Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Homeschool Update: Week of 11/16/20

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):  "Sighted" by John Mole, "Space Poem" by James Carter, "That Stormy Night" by Berlie Doherty, "Thunder and Lightning" by James Kirkup, "Silver" by Walter de la Mare
  • Questions from The Big Book of Tell Me Why by Arkady Leokum, illustrated by Howard Bender: "Why does a whale spout?"; "What's the difference between frogs and toads?"; "How do insects breathe?"; "What is the purpose of a firefly's light?"; "How do bees make honey?";  "How does a caterpillar become a butterfly?"; "How do silkworms make silk?";  "Why aren't spiders caught in their own webs?"; "How do ants eat?";  "How do earthworms eat?" 
  • Lesson 11 from The New St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism:  "The Catholic Church"
  • Painting from Come Look with Me: Enjoying Art with Children by Gladys S. Blizzard (Charlesbridge, 1996): Maya with a Doll by Pablo Picasso
  • Kyrie XVI from Missa XVI
  • "Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night," sung using the picture book by Peter Spier and the recording by Burl Ives
  • "Mars, Bringer of War" from The Planets by Gustav Holst 
  • Math flashcards (numbers 1-10 for E., addition and subtraction for C., multiplication and division for M.) 


M.'s topic for this week was the Byzantine Empire. She also finished watching Secrets of the Castle with Ruth, Peter, and Tom and Our Little Frankish Cousin of Long Ago by Eveline Stein. C. read Mary Anning: Fossil Hunter by Sally M. Walker aloud to me, and we also made it to the end of The Giant Golden Book of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Reptiles by Jane Werner Watson, illustrated by Rudolph F. Zallinger. C. also watched An Illustrated History of Dinosaurs from PBS Eons. 

Table Time

There weren't many formal activities during the week. I did allow the girls to paint over the weekend, and then they made Thanksgiving sticker scenes early in the week. Thursday was my birthday, so we did a lighter school day, and on Friday, we had another masked outdoor playdate with our next-door neighbors' grandkids. 


M. spent most of the week correcting mistakes in problems she had previously done in Singapore 3B. C. continued to work on adding tens and ones and then corrected some mistakes at the end of the week. Both girls did Khan Academy math every day. C. did Life of Fred: Butterflies Chapter 7 and M. did Life of Fred:  Honey Chapter 2. 


Our topic in BFSU for this week and next is drawing and reading maps. On Monday, we read a book called Mapping Penny's World by Loreen Leedy on Open Library and I guided M. and C. through drawing a map of our kitchen and dining room. On Tuesday, they each chose a room to map themselves. M. mapped the living room and C. chose the kids' bedroom.  On Thursday, we read Types of Maps by Kristen Rajczak on Hoopla. On Friday, my husband had M. and C. each draw a blueprint for a building to be made out of blocks next week. 

Reading and Writing 

We almost finished Knight's Castle, leaving just the final chapter to be read on Monday. My husband continued reading The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle. M. continued (and finished) reading Ballet Shoes Noel Streatfeild and C. and I started reading Sarah, Plain and Tall together. I started reading My Bookhouse: In the Nursery aloud to E. and babies R. and A. listened in. 


M. and C. practiced recorder and piano each day. On the weekend, we had a family band while the little ones napped, with my husband on guitar, M. and myself on ukulele, and C. doing vocals. We sang "Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night" and "Over the River and Through the Wood." 

Friday, November 20, 2020

Homeschool Update: Week of 11/9/20

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): "Weather or Not" by Roger McGough, "The Fog" by F.R. McCreary, "Fog in November" by Leonard Clark, "Winter Song" a Southern Paiute song translated by John Wesley Powell, "Pine Tree Tops by Gary Snyder, "The Storm Crown" a Southern Paiute song translated by John Wesley Powell
  • Questions from The Big Book of Tell Me Why by Arkady Leokum, illustrated by Howard Bender: "Why does a male bird have brighter colors than the female?";  "Why do birds sing?";  "What keeps a duck afloat?";  "How do fish breathe?";  "How do flying fish fly?";  "How do salmon go upstream to spawn?"; "Which snakes are poisonous?"; "Do rattle snakes rattle before they strike?"; "What is the largest snake in the world?" 
  • "I Had a Little Rooster" from Wee Sing Fun 'n' Folk by Pamela Conn Beall and Susan Hagen Nipp
  • Painting from Come Look with Me: Enjoying Art with Children by Gladys S. Blizzard (Charlesbridge, 1996):  Le Gourmet by Pablo Picasso
  • "Panis Angelicus" sung from the Vatican II Hymnal
  • Weather observations
  • From The Story of Peer Gynt retold by E.V. Sandys, illustrated by Fritz Eichenberg (Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1941) : Chapter 5, "'Go Around the Other Way'"; Chapter 6, "The Auction"; Chapter 7, "Troll to Thyself Be Enough"; Chapter 8, "Peer Gynt Finds His Kingdom"  
  • Math flashcards
  • Lesson 10  from The New St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism:  "The Virtues and Gifts of the Holy Spirit" 


M. continues to do history with Daddy. This week, she started watching episodes of Secrets of the Castle with Ruth, Peter, and Tom. She also read Medieval Feast by Aliki, read both versions (picture book and easy reader) of Castle by David Macaulay and watched the associated PBS video, read Sabuda and Reinhart Present Castle: Medieval Days and Knights by Kyle Olmon and Tracy Sabin and finished reading Picturesque Tale of Progress: New Nations I. She also experimented with building a castle of her own using Build a Castle: 64 Slot-Together Cards for Creative Fun by Paul Farrell, which was sent to me for review and ended up being a perfect supplementary event.  

C. started to lose interest in the dinosaurs, but we powered through a good portion of The Giant Golden Book of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Reptiles by Jane Werner Watson, illustrated by Rudolph F. Zallinger, including the section about Tyrannosaures rex. That leaves only the sections about discovering fossils to be read next week. We also looked at some 3-D representations of dinosaurs on Google using a feature from Jurassic World 

Table Time

On Monday, we had a 2-hour outdoor playdate with some friends we hadn't seen at all since the start of the pandemic. On Tuesday, the girls made necklaces using beads and string one of my former teachers sent me as she was cleaning out craft supplies. The rest of week during this time, they mostly played with dolls or colored.


C. continued working with adding tens and ones in Singapore 1B. She started estimating and rounding in third grade on Khan Academy. She also did Life of Fred: Butterflies Chapter 6.  

M.  did Life of Fred: Honey Chapter 1 and worked on a review section in Singapore 3B. 


Using BFSU and EESE as guides we discussed the rotation of the earth and how this creates night and day. We watched Earth's Rotation and Revolution from Crash Course Kids and The Moving Stars of the Northern Hemisphere. M. and C. took turns spinning in a rotating chair while looking at a fixed point on the ceiling to help them understand why the north star never seems to move. We also read Time Zones by Ryan Nagelhout to explain how the sun's movement helps people decide what time it is. 

Reading and Writing

C. finished reading The Little Leftover Witch. We continued our lunchtime read-aloud of Knight's Castle and my husband continued reading The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle after dinner. M. is reading Ballet Shoes. E. discovered Dr. Seuss and also enjoyed Rain Makes Applesauce by Julian Scheer. C. practiced cursive strokes. 


M. and C. practiced recorder and piano each day. 

Book Review: Invincible Louisa by Cornelia Meigs (1933)

Invincible Louisa is a juvenile biography of Louisa May Alcott, which won the Newbery Medal in 1934. This book covers events in Louisa's life that inspired characters and events in Little Women as well as other influential experiences that shaped the author. Through this book, young readers gain an understanding of the impractical ideals of Bronson Alcott (Louisa's father), the steadfast love of Abba Alcott (her mother), her relationship with her sisters, her work as a Civil War nurse and how she came to make a career of writing. 

When I read Little Women a couple of years ago, I didn't quite love it as much as many other readers do, but I did become fascinated by the Alcott family and the circle of people they knew in Concord, Massachusetts. Early last year, I read We Alcotts by Aileen Fisher and Olive Rabe, which was my first introduction to the life of Abba Alcott and her husband, Bronson, and ever since I've wanted to read more about Concord. I challenged myself to read five Concord-oriented books in 2020, but Invincible Louisa is the only one I've picked up so far. Thankfully, it was thoroughly engaging and has inspired me to try to finish this challenge before January.

The writing in this book is of very high quality but it still reads fairly quickly. It was interesting to see the real-life events and people that were included in Little Women as well as the things that went differently for Louisa than for Jo, her Little Women counterpart. It was also inspiring to see how the family handled financial difficulty and uncertainty, and also how Louisa's work during the Civil War changed her and matured her. Though I had read about many of these things from Abba's perspective, seeing them through Louisa's eyes added dimensions to my understanding of this family.

My girls (and boy) are still a few years away from being able to appreciate Little Women, but when they do finally read it, I'm excited to be able to share this book with them as well. It's definitely a worthwhile companion to the story, as well as a well-written biography on its own. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Reading Through History: Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham (1955)

Nathaniel Bowditch planned to attend Harvard, but a series of events in his young life sent him on a different path instead. First he was indentured to a chandler, then he worked as a surveyor, and after that he became a supercargo on a merchant ship. All the while, he taught himself the subjects that interested him using books, later making a name for himself as a navigator when he uncovered errors in various navigational books sailors of his day relied upon heavily. Carry On, Mr. Bowditch is a fictionalized account of Bowditch's story that won the Newbery Medal in 1956.

This book is a wonderful celebration of learning which provides an excellent role model for self-motivated education. The way Bowditch pursues his education against all odds, even when his dream of attending Harvard becomes impossible is admirable and inspiring. Loving learning for its own sake is something I want to instill in my children, and this book provides the perfect vehicle for explaining what that looks like.

I also appreciate the way the book addresses how very knowledgeable and well-educated people ought to act around those with lesser knowledge or education. This exchange between Nathaniel and Elizabeth on pages 82-83 of the book sums it up well:

"I know. I'm just like a chair you stumble over in the dark." Elizabeth said. "It isn't the chair's fault, but you kick it anyhow."

Nat blinked. "What are you talking about?"

"Your brain. It's too fast. So you stumble on other people's dumbness. And - you want to kick something."

Nat felt his face get hot. "But I shouldn't."

Elizabeth agreed. "No you shouldn't, because even if people are dumb, they aren't chairs, are they? They do have feelings."

I have at least one child who will benefit greatly from understanding this "chair in the dark" analogy as she gets older.

The writing style also makes this book very readable, despite all the technical sailing and navigational jargon. I never felt like I couldn't grasp what was happening and I found it very easy to picture things that happened at sea despite never having traveled on the ocean myself. I had been putting off crossing this book off my list of unread Newbery winners because I didn't expect to like it, but now I'm sorry I waited so long. This was a joy to read.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Ulysses and Me: Then and Now

When I was a sophomore in college, I registered for an Irish Literature course.  I had a few different reasons for wanting to take the class, but one of the biggest was that Ulysses by James Joyce was on the syllabus. I didn't know very much about Joyce's work, but my dad had often quoted lines from Ulysses to me, and I was fascinated by Bloomsday, the yearly celebration of Ulysses held on June 16, the date on which the book is set. Though I had struggled with my classes up to that point, failing to comprehend the reading and finding classroom discussions completely overwhelming, when it came to Ulysses,  I was determined to put in the effort to be able to appreciate the book because I had this personal interest in it.  

Every evening during the week I was working on my paper about Ulysses, I sat in a dull white study carrel in the basement of the college library, poring over the book and piecing together an argument on the theme of  Leopold Bloom and "seeing ourselves as others see us." I felt really invested in the assignment, and it seemed to me that I was doing a good job. I didn't expect an A - I received only a handful of those my entire college career - but when I turned it in, I thought it was my best college-level work to date. 

Unfortunately, when the paper was returned to me in class, it became clear this was not the case. There were very few comments overall, but a note on the front page summed up what my professor had thought: "This is largely based upon a misreading." Maybe if I hadn't spent all of my free time on this book for a week, I could have let that comment roll off of me, but doing that amount of work and finding that it made no difference at all to the way my paper was received was so disheartening that I took it very personally. The papers I had written for other classes, using half the effort and without reading the book, had been better-received than this one that I cared about and therefore slaved over.  The result was that, for the remaining 5 semesters of my college career, I never read another assigned book. I wrote papers without doing the reading and all of them received better feedback than my analysis of Ulysses. 

At the time, my reaction was to wonder, "How would anyone know if they misread Ulysses or not?" But knowing how well-respected my professor is in the field of Irish literature, over time I had to accept that if anyone would know, it would be him. So from that I concluded that the problem was me. Classics were too  hard for me, I probably wouldn't read them correctly if I tried, and therefore there was no reason to read them at all. This conclusion, combined with some other disappointing feedback from members of the English department's creative writing faculty, probably played some part in my pursuing a career as a children's librarian. It ended up being a wonderful line of work for me, but my attraction to it was definitely connected to the fact that it would make it very easy to justify reading only children's and YA books.  

During my years working in the library I occasionally read a mystery novel or a Fannie Flagg book or something else that wasn't that demanding, but I almost never picked up a serious adult novel, and I claimed this was because there just wasn't time to keep up professionally and read grown-up books for fun. Really, though, it was partly because I assumed adult books were still beyond me. I read hundreds - and sometimes over a thousand - children's books per year  - but I wouldn't touch a classic with a ten-foot pole. 

I left the library world in 2013 when I became a mom, and for a few years, I kept on with reading books for kids, thinking I would stay active in the field through blogging about children's literature. But after I had my third child, I started realizing that being with kids all day and only reading kids' books didn't leave much room for variety in my life. Slowly, but surely, the tide of my reading life began to turn. 

First, I joined a Catholic moms book club. We primarily read spiritual works, but slowly started sneaking in some classics as well. Given that this wasn't an academic environment and I wouldn't have to write a paper, I started reading the books. I never had anything particularly astute to say about them (and I still don't), but the difference was that now no one cared. I was free to find whatever meaning I could in the books, and to not worry about whether I missed something.  

Next, I started listening to What Should I Read Next, and doing more classics-oriented read-alongs on Instagram, including "2020 Classics," the goal of which was to read 20 classics between mid-2019 and the end of 2020.  With the pressure off and the expectations low, I was suddenly reading adult books with the same hunger I had previously devoured books for kids. I didn't love everything (Pride and Prejudice was not for me), but I found myself willingly reading things that I had avoided like the plague after my experience with Ulysses. I managed to read Middlemarch, Kristin Lavransdatter, Jane Eyre, Adam Bede, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and other books I had previously dismissed. 

Then, I joined a read-along on Instagram for Crime and Punishment. As we were all introducing ourselves, someone in the group mentioned Ulysses. I told a brief version of my story with this book, and the next thing I knew, there was a read-along being organized for Ulysses and I was part of the group.

I jokingly told people that I wanted to revisit Ulysses to purge the demons I still associate with my English degree, and that was partly true. But more than that, I was curious. Would I misread the book again? Or would I find it easier and more comprehensible after reading all these other classics? The read-along group fell apart almost instantly, but armed with paperback and library audiobook, I decided I would read and/or listen to every word of the book, even if it took months.

I began reading on Bloomsday this year, June 16. I started out listening to the audiobook at normal speed and following along in the book. I did 15-20 minutes per day, and kept to the read-along schedule for the first month or two. Then I took several long breaks from reading it, interspersed with days where I would read just a page or two or speed up the audiobook to 2x and get through a bit of it. In the first quarter of the book, I highlighted quotes and reveled in references to Irish music and the Catholic faith that were familiar to me. I let the language wash over me like poetry and it did start to make a kind of sense. 

As the book went on, though, it became clear that it was not for the faint of heart. Ulysses is a book that changes genre, tense, point of view, and format without warning. There are allusions upon allusions to Irish culture, politics, history, literature, and art, along with sexual content, religious imagery, quotations from poetry, and many other things I know I didn't even recognize. I had obviously been wrong to ever think I hadn't misread this book, as I most obviously had, but now I started entertaining a new question: Was it fair to think an undergraduate was going to do anything other than misread it?  

The last quarter of the book became such a slog that I cranked the audiobook up to 3x speed and just zipped through it as best I could. There was a play and a chapter written as a weird kind of Q and A. The final chapter contained no punctuation at all and had frank sexual talk that I would typically avoid. Reaching the end brought more relief than pride. But it left me with an answer to my question.  

Could a college student ever do anything other than misread Ulysses? Honestly, I don't think so. 

To truly appreciate Ulysses, you either have to have the exact same knowledge of all the topics James Joyce studied and knew well, or you have to spend your life acquiring said knowledge and then applying it appropriately to the text. Perhaps progress could be made over a four-year period, but in a semester-long course for sophomores? No, there is no way, even if I had spent every waking moment of my life in the library with that book, that I could have gotten more out of it. I have no idea what the comments on my classmates' papers were like, but I suspect that if they read the book "correctly," it was either an accident, or they did a lot of research of other people's arguments and commented upon those. (We were always expressly told not to do this, and therefore I thought it was cheating, but looking back there is zero chance that everyone but me completely understood this book. They definitely read up on it. My refusing to do so is an example of what my late father always called "letting school interfere with your education.")

I will probably never stop being disappointed that my career as an English major caused such a terrible setback in my reading life, but 16 years post-graduation, having conquered this book for the final time, it no longer feels that significant. If I had it to do over, I would probably have chosen a state school and saved my money, and I definitely would not have majored in English, but even so, I got here in the end, and that's the most important thing. I think I will keep my copy of Ulysses for now, as a souvenir of sorts, but if it ever gets read again, it won't be by me. 

Monday, November 9, 2020

Homeschool Update: Week of 11/2/20

 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): "The Night Will Never Stay" by Eleanor Farjeon, "Skyscrapers" by Rachel Field, "Fox" by Kathy Henderson, "Autumn Fires" by Robert Louis Stevenson, "Fires are flaming" by Anonymous, "November Night" by Adelaide Crapsey, "Flint" by Christina Rossetti
  • Questions from The Big Book of Tell Me Why by Arkady Leokum, illustrated by Howard Bender: "Can animals understand each other?"; "Do animals laugh or cry?"; "Can animals taste?"; "Can animals see in color?"; "Why do animals hibernate?"; "Why does a cow chew its cud?"; "How long have dogs been domesticated?"; "When were cats domesticated?"; "Why is the lion called 'King of Beasts'?" 
  • "Buffalo Gals" from Wee Sing Fun 'n' Folk by Pamela Conn Beall and Susan Hagen Nipp
  • Painting from Come Look with Me: Enjoying Art with Children by Gladys S. Blizzard (Charlesbridge, 1996): Two Young Girls at the Piano by Pierre-Auguste Renoir 
  • "Panis Angelicus" sung from the Vatican II Hymnal
  • From The Story of Peer Gynt retold by E.V. Sandys, illustrated by Fritz Eichenberg (Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1941) : Chapter 1, "Peer and Asa Have a Quarrel"; Chapter 2, "At the Wedding Feast"; Chapter 3, "The Woman in Green"; Chapter 4, "In the Hall of the Mountain King"  
  • Lesson 9 from The New St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism: "The Holy Spirit and Grace"
  • Weather observations
  • Flashcards: addition and subtraction (C.) and multiplication and division (M.) 


C. and I continued reading The Giant Golden Book of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Reptiles by Jane Werner Watson, illustrated by Rudolph F. Zallinger, and we watched some more supplementary videos:
M. read The Man Who Loved Books written by Jean Fritz and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman (Putnam, 1981)  and watched The Secret of Kells (Madman Entertainment, 2010). C. joined her for the movie just for fun. She also read about the vikings in A Picturesque Tale of Progress, Leif the Lucky by Ingri D'Aulaire
and Edgar Parin D'Aulaire (Doubleday, 1941), A Viking Settler by Giovanni Caselli (P. Bedrick Books, 1986)  and in a section of Barbarians! written by Steven Kroll and illustrated by Robert Byrd (Dutton, 2009). She  wrote and illustrated a narration about viking ships and watched these videos: 

Table Time 

On Monday, we colored calaveras for All Souls Day. On Tuesday, we played Lucy Hammett's Nature Bingo and the girls talked to my sister briefly on the phone. On Wednesday, the girls colored again.  On Thursday, we went to the pediatrician (health class!) during this time, so we weren't home for any formal activities. On Friday, we went to the used bookstore and listened to the audiobook of Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild in the car. M. took her weekly long walk with me on Saturday morning. 


C. moved into the next section of Singapore 1B, which is about adding tens and ones. M. did the entire Graphs section in Singapore 3B. Both girls did Khan Academy.


E. mostly did puzzles during school time all week. At her naptime, she requested Dr. Seuss read-alouds and Goldilocks and  the Three Bears by Jan Brett. 


The week's theme was materials. On Monday, we made a list of items made of wood, plastic, stone, fibers, etc. On Tuesday, we talked about the properties of different materials. On the remaining days, we watched various "How It's Made" videos: 
C. and I finished reading our Happy Hollisters book and she started reading The Little Leftover Witch by Florence Laughlin. We finished reading aloud The Witch Family (with help from the audiobook) and started Knight's Castle by Edward Eager. My husband is still reading aloud The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle and the Saturday night audiobook was Betsy and the Boys by Carolyn Haywood. 


M. and C. both practiced piano and recorder daily.  They also got new tutus from Grandma and did some dancing around the basement. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Homeschool Update: Week of 10/26/20

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): "Where Would You Be?" by Karla Kuskin, "Mice" by Rose Fyleman, "The Bird of Night" by Randall Jarrell, "Midnight Visitors" by Irene Rawnsley,  "The Pumpkin" by Anonymous, "The Bat" by Theodore Roethke
  • Questions from The Big Book of Tell Me Why by Arkady Leokum, illustrated by Howard Bender: "What is the eye made of?", "How does the ear work?", "Why are there different types of hair?",  "What are fingernails made of?", "How do we talk?", "Why are some people left-handed?", "What causes hiccoughs?", "What makes people sneeze?",  "What is hay fever?",  "What causes headaches?", "What is a 'cold?'", "How do we get fever?", "What is cancer?" 
  • "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
  • Painting from Come Look with Me: Enjoying Art with Children by Gladys S. Blizzard (Charlesbridge, 1996): A Tough Story by John G. Brown 
  • "Panis Angelicus" sung from the Vatican II Hymnal
  • "In the Hall of the Mountain King" by Edvard Grieg
  • Lesson 8 from The New St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism
  • Weather observations 



C. finished reading Life Story and we started reading The Giant Golden Book of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Reptiles by Jane Werner Watson, illustrated by Rudolph F. Zallinger. We watched these videos to expand on what we read: 
M. continued to read about monasteries and illuminations. She colored several illuminated letters and watched Illuminations: Treasures of the Middle Ages

Table Time

On the weekend, M. sewed a small pillow with my husband's help while C. and E. came with me to the Dollar Tree and each spent a dollar of her birthday money. On Monday, my husband carved our jack o'lantern.  On Tuesday, we went to the park with friends. On Wednesday, the girls created sticker collages with Halloween stickers and listened to Golden Records Spooky Halloween Hits. On Thursday, we colored. On Friday, I took M. and the babies for the usual walk, and C. and E. stayed home to play.


C did the entire section in her math book about telling time, which covered times on the hour and half-past the hour. M. started working with conversions involving gallons, quarts, and pints.  


E. did some coloring in the Learnalots Let's Learn Preschool activity pad she got for her birthday. She has been pointing out the letters she knows on every piece of print she finds. 


This week, we talked about the particulate nature of matter using Early Elementary Science Education and BFSU. We watched a few videos: 
M. finished Mossflower. In addition to the Happy Hollisters book she is reading with me, C. also read Halloween Treats by Carolyn Haywood. I also read aloud The Witch Family by Eleanor Estes and the girls listened to The Best Halloween Ever by Barbara Robinson. My husband is reading aloud The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle after dinner each night. 


M. and C. both practiced piano and recorder daily. They also danced to Halloween music and listened to Halloween songs from Super Simple Songs on YouTube. 

Monday, November 2, 2020

The Read-at-Home Mom Report for 11/2/20

Finished Books

This week, I finished four books.

Rekindled: How Jesus Called Me Back to the Catholic Church and Set My Heart on Fire by Mallory Smyth highlights a lot of the negative experiences many cradle Catholics had growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, and why it's worth staying in the church anyway. I wasn't crazy about the way the book was structured but the content was spot-on. I got this book from NetGalley and I hope to post a review later this week.

Family Tree by Susan Wiggs is a solid women's fiction novel about a woman putting her life back together after spending a year in a coma. I had kind of a book hangover after this one - I need more women's fiction like this, with flashbacks to high school and a small-town judge as a character, and no explicit sex.

The Penguin Who Knew Too Much and Cockatiels at Seven are books 8 and 9 in the Meg Langslow series by Donna Andrews. Both were fine three-star reads, and the tenth book is Christmas-themed so I'll have that to grab when the Christmas reading mood strikes after Thanksgiving.

Currently Reading 

I'm listening to These High, Green Hills by Jan Karon and reading The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp for book club.

Up Next

I downloaded Us Against You by Frederik Backman from Scribd. I'm also planning to read Pilgrim's Inn by Elizabeth Goudge with the Goudge book club on Instagram and A Lost Lady by Willa Cather for another Instagram read-along. 

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