2017-18 School Year–Week Thirty-Four

Yesterday was the final day of the 2017-18 school year!

We ended the year strong. Out of all of the combined tests over the last six days, which included geometry, biology, ancient history, sixth grade math, and spelling, no one scored lower than a “B!” I’m so glad we finished all of our subjects well!

We had an end-of-the-year field trip last week, to visit the “Destination Moon” exhibit that is currently on loan from the Smithsonian to the St. Louis Science Center. It is an excellent display, from the re-creation of a 1960s living room to the actual command module from the Apollo 11 mission, and everything in between! I know we’ll be going back to see it again before it moves on!

Yesterday was mostly a fun day (once the last of the tests were complete). We watched the Henry V section of The Hollow Crown. It was interesting to see it performed after having read it. The children also re-enacted part of Julius Caesar. And, as is our tradition, the children built a new Lego set to add to our architecture collection…this time, the skyline of Shanghai.

Up next is summer school. We’ll be studying the Medieval period this year…stay tuned for our reading list later this week!

2017-18 School Year–Week Thirty-Three

We only have one week of school left, and now things are really winding down!

Turkey and Bunny took their penultimate math test this week…all they have left is the final exam! They’re on the last chapter in science (birds and mammals) and history (Constantine). They only have one act of Henry V left to read, too.

Ladybug learned about range, mean, median, and mode in math this week. She only has a few lessons left before her last test! She also finished the last chapter in her science book, and just has a few short chapters of history left.

Chickadee has mostly just been reviewing what she has learned this year. She still has the letters “X” and “Q” to learn, but let’s face, at this level, she won’t be using them too much yet! She finished her religion lessons for the year with the story of the Ascension on Ascension Day, which was timely.

So, we have a few tests left, and a few fun things to do, as well. We have one more field trip (to the St. Louis Science Center) before we’re done, and we’re looking forward to adding to our Lego Architecture collection on the last day of school…I can’t believe it’s almost here!

2017-18 School Year–Week Thirty-Two

Things are both winding down and speeding up at the same time…the end of the school year is always so crazy!

Turkey and Bunny had a brief introduction to trigonometry in math. There’s something comforting about knowing they’re still teaching SOH-CAH-TOA the way I remember it from over 20 years ago! They also started the last chapter in their science book, and it’s a big one, covering reptiles, birds, and mammals. They’re almost done with both Henry V and Julius Caesar, and especially looking forward to acting out Act III, scene i of the latter.

Ladybug worked on reviewing different types of charts and graphs in math this week. She’s also on the final chapter in her science book, and they saved the grossest chapter for last, because we’re reading all about flatworms…ick! She’s almost done with history, too…this week, she learned about Constantine, and up next is the fall of Rome.

Chickadee is finishing up her study of the alphabet…she only has “X” and “Q” left. She’s also been doing some simple word problems in math.

Because it was so nice on Monday, we took a field trip to the St. Louis Zoo. This was very timely, as Turkey and Bunny recently learned about sharks and stingrays, and we were there in time for the free hour of the up-close-and-personal stingray exhibit. And since Ladybug just learned about insects, we also spent some extra time in the insectarium (much to my chagrin!).

I’m working on one last field trip, and just about two weeks of school left!

2017-18 School Year–Week Thirty-One

What a week this has been!

Actually, first we have to back up to last weekend, and our special Saturday field trip to Chinese Culture days at the Missouri Botanical Garden. It was a beautiful day to be outside, we had a lot of fun, and we all learned something!

Now, let’s cut to the chase. Yes, various students continued to work on things like translations, reflections, and dilations (geometry), conversions using the metric system (5th grade math), and subtraction (K math). We also continued to learn about Rome, moving on to Octavian. We’re also still making progress reading through Henry V and Julius Caesar, in addition to everything else everyone is working on. The most notable event this week, though, was Dissection Day. It was rough, but Turkey, Bunny, and I survived (I think). They dissected an earthworm, a crayfish, and a frog. Even though I dissected a frog on more than one occasion as a student, I was surprised by how…froggly it was! Turkey and Bunny did NOT enjoy the task, and there was a lot of apologizing to the specimens, but they did a good job of it. I’m just relieved that I don’t have to think about it again for several years!

There was one other big event this week, that would have taken the spotlight were it not for the dissection. Turkey, Bunny, and Ladybug each took a test in choir on Tuesday in hopes of advancing to the red RSCM medal. I am proud to say that Bunny passed with honors, and Turkey and Ladybug passed with distinction! They work very hard in choir all year, not only singing, but also learning about music, and I am thrilled that they will be recognized for their hard work.

Today we had a P.E. morning and visited a fitness park in Caseyville. There are cool, outdoor fitness machines that use body weight instead of adjustable weights. The children had a fun time trying out each apparatus, and we got a good workout on a very pleasant morning!

If I’ve counted correctly, we have less than three weeks of school left in this school year, and a lot to accomplish in that time!

2017-18 School Year–Week Thirty

This week has seemed like it’s been about a year long, so forgive me if I don’t cover everything!

Math continues on. I think this was the last lesson about proofs for Turkey and Bunny…Turkey is disappointed; Bunny is relieved. The Math-U-See instructor said at the beginning of our journey into proofs that about 50% of students love them, and 50% of students hate them, so at least we’re statistically correct! Ladybug did some more work with ratios and percents…next up is the metric system! And Chickadee is still working on subtracting and telling time.

Our science studies have continued to focus on both arthropods and vertebrates. If learning about tarantulas didn’t do me in, the lesson about fish innards should have, but I’m still ok. Next week, though, we finally reach the day we’ve been awaiting (dreading?) all year…dissection day!

We finally began our study of Henry V. Even though my children are familiar with Shakespeare, and his influence on the vernacular, they are still sometimes shocked to discover phrases they know and use were coined by him! Turkey and Bunny are also reading through Julius Caesar, so Shakespeare is a big theme here right now!

Our history lessons have continued to focus on Rome and the aforementioned Julius Caesar. We also had a great opportunity to visit the St. Louis Art Museum today to see the new “Sunken Cities” exhibit. While it focuses on the Egyptian city of Thonis-Heracleion, that city was at its best around the same time we’ve been studying…we even saw statues dating to the time of Ptolemy II, who we learned about just a few weeks ago!

We have a special weekend field trip tomorrow, and then just about four weeks of school left after that!

2017-18 School Year–Week Twenty-Nine

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

Turkey and Bunny are still working on proofs in geometry, but we’re going to be moving on to the last few topics, including trigonometric functions, soon. Ladybug is working on determining percents. Chickadee is working on identifying 3-D shapes.

Most of our history lessons have focused on Rome. Ladybug has been focusing specifically on Julius Caesar, while Turkey and Bunny have been focusing on multiple Roman personalities.

In science, we’re attempting to study both arthropods and vertebrates at the same time. So far, it’s going ok. It’s also almost dissection time, which is still a little horrifying to me, but I imagine we’ll all survive!

In other news, spring may have arrived in St. Louis (we’re still waiting to see if it will stick around), so we took our sketchbooks to the Missouri Botanical Garden yesterday, and enjoyed examining all of the beautiful blooms!

I’m looking forward to hitting the thirty week mark next week!

2017-18 School Year–Weeks Twenty-Six through Twenty-Eight

The last three weeks of school just flew by! Between St. Patrick’s Day, two birthdays, Holy Week and Easter, I just haven’t had time to stop and think about what we’ve been doing until now…and I’m not sure I can even remember all of it, at that!

I do know that math has been going along just fine. Turkey and Bunny have gone through several units on different proofs, and we’re all surviving. Ladybug has been working on multiplying and dividing numbers with decimals, and that has also gone well. And Chickadee is still practicing her subtracting on a number line, and doing a good job of it!

We’ve spent a lot of time in China in our history lessons over the last few weeks. Turkey, Bunny, and Ladybug have all been learning about the Warring States, the Qin Dynasty, Shi Huangdi and his terra-cotta army, and the Great Wall of China. They haven’t all been learning about the same things at exactly the same time, though, so I’ve gotten a little confused, worrying that I’m repeating myself!

Even with all of our busyness, we found time for one of my favorite kindergarten crafts on the first day of spring…Chickadee had a great time making a picture using tissue paper that shows all four seasons:

We’re almost done with The Canterbury Tales already. We have enjoyed each of the tales we’ve read, and I continue to be impressed with how well those stories have stood up to the test of time. I had Turkey and Bunny each write their own tale, and I was very impressed with what they were able to come up with. And Ladybug didn’t want to be left out, so she wrote a tale, as well, and she also did a great job!

In science, Ladybug finished learning about dinosaurs, and Turkey and Bunny wrapped up the first of two chapters on invertebrates. Everyone gets to learn about arthropods next, and I’m already dreading all the spider pictures we’ll be looking at! We did have a chance to look at a hydra under the microscope this week, and that was really interesting:

Hopefully life will slow down a bit for the next few weeks, and I can get back to my regular wrap-up schedule before the school year is done!

2017-18 Curriculum

We’re getting dangerously close to the end of the school year, so I guess I should share the curriculum we’ve been using. My usual disclaimer applies…the beginning of the school year was so long ago, I can’t promise that I’ve remembered everything we’ve used all year!


For Turkey and Bunny

  • God’s Old Testament People

For Ladybug

  • One Hundred Bible Stories and workbook

For Chickadee

  • A Child’s Garden of Bible Stories and workbook


For Turkey and Bunny

  • Math-U-See Geometry

For Ladybug

  • Horizons Math 5

For Chickadee

  • Horizons Math K

Language Arts

For Turkey and Bunny

  • Writing Strands Level Five
  • Wordly Wise 3000, Book Nine
  • Analytical Grammar

For Ladybug

  • Spelling Workout E
  • Handwriting Without Tears Cursive Success Grade Four
  • Wordly Wise 3000, Book Five
  • Writing with Ease Level Four

For Chickadee

  • Sonlight Language Arts K
  • Fun Tales
  • Explode the Code Primers
  • A Reason for Handwriting K

Literature (all with accompanying Memoria Press guides)

For Turkey and Bunny

  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
  • Beowolf
  • The Canterbury Tales
  • Henry V

For Ladybug

  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
  • Heidi
  • The Canterbury Tales


For Turkey and Bunny

  • The History of the Ancient World

For Ladybug

  • Story of the World volume 1 and supplemental materials


For Turkey and Bunny

  • Apologia Exploring Creation with Biology

For Ladybug

  • Apologia Exploring Creation with Zoology: Land Animals of the Sixth Day

For Chickadee

  • The Berenstain Bears’ Big Book of Science and Nature


  • Duoligno (Italian, German, and Spanish)
  • The Art of Civilized Conversation
  • A Rulebook for Arguments
  • All About Korea (during the Winter Olympics)


  • The Ramona Series
  • The American Girl BeForever series from Kaya through Julie


2017-18 School Year–Weeks Twenty-Four and Twenty-Five

It’s been a busy two weeks!

Turkey and Bunny have finally reached the point in geometry that I have been dreading…proofs. I did not enjoy doing proofs when I was in high school. They, however, have taken to them very well so far, so maybe it won’t be as bad as I was expecting! Ladybug has been working with ratios, and determining if two different ratios are equivalent. Chickadee started subtracting this week!

In science, Ladybug has learned all about crocodilians. She started on amphibians, too, and charted the life cycle of a frog. Turkey and Bunny finished a chapter on ecology, where they learned about the water, carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen cycles, among other things.

My students have been all over the place in history. In the last two weeks, we’ve learned about the Corinthian, Pan-Hellenic, and Latin Leagues. We’ve read about Alexander the Great and Asoka. We’ve studied wars, stalemates, and treaties. And our travels have taken us to China, India, Macedonia, Northern Africa, and Italy, in addition to other locations. Of course, that’s including both Turkey’s and Bunny’s study of the History of the Ancient World and Ladybug’s of the Story of the World, but it’s interesting to see how their lessons keep overlapping!

We started the Canterbury Tales this week, and so far, we’re all enjoying it. I will admit to never having read this piece of literature before, and it’s nothing like I was expecting. It’s a true testament to Chaucer’s wit and wisdom that his stories are still so funny and relevant hundreds of years later!

Our schedule for the next few weeks will be a bit erratic with family birthdays and Holy Week coming up, so I’ll be back with another wrap-up in about two weeks!

2017-18 School Year–Week Twenty-Three

Now that the Olympics are over, we’re finally back to our normal school schedule. I really miss watching the Games, but I have to admit to being a bit relieved that we’re not trying to cram so much stuff into every day!

Our religion lessons are really starting to fly by. Chickadee has already been in the New Testament for a few weeks, and Ladybug is about to join her. Turkey and Bunny have made it to Samuel and David…it may sound like they’re significantly behind their siblings, but they’re doing an overview of just the Old Testament this year, so they’re actually quite far into the book they’re using!

Speaking of being far into different subjects, as crazy as it sounds, we’ve already finished some things for the year. Ladybug completed both her vocabulary and handwriting books. Turkey and Bunny also completed vocabulary for the year, and worked hard to also finish off their ninth grade writing course. And we finally finished the last book in the Ramona series!

Turkey and Bunny were introduced to theorems in geometry this week…they’re getting dangerously close to doing proofs! Ladybug worked more with adding and subtracting fractions and mixed numbers. Chickadee has become really comfortable with double-digit numbers, and is starting to be able to tell time!

Everybody has been learning about Rome in history…even Moose, who is learning about Ancient Rome at his school…he’s been eager to compare notes, and find out if Ladybug, in particular, has learned about the same things he has!  It has been kind of a relief to me to get away from some of the more complicated Greek and Egyptian names, and focus on some people who are little more well-known, pronunciation-wise!

Turkey and Bunny finished their chapter on macroevolution in science, and are excited to be getting closer to their dissection experiments. (Their teacher is still kind of on the fence on that one, which is weird, because I always enjoyed dissection when I was a student!) Ladybug finished learning about lizards, and will be starting on the rest of the reptiles and amphibians next.

Now that we’re in March, the end of the school year is on the horizon, which is kind of unbelievable to me. But we still have a lot of fun and interesting things to learn before we’re done!