2018-19 School Year–Week One

We are back to work in our 11th year of homeschooling!

Monday was basically a fun day, with all of our traditional 1st Day of School activities…getting all the new books organized, opening the schultüte, and building a new Lego set.

After that we, dove right in. Turkey and Bunny are studying algebra 2 in 10th grade this year, so they began by reviewing exponents, absolute value, factoring, and order of operations. To go along with algebra 2, they’re also studying chemistry, and they practiced converting from one set of units to another to begin that text. They also started their creative writing books and the first chapter of their medieval history book. They only thing they really haven’t gotten into yet is their first literature study of the year, which is Romeo and Juliet.

Ladybug is excited, because her 6th grade year is somewhat horse-themed. She dove right into her equine science lessons, learning about the anatomy of the horse, and the differences in a few different breeds. She’ll begin her horse literature next week with White Stallion of Lipizza. She also worked on some review in math, focusing mainly on place value and equivalent fractions.

Chickadee is very excited about being in first grade! Her reading skills have improved tremendously over the summer, which is weird, because we didn’t practice too much. Her math skills also improved, which is no surprise, because she’s very numbers-oriented. She no longer needs any help counting to 100 or counting by fives! She’s already enjoying reading through In Grandma’s Attic (and I think her siblings are enjoying hearing those stories again, too!).

We also almost always go on a field trip the first week of school. This year, I had a few options, but I decided we should check out the new museum at the Gateway Arch. It’s very well done!

Picking the museum downtown turned out to be a good option, because we discovered that Fredbird was making an appearance at Kiener Plaza, and we always love an excuse to stop and say “hi” to him!

Next week, we’ll pick up the few remaining subjects we haven’t already started, and really get down to the business of learning!

2015-16 School Year–Week Nine

This has been kind of a weird week.

We started out strong on Monday. Turkey and Bunny had their first quarterly exam in math, at which they both excelled. And they (and Ladybug), kept up with the rest of their lessons this week, without too much trouble. There were a few new concepts, but nothing earth-shattering.

And then there was writing. Turkey and Bunny had to write their first big essay this week. They’ve written essays before, but using pre-researched materials. This week, they had to find books, do the research, and then write a 500 (or more) word paper. Turkey chose the Oort Cloud, and Bunny picked the Protestant Reformation. They both did an excellent job…I was quite impressed with their essays, and learned something from each! This was a huge project, though, and we didn’t get very much science done because of it.

We also had a very felicitous moment when our readings in Mr. Pipes and Psalms and Hymns of the Reformation (about Philipp Nicolai, Johann Heermann, and Paul Gerhardt), converged with a church commemoration (for those three hymn writers), and our history lessons (the 30 Years’ War). These moments don’t happen often, and you really can’t plan them, but when they do occur, it really drives home the point!

We also learned about Charles I, Oliver Cromwell, and Charles II and the great fire of London in history this week. Talk about an intense period of time! I love teaching British history even more than American history, so this was a very exciting week for me. We had a great discussion about how Charles I and Cromwell were very similar, and we also talked about the sadness of the crown jewels being destroyed.

We also had a field trip day this week. The Gateway Arch, the most recognizable icon in St. Louis, celebrated its 50th birthday on Wednesday. To acknowledge this event, tickets to the Arch were available at throwback pricing of $1 a person. Of course I couldn’t resist, especially when I learned we would also receive pins and certificates commemorating our “Journey to the Top!” There was also an Air Force band, a flag raising, speeches, and free cupcakes as part of the celebration, and adding in our visits to the Old Cathedral and the Old Courthouse (as well as Citygarden and the KSDK building), it was a full day event!

Next week is our fall break. I considered just going through to Thanksgiving week, but I need some time to be just mom, and not teacher, too!

Celebrating a Monumental Milestone

Today the Gateway Arch, the tallest monument in the United States, celebrated its 50th birthday. I decided that this was the perfect opportunity for a field trip!

There was a band from Scott Air Force Base:


And a crowd of well-wishers:


A flag raising ceremony:


There were even (free!!!) cupcakes from a few cupcake trucks!

We spent a good deal of time walking around downtown, and admiring the view of the Arch:

But of course the main purpose for our visit was the “Journey to the Top,” which was only a dollar a person today, in honor of the original ticket price. Nothing beats that view!

We also received commemorative pins and certificates, to show we had been there on this historic day.

The Arch grounds are kind of a mess right now, but it’s going to look amazing when it’s done!

We had a great time looking at the metro area from every possible viewpoint!



Back on the ground, we had to get one last picture of St. Louis’ most famous landmark:


Happy Birthday Gateway Arch!

Arch Memories

The Gateway Arch is now officially 50 years old! Hard to believe, I know…it doesn’t look a day over 20! Even though we first “journeyed to the top” only last year (to coincide with St. Louis’ 250th birthday!), the Arch has dominated how we see St. Louis for the 14+ years we’ve lived here (and it was even partly responsible for the purchase of our home!). So, in honor of the big day, here are a few of my favorite Gateway Arch photos:

I think we’ve seen the Arch from pretty much every angle imaginable (including seeing its shadow on the ground when we were at the top!), and we’ve built our own replica more than one time at the St. Louis Science Center. No matter how we look at it, though, the Gateway Arch always means “home” to us!

Fall at the Gateway Arch

I spent some time walking around the Gateway Arch grounds yesterday, just to see the fall color.

It’s funny…there are places in the park where you would never guess you’re downtown in a big city. It seems a lot like any other big park in the area, with nice paths, people walking, and plenty of foliage. And, you know, a giant monument looming over it all. OK, I guess it is a little different from any other park in the area.

Yet another thing to love about St. Louis!