Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Homeschool Update: January & February 2024

Group Activities 


From The Complete Book of Marvels by Richard Halliburton, Dad read these sections, and the girls watched accompanying videos: 

  • Carcassonne, City of Romance [video]
  • Mount St. Michael [video]
  • Reims Cathedral, Holy Monument [video]
  • Matterhorn, Tiger of the Alps [video]
  • St. Bernard Monastery [video]
  • St. Peter's, Church Supreme [video]
  • Vesuvius, Famous Volcano [video]
  • Pompeii, City of the Past [video]
  • Blue Grotto, Cavern of Loveliness [video]

C. also learned the locations of the continents using this game


We continued our lessons in Getting Started with Latin: Beginning Latin for Homeschoolers and Self-Taught Students of Any Age by William E. Linney, which introduced the second declension. 


We read the children's versions of Richard III and Othello from Shakespeare Stories by Leon Garfield and the girls watched the animated adaptations. For Richard III, the girls acted out part of Act 2 Scene 2 as a group, and then watched the film adaptation starring Laurence Olivier. For Othello, M. memorized Iago's speech from Act 1 Scene 1, lines 57-65, C memorized Othello's speech from Act 3 Scene 3, lines 267-279, and E. memorized Desdemona's speech from Act 1 Scene 3, lines 179-188. At the end of February, they were still working on finalizing those.


Dad read aloud this historical fiction title:
  • At the Hot Gates: An Account of the Battle of Thermopylae by Donald Sampson  

I read aloud these titles: 

  • The Animals' Christmas by Anne Thaxter Eaton
  • The Tough Winter by Robert Lawson
  • Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
  • Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce  


We did a little bit of work in our Catechism books, and then got ready for Lent with Ash Wednesday  coloring pages, Lenten paths to color in, and Mardi Gras masks (with hearts for Valentine's Day!), and we  colored and "buried" the Alleluia in a bookshelf. We attended the Latin Mass once in January once in February. 


We finished reading Poem Making by Myra Cohn Livingston and then analyzed "The Pirate Don Durk of Dowdee" and "Barbara Frietchie" using what we learned.   


C. worked as far as I wanted her to go in the Classic Science student book by Scott McQuerry. Then she read Lili: A Giant Panda of Sichuan by Robert McClung. E. and I read The First Book of Bugs by Margaret Williamson together. 

Both girls started listening to me read The First Book of Plants by Margaret Wiliamson. They also watched Life on Earth: Plants and wrote narrations on the Venus fly trap.  

M. and I continued reading Secrets of the Universe, covering these chapters: 

  • The Law of Conservation of Matter
  • Pascal's Law - How Liquids Behave
  • Boyle's and Charles's Laws - How Gases Behave
  • Bernoulli's Principle
  • How the Elements Combine - The Law of Definite Proportions and Gay-Lussac's Law
From Physics for Every Kid by Janice Van Cleave, she did experiments 55 (Crash), 61 (Bonk), 79 (See Through), 89 (Hot Band), and 97 (Twang) and wrote reports. 


C. had two visits to the orthodontist and read about puberty in The Body Book for Girls


C. read with Dad from The World of George Washington by Genevieve Foster. She wrote narrations on  the Declaration of Independence and Benjamin Franklin.  

M. read The Ancient South Asian World, and watched episodes of the History of India from Great Courses, as well as The Story of India and What the Ancients Knew: India. She took notes on the Great Courses videos. Then she read The Ancient Chinese, and did a worksheet for each chapter, focusing on the Word Bank, What Happened When, Cast of Characters, and All Over the Map exercises. She did narrations on the Ramayana and Mahabarata and on Confucius. 

M. and E. read Virginia Schomp's collections of Indian and Chinese myths together. 

E. continued reading A Child's History of the World by V.M. Hillyer.  She also The First Marathon: the Legend of Pheidippides by Susan Reynolds and A Gift for the King by Christopher Manson. 


 M. switched from from Rex Barks, which was becoming tedious to Sentence Diagramming. She completed the Beginner level quickly and moved on to Level 1. She finished Vocabulary from Classical Roots A, but we realized there were earlier levels she would benefit from doing and gave her Level 6 next. 

C. continued working on the Beginner level of Sentence Diagramming

E. did several worksheets to practice identifying verbs. 

R. worked with me in The Ordinary Parents' Guide to Teaching Reading and practiced reading these Hooked on Phonics readers: Pig Wig, Pig Wig Can Hit, Tag, and Ann's Hat.  

A. practiced identifying her letters and started learning the sounds for short A and short E from The Ordinary Parents' Guide to Teaching Reading. 


M. continued working on Challenging Word Problems 3 and Singapore Primary Mathematics 6B. She needed extra work on fractions and area. In Life of Fred, she continued with Decimals and Percents and she worked on 7th grade math and Algebra 1 on Khan Academy.

C. -finished Singapore Primary Mathematics 3B and moved on to 4A. She finished Life of Fred: Farming and moved on to Goldfish. In Khan Academy, she is still in fourth grade math. 

E. continued working on Singapore Primary Mathematics1B, and she is 80% finished with early math on Khan Academy.


M. and C. have been working on the music theory exercises in Practical Theory by Sandy Felstein. All three girls did note identification and ear training on the computer and practiced piano and recorder daily.  M. and C. played recorder duets of "Rondo" and "O Come All Ye Faithful"; C. and E. are doing a recorder duets of "Rigaudon."  Occasionally, they watched episodes of How to Play the Piano with Pamela Pike from Great Courses.

Physical Education 

This winter, they ran outside when the weather was nice and played with a sled on the hill with neighbor kids in the snow.

Typing and Handwriting 

All three girls practiced typing on Typing.com. M and C. also did Ten Fast Fingers and C. also did some typing on Keybr.com. E. practiced cursive daily; the other girls wrote their narrations in cursive. 

Read-at-Home Mom Report: February 2024 Wrap-Up

February Favorites

These were some of my five-star reads in February: 

Silas Marner by George Eliot
I read this with the episodes from the Literary Life podcast, and they were very illuminating. I never would have recognized the Rumpelstiltskin references without help. I also loved the writing and found the story very satisfying. 

Lunar New Year Love Story by Gene Luen Yang and LeUyen Pham
I don't read many graphic novels, but I love this author and illustrator, and I couldn't pass up a graphic novel YA romance! There are some wonderfully authentic Catholic details in this book (which I expected, since Yang taught at a Catholic school) as well as lots of fun information about the lion dance and really interesting, layered characters, including adults. This will probably make my favorites list at the end of the year.

Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley
This is a delight for anyone who loves books. I enjoyed the humor and love story as well as all the bookish commentary.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
I expected this to be brutal, but it was actually quite hopeful despite the bleak setting and circumstances. The writing is also beautiful. 

The Funeral Ladies of Ellerie County by Claire Swinarski
This is a novel immersed in Catholicism, and I absolutely loved it. There is a little bit of language I wouldn't have included if I were the author, but otherwise great writing and wonderful characters.

A Swarm in May by William Mayne
This vintage UK middle grade book about a boys' choir school was an excellent read-aloud. I loved all the details about beekeeping and the way the boys teased each other and their teachers.

To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis 
I know I missed a lot in this book because it makes so many literary references, and it felt a bit slow for  me, but it was so clever and such a fun concept. I know I'll want to read it again someday.

Read-Aloud and Homeschool Books

  • Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper (5 stars)
  • Poem-Making: Ways to Begin Writing Poetry by Myra Cohn Livingston (4 stars)
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg (5 stars)
  • Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce (5 stars)

Sequels and Series Books

  • Date with Malice (The Dales Detective Series Book 2) by Julia Chapman (5 stars)
  • The Crow Trap (Vera Stanhope Book 1) by Ann Cleeves (3 stars)
  • Kissing for Keeps (Sheppards in Love Book 1) by Martha Keyes (3 stars)
  • Per My Last Email (Wells Family Book 1) by Juliana Smith (4 stars)
  • The Dark is Rising (The Dark is Rising Book 2) by Susan Cooper (5 stars)
  • Holmes, Marple & Poe (Holmes, Margaret & Poe Book 1) by James Patterson (4 stars) 

Stand-Alone Books

  • The Eyes and the Impossible by Dave Eggers (5 stars)
  • Elf Dog and Owl Head by M.T.Anderson (5 stars)
  • A Saint Squad for Teachers: 45 Heavenly Friends to Carry You through the School Year by Amy J. Cattapan (4 stars)
  • Do You Mind If I Cancel? by Gary Janetti (4 stars)
  • Start Without Me by Gary Janetti (4 stars)
  • 1000 Words: A Writer's Guide to Staying Creative, Focused, and Productive All Year Round by Jami Attenberg (5 stars)
  • If Morning Ever Comes by Anne Tyler (3 stars)
  • Little Moments of Love by Catana Chetwynd (4 stars)
  • 1776 by David McCullough (4 stars)
  • Love, Unscripted by Denise Hunter (4 stars)


  • The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett

Family Reading Lists 

M. (girl, 10 years, 3 months)

  • The Five Brothers: The Story of the Mahabharata by Elizabeth Seeger 
  • Tales of the Chinese Grandmother by Frances Carpenter 
  • The House with a Clock in its Walls by John Bellairs
  • The Figure in the Shadows by John Bellairs
  • The Letter, the Witch, and the Ring by John Bellairs

C. (girl, 8 years, 5 months)

  • Catherine the Great by Katharine Scherman
  • The Secret Diary of Jeb & Abigail by Jean Fritz

E. (girl, 6 years, 4 months)

  • Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse by Ursula Moray Williams
  • Jason and the Bees by Brom Hoban

R. (boy, 3 years, 11 months)
A. (girl, 3 years, 11 months) 

  • Eloise Wilkin Treasury (A.)
  • More More More said the Baby by Vera Williams (A.)
  • Hope is a Hop by Katrina Moore (A.)
  • Sleepy Time Tales (R. and A.)
  • Animal Tales (R. and A.)
  • Mr. Putter and Tabby series by Cynthia Rylant (R. and A.)
  • Owl Moon by Jane Yolen (R. and A.)
  • My Big Book of Outdoors by Tim Hopgood (A.) 
  • Sheep in a Jeep series by Nancy Shaw (R.)
  • Sweet Dreams: 5-Minute Bedtime Stories (R. and A.)
  • Nini Lost and Found by Anita Lobel(A.)
  • Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina (R.)

My husband 

  • The Ramayana by Elizabeth Seeger (with M.)
  • Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley 
  • Fancy Free by Betty Cavanna
  • At the Hot Gates: An Account of the Battle of Thermopylae by Donald Sampson (read aloud)