Saturday, August 8, 2015

Learning Notes XXXI, New School Year 2015-2016


Princess Teresa helps me make muffins.
Well, we had a nice month or so off but we started back to school on Monday. Honestly it is a nice amount of time off without being so much that no one remembers anything nor wants to start again. On the contrary, all of the older girls had been so excited to start they began before we went on vacation. But officially, we began on
Monday, August 3rd, St. Nicodemus
It was crazy busy but good. I watched Mass on EWTN while I ate and got the kids breakfast. Then, at 7:30, they were so eager to start they dug in without any prompting from me. Elizabeth completed 3 geography lessons, worked on 2 pages of copywork and did 2 pages of phonics. Felicity did a geography lesson and a couple pages of math. Cecilia did her geography, spelling and a math lesson before spending a half hour learning Spanish on the Rosetta Stone program. While I did these with the older ones, Teresa and Brigid watched the Leap Frog Letter Factory and Word Factory DVDs. Teresa knows many of the sounds the letters make, but I figured a refresher wouldn't hurt. We also read about the Saint for the day and that wonderful scripture passage in John where Nicodemus asks Jesus about being "born again."

Since Cecilia finished her bookwork before the others, she decided to begin working on her crystal growing kit. We could only do so much but we did get the potassium aluminum sulfate solution done and resting.
The solution must be heated to disolve.

After an early lunch (because my kids are ALWAYS hungry), Cecilia set Felicity up on the computer with the Typing Instructor program and helped get her started learning how to type while I sat down with Teresa and she did 4 reading lessons, the fourth of which we will go over again tomorrow, and then plowed through the entire I Know Numbers workbook. She didn't do all the coloring, but I'm not about to force her to color all the pages when she knows numbers 1-10 backwards and forwards with the occasional confusion of 9 and P. After a good effort at typing and when she began to get frustrated, Felicity stopped and Cecilia took her turn practicing her typing.

A little before 3, I sat down with the older three girls to discuss archeology. We talked a bit about what it was and then I read aloud "The Magic School Bus Shows and Tells: A Book About Archeology," and "Archaeologists Dig for Clues." Both were a fantastic introduction to the subject explaining the basic terms of artifact, feature, trowel, etc. They went over what a hypothesis is and how you develop and test them as an archeologist as well as how a dig site is mapped and the importance of caution in digging a site.
The kids used window markers to color on the windows. 
It was a crazy busy day but it went well both as a first day of the new school year as well as my first day juggling 4 "official" students. I even managed to go over shapes with Brigid while Teresa matched numbers. Brigid has been working hard to learn her colors from a bedtime book we've been reading but I think shapes are fairly new to her.

Tuesday, August 4th, St. John Vianney
Once again the older girls got off to an early start, without prompting, around 7:30, working through bookwork while they ate breakfast. Cecilia did her vocabulary and a second math lesson. Elizabeth finished her phonics and her handwriting and then did all her math and english for the week. Felicity did her vocabulary, handwriting, and a couple pages of math. By 9:30, Teresa had jumped in and did 3 more reading lessons. (As I said in my general homeschooling plan post, the first dozen or so lessons are very simple and the kids tend to fly through them.) She began her "Numbers 10-100" book but became frustrated at the amount of writing, for which I can hardly blame a 4 year old. I may have to take over some of the writing if we are going to make much progress with numbers. It was interesting too because when I tried to hand her a pencil, she tried to grab it with a fist and yet when she and her older sisters went to town on our sliding door and window with window markers, she held the markers perfectly correctly. I tried to put on a Leap Frog math DVD but she didn't really watch it.

Thomas takes spaghetti-face to the next level. 
Cecilia was ecstatic to see she had grown a pretty white crystal and, while we skipped experiments 2 (watch the crystals dissolve back into liquid (she wants to make crystals, not watch them disappear), 3 and 4 (use a small crystal on a string become larger over weeks - patience isn't her strong suit), we did begin experiment 5 which saturates water with sodium sulfate to grow crystals in after letting it set for a day.

We were definitely in need of some new pencils. 
After lunch I heard, "Mom, can I do more Spanish?" So of course I said yes and she spent more time practicing Spanish. She has begun walking around reciting the names of items in Spanish, like bread, milk and an apple. Then Felicity wanted to practice her typing. She is getting the hang of it but gets frustrated quickly and easily at how slow she types no matter how many times I've reassured her it just takes a lot of practice. And since Felicity practiced her typing, Cecilia wanted to as well and she hopped on the computer and practiced some as well. I love the games and set up of the program that keep it fun to practice typing but my kids find the timed practice very frustrating and I wish that part was only in a test application rather than in practice as well or at least optional.

We read about St. John Vianney and how even though he struggled so much in school, he was an amazing priest who even could work miracles.

It can be exhausting getting up at 5:30 or 6 every morning. 
In the afternoon I had to take Thomas to his 9 month check up. He measured up at 29 inches and bumped his weight up to 18 pounds, 12.6 ounces which significantly hiked his weight percentage from the 5th% at 6 months to now the 40th%. I credit his love of mac and cheese. :) I asked our pediatrician to take a quick look at Brigid's ears while we were there since she has been taking being a 2 year old to the extremes of misery (and our pediatrician didn't hesitate because he is awesome like that!) but everyone's ears looked good. He did suggest her sleep being off may be exasperating what would otherwise be typical 2 year old behavior, so we will try stabilizing her sleep again. She used to sleep until 8 every morning but lately has been getting up between 5:30 and 6:15 and then crashing to a nap in the afternoon and then struggling to go to sleep again at night.

Exhibit A: Two-year-old Tantrum


There definitely might be something to the sleep theory though:


Wednesday, August 5th, Dedication of St. Mary Major/Our Lady of the Snows
Cecilia began early working on her english and math but took a break to work more on her Spanish and then typing, which has substantially improved in the last year and a half - she is up to 32 words per minute! Teresa also got off to an early start and did 3 more reading lessons. She read "sat" and "mat" all by herself! She also tried to write some capital letters and did about a page worth before she became too frustrated and insisted she "can't do it." She has completed the first 10 reading lessons so far this week and asks to do school in the morning - totally calling that a victory for her first week!

Elizabeth did her spelling and finished her bookwork for the week. Cecilia did her english and last two math lessons to finish her bookwork for the week. We tried to finish her most recent crystal experiment but it didn't seem to work well. We will move on to the next one tomorrow. Brigid and Teresa had a blast playing outside in the water table... perhaps a bit too much.
Brigid decided to give her baby a bath. While in her pajamas. And then climb into the water table. Which she knows she is not supposed to do because of the bubble bath. She was very amused though. 


She was not so amused when I said baby had to dry in the bathroom overnight and couldn't come to bed with her. :)
Classic Brigid:



The oldest three and I sat down and did our first religion lesson, which focused on just what faith is, that not everyone has received the gift of faith, and that the Apostles' Creed is a sort of summary of what we believe. Then we began reading our new Latin program. We kind of got into it and I didn't realize we read through 4 lessons. Felicity was hesitant to try to pronounce any of them but she was listening and Elizabeth tried and Cecilia, my language-lover, really got into it. I did manage to get a smile from Felicity though when I said, "Felicity est pulchra," so I know she was listening.

We read about the feast day and the origins of Our Lady of the Snows. We watched a video of the flower petals fluttering down inside the basilica. And then, to celebrate, we had snow cones.
A friend on Facebook mentioned a suggestion I will have to remember for the feast day next year: frozen margaritas for the adults.

Thursday, August 6th, The Transfiguration
We spent the morning at the Wisconsin State Fair. It was a really nice state fair. Parking was $10 but we brought 10 cans of food to donate and all got in for only $10 plus the cost of the cans. There were every kind of farm animal. We went through the cow barn, horse barn, goat and sheep barn, swine barn, rabbit and poultry barn and discovery barn, which had baby animals and some hands on stuff for kids. The kids loved the discovery barn.

Felicity and Elizabeth pretended to drive a tractor. 
Teresa loved the baby piggies!
I couldn't tear Teresa away from the construction trucks with corn and feed. 
Cecilia loved seeing the little chicks hatch. 
I loved the little lambs myself. 
My three oldest bovines. :)
Brigid and Felicity
Cecilia
Elizabeth and Teresa
Teresa: Something Special from Wisconsin. :)
Cecilia, Felicity, Elizabeth, Teresa and I all went down the Giant Slide. The older three loved it; Teresa forgave me when she found the toy trucks.
There were quite a few educational displays too. 
I tried my first bratwurst. I can eat it, but I'm not a fan. Not really surprising though as I'm not much of a sausage person. 
Poor Thomas was tuckered out. 
In the afternoon the kids played and I worked on our bathroom. The kids learned how to play Clue when we were in Maryland and it has become their favorite.

Friday, August 7th

I was pretty tired this morning. I don't know if it was all the excitement and stimulation at the fair or what but each of the youngest three had me up during the night. I woke up in Brigid's bed with Teresa on top of me. But I knew I had several things I wanted to get done today, so I did the girls' sewing lesson with them. We went over and practiced a running stitch and made a tissue holder with a button for decoration for each of them.
They aren't good yet at threading their own needles or tying their own knots but those are things that will improve with time and dexterity. In the meantime they will learn some stitches and make some projects for themselves. Practice makes progress! :)
Felicity did all but 3 pages of math as well.
Brigid insisted I take her picture while she sat beside her baby when I worked on the bathroom. She is all about the babies right now. 
I bought myself an end of the school year present last month: a Lego set of the Trevi Fountain. It took me less than 3 hours but I love it. Now if they would just make a set of St. Peter's.

Saturday, August 8th, St. Dominic
Felicity finished her last 3 pages of math and I worked with Cecilia on another crystal-growing experiment which proved much more successful than the previous one.

We also had a baby birthday party, in which I learned some birthday candles are just dang near impossible to blow out.


We read about St. Dominic and his amazing role not only in the creation of the Dominicans but of the preservation and continuation of the truths of the Catholic faith as well as his spreading of the praying of the rosary.

And Teresa found a clip on a DVD game where Goofy makes this silly confused face and found she could imitate it to the amusement of everyone. Teresa does the Goofy face:





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