Thursday, August 28, 2014

Homeschool Review III

Well, it has already been a long week. We won't get to Gettysburg. There is simply too much going on and I am too pregnant and simply can't do it right now. Oh well. They are young. 

Monday was not a full school day as I had my last Maryland OB appointment late morning, but each girl did work on or complete 3 subjects. While I was at my appointment, they spent time playing at their best friends' house. It will be the last time they see them for quite some time, so we spent a good 4 1/2 hours there. I don't know that it sunk in for them how long it might be before they see them again, but it hit their mom and me and it became an emotional day. 

Tuesday we did make some nice progress in several subjects. But it also became apparent that the stress of the week was not bypassing the girls any more than it was me. By Wednesday Cecilia in particular was having a hard time. Although she doesn't have much to do this week besides school, she didn't want to do any and claimed moving as her excuse. I did manage to get Spelling and a Math lesson out of her in order to play with my brother's remote control car. Felicity finished everything for the week except Science. I admit, going into this weekend, Science will probably be the one subject we are behind in. Cecilia had especially asked for more experiments and I have planned several experiments for each Science area we are to cover, but it is hard to do experiments when everything is packed. Need a clear, glass container? Packed. Need vinegar? Packed. Etc. I thought about just showing them videos and we will incorporate some videos, but it is simply not the same and, at this point, I think it is best to come back to it when we can discuss matter and its states better. Other than Science though, Cecilia and Elizabeth, who only has handwriting and one reading lesson left, should have no trouble finishing for the week today. 

I managed to pack a couple more boxes yesterday and take apart the small plastic outside playground but mostly Wednesday was spent doing laundry. It was our last run of clothes laundry here but I also began washing all the girls' blankets and bedding. I will be bringing it in the car with us so that once their bunk beds are set up I have bedding for all of them to get them back into their own beds and won't need to go box hunting for bedding. 

Today, Thursday, will be spent finishing school for the week, taking apart the crib and moving Brigid into the Pack 'n Play, and trying to pack as much of what is left as possible. I will also begin packing up the car with things we won't need before leaving so as to have them out of the way and get some idea how best to pack the car. 

The movers come tomorrow morning between 9 and 10. We plan to begin driving Saturday evening after Mass and dinner and drive all night. 

Prayers appreciated. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Homeschool Review II

I know. One week in and I fail in my homeschool review. Oh well. It isn't meant to be a penance for me.

Basically last week was fairly uneventful. We accomplished everything on our schedule. 

This week was not so routine. While Monday had a good start, Tuesday began with a vomiting Cecilia. I still managed to get a nice amount of work done with Felicity and Elizabeth though. Wednesday we did our best to do as much as we could. And we finished all but 3 of Cecilia's subjects and all of Felicity's and all but 1 of Elizabeth's. 

The best part of Wednesday was music. We went over the various instruments of the String section of the orchestra. Cecilia has been asking to learn the harp for some time. It doesn't seem to just be a whim that will evaporate, so we might have to look into getting her some harp lessons after we get to Wisconsin. She drew this family portrait of each of us playing a different instrument:
I love that she gave Brigid an instrument she could play: the Triangle. Teresa would have the drum. And of course she gave herself the harp. I was assigned the violin while Felicity and Elizabeth play flutes and daddy has either a cello or a double bass. 

In discussing the instruments, Felicity became adamant that she wanted, not just any violin, but a Stradivarius. She threw a bit of a tantrum when I told her I couldn't buy her one for her birthday. A single one costs over a million dollars but reality never plays into her requests. A couple of birthdays ago she was bitterly disappointed to not receive her requested real, living unicorn. Alas. 

Thursday was a field trip. Considering I'm 7 months pregnant, it was a bit daring to take all five girls by myself into D.C. but it was totally worth it! The parking garage wouldn't take our 12 passenger van but we found street parking right where we wanted to be. 

First we visited St. Patrick's.

It was a small but very beautiful little church. 

Afterwards we walked a block down and went to Ford's Theater. While I know we won't be able to do quite the Civil War unit I had hoped, I really wanted to take the girls to Ford's theater before we move. 

 We were especially lucky too. Apparently they often do not have the actual box open due to the narrowness of space and the number of visitors but there were so few people there that day that it was open.

 Felicity brought her kids camera to take her own pictures.

 I loved watching Brigid. This amazing, historic theater and my one year old wandering around the velvet rails.

Museums are wonderful but it is such a treat to be able to visit the actual place where something happened and especially, as in this case, where it has been so well preserved. 

Lastly we headed across the street to the Peterson House, where they took Lincoln after he was shot. 
The parlor where Mrs. Lincoln waited when she wasn't by her husband's side.

The bed he died in. 

 Next to the Peterson House there was an exhibit concerning tracking down the conspirators and the capture of John Wilkes Booth. The girls loved the touch screens about Lincoln's funeral and the illuminated map of Booth's attempted escape.

Afterwards we picked up Chick FilA and came home for lunch.
The girls each got a souvenir or two. Cecilia got binoculars and a bookmark, Felicity got marbles, Elizabeth got binoculars, and Teresa opted for a lollipop. A favorite seems to be though a souvenir I got of blue and green bubbles that travel down slopes and mesmerizes the girls. Go figure. :)

And, of course, Cecilia and Elizabeth finished their remaining subjects before video game playing commenced. 

All things considered it was a very successful week. We are, miraculously, not behind AND worked in an awesome field trip. I did not do much cleaning though and hardly any packing so those were my foci for Friday. 

We spent Friday cleaning up the living room and playroom and I got half a dozen more boxes packed. 

I'm not quite sure how next week will go though. I'd really like to get the girls to Gettysburg before we leave Maryland. I also have an OB appointment Monday morning and need to finish packing. All before Friday! We will simply do our best. :)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

HomeSchool Review I

The photos in this post are all photos I discovered on my iPad taken either by Teresa or Brigid, though I know the yellow ones are Brigid. 

A few years ago I made a point of doing weekly summaries of our schooling and what we were up to. And then I stopped and haven't bothered since. Melanie over at The Wine Dark Sea has been doing weekly posts of their events of the week and it reminded me of those posts way back when. 

And it occurred to me that, while such posts are valuable any time in and of themselves, they might be especially helpful to me right now given our present circumstances. Packing our home (we are about 3/4 done), moving about 800 miles, buying our first house and with the excited anticipation of baby #6's arrival in October, such a series of posts might be particularly beneficial. I can't worry about too many days ahead right now and I expect, come September, I won't remember too much of our schooling from August. True, I have a schedule that I mark off as we go. I don't mean to imply we'd be totally adrift without said posts. But given the time of transition we are in, they may prove particularly helpful in the long run. 

We began our new school year this week. Cecilia is now in 4th grade, Felicity moved up to 2nd and Elizabeth is beginning 1st. Elizabeth might struggle a little bit but as she only turned 5 in June, I won't be especially demanding or rigorous with her. She still has the last quarter of Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons to finish but was clearly getting bored with the Kindergarten math book and reading comes easier to her than it did to Cecilia or Felicity (she could breeze through the remaining lessons pretty quickly if she wanted to) so I simply think it is best to move on to 1st while finishing her reading lessons and, frankly, even if she gets "behind" on my schedule, she is already ahead so it doesn't really matter. (And since Wisconsin doesn't require notification until a child is 6 years old, I don't even have to worry about telling the state much less what to tell them.)

MONDAY we kicked off just getting everyone back into the swing of things. Interestingly enough, the girls were super excited to get started. They raced through their morning chores to get to school. Clearly they were bored out of their minds and really needed that constancy of school to start again. 
We did History together, which was only half a chapter to ease us back into it. I can't say as I'm too worried about Elizabeth's paying much attention to History as we are about to cover a ton of wars and she is only 5, so what she hears, great, what she doesn't, she will when she is older. Elizabeth did get done her Phonics, Geography and Math. Cecilia got done Geography, Handwriting and Poetry as well as 1 lesson in her Math book (she needs to do 4 each week.) Felicity's mirth began to wane though when she realized the usual 5 pages in Phonics was actually closer to 10 due to the numbering of the lessons. (I think they did that since some of it was such easy review, but I schedule by lesson numbers, not by page numbers.) I told her she didn't need to do all of it that day but she was adamant she wanted to finish the subject for the week. She did finish but I was sorry she had such an unhappy start. 

Fortunately they had fun playing outside that afternoon. Elizabeth and Felicity filled the water table outside with water and when it was warmed up by the sun they decided to make soup of it. Butt soup. Thank goodness they were clothed but yes, they proceeded to sit in it to make Butt Soup. Never let it be said I am not raising perfect little ladies. 

TUESDAY Cecilia surprised me with another lesson finished in her Math book before I even got out of bed. But after that we didn't do any school. I had an OB check up - YAY for normal glucose test results! - and then I picked up a few of their friends to come over for a playdate. James made homemade queso for a chips and cheese lunch and I picked up snow cones for everyone to celebrate Our Lady of the Snows and the kids all basically played with their friends for 6 1/2 hours. Nothing like a holiday the second day of school!

WEDNESDAY was a very long school day, though not by my choice. In the morning Cecilia did another math lesson, her Latin, English and Spelling. Felicity got done her Math, Geography and Handwriting and Elizabeth did her Handwriting, English, 1 reading lesson, and Geography. After lunch I did Religion with all of them. Elizabeth only listens so long on longer subjects like this one but, again, being 5, she has plenty of time to learn what she doesn't get now later. 
At this point, I was fried and totally prepared to call it a day, but Cecilia and Felicity weren't ready to stop. Despite being so done that she struggled to put any words in ABC order, Felicity insisted on finishing her Spelling, English, Poetry and Latin. And Cecilia forced herself through her last Math lesson, Vocabulary and Typing. It was near 5 o' clock before we finished. 

THURSDAY I left the house with Cecilia, Felicity and Elizabeth by 8am to head to a friend's house for a playdate. Teresa stayed home with James since their yard isn't fenced and I'm too pregnant to be chasing a 3 year old into the street. Brigid stayed home because Teresa was and it made things easier for me. We don't normally do so many playdates in a single week but we are trying to pack them in before we move. We stayed at their house until around noon and then picked up Chick FilA on the way home. After lunch I did Science with all the girls and Cecilia and Felicity were done for the week. Seeing Cecilia play Club Penguin on the computer and Felicity play on the WiiU motivated Elizabeth to want to finish school so she could play too. So I took her to James's office and we did her first Latin lesson, 3/4 of her Spelling lesson, 1 reading lesson and began Poetry. Elizabeth struggled with Poetry, similar to Felicity when she was asked to memorize her first Poem. Cecilia had an easier time memorizing poems but even her improvement amazes me with how fast she can memorize. Felicity has definitely improved this year as well, so I'm sure Elizabeth will as well but she got frustrated so we stopped for the day. 

FRIDAY I was planning on a more relaxing day but it never happened. From packing a couple of boxes to giving James a haircut and then finishing Elizabeth's Spelling, Poetry and 1 more reading lesson (she is up to lesson 77 now). I also cleaned up and took down the kids play table outside. Then I vacuumed the living room and playroom, both of which so desperately needed it. 

This week school was a bit squished by the playdates but I never needed to insist any of the girls push through to finish anything and we aren't behind yet! I'm sure we will get behind by the week of Labor Day (the week we move into the new house) so I'm going to do my darnedest to keep us as on track as possible until then. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Moving Update

I'm sorry my poor blog has been so quiet.

Basically the past month has been swim lessons, driving to and from Wisconsin to look at houses, and packing. Lots of packing.

As Felicity and Elizabeth have been making vast improvements in their swimming, this is what I've gotten done:

Boxes and boxes all the way to the corner.

And that pile doesn't include the boxes James packed form his home office of books... about 45 boxes, mostly of books.

We are over half packed, maybe 3/4 packed, and making more progress each day. But I am almost 28 weeks now and simply can only do so many boxes in a day. We have packed all the easier stuff and are now down to more of a "What is left to pack that we don't need out right now?" approach.

I had scheduled school to start next week and we will begin as scheduled but we won't be able to do everything I had initially hoped or intended. We will simply do our best and play catch up later.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Moving NorthWest

Well, it has been a whirlwind few weeks here.

James has been offered a teaching position at a seminary in Wisconsin and we have accepted it.

Please whisper a prayer for us as we prepare for the transition.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Elizabeth Becomes a Whole Hand

On Tuesday, our darling Elizabeth turned 5 years old. We went out to eat at Red Robin for her birthday lunch and then picked up snow cones.

On Wednesday, we had a birthday party. She asked for a Tangled themed party.

Our local bakery made a lovely and delicious Rapunzel cake. 

We had over a few friends and her godparents. 

She quite a nice selection of books, including several Froggy books

Frog and Toad are Friends. 

And Twelve Magical Musical Masters, which plays songs with a biography from 12 classical composers. This is actually our second copy because all the girls adored our first so much they used it until even new batteries could not resurrect it. 

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Wii game. 

And DVD. Can you guess she is fond of frogs and turtles? 

A rare smile. (We got up this morning to two girls with congestion and Elizabeth with a fever. I'm pretty sure it is just a cold running through the house, but it explains why she so rarely smiled through most of these pictures.)

An awesome Sofia the First coloring and activity book from her godparents. 

Her own sleeping bag, in green. Guess what her favorite color is? Yeah, I think that has something to do with why she likes turtles and frogs so much, but green suits her perfectly. 

A camp chair so she has her own chair the next time we go camping. 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Legos

A Frozen Anna costume with boots, displayed by Cecilia. 

Each of the girls has a collection of pins from Disney World. 

Cecilia took three of her own and put them in an envelope as a present for Elizabeth for her birthday.

A small Ninja Turtles Lego set.

And a medium Ninja Turtles Lego set. 

A Vtech computer from Brigid's godparents. 

A guest very happy to get a snippet of ribbon. 

My dad helps Elizabeth read her cards. 

Another rare smile!

Elizabeth as Anna. (Blurry but smiling)

Elizabeth as Anna (in focus but phony smiling )

Everyone had a fun time and Elizabeth is proud to declare herself now an American Heritage Girl. She has been counting down for two years until she would be 5 and could become a Pathfinder. 

They do grow up so fast!

Happy Birthday my Sweet Elizabeth!!!