Learning Notes Week of October 1

Learning Notes Week of October 1


Monday October 1

A slow start to the day and to the week. Before lunch the day looked like rather a wash. Sophie had done math and copywork and read to me from A Child’s Geography, everyone else had only managed to do math. I gave up and figured if we got a bit of reading done, well it would have to be good enough and it’s only the first day of the week.

After lunch we had our usual stories: Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, Belinda is unkind and Nona is gentle. We had to look up Coimbatore on the map. Magna Charta was especially engaging today as we read about the great reversals that followed King John’s giving in and signing England over to the Pope, France’s dismay, turning to attack Flanders and the English swooping in to take the French ships in the Flanders port. The episode was told in a lively manner and everyone enjoyed it thoroughly. Then St Louis de Montfort, which so far has been an interesting exploration of vocation and obstacles. Then Story of the World in which we read about Sulieman the Magnificent. And I had to laugh at the error in the book where they put in a picture of the Lion Gate at Mycenae in place of the Lion Gate in Jerusalem. Oops. And then I flipped backward in North with the Spring to re-read the section on the Great Smoky Mountains, the Appalachian Trail and the ascent of Clingman’s Dome. Now that we’ve been there all sorts of little details jumped out at the kids. It was a little thrilling to recognize the place from Teale’s writing, and to see what has changed as well in the last sixty years. WE wrapped up with the day’s lectionary readings, starting with the beginning of the Book of Job, which is always kind of fun as the children all chimed in on the repeated “and only I escaped to tell you.” We remarked that today’s Gospel from Luke covers some of the same ground as yesterday’s Gospel from Mark: we saw people casting out demons in your name, should we stop them?

And after that it was a good thing I was done because their attention was gone. They all wanted a turn on the ipad. I said yes on the condition that the living room god tidied up and everyone finish their neglected schoolwork. Well, Ben did his Explode the Code, copywork, and read a Bob book. Anthony read to me from Child’s History. Bella and I did a bit of Latin.

Then the toys mostly picked up, the kids got about half an hour on the iPads and Anthony opted to dive into Snap Circuits. He’s not just doing projects, he’s reading the book and discussing it with Dom.

All in all a pretty good day. Bella walked to the store to get milk. I think she might have worked on some poetry too.

And the bedtime story was Dom reading The Billy Goats Gruff with funny voices as requested.

Tuesday October 2

Sophie did some math, with me. Lots of frustration over long division. Everyone cries over long division, I told her. And she did her copywork too.

Ben did math and copywork and Explode the Code.

Anthony did math and copywork.

Bella did math, struggling with decimals and fractions. And struggling with everything else today, too. One of those days. I’m not sure what else got done. She did write the beginning of a story that reminded me of The Little Mermaid and the sea people in Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Stories: Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, Nona makes a wishing tree and Belinda destroys it. Magna Charta, John as a vassal to the pope, a public penance acted out with a dramatic flair, but how sincere is it? St Louis de Montfort: Mary Louis is called to live at the poorhouse but there is resistance, she is asked to change her fashionable dresses for one of homespun, but will her mother object? North with the Spring: more about the Smokies, hiking to Siler’s Bald and a lot of speculating about what causes the balds. We talked a bit about what I’d learned from Wikipedia: that Teale and his wife lost their only son, David, in WW2 and this trip was in part a way to deal with their grief. The book is dedicated to David, carried with them in their hearts.

Today’s lectionary readings are for the feast of the Guardian angels: Exodus in which God tells his people that an angel will lead them and warns them of the consequences if they don’t follow his orders. With the psalm we had a great learning moment. Often we just read them and don’t have much to say but today we went through the responsory psalm line by line. Anthony asked what foe meant and I said it’s a synonym for enemy and noted how the two words are both used together in the psalm. And we talked about the repetitions, how often the psalms are couplets with the second line just saying the first over again in different words, or are opposites, or an idea and then something which elaborates on the idea. I tried to point out how unlike poetry that rhymes or has meter or assonance, which don’t necessarily translate from one language to another, the devices Hebrew poetry uses do translate into any language. Like it’s a universal poetry. But no one seemed all that interested in that explanation, at least not today. The Gospel was from Matthew and is the parallel to yesterday’s and Sunday’s which seems funny since the feast wouldn’t always follow those readings. And yet it was most definitely the reading for the feast: be like a little child, their angels in heaven look on the face of God. I was more impressed by the coincidence than the children were, though. Maybe I should have waited and let them discover it.

Today’s bedtime story was from Little Bear.

Wednesday October 3

Bella: math, Latin

Sophie: math, copywork, geography

Ben: math, Explode the Code, copywork

Anthony: math, copywork, Stories of Great Americans

Lucy: copywork

Afternoon read alouds:

Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, Magna Charta, St Louis de Montfort, Secrets of the Universe, North with the Spring, lectionary readings.

Bedtime reading: Little Bear.


Here, lean on me.
Kings of the mountain.

Thursday October 4

Anthony did math, copywork.

Ben did math, copywork, Explode the Code.

Sophie did copywork, then took math on a coffee date with Daddy who helped her get unstuck.

Bella did math and copywork

We did the grocery shopping while Dom and Sophie took the car to get an oil change and had a Dunkin Donuts treat while they waited.

Afternoon stories: Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, St Louis de Montfort, Magna Charta, Book of Marvels, lectionary readings.

Watched some videos on You Tube of historic dress (medieval, 18th century), also some videos of a Chinese woman who makes bamboo furniture, paper, etc.

Bedtime story: Little Bear


Sophie designs with pattern blocks.
Sophie’s Turtle.

Friday October 5

Yesterday at the grocery store I bought a huge bag of Halloween candy that I have no intention of passing out to trick-or-treaters. Nope. It’s bribery candy. We’ve all been having our struggles getting started with school and staying on task. A wise friend, who homeschools six kids, suggested that she is not above a little bribery now and then to help a reluctant reader along the path or to coax a child struggling with math. Especially since a perennial problem is children who say they are still hungry after eating two different breakfasts, and who then take another hour to eat the third breakfast, I thought I’d give bribery a try. And boy did it work.

Anthony did math, copywork and read from Child’s History (while I was prepping dinner he also read me all the stuff about dinosaurs in his cub scout handbook).

Ben math, then copywork, Explode the Code, and a Bob book.

Sophie did a bunch of math, then her copywork, then read to me from Child’s Geography. We need to get back on track with dictation, composition, and independent reading, but that’s for next week.

Bella started off with reading from Story of the Church and telling me about a German priest who wrote a book defending the Church’s position that Catholics in mixed marriages should promise to raise their children Catholic. After that she wrote a little composition, the beginning of a story. Then she did Latin and copywork and finally math.

Lucy read a Bob book with Bella and then did “jellybean math” with me. Counting and sorting her packet of jellybeans and adding and subtracting them. She loves it.

Afternoon stories: Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, St Louis de Montfort, Magna Charta, Story of the World, lectionary readings.

Bedtime story: Dom read the kids Talking Eggs, a perennial favorite.

Bella’s been reading George Washington’s World. Sophie’s been reading Scarlet Pimpernel books. Anthony’s been reading the Roman mysteries series. And then when he read all the ones that we own, I gave him The Eagle of the Ninth. He’s also been reading the abridged Treasure Island.


Me and my Anthony.
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