What We’re Reading–Tokyo 2020(1)

Ok, let’s try this again!

Last summer, we were supposed to have our quadrennial summer school focusing on the Olympics. Of course, thanks to COVID-19, the Olympics were postponed, and despite my good intentions of having a cooking-themed summer school instead, we really didn’t do a whole lot of anything, which fit in nicely with the year in general. That brings us to the summer of 2021, and the rescheduled Olympics (about which I still have doubts in every way), and come heck or high water, we’re going to learn about Japan, Tokyo, and the Summer Games!

Here’s a look at our reading list. There are old Olympic favorites and a new addition or two:

And a whole section of books about Japan in general and Tokyo in specific (plus a brief look at Japanese Americans). Some are familiar titles from past units on Asia, and some are also new:

And a section of other items, just for fun. This includes a Lego set (of course!), a game, some hands-on activities, and some TV shows and movies:

Whatever happens with the 2020(1) Olympics, and regardless of my feelings about them, I’m looking forward to a more normal summer school!

Hymns of the 2020-21 School Year

One of my favorite things about the last school year was the hymn study we did using the Lutheran Service Book: Companion to the Hymns as the foundation. When I chose the hymns, I made sure to cover the major church seasons/festivals, picked some of my favorites as well as some of my students’ favorites, looked for some that were in The Illuminated Hymnal, and tried to make sure we had selections from a wide variety of times, places, and authors. Here’s a look a the full list, from the first week of school (I will always think of “Earth and All Stars” as the Lutheran dayschool Opening Service hymn!) to the last (which I definitely didn’t get through without crying!):

  • “Earth and All Stars”
  • “With the Lord Begin Your Task”
  • “Jesus Loves Me”
  • “God’s Own Child, I Gladly Say It”
  • “We Praise You and Acknowledge You, O God”
  • “Listen, God is Calling”
  • “Christ, the Lord of Hosts Unshaken”
  • “What is this Bread?”
  • “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word”
  • “Thy Strong Word”
  • “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”
  • “For All the Saints”
  • “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come”
  • “Now Thank We All Our God”
  • “Praise and Thanksgiving”
  • “Savior of the Nations, Come”
  • “Prepare the Royal Highway”
  • “Where Shepherds Lately Knelt”
  • “As with Gladness Men of Old”
  • “Abide with Me”
  • “‘Tis Good, Lord, To Be Here”
  • “Swiftly Pass the Clouds of Glory”
  • “Lift Every Voice and Sing”
  • “Alleluia, Song of Gladness”
  • “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded”
  • “In Silent Pain the Eternal Son”
  • “Lamb of God, Pure and Holy”
  • “I Bind unto Myself Today”
  • “Sing, My Tongue, the Glorious Battle”
  • “Awake, My Heart with Gladness”
  • “At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing”
  • “Jesus Christ is Risen Today”
  • “Holy Spirit, the Dove Sent from Heaven”
  • “Up through Endless Ranks of Angels”
  • “Savior, Again to Thy Dear Name We Raise”
  • “Go, My Children, with My Blessing”

Ladybug has already requested that we do more hymn studies in addition to our regular religion studies next year…I’m looking forward to choosing more of our favorites!

The Graduates

The big day is here…Turkey and Bunny are now high school graduates!

We had a small, family celebration, but I tried to make it as special as possible.

Bunny also had an Animal Crossing graduation party!

I made their favorite dinner:

And java chip Oreo truffles for dessert:

I don’t know where the years have gone, but I do know that I am very proud of them, and excited for the next chapters in their lives!

2020-21 School Year–Week Thirty-Four

Hymn of the Week–“Go, My Children, with My Blessing” (Lutheran Service Book #922)

This is the final wrap-up for the 2020-21 school year!

On Sunday, we visited the Missouri Botanical Garden…not really a field trip, but we’ve gone so few places in the last 15 months, I thought it deserved a mention.

As for the school week, we just worked on finishing everything up. Turkey, Bunny, and Ladybug submitted their final final papers…I was very impressed with the wide range of topics they chose (Turkey looked at the character of Frank Burns from M*A*S*H and why he’s no longer a caricature and thus no longer funny, Bunny wrote about whether Benedict Arnold was a hero or villain, and Ladybug discussed major events of WWII). Moose finished up his year of distance learning…it certainly wasn’t an easy way to experience his first year of high school, but he did a great job! Turkey, Bunny Ladybug, and Chickadee all finished their final science chapters. Ladybug and Chickadee were also excited to take a look at the crystals they’ve been growing:

And then the day I’ve been dreading all year…Turkey’s and Bunny’s graduation day. I’m so proud of them, but I can’t believe I’m losing half of my students at once!

As always, we ended the year with a Lego set…this time, the Medieval Blacksmith. It’s a really cool set…I especially love the color scheme!

One last time…my students:

This year has been, at times, impossibly difficult, and I wasn’t always sure how we’d make it through. Now that it’s over, though, I find that I’m sad to see it go. It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime situation, with all five children learning at home all year. While I hope never to live through a pandemic again, we definitely made a lot of memories, and there are things I will definitely miss.

To end the school year, I will leave you with some wise thoughts from Wade:

K to 8

Today, Ladybug graduates from eighth grade! Here’s a look back at every first day of school she’s had, from kindergarten through 8th grade:

And a last day of 8th grade picture, too:

On to high school!

The First Day of School…and the Last

I don’t always have photos taken of me with my students on the first or last day of school in any given year, but as it turns out, I did have a photo of Turkey, Bunny, and I from our very first day of homeschooling way back in September 2008, and I made sure to take another today to commemorate Turkey’s and Bunny’s high school graduation.

I guess the experiment we decided to try for one year turned out ok!

2020-21 School Year–Week Thirty-Three

Hymn of the Week–“Savior, Again to Thy Dear Name We Raise” (Lutheran Service Book #917)

The penultimate week of the 2020-21 school year (and the penultimate week of Turkey’s and Bunny’s high school careers!) is complete!

Turkey and Bunny really don’t have a ton of work left, but they did fly through the chapter on the urinary system in advanced biology. They also continued their poetry study, covering classics like “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” “Ode to a Grecian Urn,” “Sonnet 43,” and “The Charge of the Light Brigade.” We also discussed some of the complexities of the Vietnam War in our study of US Geography and Culture.

Ladybug continued to review in algebra to prepare for the final exam. She and Chickadee started our fun, end-of-the-year study of “We Didn’t Start the Fire” in history. In science, she learned about rocks and minerals, and we started “growing” a new batch of crystals:

Chickadee also did review in math. We finished reading Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. She learned about grasshoppers, crickets, and katydids in science. In grammar, she learned about contractions (even though she discovered that she actually already knew them!).

Since we’ve had so few field trips in the last year-plus, I splurged on a private tour of Grant’s Farm, something we did years ago before Chickadee was born. It was a fun experience, and so nice to visit again after almost two years!

We also stopped by the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, White Haven. We’ve driven past it every time we’ve visited Grant’s Farm, but never actually went in. We weren’t up for the house tour yet, but we did enjoy walking around the grounds!

Next week is it, and I’m not sure that I’m ready prepared…I think it’s going to be a very emotional week!

2020-21 School Year–Week Thirty-Two

Hymn of the Week–“Up through Endless Ranks of Angels” (Lutheran Service Book #491)

We’re so close to the end!

Turkey and Bunny spent a lot of time this week studying for their final exams in calculus and psychology, as well as working on their final term papers. They also finished up the respiratory system in advanced biology. They started their final poetry study of high school…so far they read poems by Thomas Gray and the great Scottish bard Rabbie Burns (sadly, not the “Address to a Haggis,” though).

Ladybug had a week of review in algebra…she was surprised by how much she remembered from the beginning of the year. She started a chapter on geology in science, and got to do a family favorite experiment with plastic rock. In history, she and Chickadee read about Tiananmen Square and the end of apartheid in South Africa…it’s always a little strange when they get to the point where I have memories of historical events!

Chickadee also had a lot of review in math, including a refresher on the units of the English and metric systems. In science, she read about pests like mosquitoes and robber flies. We’re almost finished with Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. She reviewed all of the types of verbs in grammar.

We have a really fun outing planned for next week…I hope the weather cooperates!

2020-21 School Year–Week Thirty-One

Hymn of the Week–“Holy Spirit, the Dove Sent from Heaven” (Lutheran Service Book #502)

Fun things first…on Wednesday, we actually left the house for a little field trip when we visited the St. Louis Zoo for the first time in almost two years! The weather was not supposed to cooperate, and while it did pour on us at one point, most of the time we were there it was actually quite pleasant out!

As for the rest of the week…Turkey and Bunny completed their final calculus lesson, where they put many of the concepts they’ve learned this year together to solve some real-world problems. We took another look at WWI in American culture and geography. In advanced biology, they continued to learn about the respiratory system…the slide of lung tissue they looked at under the microscope was really cool! They submitted the topics for their final term paper…I’m looking forward to seeing what they have to say!

Ladybug used what she learned about the Pythagorean Theorem to solve problems using the distance formula, as well as the midpoint formula, in algebra. She learned about magnets in science. In writing, she wrote a review of a book (that happened to be written by her big sister!). Since she’s finished with literature studies for the year, she’s reading a favorite book from my childhood, Henry Reed’s Journey.

Chickadee worked on subtracting while rounding in math. In science, she learned about different kinds of beetles, including scarab beetles and fireflies. We started reading Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. In history, she and Ladybug read about the Chernobyl disaster and the fall of the USSR.

Three more weeks to go!

2020-21 School Year–Week Thirty

Hymn of the Week–“Jesus Christ is Risen Today” (Lutheran Service Book #457)

We actually went somewhere and did something! On Sunday, we visited Origami in the Garden at the Missouri Botanical Garden. It’s a really cool exhibition, and we’re already looking forward to going back…it definitely fits in with our postponed-from-last-year Japan-themed summer school!

As for school…things are starting to wrap up. Turkey and Bunny finished the second-to-last chapter in their calculus text. They made it through the last chapter in their study of psychology. They’re still working on finishing up 1984. We started a chapter on the respiratory system in advanced biology.

Ladybug (and Moose, by coincidence), learned the Pythagorean Theorem in algebra. I think this is the first time all school year that their lessons actually lined up! She learned about electricity in science, and we got to make an electroscope that actually worked! She finished reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer…I gave her a few options of books she can read to finish out the school year since her official literature studies are done.

Chickadee worked on drawing lines of symmetry in math. She learned about antonyms in grammar. In science, she read about wasps and termites. We finished reading The Boxcar Children. She and Ladybug learned about conflicts between Iran and Iraq as well as between India and Pakistan in history.

I finally did the math, and now I know we only have four weeks of school left to go!