Monthly Archives: October 2012

The Seventh Week

This week we wrapped up our study of Prehistory. It feels good to move on to the next unit!

Here’s a glimpse of what our week looked like:

— We finished up our Latin alphabet review, covering P, Q, R, S, T, Ū, U, V, X, Ȳ, Y, & Z.

— We watched two documentaries about the Ice Age. The first was from our local library, called “America’s Stone Age Explorers.” Lillia really enjoyed watching this film, and it was a nice supplement to the material that covered in Mammoth Bones and Broken Stones, which we read last week. Later in the week, she watched “Stone Age Atlantis,” about a lost part of the European continent that has been given the name “Doggerland” by modern researchers. This is a fascinating topic, and one that is of great interest to me, personally. I think that the end of the last Ice Age must have been a very interesting time to be alive. The climate was changing dramatically, and some land areas, like Doggerland, disappeared in the course of one human lifetime. Nothing gives me chills like the thought of a drowned forest at the bottom of the North Sea. It’s no wonder, really, that so many of our earliest stories and myths are about floods! Click here to watch “Stone Age Atlantis” on YouTube.

— We worked on pluralizing with the -es suffix.

— We reviewed cursive letters A, B, & C, and learned D.

— We learned a lot from Life of Fred: Cats this week, including how the Pacific Ocean got its name, the nature of obligate carnivores, pattern recognition, germs, and determining the cardinality of various sets. This week Life of Fred also included “A Row of Practice” at the end of several chapters, which is great for reviewing the addition and subtraction skills we’ve learned in these first three books.

— We learned about three new birds this week from The Burgess Bird Book: the Song Sparrow, the White-Throated Sparrow, and the Fox Sparrow. I’m so fond of Thornton Burgess’s writing. He manages to include a lot of accurate information about the animals in his stories, while still making the tales compelling and endearing.

Some photos from the week:

Lillia working hard (not hardly working).

Why not do your work in rainbow order?

Keep the baby happily distracted with snacks.

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The Sixth Week

Wow! We’ve completed six weeks of homeschooling! This was supposed to be our last week studying Prehistory, but there are still some materials I want to share with Lillia, so we’re going to extend it for another week. I had originally planned to have six units, lasting six weeks each, for a total of 36 weeks (or 180 days) because that is the number of “regular school” days. But, what difference does it make if we go longer? None. We are the captains of this ship.

Some highlights from our week:

— We started Life of Fred: Cats, in which we learned that the Big Dipper is an asterism (a pattern of stars that is not an official constellation), and that addition is commutative but subtraction is not.

— We read some library books about Prehistory, including An Ice Age Hunter by Lucilla Watson, The First Dog by Jan Brett, and Discovering the Iceman by Shelley Tanaka. This last book, about Ötzi (a 5,300 year old frozen mummy found in the Alps in 1991), gave us the opportunity to see how theories about the past change as new evidence comes to light. We have learned a lot more about Ötzi since Tanaka wrote her book in 1996, but I still feel the book gives a lot of valuable information about Ötzi’s life, and about life in general during the late Stone Age. We also read Mammoth Bones and Broken Stones, by David L. Harrison, about human migration to North America. I also have a library video about the major theories regarding the peopling of the Western Hemisphere that I hope we can watch next week.

— We learned cursive “B” and “b” (again), and are still having great success with the New American Cursive program.

— We learned the Latin letters H, Ī, I, K, L, M, N, Ō, and O. We’re looking forward to moving beyond the alphabet and learning some new vocabulary words next week.

— We finished the first week of our new language arts program. Two days this week Lillia had to read Aesop’s fables aloud and then draw a picture to go along with the story. This is a different, slower approach to doing narrations, an activity she has resisted in the past. But, being able to paraphrase something that you read or hear is an important skill to learn, so I am pleased that this program will help her to do it with more confidence.

And, what does the baby do all day? It occurred to me that this is a blog about our little one, too, because he is also learning. He is a very busy boy, and his play is his work. During a typical day, and besides climbing on every piece of furniture we own, he…

…has sensory experiences,

…makes works of art,

…and, plays.


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The Fifth Week

I may be almost a week late in writing this post, but better late than never (or so they say). Because I am pressed for time, I will be brief.

Here’s what we covered this week:

Reading: We’ve worked through the first six chapters of Anooka’s Answer. Because I couldn’t find a study guide for this book, at least not one that I liked, I made my own. I based my study guide on the the ones offered by Memoria Press, because I thought they were very comprehensive, including sections for learning new vocabulary and questions to aid retention, as well as opportunities for discussion and enrichment.

Click here to see my study guide —> Anooka’s Answer Study Guide Ch 1-6

Writing: I decided to use a combination of two writing programs that are similar in nature. Classical Writing Primer has quite a bit of religious content, which is fine, but we are taking a more secular approach to homeschooling. So, for weeks that are focused on Bible passages, we will be substituting work from Primary Language Lessons. I think the two programs are very compatible, in terms of their approach to the material and their overall style.

Latin: We started Latin’s Not So Tough! this week. I purchased Level 2 because Level 1 is devoted almost entirely to learning the Latin alphabet, including quite a bit of emphasis on pronunciation. It seemed like overkill to me, especially since Latin isn’t really a spoken language anymore. Level 2 has a nice review of the alphabet, and flash cards for each lesson. So far, I’m pleased with the program, and hoping to learn Latin right alongside my daughter.

Handwriting: We began using New American Cursive. It seems to be working really well for Lillia. There have been no tears, and she really enjoys the Mr. Meerkat character. A friend of mine suggested that we have her circle her best letter, and I think that has really helped her to feel more positive about her efforts. Not all of the letters come out perfectly, but there is always at least one that makes her proud. Thanks for the tip, Marc!

Mathematics: We finished up Life of Fred: Butterflies. The author of this math program is kind of a quirky guy! But, he seems to have such a sincere desire to pass on his knowledge. He made a series of videos for public access TV about a decade ago. In these videos he talks about many things, but mostly they are centered on what it means to be a “Well-Educated Person.” I feel a little uncomfortable watching them, but I am really fascinated at the same time. He has many interesting things to say about life and learning.

I’m sure I missed some things but I need to be brief. It’s almost time to write this week’s update already! Probably the coolest thing Lillia did in “school” last week was to sew a pillowcase! She has been having sewing lessons with my mother on Tuesdays while I am in class. Lillia seems to be a quick learner — I was always a terrible sewing student.

Here she is with her finished work:

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