What We’re Watching (And Reading!)–Rick Steves’ Europe

This year’s summer school is going to be a little different, because instead of focusing on books, we’re going to be focusing on episodes of Rick Steves’ Europe. Here’s a look at all the shows we’ll be watching (you’ll have to wait and see all of the different European recipes we’ll be trying to go with our viewing!):

  • Rick Steves’ Europe: The Blu-Ray Collection (70 shows!!!)
  • Rick Steves’ Europe: The Complete Collection (Which I only got because it was super marked-down, and contained some episodes that neither the blu-ray collection nor our other discs had).
  • Rick Steves’ Travel Extras
  • Rick Steves’ European Easter
  • Rick Steves’ Europe: 12 New Shows 2015-1016
  • Rick Steves’ Europe: 10 New Shows 2017-2018
  • Rick Steves’ Europe: 12 New Shows 2019-2020

Of course, there will be some books, too:

  • Europe Through the Back Door
  • Travel as a Political Act
  • London
  • French, Italian & German Phrase Book
  • Rick Steves’ European Christmas
  • Rick Steves’ European Easter
  • Rick Steves’ European Festivals
  • Rick Steves’ Europe Planning Map (yes, not technically a book, but I didn’t know where else to put it!)

And even a CD (perfect for Christmas in July!):

  • Rick Steves’ European Christmas CD

For fun, because I always like to have something hands-on as part of summer school, I got the Lego Architecture Paris skyline set for us to build. We’ve collected quite a few of these skylines now, in addition to the Eiffel Tower model we have, and I think it will make a nice addition to our display!

I also got the children travel journals to go with our viewing. My plan is to have them keep one page for each episode, and list specific places they would like to visit in the future if they are able for each location Rick highlights. My hope is that they will keep these journals, and someday, when they hopefully travel to Europe, they will already know which are must-see locations for them.

I’m really excited about this year’s summer school, and quite honestly, I don’t know why it took me so long to come up with the idea, because I’ve been a fan of Rick Steves for quite some time!

2018-19 School Year–Week Thirty-Six

That’s a wrap on the 2018-19 school year!

Most of the real work was actually done last week. Turkey and Bunny finished Algebra 2 and did a good job on the final exam. They completed their study of the medieval world by learning about the Crusades. They also finished their study of Old English and Medieval Poetry, Prose, and Drama. In chemistry, they got to play around with pH paper and other indicators in their last experiment of the year, which was a lot of fun!

Ladybug also finished up math and had her final exam for the year, and she was very happy with her grade. She wrapped up her writing curriculum (minus one paper that we’re saving for summer school, because the topic fit). She also completed her equine science course by learning a bit more about horse behavior. Her final history lesson was on the sinking of the Spanish Armada.

Chickadee finished her spelling curriculum for the year…she’s really come a long way! She also took her final math test, and did a great job! She read Summer, which seemed appropriate, and Snow (just for fun), plus Little Bear.

Yesterday, we attended the final Missouri History Museum Homeschool Day of the year…and this time, it was held at Soldiers Memorial Military Museum, a place we hadn’t previously toured. We really enjoyed having an opportunity to learn about St. Louisans who served in various wars, as well as St. Louis’ contributions to those conflicts. There were some fun and educational craft projects, as well. It was an excellent field trip for the end of the year, especially so close to Memorial Day!

We enjoyed what seemed like a rare nice day with a walk around downtown St. Louis while we were out:

Today we wrapped up the loose strings of a few subjects (we finally finished reading To Kill a Mockingbird, Ladybug had her final history review, and Chickadee finished her handwriting curriculum), and built our annual end-of-the-school-year Lego set. This time, I chose the San Francisco skyline Lego Architecture model, which is one of the few we hadn’t yet built.

I asked my students a few questions to end the school year…What was your favorite book? What was your favorite subject? Who was the historical figure you enjoyed learning about the most? What was your favorite field trip? What subject are you most looking forward to next year? Here are their responses:

  • TurkeyThe Planets: The Definitive Visual Guide to Our Solar System; Algebra 2; Robert the Fox; Chicago’s Field Museum; Pre-Calculus
  • BunnyThe Astronaut Wives Club; Literature; Rugila the Hun (Attila’s uncle); Chicago’s Field Museum; Literature
  • LadybugMisty of Chincoteague; Equine Science; Elizabeth I; Chicago’s Field Museum; Literature
  • ChickadeeSummer; reading; Mary I; Soldiers Memorial Military Museum; Astronomy

We’ll have some time off before we start this year’s summer school…we’re going to be (vicariously) traveling all around Europe with Rick Steves!

2018-19 School Year–Week Thirty-Five

We’re desperately trying to finish up everything we have to do before the end of the school year!

Turkey and Bunny learned about vectors in math, which wasn’t too bad, but I think they’re a little scared about math and science next year, now! In chemistry, they learned about the factors that change the rate of a chemical reaction, and studied the pH scale a little bit. We’ve also had some really good discussions about To Kill a Mockingbird.

Ladybug read about the founding of Newfoundland in history. In science, she learned about how horses and people communicate, especially through body language. She read and analyzed Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Bells” in writing, which is one of my favorite poems to study, but does have the unfortunate side effect of getting stuck in my head! There was some peril in Brighty of the Grand Canyon, and we’re hoping everything turns out ok in the final two chapters!

Chickadee had a week of review. She only has one math lesson and a test left, plus a bit of spelling and handwriting. She did read a book for the first time (A Fly Went By) but I don’t think it really had any unfamiliar words, so it was pretty much just fun. Mostly, she’s just excited about being a second-grader soon!

We have just about seven days of school left…I can’t believe the 2018-19 school year is almost over!

2018-19 School Year–Week Thirty-Four

We’re another week closer to the end of the school year!’

Turkey and Bunny were really hoping they were done with new material in math, and would just be doing review for the final weeks of the school year…and then they were hit with equations with three variables. I wasn’t sure any of us had the brain power to deal with that, but they learned how to do the problems quickly, and it really wasn’t that bad! They completed their creative writing course, by writing a poem in any style and about any topic they wanted to, and they did an excellent job!!! In history, they learned about the rise of the Turks as well as Spain…Spain during the time when the show at Medieval Times is set (they even read about the place after which our Kingdom of Navarra was modeled), which was kind of fun.

Ladybug learned how to figure interest over different periods of time in math. Her science lessons focused on horse behavior. She wrote a six paragraph essay about Marie Antoinette in writing. Her history lessons focused on Queen Elizabeth I and Shakespeare…she even read a shortened version of Macbeth.

Chickadee finished her last regular lesson in this year’s Explode the Code books, and she only has a review lesson left. She read some more books by herself, including one of Turkey’s favorites, Go, Dog, Go. She also started subtracting three-digit numbers in math.

I can’t believe how close we are to being done…but we still have quite a bit of work to plow through before we get our break!

2018-19 School Year–Week Thirty-Three

This week went by really fast…I think because we were so excited about going to Avengers: Endgame last night. We did manage to get some work done, though.

Turkey and Bunny studied the Great Schism and the Norman Conquest in history. They also wrapped up the chapter on the Second Law of Thermodynamics in science. They got to write a poem about politics for their creative writing course, too, which was entertaining.

Ladybug read about Copernicus, Galileo, and Queen Elizabeth I in history. In math, she continued to work with negative and positive numbers. She has almost finished Brighty of the Grand Canyon. In science, she learned about thoroughbred horses.

Chickadee is pretty much working on review at this point. She’s still carrying in math, as well as working on subtracting two-digit numbers, and practicing her reading skills. Her handwriting is also continuing to improve.

We’ve only got about 16 days left in the school year…it really does go by fast!

2018-19 School Year–Week Thirty-Two

Last week was a short week of school, but we were so busy, I didn’t even get a chance to think about what we did until today!

On Monday, we went to the monthly homeschool day at the Missouri History Museum. It’s been a long time since we had room in our schedule and enough interest in the topic to make it to one of these events, but we were really excited about the topic–poetry and prose. It fit in perfectly with Turkey and Bunny’s current study of Medieval poetry and prose, plus we got to hear a Cardinals historian talk about the process he went through writing his most recent book, which was amazing. The craft activity was also very popular…the children got to make magnetic poetry kits. While Bunny and Ladybug chose to use poems written by local authors, Chickadee wanted to do something a little different, so Turkey wrote a fun poem for her. We also finally got to see the Muny exhibit, which is good, because it will be wrapping up soon. While we were in Forest Park, we also took a walk to enjoy the beautiful spring blooms.

As for the rest of the week…well, like I said, it was short. We did find time on a nice morning to practice our increasing tennis skills. Turkey and Bunny learned more about thermodynamics and continued to read To Kill a Mockingbird. Ladybug started adding and subtracting negative and positive numbers and read about the Counter-Reformation and the Council of Trent in history. Chickadee read a few more Dr. Seuss books on her own, and worked on reading and writing word numbers in math.

The rest of the week was spent observing Holy Week and preparing for Easter, which may have been a break from school, but left us even busier than we are during the school week. The children had many choir commitments from Palm Sunday through Good Friday, which they enjoyed, but their voices are all ready for a rest! We’re back to work tomorrow, and we have less than a month left in our school year, so it’s full speed ahead until we’re done!

2018-19 School Year–Week Thirty-One

Another week closer to the end of the year, and we’ve been busy!

Turkey and Bunny worked on using equations to solve problems involving money and percents in math. They started the second chapter on thermodynamics in science, and learned about enthalpy and Hess’ Law. Their creative writing assignment allowed them to practice writing a submission for a college application in the form of a poem. They also began their study of To Kill a Mockingbird.

Ladybug started working with negative numbers in math…I was honestly surprised to discover that she hadn’t done that yet! She wrote a chronological narrative of the life of Julius Caesar. She read about the Renaissance in history. In science, she learned about the social relationships of horses.

Chickadee continued to work on reading whole books, including Little Bear. She is almost done Explode the Code for the year. In math she practiced measuring and revisited telling time.

We also managed to fit in the field trip I was hoping to go on this week…we visited the National Blues Museum in St. Louis for the first time! It was a small, but really cool place, with lots of information we’ve never encountered before, and quite a few hands-on displays. We even got to listen to a musician play while we were there!

After our tour of the museum, we decided to take a walk around St. Louis and enjoy the beautiful spring weather and throngs of happy Cardinals fans who were in town for the afternoon game:

We have another field trip planned for what is going to be a short week of school next week, and then just about four weeks of school left after Easter!

2018-19 School Year–Week Thirty

What a week! Turkey and Bunny finished The Scarlet Letter. They both said it wasn’t a very interesting book, but I think the very good discussions we had, and their reactions to the story, suggest otherwise. They also finished the first chapter on thermodynamics in science. In math, they graphed two equations on the same plane, and calculated their intersection points. They spent time in medieval India and Korea in history.

Ladybug has reached my favorite period of time in history…that surrounding Martin Luther and the Reformation, which included the story of Henry VIII and his many wives. She worked on taking notes on index cards in writing. In science, she read about hackneys. Her math involved a lot of review, including using base-2, which she isn’t really a fan of.

Chickadee is now reading whole books on her own! She started with a classic, Green Eggs and Ham, and also read Hop on Pop and Put Me in the Zoo. It has been a lot of fun to see her older siblings’ reactions to this, because they have a lot of fond memories of reading those books themselves. Turkey, in particular, is excited for her to read Go, Dog, Go, because it was one of his favorite first books to read to himself, which I didn’t even realize until he told me about his memories of it this week!

We never did go on the field trip I had hoped for this week…instead, we stayed home during our roof replacement on Tuesday, which was a learning experience itself! We are definitely going to the Missouri History Museum in a little over a week, though, and we’ll also be visiting the St. Louis Science Center at some point this month…and if I’m really ambitious, we may visit another new-to-us location, as well!

2018-19 School Year–Week Twenty-Nine

Following our much-needed spring break, I feel like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel that is this school year…suddenly, we have less than two months to go!

Turkey and Bunny learned quite a few new things this week. They graphed hyperbolas in math and learned about the First Law of Thermodynamics in science. They also learned how to calibrate a thermometer (our was off by approximately two degrees), and how calorimeters work. In history they learned about the creation of duchies in what was Francia. We came so close to finishing The Scarlet Letter…that will be complete next week.

Ladybug constructed two-level outlines in writing…and enjoyed doing it! She also continued to work with percents in math. Her science lessons focused on horses’ hearing and sight. In history, she read about Central and South America…the Mayans, Aztecs, and Incas, as well as the Conquistadors who came to those countries, and the beginning of the slave trade.

Chickadee started (and came close to finishing!) and new book: The Best Trick. She learned how to carrying while adding! She also starting subtracting with two-digit numbers.

I think next week, we’re going to have a field trip day while we have our new roof put on…trying to do regular schoolwork with all that noise and activity doesn’t sound like much fun to me!

2018-19 Curriculum

I once again had good intentions of sharing this list closer to the start of our school year, but as always, time kind of got away from me…can I still blame the broken ankle I had last fall? Anyway, here is what we’ve been working on this school year, in grades ten (Turkey and Bunny), six (Ladybug), and one (Chickadee)…I hope I remembered it all!

Religion

  • Treasury of Daily Prayer

Math

For Turkey and Bunny

  • Math-U-See Algebra 2

For Ladybug

  • Horizons Math 6

For Chickadee

  • Horizons Math 1

Language Arts

For Turkey and Bunny

  • The Creative Writer, Level Four
  • Wordly Wise 3000, Book Ten
  • Analytical Grammar
  • Poetry, Prose, and Drama–Book One

For Ladybug

  • Spelling Workout F
  • Handwriting Without Tears Cursive Success Grade Five
  • Wordly Wise 3000, Book Six
  • Writing with Skill, Level One

For Chickadee

  • Sonlight Language Arts 1
  • I Can Read It book series
  • Explode the Code books 1-3
  • Spelling Workout Level A
  • A Reason for Handwriting Grade One

Literature

For Turkey and Bunny

  • The Emperor Constantine
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • The Scarlet Letter
  • To Kill a Mockingbird

For Ladybug (with Chickadee listening in)

  • The White Stallion of Lippizza
  • Misty of Chincoteague
  • Justin Morgan Had a Horse
  • King of the Wind
  • Brighty of the Grand Canyon
  • The Black Stallion

History

For Turkey and Bunny

  • The History of the Medieval World

For Ladybug (with Chickadee listening in)

  • Story of the World volume two and supplemental materials

Science

For Turkey and Bunny

  • Apologia Exploring Creation with Chemistry and MicroChem kit

For Ladybug (with Chickadee listening in)

  • WinterPromise Equine Science

Electives

  • Duolingo
  • Tennis
  • Kantorei or Schola Cantorum (choirs)

Read-Alouds

  • The Grandma’s Attic series