learning together: W8Y01 review

week 8...let's get right to it, shall we?


we read 2 stories from the aesop for children: the gnat and the ox and the plane tree.  since both stories were quite short and emma was still engaged, we read both in one day instead of splitting them up over two days.  for the narration practice, i asked her to summarize the gnat story and whether or not the tree was indeed useful for the plane tree story.

this week, some of emma's books of choice for independent reading have been a tiara club series book, a junie b. jones series book, 100 things you should know about ancient rome, a nancy drew book, an angelina ballerina book, and big anthony and the magic ring by tomie depaola.


on monday we read about cincinnatus from fifty famous stories retold.  the rest of the week was left open to start benjamin franklin by ingri d'aulaire, but wouldn't you know i didnt have the book ordered yet.  oops!  so we jumped ahead to week 9 and read about boadecia from our island story.

boadecia was a celtic warrior queen who fought against the roman invasion of britain.  the title of the story alone, the warrior queen, captured emma's attention.  ooooh!  a fighter queen!  the topics of revenge and suicide did come up during our reading, which caught me a bit off guard since i didn't read this story in advance.  but we had a great, in-depth discussion afterward about those subjects.


we are in the second life of fred book (butterflies), and finished chapter 8 this week.  some of the topics covered in this chapter include counting by fives and ordinal numbers.  the practice problems were a mix of review from previous chapters and new topics introduced in chapter 8.

i didn't do a whole lot of supplementing this week since emma went through the practice problems easily.  the only thing we did was practice identifying u.s. coins and adding coins together.


right now we are going through 1 samuel.  this week we went through 1 samuel 3:1-20 (samuel is called) and 1 samuel 4:1-7:2 (the capture and return of the ark).  we use the curriculum from this site, but i don't always print out the activity sheets.  gibson likes to do the coloring sheet so sometimes i'll print that for him.  emma likes to alternate between the coloring sheet and the fill-in the blanks so we did that for this week.  other than that, we really just take some time after reading the scripture to simply talk about it.

for scripture memorization we currently use the weekly memory verse from the kids' sunday school.  it keeps things simple and streamlined that way.  this week's was from matthew 6:13.

language arts:

for daily copywork i used the memory verse emma needs to memorize for church.  not only is she practicing her handwriting, but it's also another way to help her memorize  the verse.  sometimes i'll add a few sentences from a poem we've read for variation, but i didn't get to that this week.

spelling words for this week were went, sent, spent, felt and melt.  by the third day of spelling review she had mastered the words so we bagged spelling practice for the remainder of the week.

we did lesson XXIX and XXX from mcguffey's first eclectic reader this week, and talked about how some words are spelled the same but pronounced differently (wind and wind) while other words sound the same but are spelled differently (fair and fare). the more i teach her about the english language, the more i see how difficult the language is to learn.  all those exceptions and grammatical rules...wow!

nature study:

we collected a few leaves and did some leaf rubbings.  gibson found a few sweet gum pods and took them home, while cash was quite content to gather a few leaves of his own.  the unseasonably warm weather was perfect for plenty of outside time, and the kids managed to return from our walk with some sort of leafy collection.

emma also managed to capture a moth while she was sweeping the leaves in the backyard.  the kids were enthralled by the little guy, and emma recorded her findings in her nature journal.


we reviewed the phrases we've learned so far from this book (a great library find for us!) which included identifying family members, days of the week and simple greeting.

arty stuff:

in music we learned the hymn "for the beauty of the earth," and had fun singing it each day.  we discovered two different melodies for this hymn so we listened to both.

in visual art, we are still looking at camille pissaro's market at gisors rue de cappeville. we didn't get to using the oil pastels as i had originally planned but hopefully we can for week 9.  she did make a hot dog out of our leftover salt dough and she's waiting for it to dry before painting it.

ballet class has been coming right along.  she's learned first-third positions, demi plie and some basic stretches.  and of course her teacher also provides plenty of opportunities for creative dance.

that wraps up our week!


learning together: school round up

it's been 7 weeks since we started with ambleside's year 1 curriculum.  i have been meaning to post weekly summaries of what we've covered, but here we are in week 8 with no school updates until now.

better late than never, right?

the ambleside curriculum is divided into three 12 week terms.  obviously, we're in term 1 right now. we operate on a four day school schedule using this curriculum.  i had planned the 12 weeks to go through the second week of december, but it looks like we'll be done by mid-november.  sweet!

i try to limit the structured school stuff to about 2 hours max monday-thursday, with friday left a bit more "unplanned."  any daily table work that emma has to do is limited to 30-35 minutes.  that would include any copywork, spelling, oral reading, journaling, bible study, french and math.  of course we don't do all of that each day, with the exception of copywork.  we also have daily readings from the year 1 book list.  that's usually something all the kids like to do together.

realistically, any of our structured school stuff (including the readings) takes only about an hour.  but if you count some of the little "breaks" we have in between (like changing a diaper, putting dishes away, getting a snack, tending to the wee babe, etc.), some days the school stuff end up taking about 2 hours.  if it's nice outside, we usually end up doing some of the readings during lunch or as the "bedtime" story before naps so that we can enjoy some precious outside time.  then there are those "off" days where we just bag the day's plan and go with what works.

so to re-cap the past 7 weeks...

we've learned a bit of early british history and ancient greece and rome through the books Our Island Story, Fifty Famous Stories Retold, and Trial and Triumph.  some of the people we've read about include cornelia, horatius the cocles, blandina, and leonidas and the 300.  the short stories presented in these books have been a great way to teach history.  next week, we'll be learning about benjamin franklin through the book benjamin franklin by ingri d'aulaire (i still need to buy this...it's a hot commodity at the library with 2 holds on this one particular book).

emma keeps a timeline folder which we fill with some information and a picture of each person we've read about thus far.  it has been a great way for her (and me) to visualize the order in which all these events have occurred in time.

we've got some great books we've been reading for literature.  literature reading is done almost daily and there's usually at least one reading a week from The Aesop for Children.  Other books we've used so far this term include Just So Stories (which was Aaron's book from when he was a kid), The Blue Fairy Book, Parables from Nature, Tales From Shakespeare and A Child's Garden of Verses.  one of emma's favorites is an Aesop story called The Boy And His Filberts, and all the kids like the Aesop stories so much that we've re-read some of the stories quite a few times.

we do a geography reading once a week from the book Paddle-To-The-Sea.  coincidentally, this book is about the geography of the great lakes, and we live right by one of them.  so cool!  a few field trips to lake erie are in order!

when we first got the book, the kids wanted to read it so we've already read through the whole thing.  but it's nice to go back and re-read it at a slower pace.  i've been meaning to do a big map of the great lakes region so we can map out Paddle's course, but i haven't quite found what i'm looking for.  i kind of want to just make my own...

reading, writing and arithmetic:
we use mcguffey's readers for her oral reading practice (upon a recommendation from my dad), although she can read quite well independently.  the "problem" (but i guess it's not really a problem) is that now she reads so fast that she'll skip words.  so the short, little lessons in the mcguffey reader is perfect to "slow" her down a bit.

we also use mcguffey's for her spelling words.  i just pick out five words on the list (e.g. went, sent, spent, felt, melt) and we do a quick daily run through of them on paper.

other writing stuff include her daily copywork and not-so-weekly-but-should-be journal writing.  but she writes enough in her free time that i'm not too worried about it.

math has been great with the life of fred series.  she LOVES it and has devoured these books in her free time.  the stories are funny and the practice exercises are short and sweet.  we do a fred reading once a week, and if needed i'll find activities during the rest of the week to reinforce some of the things she learned from the fred book.  i think after this term, we'll start reading fred twice a week.  although that means we'll blow through the rest of the book very quickly, but that's okay.  we'll just get the next one.

my original plan was to do 3 lapbooks each term, but i think i was a bit ambitious in thinking we can complete 3 lapbooks in addition to our other school stuff.  and there's that whole just had a baby thing...yeah...

so, we've completed one and will most likely do one more before term 1 ends.  we FINALLY did a spider lapbook, which emma had been asking about doing since the beginning of summer.  and for gibson, we did a mini one for him since he seems to enjoy the whole lapbooking idea as well.

everything else:
i try to stick to charlotte mason's approach so "everything else" would include narration, art study, music study, language (french is what we're doing for now), scripture reading, nature study, handiwork and habit "training."

additionally, the kids have plenty of free time which has been used up with paper crafts, painting, drawing, dancing, clay art, making blanket forts, playing outside or going on walks (that counts as exercise time) and the occasional field trips here and there.

while i would love to expand on all these other topics, this post would end up very, very long if i continue. so hopefully by the end of this week i can post our week 8 school round up, which will be shorter but with a bit more detail.

wondering why we're on the road that we're on?  here's some background...

::part 1::      ::part 2::      ::part 3::


wordless wednesday::say cheese

practicing her smiles...

more wordless wednesday here, here and here.



2 months

happy 2 months, my little dear.

you are truly the peanut in the family.  still so small, you just recently grew into your newborn clothes.

you've given us smiles and a few coos, and your short, quiet-alert moments usually turn into a time when your brothers and sister shower you with attention.  even baby cash (who i guess is not really a baby anymore), loves to cover you with kisses (and drool).

right now, your most favorite place is close to mama.  and i'm not complaining, because soon enough that will be a distant memory for you.

thinking about the fact that you are in our lives is still a bit surreal at times, since you were a sweet surprise to us all.  now, it's hard to imagine life without you.

i love you so much i could smother you with hugs and kisses and eat you all up.
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