Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Homeschool Update: Week of 9/14/20

We mostly stuck to the same schedule for week two of the school year with just a couple of exceptions. One was that we "skipped" school on Monday morning to go with some friends on a nature hike through the woods. C., especially, really took to the whole thing, climbing fearlessly over fallen tree trunks and otherwise diving headlong into the natural world. The other change was that M. is now doing English while C. does math and math on her own with me at a later time when all the other kids are busy or asleep. She was just sitting and staring off into space otherwise, so we made the change on Friday.

Morning Time

  • Poem from Exploring Nature with Children by Lynn Seddon (used for the nature hike): "Autumn" by Emily Dickinson 
  • 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): "Plum" by Tony Mitton, "I Had a Little Nut Tree," "Magpies" by Judith Wright, and "Seven for a Secret" by Anonymous. 
  • Questions from The Big Book of Tell Me Why by Arkady Leokum, illustrated by Howard Bender: "When were books first made?"; "Who invented cartoons?"; "How did our system of counting begin?"; "What makes money valuable?"; "How did coins get their names?"; "How did we get our system of measurement?"; "When were the first police organized?", "What is the F.B.I?"; "How did fingerprinting start?"
  • "Lift High the Cross" sung from The Vatican II Hymnal
  • "Polly Wolly Doodle" sung from Wee Sing Fun 'n' Folk (accompanied by Daddy on guitar on Friday)
  • Painting from Exploring Nature with Children by Lynn Seddon: Squirrels in a Tree by Archibald Thorburn
  • Painting from Come Look with Me: Enjoying Art with Children by Gladys S. Blizzard (Charlesbridge, 1996): The Oddie Children by William Beechey
  • Listening to Symphony No. 5 First Movement by Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Lesson 2 from The New St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism 
  • Liturgical year: Exaltation of the Cross (September 14), Our Lady of Sorrows (September 15), Sts. Cornelius and Cyprian (September 16), St. Robert Bellarmine (September 17), St. Joseph of Cupertino (September 18)
  • Questions from the 500 Questions Game Book (Parragon Books, 2017) for fun on Friday
  • Memory work: planets, days of the week, months of the year, birth dates, address, phone number, 50 states, countries of Europe, four directions, 13 colonies, four marks of the church, poems (M. is working on "If" for Rose Fyleman , and C is working on "The Fairies" by William Allingham. They have both almost mastered them.)
After morning time, we went outside to record the wind, sky color, temperature, humidity, precipitation, animal activity, etc. The girls were supposed to do this independently but they were misbehaving so much I have to go out with them. We skipped the exercise video each day, but we had hours of outdoor playtime on Sunday and Monday, including M.'s first-ever game of kickball. 


I read our schedule wrong last week and did two weeks of history for M., so this second week was pretty relaxed for her. She illustrated her narration about the Empress Theodora and made her own list of laws modeled after the Code of Justinian, after which she watched "Why We Have Rules." She also watched Khan Academy's video about Hagia Sophia and another YouTube video about the Byzantine Empire. (Note: this video looked great at first glance, but when I previewed it, I heard talk of Justinian's sex life and had to pass.)

C.  watched two YouTube videos explaining timelines ("Timelines for Kids" and "Timelines Introduction"), started listing events for a timeline of her life and, on Friday, began to copy them in chronological order onto a big piece of paper. 

Table Time 

This week's activities at the dining room table were sticker collages, drawing with chalk, stringing beads (which they all refused to do), and a memory game involving a spinner that caused many tears when M. won the first round.


M. and C. did the usual Singapore and Khan Academy math work. M. is still doing weights and measures in Singapore 3B and C. is working on addition and subtraction in 1B. 


E. was not as interested in doing school this week. She did a few minutes of Khan Academy Kids each day and played with magnet letters. We read a couple of picture books: First the Egg by Laura Vaccaro Seeger and On Market Street by Anita Lobel.  She also asked to do some questions from My First Brain Quest and she agreed to do a coloring page a couple of times. She spent a good amount of time playing with our large collection of finger puppets as well. 


This was our first week of Building Foundations for Scientific Understanding and we did lessons A-1: Organizing Things into Categories and  A-2: Solids, Liquids, Gases. We mainly just discussed these topics, but one day, I gave each of the two girls a tray of random objects and asked them to organize them into categories. Another day, my husband had them write down various categories that our family members could be placed into and then had them play a "Guess Who?" style game where one girl thought of a family member and the other one asked category-based questions to narrow down who it might be.

Reading and Writing

M. is still working her way through the worksheets in Comprehensive Curriculum of Basic Skills: Grade 3. This week, she focused on spelling homophones. She said her favorite exercises were the ones requiring her to find mistakes in existing sentences and correct them. She also started writing a story entitled "Mr. Albatross: A Detective Story." 

Here it is: 
One day Mr. Albatross was going for a walk. He passed a tree under which was a man's body. Mr. Albatross went over to the tree and shook the man,  but he didn't move. He didn't talk either. He just lay there silently. Then Mr. Albatross said, "Methinks you are dead." The man said nothing, but a voice said, "I am lord of these trees." Mr. Albatross looked beyond and a saw a row of trees stretching all the way to the west. "And I came to you in the form of a man."

C. and I read a chapter of The Boxcar Children together each day. She also worked on some writing about her experience on the nature hike. For her, I'm primarily working on slowing down enough to comprehend what she's reading (a problem I had as a kid) and developing a love of writing.

We also finished our lunchtime read-aloud of Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George. 


M. and C. both practiced piano and recorder for 15 minutes every day this week.

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