2020-21 School Year–Week Twenty-Two

Hymn of the Week–“Alleluia, Song of Gladness” (Lutheran Service Book #417)

The beginning of Lent this week meant we added a few things to our school routine, including daily Bible readings to go along with our Jesus Tree and a daily reading from Amon’s Adventure. We also said goodbye to the alleluias, which is never fun, but at least we’re on our way to Easter!

Turkey and Bunny did not enjoy calculus this week, which focused on related rates. on They finished reading A Tale of Two Cities. I have three books left I’d like them to read, but realistically, we’ll probably only finish two, so I’ll have to choose. In advanced biology, we started a chapter on the endocrine system. They also learned about humanistic psychology.

Ladybug learned how to work with radicals in quadratic equations in algebra. She focused on the fifth and fourteenth amendments in her study of the US Constitution. She and Chickadee read about the end of WWII, including the Normandy Campaign, the Battle of the Bulge, and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In science she learned about different kinds of energy and how to calculate work and power. She started reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

Chickadee learned how to reduce simple fractions in math. We continued reading Charlotte’s Web. She finished the chapter on pterosaurs in science, and is looking forward to studying insects next. She got to do a narration of a picture in language arts, and I was shocked to find out she was already familiar with the art we were looking at!

Only one school week of February left to go!

2020-21 School Year–Week Twenty-One

Hymn of the Week–“Lift Every Voice and Sing” (Lutheran Service Book #964)

We made it through another week of February!

Turkey and Bunny used the first derivative to find optimizations in calculus. They learned all about the structure of the eye in advanced biology…but we postponed the eye dissection lesson until a later date. They took an abbreviated Myers-Briggs questionnaire in psychology. We’re getting close to the end of A Tale of Two Cities.

Ladybug continued using the quadratic formula in algebra, and she also learned how to complete the square. She finished her study of Treasure Island. She and Chickadee learned about the Holocaust in history, which is a hard topic to teach and learn about. She also read Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. We began reading about the Bill of Rights in her study of the US Constitution.

Chickadee continued to review division in math. I introduced her to prepositions in grammar. She started a literature study of Charlotte’s Web. We also started reading More About Paddington. In science, she learned more about pterosaurs.

Today, we had a half day of school, and worked on a new Lego set in the afternoon:

We’re looking forward to Mardi Gras next week!

2020-21 School Year–Week Twenty

Hymn of the Week–“Swiftly Pass the Clouds of Glory” (Lutheran Service Book #416)


Turkey and Bunny applied what they’ve learned in calculus so far to economics problems, and they both did a great job with it (even if they did observe that neither of them is planning on going into business). Their advanced biology lessons focused on the senses. They read all about the guillotine in A Tale of Two Cities.

Ladybug started using the quadratic formula in algebra. She is working on a movie review for her current writing assignment, and was very excited to have an excuse to watch Onward again. We read about each of the three branches of government and how the US Constitution defines each of their responsibilities.

Chickadee learned how to calculate area in math. We finished reading A Bear Called Paddington…next week, we start Charlotte’s Web. She started a chapter on pterosaurs in science. She and Ladybug started reading about WWII in history.

It’s supposed to be pretty cold next week, so at least that’s something different, even if it doesn’t really have anything to do with school…I think we’re all suffering from a serious case of boredom!

2020-21 School Year–Week Nineteen

Hymn of the Week–“‘Tis Good, Lord, to Be Here” (Lutheran Service Book #414)

First things first…we finally had a “snow day” this week! No, we didn’t take the day off…we almost never do. And it really wasn’t even that much snow…just two inches or so. But it’s the most we’ve had so far this winter, so we took a break to take a walk in the snow, and we even built a (small) snowman!

That was our excitement for the week…the rest was business as usual. Turkey and Bunny applied what they’ve learned about derivatives in calculus to physics problems…it was like last year all over again! In advanced biology, they started learning about the peripheral nervous system. They continued to learn about developmental psychology, focusing on adolescence. They started The Lively Art of Writing, a book that was fundamental to my development as a writer in high school.

Ladybug worked with complex fractions in algebra. She started learning about Isaac Newton’s contributions to science. In history, she and Chickadee read about the Great Depression and FDR. She’s nearing the end of Treasure Island. We read about the separation of powers and checks and balances in our study of the US Constitution.

Chickadee practiced reading thermometers in both Fahrenheit and celsius in math. She finished the chapter on bats in science, learning about breeding and bat nurseries. We’re already nearing the end of A Bear Called Paddington.

Next week is the start of February, which has historically not been my favorite month for homeschooling…without any field trips or activities to look forward to this year, I’m afraid it’s going to be more challenging than usual, but at least it’s a short month!

2020-21 School Year–Week Eighteen

Hymn of the Week–“Abide with Me” (Lutheran Service Book #878)

This week felt pretty short…Moose had off on Monday, so I don’t suppose we did our full amount of work that day, and we devoted most of Wednesday to watching Inauguration coverage (although we did get a few subjects done early before it started!).

Turkey and Bunny learned L’Hôpital’s rule in calculus…they described it as “not hard, but weird.” They both did a great job on the test, so I guess their summary was pretty accurate! In our study of American history and culture, we discussed the expansion of the midlands and yankeedom prior to the Civil War. They moved from the brain to the spinal cord in advanced biology.

Ladybug continued factoring in algebra, and also worked on finding exclusions in fractions. Her study of the US Constitution continued with an introduction to the Constitutional Convention in 1787 (enter Hamilton references). She and Chickadee learned about the rise of Mussolini in history, and I have to admit, in light of current events, it was rather exhausting to teach about it.

Chickadee learned how to determine distances between cities on a map in math. She read about both megabats and microbats in science. We enjoyed reading about Paddington’s adventures in the train station and department store. Her writing lessons focused on a piece about Paul Revere (enter more Hamilton references).

I don’t have any big plans for next week, but we have talked about venturing out to the Missouri Botanical Garden one day…it would be nice to get out of the house, so we’ll see!

2020-21 School Year–Week Seventeen

Hymn of the Week–“As with Gladness Men of Old” (Lutheran Service Book #397)

I’m beginning to think that taking such an extended Christmas break was a bad idea, because it was really hard to get back into a routine this week!

Turkey and Bunny graphed with the second derivative in calculus. They started a chapter on the structure of the brain in advanced biology. We picked up our reading of A Tale of Two Cities. Their study of US culture and geography focused on how different areas of the (not yet) country responded to the American Revolution.

Ladybug reviewed factoring in algebra. We started our 8th grade study of the US Constitution. We read about the Easter Uprising and the Treaty of Versailles in history. In science, she learned about speed and velocity. We continued our study of Treasure Island.

Chickadee multiplied money in math. She started a chapter about bats in science. We started reading A Bear Called Paddington. Her cursive handwriting has become extraordinarily neat!

We’re about halfway through the school year now, which is a struggle for me on several levels, starting with this period through the end of February is always a challenge for me, and more so now that we’re so limited in out-of-the-house activities. This certainly isn’t the way I wanted the last half of the last year Turkey and Bunny are homeschooled to go, but we’re going to make the best of it!

Timing is Everything

Back during the summer of 2020, (which seems like a lifetime ago), when I was planning curriculum for this school year, I decided that Ladybug would study the US Constitution during the second half of 8th grade. Sure, we could have done it in the first half of the school year instead, but I also had planned our special unit on elections (also so very timely), which took up a lot of our bonus time in the fall, so it made sense to wait. So, today we started back to school after our extended Christmas vacation, and also began our Constitution studies. If only I had known then how timely these lessons would be now, I might not have been so eager to get to it! It’s hard to know what to address first when there are so many current events-related applications of the Constitution to discuss…we’ll certainly have a lot to talk about in the coming weeks!

2020-21 School Year–Christmas School

Hymn of the Week–“Where Shepherds Lately Knelt” (Lutheran Service Book #369)

It’s been a long time since we’ve dedicated a week to “Christmas School,” but if ever a year needed it, it’s 2020. So this week was spent making ornaments, baking cookies, reading Christmas stories, and watching different versions of The Nutcracker.

I was especially excited about the ornaments. I had originally planned for the children to make them two years ago, but that was the year I broke my ankle, and I just didn’t have the energy to deal with it. Last year I found ornament kits that I really wanted to make, so these beautiful sequin ornaments got pushed back one more year. We had lots of options for colors and sizes:

They were definitely worth the wait (and the seed beads that may be rolling around the kitchen forever!), because they are beautiful!

We also decorated gingerbread houses, something we have done in the past, but it’s been a few years, and I’ve never had a house for each child (the mansion was a group project).

Speaking of gingerbread houses, we did get out of the house to see the gingerbread creations in the store windows on Main Street. We might not have been able to do most of the Christmas activities I had planned this year, but it was nice to do one familiar thing!

This was also “Cookie Week.” I decided we should bake a different kind of cookie every day, and they should all be cookies we don’t usually bake. On Monday, we made eggnog blossoms, Tuesday was chocolate crinkles, Wednesday we baked kolacky, Thursday we made both Madelines and palmiers, and today we baked spritz.

We did a lot of reading this week, too. We finished A Christmas Carol, and made it through most of Letters from Father Christmas (I plan on finishing that next week). We also read a bunch of storybooks:

  • Lucia Morning in Sweden
  • Lucia: Saint of Light
  • The Christmas Tale of Peter Rabbit
  • Jackie’s Gift
  • The Carpenter’s Gift
  • Fear Not Joseph
  • Madeline’s Christmas
  • The 12 Days of Christmas
  • The Three Wise Women of Christmas
  • The Nativity

It was also “Nutcracker Week.” This is not totally unheard of for us, although this year we were supposed to see a live production. We watched a different version every day:

  • Monday: Ballet Company of The National Opera of Ukraine
  • Tuesday: Dutch National Ballet
  • Wednesday: Wiener Staatsballett
  • Thursday: The Royal Ballet
  • Friday: The Bolshoi Ballet

We saved our favorite, the San Francisco Ballet production, to watch tomorrow. If we have time next week, we’ll watch the Berlin Nutcracker, too…that’s the only one we have on disc that we didn’t schedule for this week.

This was a really fun week of school, but I’m looking forward to taking a break for a few weeks. Merry Christmas!

2020-21 School Year–Week Sixteen

Hymn of the Week–“Prepare the Royal Highway” (Lutheran Service Book #343)

What a whirlwind week! We kept up with all of our Advent activities (the Jesse Tree, Tabitha’s Travels, and A Christmas Carol, plus our daily Lego build). In addition to that, Turkey and Bunny graphed with the first derivative in calculus. In advanced biology they finished the chapter on the nervous system…the brain is up next! They read about the connection between physical and emotional well-being in psychology. They continued their study of A Tale of Two Cities.

Ladybug learned how to factor trinomials with a beginning coefficient greater than one in algebra. I’m not going to lie…I really had to stretch my brain to remember how to do that, and it’s only been a few years since I taught Turkey and Bunny how to do it! She finished reading the next section of Treasure Island. In history, she and Chickadee learned about WWI and the Russian Revolution. Here’s a look at the beautiful Advent picture she colored in The Illuminated Hymnal:

Chickadee learned about equivalent fractions in math. She finished the chapter on eggs and baby birds in science. She continued to choose books from our Christmas collection for us to read out loud…there were a lot of them this week!

  • Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend
  • An Orange for Frankie
  • The Crippled Lamb
  • The Story of the Nutcracker Ballet
  • The Day Before Christmas
  • The Nutcracker in Harlem
  • Silent Night
  • Christmas in the Trenches
  • Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
  • The Queen and the First Christmas Tree

Next week, we’re going to have a fun week of Christmas School. I’m planning on finishing A Christmas Carol, and reading some more of our favorite picture books out loud. We’re also going to make ornaments and gingerbread houses, and watch many versions of The Nutcracker! And we’re going to bake a different (and new to us!) kind of Christmas cookie every day next week. I’m really looking forward to it!

2020-21 School Year–Week Fifteen+

Hymn of the Week (Thanksgiving)–“Praise and Thanksgiving” (Lutheran Service Book #789)

I’m not even going to pretend that I remember what we did on Monday and Tuesday last week, which seems like an eternity ago, so here’s a look at this year’s Thankful Tree, plus the hand-and-footprint turkeys the Fab Five made:

Hymn of the Week–“Savior of the Nations, Come” (Lutheran Service Book #332)

Lots going on this week, though! We started all of our favorite Advent traditions…the Jesse Tree, Advent calendars, the Advent wreath, and reading A Christmas Carol and our Arnold Ytreeide selection for this year, Tabitha’s Travels. Chickadee also picked a different storybook off our Christmas shelf each day, and we read them aloud:

  • The Muppet Christmas Carol
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
  • Eloise at Christmastime
  • The Nutcracker Comes to America
  • Too Many Tamales

Oh, we had our regular schoolwork, too. Turkey and Bunny worked with implicit differentiation in calculus. They began a chapter on the nervous system in advanced biology. In psychology, they learned about the psychology behind hunger and friendship. They read about the Deep South, the Midlands, and Greater Appalachia in history.

Ladybug factored polynomials in algebra. In history, she and Chickadee read about the Balkan Wars…WWI is not far off! She learned about the different kinds of chemical reactions in science. The voyage is almost ready to begin in Treasure Island.

Chickadee worked on carrying while multiplying in math. She had her first 20 word spelling test! Her writing assignments were based on excerpts from The Mouse and the Motorcycle, so she decided to read the whole book. In science, she learned about nest-building and eggs.

In other news, I also finally found (and built) an Advent wreath for our school room..it’s perfect!

Only one more true week of school before we break for Christmas!