2019-20 School Year–Week Nine

Let’s do something different this week, and recap all the special activities first!

We attended Legends and Lanterns in St. Charles, MO, last Saturday. If I was going to count a Halloween event as a field trip, this would be it. In addition to being a lot of fun, there’s also a lot to learn about characters from history and literature, and it’s become one of our family’s favorite annual events!

We took a four-mile walk around Creve Coeur Lake last Monday when Moose had the day off. This is another favorite annual event, but we missed out on it last year due to my broken ankle. We may actually repeat this activity later in the fall, when the fall foliage is at its peak!

And Thursday after school, we visited Braeutigum Orchards to pick a pumpkin (or two!):

Now on to the normal “stuff.” Turkey and Bunny worked on proving trigonometric identities in pre-calculus. In writing the practiced drafting questions without bias. They finally started “The Paradiso” in their study of The Divine Comedy. In physics, they learned about the parabolic motion of a projectile.

Ladybug worked with English and metric conversions in pre-algebra. She finished the chapter on simple machines in science. We started Anne of Green Gables, a book I really enjoy…I hope Ladybug will, too! She wrote a 600 word essay about horses using the brainstorming map she created last week.

Chickadee reviewed telling time in math. She also practiced counting by sevens. She continued to read about Venus in science. She started memorizing her fourth poem in First Language Lessons. She has also been doing a great job with her memory work in catechesis!

I don’t think I have anything particularly exciting on the schedule for this week, which is ok…we could use a couple of quiet days!

2019-20 School Year–Week Eight

After so many busy weeks, this week was actually fairly laid-back, which I really appreciated!

Turkey and Bunny continued to work with reference angles in pre-calculus this week. Their physics studies were related to that, as they practiced vector addition. They completed the chart they created to keep track of the five parts of each cornice in the “The Purgatorio.” In history, they read about Saladin. They also finished the chapter on interpersonal relationships in health.

Ladybug reviewed adding and subtracting fractions in math, as well as converting fractions to decimals. She started learning about simple machines in science, beginning with the lever. In history, she read about the end of China’s Ming Dynasty. She finished The Hobbit…we’re looking forward to starting Anne of Green Gables next week! She also created a brainstorming map for her next writing assignment.

Chickadee worked on “magic squares” in math. She continued reading Tales from Beatrix Potter…”The Tale of Benjamin Bunny” was a favorite. She has also been reading through a biography of Mister Rogers with me. She’s still working on nouns in First Language Lessons, and she’s also memorizing her third poem.

And finally, a photo not from school, but so fun, I had to share. We saw the Stanley Cup car in St. Louis, so of I course I had to take a picture!

The School Mascot

This is our, what…12th year of homeschooling? And we have a school name, and a school room, but we’ve never had a mascot…until now. Meet Hugsy, our school-time penguin pal:

Yes, this is Hugsy of Friends fame. You know…Joey’s bedtime penguin pal. I have wished I could get a Hugsy replica for years. And when I saw that the Friends25 pop-up shop had him in stock, I was ecstatic. But I didn’t think I’d buy him, because he was kind of spendy. But Ryan told me that I’d regret it if I didn’t buy him, and the children said we needed him, so after looking at how much money I had, I figured I could make it work, but only if he had a position of prominence in our family. Albert (and family) is already our pet, so schoolroom mascot seemed like the perfect occupation for Hugsy. And so, there he sits in my (new) chair when I’m not in it…our school-time penguin pal!

2019-20 School Year–Week Seven

What a week! I keep wondering when things are going to slow down, but at this point, almost a quarter of the way into the school year (!!!), maybe I just have to realize they’re not going to…

Turkey and Bunny finally reached something in pre-calculus that made them pause (a bit)…they started a chapter on reference angles. They were a little confused, until they realized that they were basically learning about the same thing in physics in regard to vectors, and then it all came together, which was exciting for me as a teacher to watch! Their US history lessons focused on troublemakers in colonial America: Roger and Abigail Williams (surprisingly, they were unrelated!). They practiced utilizing different points-of-view in writing.

Ladybug worked with metric conversions in pre-algebra, which was pretty easy. She is almost done with her literature study of The Hobbit. We were sad when Lake-town was destroyed! In history, she read about the self-imposed isolation of Japan in the late 1500s. She practiced composing different styles of introductions and conclusions in writing.

Chickadee started her study of Tales from Beatrix Potter in literature, beginning with the story of Peter Rabbit. We also read the “Tippy Bunnies” stories by Candace Fleming, because they have so many things in common with the story of Peter. She worked on carrying numbers to the hundreds place in math. She also finished the chapter on Mercury in science…Venus is up next!

We also played a new game this week. While we’ve already enjoyed Chrononauts and Chrono-Trek, this is the first time we’ve played Early American Chrononauts. Turkey and Bunny are edging closer to the Revolutionary War in their study of US history, so I thought this would be a fun addition, because I really like talking about the domino effect that is events throughout history, and this really helps us visualize just how differently things could have ended up. I hope to play √úberChrononauts with them soon!

And for a little extra fine arts education, we attended two different organ recitals this week. While we are very familiar with organ music within the church service, it’s a completely different experience to hear the organ playing on its own, especially when you have the opportunity to hear an artist like Christopher Houlihan play on an exceptional instrument!

And finally, we did get to go on another field trip this week, this time to Grant’s Farm, because not only was it pleasant out, it actually felt like fall!!! This is the outdoor field trip I’ve been saving for really pleasant weather, and we weren’t disappointed. And even though we’ve been to Grant’s Farm countless times, we all learned something new (and we heard the call of an elk for the first time, which was something special!).

I can’t wait to see what next week has in store!

2019-20 School Year–Week Six

We finally had the outdoors field trip that I’ve been waiting for! On Monday morning, I walked outside, and realized that the weather was too nice to stay indoors. So we headed to the St. Louis Zoo, where we enjoyed a beautiful walk and learned a few things (especially about the zoo’s resident polar bear).

The rest of the week we focused on our regular work. Turkey and Bunny worked on applying the functions they’ve learned for the last few weeks in pre-calculus to different triangles. They started the first of two chapters on two-dimensional motion in physics, and practiced the graphical method of adding vectors. Their history lessons focused on India. In their literature study of “The Purgatorio,” they began a chart detailing the different cornices of Purgatory.

Ladybug read one of my favorite obscure Bible stories this week…Balaam and his talking donkey. In math, she started working with powers of ten. She finished the third chapter of her science curriculum. In history, she learned about the Defenestration of Prague and the 30 Years’ War. The Company found Smaug in her study of The Hobbit.

Chickadee finished Little House in the Big Woods this week. (She has also started calling me “Ma,” and I assume the two are related!) In math, she reviewed adding three two-digit numbers. She continued to read about Mercury in science, including learning how many Earth days are in both a Mercury year and day.

I have one more nice-weather field trip planned before we get too far into fall…I’m hoping we might make that happen next week!

2019-20 School Year–Week Five

It took until the fifth week of the 2019-20 school year, but we finally went on an actual field trip!

This was actually the second “Homeschool Day” at the Missouri History Museum for this school year, but the first one didn’t fit into our schedule. I was really excited about the topic of this month’s event, because I knew we needed to see the new Pulitzer Prize Photographs exhibit.

I won’t lie…this was one of the hardest field trips we’ve been on, because the content was so heavy. There were a lot of disturbing photos, and I had to constantly make sure Chickadee especially was doing ok with what she was seeing (to be honest, I think she didn’t really understand a lot of the more distressing photos, which is ok with me). I think it was very important to see, however, and we certainly learned a lot. And there were a few more light-hearted activities, too, including a cool microphone craft that Chickadee loved (although, giving her even a pretend microphone may have been a questionable parenting decision on my part!), and a newspaper assignment that allowed us to research and write about John Philip Sousa, and his connection to the 1904 World’s Fair here in St. Louis.

The rest of the week was pretty standard. Turkey and Bunny learned about arc functions in pre-calculus. They finished the second chapter on one-dimensional motion in physics. They also finished finished the third chapter in their health curriculum. Their literature study had them comparing “The Inferno” with what they’ve read so far in “The Purgatorio.” We finally made it to the Plantagenets in our four-year history cycle, while in US history, Turkey and Bunny learned about the Jamestown settlement, which led to a disturbing conversation about some details they remembered from the their last study of American history.

Ladybug learned about inequalities in pre-algebra. She also reviewed adding decimals. Her history lessons focused on Africa and the beginning of the slave trade. She did a few experiments about the surface tension of water in science. In literature, she read about the dwarves and Bilbo’s escape from the Wood Elves, which is one of my favorite chapters of The Hobbit, because I really like imagining Bombur getting shoved into a barrel! She also finished reading through the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which I still think must be confusing as she’s only about a third of the way through The Hobbit, but she really enjoyed the books!

Chickadee reviewed carrying while adding in math. She started a chapter on Mercury in science. We’re almost done reading through Little House in the Big Woods. Her language arts lessons have overlapped a bit with catechesis, so she’s memorizing in both classes, as well as reading Bible stories for both.

I’m hoping that it might cool off enough next week for an outdoor field trip…or at least for a more enjoyable game of tennis. A week of constant 90+ degree temperatures makes it difficult to want to be outside at all!

Redecorating

At the beginning of the school year, I was…I don’t even know what the right word is. Disappointed? Confused? Relieved? That the school room hadn’t undergone any major changes. It, for the most part, looked the same as it had the year before (and maybe even the year before that!). You have to understand, this is unusual for me, because I’m always moving stuff around, looking for the best possible use of space.

Well, I lasted exactly two weeks into the 2019-20 school year before I made a major change. Really, it all started because I was desperate for more seating downstairs in our living room, so I moved the over-sized red chair that was my seat in the the school room, and that, of course, was the beginning of trouble.

In the end, you might notice four major differences in the school room. The new recliner (the first brand-new, just-for-me, chair I’ve ever had!), is maybe the most noticeable. If it’s not, the curtains I purchased to replace the old ones, which were hand-me-downs from our kitchen years ago, probably catch the eye first. But there’s also a new lamp, something I’ve been meaning to add to our school room for years, and a signed picture of Rick Steves, which was sent to us as a recognition of our summer school this year from his company.

So. it took a few weeks, but I finally made some noticeable changes. And they’re improvements to our learning space that I really like, and hope will make our educational endeavors even more successful!

2019-20 School Year–Week Four

Honestly, the busier our weekends are, the more exhausting the school week is…and last weekend was very busy! We went to the St. Louis Science Center on Friday night, where we learned a bit about biology as it relates to Pok√©mon…that was a lot of fun! And on Saturday, we spent the day at an air show, where not only did we get to see groups like the Aeroshell Aerodynamic Team and the Blue Angels perform, but also the Red Arrows, all the way from England on their tour of the US and Canada! That was a complete thrill…it’s something I’ve wanted to experience pretty much forever!

So, it was once again hard to get to work on Monday, but as always, we persevered. Turkey and Bunny used trigonometric ratios to determine the lengths of sides of triangles in pre-calculus. They studied the derivatives of equations in physics. In health, they learned about mental illnesses. They also both started their choir season, and are looking forward to singing some new pieces, and having a few special performances!

Ladybug worked with radicals in pre-algebra…she was thrilled, and I had some flashbacks to the last time I taught seventh-grade math. In history, she read about the Mayflower, and also the founding of New Amsterdam (and how it became New York!). She finished her second chapter in science, which focused a lot on using the scientific method. We’re both continuing to enjoy her study of the The Hobbit…and even though I have read it before (and taught its literature study), a lot of it seems new to me!

Chickadee spent a lot of time practicing her subtraction facts in math. We got to read my second-favorite chapter of Little House in the Big Woods…the one about the dance at Grandpa’s. In science, she read about solar eclipses, and she was excited that she’s had the chance to see one. She also enjoyed learning about New Amsterdam in history…I couldn’t believe how much of the information she retained over the course of the week!

And time for a school room update. Two weeks ago, I mentioned that I did some rearranging…it’s finally complete, so here’s a look at the updated portion of the room, including my very own, brand-new, teacher recliner!

We have a fairly relaxed weekend planned, and I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to not setting an alarm tomorrow after so many busy weekends in a row! We’ve done some amazing things, and had a great time, but I need to just chill!

2019-20 School Year–Week Three

After a super busy Labor Day weekend, where we visited both the Japanese Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden, and the Greek Festival at St. Louis’ St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, it was hard to get back to work on Monday, but we managed.

Turkey and Bunny conquered their third pre-calculus test and first physics test this week, and I’m happy to report that they’re still doing great! Their study of “The Inferno” is almost complete, and I think we’re all looking forward to finding out what happens in “The Purgatorio.” They wrapped up an overview of the nervous and endocrine systems in health. Their world history chapters focused on China and Japan, while they learned about the constant search for the Seven Cities of Gold, particularly Cibola, in US history.

Ladybug also had her first science test, and received a perfect score. In pre-algebra, she learned about exponents and how they fit into the order of operations. She also read about Japan in history, although she’s a little further along in the timeline, and her lessons focused on Hideyoshi. She’s still really enjoying her study of The Hobbit.

Chickadee started working with thousands numbers in math. She continued to work on narrations, this week based on the story of Rumpelstilzchen. She learned a little bit about light (especially as it relates to the sun) in science. She also started catechesis at church this week, which is very exciting!

As was the case last year, tennis is our main physical education, but every once in a while, I find something fun to add in…this week, we visited a Ninja Warrior-style course at the Carondelet Park Rec Complex in St. Louis. This course was a little less intense than the one we visited two years ago, which meant it was almost too easy, but it was still a lot of fun…the climbing wall was especially popular!

We also continued to add some board games to our school days when there was time, including one inspired by some “what if” conversations we had in history (Chrononauts), and the latest expansion for Sagrada:

Tonight we’re going to the Science Center for their monthly “First Friday” event, and tomorrow we’re going to the air show, where not only will we get to see the Blue Angels, but also the Red Arrows…it’s going to be a busy weekend, but I can’t wait!

2019-2020 School Year–Week Two

One thing I’ll say about this school year so far…I hardly have time to catch my breath!

Turkey and Bunny worked with a chart of trigonometric ratios in pre-calculus. They’re both really enjoying their study of The Divine Comedy…they’re over halfway through with “The Inferno.” They finished their first chapter in physics, and are looking forward to their first test next week. In history they read about the great failure that was the Second Crusade. They also learned about some of the first European explorers who visited the Americas in US history.

Ladybug reviewed prime factorization in pre-algebra…she really enjoys making factor trees. In history, she learned about King James, as well as Samuel Champlain and the search for the Northwest Passage. She continued her study of The Hobbit, and finished her additional reading of The Fellowship of the Ring, and started The Two Towers. She also finished her first chapter in science, which focused on the history of scientific discovery.

Chickadee continued to review in math. She worked on several narrations about the story of Pinocchio in writing. She also finished her first chapter of science…at least she doesn’t have to worry about taking a test yet! She’s reading one chapter every day in The Beginner’s Bible for her phonics practice. We got to read one of my favorite chapters in Little House in the Big Woods today!

We also (finally) got back to the tennis courts this week, and had an absolutely beautiful morning to play…I’m looking forward to more beautiful fall weather in the days ahead!

I’ve also been trying to add some extra fun activities into our school days. For example, during lunch, we’ve been watching re-runs of Good Eats, which is a fun way to learn a little extra science (and find some new recipes we want to try!). We’ve also been playing more board games when we have time…our new favorite is Sagrada, which is, as the name suggests, based on the stained glass in the perpetually-under-construction cathedral (a place Ryan has actually had the opportunity to visit!). It’s a fun game, and very different from anything we’ve played before, which means we’re learning to think a bit differently to play…always a good thing!

I have to confess, I also did finally do some rearranging of the school room this week…I guess I just wasn’t satisfied leaving well enough alone! I’m not sure if I’m done yet, so photos will have to wait until I know for sure!