Sunday, October 2, 2022

Homeschool Update: September 2022

It's a new school year! We started back up again with our full schedule of subjects the day after Labor Day. I have two official students this year. M (almost 9) is in 3rd grade according to the state and 4th for our purposes and C. (7) is technically in 1st grade, but 2nd for our purposes. E. (almost 5)  misses the kindergarten cut-off by just a few weeks, so we are doing kindergarten this year even though she's not officially of school age until next school year.

Group Activities

We are doing as many things as a family as possible. Each morning, we begin with a chapter from an audiobook. In September, we listened to The Gammage Cup and most of The Lion of St. Mark by G.A. Henty. After that, we go over some memory work: poems, geography, books of the Bible, our address and phone number, the planets, etc. (E.'s poem is "The Goat and the Three Red Shirts." C. is learning "Barbara Frietchie" and M. is learning "The Cremation of Sam McGee.") 

Then we read something about the faith. Right now, we're working our way through the Catholic Children's Treasure Box series. The girls also pray a Rosary together each morning using the "pray-along" videos from The Little Rose Shop

On Mondays and Wednesdays, I read aloud a chapter from A Child's History of Art by V.M. Hillyer and we look at the art pieces featured in the chapter. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, my husband does music appreciation. This month he read aloud Adventures of Richard Wagner by Opal Wheeler, followed by the Metropolitan Opera Guild's four picture books of the Ring of the Nibelung. On Fridays, we read from a book in the Poetry for Young People series. This month, we read the Robert Frost volume edited by Gary Schmidt. 

On Monday and Friday afternoons, my husband leads the girls in singing. They are singing "Sing, Sing Together" and "Chairs to Mend." The girls each practice piano on their own, and the older two girls do recorder as well. 


For kindergarten history, E. is learning about the history of her family, and using that to begin to understand what history is. We read the intrductory sections in What's Your Name?: A Book of First Names and What They Mean by Beth Goodman and Nancy Krulik and looked up the meanings of first and last names in our family. Then we read about timelines in My Backyard History Book and E. made a timeline of her life, which she is slowly working on illustrating. We also started looking up the front page of newspapers from the birth dates of different people in our family. She enjoyed seeing the Polaroid camera ad in the New York Times from the day I was born. We are also working on learning the meanings of words like uncle, aunt, nephew, cousin, brother-in-law, etc. 

C. is in year two of the grammar stage, which covers from 600 to 1600 AD. We are using A Picturesque Tale of Progress as our spine, and so far we have read about the Byzantine Empire, Mohammad, and the Franks. She ended the month partway through reading Our Little Frankish Cousin of Long Ago. 

M. is in year four of the grammar stage, which is basically the 20th century. (She covered the Civil War over the summer). Her main spine is The Century by Peter Jennings, but with many other books to supplement. Highlights so far have included the Chicago Fire, the sinking of the Titanic, the Wright brothers, the San Francisco Earthquake,  and World War I, for which her spine is The Story of World War I.  She is still working on narrations that she started over the summer. (My husband does history with her.)


This year, M. is doing the Middle School Chemistry curriculum from the American Chemical Society. So far, we have completed three demonstrations of how molecules move in water at different temperatures, and she has drawn a molecular model and completed a short lab report for each one. So far, this feels like just the right pace for her. We are also slowly reading The Romance of Chemistry together and discussing one small section at a time. (Reading a chapter at a time proved to be too burdensome.)

C. and E. are doing volume 1 of BSFU together using some materials created by a mom and shared online. Each lesson has an accompanying worksheet, which is challenging for E. but so far she is keeping up. So far, we have covered sorting objects into categories, how to distinguish between solids, liquids, and gases, and how to change from one state of matter to another. We also discussed the difference between living and non-living things and watched a SciShow kids video about them. 


Math is just continuing on from where they left off in summer. M. is doing Challenging Word Problems 3, along with the review sections in Singapore Primary Mathematics 4B. C. is still working on Singapore Primary Mathematics  2B. E. is counting by ones, twos, and fives on the soroban and using the rods to do simple addition. 

On Wednesdays, M. and C. do a chapter from Life of Fred. C. is in Dogs and M. is in Mineshaft. 

Language Arts 

Two days a week, M. diagrams a sentence from Rex Barks. Each morning, C. is given a sentence and she identifies all the parts of speech. Both girls have been doing quite a bit of creative writing in emails back and forth to each other, emails to me, and in stories they type up in Google Documents. Their formal writing is mainly emails to their aunt, thank you notes, and narrations about science and history.

M. is reading a lot of historical fiction to accompany her history studies. C. has been reading some longer books: Tumtum and Nutmeg and Mossflower. E. is on a Carolyn Haywood kick, and she also read Meet Thomas Jefferson and Little House in the Big Woods. In the evenings I read aloud Attaboy Sam by Lois Lowry to E. and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow to C. 

Physical Education

The main source of exercise has been walks to the playground and bike rides in the neighborhood. M. and C. are working on learning to pump on swings. E. learned to ride her bike with pedals. 


M. continues to learn about teeth as her time wearing braces is most likely coming to an end soon. 

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