Saturday, March 17, 2012

Week in Review

Whew. For the first time since the beginning of our Homeschool journey, we have just completed six out of six "school" days! You're listening to one tired Momma! Would you like to know what we've been up to? Good, because I intended to tell you anyway. :-)


We read the story of Jacob's dream this week (again). We had read it a while back, but I intended for the Hippie to use the story for a drawing and copywork and since we'd never followed through on that before, I decided to read it again to have it fresh in her mind. It creates such a lovely image in my mind (the ladder that reaches up to heaven with the glowing angels going up and down and it and God at the top, speaking to Jacob). I also wanted to be sure that the Hippie had the chance to copy such a meaningful line as this:

Jacob had found a friend in God,
and no one is unhappy who has
God for his friend.

Isn't that just beautiful? I thought so. I want to be sure that my children know the truth in that statement! Anyway, here are a few pictures for the Bible lesson this week.

In addition to the Bible itself, we also read two more chapters in Wisdom and the Millers this week. This week we talked about "being like the ant". If you think about ants, they just do the work. Everyone works together. There's no bickering about who should pick up the crumb and who should carry it to the grass. There is no boss of the ants keeping them working. Each ant just keeps working of their own accord. It was a great lesson to remind the girls to work faithfully and of their own accord. They tend to spend so much time trying to make sure that everything is fair and telling the other one what they should be doing, that they end up with no time to play when they are assigned a chore. I will be reminding them of the ants daily, I imagine!

We also talked about how important it is to take constructive criticism gracefully. A foolish person hates the one that criticizes him, while a wise person takes criticism with grace and loves the one who has shown him what he was doing wrong. A wise child will accept his reproof and apologize for what he's done. They will love their parents for showing them how to be and do better. This is another one that we work on around here. I am regularly telling the girls not to take it personally when I have to correct or teach them; that God gave them to me to teach them how to "be" in this world.

I am loving this little book! It's gentle, yet so far each lesson it has taught has been one that my children needed to hear!


Daddy read to the girls from Black Beauty at night again this week. They are on chapter 14 now. I read the fairy tale "Mother Holle" to them on Monday and we read several poems by Robert Louis Stevenson.

The Princess had a great week as far as language arts went. She read to me from Reading Literature, First Reader. She read "The Cat and the Mouse" to me as well as 8 pages of Mother Goose Rhymes. On her own time, she read Blueberries for Sal and read Meet Benji and Benji's Big Adventure (again). In her Language Lessons book, she got some more reading practice and we read the poem "Green Hill Neighbors" by Frances Frost. We talked about the poem a bit and then she drew a picture of what she thought of when she listened to it.

After our poetry appreciation lesson, the Princess had a bit of a review. She practiced reading to me words that followed all of the letter sounds that have been covered so far (in the first 40 lessons). She is really becoming a very fluent reader!

Aside from her reading and language lessons books, the Princess also had a chance this week to illustrate the Grimm's Fairy Tale "Mother Holle" and copy a short sentence about it. Here are a couple of pictures from the 1st grade main lesson this week.

The Princess also did some copywork for St. Patrick's Day this week (more on that below).

The Hippie also had a great week. She learned "P", "Q" and "R" in cursive this week. She is really getting a lot better. We looked at the beginning of her cursive book and compared the practice words to the words she did this week. You can tell that she was really shaky blending the letters in the beginning, but she is getting a feel for how the letters flow now. As long as she is slow and careful, she does a beautiful job. I am proud of the progress she has made.

As far as her Language Lessons book, she finished up copying the paragraph from Wee Willie Mousie: Life From His Viewpoint, by Jane Fielding. She also read The Story of Ferdinand (we LOVE this book!) and narrated it to me (for narration practice).

She finished the book Socks, by Beverly Cleary and also read a few on her own this week. In honor of St. Patrick's Day, she read to herself St. Patrick and the Peddler, The Leprechaun's Gold and Leprechaun's Don't Play Fetch (from the Bailey School Kids series). She has been reading Turtle in Paradise, but I'm not sure she ever got around to reading in it this week.

As I mentioned above, she completed her 3rd Grade main lesson this week with an illustration and copywork from Jacob's Dream. She also did some copywork for St. Patrick's Day this week (more on that below).


The Hippie and I broke out our new math program this week (Math U See). I decided to start with Alpha and move quickly where she could to catch up rather than start her at a later level and have her struggle because she missed something. This week was mostly about getting our feet wet, getting a feel for the program. We watched the video lesson together and she enjoyed playing with the blocks and teaching me. She even broke it all out one night and taught Daddy. We only made it through the first lesson this week. I'd like to push for two lessons a week until we reach something that is challenging for her, but again, we were only getting our feet wet. Here are a couple of pictures.

The Princess and I worked our way through a couple more main lessons this week. She did lessons for the numbers 6 and 7 this week and we also spent a day reviewing all of the possible addition and multiplication possibilities for the numbers 1 through 7. She was going to write them out, but we ran into some tears (she is a perfectionist and when she messes up or writes something wrong or backwards or too big, the world tends to come to an end), so we put that aside and did something fun instead. Here are a couple of pictures for you.

We also played a game to practice our math facts ... you can find more on that below.


We listened to a lot of music this week. I created a station on Pandora using OPERA as my keyword. The girls were introduced to the Opera and both really liked it. We talked about how Operas tell a story that you can feel and understand because of emotion, even when you can't understand the language. I compared that to the Ballet, where you can understand the story through the dance and the emotion, even though there are no words.

We also listened to a "Mozart" station on Pandora this week. I was so proud when a song was on and I asked (totally not expecting anyone to know the answer) if they could tell me who the composer was. The Princess blurted out "Mozart" right away. Apparently she had learned it on Little Einsteins.

We also listened to a lot of Celtic and Irish music this week. More on that below.


I read "The Horse Chestnut's Name" to them from Outdoor Secrets this week. It was a great little introduction to various types of trees ~ oak, pine, maple and a couple we didn't already know about. The Princess was tickled to find out there was a tree that had chestnuts on it with little twigs shaped just like a horse's hoof and leg. She said she'd love to find one of those. I'll have to do some research and see if we have any in this area.

The girls also cleaned out their frog habitat and are ecstatic to be going over to our little park nearby today (when Daddy gets off work) to collect some tadpoles from the pond and grow their own frogs. For some reason, the Hippie decided she wanted a hermit crab. When Daddy suggested the frogs instead, she immediately changed her mind and got super excited about the idea of "growing a frog". I'll keep you posted on how all of that turns out.

At that start of our week (after a long day of working as little mechanics), we all headed out to the beach in our pajamas to see if we could catch a "moon rise". No luck on the moon rise, but it was still a memory-making adventure, I'm sure! I tried desperately to take pictures, but my camera doesn't like the dark apparently.


We had a full on "kitchen day" on Wednesday. It was our turn to bring snack for our Handwork group and everything has to be gluten-free, dairy-free, so it's a new adventure for us (we don't normally do gluten-free). So, we took the day to bake together and I threw in a few more things to round it out. We started reading from The Pioneer Sampler (a resource I plan to use all year, mostly for getting in all of the Waldorf third grade topics like farming, harvesting, shelters, time, measurement, DOING ...). It follows a pioneer family through a year (in 1840) of their life. We will learn about the signs of spring, maple-sugaring, how they learned, farm animals, honey and bees, milking, sheep-shearing, fishing, harvesting, the General Store, building a house, corn husking, Christmas and many other fascinating things. We will cook, use the "Rule of 3", grow a potato plant, make Johnny Cakes, make honey butter, make butter, make cheese, dye clothes, weave, make a sand clock, make dried apples and many other really cool things. If you have a rising third grader and you like the idea of the Waldorf Third Grade curriculum, I highly recommend this book.

Anyway, on Wednesday, we read a few pages, baked bread together and the girls made soup. Here are a few pictures from the day.


We devoted Friday to St. Patrick's Day (even though it is today) as far as school was concerned, though we are still listening to and dancing around to the Irish Music. We managed to squeeze in some good subjects and had a great day. I read St. Patrick and the Peddler to the girls. I'm not sure where we picked it up, but this is one that we own. I chose a line from the book for each of the girls to copy (the Hippie's was in cursive, the Princess's was in print).

Poor as he was, the peddler gave a
welcome to anyone
who stopped at his door.

I thought it was a beautiful representation of the kind of person I'm trying to raise my daughters to be. They both worked hard on their copywork while we listened to a "Celtic" station on Pandora. I made them green smoothies for a snack and then we played a favorite game around these parts, "Shamrock Math". It is really a simple idea and could be used for any holiday. What I did was draw a big shamrock on two pieces of green construction paper (I realized after the fact that I had done a better job the last time we did this.  A shamrock should really be like three HEARTS joined together. I missed that part this year. Oops). Then, I wrote the numbers from 2 to 12 on the shamrock and circled them. Each girl got a set of stickers and we broke a couple of dice out of another game. They took turns rolling the dice, adding the two numbers together and then placing a sticker on the answer (if the number was still available to place a sticker on). The first person to cover all of their numbers was the winner. Both years, the winner was the Princess. Here are a few pictures from the day.

Of course, they both dressed from head to toe in GREEN (and again today) and they did play a bit on the Irish Whistle that we have. I won't lie and pretend it was a "nice little music lesson" or anything. In truth, it was the Hippie playing the whistle while the dogs howled loudly to the "music". But, hey, that's just how we roll in these parts. Other than that, the girls both perused our little book of Irish Legends for Children this week and I am planning to make Irish Stew and Irish Soda Bread for dinner tonight. That's about it. Oh, and I am still listening to the continuous melody of the Celtic fiddle as I write this. It's surprisingly soothing and makes for good concentration.


We made a spur-of-the moment decision to stop our lessons a bit earlier on Tuesday and drive across town for the Hippie to make her second donation to Locks of Love. I intended to do an entire post on this, and maybe I will sometime, but I was a bit busy this week. In essence, if you don't already know my daughter, she is the queen of LONG hair. She donated over 13 inches a couple of years ago and her hair was below her bottom (to her thigh) when she did it that time. Well, even after all of those inches, her hair was still long and continued to GROW. Fast forward to today, her hair is again below her bottom and is absolutely UNMANAGEABLE! It has been an hour long EVENT to brush it for quite some time now. Obviously, no one in their right mind (well, at least not me) looks forward to said event, complete with tears and terrible tangles and frustration. So, after a LONG event on Monday night, we decided (I decided) I couldn't handle another "event", so we went on Tuesday. She only donated 10 inches this time, but I asked the stylist to thin it out underneath a bit to help with the tangles. Her hair is still long and she did a great thing ~ giving what she has to people who are less fortunate. Makes me so proud.

On a side note, Momma (that's me) also donated about a year or  two ago and the Princess donated about a year ago. We don't have much, but we DO have hair in this house. We try our best to GIVE what we HAVE. Here are a few pictures from Tuesday.

In addition to our little excursion on Tuesday and our Handwork Group on Wednesday, we also had an impromptu adventure yesterday. After our St. Patrick's Day fun, we walked over to the local elementary school to cheer on the girls friends on the street. They were having something of an event to make running their Presidential Fitness Test more fun. The day was also designed to honor the Armed Services. The girls jumped on their scooters while I walked. When we got there, we met up with the moms and grandmothers of a few of the kids on our street (that the girls play with every day). We cheered as their friends ran their mile. My girls even ran with them (in the grass) to cheer them on and motivate them. It was lots of fun, and as usual, they made me proud. Not to toot my own children's horns, but they are so stinking GOOD ~ generous, loving, kind and giving. I am so proud.

I didn't take my camera on that adventure, so I'll just have to leave you with whatever other pictures we took this week that didn't make it into the spots above.

Helping to make lunch

Making fruit salad

Dancing to the Celtic Fiddle

The Hippie and Marley

 Am I lucky, or what?

As I write this, the girls are outside collecting flowers to make home-made perfume. Now, I must devote some time to planning the upcoming week. And, I really need to clean my house. And make that Irish Stew and Soda Bread. And, plan my meals for this week and make a grocery list. I'm thinking that something will have to give. But, those are my aspirations anyway.

How was your week? I hope it was wonderfully blessed!

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