Sunday, October 5, 2014

Learning Notes VI


Cecilia caught up in Poetry memorizing her third stanza of Whitman's O Captain, My Captain. She also did one Saxon Math lesson... 7 more to be all caught up!

Elizabeth did her Phonics and so is now all caught up in that. She also got done a reading lesson before needing a break. 6 Reading lessons to go to finish the book and I am so counting down!

And Felicity, who only needed group subjects to do, complained she was bored and had no one to play with. If I have to hear that every day I will find some school work for her to do. ;)

After cleaning up lunch and putting Brigid down for her nap, I gathered the three oldest and we did the first of the two Science lessons we missed. I simply couldn't pull out many glass containers or vinegar or candles the week we were moving but we did today. We went over the three states of matter. We put out three candles pouring the carbon dioxide we created by mixing baking soda and vinegar. We picked up ice cubes using string and salt. We used instant gel to turn liquid water into a solid (which was not easy to keep Teresa from eating!). And, just as a simple demonstration of the fact that air exerts pressure, we crushed a soda can after heating it and moving it to ice water. I'm sorry I have no pictures but, on Sunday, this happened

And I do have a camera and can take pictures (like this one!) with the iPad, but I didn't have either on hand and was a bit busy juggling fire, a hot stove and vinegar with 4 kids eager to see and help. Can't blame the phone on the kids either... I dropped it getting into the car onto the concrete driveway.

After Elizabeth finished a second reading lesson, the afternoon was spent with puzzles and Legos.


School was delayed. I had my weekly checkup, all looking good and measuring about 37 weeks. Since the kids don't get out a whole lot at the moment, we all went. The younger ones enjoyed playing in the waiting area and Cecilia accompanied me through my appointment. She has also asked to be there when her brother is born. Afterwards we dealt with my phone situation so that I can make phone calls. Being home alone with 5 kids while full term and not having a reliable way to make a phone call is only amusing for so long.

After we got home, Cecilia did one math lesson and Elizabeth did a reading lesson. Then the girls put away their laundry and played the rest of the afternoon. James watched The Black Cauldron with Cecilia and Felicity finished reading The Book of Three.


Well, Cecilia finished 2 Math lessons and Elizabeth did 3 reading lessons. Seeing the end of the book so near was definitely motivating her. We also did a music lesson focusing on the Brass instruments. They also officially think it is pretty gross any instrument needs a "spit valve" but I'm hoping maybe I can get James to pull out his trumpet at some time and show them the different parts and maybe play just a little for them. We use Robert Levine's The Story of the Orchestra and then play around on the San Francisco Symphony's website for kids. That way we learn a bit about the history of the instrument, what it looks like, how it is different from other instruments and get to hear what it sounds like. We also bought tickets to take the older three girls to a performance of the Milwaukee Sypmhony Orchestra in December with music set to the story of The Polar Express so they can hear a live orchestra and, hopefully from the balcony wing, see it too!

Otherwise, the kids read, cleaned and played. I finished organizing the DVDs in the living room, which got rid of the last box in that room. I also vacuumed the living room and my office and swept the hallway and kitchen. Then I re-made Elizabeth's and Teresa's beds and snuck a nice chunk of stuffed animals out of their room to hide and see if they miss any of them because Holy Stuffed Animals, Batman! They have so many they don't know what to do with them all except crowd their beds with them until there is no room for them to sleep. The difference between unpacking and nesting? Nesting involves cleaning.


I got up to discover Brigid's diaper had leaked during the night, so I kicked off the day with a load of laundry. Then I began unpacking boxes in my bedroom of picture frames and statues for my bureau and the girls' dresser.
Cecilia did two Math lessons, and I'm thrilled to say she is getting better about working more independently (as opposed to insisting she needed help when all she really needed was to read the instructions). And Elizabeth finished her final lesson in Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. Honestly she is reading very well, beyond any BOB books. She struggles with some words but generally speaking she had taken off with her reading.
After lunch and I had Brigid down for a nap on her clean bedding, we did another music lesson, making us all caught up in music. We went over the instruments of the orchestra that are woodwinds. Cecilia pulled out our recorder to demonstrate and we went over the differences in the instruments, a bit about their histories and listened to selections highlighting each one. While Cecilia is still adamant she wants to learn the harp, Felicity is now asking for a violin and Elizabeth wants to learn the flute. Now if I could only find a harpist/flutist/violinist to give them all lessons. :)

I then pulled out all the winter coats and snow suits. We've been warned about Wisconsin winters and needed to see which coats fit which girls and if those coats will be warm enough. Fortunately we had invested in LL Bean coats that, while not exceptionally thick, are designed to warm as low as 10 degrees with little movement or -15 degrees with significant activity. Frankly, colder than that, I wouldn't want them outside anyway. So we actually have sufficient coats for all but Cecilia, who insists on growing bigger each year. We also have snow pants for three of the girls but will need to get one for Cecilia and one for Elizabeth. (Considering the previous few winters in Maryland we hadn't invested in new snow pants in a while.)

I then set about cleaning and organizing Brigid's room. I unpacked the cloth diapers, baby blankets, and two boxes worth of saint statues and little things the girls have made or collected.

I also came to the conclusion I am going to need to stop doing as much as I have been every day. While Braxton-Hicks contractions don't hurt or start labor, I'm giving myself quite a few of them and they aren't always fun to stand or walk through. The main and upper floors are both pretty unpacked and functional now anyway so, apart from getting some curtains up in the kids room and switching out the girls' spring/summer dresses for fall/winter ones, I think it is more than reasonable to say that, if it isn't unpacked now, it can probably wait a few weeks.


Cecilia finished her last two Math lessons and got completely caught up in Math. Wohoo! She actually did a happy dance afterwards.
I almost completely finished organizing Brigid's room and nicely arranged the Saint statues on the girls' dresser.
James took Cecilia out and got her a new winter coat and snow pants for Elizabeth. We will have to order Cecilia's snow pants since they didn't have her size available at the store.

Basically, we got completely caught up except for a Science lesson on weather and some sewing. The weather books didn't arrive until Thursday evening and I just wasn't up for it on Friday. And I haven't unpacked all the sewing supplies yet. I am assuming, though, that a Wisconsin winter will afford plenty of time for sewing. We have another Science lesson scheduled for next week, but not one we can do many experiments with, so I think we'll try to do both Science lessons next week.

Thanks to Melanie for hosting! :)


  1. That sounds like a cool science project! My kids would be thrilled if I took the time to do all that with them. :-)

  2. Sounds like great science projects. What book do you use, Katherine?

  3. Catherine, Cecilia's biggest complaint about last year was that we didn't do enough science experiments. She loves science and wanted more hands on stuff, so I am trying to make a point of doing more this year.

    Melanie, I don't use a book. We tried using Seton's and the kids were bored to death with it. I don't know how much longer I'll be able to get away without using a book but basically I divided the school year into areas of Science, I think there are 8?, and then we use either books from home or library books and for the experiments I searched online. I used the website and pulled experiments that wouldn't be too difficult or expensive to do but would help demonstrate the different states of matter (and hopefully impress them enough to make an impression). I should have included the link in my post - I didn't think of it. Sorry.