Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tuesday and Wednesday

Tuesday went well. We never did any reading lessons but Cecilia got through 11 pages in her math workbook and then 2 chapters in her science book. She was really into it. After an hour (and an antsy Elizabeth and Felicity) I finally had to suggest we go outside for a bit. Fortunately she was happy to go.

I have a hard time getting much "religion" in her "school" time. So I tried squeezing just 1 Bible story in during our afternoon reading hour. It went well for the first half but let's just say, by the 5th day, Cecilia didn't care much what God was creating anymore. I'm not sure if it is just the creation story that bores her or if it is just because it doesn't have Jesus in it or just a bit over her head. Does anyone else's 4 year old like reading Bible stories?

Cecilia has learned some of the words of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. She counts the beads (although she does get ahead sometimes) and loves the idea of following along with her fingers on the beads. Felicity still just likes to play with the box and Elizabeth took to sitting in my lap. I'm really impressed how attentive Cecilia has been to saying the Chaplet. She doesn't get distracted, doesn't get up, etc. and for her that is significant.

Wednesday Cecilia was still into math so she did 6 more pages in her math workbook practicing numbers up through 31. Then we did some reading. She is definitely improving in her reading. She still sometimes try to guess what the word might be, but she is getting them more often and faster than she used to with less struggle.

Since it was very wet outside from an earlier rain and a 90% chance of thunderstorms going outside was not an option. But the upstairs bathroom were taking on a Halloween look all their own. So we all went upstairs and the girls "helped" me clean both upstairs bathrooms: showers, the tub, toilets inside and out, countertops, sinks, mirrors, scales, floors and now clean towels. It did put me a little behind on lunch, but since I usually have a little extra time between cleaning up from lunch and getting Elizabeth asleep, I managed to catch up.

When I came downstairs from getting Elizabeth asleep, Cecilia and Felicity were playing together and didn't want me to read any books to them. So I rested figuring maybe they'd want me to read to them later. By 1:40, Cecilia came in asking if she could do more schoolwork. I really couldn't object. She wanted to do more math. She said it is her favorite book and she loved it. She would ask what she was supposed to do on a page, I'd tell her and then she would tell me not to look until she was done and she could say "ta da" and show me her work. It seems she is not shy with numbers and may very well turn out to really enjoy math. Yesterday waiting for dinner to be ready she sat at the kitchen table asking for addition equations she could write down. Is that normal 4 year old behavior? Of course, who am I to complain. By the time she gets to Calculus I doubt she will be as excited over math but in the meantime, it is great! In the afternoon she got done 3 more pages while I read The Three Little Pigs and Goldilocks to Felicity.

By the time I announced, "Four more minutes to prayer time," Cecilia responded with an, "Alright! Yeah!" Basically Cecilia and I said the chaplet while Elizabeth and Felicity ran in circles around us occasionally falling on top of one of us. Per Cecilia's request, afterwards we played 1 level of Mario Galaxy 2 (she plays my gold star sidekick). Afterwards, as it was "Elizabeth's pick" for the DVD of the day, I put on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which is her favorite movie. I don't quite understand it, but I enjoy seeing it each week. After Cecilia and Felicity had finished cleaning up the playroom, Cecilia asked, yep, again, to do more math. She started her math book yesterday morning and has completed 23 pages of it. I may have to look into what the next book up should be. I didn't really think I'd need to worry about that until next year, but as the book is only 32 pages long, I think I should order her next book.

In addition to my Morning Prayer and the Chaplet with the girls, I've also added an Angelus while I get Elizabeth asleep for her nap, and, thanks to the app. on my Iphone, evening prayer while I get Elizabeth asleep for the night.

All in all, the schedule has been working better than I had even dared to hope. Thursday I expect to go about the same but, if it dries enough, with outside time instead of cleaning as the weather is supposed to be very nice instead of cleaning. If we can't get outside, thanks to my baby brain, the sheets on our bed are still on sideways and, when Elizabeth wakes from her nap she makes designs in the dust on my night stand. I think we can find something to do. :)


  1. I can't believe Cecilia is reading and doing math problems! I keep forgetting that your children grow.

  2. Tell me about it. I'm not supposed to pick up Cecilia since I am pregnant, but, even when I'm not, I'm not sure I really can pick her up anymore. It is like reaching a new milestone. Next year I actually have to officially notify the state that I'll be teaching her from home. I can't believe she will be 5 years old in January.

    I once forbid her from getting bigger. She got a confused look on her face and looked at me out of the side of eyes and said, "Are you kidding?" LOL.

  3. Katherine, Bella really likes her Bible story book; but we don't read it in any kind of organized way. In fact, I don't push it at all. I bought it when we visited the Daughters of St Paul bookstore recently and because it was a new book, she wanted me to read it to her. (We had three or four other Bible story books already on the shelf but not being new they were never touched.)

    I let her choose when we read and which story we will read. Mostly at the beginning she stuck with the New Testament. But when my dad was here I heard him reading a bunch of the Old Testament stories to her. I'm pretty sure he was reading her choice of stories.

    We have covered the first part of Genesis in a couple of different stand-alone Bible story books that we have. So maybe it's just the version of the creation story you are reading that isn't engaging her? I think one of the versions we have each day on a different page with lots of illustrations. Another one does a lot of paraphrasing and explaining. I don't usually like that but I do notice it helps the girls pay attention.

    It sounds like Cecilis has a real aptitude for math. As you know, I've decided not to do any formal sit-down type schooling until next fall. (Of course, I wouldn't say that no learning is happening, so I guess you could say we're kind of loosely unschooling preschool with Bella.) Anyway, in our lessons-free method, Bella has not shown any affinity for numbers and math. I'd think it was mostly due to the fact that I seldom play counting and numbers games with them; but Bella really struggles with even consistently counting to ten, a skill which Sophie recently mastered. I'm not going to worry about it until next year-- she may just need a bit of focused activity to master the skills-- but it is interesting how you can sometimes see where kids are stronger and weaker at such an early age.

    One last thought. As far as "doing religion" I'd include things like learning to pray the chaplet as part of Cecilia's learning. In fact at her age that might be more important and relevant for her development than learning Bible stories, which may simply be something she's not ready for yet. Not all learning has to happen from a book.

  4. Melanie,

    I admit the bible I've been trying to use with Cecilia seems a bit advanced for her. The sheer size of it could be considered intimidating. Which Bible story book is it that Bella likes? I'd be curious to take a look at it or see if we have something comparable.

    Personally I get tired of the creation story myself, so I have a hard time blaming Cecilia. But I still feel like I haven't found "my groove" so to speak when it comes to teaching religion. Cecilia absolutely does love saying the Chaplet. She is learning the words and asks if it is "prayer time" every afternoon. It will be wonderful if she can learn to say the whole thing by herself. But I still would like her becoming more exposed to Scripture, even if it is just a story here and a story there. something.

    I think there were two reasons I decided to suddenly start a formal sit-down school hour with Cecilia. First, after months of moving, morning sickness, etc., it felt like I hadn't been doing anything I should be doing, so it was one way I thought it would help me get it into gear. Second, Cecilia turns 5 in January and while the State of Maryland wouldn't demand to know where she was until next Fall, I expect to be a bit out of commission by the end of March/beginning of April with the new baby. Throw in a family reunion in Disney at the end of May and I could easily see no schoolwork happening in April and May. We will be moving again next June so, considering packing and unpacking (wherever we move to) there goes June and probably July. Knowing all that will happen, I didn't want to start with her in February or March only to take such a long interruption (maybe as much as 4 months). So I figured it was either start now, or wait until next fall when she would be getting closer to 6 years old than 5. So I figured I might as well jump in now. She also would ask to do "schoolwork" and even ask when she can ride on the yellow school bus she sees drive by our house. I'm likewise hoping I can get Felicity potty trained before the new baby comes but that is a different post altogether.

    I'm sure Bella will pick up on numbers in her own time. She has a unique creative spirit about her and may just not yet be able to appreciate numbers as they can easily lack any creativity about them. After all, numbers don't scuttle. :) I don't really know yet how Felicity's learning skills will differ from Cecilia's. They both love puzzles and coloring and being read to. Felicity can count to ten but still has trouble recognizing which numbers are which. Time will tell but you are right, it is interesting discovering how they can struggle or excel in different areas. Cecilia and math was a complete surprise to me this week.