Sunday, May 15, 2016

Learning Notes: May: I

Happy May! Finally, we have some Spring weather and the world is getting some color!

I knew May was going to be a busy month but at least, being a month in on my new meds, I've been better able to deal with it.
We had our final meeting of the local Catholic Girls group. I'm not entirely sure how much my girls learned per se, but they got to pray in the chapel, do some crafts and spend some time with other Catholic homeschool girls their age. Then we had our AHG meeting at which Felicity and Elizabeth completed the requirements for their Toys and Games badges and Cecilia got to try her hand at Geoscaping (which I am still figuring out exactly how that works). I spoke with Cecilia's leader and we may try to see if we can't coordinate something over the summer for the girls to do the Architecture badge together.

 Felicity, Elizabeth and I did chapter 23 in Religion on the Holy Spirit and Pentecost. Then the three oldest and I went over some of the DK Eyewitness book on Ancient Rome, focusing mainly on their structural and architectural contributions including concrete and aqueducts and those ever useful paved roads! Then we read David Macaulay's City.

 We went over chapter 8 in our Astronomy book and learned about comets and the differences between meteoroids, meteorites and asteroids. And they practiced the Sanctus and began learning the next line.
 On Thursday, Thomas had his 18 month check up. He is doing fantastic. His height is in the 85th percentile and his head circumference even higher. His weight is about average. He has been learning new words including "tickle" and he has mastered climbing on our bed.
Brigid brilliantly trained herself to use the potty and was rewarded with a new super soft, super fluffy panda bear.

On Friday night I took Cecilia, Felicity and Elizabeth to the Milwaukee Astronomical Society's Observatory and we got to hear a presentation both on how to use a star chart and about Jupiter and then got to view Jupiter through three different telescopes and find the constellation Leo and it's heart star Regulus. Unfortunately as we get closer to June it takes until late for it to get dark enough and the bugs are picking up as well, so while I would like to go again in September and October when they plan to look at Mars, Saturn and the moon, I don't plan on going again until then. It was definitely a fun evening though.
On Saturday, the three oldest had another field trip, this one for an AHG outing to go rock climbing. First Felicity and Elizabeth joined the younger kids practicing climbing on a fairly flat wall.

Meanwhile, Cecilia was with the older girls learning how to make a double figure eight knot and an anchor knot so they could belay each other as they climbed.
Then the older girls got to climb and belay for each other.
 Then the older girls got to join the younger ones climbing all the different walls.
 Felicity and Cecilia both made it all the way to the top several times.

After a lovely Mother's Day, we got back to the books. Teresa completed through reading lesson 60 and is doing remarkably well! She also loves doing "numbers school" in her A Beka K book. Elizabeth, Felicity and I did another chapter in Religion focusing on the Holy Spirit, a perfect lead in to Pentecost. And in History we read Watkins' Gladiator, which was well worth the purchase with its beautiful illustrations and thorough information! We also read chapter 13 in our Apologia Astronomy book on galaxies, stars, nebulas and constellations. I must say that while I very much like the Apologia book, I do get frustrated at the apparent need to push a creationist approach to astronomy and argue against any extreme age of the universe. Catholics just don't have the same issues with science that fundamentalist Christians do. So I usually skip those parts.

I went over the Sanctus with the girls. Cecilia has almost the whole thing down with only a couple of minor errors, like replacing "in" with "el" merging her latin and her Spanish. She really should have no trouble getting it perfectly soon. Felicity and Elizabeth are both making good progress in theirs. They almost have the first four lines down perfectly, maybe another week or two of practice, and then just two lines to go.

On Thursday I went to the Scholastic Warehouse Book Sale and I brought home two scratch/color Frozen books for Teresa and Brigid, 10 pencils for $1, Mo Willems' I Will Take A Nap, Eric Carle's Tom Thumb, The MineCraft Handbook Collection, Swords: An Artist's Devotion for history next year, and 4 new Magic Treehouse books, which the oldest three wasted no time in devouring.
The weather this week was much better: only 2 rainy, gray days and the rest we were outside on the swings and slide, playing playdoh, riding bikes and ride-on toys, blowing bubbles and even playing in water when it got warm enough. Until Saturday, when it dropped into the 40s again and even had the nerve to snow flurries! Clearly the beer has gotten to Wisconsin.

We played another round of Multiplication Bingo but some of the kids are getting tired of it so we will probably take a break from it next week during our Pentecost break. They are getting better though! And on Sunday we watched Spartacus, the original 1960 version. I found it kind of funny it is rated PG-13. There is a bit of blood at the fight scenes and implied nudity but not seen... which is just so tame by today's standards. All the girls complained of its length (over 3 hours) so we did have Sunday treats and move around some during it but it was good they got to see not only how Romans dressed and fought but how they treated slaves, how gladiators were trained, treated and fought and how Romans treated their conquered. Considering it is based on a true story, it was a good sampling of Roman and gladiator reality without getting as graphic as Russell Crowe's Gladiator, which would simply be too much for 10, 8 and 6 year olds.

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