Kicking it up a notch & bringing things to a close

This week has been something of a contradiction in terms. Due to the DLM’s current handicap, days are more tiring than usual since I have to carry him more than normal and he’s heavier than usual thanks to his cast. Despite my highest hopes of doing more hands-on, creative activities as we bring this official school year to a close, we are doing well to get the basics done. The other side of this coin is that the difficulty level of some of the things Lulu is doing has taken a rather dramatic jump the past few weeks, so I’m feeling both challenged and encouraged by the quality of the learning that’s happening in our homeschool.

Why must everything be such a dichotomy? 😉

1.  After making peace with the fact that we probably won’t finish RS C before we take our short summer break (and learning that it really isn’t possible, anyway), things have evened out in the math department.  This week we played a bunch of math games.  Lulu also built her own multiplication table and completed a couple of review pages (assessments) with minimal missed problems or required help.  She has now completed through lesson 106 in RS C.  I am loving the RS approach to multiplication!

2.  Both girls have recitals–piano and dance–coming up in a couple of weeks.  We spend a chunk of time every morning at the piano together.

3.  Whether developmental or imposed upon him due to his current limited mobility, the DLM’s attention span seems to have made a leap since he has been more confined.  He loves to build with Wedgits and blocks.  He also makes a huge mess.  🙂

4.  Louise is still rolling along in RS B, and we’ve still yet to hit upon anything she doesn’t really already know.  I’m enjoying the leisurely pace, though.  She has completed through approximately lesson 25 (my lesson plan book isn’t in front of me, so I’m going on my very faulty memory here).  This week we played games several times (she enjoys Sum Rummy even though the real point of it is to give Lulu multiplication practice).  She also learned about quadrilaterals, rectangles, and squares and the difference between tens and hundreds, and she demonstrated entirely on her own that she knows many of the addition doubles sums.

5.  We attempted science again–shadows.  Unfortunately, the sun didn’t cooperate.  Steady Eddie is making this a Science Saturday today, and I’m (once again) hoping the sun cooperates.

6.  Lulu’s about ten lessons shy of finishing FLL 2, but she’s still a bit fuzzy on the definitions of many of the parts of speech.  While I’m not sure that I really expect her to be able to pick all of ’em out of a sentence yet, I do want her to be able to spout off the definitions.  I hit upon the idea of having her make a parts of speech book this week.  This picture is of her hunting for an interjection (there was one!) in the comics one day.  I hope to share more about her parts of speech book later.  Besides this, both girls did a picture study from FLL one day this week.

7.  We headed out to my parents’ home on Friday for a bit o’ nature study.  The topic was ferns, and while it didn’t go exactly as I planned, we did get some pretty nature prints for our nature journals.  (And they got to visit with Papaw and pet A.B. and Bug, the horses.)  More on our nature study later.

8. This has absolutely nothing to do with the girls’ lessons this week, but the highlight of my week has been the book I’m reading:  City of Tranquil Light by Bo Caldwell.  It is so, so good.  I was almost sobbing yesterday afternoon as I read one particular part of it.  This is almost always the mark of a good book to me.  Stay tuned for more about this next week.

Only tangentially related to this is the fact that my girls are going to be participating in a Chinese language and culture class beginning next week and going through the rest of the month.  (This is tangentially related to #8 because City of Tranquil Light is set in China, which I failed to say.)  It’s at our local university and will entail them being in a class with a Chinese professor two hours each week.  The challenge for me will be to get the DLM down for a nap early enough so that he can be up and ready to head out in time for the girls to get to their class on time.

The area in which I saw the biggest jump in difficulty this week was in writing.  Lulu completed week 29 in WWE 2 this week, and whew!  It was tough!  The excerpt was from The History of Mankind, and this informational material was much different than the stories the narrations have been taken from.  This, plus the length of the excerpt, made for some challenging narration and dictation exercises. She has also transitioned away from doing only two dictations to three each week.  I was really proud of Lulu’s narration on Thursday, though.  It has been a huge learning curve for me–to learn when to give help, when to encourage, when to be silent, etc.

Lulu completed step 13 in AAS 2 this week.  I’ve been toying with the idea of catching Louise up to Lulu in AAS this summer, which I think is doable only because Louise’s ability and interest have really taken off since Christmas.  This will give me one more thing next year that they can do together.  I’m thinking of my own sanity here.  🙂

The other thing we did well this week was memory work practice.  We’re all still memorizing 1 Corinthian 15:3-8 (or we might go on through verse 11).  Our hymn is still “Eternal Father, Strong to Save.”  I think we worked on these four days out of five!  Our poetry memorization has fallen by the wayside, but I’m okay with that for right now.

We didn’t do much history outside of reading related history books.  I also pulled out a model castle/book kit that Carrie sent me a long while ago for the girls to play with.  History is the area for which I always envision lots of add-on projects that we almost never get to.  I waffle so much in my philosophical resolve:  I want to be a die-hard classical/CM homeschooler, and I think I really am.  However, my mind wanders to all the neat projects that we could do and I get sidetracked.  What I’ve just about decided that for us, in our homeschool, is this:  that I really, really want to do a good job on the skills/basics–reading and writing and arithmetic, and then let the girs’ interests take them where they want to go.  Lulu is extremely interested in sewing, so I hope this summer we can start down that pathway.  I think that maybe this is what Charlotte Mason means by handicrafts–something with a “useful end-product” (to quote Simply Charlotte Mason).

As always, we did a whole bunch of reading.

I am really, really looking forward to the end of so many things right now:  the semester at the university, which means my part-time job will be ending for the summer (this is my last weekend to work!  hooray!); dance class, so we’ll have one more night each week FREE; the spring piano term, which means we’ll have a couple of weeks off from lessons; and formal school, at least for a six weeks (or so) break.  My plan now is to take off the month of June and then do a few days a week of formal lessons in July.  We’ll see how it all pans out.

Here are some horsey pictures, just for fun and because they’re pretty.

I hope you all have a nice and relaxing weekend!


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8 thoughts on “Kicking it up a notch & bringing things to a close”

  1. I’m going to steal your idea about making a Parts of Speech book. We’re finishing up FLL2 as well so it will be great reinforcement! Thanks for the inspiration.

    I cried in parts of City of Tranquil Lights too. I loved this book more than any I’ve read in awhile. I have her other book in a stack ready to read. It’s going to be my reward for when we finish up our school year. I’m going to lock the girls outside to play while I lie on the couch and read it 🙂 (Well, a girl can dream anyway!)

  2. You’re welcome, Angie. I hope to post about our parts of speech book after we’re through, though your ideas will probably be better than mine anyway. 🙂

    I absolutely LOVE City of Tranquil Light. It’s one of those books that I want to give to everyone to read. I want to read Caldwell’s other book now!

  3. “that I really, really want to do a good job on the skills/basics–reading and writing and arithmetic, and then let the girs’ interests take them where they want to go. ”

    Love that…I think that’s close to where we are too.

    The parts of speech book is a great idea. But as someone who has done FLL 3 and another 3rd grade grammar program…it all gets reviewed again. 🙂

  4. Alice,
    Thanks for the reminder. 🙂 It has been good for Lulu to go over things again, especially in preparation for picking the parts of speech out of sentences, but you’re right: we’ll see it again (and again and again).

  5. Totally forgot about that castle set. I have so many things set aside for “a year or so from now” when everyone is old enough to really appreciate it. It’s nice to be able to pull things out like that and make use of them. (Hopefully it didn’t break apart instantly!)

    This, as you know, is our first official year of real schooling and I am already wondering about how to give the baby a nap in time to be where we need to be and do what we need to do sometimes. I quiver.

    1. Carrie,
      It’s not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure. 😉 But I have confidence in you–you’ll figure it out, and then the kiddos will get a bit older and it’ll be all the figure out all over again. 🙂

  6. I love the horsey pictures. 🙂 Last summer we took the whole month of June off and then added history in July and new math lessons starting in August, and the rest of it at the beginning of September. I’m hoping we’ll be ready to at least add back in the new spelling lessons by July this summer. I can totally envision the challenge of motivating my students though when they would rather spend all day outside. Maybe I’ll have to think up some water-related spelling games. 😉

  7. Such a full week – what my girls wouldn’t give to have horses available to them! 🙂

    We are where you are in WWE, but way behind in FLL – we’ll be catching that up over the summer. Hard to believe that next fall N2 will be starting both of those series! (And, at least with the narration and listening parts of both WWE/FLL, I’m thinking about adding B in with N2 and keep them together as best I can. Not sure how that will work, but we’ll see.) : )

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