Wednesday, February 29, 2012

WW: Indoor Fort Fun

 The fort is set up in the girls' room.  If you look closely you'll see it's current inhabitant hiding under his fuzzy blanket to avoid the picture.
Happily his older siblings were more than willing to pose for pictures.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Winning His Spurs - Book 7 of 52 in 52

Winning His Spurs by Henty is an excellent piece of historical fiction set in England and the Holy Lands at the time of King Richard and the Crusades.  Cuthbert is a lad of 15.  He occupies a unique place on the lands of the Earl of Eversham since he is half Norman and half Saxon.  He is equally at home in the woods with the Saxon foresters or in the castle of the Norman earl.  One day Cuthbert witnesses the kidnapping of the Earl's daughter and with the help of the foresters succeeds in rescuing her.  When the earl seeks revenge on the neighboring lord, Cuthbert succeeds in finding a secret entrance to the castle making the success of the operation both quick and with minimal injuries.  Cuthbert's request when the earl offers him a reward is that the earl take him on as a page when he goes on his next campaign under the king.  That opportunity comes quickly as King Richard decides to lead an expedition to recapture Jerusalem.  Cuthbert's combination of courage, honesty, fighting skill, leadership and quick thinking earn him the respect of those around him, and he rises quickly from page to knight and finally earl.  But then, he returns home to find that Prince John has given his title and lands to another and refuses to uphold the decision of King Richard to make him the king.  The earl's daughter is hiding in a nearby convent to avoid marrying the false earl.  Cuthbert again exercises great character in patiently waiting for the right time to act openly while at the same time protecting both those he loves and those who follow him.

I've read several Henty books before this one, and I have to say this one is definitely my favorite so far.  Cuthbert is truly a remarkable young man possessing the type of character that makes him an excellent role model for young men.  The juxtaposition of Cuthbert's character to King Richard's sometimes rash and unrestrained behavior is striking and makes for an excellent topic of conversion.  He would also make an excellent contrast against the more modern flawed protagonist found in twentieth century writing.  I would consider this one a must read for boys.  Some of the other Henty books I would classify as entertaining and informative.  This one is also inspiring and thought provoking as well.  If your library doesn't have a copy like mine, try this free online version instead.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Week 24: More than just snow

Jessie's 7th Grade

  • Jessie finished chapter 9 in Lials and is back to working with exponents in chapter 10. 
  • She's been steadily working on adverbs in R&S with a brief one day break to complete a book report.
  • In CE 2, she finished lesson 18 and began lesson 19 this week.  It's our last stem lesson!!
  • In CW, she looked up quotes related to the maxim "Haste makes waste." at the online Bartlett's site and using an online Bible concordance to write a testimony paragraph.
  • We began reading The History of the Kings of Britain by Monmouth and continued Winning His Spurs by Henty (which we are reading online) for Omnibus.  We're a little behind in the discussions, but should have no trouble catching up either over the weekend or the beginning of next week.
  • In LA1, she has been learning even more new uses for the ablative and accusative cases.  She worked more on the imperfect case in EG2.
  • We began our second Critical Thinking in US History book on Monday as part of logic and are roughly halfway through The Art of Argument.

Violet's 5th Grade
  • Violet finished her IP section on measurements and completed two review exercises in her textbook and workbook.
  • In R&S 5, she completed the chapter on adverbs.  She also scored a 95% on her spelling test.
  • In CW Poetry, we worked with rhyme scheme, iambic meter, and finding the main idea in each stanza.
  • She began reading Johnny Tremain for literature while also continuing with Little Lord Fauntleroy.
  • Her Latin continued with demonstrative pronouns focusing on ille, illa, illud this week.
  • Add in a bit of dictation and logic and that sums up her core school work for the week.
Benny's 2nd Grade
  • Benny focused on multiplying and dividing by 5 and 10 in Singapore and continued to work with place value in Miquon.
  • He completed his last lesson in SWO B and began SWO C on Thursday.  He also finished learning the last two letters of the cursive alphabet on Wednesday and began a quick review of all of the letters on Thursday to determine which if any need some additional work before we begin cursive copywork.  We're still working on verbs for FLL.
  • In literature, he finished reading Speare's The Sign of the Beaver on Friday.  We also finished our read-aloud, The Dragon of Lonely Island.  At Benny's request, we're reading another Boxcar children book next, The Mystery of the Lake Monster by Warner.  He's been devouring Tin-Tin books in his spare time.
  • Add in a bit of critical thinking and that sums up his core subjects for the week.

This week in history, we focused on people rather than events reading biographies of Phillis Wheatley, Patrick Henry, and Paul Revere.  Jessie read Phillis Wheatley:  America's First Black Poetess by Fuller, Patrick Henry: Firebrand of the Revolution by Campion, and Paul Revere and the Minute Men by Fisher.  Violet read Revolutionary Poet  A Story about Phillis Wheatley by Weidt, Where Was Patrick Henry on the 29th of May? by Fritz, and And Then What Happened Paul Revere by Fritz.  Benny and I read A Voice of Her Own by Lasky, A Picture Book of Patrick Henry by Adler, and A Picture Book of Paul Revere by Adler.  All three completed summaries or narrations on each topic.


Jessie finished off lesson 19 in BJU Life this week on animal behavior and scored a 94% on her test.

Violet learned about televisions and

 had some fun playing around with different combinations of red, blue, and green light.  (I had some fun playing with the low light settings on the camera to take the pictures.)
She also read about fax machines and computers.  Obviously our simulated fax machine did not have a very good resolution.  She also completed the unit vocabulary crossword and quiz.

Benny and I read about crabs, hermit crabs, shrimp, and barnacles this week.


Jessie's making progress with the countries of South America.  Violet managed to escape without doing any geography this week.  Benny is continuing to practice his state song and began learning the southeastern states on the map.
Violet completed a Monet inspired picture with watercolor pencils and blue watercolor paint.
Benny actually voluntarily did art this week on his own choosing to make a duck with watercolor pencils.

 Henry and I continued to work on the letters A-D this week, read lots of books, and acted out the rhyme "Little Miss Muffet".  He also decided to do his own art project of balloons.
Short of playing in the snow, his next favorite part of the week was the puppet show Jessie put on one day with his stuffed Pooh bear and friends.  I was actually amazed how much of the original story Jessie knew from memory.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Friday, February 17, 2012

Week 23: Another Good Week

Jessie's 7th Grade

  • Jessie completed chapter 8 in Lials and moved on to chapter 9 covering various types of graphs.
  • In vocabulary, she completed lesson 17 and began lesson 18 of CE2.
  • In grammar, she completed the unit on adjectives and moved on to adverbs in R&S 7.
  • For CW, she continues to work through the theory portions of the 4th unit.  She practiced writing an example paragraph and learned about testimony paragraphs this week.
  • For Omnibus, we have finished Sayers' The Song of Roland for primary and began Henty's Winning His Spurs for secondary.
  • In Latin Alive 1, she worked on Latin cardinal numbers and ordinal numbers, completed another chapter reading, and began learning about partitive genitives in lesson 23. 
  • In EG2, she began working with the imperfect case of verbs.
  • We finished the first Critical Thinking in US history and began a new unit in Art of Argument.
Violet's 5th Grade

  • Violet began working on her IP section on decimals this week.
  • She scored another perfect spelling test in SWO G, worked with more adverbs in R&S, and talked me into letting her do dictation from the fourth Harry Potter book for the week.
  • For literature, she finished Yates' Amos Fortune, Free Man and began Johnny Tremain.  She also continued reading Burnett's Little Lord Fauntleroy.
  • In CW, she began her first week of Poetry for Beginners.  We talked about rhyme, rhythm, stanzas, etc. and she practiced imitating a nursery rhyme by substituting for the nouns and pronouns while keeping the rhyme and rhythm the same.
  • Violet worked on the demonstrative pronoun hic, haec, hoc in LfC B.  In BTS 2, she worked with Venn diagrams.  She also completed 2 more Mind Benders puzzles and another 6 pages of Think-a-Grams.

Benny's 2nd Grade

  • Benny continued multiplying and dividing by 4 this week in Singapore 2B while working with place value in Miquon Green.
  • He copied Proverbs 3:5-6 for copywork while also learning the cursive letters Tt, Uu, Vv, Ww, and Xx.
  • In grammar, we continued working on verbs especially the helping verb list.
  • He's continuing to enjoy reading The Sign of the Beaver by Speare for phonics and listening to me read The Dragon of Lonely Island for literature.
  • In BTS 1, he's been grouping shapes based on similar characteristics of shape, size, or color; and his Mind Benders book is going very well.
In history this week, we covered the composers Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as well as the events leading up to and including the Boston Tea Party in America.  Jessie read The Life and Times of Franz Joseph Haydn by Zannos and The Life and Times of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart by Bankston, outlined from Guerber's The Story of the Thirteen Colonies covering the Stamp Act and the Boston Massacre, read Phelan's The Story of the Boston Massacre for additional information, and summarized Oleksy's The Boston Tea Party.  Violet read Hadyn by Rachlin and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart by Venezia and then used the Guerber text for her remaining outline and summary.  Benny read the same two composer books as well as Mozart by Rachlin, a bit of SOTW 3, and The Boston Tea Party by Kroll.
Jessie learned about birds and mammals this week in BJU Life Science.  She examined a contour feather and down feather in our microscope

and scored a perfect 100% on her chapter test.
Violet began her final God's Design book on inventions and technology.  She studied Gutenburg and the printing press and had some fun with Jessie's letter stamps.  She deciphered some Morse code after learning about the telegraph, built a cup and string telephone, and learned about radios as well.
Benny and I have been reading about crutstaceans this week.  After covering some general information, we learned about lobsters, crayfish, and crabs.  He also made part of his clay animals from the last lesson, but after 3 sharks was ready for a break so we still have a ray or two to make next week.


Jessie has moved up to level 4 in her Latin American countries.  Violet took a break from the online game and labeled the states on a blank US map this week.  Benny has finished all of the states in his 50 states song.
Violet drew a sea turtle and colored it in with watercolor pictures this week.  Benny thought he did enough art for science.

We introduced the letter D and d this week as well as the number 3 and I finally pulled out the alphabet egg puzzles and counting frogs that Benny used.  We also had lots of fun with the nursery rhyme "Jack and Jill" by acting it out each day running up the hill (across the room), falling down, and rolling back down (back across the room).  Henry selected a mixture of library books and books we own for reading together.
Henry also spent the whole week trying to avoid having his picture taken.  This was one of his attempts on Friday.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Song of Roland - Book 6 of 52 in 52

The Song of Roland translated by Sayers is one of the oldest and best-known examples of a ballad of chivalry from medieval France.  It is based on the historic death of Roland, the nephew of Charlemagne, in ambush by the Basques of Spain.  The events of the ballad are historically inaccurate on many points; however, this does not diminish the value of the text.  It serves as an excellent reference point for medieval Christian chivalry.  There is courage, honor, and adventure intertwined with betrayal and revenge to grip the reader's attention.  Modern readers will be challenged by the example of Roland and his companions to live out their Christianity in the real world as best they are able.  The text provides a basis for the discussion of the long division between Islam and Christianity as well as Islam and Western society or for more basic topics of trust or leadership.  At it's core, it is a tale meant to not only entertain but to inspire and as such well deserves its place among the great books.  Definitely a must read!!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Week 22: Back up to Speed

Jessie's 7th Grade
  • Jessie worked on various measurement problems this week involving converting between English and metric units.  Most of the information was review except for the introduction of the formulas to convert between Celsius and Fahrenheit.
  • In language arts, she worked with various types of adjective clauses for R&S and completed lesson 16 in CE.
  • For CW, we finished editing last week's draft from unit 3 while beginning work on unit 4.  She analyzed the rhetoric styles in the Gettysburg address and completed some research on Benjamin Franklin to use to write an encomium paragraph on Friday.
  • We finally got back up to speed with Omnibus beginning Sayers' The Song of Roland for primary and finishing Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream for secondary.
  • In Latin, she breezed through her 5th Latin unit reading and began working on chapter 22 with new vocabulary and a review of Roman numerals.
  • For logic, she struggled a bit remembering all of the fallacy names for her unit test, so I had her make cards for each fallacy in Art of Argument that we have covered so far to use for review purposes.
Violet's 5th Grade
  • Violet has been working on converting between metric units (km to m) and English units (lbs to oz).
  • She completed lesson 21 in SWO G and moved on from adjectives to adverbs in R&S with a brief lesson on rhyme and rhythm in poetry.
  • In CW, she completed her final lesson in Homer for the year rewriting Anderson's "The Emperor's New Clothes".  I think we're going to incorporate some of the analysis work into her dictation for the remainder of the year to keep her skills fresh, but go ahead with Poetry next week.
  • For literature, she continued with Amos Fortune, Free Man while also beginning Little Lord Fauntleroy by Burnett.
  • Her Latin for the week was a review chapter, and she completed her regular logic work as well.

Benny's 2nd Grade
  • Benny completed his first IP section in Singapore 2B and began a new unit on the multiplication tables for 4, 5 and 10.  His Miquon assignments have involved greater than, less than, equal, or not equal to statements.
  • He finished lesson 34 in SWO B, learned the cursive letters Pp through Ss, and copied his new memory verse for copywork.
  • Yes, that's actually school work on the right.  We reviewed verbs in grammar and as part of the review acted out several action verbs.
  • In literature, he continues to read Speare's The Sign of the Beaver to me, while I finished reading Mary Jemison:  Seneca Captive to him and began The Dragon of Lonely Island.
  • In logic, he is grouping shapes based on common characteristics in Building Thinking Skills, and he finished his first Mind Benders book and moved onto Beginning Book 2.
The girls outlined a chapter from Guerber's The Story of the Thirteen Colonies on Pontiac's uprising.  They summarized another chapter covering Daniel Boone.  Jessie read James Cook and the Exploration of the Pacific by Shields while Violet read SOTW 3 on Cook.  Both read SOTW 3 to cover Catherine the Great and wrote summaries of both Cook and Catherine.  I also had them complete the related SOTW mapwork using blank maps.
Benny and I read from SOTW 3 to cover the black hole of Calcutta, Cook, and Catherine the Great.  For Daniel Boone, we read Brandt's Daniel Boone:  Frontier Adventures.  He also completed maps for Cook and Catherine.


Jessie completed chapter 17 in Life Science and began chapter 18 covering endothermic animals and birds.
We did attempt a frog dissection with mixed results.  The instructions in the book could have used better directions with some illustrations.  We finally took a break, looked at a virtual dissection online, and them return to finish with our frog.

Violet finished up her Machines and Motion book.

Benny finished learning about sharks and also learned about lampreys and hagfish.  He hasn't completed his clay animals yet because I've been letting him play with the neighbor who had a few days off from school for several doctor visits to determine if he had fractured his wrist from soccer practice.


Violet drew a covered wagon and Indian canoe this week from a Daniel Boone book, but both disappeared before I took pictures.  All completed their regular geography games.

As you can see, Henry always has plenty of book ready for our time together.  We also learned the letters Cc and the nursery rhyme "Hey Diddle Diddle" this week.  He did a few Kumon cutting pages.
 He loves to sit and "read" to himself as long as no one else is listening to his stories
and still manages to find new ways to obtain and use his sibling's belongings.  This particular morning he launched an early raid of Benny's Snap Circuits.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sink Reflections - Book 5 of 52 in 52

I did a thorough review of this book two years ago, so I won't repost a new review this time.  Why reread it this year? 

1.  Inspiration - cleaning the same messes over and over every day gets wearing over time.  It's a great pep talk to get motivated again.


2.  Organization - I have a decent weekly cleaning system in place, but I wanted to expand on the zone idea so I went back for a refresher.  Her zones still absolutely will not work for me, so I set up my own instead.  My plan for starting rather than worry about those detailed cleaning lists is just to pick a few of those odd jobs in each zone that I never get around to doing otherwise and work on them room by room for February.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Week 21: More Sick Kids

We had a bit of a rough week.  Henry managed to spread his germs to both Jessie and Violet.  Jessie was sick at the beginning of the week, and Violet around the middle.  Benny escaped the germs by heading outside to enjoy the beautiful, unseasonably warm weather.
Jessie's 7th Grade
  • Jessie finished up chapter 7 in Lial's on percents.  The real life application problems with earned interest, simple interest loans, sales tax, discount pricing, and restaurant tipping made the material more interesting this week.
  • We took another week off from Omnibus partially because Jessie was sick at the beginning of the week and partially because we were still waiting on the next book to arrive.
  • In CW, we began our 3rd writing project.  Unfortunately, I realized when she had written her rough draft that she had read ahead and looked at the finished sample at the end of the chapter.  I gave her a new fable and maxim this morning, and she's written a new rough draft which we will edit next week.
  • She complete lesson 15 in Caesar's English and worked with degrees of adjectives and verbals as adjectives in R&S.  Friday's assignment was descriptive writing.  I particularly liked her rooster description in #5 and her description of an old truck in part B.
  • She focused on the dative case in Greek, and we spent some extra time shoring up her vocabulary.  (My fault for not reviewing more frequently).  In Latin, she completed lesson 21 on irregular adjectives and verbs and negative commands.  We looked at foreign views of the US Constitution and completed a chapter and unit test on fallacies for logic.

Violet's 5th Grade
  • Violet continued working with decimals this week with a focus on dividing by 10, 100, and 1000.
  • She completed Verne's Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Brill's Madeline Takes Command in literature this week.  She started Amos Fortune, Free Man for her historical fiction selection and will have a new challenge book on Monday.
  • She scored a 100% on her spelling test!!!
  • "The Tale of Circe" was her model for CW Homer this week.  All of our sentence shuffles seem to finally be paying off.  She gave me a carefully written rough draft with good detail and description.  The only change she had to make was correct one misspelled word.  YEAH!!
  • We did a mixture of book selections for dictation.  She worked on limiting and descriptive adjectives in grammar and completed her regular Building Thinking Skills  and Mind Benders B3 exercises.
  • Latin consisted of learning the 3rde declension I stem endings, new third declension nouns, and a mixture of practice exercises.
Benny's 2nd Grade
  • Benny completed his section on mental addition and subtraction in his Singapore textbook and began the corresponding IP section.  His Miquon exercises were mainly a mixture of review topics.
  • He continued reading Speare's The Sign of the Beaver to me.  I finished reading Estes' Ginger Pye to him, and we began reading Mary Jemison Seneca Captive by Gardner as it was too long to fit into just our history time.
  • In grammar, he learned about helping verbs and started memorizing the list of helping verbs.  We finished copying the definition of a verb and started on the list of helping verbs for copywork.  In cursive handwriting, we're up to the letters Oo now.
  • He completed memorizing the poem God Hath Not Promised and is very close to finished Psalm 100 but still skips sections at times.
Our history focus this week was on the French and Indian War or the Seven Years War.  All the kids read about the French building forts along in the Ohio valley, how George Washington acted as a messenger and tried to build a fort, and the mistakes of General Braddock.  The girls read from Guerber's The Story of the Thirteen Colonies and Benny from SOTW 3.  The girls also learned about Wolfe and the battles in Canada from Guerber as well as the war in India and the black hole of Calcutta from Marshall's Our Island Story.  With Benny I decided to take a different tack this week and add in more historical fiction.  He enjoyed Edmonds' Matchlock Gun and the portion of Gardner's Mary Jemison:  Seneca Captive that we have read thus far.  He did complete the associated mapwork from SOTW 3 as well.

Jessie has learned about fish and amphibians this week.  For some insane reason I scheduled her frog dissection for Friday afternoon.  We'll either do it over the weekend or on Monday instead.

Violet learned about pendulums and proved that the period of a pendulum is not affected by mass or height but by the length of the pendulum.  (The book called for washers, but we substituted canning rings instead.)  She finished a vocabulary review and quiz before moving on the the final unit.
Her challenge on Thursday after reading about machines used in history was to build a structure with wooden blocks without touching the blocks.  She could use a combination of levers, wedges, and rollers.  She managed quite well with just two toothpicks.
Benny and I finished reading about fish.  He made a clay tuna, flounder and two angelfish for his ocean box.  We also started read about cartilaginous fish and measured our living room to see if a manta ray with a 22 foot span would fit.  Benny's solution:  "Well, we could turn it diagonally and it might work."


Jessie continues to work on South American countries.  Violet is on level 4 of the states challenge.  Benny is up to Washington in his song and ready for new states on the map as well.
 For art, Violet chose to paint a vase of flowers,
and Benny opted to draw a turkey although it obviously does not fill the entire page of paper.

 Henry learned about the letters Bb this week.  We stamped them on the drawing board, traced the magnets with our fingers, pointed them out on the front of his Bible, and practiced finding them in a mixture of letters on the fridge.
We also learned about the number two.  Henry's favorite activity was placing the correct number of pieces of candy corn on the correct number.  Yummy math is always the best.

In addition to our regular reading, we sang the rhyme "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" and did a few cutting pages this week.  He also did lots of drawing on paper as seen above and on the drawing board as seen in Wednesday's post below.