Thursday, April 14, 2022

Homeschool Update: Week of 3/28/22

Lent Activities

Each day, we added a Jesus tree ornament to our clothesline display, prayed a decade of the Rosary, read a quote from a saint, colored a square on our Lenten path, and watched a meditation from Brother Francis. We sang "I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say."  We also looked at some of the paintings in The Louvre Art Deck and The Vatican Art Deck connected to Jesus's Passion.

Morning Time 

Poems: From Favorite Poems Old and New, edited by Helen Ferris (Doubleday Books, 1957), I read aloud "Written in March" by William Wordsworth, "" by Ralph Waldo Emerson, and "Swallow Tails" by Tom Robinson. 

Music appreciation: My husband continued reading aloud Carmen: The story of Bizet's Opera by Robert Lawrence and played recordings of pieces from the opera.


From The Year of the Horseless Carriage by Genevieve Foster, M. read these sections: 

  • Napoleon: Conqueror 
  • Thomas Jefferson 
  • Toussaint L'Overture 
  • Lewis and Clark 
  • Napoleon: Emperor 
  • Beethoven
She also started reading The Louisiana Purchase by Robert Tallant. 

C. read these sections from Builders of the Old World

  • The Athenians at Marathon
  • The Spartans at Thermopylae

She also started reading The Athenians in the Classical Period by Leonard Weisgard. Independently, C. read The First Marathon: The Legend of Pheidippides and continued reading Our Little Athenian Cousin of Long Ago. She watched this video walking tour of the Acropolis of Athens.


We began working on BFSU Lesson B-11, Plant Science II: Germination, Seedling Growth and Responses. M., C., and E. each planted four beans in a plastic baggie and began drawing them each day to chart their progress. M. and C. also watched these videos: 


E. began to work with rods. She made a double staircase and practice making the various two-rod trains that added up to particular larger rods.  

C. continued working in Singapore 2A, finishing division. 

M. worked on geometry proofs with my husband. 


At lunch, we continued reading aloud The Golden Name Day.

E. and I continued reading books by Beatrix Potter. 

Physical Education 

The girls rode bikes most nice days. 

Instrumental Music 

M., C., and E. practiced piano daily.

M. and C. practiced recorder daily.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Read-at-Home Report: March 2022 Wrap-Up

First-Quarter Reading Reflections

In each of the first three months of this year, I have read more books than I read in any single month of 2021. Interestingly, this has not meant that I can't take days off from reading, or read some books slowly, or listen to podcasts when I feel like it. Somehow giving myself the freedom to read as much as I want to has also ramped up my productivity in other areas.  I've already surpassed my Goodreads goal of 52 books, but I still have plenty of unfinished challenges to add variety to my reading life as the second quarter begins. 

40 Re-reads Before 40

This month was Middle Grade March so I took the opportunity to re-read some of the middle grade titles I have been wanting to revisit. 

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (5 stars) is one of my favorite books that I was assigned to read in library school, and it held up so well. The audiobook is read by Cherry Jones, who also narrates the Little House on  the Prairie series. She is phenomenal, and she definitely did justice to Kate DiCamillo's writing. 

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (5 stars) is the book I correctly predicted would win the Newbery back in 2010, and I'm so happy to say that it was still a five-star read the second time around, even though this time I knew the ending from the start. The audio for this one was good, too. 

I owned a paperback copy of T-Backs, T-shirts, COAT, and Suit by E.L. Konigsburg (4 stars) when I was in middle school, but only remembered the ending. The story makes some interesting and timely points about free speech, but unfortunately it uses immodest and child-inappropriate clothing and some anti-religious commentary to make them. We're keeping the book to keep our collection intact, but I won't be handing it to my girls.

Finally, for #WorldFullofBooks, I decided to re-read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (3 stars). The book is divided into 5 chapters, and the chapter about sin and death was the most memorable for me. What I missed on my first reading, though, is that the author intended this to be a very negative representation of the Catholic faith. It made me want to go to Confession the first time I read it; it was less spiritually stirring the second time. I do still want to re-read Dubliners someday, but otherwise I'm pretty much done with Joyce.


Emil and the Detectives

March was a pretty read-aloud-heavy month. I finished reading Follow My Leader (3 stars), about a young boy who is blinded in an accident and gets a seeing eye dog, to my six-year-old. Then we switched over to Rosemary Sutcliff's versions of the Iliad (Black Ships Before Troy - 4 stars) and The Odyssey (The Wanderings of Odysseus - 5 stars) to complement her history studies. Then we finished the month with Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kastner (4 stars), which she was unsure about at the start but ended up mostly enjoying. 

The Golden Name Day

I read aloud Happy Little Family by Rebecca Caudill (5 stars) to my four-year-old, and she enjoyed having a chapter book involving a girl her age with older siblings. The Cabin Faced West by Jean Fritz (4 stars) and The Golden Name Day by Jennie D. Lindquist (5 stars) were our family read-alouds at lunch. The girls loved both books and were really invested in them. There are sequels to The Golden Name Day that we are planning to read together soon. 

Challenges and Book Clubs 

For the KingBrighton Beach MemoirsBiloxi Blues

My husband and I and a friend from Goodreads have an informal book club where we talk about Ronald Welch's Carey family books. I never read the first book, Knight Crusader, so I went back and did that this month and also read For the King, which is the next book we will discuss. My husband and our friend have consistently said Knight Crusader is their favorite, but it was only a three-star read for me, whereas For the King got 5 stars. 

1984 by George Orwell (3 stars) was the book featured on the Close Reads podcast this month, and I also counted it as my book from a genre I don't usually love for the Goldberry books challenge. This one was rough. It's not the kind of book you can really fall in love with because it's just so dark and depressing, but I do think it's something everyone should read once. 

The March prompt for the Buzzword Reading Challenge was a book with a location in the title. I read two of Neil Simon's Eugene plays: Brighton Beach Memoirs (5 stars) and Biloxi Blues (3 stars). I loved Brighton Beach Memoirs, partly because it reminded me of old friends who acted in it in high school. Biloxi Blues was just okay. 

The prompt for the Read Your Bookshelves challenge was growth. I read In Bloom, a collection of novellas by Fern Michaels, Carolyn Brown, and Lori Foster which I got from Netgalley. It was fine, but I didn't like it as much as the Christmas novellas headlined by Fern Michaels that I read in December. I gave it 3 stars. 

Mood Reading

Looking for LeroyRunning MateI Hated You First

My big reading mood of the month was a romance mood, and I read 5 romance novels. 

Much Ado About a Latte by Kathleen Fuller (4 stars) is the second in a series. It wasn't quite as good as the first one but I enjoyed revisiting the setting. Looking for Leroy by Melody Carlson (4 stars) is a Christian romance about former teen sweethearts who meet up again in their late 40s. I had a little bit of a hard time believing the female protagonist was that old, but I loved all the supporting characters and the plot. Running Mate by Leah Brunner is about a Libertarian candidate for Congress who marries a woman in order to make himself more appealing to voters and ends up falling in love with her. I loved the author's writing style and her sense of humor. I listened to I Hated You First by Rachel John on Hoopla. This one is a friends-to-lovers romance involving a family business. I was really invested in the main relationship and the family relationships. Heart Smart by Emma Lee Jayne is the only romance I read this month that had sex scenes. I listened to it on Scribd and just skipped past the graphic parts. The characters - especially the grumpy hero - felt so real and the academic setting reminded me of The Love Hypothesis

Mom Milestones: The Highs, Lows, Surprises, and Joys of Early Motherhood Red MistI Can't Complain: (All Too) Personal Essays

The other books I picked up on whims were a hilarious poetry collection (Alexa, What Is There To Know About Love? by Brian Bilston - 5 stars), a poignant graphic-novel-style reflection on the early years of motherhood (Mom Milestones by Grace Farris - 5 stars), the next book in the Kay Scarpetta series (Red Mist by Patricia Cornwell- 3 stars) and a collection of essays by Elinor Lipman (I Can't Complain - 5 stars). 

As for the rest of the family's reading...

A., (girl, 2 years old):

  • Ten Little Babies by Gyo Fujikawa
  • Babies by Gyo Fujikawa
  • Baby Animals by Gyo Fujikawa
  • Here We Are: Book of Numbers by Oliver Jeffers  

R. (boy, 2 years old) 

  • Drive the Fire Truck by Dave Mottram 
  • National Geographic Little Kids First Board Book: Birds
  • Here We Are: Book of Animals by Oliver Jeffers

E. (girl, 4 years old)

  • The King, the Mice, and the Cheese by Nancy Gurney
  • Meet Abraham Lincoln by Barbara Cary 
  • Six Silver Spoons by Janette Sebring Lowrey
  • Sarah's Unicorn by Bruce Coville
  • Poppleton by Cynthia Rylant 
  • Houndsley and Catina by James Howe

C. (girl, 6 years old)

  • Our Little Athenian Cousin of Long Ago by Julia Darrow Cowles
  • Marco Polo, Brave Explorer by Cynthia Lord
  • Magical Animal Adoption Agency series by Kallie George
  • Freddy and his Cousin Weedly by Walter Brooks

M. (girl, 8 years old) 

  • The Slave Who Freed Haiti by Katharine Sherman
  • Robert Fulton and his Steamboat by Ralph Nading Hill
  • Amy and Laura series by Marilyn Sachs 
My husband 

  • For the King by Ronald Welch
  • Mystery at St. Martin's by Judith St. George
  • The Glorious Conspiracy by Joanne Williamson
  • Adam and the Golden Cock by Alice Dalgliesh

Up Next For Me 

My priorities for April are to finish The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene, to read A Raisin in the Sun and start Tess of the D'urbervilles with Close Reads, to finish The Divine Comedy, and to read The Seven Last Words by Fulton Sheen for my local book club.

I'm adding this post to the link-up for An Open Book at