Sunday, October 19, 2014

Learning Notes VIII

Brigid has figured out she can crawl under the bunk beds and will do so if she can escape my putting her to bed.
Monday, October 13th

James didn't have off for Columbus Day and I wasn't about to waste a day I wasn't in labor, so we got off to a bright and early start. Cecilia whizzed through her handwriting, Spelling and English and then began working on the next stanza of her poem. Elizabeth did her phonics, handwriting, spelling and rehearsed her poem "Singing Time" very well. Felicity finished memorizing her poem, "Bed in Summer," did 1 page in phonics, and completed her handwriting and spelling. 
Teresa dressed up as Frozen's Anna. 
After lunch, Cecilia put on a magic show for Felicity and Elizabeth. Once I had Brigid down for her nap, I sat down with the older girls to do religion. We read about the 10 Commandments being given to Moses on Mt. Sinai and the Israelites' big oops with the golden calf. Felicity didn't understand about the golden calf until I compared it to us praying to her light up unicorn figurine upstairs and she began laughing at the thought; she understood how silly it is. We talked about the differences between venial sins and mortal sins and why the Israelites worship of the golden calf was so serious a sin. We talked about the manna God gave them in the dessert and what a quail was and how Jesus is our "bread from Heaven" in the Eucharist. We talked about the ark of the covenant and what it looked like and how important it was and the similarities to Mary and the Church and how God dwelt with Israel in the tent tabernacle and with us in the Eucharist in the tabernacle. The girls colored pictures of Moses receiving the commandments and the people worshiping the golden calf and of the ark. We read about the death of Moses but the text didn't explain why Moses couldn't enter the promised land, so we went back to my bible and read about the water at Meribah and that while Moses was a great prophet and incredibly important, he wasn't perfect. 

I admit by the time we had discussed all that, it had been almost an hour and the girls were about done. They did want to watch The Prince of Egypt again though, so I called it a day and they put on the movie. Not bad for a rainy 38 week Monday. :)

Tuesday, October 14th

Since I had my weekly check up at 10:30, I knew we would only get so much done this morning. Elizabeth did 8 of her 10 math pages while Felicity did all her phonics and Cecilia did one math lesson and finished memorizing the second to last stanza of her poem. 

I was planning to do our Science lesson on energy in the afternoon but we've been having internet problems and I had the AT&T technician here for two hours trying to fix the problem. Needless to say, we never got to Science. So today was a very light but not totally unproductive day. Felicity, Elizabeth and Teresa got to play outside for a little bit between rain showers and, frankly, I made this week light for a reason. :)
Brigid dove into my cherry tomatoes and dip. 


Wednesday, October 15th

This morning I was determined to get as close to being done for the week as possible. Elizabeth finished her last two pages in math and then did her english. Cecilia, it turned out, only needed to finish two lessons in math, which she did, and then typed up the stanzas from her poem she has learned and spent some time practicing typing on the Typing Instructor for Kids program. Felicity slowly, but eventually, finished all her math for the week. 

After lunch I saw down with the oldest three and talked about energy. We discussed how our bodies get energy, both from sleep and from food. And we talked about different kinds of energy, particularly solar, hydro, fire (coal and wood), wind and electric, referencing the DK Eyewitness book on Energy. Now, I didn't have any experiments lined up for this topic. I don't have a steam powered boat, I'm totally inept at electric magnets and it has been too cloudy, rainy and chilly to make anything solar possible. By this point, Elizabeth's interest was gone anyway, so I let her go play. I pulled out their AHG books though and found a badge on caring for our environment and we focused on ways we use energy as well as ways to conserve energy. We defined what "environment" and "ecosystem" ae. We talked about how to conserve water and conserve electricity and how to make our homes more energy efficient as well as how to care for our environment, from which we get or create energy. We defined what "environment" and "ecosystem" are. So it was kind of half a lesson on what energy is and half a lesson on where energy comes from and how we can best care for the environment from which we get our energy. For example, we talked about not polluting the water we want to use in dams or waterwheels and we talked about the dangers of oil spills and how those need to be cleaned up. I think Felicity and Cecilia might have been able to earn that badge though, which would be nice. Considering the complexity of the subject and the age of the girls though, I thought we did a decent job by it. 

My view during the Sunday afternoon football game. 
Thursday, October 16th

The only school we have left, aside from the sewing we are still behind on (but again... Wisconsin winter I expect to allow time for that), is Felicity's english. Cecilia began the day working on her latch hook rug and inspired Felicity and Elizabeth to do the same but they became frustrated quickly and stopped. So I helped Felicity do her english, which officially finished our school for the week. 

One of Brigid's later nights. She crash napped and woke crying but, after bringing her to our bed, our Netflix bored her to sleep...with her bears of course. 
Now I hope to rest, clean up a bit, and get ready to meet baby #6, who I hope will not keep us waiting too long. 

Visit Melanie at The Wine Dark Sea for more Guilt Free Learning Notes! :)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Learning Notes VII

Cecilia was inspired by Melanie's Bella and her leaf drawings and spent Sunday afternoon drawing and coloring her own. 

Monday, October 6th

The morning got off to a slow start. After several night bathroom visits, I was awaked at 3:15 to Teresa head butting me in the back in her sleep. I tried to reposition her but over the course of the following 45 minutes she continued to whack me with her hand and arm and generally rotate 90 degrees. Around 4am her massage of kicking James in the back woke him and he took her back to her own bed. I prayed the rosary until I fell back asleep around 4:30 but totally didn't want to get up at 7. 

So we didn't even start school until 9 and I can't say as any of us were especially eager. Felicity did her handwriting and geography and then trudged through Phonics. Cecilia did her geography, handwriting, spelling and vocabulary. But Elizabeth impressed me the most. She got done her handwriting, latin, poetry ("Singing Time" by Rose Fyleman) and spelling, all within the first hour. Not bad for a 5 year old.

After I got to eat my lunch, I answered a few emails, put Brigid down for her nap, made a phone call and caught up on Facebook before sitting down with the oldest three to do history. Teresa joined us and was very upset I hadn't made a copy of the map of the US for her to color as well. I'm going to need to make her copies too from now on. Fortunately once Elizabeth was done she donated hers so Teresa could complete it. We read about the Oregon Trail and the pioneering move west, which really made me want to commission them all to start reading Little House on the Prairie again but I didn't. Cecilia is in the middle of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and Felicity is working through The Black Cauldron so it isn't a good time to hoist another series on them. The girls got a kick out of some of the Native American names like Geronimo and Crazy Horse. Then we read about Andrew Carnegie and the general difficulties concerning the influx of factories around the turn of the century, what it means to own stock in a company and a bit about his philosophy on wealth. And I told them the old Carnegie Hall joke. "How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice!" :)

We all had dinner at Pizza Hut (dinner for 7 under $40!) and then went to our AHG meeting. Since the troop is so new, they are mainly practicing the flag ceremonies and the AHG Oath and Creed. Cecilia and Felicity are already very familiar with them but they did get to practice the proper way to fold the American flag. James watched Brigid and Teresa while they played with a few other younger siblings and I accompanied Elizabeth and the Pathfinders. They learned about Fanny Crosby and what it means to be blind and wrote their names in "braille" (they filled in dots rather than raising them). The troop seems to be coming together nicely but they also seem so concerned with learning the new AHG stuff they aren't taking much time to learn each other's names. I've commissioned Cecilia and Felicity to help Elizabeth learn the Oath. 

Tuesday, October 7th

School got off to a good start. Elizabeth got all of her phonics done and did it almost entirely by herself without any help from me. She also did her geography. Cecilia did her latin, two math lessons,  and memorized the next stanza from O Captain, My Captain. Felicity did her English and half of her latin. 

Felicity went with me for my weekly check up. She loved hearing the baby's heartbeat, which was in the 130s. I'd been having indigestion and reflux after anything and everything I'd eat, so I figured he had migrated up a bit. Turns out he is as far down as usual, just getting bigger. Measuring 38 weeks. 

The afternoon was pretty lazy and laid back. With chocolate. It is hard to get much done when you can just sit and watch this :)



Wednesday, October 8th

School did not go very well today. We got off to a late start. Cecilia and Felicity asked to go work in their bedroom, which was fine with me, until they came down twice bickering. Then I insisted they return to the table. Teresa and Brigid wouldn't give us a break all morning. They both constantly either wanted to be at the table with us or were causing trouble for each other. I lost my temper, the girls got upset and the whole morning was a disappointment. All Elizabeth got done in a 2 hour span was 3 pages of math but I gave up after that. Cecilia only got one math lesson done. Felicity made more progress than the others. She completed her spelling lesson, finished her latin and memorized the second stanza of "Bed in Summer."It definitely wasn't our most productive or pleasant morning.

Fortunately the afternoon was an improvement. It was gorgeous outside and, despite the fact the backyard isn't fenced yet, I let the oldest four out informing the oldest three they were to supervise Teresa. They played well and raked leaves in the back yard for a good 20-30 minutes but, shocker, Teresa couldn't just stay back there and wandered out front. That was when I had to join them. Since Brigid was still napping, we pulled out the bikes.



We live at the end of the street, which generally makes for very little traffic although we had 4 vehicles all come down just while we were out there... all the way to the end of the street just to turn around and then two left. Why drive all the way to the end only to turn around? I may need to get one of those "Children at Play" signs just to hint that they should turn around before they get to the end of the street.

 Cecilia brought out the rake and raked up a huge pile of leaves for her sisters to ride or jump into.


 Teresa had an absolute ball!


She really got into burying herself in the pile.



Thursday, October 9th

School definitely went better. Elizabeth finished all her math and her english while Cecilia finished her math for the week and her english and Felicity finished her math for the week. It was a bit weird and crazy trying to instruct 1st grade math, 2nd grade math and 4th grade math all at the same time but at least today had no screaming and no tears.
Brigid takes center table while Teresa colors and her sisters do their work. 
After lunch and Brigid was down for her nap, we finished the story of Moses and the plagues and the crossing of the Red Sea. We discussed how the Passover foreshadows the Last Supper and the lambs foreshadow Jesus and the passing through the Red Sea's similarities to Baptism. Then the girls watched The Prince of Egypt.

Friday, October 10th

The only thing we had left for the week were our Science lessons, which I simply hadn't gotten to, so I made a point of doing Science today.

We kicked off the morning doing our unit on weather. Cecilia had actually already read through all the books I'd gotten on the subject so she was happy to open the books to relevant pictures and inform her sisters a few of the things she had learned. She loves meteorology and goes back and forth between wanting to make animated films and be a meteorologist. I had purchased The Magic School Bus at the Waterworks and The Magic School Bus Inside a Hurricane, both by Joanna Cole. I'd also bought DK Eyewitness Books: Weather by Brian Cosgrove and Weather (Eye Wonder) by DK Publishing as well as a cloud chart on the different types of clouds.

We began by discussing the water cycle and the types of clouds. It didn't take long for the girls to jump from thunder storms to tornados and hurricanes, both of which we went over and watched a video of a tornado. We talked about their categories and force as well as how to prepare for one. We talked about Bentley and his photography of snowflakes and pulled out our copy of Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin. We talked about hail and its different sizes as well as a bit about air pressure and humidity.

It was about when Felicity said, "Are we gonna do anything or are we just talking?!?" I knew I was starting to lose them then so we moved on to a few experiments. We used boiling hot water in a jar with a paper plate and a few ice cubes to make condensation/rain. We used the same boiling hot water in a jar and ice cubes with a strainer to create fog. We also used the same jar (multipurpose for the win!) with cold water, vinegar and dish soap to create our own tornado. The older girls had made wind socks and rain gauges last spring, so I didn't expend any energy doing that again but we did talk about sun dials and weather vanes and how to tell which way the wind is blowing from by wetting your finger. And finally each had the opportunity to color a set of trees for each of the different seasons. Cecilia didn't tire or get distracted through any of it. She loves this subject. By the end Elizabeth was, well, acting like a 5 year old and even Felicity had had enough. So we ended there. But since I bought the above books, they can always go back and learn more and review and soak more in when they are ready.
Brigid has a few late nights this week.  
She coped by hanging out with us, chewing on a toy shark, you know. 
Still cute though, even at 10 o'clock. 
Sharing a "cookie". She has been getting two upper teeth this week.
Hard to resist that face.
When you consider a teething one year old, the fact Teresa had 3 rough nights with screaming fits of hysterics, and the fact that I am now 38 weeks, I think we did pretty well. We didn't get go over energy at all as a Science lesson, but we will get there. I don't have much in terms of experiments lined up for that one anyway. And, fortunately, I've scheduled next week on the lighter side with no latin, vocabulary, geography or history. So, barring the arrival of the little one, we should be able to do a lesson on energy next week.

Visit Melanie for more Guilt Free Learning Links! :)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Cecilia's Lego Movies


On my iPad I have an app called LEGO Movie Maker and she has spent quite a bit of time using it to make her own movies. I'm amazed and impressed by how much she put into these.











Not bad for an 8 year old huh? :)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Learning Notes VI

MONDAY

Cecilia caught up in Poetry memorizing her third stanza of Whitman's O Captain, My Captain. She also did one Saxon Math lesson... 7 more to be all caught up!

Elizabeth did her Phonics and so is now all caught up in that. She also got done a reading lesson before needing a break. 6 Reading lessons to go to finish the book and I am so counting down!

And Felicity, who only needed group subjects to do, complained she was bored and had no one to play with. If I have to hear that every day I will find some school work for her to do. ;)

After cleaning up lunch and putting Brigid down for her nap, I gathered the three oldest and we did the first of the two Science lessons we missed. I simply couldn't pull out many glass containers or vinegar or candles the week we were moving but we did today. We went over the three states of matter. We put out three candles pouring the carbon dioxide we created by mixing baking soda and vinegar. We picked up ice cubes using string and salt. We used instant gel to turn liquid water into a solid (which was not easy to keep Teresa from eating!). And, just as a simple demonstration of the fact that air exerts pressure, we crushed a soda can after heating it and moving it to ice water. I'm sorry I have no pictures but, on Sunday, this happened

And I do have a camera and can take pictures (like this one!) with the iPad, but I didn't have either on hand and was a bit busy juggling fire, a hot stove and vinegar with 4 kids eager to see and help. Can't blame the phone on the kids either... I dropped it getting into the car onto the concrete driveway.

After Elizabeth finished a second reading lesson, the afternoon was spent with puzzles and Legos.

TUESDAY

School was delayed. I had my weekly checkup, all looking good and measuring about 37 weeks. Since the kids don't get out a whole lot at the moment, we all went. The younger ones enjoyed playing in the waiting area and Cecilia accompanied me through my appointment. She has also asked to be there when her brother is born. Afterwards we dealt with my phone situation so that I can make phone calls. Being home alone with 5 kids while full term and not having a reliable way to make a phone call is only amusing for so long.

After we got home, Cecilia did one math lesson and Elizabeth did a reading lesson. Then the girls put away their laundry and played the rest of the afternoon. James watched The Black Cauldron with Cecilia and Felicity finished reading The Book of Three.

WEDNESDAY

Well, Cecilia finished 2 Math lessons and Elizabeth did 3 reading lessons. Seeing the end of the book so near was definitely motivating her. We also did a music lesson focusing on the Brass instruments. They also officially think it is pretty gross any instrument needs a "spit valve" but I'm hoping maybe I can get James to pull out his trumpet at some time and show them the different parts and maybe play just a little for them. We use Robert Levine's The Story of the Orchestra and then play around on the San Francisco Symphony's website for kids. That way we learn a bit about the history of the instrument, what it looks like, how it is different from other instruments and get to hear what it sounds like. We also bought tickets to take the older three girls to a performance of the Milwaukee Sypmhony Orchestra in December with music set to the story of The Polar Express so they can hear a live orchestra and, hopefully from the balcony wing, see it too!

Otherwise, the kids read, cleaned and played. I finished organizing the DVDs in the living room, which got rid of the last box in that room. I also vacuumed the living room and my office and swept the hallway and kitchen. Then I re-made Elizabeth's and Teresa's beds and snuck a nice chunk of stuffed animals out of their room to hide and see if they miss any of them because Holy Stuffed Animals, Batman! They have so many they don't know what to do with them all except crowd their beds with them until there is no room for them to sleep. The difference between unpacking and nesting? Nesting involves cleaning.

THURSDAY

I got up to discover Brigid's diaper had leaked during the night, so I kicked off the day with a load of laundry. Then I began unpacking boxes in my bedroom of picture frames and statues for my bureau and the girls' dresser.
Cecilia did two Math lessons, and I'm thrilled to say she is getting better about working more independently (as opposed to insisting she needed help when all she really needed was to read the instructions). And Elizabeth finished her final lesson in Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. Honestly she is reading very well, beyond any BOB books. She struggles with some words but generally speaking she had taken off with her reading.
After lunch and I had Brigid down for a nap on her clean bedding, we did another music lesson, making us all caught up in music. We went over the instruments of the orchestra that are woodwinds. Cecilia pulled out our recorder to demonstrate and we went over the differences in the instruments, a bit about their histories and listened to selections highlighting each one. While Cecilia is still adamant she wants to learn the harp, Felicity is now asking for a violin and Elizabeth wants to learn the flute. Now if I could only find a harpist/flutist/violinist to give them all lessons. :)

I then pulled out all the winter coats and snow suits. We've been warned about Wisconsin winters and needed to see which coats fit which girls and if those coats will be warm enough. Fortunately we had invested in LL Bean coats that, while not exceptionally thick, are designed to warm as low as 10 degrees with little movement or -15 degrees with significant activity. Frankly, colder than that, I wouldn't want them outside anyway. So we actually have sufficient coats for all but Cecilia, who insists on growing bigger each year. We also have snow pants for three of the girls but will need to get one for Cecilia and one for Elizabeth. (Considering the previous few winters in Maryland we hadn't invested in new snow pants in a while.)

I then set about cleaning and organizing Brigid's room. I unpacked the cloth diapers, baby blankets, and two boxes worth of saint statues and little things the girls have made or collected.

I also came to the conclusion I am going to need to stop doing as much as I have been every day. While Braxton-Hicks contractions don't hurt or start labor, I'm giving myself quite a few of them and they aren't always fun to stand or walk through. The main and upper floors are both pretty unpacked and functional now anyway so, apart from getting some curtains up in the kids room and switching out the girls' spring/summer dresses for fall/winter ones, I think it is more than reasonable to say that, if it isn't unpacked now, it can probably wait a few weeks.

FRIDAY

Cecilia finished her last two Math lessons and got completely caught up in Math. Wohoo! She actually did a happy dance afterwards.
I almost completely finished organizing Brigid's room and nicely arranged the Saint statues on the girls' dresser.
James took Cecilia out and got her a new winter coat and snow pants for Elizabeth. We will have to order Cecilia's snow pants since they didn't have her size available at the store.

Basically, we got completely caught up except for a Science lesson on weather and some sewing. The weather books didn't arrive until Thursday evening and I just wasn't up for it on Friday. And I haven't unpacked all the sewing supplies yet. I am assuming, though, that a Wisconsin winter will afford plenty of time for sewing. We have another Science lesson scheduled for next week, but not one we can do many experiments with, so I think we'll try to do both Science lessons next week.

Thanks to Melanie for hosting! :)


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Learning Notes V

MONDAY 

Because Felicity was all caught up, she thought she didn't have to do any school this week. Silly girl. Scheduled Catch Up week isn't until next week and it is then I hope we will be able to catch up on Science and Music, both of which we fell behind on during the move.

It was a bit of a weird opposite day. While Felicity usually just plows through work and Cecilia procrastinates, this morning Cecilia got done her Handwriting, Geography, English and Spelling while Felicity did her Geography and struggled to finish her Phonics. Elizabeth got done about 6 pages in Math and then finished her Poem from last week. Opposite morning extended to the little ones as well as Teresa was surprisingly good, cheerful and out of trouble and Brigid was a supreme grump. Go figure.

The afternoon was spent trying to make sense out of the mess of my office/desk area and condense the 3 messy kitchen counters into one. By 4pm I was too tired and refused to move. But fortunately that is also when James got home to make a delicious spaghetti and meatball dinner with baguettes from Panera Bread. Mmmmm.
Brigid decided to join us.
TUESDAY

Tuesday went pretty well. Brigid was still grumpy - getting up at 7 definitely doesn't agree with her, but Cecilia got a Vocabulary lesson, her Latin and her Typing done. Felicity got done her Latin and English. And Elizabeth got done her Spelling, English, Geography and a Reading lesson. Since Elizabeth still had more work to do at this point I spent more time with her this morning.

That afternoon I had my weekly checkup. When you are almost 36 weeks and measuring 37, they like to see how you are doing pretty frequently. Afterwards I worked on organizing and unpacking all of my homeschool books, papers, and supplies. I only got through 3 of the 4 boxes but progress is progress.


WEDNESDAY

Wednesday we cancelled our morning school time in favor of a local playdate at a park with a great playground to meet some other Catholic families in the area. It was a bit warm and the bees were bothersome but the kids had fun and I got to chat with a few moms. One is moving soon to South Carolina. One moved here last November but is looking for a doctor as she is 9 weeks pregnant. Several homeschooled. Most had boys but there were a few other girls (we definitely helped balance it out!). We stayed about an hour and a half until Cecilia insisted she was going to faint or be sick without lunch, more water and shade and Teresa began wandering off twice. I really wanted to take them to Chick Fil-A for lunch but, alas, the only one outside of a mall and less than a 30 minute drive still hasn't opened yet. So we wound up at McDonalds.
I hate clowns. It drives me crazy how the kids ask me to take pictures of them with this thing. 
I keep hoping Teresa will just poke him in the eye. Did I mention I hate clowns? :)
After we got home and got Brigid down for a nap, Cecilia, Felicity and I did religion and began going over the story of Moses. The book, once again, divides the stories into two chapters but since I was losing the younger two by the end of the first chapter, I figured it was just as well to wait two weeks when we will get to the second chapter to finish the story.

Cecilia finished reading the second book in Lloyd Alexander's Prydain series and is now asking to watch Disney's The Black Cauldron. (We told her she couldn't watch it until she had read at least the first two books. It barely resembles anything of the books but the villain is particularly scary and having read his demise in the first book would help.)

THURSDAY

Thursday Felicity finished all her school for the week, which included Poetry and 10 pages of Math. Cecilia got done a Vocabulary lesson and practiced Typing some more. Elizabeth finished her Math for the week and did her Poetry and two weeks worth of back Latin. Elizabeth has been a bit ahead in Handwriting and that is why she didn't need to do any this week. Same for Felicity.

I spent a couple of hours organizing my office space and finally getting all the remaining boxes out of it, homeschool books and supplies organized and everything off the floor. Although it isn't set up yet, I also got the bassinet/pack 'n play in there so Mr. Newby will be able to nap in my office on the main floor during the day while I'm doing school and I won't need to be running up and down stairs very much.
The girls thought my walls were far too bare so they colored some spare coloring pages and hung them up for me.
Must have books.
The closet has gift wrapping supplies, all of my art and craft and scrapbook supplies, homeschool supplies, basic sewing supplies and candles. You know, mom's stuff. :)
Cecilia spent the afternoon editing a movie she made on my iPad of Lego mini figures in which she sings, narrates and voice acts the entire thing. It is really rather impressive but I'm afraid it is far too long for me to put online. :(

Felicity spent most of the week reading a children's bible. She recapped every story in Genesis to me before plowing through many of the stories before telling me she had "read the whole bible."

FRIDAY

Although I wasn't planning on doing much schoolwork on Friday, Cecilia did her last Vocabulary lesson to be all caught up in Vocabulary and Elizabeth did two more weeks worth of Latin to be all caught up in Latin.

I spent the afternoon cleaning off the kitchen counter. You know how you have that one table or counter where stuff just accumulates? Well, after moving in and trying to unpack and organize, we had three. I had condensed it to one, with a bit of overflow onto the second but, well, it was starting to drive me crazy, so I finally spent a few hours going through all of it resulting in this
It was a vast improvement. School books, crayons, colored pencils, tissues, wipes and a pencil sharpener remained on a clean counter. All that remains to be gone through fits in the red container above. It is so nice to have a clean counter for our daily school supplies!

Happily this means that the main living level of the house it just about set and fully functional. All I have left to organize really, beside that red container, are the DVDs. Which, considering I'm now 36 weeks, is nice. I even got the bassinet in my office finished and ready for baby boy and all the newborn/0-3 month clothes ready as well.

Certainly a productive week. Next week is my scheduled Catch Up week, which will be nice and should be relatively easy-going. I will do Music and Science with all three girls since we are all behind on those and then Cecilia will catch up in her Math and Elizabeth in her Phonics and Reading Lessons.

Visit Melanie for more Learning Notes :)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Learning Notes IV

Since we took off the week of September 1st, we are still catching up but we are almost there.

Monday got off to a bit of a slow start but we made some good progress and should be set for History for the next two weeks, which is a break. The girls focused on Handwriting and Geography with a bit of Math. Every day after lunch I focus on unpacking or organizing something. I got a bit of order in my office but not much. We all headed out around 4pm to head out for a simple Burger King dinner and then attend our first Wisconsin AHG meeting.
Teresa was in a special kind of 3 year old's Purgatory watching her older sisters decorate cupcakes. She circled the tables whimpering like a pitiful little puppy. Elizabeth was kind enough to share some of her icing (she had eaten the cupcake, but it isn't like Teresa would have eaten anything but icing anyway... the cake part seems to be a mature taste with my kids).
There are two possible troops "near" us - one is 35 minutes west and one is 45 minutes south. Despite the greater distance, I really think the southern troop would suit us better. First of all, of the two, it is the only one planning on doing any camping, which my girls love. Second, the farther troop is meeting twice a month while the other is meeting only once. The other's second gathering each month will be a service activity, which is fine, but it will be by joining with a local school's service club. Since we homeschool, joining up with a school's club doesn't help us as much towards the girls making new friends as a second monthly AHG meeting does. 

The church where the AHG troop meets has a Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Atrium. Teresa saw this figure of The Last Supper, got very excited and said, "Oooooo! Happy Birthday!!!"
Now that I have 1 Pathfinder, 1 Tenderheart and 1 Explorer, meetings can be a bit busy. Elizabeth loved being a Pathfinder but who wouldn't enjoy decorating and eating cupcakes. She was only bummed she didn't have her own Pathfinder book since those didn't exist when I last ordered supplies in the Spring but one is now on the way. Felicity shocked me... she was either so excited or so desperate for other kids to be with my usually quiet and shy girls chattered nonstop. I had to speak to her twice about not interrupting others, particularly her leaders, and not bragging about all the badges she already has. I don't think she meant to brag but she was clearly over the moon to be there. Cecilia struggled a bit. She was uncomfortable not knowing anyone and a little disoriented that her unit didn't focus so much on getting to know each other as going over details of the flag ceremony and requirements for the joining award, both of which she already knows. She did make a new friend though, a Tenderheart, who she looks forward to seeing again. And we met another homeschooling family from just over the Illinois border with kids similar in age to ours and also expecting. 
When Brigid gets scolded, she either breaks down crying in hysterics or tries to be funny. So when I scold her for throwing fistfuls of crayons, she responds by shoving one in her mouth and just leaving it there like a cigar. She doesn't chew it, but the little Marx Brother routine makes me laugh every time so she keeps doing it. 
Tuesday was a bit of a down day. We did get more work done in the morning but I had a check up with my midwife in the afternoon and I just needed a day to not do much. In fact, the school part of the day is a bit of a blur. I need to start typing these posts throughout the week. Check up went well though and I am measuring about 10 days ahead. He is definitely losing space in there. 

Wednesday we made better progress and did two chapters in Religion to be completely caught up. It was easy though considering the book split the story of the Old Testament Joseph into two chapters, so basically we just did the entire story of Joseph, complete with Scripture passages, coloring pages and an animated video. 

At the Church on Monday's AHG meeting, there was a metal welcome sign that Elizabeth accidentally knocked over with her face. She actually got hit in the cheek and didn't make a big deal of it at the time, but by Wednesday morning it was quite pink and swollen. She never complained about her eye or vision and said it only hurt when she touched it. Fortunately by Thursday it looked much better. 
By Thursday we had done a nice amount of work for the week. It is tricky keeping up with what each girl has done and needs to do though considering each has been behind in some subjects but not others and rarely the same subjects. Felicity is more of my simply-do-it-and-get-it-done girl, so she generally gets more done each day. Elizabeth, being only 5 but doing 1st grade work, needs a bit more help and more breaks but it also helps when she takes those breaks for me to help the older two and she occupies the younger two. I spent Thursday afternoon cleaning up and finishing organizing the play room. Apart from any decorating, de-cluttering and the needed addition of a lamp on the desk, I consider the room done.

The desk has paper, magnetic words and letters and on top is the toy laptop. The pink and red bins on top are the only items left to find a home, but that is where a lamp will go as there are no artificial lights in the room. 

The bookcases which are just about out of room. I will have some kids books overflow in my office but most fit in here and certainly all the board and picture books. My office just has some of the extra chapter books. 
Friday we did some more school work just to try to keep catching up. Felicity is actually all caught up. Cecilia is caught up in everything except Math, which she is 1 week behind, and Vocabulary, which she is two weeks behind. She is loving learning her current poem though, a continuation of our Civil War unit. She has memorized the first two verses of Whitman's O Captain, My Captain and reminds her sisters every week who the Captain really is. I think that trip to Ford's Theater definitely made an impact on her. Elizabeth is only behind in Poetry, which being so new to she does struggle a bit, Latin and her reading lessons. Honestly, she plows through her reading lessons so well and so fast, I'm hoping we can finish the book this coming week. She only has 8 or 9 lessons left and she does very well with it. We only got behind in them because of the packing and moving but it will be nice to finish it and have one less book to need each week.

The rest of Friday was spent cleaning the dog's mess, cleaning the patio and setting up the kids' table, play table and toy box and trimming some of the bushes around the patio that wanted to take over the walkways. Then James and I finally finished unpacking all our clothes into our drawers and closet. Strange, but nice, to not need to get my clothes out of a suitcase for the first time in the past month. Then we began organizing part of the basement so we can finally get the girls' Lego table set up so they can get back to building again.

Under the window is the toddler area with the play piano and little toys. The slide takes center stage and is a favorite of Brigid.
The rest of Friday was spent cleaning the dog's mess, cleaning the patio and setting up the kids' table, play table and toy box and trimming some of the bushes around the patio that wanted to take over the walkways. Then James and I finally finished unpacking all our clothes into our drawers and closet. Strange, but nice, to not need to get my clothes out of a suitcase for the first time in the past month. Then we began organizing part of the basement so we can finally get the girls' Lego table set up so they can get back to building again.

In the corner, the Thomas Train set and tracks are stored beneath but can be played with on the table or around the room. Brigid showcases the little kitchen. Notice she is NEVER without that panda. The small bookcases next to the little kitchen hold all the board and early reader picture books. 
 It wasn't a bad week, but it was busy. Every day is busy. Every day is school in the morning and unpacking/organizing in the afternoon. By the time the kids are in bed, I'm too tired to do much besides sit on the sofa, catch up on Facebook, try to narrow down baby names and watch TV or a Netflix. On the one hand, when it comes to pictures to hang on the wall or such things, I don't care if they sit in boxes for months. On the other hand, there is a certain degree to which I'd like things organized, unpacked and ready before this baby makes his debut next month. So while some things I don't care if they get done, other things I really want done.
The basket holds the musical instruments. 
We are working on getting the back yard fenced in, but that won't happen until next month and I'm far too pregnant to chase Teresa, so while I can let the older three out back, she spends much more time indoors than she or I would prefer. Rosie's barking has already annoyed one neighbor (she is a Beagle... we have bunnies out back... she is leashed and can't get them and you must know how Snoopy enjoys bunnies... it drives her absolutely crazy!)
The closet, to which we removed the mirrored doors - can't imagine how those could go wrong in a playroom, has all the puzzles, board games, blocks and toy bins. The room is bit crammed but I have a hard time de-cluttering toys. What is the favorite of one is not the favorite of another and what is a favorite this week might not be next week but might be again the week after that. And the toys in this room have to engage quite the age range. So while I'd prefer it a bit less crowded, apart from storing some toys and rotating them out (which I might do once the basement is in some order), I've no idea how I'd go about doing that. 

I will try to blog next week as the week progresses so I have more details and a better account of the week.

 Much thanks to Melanie for hosting such a great Learning Linkup!