It’s been a while since I’ve done a homeschool post, so here goes, based mostly on just what we did today. Today:
- Every day begins with prayer, which is a mash-up of the daily Mass readings and Morning prayer, based on Universalis or Magnificat if I can find it. So….Thomas Aquinas today. Talking about the saint of the day also gives an opportunity to briefly and painlessly review bits of geography (we generally look at a map to see where the saint was from and traveled to), chronology (for example, practicing understanding the concept of centuries…born in 1225…what century is that?) and art. (We use this book(wonderful!) and this one – when the saint of the day is featured. Also these to illuminate the Scripture readings.) Much of the time, when we read the Gospel, we also pull out the Bible atlas and review where Jesus lived and walked. (Next year, I think we will focus a lot on the Old Testament. as well). This week, as we discussed the Conversion of Paul (in retrospect!) , we talked, of course, about Paul, his life, and used the actual real Bible to review the contents of the New Testament, what epistles are, and so on. He practices looking passages up in the Bible and understanding Book, Chapter: Verse notation. Did the same for the feastday of Timothy and Titus.
- And do you know what? That is the core of religious education here. In addition, when various seasons approach we do activities related to that. He, with his brother, regularly serves at the Casa Maria retreat house. This means that in the training to serve, he’s received an superb education in the basics of the Mass, and as he serves Masses that are celebrated by the priests who have led that weekend’s retreat, he gets an opportunity to hear generally above-average preaching. (And he is a kid who pays attention – and given where he has to sit – a couple of feet away from the ambo – it would be hard not to listen.) Finally, he’s part of the children’s schola at the Cathedral, where they are using the Words with Wings curriculum and he’s learning a lot through that. So no, I’m not pushing any particular catechism on him. He might start something like that next year, but given our household – and the mom who is insanely focused on TEACHABLE MOMENTS – I think we’re good for now. He’s 10.
- Copywork this week has consisted of: 1 Timothy 1:1-2 (on his feast); “A Word is Dead” by Emily D (with discussion of its meaning) and this quote from Benjamin F: Never confuse motion with action. Again, with discussion of its meaning. I think tomorrow he’ll do a bit of Bill S’s Sonnet 116 because he’s starting to memorize it. (more on that in a bit).
- Cursive practice from this book. I don’t buy them. Don’t spend a dime, because we have them already. These are the books Joseph used in that grade in brick n’ mortar school that were never finished. Apparently – as I learned at some point – the practice in class was to distribute the cursive practice books at the beginning of the year and then give them goals for finishing them, goals which were then never followed up on. So. There are plenty of usable pages left. Yeah.
- Since the math that he’s doing at the moment is logic (more in a minute), he does a set of math review problems – 5 minutes’ worth – just to keep his skilz sharp.
- Spelling – he’s in “4th grade” and a good speller but to allay his anxiety about keeping up with those in brick n’ mortar school, I have him do spelling – from a 5th grade book. The routine? I read him the words. He spells all but maybe one correctly. He shakes his head and says, “Oh, that’s right. I forgot. I’ve got it now.” Spelling done for the week, and he feels better.
- (All of this up to this point (after prayer) takes maybe 15-20 minutes)
- Math: He’s on Beast Academy 4B. The last chapter has been on logic, and it’s stretched both of us. A lot of puzzles, of course, and I’ve had to regularly explain to him the purpose, as I understand it: to teach him how to view a problem, how to discern what is important and what is not and to sort out how parts relate to a whole. I admit, it’s not my favorite. I mean….
(and for the record I love this curriculum and, as a non-math person, am a huge fan of everything Art of Problem Solving does. Joseph said to me once, “Mom, do you sometimes watch Richard’s videos when we’re not here?” Er, no. What ever made you think that? Adjust volume.)
- Then Latin. As I said before, we’re taking it slowly, using this. Today he covered 2nd and 3rd person singular of spectare. We also took a slight detour to the Gloria as I reminded him of what the -mus ending would be about. (glorificamus te, adoramus te…etc) He said, “We are moose. That’s how I’ll remember it.” Whatever works.
- A bit of geography. He did a few of the daily geo problems from this book – reinforcing latitude and longitude. We also use Evan-Moor, but have gone through them up through grade 6. Yesterday he learned about legends and scale by first measuring his own foot with a ruler, then pacing out the dimensions of the dining room, then drawing a map complete with the proper number of feet, then working out the scale (1 Michael Foot = 8 inches), then working out the dimensions of the room in feet and inches.
- Science: Again, to alleviate his fears about “keeping up,” I purchased the science textbook they use in his old school. We follow it in a general way with a lot of supplementation. Last week, we were very science-heavy, and did quite a few demonstrations about heat transfer. Today, he read and reviewed and went over the chapter-end test. We’ll pick up sound & light next week. I need prisms. PRISMS.
- Watched this video, and a few related.
- Independent reading time, reading from the mostly animal-related books he’d checked out of the library. This one is quite interesting and well-done.
- History: reading the historical fiction, Michael and the Invasion of France. Discussing related issues, looking at a map of how France was divided after the Nazi invasion.
- We had checked out two children’s books from the Eats, Shoots, Leaves crew and read them earlier in the week, and today, he played this online game.
- As I mentioned last year, I discovered this neat-o free poetry memorization curriculum from Mensa. We did “No Man is an Island” before Christmas, and it’s taken us this long to get back to it. (And when I say, “we,” I mean it. I’m memorizing them, too.) The second poem is Sonnet 116, so we (finally) started that today. We talked about what a sonnet is, read it, discussed its meaning, then watched a couple of videos of recitations of the poem in both modern English pronunciation and (presumed) original pronunciation. Then, just because, watched a video of David Tennant declaiming 18. (There’s a Sonnet app that looks really good, but I haven’t yet invested in it).
- Read a chapter from Alice in Wonderland and looked at this post about interesting and varied illustrations of the book and talked about how they were the same as or different from what he had envisioned as we read.
- Then, art! First, a quick and easy project – this one, from my favorite, That Artist Woman. It’s a project she did with kindergartners, but that’s okay. He enjoyed it, it took 15 minutes, and the result was very nice, plus we repurposed some of the fruit of last week’s printmaking for the trees.
- Then we started on….a salt dough map of Guatemala. Yes! I had seen this post and thought it was a great idea (we’d done salt dough ornaments at Christmas). So I told him last week that I wanted him to think of what country he’d like to do, and although I thought he’d go for Mexico, I’m not shocked that Guatemala was the choice. If told the kid tomorrow that we were going to Tikal, he would probably levitate.
So….a start. Tomorrow, I plunge in and make my hands think I hate them as I immerse them in salt (although..hmmm…he should probably do his fair share…yeah….) and flour, and we’ll talk about “topography” and such and he’ll make his map. Then it will dry for a couple of days and he’ll paint it. I’ll let you know how it goes.
- Lunch! (Yes, all this before lunch….) I just discovered that Fantasia is on Netflix, so that was lunchtime viewing while I chopped carrots and onions for Italian Wedding Soup.
- Practice piano. Bach Invention #1 and this Beethoven (not played at even close to that tempo yet). Agony because the (excellent) piano instructor changed up the Bach fingering on him. But…onward!
- And….we’re done.
- Wednesday and Thursdays are our only really “full” days of “school.” (and once the weather warms up…see below) Mondays, he has piano for an hour mid-day, and Tuesdays he either has his homeschool boxing sessions in the afternoons or (once a month) 2-hour science center homeschool class. Fridays are also short-ish because brother gets out of school at 2 on Fridays.
- But today: Full day, then pick up brother at 3, they shoot hoops for a few minutes here, then take him (Michael) to schola downtown, then back to eat that soup, then out to brother’s Scout meeting where one of Michael’s friends who also has a Scout sibling will be hanging out as well – and they and another child will play outside on the grounds and inside on the basketball court for a good 90 minutes.
- Home. Shower, then settle down in his room to read – mostly Percy Jackson, with detours to Asterix, Lucky Luke and TinTin, probably until 11 or so. He doesn’t have a “bedtime” – as long as he’s reading, he can stay up for as long as he likes.
- So unsocialized! So overprotected and sheltered!
That’s today. Tomorrow: More Shakespeare, work on Guatemala in salt dough. Etc. Basketball practice.
Once the weather warms up (which will probably be next week. Sorry, Minnesota!) we’ll venture out for hikes and walks and field trips and such. I just have no tolerance for sub-50 degree weather. I mean…none. I just sit inside and fume until God cooperates and raises the temperature.
Also, I am trying to settle on a spring break destination. It’s dependent on airfare. Once I do that, we’ll shift gears a bit and start preparing for that through reading in geography, history and so on.