Saturday, March 31, 2012

Week in Review

We have had a very full and lovely week. We managed to squeeze in a lot of "school", but we also had a lot of FUN. We've seen another planet, had a pet lizard (for a day or two), used compasses, spent an entire day at the beach, done school at a Nature Preserve, watched crabs and so much more. Would you like to get the break down?


We ended up reading five chapters in The Child's Story Bible by Catherine Vos. I had only planned to read one per day, but a beautiful thing happened on Wednesday. It was such a lovely moment as their mother. We read our "scheduled" chapter and the girls really got into the story. When I came to the end, I said "I wonder what will happen" as I closed the book. Then, they both begged for more. We ended up reading three chapters in one sitting. In case you're wondering what the subject matter was, this week we read all about Joseph's stay in Egypt. We read about him living in Potiphar's (the captain of Pharaoh's guard) home. Potiphar's wife fell in love with Joseph, but since she was a married woman, he refused to be with her. This made her angry, so she told lies about him that got him put into prison. Long story short, there were some dreams and Joseph was always able to interpret them correctly. This ability got him a place in the palace. He ended up advising Pharaoh in such a way that Pharaoh was convinced that God was with Joseph. Because God was clearly with Joseph, Pharaoh made him his "right hand man". Joseph got a chariot, beautiful clothing, gold, servants, a wife, a couple of sons and loads of respect. Fast forward twenty years and Joseph's brothers (from Canaan) come to him to buy food (one of the things Joseph had predicted from the Pharaoh's dreams was the seven years of plenty and then the seven years of famine). Here is where one of Joseph's original dreams comes true ~ his brothers bow down to him. This is where it got so intriguing and the girls begged me to keep reading. Joseph was tricking his brothers, testing them to see if they'd changed. You really need to read for yourself (or this blog entry is going to get WAY too long), but it's a great story. The last bit we read was when Joseph finally tells them who he is. It is a joyous reunion. Up next ~ Jacob (their father) and the rest of the family comes to Egypt. I'll let you know where that takes us next week. In the meantime, here is the Hippie's drawing and copywork from the first of the week.


There was lots of reading this week. Let's see, the Hippie has continued to read Dewey (the true story about the cat that was dumped at a library) and is now on chapter 23. She also read 7 chapters of The Children of Noisy Village. She perused Encyclopedia Brown a bit and started reading Bridge to Terabithia (she is now on chapter 3).

The Princess has also been reading a lot this week. As far as reading to me, she read two stories to me from her Harriet Treadwell reader. She also read three different Mr. Putter and Tabby books this week and continued reading a book she checked out about kittens/cats.

The Hippie learned to write "V", "W" and "X" in cursive this week. She also copied the poem "Thirty Days Hath September" and we talked about the seasons and why/how we get a Leap Year every four years.

The Princess and I worked through ten lessons in her Language Lessons book. We did a picture study and narration on "Pulling a Tooth" by John Morgan.

We read the poem "Gardens" by Harry Behn and talked about how God made all the things in Nature (got to talk about that again on Friday ~ more on that later). We also went through a few more phonics rules and she got some practice with them via reading words, copying words and reading sentences.

Both girls wrote a thank you card this week for some gifts they got from their Aunt K for Easter.

Finally, we also read some more in Twig and Black Beauty.


The Hippie went through three lessons (generally a lesson is equal to a week, but we are cruising through this level) this week. We watched lessons 5, 6 and 7 together and she did the practice and review pages with me orally. Call her crazy, but she loves word problems. That is her favorite part. Well, that and playing with the blocks. Anyway, I did have her do the practice page, review page and test for lesson 7, all written.

The Princess and I spent the week on lesson 2. I discovered on the first day that she needed a bit more work with building the numbers. She understands the numbers, but was sometimes getting them backwards (like switching the units and hundreds places) and she actually counted out 17 units on one number instead of using 1 ten and 7 units. I decided we would practice this over and over this week. We did that and she got better. Other than that, we watched lesson 2 together and she did several pages with me orally. She also did three pages written. We'll move on to lesson 3 next week.

In addition to Math U See, the Princess and I played four rounds of Skip Bo Junior yesterday. That is a perfect little game for practicing math at her level. And, it was so nice to spend the time with her. This really is the "sweet spot" ~ these ages. I wish I could just press PAUSE on them growing up.


This week's fairy tale was Hansel and Gretel. I decided to combine our fairy tale and our opera this week and it was a great decision. We read the story on Monday and the Princess drew a picture from it and wrote a sentence from it. Then, the girls watched this hour long Hansel and Gretel: An Opera Fantasy on youtube yesterday (there are 8 parts, so if you decide to watch it, know that you will have to click through the parts to get the whole thing). I love it when things come together like that. Other than that, we listened to the Opera station some more this week when we were doing school. We also spent some time listening to a Beethoven station and a Mozart station. The Hippie wanted me to find Fur Elise, which I did. We also enjoyed a dubstep version ~ that was kind of cool!


We didn't do too much with art this week (we'll focus more on that next week), but we did finally do picture study on the print "Madame Georges Charpentier and her Children" by Renoir. It is now hanging on our refrigerator.


This week the girls picked out a favorite poem of Robert Louis Stevenson to memorize for the term. The Hippie picked out "Bed in Summer" and the Princess picked out "Rain". Next week I will have the girls copy these poems (to aid in memorization and double as copywork) and illustrate them. The hope is that they will have them memorized by Friday and can recite them to Mommy & Daddy.


As is usually the case, our most enjoyed and most natural subject to get in this week was Nature. I didn't even have any "plans" for Nature this week, but it always finds its way into our lives. When you have time for exploration and reverence for God's creation, you just can't get away from "Nature Study". Let me see if I can summarize what all went down this week.

The girls and I got to see the planet Venus on Monday. I guess Facebook is good for some things. Someone (probably a homeschool site of some sort) had posted that if you went outside at 4:00 pm you would be able to see Venus. So, of course, that is what we did. We went out into our front yard at 4:00, got the sun to be to our right and behind a tree and looked up until we could find the crescent moon in the daytime sky. I finally found that and then when I focused (or stopped focusing, not sure which) for a minute, I finally saw the bright dot of light that was just near the moon. Both girls were able to see it, too. It was such a joy to share something like that with them. And, to tell them that Abraham Lincoln had also seen it 150 years ago. Of course, the Hippie had to share the experience with the neighborhood kids and the Mom. :)

In other Nature News, the girls had pet lizards for a minute this week. For whatever reason, our cats are all about lizards lately (poor little lizards). I feel bad, but it seems that every time I turn around, one of the cats has a lizard in its mouth. Well, the Hippie rescued one this week and named him Jerry. She created a habitat for him (complete with a little bed that she made out of scrap fabric) and set him up in their room. The girls tried catching flies for Jerry and were eventually able to give him a fruit fly or two. The Princess also got the opportunity to rescue another lizard (I told you ~ these cats are CONSTANTLY tormenting the lizards). So, at one point we had two pet lizards. The second one was named Bible by the Princess. It was fun for a minute, but the girls eventually set both lizards free ... on some bushes around the corner from our house. I hope they got far enough away from the wrath of my cats!

Friday was a wonderful "school" day. Daddy's day started off badly ~ he dropped his breakfast on the ground as he was getting into his truck in the morning to go to work. He didn't have time to make more, so he left here hungry and irritated. I decided right then that we needed to bring him some breakfast. So, I put a few "school" things into a bag and we headed out. After brightening up his day, we headed over to an Island Nature Preserve by our house. The girls and I set up shop at a picnic table and got the last of our week's school work done, surrounded by the sounds and beauty of nature. When we were finished, we decided to take a little walk. We looked at a cricket and a caterpillar. We played with a roly poly and tried to feed a spider.

As we walked and talked and looked around, I spotted some Golden Rod. It was so cool to see one of our previous lessons come around in real life. We had read earlier this year that Golden Rod always points north. Sure enough, it was pointing north! We took some home and the girls want to plant it in our yard. We'll see how that works out. At the moment, it is in a vase on our table.

After the Golden Rod, we walked out onto the marsh. We watched crabs and wondered at the marshlands. The Hippie said it looked like we had stepped out into Africa. On our walk back, we found lots of dandelions. We talked about the cycle of life and how new dandelions grow ~ when children blow the seeds to make a wish (or the wind blows them all around), they settle into the ground. It rains and the sun shines and a new dandelion grows. That pretty little yellow flower eventually turns to the puffy things and the cycle repeats itself. The Princess wanted to know how we got the dandelion in the first place ~ like "what comes first, the chicken or the egg". It was a wonderful opportunity to talk about God and how He created the first Dandelion ... and the first Chicken. All in all, it was just a lovely time. There's nothing like doing school at a Nature Preserve and then finding something you've already learned about!


As we normally do, we also went to our weekly Waldorf Handwork Group on Wednesday. This also takes place at a park and we were lucky enough to see a couple of families of Ducks and ducklings this week.

Thursday was epic. We loaded up with blanket and towels and chair and buckets and shovels and water-shooters and hats and sunglasses and sunscreen and food and headed over to the beach for a long and wonderful day with our homeschool buddies. The kids played in the surf, they dug in the sand, threw water at each other and had an overall grand time. The mom's talked and hung out. We all got a little bit parched and burnt. We were all tired and worn out. But, it was a fantastic way to spend a "school day".

I think that about sums it up. There was other fun stuff like games and compasses and parties and food. But, I believe I've rambled on long enough. I'll just leave you with a few more pictures. I hope your week was as blessed as ours. Isn't it great to be a homeschooler?

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