Three Things

05.24.2011 | 3:01 pm | Homeschooling

One: We are DONE with school for the summer!

Two: I’ve actually updated my blog! (Mostly.)
Philip made me a new header to represent the change in my blogging goals, and I updated my “About”, plus added two new pages to showcase my boys and our curriculum.
I weeded out blogroll blogs and links that were old and nonfunctional (um, well over half of them). I still have to get around to actually adding the many blogs I follow.

Three: We. Are. BUSY! I don’t know when I’ll post again. But my goal is to start back to school at the end of July, so I’ll definitely be back to posting then, if not before.

Have a great summer, if you’re taking time off!

Last Few Weeks’ Wrap-up

05.3.2011 | 11:56 am | Homeschooling

Schoolwork has been routine these past few weeks.

We’re so close to wrapping up math! Only four more lessons and we’re done. They’re all review lessons. We wrapped up the year with G knowing his multiplication and division tables up through the fives. He has completed his addition and subtraction facts; we went all the way to the 20 family. He’ll spend his summer break reviewing all these facts ad nauseum, because Abeka’s 3rd grade math course dives right into things with the expectation that these facts are all completely mastered.

We’re halfway through his English textbook and are about to finish up our unit on pronouns, so that will be a perfect stopping place for the summer break. We have four days’ worth of review work left, and then he’ll have a final unit test. So he’ll finish this year having learned nouns, verbs, and pronouns. Next year we’ll pick back up where we left off, and he’ll learn adjectives and adverbs, as well as a unit on putting everything together with proper usage.

We have nine more lessons left in G’s writing course, so we should finish that up within two weeks. We’ve so enjoyed this course, and G’s ability to write independently has improved dramatically. A really neat thing that’s happened over the past few weeks is that some of our weekly selections have been about ancient Greece (Athens and Sparta), and very coincidentally, our history lessons have also been covering ancient Greece. For example, we’d read and G would summarize a passage about the daily lives of Spartan boys (very brutal, in case you aren’t familiar), and then our history lesson would cover Sparta and would also mention their harsh practices, including toward their children.
We’ve also covered selections from great works of fiction, including The Hobbit, some Hans Christian Anderson tales, and a couple of whimsical poems (Rebecca: Who Slammed Doors for Fun and Perished Miserably had G giggling all the way throughout).

History has covered the aforementioned ancient Greeks, as well as the Persians and Israelites. We’ve just finished up a quarter that stopped with the book of Malachi in the Old Testament, and we started a new quarter (the final quarter in this book, Volume I of The Mystery of History) this week. It started off with Plato and Aristotle, and it looks like we’ll be on to King Philip of Macedonia and Alexander the Great next week. We won’t finish up this book by the end of the year, but will pick it back up next year. I’ll have to find a stopping place in a couple of weeks—probably a good place would be when Rome takes over control of the ancient world, which is coming up pretty quickly after Alexander.

We finished up all of our Journey to the Cross lessons as of yesterday. I can’t recommend this book enough for the Easter season. I learned so much from it! There are so many little details regarding the end of Jesus’ life that I’d never known or completely understood, but now I do. For instance, the Bible says that after Jesus arose, he folded his facecloth neatly and placed it by where he’d lain. But do you know the significance of that small detail? In Jewish culture during those days, the practice was for dinner guests to use their napkin to signal what they thought of the meal. If a guest enjoyed the meal very much, he would crumple his napkin and leave it in the middle of his bowl. But if he hadn’t enjoyed the meal and didn’t intend to come back to that house to eat again, he would fold his napkin neatly and lay it to the side. So think about it, and you’ll see what Jesus thought of his whole death experience. I loved that! And the book is full of little details like that.

G has done a lot of independent reading since my last update, but I can’t remember a lot of the selections. He read a couple of Henry Huggins books, which he liked, but not as much as the Ramona books. He also read Pick of the Litter, a book about a boy who visits his grandpa for the summer and falls in love with a particular puppy that was born, but has to deal with the fact that his grandpa had promised that puppy to someone else. G liked this book okay, but was bored with it for a long time at first, because it took nearly twenty chapters before they even introduced the puppy. He is currently reading Stuart Little and is enjoying it very much.

G has busied himself lately with doing lots of planting out in his section of the yard. He’s been digging up little weeds and bushes near the woods and transplanting them to a little section of yard he’s designated for “his” plantings. When inside, he’s been writing up tutorials detailing how to transplant and plant, with illustrations of each step. He’s done a dozen other little writing and art projects over this time as well—he’s always doing something like that, and he always keeps himself busy that way. It’s amazing what creative ventures a child will come up with when they’re not in front of a TV or video game console. Those mindless intrusions—especially the latter—make me so sad for this generation coming up. This reminds me-
G has spent a good deal of time with our neighbor lately, an older widower who lives down in the woods to the side of us. Mr. H has a fascinating, lovely yard with a fish pond, a garden, and a myriad of plants and trees. He’s into woodworking and has made several old-fashioned toys for the boys lately. He likes to buy a bunch of crickets at the bait store and calls the boys over to “help” him feed them to the fish in his pond. It’s sweet because he’s really enjoying their company when he would otherwise just be by himself. And the boys love the time over there because there are so many unusual things for them to do. I absolutely love this neighborhood! Aside from the couple our age living next door, all our other immediate neighbors are seniors—most are widows living alone (or in Mr. H’s case, a widower). The atmosphere is classy, friendly and caring—and quiet. Except for when the neighbor girls are outside; then it’s loud! But not the bad kind of loud. And, like most other kids these days, they’re hardly ever outside. A real shame.

I’ll update again when we finish up. No more than two more weeks and we are on summer break! :)

Instead of a Wrap-Up, I’ll just ramble for a while.

04.28.2011 | 9:15 am | Homeschooling

Why so long since the last homeschool wrap-up, or any update for that matter? Oh, have we been busy! The schedule over the past few weeks has been full of all-day yardwork, with breaks taken only for schoolwork, working out, and my continuous doctor appointments (which relate both to the serious health emergency from last month, as well as something new that came up. Lucky me!).

We live on 1 acre, and the yard upkeep is immense, especially since I’m responsible for nearly all of it. I’m proud to say that I raked the entire property, all on my own, except for two little patches that I begged Philip to help me with toward the end. After eight days—yes, eight days—of raking, my arms and hands were sore beyond belief. But then I got up the next morning and mowed the grass. Philip kindly took over that evening and finished the mowing for me, while I was at our neighbor’s house with the boys.

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A 7-Year-Old’s Take on Jesus’ Suffering

04.5.2011 | 1:37 pm | Homeschooling

I’ve mentioned the devotion book we’ve been going through during this Lent season (Journey to the Cross), but I wanted to share something extra that happened during yesterday’s devotion. We’ve gotten up to the point of Jesus’ crucifixion and have spent the past 3 days focusing in detail on the events of that sad morning. Yesterday’s focus was on the pain that Jesus endured willingly while being nailed to the cross, and the casting of lots for his robe.

At the end of each lesson there are usually three thought-provoking questions to ask your child. One of yesterday’s questions was, “Are you grateful that Jesus was willing to suffer and die on the cross?”

When I asked G that question, I was scanning forward in the book, thinking about the next reading, and wasn’t looking directly at G. But after a couple of seconds, I realized he hadn’t answered, so I looked up at him. He was looking at me with a sort of helpless look on his face, which obviously isn’t normal, so I repeated the question, thinking he perhaps didn’t hear it before.

He continued looking helpless, and said quietly, “Well…” and then I noticed his eyes filling with tears. I asked him what was wrong, and he choked softly, “Well…I don’t want to be grateful for him suffering and dying, because it was bad (free-flowing tears at this point)…but I’m grateful, too, that he did it for us” (more tears).

And now, I know for sure, that he gets it.

I pray that he moves closer to making a life decision to follow Jesus, now that he’s truly understanding what Jesus did for him.

But I was also struck by his sweet, sensitive response to that question. Undoubtedly grateful for what Jesus did, but hating that he had to ever go through it. So much so that it’s hard for him to even traverse the concept being grateful for such a thing. Of course, I grabbed him and hugged him, and let him know that his heart is exactly in the right place. He loves Jesus so much, and I’m grateful that he does. I’m also grateful that he’s here with me during the day, so I can take him and hug him at any time—especially when he has moments of fear, insecurity, or, in this case, just being so full of new emotion that he doesn’t even know how to begin to express it. What a special moment together.

I didn’t get around to last week’s Weekly Wrap Up, but I know no one really cares. However, because I love doing it, I’ll try my best to do this week’s Wrap-Up, and to tie in anything important that we covered last week, as well. Things have been pretty routine, with lots of yard work, doctor visits, and minor crises in between lessons. But all’s well, and that’s good! Hope to be back this weekend with the Wrap-Up!

Weekly Wrap-Up, March 25

03.25.2011 | 4:50 pm | Homeschooling

Just a regular week, mostly, thank goodness! A couple of doctor’s appointments crammed in with all the schoolwork, but we worked around them. For instance, while I was getting my blood drawn on Tuesday morning, G sat outside in the grass & shade outside the medical park while P gave him his math & memory tests, and while D played nearby. Homeschoolers just make things work.

This week in math, G learned to divide by fours, which is easy once a child knows how to multiply by fours. He also learned the concept of estimation, which allows him to quickly add large numbers in his head and get an estimated sum to work with.

In language, we’re wrapping up our unit on nouns & verbs, with lots of review work.
For his reading, G worked on his second Henry Huggins book most of the week. Otherwise, he’s still doing a lot of reading in both his real Bible and also in his Picture Bible. He’s been toting the Picture Bible around with him all week, reading intently. I totally understand. ;)

History lessons were fun this week, as we branched out into the world a bit and studied Pythagorus, Confucius, and then Kings Belshazzar and Cyrus the Great. In studying Confucius, G learned that our elders are to be honored and respected, and decided to write a note to Gram, telling her he loved her and her quilts (something he appreciated about her). It was a nice little activity for him and I’m glad it came up in our lesson.

Writing With Ease was the usual. He summarized excerpts and practiced dictation. Stories read from were The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks and The Elephant’s Child. We both enjoyed these two excerpts. G actually complained at the end of the first one, because he wanted to know what happened after the excerpt ended—guess we’ll have to track down that book and hopefully find it at the library!

G is still spending a lot of time drawing & sketching in that big sketchbook I mentioned last week. His drawings are still cracking me up; he is so creative and funny!

I spent most mornings outside this week, working on getting my plants pruned for the season, and doing some yardwork and planting. I planted 2 crape myrtles and an orange tree. I also did a lot of weeding in the yard; we have a yardful of weeds every spring, and I get rid of them the old-fashioned way (no poison): I pull them up by the roots. I had the boys come outside with me, and G was my pick-up man. I pulled weeds, and he carried a 5-gallon bucket, putting all the discarded weeds into it and then dumping it out into the woods whenever we filled it up. It’s great character-building for him (learning to work hard), and it was nice to be outside in the cool, fresh spring air together each morning! We finished up at lunchtime each day, and then went inside to eat and do our schoolwork. Again, homeschoolers just make schedules work with our needs—all while being with our kids throughout each day. We’re blessed beyond measure in choosing this lifestyle.

G made an exciting discovery this week. Back before Christmas, he’d gathered up acorns and planted quite a few of them out in the far end of the back yard, near his swingset. He was sure he’d get oak trees in return for his hard work. I wasn’t as optimistic. Who was right? Well, there are now quite a few tiny little oaks sprouting down there! He is over the moon about it. You can even see little half-acorns under the dirt, from where the tiny oaks sprouted.

In other news, I’m in the middle of a neat project that I came up with for displaying the boys’ art and schoolwork in our dining/homeschool area. I hope to be finished with it this weekend and will be sure to post pics in the next update.

In closing, I’ll share a picture of our Wisteria tree with this year’s blooms. It is flourishing more than it ever has, which is cool since we transplanted it from our old yard, when we moved into this house two years ago. For those who don’t know, it’s the boys’ very own bush, and it’s a placenta tree. It’s buried over D’s placenta, as well as the placenta & body of the little 11-weeks’ gestation baby we lost in November ’06. It is also G’s tree, because it was first planted in our old yard in March 2003, just as G was conceived. I have no doubt that the placentas are part of the reason the bush has grown and bloomed better than ever since we planted it over them.

Two Weekly Wrap-Ups, with an Emergency Hospitalization in Between :(

03.18.2011 | 12:53 pm | Homeschooling, Uncategorized

Most of you reading already know about my terrifying health issue that went down last Wednesday night/Thursday morning. Last Thursday morning, my very first ambulance ride whisked me away for an ER trip and a subsequent four-day stay in the hospital, with various doctors, nurses, techs, and every kind of employee in between telling me that I came very close to dying. I don’t doubt it, with the way I felt when Philip decided to call the ambulance. Thankfully though, God was with me, I got help in time, and, FIVE blood transfusions later, I left the hospital and came home on Sunday.

I have many complaints about our local hospital on one hand, but one thing I can say for sure: they knew what they were doing in the ER. I came in with life-threatening symptoms, near death, and with no real idea what was wrong. They set right to work and within an hour, they knew exactly what the problem was and were working on getting it fixed. It was amazing, and I was so grateful. If you don’t know the details but would like to know, just ask and I’ll share via comment email.

I’ve been weak and trying to build up my strength all week, but even so, we still managed to get in an entire week of school, plus make-up work for last Thursday & Friday’s missed days while I was hospitalized. We just did everything while sitting on the couch or loveseat in the living room. I didn’t have the strength to sit up at the table, but am hoping that next week we can be back to normal for our lessons.
I’m just going to combine last week’s work with this week’s, as one big wrap-up.

G’s math consisted of more practice of the “three” times tables, and the introduction of the “four” times table. He also learned how to make change with money, how to round to ten, and how to divide by twos and threes, as well as a few other smaller functions. Everything went smoothly and he’s moving right along.

During G’s language lessons we finished up with nouns, and we moved on to verbs. This week has focused almost entirely on verbs. He’s enjoyed the lessons and has a good grasp on these parts of speech. I’m still very pleased with this curriculum.

G’s Writing With Ease lessons consisted of me reading aloud excerpts from several stories, and him answering questions about what he heard, and then summarizing each passage on paper in his own words. He’s doing wonderfully with this skill! He also did several dictation exercises (where I read out loud a particular sentence, and he wrote it down word for word, by memory). The stories we read exerpts from were: The Hare That Ran Away, Little Women, The Invincible Louisa, and The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks.

History lessons were mostly Biblical-based, with a couple of interesting exceptions. We covered King Nebuchadnezzar & the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Ishtar Gate, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, & Abed-Nego, Ezekiel, Aesop, and Buddha. Did you know that Aesop lived in Greece during the same years Daniel was captive & prophesying in Babylonia? And that Buddha was a young man in India during these years, searching for truth (and did NOT like being called a god)? I love this History course! Everything is taught chronologically, lining up world events and people with Biblical history. It’s fascinating.

For his reading, G has still been in Ramona Quimby’s world. He read Ramona and Her Mother and Ramona and Her Father, and this week has started Henry Huggins (who was a friend of Ramona’s). He’s also still reading a good bit of his Bible every day, usually in the mornings when he wakes up, before the rest of us are up. He’s up to the Chronicles right now, and he is learning. The other night he surprised me by asking me if I wanted to hear a chronological list of all the main characters of the Bible, up until Solomon. He proceeded to give me an exhaustive, yet accurate listing, from Adam all the way to Solomon—by memory. I can’t gush enough about how wonderful the Adventure Bible is for stimulating interest, but even moreso, The Picture Bible. I may post about it on its own later, but for now, I can say that it’s an incredible tool for interesting a child in the Bible and for teaching detailed accounts of every Bible story imaginable, in a way that kids retain and remember. I should know, because I had a copy as a child, and I devoured it. I received it for my 8th birthday, and I read it over & over & over, for years. I attribute my extensive detailed knowledge of Bible stories & characters to this book. I remember in Sunday School, I knew all the answers, all the characters, all the details of all the stories, because of what I read over & over in The Picture Bible. When I read or hear about Bible stories today, I still picture every character and scene just as they were pictured in The Picture Bible. Nothing had a greater impact on me, Biblically, while growing up. It seems the same thing is happening with G as he reads his copy over & over & over. If your child doesn’t have The Picture Bible, check it out, and get a copy in his or her hands as soon as possible. It is an amazing companion to the Bible!

G spent a lot of time outdoors enjoying the Spring weather, both during my stay in the hospital, and this week since I’ve been home. The days are sunny and warm, everything is blooming and growing now, and the bees & wasps are everywhere. He spent one morning observing ants carrying tiny pieces of paper on their backs. That’s science if I’ve ever seen it. ;-) He also observed the carpenter bees that are hovering all around his swingset. He told me he’d even made a treaty with the bees, that he would leave them alone, if they wouldn’t sting him. I told him we’ll see how that works out. ;-) He’s also picked lots of flowers, meticulously arranging them in a vase he got out for me and set up on the coffee table in the living room. There’s nothing like a vaseful of wildflowers, picked for you by your sweet little boy.
We haven’t done any official art in a while, but G has spent an enormous amount of time doing artwork over the past couple of weeks. Philip gave him an old sketchpad that he didn’t need anymore, and this inspired something major in G’s inner-artist. He’s nearly filled up every page with various drawings and sketches, both realistic and cartooned. Some of them are really quite good. Most of them are funny—he has a slightly “off” sense of humor that will serve him well (and I can’t imagine where he got it from), and these little drawings display that talent quite nicely. I will scan some, soon.

Speaking of artwork, when I came home from my follow-up doctor’s appointment on Tuesday, G had this message waiting for me in the kitchen:

He’s a sweetie! I missed my boys so much while I was in the hospital. I pray I never have to go back again. Here’s hoping next week is a much better week, but at least we got all our schoolwork done this week!

Weekly Wrap-Up, March 4

03.4.2011 | 5:38 pm | Homeschooling, Uncategorized

The one where we were bu-sy!

We spent all five days this week doing schoolwork; usually we do four school days and take Fridays off. But this week there was still much to get done playing catch-up after our sickness, so we had another week of doubling up on lessons.

We dove back into math this week, and G learned the “3” multiplication table. He tried to pull it off without spending time memorizing, but after the second day where he couldn’t answer the drills, I told him he was going to have to stay in his room with his “3x” study card until he could come out and answer all the various combinations without hesitation. Some say that’s mean, but I say it’s good parenting. ;-) And imagine this: it worked. That very day, he spent a chunk of his quiet time in his room studying the card & memorizing the facts, and now he knows the “3” table. It’s the first time he’s ever had to work at anything in math, and I think he’s proud of himself for making the effort to learn something that was a little more difficult.
In learning the 3 multiplication table, we’ve also covered the concept of 1/3, since obviously it’s related.

Language was fun for G this week, as we studied nouns! He’s enjoying the lessons and I have to say I’m quite pleased with Rod & Staff’s Building Christian English. It’s very thorough. It seems to me like it would be a bit boring to a kid, but G hasn’t found it that way (yet), mainly because he loves getting to work out of a textbook, copying answers and sentences into a notebook.

Writing With Ease lessons were doubled up again. I read to him excerpts from several stories: Alexander the Great, Nurse Matilda, and The Horse that Aroused the Town, and he worked to summarize what happened in each excerpt in his own words. He’s really come a long way with this skill since we started this unique writing program; at first he couldn’t summarize very well at all, but after several lessons, his summary skills improved greatly. He’s now quite adept at pulling out the main details and constructing two or three sentences that summarize the story.

History lessons covered the destruction of Ninevah, the prophet Habakkuk, and the Babylonian defeat of the kingdom of Judah. G declared history to be his favorite subject this week, as on top of our regular studies, we did an entire semester review. For two days, I went through our 50+ memory cards that cover each lesson all the way back to the beginning of time/Creation. The boy knows his history; I don’t know where he stores all those facts, but he is retaining them amazingly well—better than I have, actually. Today I gave him the semester exam, and he made a 95! He got one answer wrong.

G read Ramona Quimby, Age 8 during his reading time. He thoroughly enjoyed this book and read it quickly—he even read it outside his assigned reading time and finished it up one morning before getting out of bed for the day. We only own three of the Ramona books: this one, as well as Ramona and Her Father and Ramona and Her Mother. He was excited to know there was even more Ramona reading available, so he’s now a few chapters into Ramona and her Father. I wish we had them all! Our library is terribly hit or miss, so I won’t count on them having any of the others, but I’m going to check.

We started a new Bible study this week. I’m using a book he got for Christmas called Journey to the Cross, which is a daily lesson about Jesus’…journey to the cross, lasting up until Easter.
And speaking of our Bible lessons, it’s been weeks since he’s had a memory verse to learn. Why? Because I decided to break from that for a while in order to teach him the books of the Bible in order. We’ve worked for weeks, him learning 3-4 more books from the Old Testament each week. We finally finished this week—G now knows every book of the Old Testament, in order! We’re starting the New Testament next week and I hope to have him knowing them all by the time we wrap this year up in June.

Spring is blooming here, with flowers and leaf buds all over the place (as well as loads of pollen). G spent lots of time outside playing this week once his studies were done, enjoying the warm, breezy weather.
This may be my most boring wrap-up yet. Hope it’s useful to someone out there.

Tonight we’re watching The Neverending Story, which is an incredible kids’ film from the 80s. It blew my mind back when I was young, and I’m guessing G is going to love it, also. Highly recommended if you or your kids haven’t seen it!

Weekly Wrap Up – Feb 25 Edition

02.25.2011 | 1:31 pm | Homeschooling, Uncategorized

The one where we played catch-up.

After taking most of last week and the beginning of this week off for sickness, I threw us back into schoolwork on Tuesday. We were way behind on our history and Writing With Ease lessons, so that’s where I decided to focus. Math and Language lessons were ignored this week because we’re either on schedule or, in the case of math, way ahead of schedule (we’re due to finish 2nd grade math in about 6 weeks!). However, I had him do supplemental math worksheets every day, to keep him from getting rusty.

We covered six history lessons this week, double what we normally do. I just wanted to get us as caught up as possible. Many of the lessons, like last week, were about Biblical events and people, since we’re still covering world events in the 700s B.C. We covered prophets like Jeremiah, Nahum, and Zephaniah. We studied the Judean kings Manasseh and Josiah. We also learned about the Assyrian empire (very, very brutal!), the Babylonians, and the Greek city-states of Sparta and Athens. And lastly, there was one lesson thrown in about what was going on on the other side of the world during that century—the ancient Native American people, such as the Adenas and the Hopewells. Both of us devour these history lessons, and I highly recomment The Mystery of History for everyone—it has lesson plans for all three classical age groups.

We covered six Writing With Ease lessons as well, also double the usual weekly number of lessons. The first story excerpt I read out loud to him from was Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride. He practiced some dictation and then wrote two separate summaries of the excerpts in his own words. I loved this story excerpt because it covered some true history of our country’s fight for liberty and freedom, and G seemed to enjoy it, also, because he paid close attention and did well at pulling out all the details when he wrote about it.
The second story we worked on was from The Five Children and It. This was a strange story that neither of us enjoyed very much. The writing was poor in my opinion, and didn’t make sense. G had a hard time summarizing the passages in his own words, because the passages were so weird and hard for him to understand. I’m glad it’s behind us and look forward to next week’s passages!

G did a lot of reading on his own this week, and it was all from his Bible—his request, and who am I to deny that kind of reading request? :) He’s been reading straight through the Bible ever since we bought him his Adventure Bible, and he’s up to I Kings! He totally gets what he’s reading, too. I think it’s amazing, and probably God-inspired.
During his Bible-reading, he came across an activity suggestion, which was to make a model Ark of the Covenant. He was set on doing this, so it became his art (and history, and Bible) project of the week. He found a small rectangular box and painted it gold, affixed two cherubim on the top, and then decorated it with gold glitter and paint. He worked on it for a couple of days and put a lot of effort into it for a 7-year old boy. Here is the finished product:

G spent a lot of time playing outside this week, making up for his sick time last week. The weather was absolutely gorgeous for it, too! The big event that could be classified as science is that he dug up some of the acorns he’d planted a couple of months ago, and found some roots coming from them. Oh, he was excited. He re-buried them. I wonder if any of them will become trees? It will be amazing if he gets a tree out of his determined sowing.

Speaking of the gorgeous weather, we had our windows open all week to let the pleasant 70-degree, low-humidity air into the house. Esmeralda loved the opportunity to perch up on the windowsill, and so did G:

Next week, we’re back to the usual schedule, I hope. This week was pretty fun, though, enjoyably low-key as we got back on track.

Weekly Wrap-Up Feb 18 Edition

02.18.2011 | 5:56 pm | Homeschooling, Uncategorized

The one where we all contracted the bubonic plague.
Not really. But a nasty chest cold hit both the boys starting on Monday morning, and hasn’t let go yet. Fevers, deep chest coughing, stuffy and snotty. G spent Tuesday through Thursday in bed most of the time; he felt that awful. Only today has he ventured out and played a bit, though he still has a low-grade temp and terrible chest cough. Both their coughs sound absolutely horrendous today as well, so deep and nasty, but both of them have progressed to only low-grade fevers (they had been 101-102) and they’re generally at least feeling a little better today.
Me, however, not so well. I started feeling a scratchy throat Tuesday, but didn’t really come down sick until Thursday evening. Today I’m officially sick. Low-grade fever, crappy feeling, and terrible scratchy throat with a cough. So far, it is not in my chest, and I hope it will stay that way. I’m terrified of chest colds after my experience two years ago with what can happen when your chest gets infected. I did get a pneumonia vaccination after all that (and I avoid vaccinations, so that tells you how much I fear the pneumonia), so maybe that gives me some protection. That and lots of prayer.

So all that said, we didn’t do much schoolwork this week. Monday was our only full day of it, and I can’t even remember much of what we did. On Tuesday, when G was obviously feeling miserable, I skipped math and just did easy lessons from the couch. I also realize I didn’t do the Weekly Wrap-Up last Friday, so I’ll add in the one or two interesting points from that here in this week’s Wrap-Up.

While we skipped most math and most English, we did do our Writing With Ease lessons, which consisted of me reading out loud from the poem The Pied Piper of Hamelin. He answered listening questions and then summarized the poem in his own words. We enjoyed this poem!

History consisted of all Biblical subjects this week and last week. We’re up to the 700s B.C., so that explains the heavy focus on the events of the Bible—lots happened during that century. The lessons mostly centered around the conquering of Israel and the attempted conquering of Judah by the Assyrians, and the prophets who spoke to these nations during those years. One lesson was on the city of Rome and the beginning of the Roman Empire. Some of the details go over G’s head, but that’s the intent, and the beauty, of classical education: during the primary years, students are merely exposed to the subjects and gain a basic understanding, and then later, during the Logic (middle) and then Rhetoric (high school) years, each subject is revisited and is learned about more deeply. The exposure received in the primary years is built upon year after year.

I exempted G from reading out loud this week, as he felt awful and was coughing too much, anyway. But all the lying around feeling bad was a great opportunity for him to do a lot of reading on his own. He read most of the day, each day, when he wasn’t sleeping. He read through a huge stack of Nat’l Geographic World magazines from the 80s—mine that I saved. He loves them, and I love giggling at some of the incredibly outdated articles, especially the ones about “cutting edge” computers. Most of the articles, however, are timeless, aside from what people are wearing in the photographs.
He also read a short chapter book, which I can’t remember the title of. It’s something I picked up at a thrift store, about a mystery centering around a teacher in a school classroom. He enjoyed it!

Last week, he finished the lonnng chapter book, Dewey the Library Cat. He enjoyed it, though he said it was sad at the end. Dewey, at age 19 I believe, died from cancer. He was later replaced by another stray cat that they named Page Turner. I asked G if he cried when he read about Dewey dying. He said he didn’t cry, but that it was sad. Later that night, just after the boys went to bed, I was watching Twilight (not my dvd, though- it came on the Movie Channel so of course I had to watch it for the 487th time–and no, that number is not much of an exaggeration, I’m afraid). Do bear with me; this has a point. ;)

The next morning, G told Philip that last night after he’d gone to bed, he could hear Twilight on the TV from his bedroom. It came to the part where Edward was playing the piano for Bella (Bella’s Lullaby- so hauntingly beautiful). G said, “as I listened to Edward’s piano playing, I started thinking about Dewey and how sad I was that he died. And I don’t know why, but I started crying a little.” Aww! Philip told him that’s totally normal, because poor G seemed so perplexed by his crying over it. He told him sometimes, stories in books, true or not, make us cry. It just means the story or character means a lot to you. And sometimes hearing “sad” music will also make you cry, especially if you’re thinking of someone or something that makes you sad at the same time. G felt better hearing that. I guess it was one of his first experiences with deep emotion, or something like that. ;)

And that’s it for this week. And last week too, since I never did that update. I hope and pray that we’re all well next week, and that we have a full, uninterrupted week of schoolwork to report on by next Friday. Please pray with me that that will be the case, because after what I went through two years ago, being sick with anything chesty scares me.

Weekly Wrap-Up: Feb 4 Edition

02.4.2011 | 6:53 pm | Homeschooling, Uncategorized

Another routine week is under our belt, and here I am again to share.

Math was busy as we reviewed and practiced the multiplication tables G learned recently, as well as introduced…division. G learned to divide by one, which is very easy, but in doing so, he learned to grasp the concept of division. He also learned subtraction with borrowing when there are several zeros in the top number. It was funny because he had no problem picking right up on it, but when I checked his work later that day, I told him he got two of the problems wrong; he looked over them and insisted that he did, indeed, have them right. I called P in to check, and sure enough, G had them right—I had gotten them wrong. I never was a fan of subtraction with borrowing! ;) We also covered metric measurements of weight: grams and kilograms, as they relate to ounces and pounds.

We started his Language/English curriculum this week! We’re using Rod & Staff’s Building Christian English. It’s a textbook format where he copies his work onto paper from his textbook, rather than doing worksheets like he did in phonics. Much like I was as a student, he absolutely loves the idea of working from a textbook and writing down his work in a brand-new, cool notebook. He was so excited that he actually got sad on the one day he didn’t have any textbook work to do.
The curriculum starts out slow and easy. The entire first unit is on how to write sentences, with every lesson being something he either already knows and has covered before in his phonics curriculum. So I’m breezing through the lessons two or three at a time, using it as a review before we dive into unit two, which will begin introducing the specific parts of speech. We should be there in a couple of weeks. So far, it’s a hit with G, and he dubs it to be “easy!”. Hmm, we’ll see if it continues to be “easy!”. ;)

Writing With Ease was even more enjoyable this week because I read excerpts to G from Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, a story I read and loved when I was in the 2nd grade. He worked on summarizing each passage into a few sentences, using his own words. He also did dictation work from those excerpts, and was even inspired to draw a picture of Mrs. Frisby’s cinderblock home and all of her little baby mice.

Our history lessons spanned the world this week, as we studied India and Hinduism, The Olympic Games in ancient Greece, and the prophets Jonah and Amos.

G’s reading on his own was, as last week, from Dewey the Library Cat. It’s a long book for a 7 year old, so he’s still working on it. He’s still enjoying it, still giggling in his room while reading it, and is apparently inspired by it— he has begun to write and illustrate his own book about our cat, Esmeralda. While this is not official schoolwork, it still counts as both writing and art! A typical benefit of homeschooling—learning while not meaning to or even realizing it, and it happens daily.
His daily reading aloud is still from the Abeka reader I mentioned last week. Kinda boring, but we’re getting through it.

Science was experienced through daily life, as usual. He did a lot of leisure-reading in his various books on science-related topics, built several cool machines with Legos, assessed the level of damage we got from a rough windstorm that blew down a tree and many huge limbs all around our yard (as well as gathered up what limbs he could haul and piled them), inspected the level of rottenness of his halloween pumpkin (which he smashed finally), did an archaeological dig in the back yard, collected more rocks, and observed some amazing little caterpillars who took up residence in our kitchen. Those are just the things off the top of my head that I remember him doing. No doubt there are even more things I didn’t catch (and probably some I’m glad I didn’t).

On a random but somewhat related note, Philip has begun reading aloud to both boys (and me!) each night from The Lord of the Rings. The boys rarely watch TV, and on top of that, we never watch TV “as a family” in the evenings, so this doesn’t replace any “bad” habits. It’s just another way to spend family time together, during a part of the evening after dinner when we’re all usually doing our own things. It feels like old-fashioned entertainment, and like something to do as a family that has lasting value. I’m really glad P started doing it and I hope it becomes a nightly routine in our home.

Hope this is of interest to someone out there! It was a good week. Nothing out of the ordinary, but that’s the way I like it. Have a great week next week!

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