Saturday, February 18, 2012

Week in Review

Well folks, we've come to the end of another week. What have you been up to? Did you celebrate Valentine's Day with your sweetie? What about with your kids? How was your weather? Were you well?

We had one of those weeks where the weather is gray and dreary. You know, it makes you feel very BLAH. Your motivation has gone wherever it is that the sun goes on those days.

Surprisingly, though, our school week was rich and productive. I am a slow learner, but I am finally realizing that if I just stop beating myself up about PLANS I may make but don't keep and just go. with. the. flow of my family, then things go quite beautifully. I have to teach myself that it may be helpful to outline the year and plan the week in detail, but when we stray from the plans, it is absolutely OKAY.

So, what exactly did we accomplish this week, you ask?


The Princess and I read a poem entitled "Harvest Time" by William Byron. We talked about the different seasons and she told me some of her favorite things about autumn. I asked her why she thinks autumn is also called "fall" and she didn't skip a beat before telling me it was because leaves were falling from the trees. I then had her draw a fall picture and this is one of her and her sister playing with a pile of leaves. That is her jumping in the air, hair flying and all.

We also talked about vowels. I reminded her of the story to remember the vowels ("Lady I owe You") and we talked about how when two vowels come together in a word, the first one says it's name and the second one stays quiet. She got quite a bit of practice reading and copying words that follow this rule.

The Princess read the story "The Pancake" aloud to me from her Reading-Literature The Primer book.

She also read a lot to herself. She finished the third horse book she got for Christmas in two days ("Penny") and read some more about dolphins. She also spent a little time blogging this week.

Both girls got a bit of letter writing practice this week. They've been working on writing their thank yous for the various gifts they got from family and friends for Valentine's Day. The Princess is really moving along. She was so proud of herself that she could write them fairly quickly and felt confident not to ask me how to spell everything. Of course, she misspelled words once or twice, but she spelled them exactly the way they sound. It's not her fault the English language can be so frustrating. :-) She is really learning the punctuation rules (naturally), too. It's so cute ~ when she reads the cards to me, she actually says "Dear So and So COMMA ... blah blah blah PERIOD."

The Hippie learned to write Ds, Fs and Gs this week in cursive. She had a little trouble with the Gs, so we took some extra time working on those together. By the end of our one-on-one session, her lower case g's looked as good as mine (or better).

She also continued to copy the poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost. Funny thing is, even though this was not intended to be one she memorized, she is finding that she is memorizing it just the same. I guess that's what happens when you revisit the same poem day after day. I told her that I memorized that poem as a child, so we would have one that we could "share". She thought that was pretty cool.

She read three chapters of The Family Under the Bridge this week and narrated each one to me. She's finding that even though this book was "assigned" by me, she likes it a lot. She also read "Dolphin Adventure: A True Story" in one sitting and has been working her way through Nim's Island and Nim at Sea for the bzillionth time.

As a family, we finished up both of our literature read alouds this week. We read the remaining chapters of "Little House in the big Woods" and "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland". We started our next read aloud this week as well, "Black Beauty".

We've had a TON of birds in our yard and nearby lately. Noisy birds. Like, Alfred Hitchcock birds. Luckily, I recognized that the birds in our yard were robins, so I took it upon myself to skip ahead and read about the robins in the Burgess Bird Book and Outdoor Secrets. We spent a good deal of time on robins on Thursday. We read chapter five in the Burgess Bird Book while the girls colored pictures of robins with the correct markings. We watched several videos of robins and listened to their calls and songs on the computer. Of course, we watched and listened in our own yard as well. I decided to read them "The Rainy Day Sermon" from Outdoor Secrets on Friday. It is a cute little story about a robin.

The Hippie's Robin Page

The Princess's Robin Page
For whatever reason, the girls wanted to keep on listening to the Burgess Bird Book, so we ended up reading four chapters instead of one. At this point we have read chapters one through six and made three entries into our Bird Books (house wrens, English sparrows and now robins).

In other Nature News this week, the girls received these really awesome gifts from Postcarden for Valentine's Day (thank you, Aunt K). The girls put together these little postcard cities on Tuesday, sprinkled in the seeds that came with it and then watered them and placed them in the window. They've EXCITEDLY checked their gardens each morning, watered them and marveled at how quickly they sprouted and then grew leaves and then began to grow taller. It has been the highlight of each day to watch it grow.

They also found a snail yesterday and proceeded to create a habitat for it. They had me google "What do Snails Eat?" and set up a small bucket with their snail, some rocks, some leaves, some moss and grass and, of course, some water. This morning, they went out to check on it and feed it some fresh leaves and make sure it had water. They were tickled to discover that it was upside down, attached to the bucket that they had placed as a top. I guess it's the newest family pet. Of course, I drew the line at allowing the snail to watch Pete's Dragon with them this morning. I deal with enough with two dogs and two cats inside my house. I have to draw the line somewhere ... and a snail seemed the proper place to draw the line.


The girls each spent about an hour or so on Dreambox this week, doing lessons for about 20 minutes each time, three times this week.

The Princess is spending a lot of time building numbers on the abacus. The game will show her a number (not the number, but the configuration on the abacus) and then hide it and ask her to build the number herself and tell what the number is. The idea is for her to be able to quickly SEE that there are 6 tens and 7 ones instead of having to count them. She is doing well, but often adds an extra ten. Like she will count 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 and then SAY 70 before adding the 7 ... so she'll think it is 77 instead of 67. She has to learn to slow down and NOT say that next number if there aren't ten of them. She's getting there.

The Hippie is solving problems by looking at equal expressions within bigger ones. She is also skip counting forwards and backwards by jumping on a number line. She is also working with addition at the moment. I think I may take a break from Dreambox next week and practice her addition facts with her via games and movement. Knowing them cold will help her immensely with the more complicated addition she is dealing with on Dreambox. She seemed to get a little frustrated yesterday and I don't want her to develop any math phobia.

In addition to Dreambox, the girls got some math in when we made cookies on Valentine's Day. I decided I didn't want to make four dozen cookies, so we were halving the recipe I was following. We had to determine what half of 48 was. The girls had to count by 2s up to 24. We had to determine what half of 1/2 Cup was. We added fractions to determine what half of 1 1/2 Cup was (1 is the same as 4/4 and 1/2 is the same as 2/4 so 1 1/2 is the same as 6/4 ... 1/2 of 6 is 3, so 1/2 of 1 1/2 is 3/4 ... complicated stuff).


The girls and I spent some time together on Monday making our Valentines for Daddy. I traced their hands and they made "Hands down, you're the best" cards for Daddy. This year, I wrote out little reasons that I love him and placed them in a jar. It was supposed to be "100 Things I Love About You", but I couldn't stop at 100. I also traced MY feet and made him a little card that said he was my "Sole Mate".

We enjoyed a lovely morning on Valentine's Day. Luckily, it was a late day for Daddy (he didn't have to be in until 9am), so we exchanged all of our Valentines (the girls had also made things for me and for each other) and had breakfast together as a family.

Notice the HEARTS on the mirror in the background ... drawn by the Hippie

The girls spent one morning making eco-friendly vehicles out of legos. The Hippie's was called the "Eco Boost" and, I have to tell you, the explanations she was giving about how things worked were astounding. Maybe she will grow up and help save the planet by developing some cool eco-technology. In addition to legos, they spent some time cleaning out and rearranging their dollhouse and then built their tree house yesterday.

We finished off our week with a trip to the library and some good old-fashioned kids movies. They checked out Rikki Tikki Tavi, Lassie Come Home and Pete's Dragon. The Hippie thought it was cool to learn that Rikki Tikki Tavi was actually a book written by Rudyard Kipling (we also checked out the book and she read that yesterday).

That about sums up our week. Now, for some family time. It's the weekend and Daddy is off. Yippee.

Have a great week! I'll leave you with some random pictures that didn't make it into the rest of the post.

By the way, in case you were wondering, we do brush our hair once in a while (well, except for Daddy). It seems we did most of our school in pajamas this week ... with MESSY hair. Like I said, it was a gray and rainy kind of a week. Don't judge. :-)

Notice the Ruby Red Slippers ... with the pajamas

Artwork with grapefruit ... a cross


  1. How cool!!! Love the snail habitat!!! Love all the sweet things you did for Valentines Day. I'm started up school again March 5th and hope to regularly blog about it! :)

  2. I'll look forward to reading about your new adventures. Thanks for stopping by and checking out what we've been up to. Many blessings to you!

  3. What a fantastic week you guys had! love it :-)

    And, how cool is that Postcarden? I'm going to have to look into that some more. Thanks for sharing the link!

    Best wishes,

  4. Yes, Kristen ... that was an AWESOME gift! Thanks.

    Kara ~ You really should check it out. We received them as a gift, but the girls have really enjoyed taking care of them.

  5. I loved looking through your blog! I love your children's smiles, the special time learning in jammies (only homeschoolers get to do that!), the delicious-looking food, the super fun learning activities... Thanks for sharing :)

  6. Thank you for stopping by, Glory Bea! I've been by your blog, too. Yours are little ones, but it looks like you are sharing so much with them. Thank you for your kind words. :)


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