Honestly, it wasn’t the most auspicious of beginnings. I would’ve preferred to have spent every day at home, excepting our normal out-of-the-house activities, but that wasn’t to be. This week I spent several hours at the county courthouse for jury duty, which I am very thankful to say I was excused from. Then I had a doctor’s appointment right in the middle of our first Classical Conversations meeting. All things considered, though, it was a very busy and fruitful week of learning.
Steady Eddie was able to stay home with the children on Monday morning while I was doing my civic duty at the courthouse, and he got the school year started off right with a science lesson (from Exploring Creation with Astronomy by Apologia) and a math lesson with each of the girls. I got home before lunch time (hurrah!), so we were able to pick up with a few more lessons. Louise got started in Writing with Ease 1 and First Language Lessons 1, and both girls did a page of handwriting practice. Lulu and I got started on Grammar Island. I also had both girls read aloud a chapter from a paraphrased version of the prologue to The Canterbury Tales for reading practice. (Ultimately I ditched both books for the girls because even in paraphrase, several of the stories are still pretty crass to my rather innocent sensibilities, and I just didn’t want to go there yet with my girls. I think I have too many years of English classes under my belt. 😉 ) The best part of the day, I’m sure, to my girls was our now-traditional first-day baking exercise. Last year I started the tradition of letting the girls bake cookies on the first day of school with little or no help from me beyond my reading aloud the recipe and giving general directions. On Monday afternoon just before the girls headed out with Steady Eddie to a meeting at church, they whipped up these energy bites (minus the flaxseed), which were just the thing since they were quick and required no baking. They’re yummy and have been a hit with 2/3 of my children. 😉
Tuesday was our first Classical Conversations meeting, which went beautifully. It’s going to be a great year, if the first day is any indication at all! Tuesday afternoon the girls’ piano lessons resumed, with Louise taking private lessons from Lulu’s teacher for the first time. She is so excited about this! The tricky part for me is having the DLM in someone else’s house for an hour instead of half an hour, like it was last year. I’ll be glad for cooler weather so that we can stay outside and explore the yard. (See Louise up there at the piano? One of the perks of homeschooling is that dance costumes can be worn all the school day long, if the student so desires. 🙂 )
Lulu’s favorite thing this week was her handwriting, which is certainly a change. She has finally reached the point in her Getty-Dubay workbook of transitioning to cursive, and that girl is motivated. One of the tricky parts for me is making time to actually observe her handwriting practice since this is something I tend to give them to do without my presence. It’s important for me to watch both girls as they write to help prevent the development of bad habits, so I’m sacrificing the laundry for my children’s penmanship. 😉
It would be hard to say what Louise’s favorite thing this week was. She was a bit out-of-sorts about school this week. I guess the thing she showed the most enthusiasm for was the math game we played at the end of the week. She chose Swim-to-Ten and played it with both me and Lulu.
Here’s a summary of what we accomplished:
Lulu (grade 3):
Language: Michael Clay Thompson’s Grammar Island, beginning through pronouns. This is very different from what we’ve been accustomed to, and while I do intend to continue with First Language Lessons as well, I am really enjoying this somewhat lighthearted and playful approach to grammar. The jury’s still out on how much Lulu likes it. I think it’s just so different from what she’s used to that she’s just not sure yet.
Writing: Lulu finished up the evaluation lesson from WWE 2. Sometimes I wonder if the girls’ extreme familiarity with some works of children’s literature skews their ability to narrate. (This week the selection was from Peter Pan, a story which a.) I have read to the girls b.) they have listened to umpteen times c.) they have seen on stage and d.) they have seen recorded on tape as many times as they have listened to it.) Dictation of more than a couple of sentences at a time is still a challenge for her, so I’m rolling up my figurative sleeves in preparation for WWE 3. Onward and upward!
Handwriting: She did this four days out of five and would’ve probably finished the book by now if I hadn’t limited the number of lines she was allowed to write in a day. Did I mention that she’s excited about learning cursive? 🙂
Math: Lulu did lessons 123-125 in RS C, as well as about three subtraction sections in Math Mammoth. We also played a couple of games of Threes Corners (which I love for how it encourages multiplicative thinking!). We’re starting something new this year, with a more formal math journal (not attached to her RS workbook) and a math glossary, so Lulu worked in both of these, too. I hope to share more about these in a future post.
Reading: As I mentioned previously, Lulu read the prologue to The Canterbury Tales aloud to me. She also read the beginning of Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile before rejecting it because it was a little creepy to her, what with all the palace intrigue and poisonings. My purpose for having her read this is just give a bit of context for our CC memory work, since we’re in Cycle I and learning about the Age of Ancient Empires. Oh, well. It moves so quickly that we’re on to different topics next week. She also read a biography of Carl Linnaeus (since this week’s CC science sentence has to do with classification). She narrated from this book both orally and in written form.
Language: We finished FLL 1 lessons 1-4, more or less. I sort of glossed over the poem “The Caterpillar” since Louise memorized most of what Lulu did when Lulu was in FLL 1. I plan to implement other poetry memorization this year, too.
Writing: WWE I week one went wonderfully! 🙂
Handwriting: She wasn’t as enthusiastic about it as her sister, but Louise did four days’ worth of handwriting practice, too.
Math: Louise did lessons 29 and 30 in RS C and four addition sections in Math Mammoth. I’m ready to get the math ball rolling again with Louise. I get the feeling that she might be a bit bored with a lot of what we’re doing right now, so I’m ready for her to be a bit challenged.
Reading: Aside from the paraphrased prologue to The Canterbury Tales, Louise didn’t do much assigned reading this week. Both girls, however, did a lot of pleasure reading. You can see some of their picks in This Week in Books.
Louise did participate in Sketch Tuesday this week. It was nice to see her concentrating on her artwork again.
Steady Eddie and the girls are working on more science while I’m working on Saturday. Rumor has it they’ll be building a scale model of the solar system, or something like that. 🙂 I’m hoping for pictures.
We finally got back to Story of the World 2 this week. WE picked up with chapter 18 and the Crusades. The girls both gave me written narrations (Louise dictated hers to me) about Saladin. After their narrations (and over tea!) I read aloud Diane Stanley’s Saladin: Noble Prince of Islam, and for the first time that I can recall, the girls did a bit of coloring while I read aloud.
One thing I find both extremely challenging and rewarding is wrestling with big, difficult issues, like the Crusades, with my girls. I don’t want them to be blindsided by anything when they’re older.
Of course, we did our usual reading aloud, though not quite as much of it. We’re still reading through the Gospel of John and Man of the Family by Ralph Moody. We got in three days’ worth of CC memory work practice, and the best things about that have been how much the girls have enjoyed it and how much of it they’ve already taught the DLM. 😉 We even did a bit of poetry reading from the AO rotation for years 1 and 3. I also meant to get started on our hymn for the month, but I wasn’t organized enough for that.
Perhaps the true highlight of our week was a visit to a science center about an hour away. Wednesday afternoon it offered free admission for homeschoolers, so we headed south and tried it out. I plan for the girls to take some classes there a couple of times a month. We ran into some friends while we were there, and a good time was had by all. 🙂 We also managed to locate a branch library (one of eleven!) in the same county as the science center and secure family library cards. I’m hoping to make good use of the interlibrary loan policies of these libraries since we’ll be there a couple of times a month.
So–a good week. Yes. It was a crazy week, and we finished up our lessons much, much later on a couple of days than I would’ve preferred. We never even got to spelling this week, so I’m finally conceding defeat with All About Spelling and ordering each girl a Spelling Workout workbook this weekend. I’m still not quite sure what to do with the DLM for much of the day. Well, actually, I have some ideas, but I haven’t had time to implement them (i.e. busy bags, activities from Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready, a schedule for the girls to play with him, etc.). I also really, really wanted to get outside for some nature study, but aside from a bit of time Thursday afternoon with our English grammar books in the backyard, a family walk on Thursday night, and Louise noticing that the crop of mushrooms we have currently growing in our jungle-like flower bed look “like popcorn” (see the picture above?), that didn’t happen. Next week, right? 🙂
How was your week?