AO Year 4, Term 1, Week 9 | AO Year 2, Term 1, Week 11

This week was one of those weeks where flexibility was the name of the game. It came apparent to me that we had something going on every day of the week and in some instances; had some double booking going on. Happily Grandma helped out by taking the kids to and from choir for me while I went to the doctor; and we basically forced ourselves through the rest of the week.

Monday and Tuesday Peanut (Yr 4) and Moose (Yr 2) discovered the wonder of having all their school done by 11:30 in the morning. I have told them until I’m blue in the face that if you finish your work well (as in, not slopped or rushed through) and don’t dawdle; you can be finished before noon – which leaves the rest of the day for playing, reading, visiting Grandparents, playing with friends, and so on. Sure enough they discovered that I wasn’t yanking their chains.

Peanut and Moose both had math tests and passed. Peanut finally finished up Math Mammoth Grade 3 and can begin Grade 4; Moose moves on to the next chapter in his Math Mammoth text. We also went on to the next list in both Phonetic Zoo and high frequency words.

Wednesday was a day where everything went south but we managed to get things accomplished. Our special needs kid had an extremely hard morning of therapies which meant that that child was fried and drained and needed to rest all day (but was irritable making it hard for others to work), I was fried and drained from whatever health problem I’m having, and it was just blah. I didn’t force school too much on everyone because when we’re at each other’s throats, sometimes we just need to shelve everything and have some hot cocoa (or a Snickers bar) and chill. The relationship with the kids trumps any knowledge they may gain. And besides, who can learn when someone’s antagonizing you, you’re frustrated because things “aren’t easy” and so on.

Peanut did have her heart broken a little bit more about Benjamin Franklin, she was entirely unimpressed that he stayed in England so long, despite his wife begging him to return (and not returning until after her passing). She still thinks he’s a “mostly good guy” though. 😉

Thursday was worse than Wednesday, in that I had a blood draw scheduled for 1 in the afternoon. “Please fast for 12 hours beforehand” said my doctor. Welllll I don’t know about you, but I’m not up at midnight getting my last meal in. I ended up having an unintentional 17 hour fast. At least I was hydrated enough for the five vials that needed to be drawn. I forgot to ask the phlebotomist (I was ready to go to the grocery for ALL THE FOOD) when my results would be in, and since I have no new lab reports in my online account I’m guessing all the tests are done across the state. Maybe on Monday!

(My doctor thinks that maybe I feel so screwed up because my ferritin iron levels may be low, so he’s having that checked, plus thyroid antibodies and like 249820675698719584867 other tests.)

Friday was swim class day and absolutely TGIF. Moose wasn’t impressed to learn that we’re finishing Understood Betsy next week. I find that we’re slowly “falling behind” except that we’re not, if that makes sense. Yes, we got off on our Latin schedule so the regularly scheduled quiz wasn’t on Friday, and next week we’ll do some extra reading to get done with Moose’s first term. But really, it’s not a big deal. I’m finding in necessary to cut myself slack and let go of some tightly held (and wound) beliefs. I’m participating in Brandy Vencel’s “Charlotte Mason Boot Camp” right now. I wasn’t sure if I could handle it while feeling so lousy BUT it’s so great, I’m glad I took the chance and signed up. Plus, I enjoy having to make some time to be quiet, read and discuss and pray about certain aspects of our homeschool and life in general.

AO Year 4, Term 1, Week 8 | AO Year 2, Term 1, Week 10

It’s hard to believe that we are almost finished with Moose’s first term! Peanut is not far behind, and soon we will be switching some books and moving on to new ones. I’ll be quite bummed to finish Understood Betsy, but we’re moving on to The Wind in the Willows which I haven’t read; so it’s not totally a loss.

This week was another crazy week – scheduling a new doctor appointment for me, a nature walk (the weather was GLORIOUS for it and it was just great to be outside and enjoy some sunshine), choir and therapies, homeschool swim class and a park day with a friend and her daughter. I think I need to readjust the school schedule to allow for some afternoons to be truncated or some mornings to be removed because we’re busy with therapies.

I had some glimpses this week of learning with Moose and math. Math isn’t the easiest subject for him, and lots of patience and manipulatives and S.L.O.W. learning. I contemplated even giving up on his current math and going back to absolute core basics, much like I did with reading – lay off and wait, and try again in a couple months. But, I don’t think we need to go back to absolute basics, or wait a few months; because the connections are being made and it IS coming together. Even if it feels like we’re treading water in molasses sometimes, it’s good for both him and me to see the little successes and that YES, he is learning math;  just at his own pace.

I gave the kids reading level assessments this week, and both kids are above grade level. Moose was sort of reading CVC words in January, which is when we began systematic phonics instruction and ta-da he completely caught up and surpassed where he “should” be. Hot diggity dog.

Peanut is finding her friend, Benjamin Franklin quite the person. We had a spirited discussion about taxation, the Stamp Act and its repeal, why the colonists were SO unimpressed with the taxes and how that relates to our lives today. A lot of aha moments happened. I love these times of discussion, to see how her wheels are moving and what she’s thinking.

Peanut and Moose unearthed a rabbit skeleton with their friends on the mountain behind our houses, which has been THE highlight of the week. Earlier this week they had found just the legs, and so I was enlisted to help ID what they were looking at. Today the skull and jaw was found, along with ribs and other bones. Triumph! Peanut was ecstatic that “it still had its bunny teeth!” Thankfully no one has taken to calling the skeleton “Peter Rabbit”, which may put a slight damper on Moose’s enjoyment of Burgess’ Animal Book. 🙂

AO Year 4, Term 1, Week 7 | AO Year 2, Term 1, Week 9

This week has been an eventful week, with snow (!) and scheduling changes and “going with the flow”.

I was optimistic that my doctor would have figured why I feel so horribly bad. I’m not really any closer to figuring out why, and I’m waiting on bloodwork results to come back. He didn’t really seem to think how I’ve been feeling is too out of the ordinary, and perhaps it’s not; but it’s nice to double-check and make sure. In the meantime, I’ve been adjusting school as needed in order to get done what needs to get done and still make sure I’m not burning the candle at all possible ends.

Moose will finish up his school tomorrow; as today was shot in the ground with homeschool swim class, sleeping in, and my issues. He was quite happy to have a relaxing day today, and I used my energy to get Peanut through her work for the week (including a Latin quiz and spelling quiz). She did wonderfully on her Latin and we’re almost ready to move on to the next lesson in Phonetic Zoo, so I’m quite pleased.

We shook up how we do Shakespeare and Plutarch by hooking that back into the Afternoon Tea Time. I found a Librivox recording of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, so I can relax as well and save energy during the afternoon slump. Plus, a variety of voices makes it WAY more interesting than me reading it all. I’m still trying to figure out where Tea Time will sit during the week, I’m thinking Wednesdays since that’s the new “light” day. Moving Robinson Crusoe to an audiobook was also a great idea, it’s become Peanut’s new favorite book and she’s almost finished it up for the term. 🙂

Moose is still fascinated with knights, and uses his free time once his lessons are finished to watch knights documentaries, play Lego knights, play Playmobil knights, look at books about knights, play knights outside, KNIGHTS KNIGHTS KNIGHTS.

Tomorrow the plan is to finish up Moose’s week 9, finish up loose ends on the housework and overall take it easy. Hopefully I’ll have more news regarding my bloodwork, when I had bloodwork last week I had results posted over the weekend. One specific test has to be sent across the state for analysis so that will take a couple days; but the local ones should (hopefully) be posted soon.

AO Year 2, Term 1, Week 8

This week was one of those crazy weeks.

Monday
We began the week with {yet more} heat. We also had the first meeting of choir today, which went quite well. The kids will be taught solfege as well as hymns and other songs. One of the kids is a little reluctant but we’ll see how things go as we get into the swing of things.

Tuesday
A regular day, we finished our work early and spent the rest of the day gallivanting and playing around. This day was probably the most normal of the week! 😀

Wednesday
Our special needs child’s therapy was moved to this day, so our lighter day now happens in the middle of the week instead of towards the end. We did some read-alouds since our mornings are now eaten up by the appointment. Okie-dokie. Wednesday was also the last day of MEGA-HEAT and so I encouraged the kids to go outside and enjoy themselves.

Thursday
We were going to have a nature walk but it started raining early Thursday morning and hasn’t stopped. We moved the nature walk indoors and looked at bugs in books and field guides. The rain did let up slightly so the kids (mine plus some of a friend’s) all went outside and found a bug wrapped up in a spider’s web, pill bugs, seed bugs, and some beetles. We wrapped up our nature adventure with kids playing and moms chatting.

Side note: if you’ve been following along on my Instagram; you will be happy to know that this precipitation is putting a massive dent on the wildfires that have been plaguing Montana. Pretty sure the fire season is finally O-V-E-R. 

Friday
Rain changed into snow in upper elevations, although the snow line on the mountain behind my house is almost level with the road. I had a fasting blood draw at noon this morning for my health insurance program, after that I went to the grocery store to get a bite to eat. By the time I came back home we had just enough time to pick up kids from Grandma’s and head down to homeschool swim class. Swim class this year is MASSIVE, with extra sessions scheduled in order to accommodate everyone. I saw a lot of familiar faces.

Despite the snow, the blood draw, and swimming lessons; we still managed to get done all of Moose’s work without sacrificing quality or scrimping on lessons. As we are 2/3rds of the way through the term, I’ll need to start thinking about exams for Moose soon.

* * * *

Peanut did well with her break week, her handicraft project is to make a skirt that is appropriate for Mass for her (as in, the appropriate length). She’s rather petite so finding age-appropriate clothing that fits her is getting harder as she gets older. All we have left to do is put in the waistband, iron it, then wash it and it should be ready for Mass this weekend!

AO Year 4, Term 1, Week 6 | AO Year 2, Term 1, Week 7

This past week, I had both Peanut and Moose working again. I’m finding that the rhythm is getting easier, and the shifting of subjects isn’t a surprise to anyone, as are my request for narrations and discussion. I’m finding more conversation happening with Peanut, especially in relation to the term’s history tales book (about Benjamin Franklin). She was very surprised to learn that Ben Franklin had slaves, as it (obviously) wasn’t discussed in Liberty’s Kids. We did some extra digging regarding this topic and discussed how Benjamin Franklin reacted to one of his slaves running away, his thoughts about slavery, cultural norms, and so on. You could see her wrestle with this knowledge and discover that not everything is so nice and black and white.

Moose is making great connections regarding the kings of England and discussing why some of them weren’t exactly nice and noble – beginning to introduce that tension that Peanut is experiencing – that just because someone says they’re going to do something good doesn’t always mean that they will. And we’ve had many good discussions about just and unjust behavior, especially by people in positions of power.

This week, Peanut will be on break week and I’ll just have Moose in lessons. Peanut will have some handicraft work to do in order to keep herself occupied as well as get something specific for her. Hopefully I’ll be able to post her results soon. 🙂

AO Year 4, Term 1, Week 5

Moose is on break week this week. Peanut has one more week of work before her first break week.

Last week I mentioned several things that I was going to use with Peanut this week:

I’m happy to say that those three changes really helped out around here. Peanut finally had that light bulb moment that if she finishes her work before the time limit, then she has the rest of the time off to do what she wants to do.  Needless to say, she’s been extra motivated all week as she knows that if she has “elastic time” then her break time is extremely shortened. Or even not at all!

I had Peanut create paper doll type figures for A Midsummer Night’s Dream and we act out the scenes with them. I think that is really helping her see what’s going on, combined with the fact that we already know the play from the retelling we read last year.

We also put Robinson Crusoe on an audiobook which has also made a considerable difference. My copy (in addition to having no chapter markings) has unique spellings (walk’d vs walked, cloathes vs clothes), which I’m not used to reading. In the interest of actually reading the book vs getting bogged down in the spelling, we’ve been listening to it on Librivox. I could read the Project Gutenberg copy but it’s kind of exciting to switch mediums for one story. And we can listen to it over the hubbub of the house without me straining my voice.

Her favorite book currently is Minn of the Mississippi after not really feeling it for the first few weeks. 🙂 She is quite good at plotting Minn’s travels on a blank map and labeling appropriate states and other features.

Next week both kids will be back at it. Peanut has enjoyed the one on one time with me and I was able  to troubleshoot some issues that I noticed had been going on. When Peanut goes on break week I suspect I’ll be doing the same with Moose, figuring out what exactly is working and what needs some adjustment. 🙂

AO Year 4, Term 1, Week 4 | AO Year 2, Term 1, Week 6

And now, for this week’s work! 🙂

Year 4

We had the return of “elastic time”. I gave Peanut one of my Happy Planners that I had no use for and wrote out her assignments, breaking them down into “by yourself” and “with Mama”. I came across this post on Afterthoughts, and I will be definitely incorporating that into our days. It should help Peanut begin to manage her time better.

Some things I’m noticing this year with Peanut:
– copywork has drastically improved her cursive writing.
– math is coming along really well. We use Math Mammoth and Simply Charlotte Mason’s Living Math. I use Living Math to explain the concept and Math Mammoth for practice problems.
– Latin had a giant leap and not only is she learning it well, she’s correctly spelling everything
– English spelling is also improving and I suspect it will take a giant leap forward when we start dictation and written narrations

I’ve found some problems with introducing the actual plays of Shakespeare and beginning Plutarch. My plan is start Plutarch again but use Publicola instead of Julius Caesar. I’m also going to either go back to Shakespeare retellings that we did last year or perhaps s l o w l y read the play of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as we read the retelling of that last year and the kids really enjoyed it.

Year 2

I am absolutely loving this Ambleside year. Moose is growing and learning so much through it, it’s exciting to watch him grow. Based on his excitement in narrations, Understood Betsy is his current favorite book. I’m really enjoying it as well. I was the spoiled youngest of my family so I definitely relate to Betsy, especially as she begins to stretch her wings, so to speak. 🙂

Moose finished six weeks of work which means he gets the next week off for a break week. He won’t be left feral, but it will be good for him to take a week off the books and have some relaxation time.

His major accomplishments so far:
– handwriting is massively improving. We finished the cursive Handwriting Without Tears book and went to printing.
– math is also improving. I’m the same setup that I use for Peanut – Math Mammoth and Living Math – and it’s been the key to unlocking math for him.
– his narrations are really developing well, and I’m quite pleased with how he’s doing. He used to just repeat the last sentence, then he pretty much told me back word for word everything I read. He’s understanding that I’m not looking for a regurgitation, but rather in his own words what he’s heard. What’s impressive that he completely GETS that he has one only one listen through and I think only once or twice has he been not paying enough attention to give any narration. Way to go, Moose!

***

The biggest event this week was, of course; the solar eclipse. We saw about 93% of totality, and it was awesome. We had our solar glasses on and watched everything from the beginning up to peak. We saw crescent shadows on the ground, we felt the temperature get cooler, we saw the surreal haze – it was excellent. The kids were a little disappointed that it didn’t get really dark – but it’s a good lesson that a smidge of sun is still really bright. The kids drew the stages of the eclipse in their nature journals, and even Wok (five next month) has been drawing little eclipses on pieces of paper since Monday. 🙂