Friday, April 30, 2010

Week 34: In sight of the finish line

It's been a beautiful week as far as weather. It's great to have the kids outside again. Between catching up on cleaning, trying to get Henry more time outside, and keeping school running I'm ready for a break. We aren't quite done yet, but at least we're starting to wrap up a few things.


On Monday, Jessie finished up the IP section on parallelograms, rhombuses, and trapezoids. Then she spent the remainder of this week on a new unit in the textbook and workbook on tessellations. Basically she had to figure out which figures could be used to form a tile pattern and which could not. She was given a few tiles on a dotted grid to draw the pattern out. It's been great for her to be able to use her extra math time to work on her other subjects to be able to finish early and head outside with everyone else. She's also excited that there is only one new unit left.

Violet finished up an IP section on fractions this week. She spent Wednesday through Friday completely various review exercises in the textbook and workbook. Violet is not quite as far along as Jessie in her math with 3 new units left, but hopefully that will all be fairly easy for her to complete.

Benny has had a light school week to help DH. Sunday he and DH helped a friend of ours cut down and clear away a tree, and he was very excited to get paid $7. Wednesday DH took him out for a hair cut, and Thursday and Friday he was helping DH with the cedar tree in our yard that DH cut down to allow more sunlight to reach our garden. As a result he only ended up doing 2 days of math, one in each text. Truthfully, I'm not worried about whether he finished the books this year or not, we'll just go however far we get and take it from there.


Jessie completed lesson 16 in SWO G leaving her two more to go for this year. In grammar, she finished up the last unit in R&S 5, so no more grammar for the year. In CW, we again combined weeks and completed the lessons for weeks 5 & 6. The day four imitation lesson had her take the nursery rhyme "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe", come up with a different rhyming word for the second line of each couplet, and then use that to create her own poem. She had a blast, and I enjoyed reading the result. In literature, she is making steady progress through The Bronze Bow by Speare and will probably have time for one more book this year.

Violet has been working on the last unit in her grammar text as well. Most of this week has been an introduction to poetry discussing using descriptive language, rhyme and rhythm. The poems on the write were from her Friday lesson where she was given two lines to start and then asked to finish the poem. We did complete 2 weeks worth of CW this week to both analyze and imitate the story "A Laconic Answer" which I believe came from The Story of the Greeks by Guerber. Handwriting continues to be copying from The Secret Garden with an emphasis on improving neatness and copying more carefully. For literature, she finished up the remaining stories in The Red Fairy Book. Next week, she'll start reading Vinegar Boy, which will likely be her last assigned reading for the year.

Benny and I did manage to do a full week of phonics. In Phonics Pathways we're working on adding -ing to CVC words. In the Bob books, we finished up the last two books from the A1 series and started the first 2 books from the B1 series. There is a bit of a jump from one to the next, so I just read the words that are irregular or that he hasn't learned how to decode yet.


In NT history, we're still reading through the ministry of Jesus. I don't know how many other weeks I have planned out, but I'm sure we will be continuing with history well into the summer at this point. I'm making a not to myself not to take as much time off history next year and to start it a week or two earlier rather than having it be one of the last subjects started.

In ancient Rome, we've switched back to using TruthQuest as our spine, since I never sat down to block it all out on my own. We're only about a third of the way through the guide, but I plan to continue to the end this time because a lot of the Roman history after Caesar Augustus Jessie and I only skimmed through the first time around. This week, we read about the three Punic wars and Hannibal. The girls drew a war elephant using the Draw and Write Through History book. Violet's map includes the locations of Rome and Carthage as well as the route followed by Hannibal. Jessie's map also shows Roman lands before and after the war. There were several timeline figures related to Rome from this week and last week added to the timeline as well.


Jessie finished lesson 30 in LfC B and has two review lessons to cover before she finishes for the year. Violet has finished lesson 9 in LfC A. This is the last lesson for her for this year. I want to spend the summer working on vocabulary and getting her more comfortable with conjugating, declining, parsing, and translating using the words she has learned so far. Jessie has finished her last Mind Benders puzzle in the B4 book. That just leaves her Building Thinking Skills 2 and her Think-a-Grams A2 books which will probably take two more weeks. Violet has finished her Visual Perceptual Skill Building, Book 2 work this week and her last Mind Benders book as well.


As far as Henry, it's all about getting outside this week. We've used some of Benny's math time to go out and play, and I try to have my work finished to take him out just after his nap as well. Our pair of geese has five little ones already, and Henry loves to watch them. It took some convincing, but I finally got him to say goose instead of duck when he sees them.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows - Book 18, 52 in 52

With Dumbledore's loss, Harry has only Ron and Hermione to help him search for the remaining horcruxes. As Voldemort takes control of the Ministry of Magic, the three friends suddenly find themselves on the run, forced into hiding by the price on Harry's head. At the same time, Harry's faith in Dumbledore is tested by the continual rumors regarding his life and his family. The friends find themselves in one jam after another, but they are still receiving help to find the sword of Griffindor and to escape the clutches of Voldemort's followers when captured. Finally, the friends turn their sights back on Hogwarts to find and destroy the 5th horcrux. There the teachers, students, their families, members of the order, and others band together to make a final stand against Voldemort.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a book full of surprising twists and turns. As the final book in the Harry Potter series, it does an exceptional job of tying up all of the loose ends. From the motives and actions of Snape and the mystery surrounding Dumbledore's early life to the strange connection between Harry and Voldemort, each piece falls in place over the course of the book. There is much to admire in Harry's determination and perseverance, his humility and concern for others, his willingness to risk and sacrifice himself for those around him, and his feelings of grief and responsibility for the lost lives of those who fight with him. I remember one use of the b***h word in the final chapter with the battle, and I believe their might have been one other that I can't place off the top of my head. Still the ending leaves a lot more to be admired than to be criticized, and Jessie is going to be thrilled when I give her the go ahead to start reading.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - Book 17, 52 in 52

Beyond the walls of Hogwarts, Voldemort grows steadily stronger. Disappearances and deaths are on the rise, but inside of Hogwarts life goes on as close to normally as it can. Harry becomes Quidditch captain, receives assistance in potions from an old school book belonging to someone called the half-blood Prince which is laden with notes, spells, and corrections, spends time with Dumbledore learning everything he can teach him about Voldemort's life, and struggles to keep his friendship with both Ron and Hermione despite the conflict between the two of them while battling himself over his feelings towards Ron's sister Ginny. He knows Malfoy is up to something for Lord Voldemort but is unable to find out exactly what it is. Then while he and Dumbledore are away, it happens. Malfoy leads Death Eaters into Hogwarts. Dumbledore weakened from the events of the evening is stripped of his wand by Malfoy and killed by Snape as Harry watches helplessly frozen by Dumbledore under his invisibility cloak leaving Harry to carry on the work of locating and destroying Voldemort's remaining horcruxes so that Voldemort can finally be killed.

The sixth book of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, actually comes across a bit lighter than the 4th and 5th books in the series. A good portion of the book is spent on more day to day activities in the school of Hogwarts. I'm not particularly fond of all the dating and flirting that goes on, but it is understandable given the current age of Harry and his friends. I've decided it will make a good jumping of point to a discussion with Jessie that I've been procrastinating on but know she is old enough to have at this point. The death of Dumbledore at the end, while certainly hard on Harry, is easier to read than the death of Sirius in the previous book. His reaction is more soldierlike with acceptance mixed with determination to finish the path that he and Dumbledore began down.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Book 16 of 52 in 52

Voldemort is alive again, but the Ministry of Magic is in denial leaving Dumbledore no choice but to try protect Harry and fight against Voldemort with only a handful of others helping. Harry, on the other hand, feels frustrated at not being included in the activities of the order of the phoenix, hurt when Dumbledore continues to keep him at a distance, and keeps getting flashes of Voldemort's activities in his sleep. At Hogwarts, the Ministry of Magic is interfering in the school by first appointing a new defense against the dark arts teacher from the ministry and later giving her powers to review teachers, block activities, and make up all kinds of crazy rules. Harry and his friends fight back by starting a secret club to practice spells that they are not allowed to practice in their defense of the dark arts class, and Harry gives an interview recounting the details of the death of Cedric and the return of Voldemort to counter all of the lies in the mainstream new source. In the end, he is tricked by Voldemort into going to the Ministry of Magic thinking that Sirius is in trouble, sees Sirius come with the other members of the order to help him only to be killed in battle, is saved from Voldemort by Dumbledore, and struggles to overcome the loss of his godfather and to come to terms with the prophecy that in the end either he or Voldemort will die.

Overall, the vast majority of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is about at the same maturity level as the previous book. Again, there is a good balance between the darker and lighter scenes that keep the book from being overwhelming; however, the end of the book with the death of Sirius and Harry's struggles to cope with his loss may be too much for some kids. I would postpone reading the book if your child is sensitive or if they have lost someone who is close to them and would be able to completely relate to Harry's anguish. If you don't have time to read the entire book, I would at least read through the last few chapters before handing it over to your child to read to make your own judgement on whether they can handle that portion of the book. For my 11yo, I think I'll go ahead and say she's ready for the book at this point, but my 9yo on the other hand (who has recently starting asking me when she'll get to read the books as well) is going to have to wait a couple of more years and show a bit more maturity before I hand the books over to her.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Week 33: Plodding through...

It's been a crazy week. I actually think Jessie is probably the only one that stayed on schedule. I kept slipping in chapters of the 5th Harry Potter book here and there, made Benny's birthday cake, worked on helping Benny clean his room, and packed away the rest of the girls' winter clothes. Violet, well, let's just say she's been very easily distracted this week which has led to some very long school days. After his birthday, Benny would disappear into his room to play with his new toys, so it was easy for me to get sidetracked and forget to do some of his lessons. It's not a stellar week, but we still got a fair amount done.


Jessie worked on a new section in her textbook and workbook on parallelograms, rhombuses, and trapezoids. It covered different ways to figure out unknown angles in the different figures. There was also a lesson on drawing the different figures. By Friday, she had finished up the unit in the textbook and workbook and began the corresponding unit in the IP book.

Violet started a new unit on fractions. She had pictures where she had to determine what fraction of the picture was shaded and problems where she had to match up the two fractions that would add up to 1. It introduced the concept of equivalent fractions and how to make them by either multiplying or dividing both the numerator and the denominator by the same number. There were also lots of comparisons of which fraction was larger or smaller and putting fractions in order by size. The last part gave her the most trouble because she was trying to do it without first finding a common denominator. We talked through a few of them, and the rest she completed using the fraction strips I made last year for Jessie. She also finished the workbook unit and started the IP unit on Friday.

Benny is continuing to work on the IP unit for adding and subtracting within 20. His Miquon is still a big number with lots of equations around it to be matched up. Nothing new this week. He really only did 3 days of math since I gave him his birthday off and Thursday he was helping clean up his room.


Jessie successfully finished another spelling lesson leaving 3 to go for the year. In grammar, the topics are fairly random at this point. There were two worksheets on diagramming review, a lesson on using a Bible dictionary and concordance, and a couple of others that I can't think of off the top of my head. In CW Poetry, we completed the work for weeks 3 and 4. Really it was not all that different from last week's lesson. In literature, she has begun reading The Bronze Bow by Speare and seems to be enjoying it so far.

Violet's grammar this week was all about letters: friendly letter, parts of a letter, thank you letters, and addressing envelopes. She got the week off of CW simply because I never got the assignments written down. By the time she had finished her other work, I was usually fixing dinner. I'll have her double up next week and do both analysis and imitation so we can still finish on time. We're still struggling with copying directly from a book simply due to a lack of concentration. She also got the week off of literature since I forgot to get a new book from the library.

Benny finished up the review in Phonics Pathways covering a combination of short and long vowel words. We're also still working our way through the A2 series of Bob books. Not a lot done since he only worked three days. No handwriting this week.


NT history is a continuation of the ministry of Jesus.

In ancient Rome, the girls both covered the invasion of the Gauls and the Pyrrhic Wars. Jessie typed up another summary for each topic, completed a map showing Roman land and allies versus enemies, and wrote down an outline of early Rome using the Usbourne Encyclopedia of the Ancient World. Violet wrote summaries of Manlius Torquatus and Appius Claudius Caecus. Both girls read City by MacCauley. Violet was assigned to write 5 interesting things. For Jessie it was just reading for her own interest since I felt like she already had enough assigned history writing for the week. Jessie's notebook page is below. Violet has yet to assemble hers and at the current rate they'll probably be done on Saturday. We didn't get around to timeline figures, so we'll do them next week.


Jessie completed lesson 29 in LfC B. She's one puzzle away from finishing up her MindBenders B4 book. Violet finished lesson 8 in LfC A and started lesson 9. This will probably be the last lesson that I have her do for this year, and we'll spend the summary parsing, conjugating, and declining to get her more comfortable recognizing the stem of Latin words and figuring out what they mean.


Henry has been up to his usual tricks. His favorite past time is still taking apart the tv remote and pulling out the battering. He's also getting very good at expressing himself. One minute he was happy and smiling and the next, well, you can see for yourself. I don't remember exactly what it was the DH said no about, but it was obviously a tragedy to Henry.

WW: Benny's 6th birthday

Monday, April 19, 2010

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Book 15 of 52 in 52

At 700 plus pages, the size alone of the fourth Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, is a bit intimidating. In it, Voldemort hatches a plan to get Harry and restore himself to power in the process. Harry catches bits of the plan in a dream, wakes up with his scar burning, and casually mentions the occurrence to his godfather, Sirius Black, in a letter to get his opinion. Other strange events including the disappearance of a witch from the Ministry of Magic, the appearance of Voldemort's sign in the sky the night after the world Quidditch cup, and the possible attack on an old auror who had captured many dark wizards in his younger years add to the mystery and quickly draw readers into the plot. As Sirius settles down as close to Hogwarts as he can to be able to help Harry, Hogwarts prepares to host an old inter-school competition called the Triwizard Tournament. The tournament gets off to a bad start as the goblet of fire spits out not three but four names for the competition with Harry being the fourth even though he had not tried to enter. With help from his friends and the new dark arts teacher, Harry successfully passes each of the competition challenges not by focusing on winning but rather by focusing on doing the right thing. Just as Harry thinks the tournament is finished, he and the other Hogwarts champion touch the goblet of fire and find themselves transported to Voldemort. Voldemort kills Cedric, uses blood from Harry to restore himself into a body, and prepares to finish Harry off in a duel. Harry escapes with Cedric's body back to Hogwarts where Dumbledore saves him from one of Voldemort's followers. Then Dumbledore begins to make preparations for fighting Voldemort as the head of the Ministry of Magic tries to deny the truth, and the school year comes to a close.

While this was my least favorite movie, it is probably my favorite book of the series so far. There is a definite progression the simple good versus evil with good triumphing in the first book to a more mature, more complex plot in this book. Unlike the first three books, which could stand on their own as separate stories, book four seems to be the link that ties the entire series together. All of the characters have now been introduced and taken their position. The scene is set for the true conflict between good and evil to begin. As with the other books, there are plenty of lighter scenes to balance out the more intense ones, and the descriptions in the book aren't nearly as vivid as the visuals of the movie. I'm still not fond of the divination class, but it takes a much smaller place in this book. There's a definite change in the relationship between Ron and Hermione that's seems to be setting up for more of a dating relationship than just a friendship (I haven't seen any movies after this one so I can't say for sure). While the plot is more complex, I don't find the book to be too mature at this point. So it's 4 down, and 3 very large books left to go. (I need a few more 20 plus inning baseball games to keep DH's attention so I can read later at night.)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Book 14 of 52 in 52

It took me a little longer to get into the 3rd book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Harry heads back to Hogwarts for his 3rd year after the escape of Sirius Black, who had been imprisoned for betraying Harry's parents to Voldemort. The security around Hogwarts is tight since it is widely believed that Black will come after Harry to finish him off. There are the typical school scenes between Harry and his friends or with Harry and Draco. The plot twist at the end is excellently done when the real bad guy is revealed.

Again overall, I found the scenes in the book to come across much less darkly than the ones in the movie. The books also do a much better job of balancing the more serious scenes with the lighter, more day to day type scenes. I am not overly fond of the divination class, but the students spend enough time ridiculing the class to balance out the rare accurate prediction that occurs. I'm not prepared to scrap the entire book because one chapter bothered me. In the end, I think it will give me a good jumping off point to discuss the views of real magic in the Bible versus the fantasy based magic in the book. So it's 3 books down and four much bigger ones to go.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Week 32: Pushing to the End

The hardest part about spring is always staying on task and getting the work done when everyone wants to go outside to play. Still we persisted and finished most of our work. Still didn't squeeze in any science, but I've resigned myself to doing it over the summer instead.


Jessie started a new math unit on triangles this week. It introduced isosceles and equilateral triangles. She calculated unknown angles and looked at triangle to determine if they were either isosceles or equilateral. Then there were triangles where one side had been extended out in a straight line. She did various calculations to determine the outside angle or use it to determine one of the angles in the triangle. The last workbook exercise was drawing triangles with a protractor. She finished the complete unit in the textbook and workbook and started the IP section on Friday.

Violet finished up with picture graphs in the IP this week and has started fractions in the textbook and workbook. So far she's looked at pictures and written fractions, matched up fractions to make one whole, and compare the sizes to determine the largest or the smallest or to put them in order. Overall it's been a very easy week for her in math.

Benny has finally finished up the workbook unit on addition and subtraction within 20 and moved onto the IP section on Friday. His Miquon pages for the week have both consisted of on large number in the center with several equations around it. He had to draw lines to equations which had the number in the center as their answer. I had a harder time making him use the blocks and not guess, but we worked through it together for a change.

The end is in sight for Jessie's LA this year. In spelling she completed lesson 14, so only 4 more to go. In grammar, she started on the final unit in the book. She did some work with the pronunciation guides in the dictionary (and complained every time she had to write the upside down e) and matched words to their definitions based on the context of the given sentence. She also worked with synonyms, antonyms, and homonyms this week. In CW, we began Poetry for Beginners. The schedule is supposed to be 12 weeks long, but we're going to combine some weeks and shorten it down. We ended up doing weeks 1 and 2 this week. We read and analyzed Birthdays by Enchanted Tulips and Benjamin Franklin by a different author. Most of the analysis was review. We talked about rhyme scheme, meter, stanzas, and identified sentences in the poems. She copied the poems one day for the imitation. Other days we played rhyming games and wrote the main ideas of each poem stanza. In literature, she finally finished Robinson Crusoe, but I've opted not to do any analysis of it since neither of us really like the book that much.

Violet had also started her last grammar unit. So far we've talked about making introductions, talking on the telephone, and how to give directions. In CW, she rewrote "The City Mouse and the Country Mouse". In literature, she's making steady progress through The Mystery of the Roman Ransom and based on the details in her narrations seems to be enjoying it thoroughly. In handwriting, she is continuing to copy out of the book. I had her redo a complete assignment early the week because she left out several words here and there, missed a complete sentence, and made several spelling errors. Her work for the remainder of the week hasn't been perfect, but it has been a big improvement.

Benny is working on wrapping up some review pages in Phonics Pathways with combinations of long and short vowel words. We're alternating with reading 2 Bob books (currently from the A2 series) as I want to give him time to feel comfortable before we add anything new. He's been doing his own handwriting using his drawing board or labeling pictures that he draws to give away, so I didn't worry about doing any formal handwriting this week.


This week in the NT, we started the ministry of Jesus. We've read about calling the disciples and various miracles (healing lepers, raising a woman's dead son, healing a centurion's servant, etc.) We also read the parable of the sower, a few smaller parables about the kingdom of Heaven, and about Jesus dining with Simon. Violet completed summaries and made a notebook page. Jessie continues to take notes for a later page.

This week in ancient Rome, we covered several heroes of the early Roman republic including, Horatius and his defense of the Tiber bridge, Mucius the left handed, Coriolanus, and Cincinnatus. Violet also read about Camilus. Jessie constructed one essay to cover the different heroes while Violet wrote individual narrations. Jessie also took about 6 pages from the Usborne Encyclopedia of the Ancient World and consolidated the information into a larger outline. Basically, I gave her the setup, and she filled in the details. It looked much nicer before she cut it into pieces to glue on her notebooking page. It covers the roles of men, women, children, and slaves in ancient Rome. All the heroes listed above were also added to their timelines.


Jessie finished lesson 28 in LfC B. Violet is currently working on lesson 9 of LfC A. They are both close to finishing up their logic/critical thinking books for the year.


Henry has been trying to go outside as much as possible all week. I've been taking him out when I hang the laundry. We go for walks down to my fil's shed every afternoon so he can sit on the tractor. Jessie usually watches him outside while I fix dinner. He's discovered Benny's legos and begun playing with those. He also takes great pleasure in finding new uses for things around the house as you can see below.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Common Sense by Beck, Book 13 of 52 in 52

I've never been big into politics. I always figured that politicians would do what was best for their constituents simply to ensure they kept their jobs, but the more I've though about my kids future, the closer attention I've paid to what is happening on a local, state, and federal level (at least as best as I can). Honestly, the most disheartening part to me is the partisan bickering. I understand the conflicts based on ideology, but the rest of it (personal attacks, fear mongering, etc.) along with some of the recent arrogant, condescending remarks by politicians leaves me frustrated.

What does this have to do with Beck's Common Sense. I happened to catch a segment on Fox a few months back where a reporter went around New York City looking for Democrats. He would read them a series of quotes from the book and ask if they agreed. At the end, he would tell them that the statements came from Beck's new book, and the expressions on some of their faces ranging from utter surprise to horror were hilarious to see. I decided to give the book a try, but it's taken several months to get it on hold from the library.

The first 107 pages of Beck's Common Sense contain his commentary on the current state of things. He discusses the need for a debate on how to tackle America's current problems including money (spending and deficits), taxes, politicians, and progressivism. He explains the importance of religion in a democracy to install virtues such as honesty and selflessness. There are a few pages highlighting the principles and values at the foundation of the 912 project, and some suggestions for additional reading. The remaining part of the book is a reprint of Thomas Paine's original Common Sense.

Overall, I thought it was an excellent read, and I agreed with many of the points he made. It doesn't really matter what your political affiliation is. A lot of the material covers common ground that people in both parties could agree upon. I wish more people would take the time to study up on the founding fathers and learn their original intent. Maybe then we could get the country back on course.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Week 31: Who wants to be inside?

It's been beautiful outside all week. On the hot days, the kids had water gun battles or played under the back deck in the shade. On the cooler days, they ran all around the yard. DH and I started planting the new garden with beans, potatoes, onions, and corn so far. I've been washing clothes like crazy trying to get everything washed so I could get the spring/summer clothes in the drawers and start packing the fall/winter. The good news is that I finished washing finally. Now I just have to sort and pack. School has been a bit hit and miss this week. Jessie has to retype a couple of assignments when Henry closed the documents before I saved them. Violet has been alternating between staring out the window and slipping outside with Benny before her work is done. Henry has been his usual self. Here's what did get done.


Jessie zipped through the unit on line graphs covering the textbook and workbook in 2 days, the corresponding IP section in 2 days, and finished off with a review on Friday in the textbook. It's been a nice easy math week for her. The unit did a good job of reviewing previous skills such as averages and percentages also.

Violet has finished the textbook and workbook section on picture graphs and started working on the corresponding section in the IP. Violet's biggest problem with picture graphs is that she doesn't always stop to see how many each picture is supposed to represent. Of course, staring out the window daydreaming doesn't help with her concentration either. Eventually, she got through all of her work. In Miquon, she finished graphing equations. She had a couple of number pattern charts. She was given a number to start on and a series of arrows telling her which direction to move. Then she wrote down where she landed. Today she had a clock face, was given a starting point, and was asked to figure out where a certain number of hops in first the clockwise and then the counter-clockwise direction would land her.

Benny keeps plugging away at adding and subtraction within 20 in both the Singapore and Miquon texts. I've let him work by himself all week long, and then when he was finished we sat down together to go over any mistakes. His math has been great. Now if I could just keep him from goofing around at the table, we'd have a more peaceful morning.


Another week, another spelling test down. Jessie also finished the R&S grammar section on capitalization and dictionary skills with minimal assignments this week since I felt she already had a good grasp of the material. Her biggest accomplishment for the week: she FINISHED the LAST CW HOMER ASSIGNMENT FOR THE YEAR!!! Yeah!! No more parsing words or sentence shuffles until fall!! In literature, she's still plugging along through Robinson Crusoe and is happy to see that Crusoe has finally met Friday.

Violet's grammar has mostly been a string of writing assignments this week. She's written descriptions of places and people and had a lesson on giving oral descriptions. We didn't get around to spelling, but did complete her copywork assignments. For CW Aesop, she analyzed "The City Mouse and the Country Mouse". she completed reading Detectives in Togas and has begun the sequel, Mystery of the Roman Ransom.

Benny has continue in his phonics this week. We're currently alternating between the Phonics Pathways lessons and the A2 series of Bob books each day. He's getting better at distinguishing when to use a short sound versus a long sound, but he's still mixing up a few sounds now and then. He ended up getting the week off from handwriting since he didn't have a new memory verse from Sunday school to copy.


This week in New Testament history, we read about Jesus calling his first disciples, his first miracle, and his discussion with Nicodemus. Violet gave me an oral narration every day that was turned into a notebook page. For Jessie in addition to oral narrations, I told her to keep a list of the miracles Jesus does and who Jesus says that He is. We'll turn the information into a couple of notebooking pages in a few weeks.

In ancient Rome, we studied the Roman monarchy from the second king Numa Pompilus to the end or the reign of Tarquin. Jessie read from The Story of the Romans and summarized the accomplishments of the various kings. Violet read 4 chapters in Famous Men of Rome and gave me 2-3 sentence narrations on each. There were no maps or corresponding art assignments this week. We did add timeline figures for Numa Pompilus, the Horatii and the Curatii, the reign of the Tarquins, and the temple of Diana (Artemis). SCIENCE

Again, not completed.


Jessie did complete a week of logic assignments and also another Latin lesson. Violet finished lesson 7 of LfC A and started lesson 8 on Friday.


Henry has slowly been working on increasing his vocabulary skills. His favorite response is now "no, no". Other new phrases for the week include bow-wow and gotta go (Benny says this one a lot). Otherwise, he has constantly been on the lookout for someone to leave a door unlocked so he can slip outside.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

WW: Henry Takes Charge

Lunch time came around today, and I was busy cleaning. Henry decided not to wait on me and helped himself to the pantry. When he saw that Benny was also waiting on me for lunch, he offered to share and they had a picnic together on the kitchen floor.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Book 12 52 in 52

I finally finished the second Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. It is another delightful read, and an excellent sequel to the original book. Harry is warned not to return to Hogwarts because he will be in danger. He hears a strange voice coming from the wall, and soon after discovers a message on the wall next to a petrified cat. As more and more students are petrified, Harry and his friends work to discover the secret of who is the heir of Slytherin and what monster could he possibly have unleashed on the school.

I have to say I liked it far better in book form than either the audio book or the movie. The hissing voice they used for the basilisk in the audio book was creepy, which was one reason I had originally told Jessie she could not read the series a couple of years back. The spider scene came across much more tamely than in the movie (which since I had just found a spider on my pillow a few days previous gave me a nightmare the first time I saw it). Again I would have no trouble recommending this book for Jessie to read, although I will still hold off until I have finished the complete series. Still so far so good, two great books down. Hopefully, I will enjoy the remaining ones just as much.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Our Easter Activities

We went to the 7:45 service and actually made it into our seats before the service started!!

We made our own chocolate covered peanut butter eggs instead of buying Easter candy.
The kids checked out their baskets. We kept it simply this year: bath toys and bubble bath for Henry,

small containers of popcorn for all,

and tiny kites and bubble soap for the older kids. (The kites had them running all over the yard.)

Then it was outside for an Easter egg hunt.

Henry did a great job for his first egg hunt!!

Everyone ended up with full buckets of eggs, and there were plenty of smiles and laughter to go around.

Henry had so much fun that he wanted to do it again. It was not a happy camper when I picked him up to go in for lunch.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Week 30: Trying to Regain Traction

We had a rough start to the week. Henry's runny nose became full blown cold, and I spent a few sleep deprived nights with him on the sofa bed. The kids were still in break mode and had a hard time getting up and getting going on their school work. We accomplished a fair amount despite the poor start, a mid-week dentist trip, and a distracted Mom busy trying to pull out and wash spring clothes by putting in a few long days but didn't quite get to everything I would have liked. Here's our week.


Jessie finished up her textbook and workbook unit on rate and began working on the corresponding unit in her IP. She's had a harder time with the IP book than usual, so we worked more problems together to get through them. The IP section was finally finished up on Friday, so we can start fresh with a new topic next week. It didn't help that we were also trying to pick up the pace a little to be able to finish by mid-May. I'm hoping the next topic will be easier, so we can breeze through it.

Violet finished up the textbook and workbook section by spending a few days working with gallons, quarts, pints, and cups. By mid-week she had moved on to the corresponding section in the IP. Her Miquon assignments continue to involve graphing coordinates of a given equation (ie. x=y+5). She's had a hard time with her CWP because she hasn't been drawing diagrams. Next week we may have to do a diagram refresher to see if that helps.

Benny is still adding and subtracting within 20 for his Singapore. I still think their method of subtraction at this point is confusing. It teaches to take 13-8 and do 10-8 then add back in the 3 ones. Personally I prefer to split the 8 and go 13-3-5. Benny preferred to work it out with the pictures. Another day, we did adding and subtracting smaller numbers using a number to figure out problems like 14+2. In Miquon, we've started a new section which is giving him a combination of addition, subtraction, and multiplication problems. He does a great job as long as he uses the blocks although he doesn't pull them out any more unless he is told to do so.


Jessie completed another review lesson in SWO H this week. In R&S 5, we finished up another unit and tested on Friday. (Only one more to go I think. YEAH!!) In CW, we analyzed and rewrote the scene from The Children's Homer where Odysseus visits Circe's island. I was satisfied with her original condensed draft this week, so we skipped editing for once. In literature, she's continuing to plod along through Robinson Crusoe. Her narrations are becoming increasingly shorter as her interest in the book diminishes, but she's determined to finish.

Violet and I didn't do any spelling this week. It's harder to remember when we're not following a curriculum. In grammar, she worked some more with synonyms and antonyms and had a writing assignment to describe a place. I didn't get her copywork prepped over the weekend, so I've had her copying straight out of the book instead. She makes a lot more careless mistakes that way, so I'll try to the assignments written in the notebook before next week. In CW Aesop, she rewrote "The Ant and the Grasshopper", but I haven't typed it up for her to illustrate yet. Her favorite part of the week has been literature since she has started reading Detectives in Togas.

Benny and I spent a few days reading Bob books and a couple of days working in Phonics Pathways. He did one sentence of copywork using his memory verse from Sunday, but I didn't have him do copywork every day. Instead I let him spend more time outside with DH, who finally headed back to work on Thursday.


In Bible history this week, we started our last term on the New Testament. Jessie's reading mainly from the gospel of Luke with a few chapters from the other books to fill in stories like the wise men visiting Jesus. Violet and Benny continue to use Egermeier's Bible. In addition to narrating their readings, the girls completed a map showing the route of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem to Egypt and back to Nazareth. Jessie also completed a map showing the lands controlled by King Herod for the Roman empire. They added King Herod, the birth of Jesus, and John the Baptist to their timelines.

In ancient history, we began our first week in ancient Rome by learning about Aeneas and Romulus and Remus. Jessie read In Search of a Homeland and made a timeline of the story events. She also started The Story of the Romans at about chapter 5 and wrote a summary of Romulus. Violet and Benny have been using the first several chapters of Roman Myths by McCaughrean to cover the same topics. Both girls completed a map showing the route of Aeneas using a map I found online. Jessie also completed a map showing the various groups of people living in Italy at the time. They both added the founding of Rome to their timelines.

Not this week. Looks like it will be a project to carry over into the summer at this rate.


Jessie completed another lesson in LfC B. Happily, this one was a review, since I'm still trying to catch up with her. She had the week off from logic simply because I wrote down the wrong assignments and didn't get around to correcting her check sheet. Violet finished lesson 6 in LfC A and has begun lesson 7. I think she finished her critical thinking this week, but I don't recall checking Thursday's assignments yet.


Henry has been his usual mischievous self walking around in various shoes belonging to someone else, wearing the girls' sunglasses in the house, practicing removing and replacing the batteries in the television remote over and over and over again, and making all kinds of messes with cuisenaire rods, colored pencils, puzzles, and probably a few other items I've since blocked from my memory. On the learning side, he started swinging in the older kids swings very gently by himself and will happily stay there for long periods of time. It's a shame the swings are outside instead of inside. This afternoon while I was working on this report, he took off his overalls and his diaper and climb up onto the regular toilet in the kids' bathroom and sat for awhile all on his own. It was very cute until he decided to stick his feet in the toilet to splash in the water.