Friday February 23

Anthony did math and copywork.

Ben did math and copywork and a little Explode the Code.

Bella did math and copywork.

Sophie did math and copywork.

Short lesson as we went to the grocery store.

Stories: Sword Song, St Margaret Mary, Story of the World, Book of Marvels, Good Masters Sweet Ladies, Door in the Wall.

Boys had cub scout den meating.

Bedtime story for Lucy: Bambinelli Sunday.

Saturday February 24

Pinewood derby in the afternoon. We all went to support Ben and Anthony.

Anthony and Ben with cars.

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