Monday, October 26, 2020

The Read-at-Home-Mom Report for 10/26/20

Finished Books

I tied up a lot of loose reading ends this week, finishing several books that I've had ongoing for weeks and even months. 

Though I can't say I got much out of it, I finally finished Ulysses after 4 months of reading and listening on and off. I'm working on a blog post about this whole reading experience and my history with this book.

I just need to write a review of Pegeen, and then I'll be returning it to its owner. It was not as good as the first book of the trilogy, but I liked it better than Francie on the Run.

Who Does He Say You Are? by Colleen Mitchell, which looks at the women of the Bible from a Catholic perspective, ended up getting a five-star rating. I was originally reading it with a group on Instagram but couldn't keep up with the level of discussion, even though the reading itself was very easy. I ended up finishing the last few chapters all in one go, and I actually thought those were the best of the book. 


The Lazy Genius Way was another hit for me. Kendra Adachi's advice is practical and applicable to families and homes of any type. I felt the same way about this book as I did about Your Blue Flame by Jennifer Fulwiler - it was truly helpful self-help.

Falling Together had some dramatic moments that were a bit over-the-top for me, but overall I loved the nostalgic feel of the story, and the fact that it was about friendship as much as romance.
 

Magic by the Lake was our lunchtime read-aloud. I was impressed by how many allusions this middle grade novel makes to other works of literature. I'm pretty sure I didn't even catch them all.
  

I previewed The Best Halloween Ever by Barbara Robinson to see whether it would be a good audiobook for my kids to listen to at bedtime on Halloween night. It's not as good as the wonderful The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, but I've decided they can listen to it. 


Currently Reading 

I'm still (slowly) reading  ARCs of Rekindled by Mallory Smyth and The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop by Fannie Flagg. I'm also about halfway through  The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp for book club, and I'm past the halfway point in the audiobook of Family Tree by Susan Wiggs.


Up Next

I have the audiobook of These High, Green Hills by Jan Karon checked out from the library, and I'm planning to start The Witch Family by Eleanor Estes as my read-aloud with my girls this week.


I'm linking up today with The Book Date for It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Homeschool Update: Week of 10/19/20

 

Morning Time

  • Poems from Sing a Song of Seasons: A Nature Poem for Each Day of the Year selected by Fiona Waters, illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon (Nosy Crow, 2018): "An Autumn Greeting" by George Cooper, "Blowing from the west" by Yosa Buson, "Leaves" by Elsie N. Brady, "The Autumn Leaves" by Wes Magee, and "Fog" by Carl Sandburg.
  • Questions from The Big Book of Tell Me Why by Arkady Leokum, illustrated by Howard Bender: "What makes us hungry?", "How do we digest food?", "Why do we perspire?", "Why do we get thirsty?", "Why do we get tired?", "What causes our dreams?", "How does our blood circulate?", "What is skin?", "Why do people have different-colored skin?", "What are freckles?"
  • "Squirrel Nutkin" from Sing Through the Day: Eighty Songs for Children compiled and edited by Marlys Swinger, illustrated by Nancy and Brenna McKernan (The Plough Publishing House, 1999), sung along with this YouTube video
  • "Panis Angelicus" sung from the Vatican II Hymnal
  • "Playful Pizzicato" by Benjamin Britten
  • Lesson 7 from The New St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism
  • Memory work: "Witch Cat" by Rowena Bennett (C.) , "Halloween" by Harry Behn (M.)

History

C. and finished reading First Days of the World by Gerald Ames, and watched several more Eons videos: The Age of Reptiles in Three ActsHistory's Most Powerful Plants, and The Humans that Lived Before Us. We read some more in Life Story by Virginia Lee Burton as well. 

M. finished Science in Early Islamic Culture by George Beshore with me, and read about St. Benedict and Benedictine monasteries with my husband. She did a narration about St. Benedict and did this coloring page to accompany it. 

Table Time 

On Monday, we made birthday cards for my father's sister. On Tuesday, I took C. and E. out with their bicycles and M. worked with snap circuits.  On Wednesday, we listened to The Boxcar Children on audio and colored these Halloween paper dolls, and I also cut out these vintage Boxcar Children ones. On Thursday, we took out the Care for Our World Playset that my mom sent us at some point, and we listened to Winnie the Pooh. On Friday, I took M. and the babies for a walk and we ended up meeting my husband and C. and E. at the park, where all three girls rode bikes. 

Math

C. finished all the pages we had given her for math, up to the end of the geometry section in 1B, and she is moving onto the section about telling time. M. continued to work with liters and milliliters, including doing some actual measuring. Both girls did Khan Academy every day and Life of Fred on Wednesday.

Preschool

E. read some books about witches (The Witch Who Was Afraid of Witches and Witches Four), did some of the Eric Carle puzzles she got for her birthday last weekend, and also colored in an Eric Carle coloring book. She also tried the spelling and counting puzzles she got for her birthday. She asks every day what she will do during school, but then resists doing whatever is offered. 

Science

This week we talked about the atmosphere. We watched quite a few videos: 
The girls also asked about "really short adults that are the size of kids" so we watched this video in which kids chat with a little person about her life. (Not all of the videos on that channel are suitable for my kids. I don't let them watch unless I've previewed.)

Reading and Writing 

M. continued with Mossflower and C. continued with The Happy Hollisters and the Ghost Horse Mystery. We also finished our read-aloud of Magic by the Lake. 

Music 

M. and C. both practiced piano and recorder daily. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Homeschool Update: Week of 10/12/20

Morning Time 

  •  Poem from Sing a Song of Seasons by Sara and John E. Brewton (The Macmillan Company, 1955): "Columbus" by Leroy F. Jackson, 
  • Poems from Sing a Song of Seasons: A Nature Poem for Each Day of the Year selected by Fiona Waters, illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon (Nosy Crow, 2018): "The Mountain Peak" translated by John Wesley Powell from a Southern Paiute song, "Rain Poem" by Elizabeth Coatsworth, "Rain Sizes" by John Ciardi, and "First winter rain" by Matsuo Basho, translated by R.H. Blyth
  • Questions from The Big Book of Tell Me Why by Arkady Leokum, illustrated by Howard Bender: "What was the first musical instrument?", "How did basketball get its name?", "When did boxing begin?", "Did baseball really originate in America?", "What was the first motion picture?", "Who invented television?", "How do we grow?"
  • Questions from the 500 Questions Game Book (Parragon Books, 2017) for fun on Friday
  • "Dingle Dangle Scarecrow" from 1,2,3—Boo! by  Marylee, sung with the recording 
  • "Panis Angelicus" sung from the Vatican II Hymnal
  • "Hornpipe" from Water Music by George Frideric Handel
  • Memory work: C. is memorizing "Witch Cat" by Rowena Bennett and M. is working on "Halloween" by Harry Behn. C. recited the planets and M. recited the countries of Europe. 


History

C. continued studying natural history this week. She is especially interested in prehistoric animals, including trilobites,  amphibians, and early reptiles. We read from Life Story by Virginia Lee Burton and First Days of the World by Gerald Ames and watched videos from the PBS Eons channel, "The Trouble with Trilobites" and  "Why Triassic Animals Were Just the Weirdest

M. read about the rise of the papacy and Pope Gregory with my husband early in the week. In the second of the half week, since we were ahead of schedule, we went back in time a bit to read Science in Early Islamic Culture by George Beshore.  


Table Time

On Monday, I printed out these geoboard pattern cards and M and C worked on copying them onto their geoboards. M. did fine, but C. took a while to warm up to it. On Tuesday and Wednesday, we had markers, crayons and oil pastels out for drawing, and M., C., and E. all created a variety of art pieces. On Thursday, I gave them felt pieces for making different Halloween figures and they followed the patterns provided and then invented their own creations. On Friday during this time, I took M. for a long walk with baby R. and baby A. and my husband took the other girls out to ride their bikes.


Math

C. continued working on beginning multiplication in Singapore Math. She also worked on Khan Academy and read with me from Life of Fred: Butterflies. M. finished her review and moved on to the Capacity unit in Singapore Primary Mathematics 3B, which is about converting milliliters to liters and vice versa. She is still working through Life of Fred: Goldfish and fourth grade math on Khan Academy. 


Preschool

This was not a big school week for E. She did some coloring, and happily pointed out familiar letters on the covers of books, but there wasn't much formal activity. She's been enjoying our Halloween  books, including Ollie's Halloween by Olivier Dunrea.  She and M. have also been reading together a lot. They enjoy the Bink and Gollie books and they read Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle aloud to Gran on Skype.


Science

Our topic for the week was gravity. We again used Early Elementary Science Education as our guide to the topics presented in BFSU, and we discussed why things fall to the ground when dropped and why the people in Australia don't fall off the Earth, the difference between horizontal and vertical, and the uses of a level and a plumb bob, and how gravity keeps the planets in orbit around the sun, and the moon in orbit around the earth.


Reading and Writing

M. wrote a narration about Charlemagne, and continued reading Mossflower. C. and I started reading The Happy Hollisters and the Ghost Horse Mystery aloud together. C. also wrote two thank you letters for birthday presents. M. also did a few pages in Comprehensive Curriculum of Basic Skills: Grade 3


Music

Both M. and C. practiced piano and recorder every day.


Physical Education

M. did a three-mile walk with me and the stroller on Friday, while C. and E. went with my husband to ride their bikes.

Monday, October 19, 2020

The Read-at-Home Mom Report for 10/19/20

Finished Books




I flew right through the second Mitford book, A Light in the Window, on audio and I've already borrowed the third one. I love them so much.

I ended up having some issues with Chuck Klosterman's takes on a lot of things in I Wear the Black Hat, and many of his arguments have not aged well since the book was published in 2013. I gave it two stars. 

My husband had me read A Taste of Blackberries by Doris Buchanan Smith. It reminded me of the movie My Girl, and also of the book On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer. It handles the subject of death very honestly but tastefully and the writing is strong. 

I read Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham with two friends on Instagram, and I absolutely loved it. This one I'm hoping to save to review here on the blog. 

I also loved Invincible Louisa: The Story of the Author of Little Women by Cornelia Meigs and plan to do a review. One of my goals this year was to read five books related to Concord, Massachusetts. This was my first one, but now I feel a renewed desire to complete that challenge.


Currently Reading


I'm still reading Pegeen by Hilda van Stockum but hope to finish soon. I'm also nearing the end of Ulysses. I took a bit of a break from Rekindled by Mallory Smyth, but it should be quick to finish once I pick it up again. I also started listening to Falling Together by Marisa de los Santos and I'm reading a digital ARC of The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop by Fannie Flagg.


Up Next


I have to remember to start The Story of the Trapp Family Singers pretty soon because my book club moved up its meeting date from the third Thursday of the month to the second. We're meeting even earlier in December, so I'll also need to leave a good amount of time to get to the December book, The Reed of God Caryll Houselander, even though it's a re-read. I also really wanted to read Murder Makes a Pilgrimage by Sister Carol Anne O'Marie this month because it's set this time of year, but I may not get to it. 

I'm linking up today with The Book Date for It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Cozy Halloween Picture Books Old and New

In our family, Halloween has always been more of a cozy celebration than a spooky one. We typically make donuts, drink apple cider, have the kids parade around the house in their costumes, and, of course, read festive stories. Today's post lists some of our favorites as well as a few new titles that have been added to our collection for this year.

The Little Kitten is a recently published picture book by Nicola Killen about a little girl named Ollie, who, while out walking with her cat, Pumpkin, meets a lost kitten. Ollie and Pumpkin look after the kitten, feeding her and making friends with her until she can be reunited with her surprisingly magical owner. The illustrations are key to appreciating the true identity of the kitten's owner, and the reveal is subtle. My five-year-old missed it completely and had to be shown exactly what to look for. Still, it's such a sweet and gentle read that it's worth reading twice to get the full effect. 

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything isn't explicitly connected to Halloween, but it's a fun read about not being scared. A little old lady walks home from picking berries, nuts, and twigs. On the dark path, she encounters various articles of clothing, each of which makes a signature motion that repeats throughout the book. When the clothes are finally accompanied by a scary pumpkin head, the little old lady takes measures to ensure that she won't be bothered by this menacing outfit ever again. My kids love to act out this story, as they perform movements to imitate each article of clothing.

In Bears and Boos by Shirley Parenteau and David Walker, the focus is on sharing, as the bears discover a costume trunk and accidentally leave out one of their friends as they all choose costumes. I have to confess that the rhyme scheme and rhythm feel a little bit off in this one, but the illustrations are absolutely adorable. My three-year-old has been the ideal reader for this book, as she is just the right age to be learning to share without hurting other people. She also really loves the end papers in the book which feature a gathering of smiling ghosts.

Ollie's Halloween by Olivier Dunrea is a holiday title in the Gossie and Friends series. Each of the characters from the Gossie series appears here in costume as they celebrate Halloween together, prowling through the chilly autumn evening and sharing treats together. The Gossie books are always a huge favorite with my toddlers, and even my older kids still like to revisit the characters.

Room on the Broom is a rhyming story by English writer Julia Donaldson, with illustrations by Axel Scheffler. In repetitive verse, it tells the story of a witch and her cat. As the wind blows the witch's belongings off of the broomstick one by one, each item is rescued by a different creature who inquires whether there is room for him to fly along on the broom. After the broom is full of animals, the group encounters a dragon whose defeat requires quick-thinking teamwork. My three-year-old loved this book so much last Halloween that she has been reading it weekly ever since. 

In Click, Clack, Boo!: A Tricky Treat by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin, Farmer Brown dislikes Halloween, and is maybe even a bit afraid. His animals, on the other hand, love to celebrate, and they dress in costumes, trick-or-treat, and host a big party. This book is a good one for defusing Halloween fears, as the spooky figure outside of Farmer Brown's house proves to be something far less sinister than he suspects, and he joins the fun in the end. 

Finally, Sheep Trick or Treat by Nancy Shaw is another pleasant rhyming story. The sheep put on costumes to collect treats from their farmyard neighbors. Afterwards, they trick some unsuspecting wolves who would otherwise have had them for dinner. As with other titles in the series, the humor and wordplay are the highlights in this one. My three-year-old is a big fan. 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing and Candlewick for the review copies of The Little Kitten and Bears and Boos, respectively.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Homeschool Update: Week of 10/5/20

Morning Time

  • Poems from Sing a Song of Seasons: A Nature Poem for Each Day of the Year selected by Fiona Waters, illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon (Nosy Crow, 2018): "Conkers" by Clive Samson, "The farmer flings" by Anonymous, "The Scarecrow" by Anonymous, and "Cliche" by Alison Chisholm 
  • Questions from The Big Book of Tell Me Why by Arkady Leokum, illustrated by Howard Bender: "When were rockets first used?", "How was glass discovered?", "Who invented the thermometer?", "Who invented the microscope?", "Who invented the camera?", "Who invented the automobile?", "Who invented the airplane?", "How was the telephone invented?"
  • "All People That on Earth Do Dwell" sung from The Vatican II Hymnal
  • "Arkansas Traveler" sung from Wee Sing Fun 'n' Folk 
  • Painting from Come Look with Me: Enjoying Art with Children by Gladys S. Blizzard (Charlesbridge, 1996): The Old Stagecoach by Jonathan Eastman Johnson
  • Listening to Rodeo: Hoe Down by Aaron Copeland
  • Lesson 5 from The New St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism 
  • Recording weather, including temperature, sky color, wind strength, and clouds, as well as animal activity and observations about the leaves. 


History

C. did ask Gran her questions about her family history, but after that she was tired of thinking about it, so we shifted gears and jumped right into natural history. I know this is really science, but since we're using it as a prelude to ancient history next year, it feels right to think of it as history for her purposes. We read a couple of pages each day from Life Story by Virginia Lee Burton and First Days of the World by Gerald Ames. She absolutely loves it. We also supplemented with YouTube videos: "Where Did Earth Come From?" from SciShow Kids and Earth & Its History from turtlediary. 

M. read about the Franks and Charlemagne, and she also heard part of The Song of Roland. 


Table Time 

On Monday, we did a craft where the girls glued googly eyes and drew faces on foam acorns. On the other days of the week, I took different combinations of kids for a walk. On Tuesday, M. and baby A. went with me to deposit our ballots in the board of elections drop-box. On Wednesday, C. went on a hunt for acorns with baby R. On Thursday, we went to the dentist and then I tried taking all three big girls for a walk. but M. kept running off, so she was forced to go back home while I took C. and E. On Friday, I took M. for a 3-mile walk on her own. 


Math

C. started the second Life of Fred book, Butterflies, and M. continued in Goldfish. C. started basic multiplication in Singapore while M. finished with pounds and ounces and moved onto review. Both girls also did Khan Academy daily.


Preschool

E. played a few Halloween games on Khan Academy kids, and we read picture books together, including a new review copy, Bears and Boos by Shirley Parenteau. My husband also worked with her on holding up the proper number of fingers for the number three. We (along with C.) discussed fire safety on our walk. 


Science

We had mostly finished our BFSU lesson on energy, but we reviewed everything from last week and then talked about how energy moves. C. is especially attentive to these lessons, which I'm pleased about because I don't always think of her as being very science-minded.  


Reading and Writing

C. finished Happy Birthday from Carolyn Haywood. M. continued reading Mossflower. M. worked on worksheets about proper and common nouns and plurals in Comprehensive Curriculum of Basic Skills: Grade 3. On Saturday night, they listened to the audiobook of Half Magic; during the week we're still reading aloud Magic by the Lake, and my husband is reading Robin Hood after dinner.


Music

Both M. and C. practiced recorder and piano every day. 


Physical Education

In addition to our walks, the girls also did the 10-minute exercise video from the Ten Thousand Method one day.  


Monday, October 12, 2020

The Read-at-Home Mom Report for 10/12/20

Finished Books


I started this week by zipping through Three Stuffed Owls, a vintage teen mystery from the Carson Street Detective Agency series by Keith Robertson. I didn't love it quite as much as The Crow and the Castle, but it was well-written and funny and I thought it would pair well with  Owls in the Family. The dialogue was probably the best part. 

After that, my husband handed me Twenty and Ten by Claire Huchet Bishop insisting that I read it immediately. I previously enjoyed All Alone by this author so I had no objections, and I was definitely not disappointed. This is a great story about a group of French schoolchildren who assist in hiding a group of Jewish children from the Nazis. 

A friend on Instagram was reading The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg and I realized I didn't remember much about it from my previous reading 15 years ago and decided to listen to the audiobook to refresh my memory. I remember loving it a lot more the previous two times I read it (once as a kid and once in library school), but it was still enjoyable. My friend mentioned that she had compared it to Wonder and I see the parallels, but I think The View from Saturday is the superior book by far.


At Home in Mitford
 by Jan Karon was my other audiobook for the week. The audio recording was 20 hours long and yet when I reached the end of the book, I was disappointed and wanted more! Thankfully, this is the first of a long series, and they all seem to be available through the library. 


Currently Reading

I'm still listening to I Wear the Black Hat by Chuck Klosterman, but it's taken a back seat to the Mitford books. I'm almost 15% of the way through the second Mitford book, A Light in the Window.

This week, I also started Invincible Louisa by Cornelia Meigs, which I'm really enjoying and Pegeen by Hilda van Stockum, which I borrowed from a local homeschool mom. 


Up Next

I have a buddy read of Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham planned with the same Instagram friend who read The View from Saturday. For book club in early November, I also need to read The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta von Trapp. And those ARCs continue to linger unread...


I'm linking up today with The Book Date for It's Monday! What Are You Reading?