2021-22 School Year–Week Sixteen

Is there ever a good time to get back to schoolwork after a vacation? I don’t think so, but at some point, you just have to jump in, and that’s what we did this week!

Ladybug worked on calculating the surface area of different solid figures in geometry. She started a unit on Calvinist church bodies in religion, beginning with Presbyterians. Her new literature study is Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. In biology, she began to learn about genetics, how different traits are passed on from parent to child, and how to create Punnett squares. She worked on using foreshadowing in a story in writing. We also took a break yesterday to visit the Beyond Van Gogh exhibit that is currently on display in St. Louis…it was really cool!

Chickadee got right back to working on long division in math…how thrilling. We backtracked in her overview of the Bible…after going through all of the Christmas and Epiphany stories, she’s back in the Old Testament with Kings David and Solomon. The new chapter in her science book is about rays and sharks. We continued to read Greek myths, including stories about Pan, Narcissus, and Daphne. After our break from world geography over the holiday season, we moved on to Africa, where we learned about South Africa and Nigeria, and made a a cheese and apple crumble and banana fritters.

Next week may be a bit bumpy, as Turkey and Bunny start a new semester of college, and we all learn our new schedules!

2021-22 School Year–Week Thirteen+

This time, I’m wrapping up a week, plus a couple of days of school!

Ladybug learned how to calculate the area of a circle and an ellipse in geometry. She learned about Roman Catholicism in her study of Christian denominations. In biology, she wrapped up her study of cellular energy by learning about cellular respiration and fermentation. She finished the second part of Beowulf. She finished reading Invincible Louisa, and is now working on Little Men.

Chickadee is starting to lay the foundation for long division in math…I’m a little scared! She finished the chapter on primeval reptiles in her science book by learning about pliosaurs and ichthyosaurs. We’re still trying to untangle Zeus’s family tree in her literature study of D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths! After Ladybug finished it, she started reading Invincible Louisa…it’s interesting to listen to her compare the lives of Louisa May Alcott and Laura Ingalls Wilder!

Over the last seven school days, we also read some of our favorite Thanksgiving books:

  • Native Homes
  • Tapenum’s Day
  • On the Mayflower
  • Sarah Morton’s Day
  • Samuel Eaton’s Day
  • If You Were At…The First Thanksgiving
  • Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving
  • Thanksgiving: A Harvest Celebration
  • An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving
  • Sarah Gives Thanks
  • Milly and the Macy’s Parade
  • Pardon That Turkey
  • Over the River and Through the Woods
  • Time for Cranberries
  • A Turkey for Thanksgiving
  • The Night Before Thanksgiving

This week, we wrapped up a few regular school things, and had some Thanksgiving fun! We visited Cahokia Mounds and had a lovely nature walk, where we saw lots of deer and even a few turkeys. We also made the 10-story climb up Monks Mound.

And we did a couple of fun turkey crafts, including my favorite, hand-and-footprint turkeys:

Next week, we get to start some of our Advent activities, not to mention the countdown to Christmas vacation!

2021-22 School Year–Outdoors Week!

I decided on a whim that this should be “Outdoors Week.” In addition to reading Little Women under the tree in our front yard, we participated only in activities that could be done outdoors, and I even came up with themes for each day!

Monday was “History and Nature.” We visited historic Concordia Cemetery in St. Louis and found C.F.W. Walther’s mausoleum. We also learned about his life and contributions to the Lutheran church in America.

Tuesday was “Art and Nature.” We went back into the city to walk around the Missouri Botanical Garden and Forest Park, and sketch some of the beautiful things we saw:

Wednesday was “Fitness and Nature.” We finally got back to the tennis court for the first time since before the pandemic began, and we also did a fitness course on a local walking trail.

Thursday was “Exploration and Nature.” We took a five-mile walk down some trails we’ve never used before, and also tried to identify some of the trees we saw along the way based on their leaves, pods, and nuts.

And today we took it easy, and ended the week by watching Little Women (the Winona Ryder version, because it’s my favorite), since we finally finished the book. We’ll get back to our regular work next week, but this was a really fun way to spend the first week of November!

2021-22 School Year–Week Ten

This has been a really long week, so I guess I’m kind of glad it’s over. But we have had a lot of fun, too, so it wasn’t all bad. Ladybug learned about the different kinds of triangles in geometry. She worked on writing conversations for her writing course. In science she looked at the difference between plant and animal cells under the microscope. We’ve made it through the worst part of Little Women…but now there’s very little of the book left! We finished all of the main recipes I wanted to make in The Little Women Cookbook…Jo’s Gingerbread, and baked New England cod served with 1850 tartar sauce.

Chickadee continued to make factor trees in math. We read about sea snakes in science. She continued to diagram the predicate nominative in grammar. Her geography lesson focused on Antarctica, so we didn’t do any cooking this week…and we didn’t want to eat raw fish like penguins!

We also visited the pumpkin patch this week, and picked out a nice trio of pumpkins. This is always one of my favorite field trips of the year!

I can’t believe next week is already the last week of October!

2021-22 School Year–Week Seven

This was a pretty fun week!

Ladybug learned about transversals and alternate exterior and interior angles in geometry (interestingly, Moose learned about the exact same thing at his school this week!). In grammar, she learned how to diagram adverbs, including prepositional phrases that act like adverbs. She continued learning about ecology in biology with a discussion on biomes and habitats. In history, she read about the first monotheistic religion with the call of Abram, so that was pretty much review. We talked about Mormonism in her study of comparative religions. We read about Meg’s wedding and the birth of the twins in Little Women, and made two new recipes from The Little Women Cookbook…Beef stew with molasses and apple cider vinegar, and chicken salad with grapes and almonds:

Chickadee continued to practice rounding money in math. She learned about walruses, manatees, and dugongs in science. She reviewed everything she’s learned so far this year in grammar. Her dictation assignments in writing have gotten much longer! We took a break from our trip around the world in geography to review the countries we’ve learned about so far and read about how maps and globes developed…next week, we’re going to begin our second loop around the world by visiting a whole new set of countries!

We also had a fun celebration for the feast of St. Michael and All Angels. We prepared a special dinner and dessert (Mediterranean angel hair pasta, and angel food cake with homemade strawberry sauce), and made hand and footprint angels…there’s now glitter everywhere!

We went on our first indoor field trip since before the pandemic began, to pretty much the only place I feel comfortable taking the yet-to-be-vaccinated Chickadee…our church! It is one of the charter congregations of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, and we took a tour of the building, where we learned about not only the history of the structure, but also the congregation and the surrounding community. It was very informative, and even I learned a ton!

I’m not sure how we’ll top the fun we’ve had this week, but at least it’s October now, and we have all of our favorite fall activities to look forward to!

2021-22 School Year–Week Six

Fall is finally here and this was a beautiful week for school! On Tuesday, we enjoyed a cool (albeit rainy) walk around Forest Park and the St. Louis Zoo:

Ladybug learned about complementary and supplementary angles in geometry this week. In her study of comparative religions, she traveled to the Far East, where she read about Shintoism, Confucianism, and Taoism. She started learning about ecology in biology. We finished the first book of Little Women, and made a bunch of new recipes from The Little Women Cookbook: Meg’s chicken and macaroni soup (plus more maple-cornmeal drop biscuits), oatmeal porridge with apples, cinnamon, and maple syrup, Meg’s macaroni and cheese, vanilla butter cookies with Mr. Bhaer’s chocolate drops, Hannah’s smoked sausage and potato “mess” and Meg’s currant jelly sauce:

Chickadee worked on rounding in math, including rounding money. She started learning about pinnipeds in science…so far, we’ve learned how to identify a true seal. We worked on diagramming adverbs in grammar. We finished our first trip around the world, and made three new recipes…a meat pie which was surprisingly well-received, plus damper bread, both from Australia, and a blueberry crumble with “snowballs” (vanilla ice cream) from Canada:

Since the weather was so nice, we spent some extra time doing our school work outside this week…I especially enjoyed reading Little Women under the tree in our yard!

It’s supposed to warm back up, so I guess next week won’t be quite as pleasant as this one was, but more beautiful fall days are on the way!

2021-22 School Year–Week Three

We had a fun week of school! On Monday, we got to visit a sunflower field, something I’ve been wanting to do for months, but hadn’t gotten around to. It was a beautiful morning, and seeing that many bright and cheerful flowers was a really nice way to start the week!

Ladybug worked on measuring and drawing angles in geometry. She learned a little about the periodic table and chemical formulas in biology. We discussed ancient forms of writing in history. We read one of my favorite chapters in Little Women…Camp Laurence. I love the part where they play “rigamarole!” We also made two recipes from The Little Women Cookbook this week…Amy’s lemonade, which had the added flavors of orange and clove (so tasty!), and Amy’s “Christmas Day” muffins, which really did taste like Christmas thanks to orange, cranberry, and cinnamon. I’m a little disturbed that three of the four recipes we’ve tried are attributed to Amy, but the next bunch of recipes on the schedule represent a more wide variety of characters, which is good.

Chickadee reviewed Roman numerals in math, as well as adding and subtracting fractions. We started reading about whales in science. She reviewed verbs in grammar. In our study of geography, we traveled to Africa, where we visited Egypt and made a simplified version of palace bread, and Kenya, where the featured recipe was tapioca pudding with pineapple. I especially loved the pudding!

I haven’t decided if we’re having school on Monday or not, but at the very least, we’re looking forward to not having to get up early!

First Day of School 2021

Just like that, our 14th year of homeschooling has begun!

Ironically, while the roster of my homeschool has changed dramatically, with Turkey and Bunny starting college next week, and Moose returning to in-person learning later this week after almost 18 months of distance learning here at home, the school room looks pretty much the same as it did last year…this may be the least it has ever changed between school years!

It is pretty strange having only two students, though!

The number of students may have changed, but our traditions didn’t:

And we did have a few guests, which made things feel a little more normal:

I wanted to make our first day of school extra special, so we made lemon-poppyseed waffles and lemon-blueberry sauce for lunch:

And of course we built a Lego set…this time, the Taj Mahal:

Our “Farewell to Summer” dinner had a local theme, so I decided to also go with a theme for our “First Day of School” dinner…Chicago-style hot dogs and Portillo’s chocolate cake for a Windy City theme!

It was a very different first day of school in some ways, but there were also familiar moments, and it was nice to get started while everyone was still at home before they go their separate ways!

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!