Sunday, April 19, 2015

Learning Notes XXIII

It seems like so long since I wrote a Learning Notes post. We did take off for Holy Week and Easter week. And then the kids got hit with another cold just as we tried to get back into school this week. Sigh. Too many viruses. I haven't had much in the way of a cold, but my sleep has been awful with all the sick kids. It didn't help that the previous Thursday and Friday we saw a lot of rain, so much that our backyard looked like this:
 I'm wondering how frequently this happens and if there is a way I might be able to make it drain better and faster.
 It took a couple days afterwards for the kids to be able to play over there.
 So it made for some grumpy, sick kids to have more rain on Monday.
But it is always sweet when he wakes up with a smile, which is pretty much always. 
Monday we were going to go to the zoo, but our colds and the family we were going to meet there 's colds and the rain postponed that. So Cecilia got done her geography, handwriting and a math lesson. Elizabeth did half of her math for the week and Felicity did her handwriting and a few pages of math. By the afternoon I was exhausted and the kids just played while I rested. I bribed the kids to help clean up a bunch with promises of watching Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, which they had gotten a glimpse of playing Disney Scene It with me on Sunday. I had a doctor appointment that afternoon (I finally have a doctor for myself - yay! and she is pro-life! double yay!). My back has been hurting off and on for a few months now. I really liked her though and I think she nailed it. Back muscle spasms totally explains why it feels the way it does and why I couldn't decipher a pattern to it.  My prescription is for 800mg of ibuprofen 3x a day, a heating pad and back massages. Nice, huh? 
Teresa Duck.
We've been doing a lot of watercolor painting during the rainy days. 
Unfortunately Tuesday didn't get off to a better start. Cecilia got up around 3am throwing up and every kid had the cold except Felicity. I got Cecilia to stop throwing up (she has such a sensitive stomach this is not uncommon when she gets a cold but I can generally slow her down with an ice pop and then get something bready in her and she stops and just becomes ravenously hungry) and helped Elizabeth finish her math for the week. Felicity got a few more math pages done and by the afternoon Cecilia was feeling well enough that she did all her english for this week and next. 
A page from Felicity's math book. 
She was really annoyed that almost the whole picture was blue. She is my girl who LOVES to color so asking her to make almost the whole thing blue was just insulting.  

The weather improved so that they were all dying to get outside. Out front riding bicycles, the backyard on swings and slides or shooting squirt guns and bathing plastic animals... the amount of outside time is picking up and they run in and out a lot throughout the day. 
Must. Go. Outside!
By Wednesday the runny noses were in full force but sunny and 50s drew them all outside for most of the morning. Breaks of outside time included a VeggieTales video for the littles and some spelling and math for the older ones, but they couldn't resist the backyard long. They even spent some time out front riding bikes or the plasma car or another ride-on toy. In the afternoon, Cecilia finished her Spelling and Math for the week. Felicity finished her math and Spelling for the week. And I showed the older girls the film The Flight of the Navigator. They were tickled that the alien is played by "Peewee" and I had forgotten how awesome the music to that movie is. I wish more than one song was available to purchase. 
A table of books abandoned for sunshine. 

Thursday, Felicity and Elizabeth finished their bookwork for the week. It was Cecilia's patron Saint's Feast Day as well as her Baptism Anniversary. So we celebrated with some Five Guys for lunch. And the girls spent the afternoon playing some video games but also playing outside quite a bit.

Friday we were supposed to meet another family at the zoo but they were hit by the same cold we were but harder. So they weren't able to go but my kids were so excited to go, I took them anyway. All 6 of them. By myself. For about 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
 The outing went well and the kids had a lot of fun. After greeting the penguins at the entrance, we went to the farm and saw cows, had ice cream and played on the playground. It was quite crowded though, so I did try to move thing along... trying to watch 6 kids across 2 playgrounds when it is crowded isn't easy.
 Teresa adores giraffes, so we went there next. None of the girls were happy that the hippos were still MIA, but they enjoyed the tigers, jaguars, lions, red pandas and rhino.
 We finally got to see the polar bears, who were MIA the last time we came. Cecilia really loved seeing them. I only lost Teresa once (!) when the lake apparently held more interest than the feeding of the seals. In fairness, there was a trumpeter swan nearby but threats to buckle her in the stroller if she didn't stay with us proved effective after that.
We had a snack of nachos and popcorn before seeing the black bears, elk, grizzly bears and caribou. Teresa and Brigid had a disagreement about the grizzly bear. Each insisted it was their grizzly bear. They were gorgeous though.
Cecilia and the Water Moccasin. Good thing for that snake that he is behind glass. :)
We visited the small mammals and nocturnal animals house and then the building of snakes, reptiles and amphibians. We swung by the flamingos before visiting the gift store. Felicity got a multicolored pen (again, my girl who lives to color), Cecilia got a polar bear shirt, Brigid got a plush grizzly bear, Teresa got a plastic elephant and giraffe and Elizabeth got a few lollipops.

It wasn't a bad week, despite the rain and colds. It did wear everyone out though.
Brigid asleep on her feet. Literally. 
Saturday James had to attend the ordination of the deacons, so we took the opportunity to get a nice amount of cleaning done. Cecilia cleaned the toilets, bathroom floors, her and Teresa's bedroom and the books in the playroom. Felicity did the bathroom countertops, picked up and vacuumed the hallways, helped clean the playroom and helped clean up her, Brigid's and Elizabeth's bedroom. Elizabeth helped clean up the bedroom and cleaned up the living room, vacuumed the living room and helped clean up the playroom. I got my office vacuumed and cleaned off my desk. After the girls did some reading, Saturday video games were rewarded.

Thomas has been busy learning quite a bit himself, but since he turns 6 months this coming week, I'll save that for his own update. Happy weekend!


  1. Wow, you guys stay busy! But sounds like a good busy :) what did you use to teach your children how to read? I'm trying different things with Lucia, but she's still struggling to bring each of the sounds in a word together, maybe she just isn't quite ready yet. I love how much they get to be outside, I wish my kids could go out like that. We have to go to a park or have to all go outside, no fence and terrible traffic!

  2. Kari, I use the Leap Frog DVD to learn the letters the sounds make and then I use Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. Each of my kids have been different in terms of how easily or difficult reading came to them. The main thing I used when they just couldn't put the sounds together is that I would ask them to sing it. I would sing it with them.

    The backyard fence was the first thing we did to the house after we moved in. It is a huge sanity-saver to be able to send the kids out back and know they aren't going anywhere they shouldn't and no one who shouldn't be there can get in. It was frustrating when we lived in an apartment with no yard or a townhouse with no fence. Then I liked to take them to Chick Fil-A for lunch and playground or I'd go to our parish where they had a playground and use it when the school kids weren't out. Playdates with other moms is helpful that way too just because, even while it outnumbers the adults more, having more adult pairs of eyes helps. I tell people I can stay at a park until Teresa starts to wander, then it is time for me to go. :)

  3. We use the leap frog DVD too. I've used some of the book teaching your child to read, but it seemed odd to me, but I probably just didn't give it enough time. I'm going to try it again. We've used all about ready level 1, but she seems not quite ready for it yet. She knows each of the sounds the letters make, but is having trouble blending all the sounds together to make the word.

  4. It is a bit of a weird book and it might not work for everyone but it has worked well for me through 3 kids now. Cecilia especially had trouble blending the sounds, which was when I came up with the singing approach. So instead of saying "Muh-ah-tuh" over and over again, I would say it but then I'd suggest we say it so slowly that we sing it. "Muhhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaahhhhhhtttttuuuhhhhhhhh." And sometimes I had to sing it over and over again and have her sing it with me. I remember it took a while before she could sing it on her own without my lead but it did help. Felicity got it a bit easier than Cecilia and I was surprised how quickly Elizabeth got it. It is certainly possible she just isn't ready yet, which is what I suspect was Cecilia's difficulty but I wanted her to learn to read so much we just keep plodding along but by the last 1/3 of the book or so, she was finally getting it and we were doing about 3 or 4 lessons a week. And if she really struggled through a lesson, I'd repeat it the next day. I remember no matter how many times we went over "barn" she just could not get through that "ar" sound and say "barn" so we did that lesson over an over again until she got it. It will happen and I know some parents prefer to let kids learn in their own time, which I completely respect, but I just kept working with her until she got it. Now she reads anything and everything and throughout every day. She is actually, so far, my child who loves reading the most.