Friday, September 10, 2021

Homeschool Update: Week of 9/6/21 (First Week of 2021-2022)

We have shifted gears and we're in full school mode once again. This year, M. (8 in November) is in third grade, C. (6 later this month) is in first grade, and E. (4 next month) is in Pre-K. R. and A. (17 mos.) are along for the ride. We have made some changes to the schedule, but most of our curriculum remains the same.  

Morning Time 

Music:  I read aloud Chapters 1 and 2 of Ludwig Beethoven and the Chiming Tower Bells by Opal Wheeler (E. P. Dutton & Co., 1942), and played recordings of the following pieces mentioned in the book: 

  • Piano Sonata no. 19 in G minor, Op. 49, no. 1, mvt. 2 Rondo. Allegro
  • Sonatina in G Major, Anh. 5 
  • Ecossaise I in E-flat Major, WoO 86
  • Ecossaise II in G Major, WoO 23
  • Sonatina in G Major, Anh. 5, mvt. 2 Romance 

Singing: M. C., and E. took turns singing the call and reponse parts in "I Met a Bear". We concluded morning time each day with Salve Regina

Poems: from Favorite Poems Old and New, edited by Helen Ferris (Doubleday Books, 1957): School-Bell by Eleanor Farjeon, "Arithmetic" by Carl Sandburg, "September" by Helen Hunt Jackson, and "Geography" by Eleanor Farjeon.  

Art Appreciation: Using questions from and, we discussed Woman with a Mirror by Titian, found in The Louvre Art Deck: 100 Masterpieces from the World's Most Popular Museum by Anja Grebe and Erich Lessing. At the end of the week, we compared this painting with Conversation in a Park by Thomas Gainsborough. 

Catechism: We reviewed the first seven lessons in The New Saint Joseph First Communion Catechism. On Wednesday, we read about St. Peter Claver in Picture Book of Saints by Rev. Lawrence G. Lovasik, SV.D. (Catholic Book Publishing Company, 1979). 


First Grade: C. has begun the first year of the classical Trivium. We are using Builders of the Old World by Gertrude Hartman (D.C. Heath and Company, 1946) as our spine, and this week we read "How the First People Lived" and "Sticks and Stones," which primarily focused on the tools of the Old Stone Age and New Stone Age. 

C. watched several videos about archaeology and prehistoric life: 

On Friday, she made paper replicas of stone-age tools using a printable from and dictated a narration to me, which I typed up and had her illustrate. She also used some items in the dress-up box to dress herself up like a caveman. 

Third Grade: For this segment of the year, M.'s spine is The World of Captain John Smith by Genevieve Foster. This week, she and my husband read these sections together: 

  • The Queen's Little Pirate
  • Queen Elizabeth
  • Philip II
  • A Declaration of Independence
  • The Virgin Queen and Her Frog Prince
  • Mary Stuart
  • The Three Henrys and the Queen Mother of France
  • Young Walter Raleigh and Virginia
  • No Gold - But Tobacco
They also went over a chart in the book called "Royal Relatives" which shows the successions in England and Scotland that explain how the same person was both King James I of England and King James VI of Scotland. 


First and Third Grade: We are still in Volume 1 of Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding and using Early Elementary Science Education by Shannon Jordan as a guide. This week, we started the year with Lesson C-3a,  "Energy and Force." As an introduction, we read Move It! Movement, Forces, and You by Adrienne Mason, and did  a demonstration from the book showing how more force is needed to move heavier objects. M. and C. each lifted a 5 lb. back of flour to show what 5 lbs. of force feels like, and they each completed a worksheet identifying whether the force in a particular action is  push or pull.  

In the second half of the week, we watched videos demonstrating how water wheels use the force of gravity, how engineers protect buildings against wind, gravity, and earthquakes, and how wind farms generate electricity: 

On Wednesday, C. did the Push-and-Pull Toys Kiwi Crate.  

Pre-K: E. and I read the first section of The National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Why (Amazing Me) and some of the second section (How Things Work).


I happened to receive some Mad Libs Reading workbooks for review from Penguin Random House, so I decided we would start the year using those to review parts of speech, spelling rules, etc. C. is working in the first grade book, and M. is working in the third grade book. I had them skip the phonics sections because they were too easy, but I will probably have them do everything else. I had also have the books for 2nd and 4th grade for whenever they finish these. 

With M. and C., I am reading aloud Three Children and Shakespeare. With C. in the evenings I'm reading aloud from My Bookhouse. To give me voice something of a break, our lunchtime book is now on audio. We're currently listening to Then There Were Five by Elizabeth Enright. At dinner, my husband is reading aloud Polly and the Wolf by Catherine Storr. 

E. is continuing to work through The Ordinary Parents' Guide to Teaching Reading. This week she started the section on consonant blends and learned how to sound out double letters. She also practiced with a Hooked on Phonics reader called Ann's Hat and her three-letter word flashcards. M. listens to her reading once a day after she receives instruction from me.  

M. read Valley of the Smallest: The Life of the Shrew by Aileen Fisher and The Marvelous Invention of Alvin Fernald by Clifford B. Hicks. C. read Jenny and the Cat Club by Esther Averill and started The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary. To Gran over Skype, M. is reading Ol' Paul by Glen Rounds and C. is reading A Brother for the Orphelines by Natalie Savage Carlson. 


M. has been doing math at a 6th grade level on Khan Academy, so we're starting the year having her do all the review sections in Singapore 4A. We'll review the weak spots as needed and then move forward until we reach material she doesn't know yet. This week, she did Review 1, and she got some questions about rounding and timelines incorrect, so she went back and did the practice problems on those topics. M. is more than halfway through Life of Fred: Jellybeans.  

C. resumed working in Singapore 2B, using the soroban to assist her with multi-digit addition and subtraction. In the evenings with me, she is also doing additional soroban practice with multi-digit addition and subtraction, and using the Cuisenaire rods to review the numbers that add up to equal 5 (little friends) and 10 (big friends). She started Life of Fred: Cats this week. 

E. is beginning to use the soroban. I'm teaching her from the Learning Mathematics with the Abacus Year 1 textbook. This week, we focused on Unit 1, which teaches the parts of the soroban, and which fingers to use to move which beads. We also practiced clearing it and counting up to five. 

M. and C. started using an app called Flashmaster to drill their math facts. It's a free app for the Kindle Fire and it delivers their results to my husband's Evernote account by email. 

Physical Education 

I  borrowed some of the exercises from the Ten Thousand Method YouTube videos we used the past two years and wrote out a routine for the girls to do on their own before breakfast. This is what they're doing: 

  • 15 little arm circles
  • 15 big arm circles
  • 25 punches
  • 20 marches 
  • balance flamingo (count to 20)
  • 15 kangaroo jumps
  • 15 bird wings
  • 15 monkey walks 
  • 15 windmills
  • balance flamingo (count to 20)
  • 15 rabbit jumps
  • bear crawl (count to 20)
  • 20 seal claps
  • balance flamingo (count to 20)
  • 15 frog jumps 
  • 20 horse gallops
  • 20 lizard runs
  • balance flamingo (count to 20) 
  • 20 marches  
  • 25 punches
  • 15 big arm circles
  • 15 little arm circles 

Currently, they're doing their workout on the deck, but they'll move to the basement once it gets too cold.

The girls also went for one last swim on Labor Day, and they also had an unexpected playdate on our first day of school because our public school friends had a day off for Rosh Hashanah.  

Instrumental Music

M. and C. practiced piano and recorder daily.


M. copied a question and answer from her Catechism in cursive each day. C. worked on cursive each day.

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