One week down, 35 to go
And at the pace we’re going, I might be completely exhausted by September! I always forget how much mental energy it takes to do this, especially as we jumped right into a full schedule. It felt like I hardly had a moment to breathe all day, but I think the boys had a fun week. They sure worked hard. We hit a point every August where we’re tired of too little routine and too much playtime. School is a nice change. This summer has been especially difficult as I’ve been so sick and on my bed for a good portion of it. It was good to get back to work this week and it was fun to have quite a few brand new books to crack open rather than just starting where we left off.
Math: Everyone started a new math book (Singapore 6B, 4A, and 3B) and we found out how much we lost over the summer! A forgot how to divide by fractions and is getting the how, but not the why so we need some more work there. C needed a refresher course on place value, but is ready for the first review section tomorrow, and D has forgotten his multiplication facts so we need a bit of review work there. But overall, things went well.
English: A and C both began their new MCT grammar books and D had three lessons on dictionary skills and alphabetizing. I have seriously neglected spelling with C and D in the past few years so we started new spelling notebooks together and are learning spelling based on rules. D began a cursive book that coordinates with his Latin, but we soon realized the lines were way too small for him and he couldn’t remember how to form half the alphabet anyway, so he went back to his Pentime cursive book. A and C will soon have quotes to copy for penmanship as well. For writing all three watched the student portion of my Institute for Excellence in Writing dvds (that we would have watched ages ago if I had only realized they were included.) Next week we’ll have to actually write something. This is our least favorite subject, but I have declared this the Year of Writing. It will happen!
Latin: Everyone started their new books and so far, so good!
Science: We had a lot of fun with chemistry this week, although they’re asking how many experiments we’ll be doing. I should say, “As many as you want, as long as you set them up!” We enjoyed our first chapter of The Elements though and especially liked the Chemical Compound song and the getting to know the elements game we played.
History: We just read chapter 1 in Story of the World about Charles and the Holy Roman Empire in the 1500s and the riches of South America and how they were plundered by the Spanish. A and C both read several corresponding sections in the history encyclopedia and wrote a list of facts and after I taught C how to outline, outlined one section each. D completed his mapwork all on his own and we assembled new timelines for this period of history.
Literature: This is the first year in a long time I haven’t had to actually teach reading! The three older boys are all reading fluently now (although D could use some help with punctuation and not reading right through it) and E is not ready to read yet. It’s kind of fun! I can just put out books and they read! C finished The Lyon’s Roar which takes place in Roanoke colony and A started a retelling of Don Quixote. We’re still listening to Peter and the Starcatchers in the car. With D, I read Don Quixote and the Windmills and some books about El Dorado and Children in the Age of Exploration to go along with history.
Art/Music: We began both our artist and composer studies this week. Our first artist is Leonardo da Vinci. We read his biography and assembled our lapbooks. In music, we’re beginning a study of the orchestra and the different musical periods. While assembling this lapbook, we listened to Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, as well as excerpts from Handel, Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, and Copland. When I started the Chopin, C said, “Oh, we know this piece already. A’s played it before.” They knew the Copland already too. Tonight C was humming something familiar which I finally realized was the Triumphal March from Aida which my orchestra played last May. I asked C why he was humming it and he said that he had heard A playing it once. Obviously we know a lot of music already, but maybe this course will give us some context for all the music already stored in their little brains!
Logic: C and D are enjoying the exercises in their Building Thinking Skills books and they’re not much of a challenge yet. I also taught them how to do some 4×4 and 6×6 sudoku puzzles and they thought those were fun. A wanted to try a harder 9×9 puzzles and enjoyed it. I think I’ll have to start leaving puzzles out at night that they can do over breakfast. A and I began reading The Art of Argument together and discussing. Hopefully this week we’ll actually get to chapter one. So far we’ve only made it through part of the introduction. I’m learning a lot already as I have never had a logic course in my life, although I’ve always loved logic and number puzzles.
Memory: We memorized our first scripture verse: Alma 37:35: ”O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God.” I still need to come up with a list of poetry to memorize.
Preschool! E was so excited! And we had fun, although I’m not sure where to fit it in. Hopefully the other three will need me a little less during the day so I can spend more time with E instead of waiting until the end of their day. He was pretty patient though and entertained himself quite a bit, although the toy mess surrounding us in the living room got to me a bit some days! We started a weather calendar together, but he was perturbed that he couldn’t fill in the weather for the whole week on Monday. By Friday he was getting the hang of it and even wanted to change the cards as the weather went from partly sunny to very windy to rainy that day.
We read The ABC Bunny, but didn’t do much with it for Before Five in a Row. We mainly talked about the letter A and what sound it makes and learned about ants, alligators, and apples. We traced the A together and made an A collage and an alligator.
He practiced sequencing with different sized apples.
And on Friday we cut apples open to see the star pattern of the seeds and then made apple prints with paint.
So that was our first week! I need to tweak our routines a little bit as I’m not sure we can keep up this pace, but we are a little rusty after most of the summer off so maybe we’ll wait and see how week 2 goes.