2020-21 School Year–Week Twenty-One

Hymn of the Week–“Lift Every Voice and Sing” (Lutheran Service Book #964)

We made it through another week of February!

Turkey and Bunny used the first derivative to find optimizations in calculus. They learned all about the structure of the eye in advanced biology…but we postponed the eye dissection lesson until a later date. They took an abbreviated Myers-Briggs questionnaire in psychology. We’re getting close to the end of A Tale of Two Cities.

Ladybug continued using the quadratic formula in algebra, and she also learned how to complete the square. She finished her study of Treasure Island. She and Chickadee learned about the Holocaust in history, which is a hard topic to teach and learn about. She also read Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. We began reading about the Bill of Rights in her study of the US Constitution.

Chickadee continued to review division in math. I introduced her to prepositions in grammar. She started a literature study of Charlotte’s Web. We also started reading More About Paddington. In science, she learned more about pterosaurs.

Today, we had a half day of school, and worked on a new Lego set in the afternoon:

We’re looking forward to Mardi Gras next week!

Lego Books

This isn’t about books about Lego, although we certainly have plenty of those:

But about books made out of Lego. They’ve been making books for a while now, including a Lego Ideas pop-up book (which we don’t have), and some cute free-with-purchase sets that we’ve collected over the years:

The newest addition to the Lego books family is the Hogwarts Moments collection, which is a set of four, each featuring a different Hogwarts class/house (plus another cute free-with-purchase, the Monster Book of Monsters):

I had foolishly hoped to have these sets for the children on Epiphany, but that was unrealistic on pretty much every level (although, under normal circumstances in a regular year, it was not out of the realm of possibility). The sets finally arrived yesterday, and they had fun building them in the afternoon.

The way each set unfolds for play is pretty incredible, and they were able to pack a huge number of details into a small space.

I really love how clever these sets are, and I’m curious to see if they create more like them in the future!

Chickadee Thursday

Chickadee has been saving her money to buy a LEGO Friends set for months. Once she had the money, the set proved a little tricky to track down, but I was finally able to order it for her from Target, and it arrived today…she was very excited to get to work, and built it pretty quickly!

It’s a really cute set!

Lego Build Day

Today is LEGO Build Day!

I’m not sure exactly when LEGO came up with the idea, but it’s the perfect way to spend the day after Christmas, especially for a family that always receives at least a few LEGO sets as gifts!

The Fab Five received The Child as a Christmas present, and I’ve also been hanging on to 123 Sesame Street for a special occasion, so those were the two sets we built today. At the same time. On the same table. Which was a bit confusing, but we managed to keep the pieces separate for the most part.

They’re both beautiful sets!

Of course, pretty much any day is LEGO Build Day in our house (we just finished Lego Diagon Alley as an Advent project), so I’m sure it won’t be too long before we have another set to work on!

Thanksgiving in the Time of COVID-19

If there’s anything that didn’t change too much for us this year due to COVID-19, it was Thanksgiving. That’s not to say things weren’t different at all, but we never travel for Thanksgiving, so at least we didn’t miss that, and we don’t always have family over, so while we missed seeing them, it wasn’t necessarily expected either. So, a lot of our three-day Thanksgiving holiday looked pretty much the same, starting with Pie Day on Wednesday, when we baked eight pies (seven for our family, and this year, one to give away).

In the middle of the baking, the children also made their yearly hand-and-footprint turkeys…Turkey and Bunny were kind enough to play along again this year at my request, since it is their last year in my homeschool.

We watched a very different version of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thanksgiving morning (in the words of Al Roker, it wasn’t the parade we wanted, but it was the parade we needed), which we enjoyed very much because it was something somewhat familiar. The same went for the National Dog Show, which was extra exciting for me this year because the dog I wanted to win actually did! And then we got ready for dinner. One of the best parts of any holiday is setting the table:

And the food. There was a lot of food, even with the turkey mishap we had in the morning (I ended up having to throw out the turkey I had purchased to roast, and we decided to order a second Beast Craft BBQ smoked turkey to ensure we had enough leftovers).

It’s always a pretty-looking dinner!

After clean-up and Holiday Inn, I got out the pies:

I limited myself to trying two kinds. This was my first attempt at lemon meringue pie, and I was very pleased with the results!

I made sure to play Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and helped Franklin prepare his holiday feast:

The day after Thanksgiving has been pretty different. We didn’t get to see Moose march in our town’s Santa Parade this year, which was disappointing…I’d really come to enjoy that event. And there was no town tree lighting or gingerbread house walk or trolley ride to look forward to after dinner. This morning, though, the family traditions did continue with pie-for-breakfast:

And turkey sandwiches for lunch, which I almost like better than Thanksgiving dinner itself!

Lego building is also part of our day-after-Thanksgiving celebration…I built the free-with-purchase A Christmas Carol set we received:

I always make turkey soup for dinner the day after Thanksgiving:

And after dinner, the Fab Five built a Lego Harry Potter set to add to our Hogwarts setup in the school room.

It wasn’t exactly the Thanksgiving we had planned, but all things considered, we had a very nice family celebration!

2020-21 School Year–Week One

Hymn of the Week: “Earth and All Stars” (Lutheran Service Book #817)

The first week of the 2020-21 school year is complete! We kind of eased into things…we did get to all our new subjects, just not all on the same day…we had to save something new for next week! Our first day was especially fun, and the Fab Five like the new Lego Architecture set of Dubai we added to our collection!

This year, our religion studies will be done together as a group, as it is a curriculum of my own making. We’re using Lutheran Service Book: Companion to the Hymns, along with the hymnal, to learn about a new hymn each week (see above), as well as the author, and the changes made to it over the years. We’re also using the school room keyboard to learn to play at least the basic melody line of the hymns…since choir is on the back burner due to COVID-19, it’s nice to add some music to our school days!

Turkey and Bunny started calculus with a whirlwind review of everything they’ve learned in math in the last three years. I guess it all stuck, because they both received perfect scores on their first test! They also reviewed basic concepts from biology in their advanced biology course. Their psychology class, which like advanced biology is an AP class, was full of new information at a very quick pace, which is going to take some getting used to. They began reading Macbeth this week, and also the first book I chose for our study of American geography and culture, 1491.

Ladybug also did review in algebra, and I was happy to see that she, too, retained what she had learned last year over the summer. We had a little hiccup in her physical science course, because I hadn’t realized that the updated text is basically an entirely new book, and the workbook that goes with it is incompatible with the old text we have. So we decided to study weather until the new book arrives. She and Chickadee learned about Queen Victoria and the British Empire to begin the fourth year of the history cycle. Her first literature study is one of my favorite of Shakespeare’s works…As You Like It.

While I’m not responsible for teaching Moose, it has been interesting to see what he’s been up to in his distance-learning. He is taking and algebra and biology this year, in addition to world geography and English. I’m curious to see exactly how band is going to work out, but they’re giving it a try, and Moose was very excited to discover that the first piece he gets to learn is a medley from Hamilton!

Chickadee is probably the most enthusiastic of my students (shocking, I know!). Like her older siblings, her math was review this week, and she also remembered everything she was supposed to. Her first literature study is Farmer Boy, which is my favorite of the Little House books (although the endless descriptions of food make me hungry!). She is learning cursive this year, and it’s not as difficult as she expected so far. Science for this year is all about winged creatures, and she’s looking forward to learning about everything except bugs!

I chose a motto from Doctor Who for this school year: “Never cruel or cowardly. Never give up. Never give in.” I also picked two Bible verses (because I couldn’t decide)…Psalm 27: 13-14 (I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!), and Hebrews 12:1-2 (Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.). This year is kind of A Big Deal, as it is Turkey’s and Bunny’s last year of homeschooling before college and adulthood, and I pray that we all learn a lot, and enjoy this time together, especially with Moose home during this very unusual year!

The First Day of School 2020

We were up bright and early this morning to begin our 13th year of homeschooling!

For once, we all started school on the same day in the same place, as Moose started his freshman year of high school today via distance-learning. Turkey and Bunny are, of course, seniors this year, Ladybug is in eighth grade, and Chickadee is in third. The motto for the day was:

“I cannot be everywhere at once, people
I’m in dire need of assistance.”

As always, I had schultüte waiting for the Fab Five when the bell rang:

Our other favorite first-day-of-school tradition is building a Lego set…this time, the skyline of Dubai. I especially love the Burj Al Arab.

We all had Animal Crossing shirts this year…even me!

This year is going to be different from any we’ve had before, and I imagine it will be challenging, but we’re going to take things one day at a time and try not to look too far into the future, while learning as much as we can!

Ready for the First Day of School?

I’m not going to lie…I’m not really sure that I’m ready for the 2020-21 school year. If I’m totally honest, I’m kind of dreading it for several reasons, and the top reason actually has nothing to do with COVID-19. Instead, I’m apprehensive because it’s Turkey and Bunny’s last year of homeschooling. That’s right…this experiment that we began in 2008 when they started kindergarten is now coming to a close, at least for them. And I’m afraid I’m going to spend the entire school year crying, as each “last time” comes up.

But, our homeschooling experiment is far from over, especially now that Moose is joining us at home while doing distance-learning for at least the first semester of his first year of high school (which, again if I’m honest, is a little scary to me), so one way or another, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be for our most unique and challenging year of homeschooling (which includes two twelfth graders, a 9th grader, an 8th grader, and a 3rd grader) yet!

First, a look at some of the fun we’ve had in the last week of summer vacation, including Lego-building and cookie-baking. We may not have been able to travel this summer, or even do the usual local stuff we would during the summer, but we still managed to have fun experiences!

Tonight was our annual “Farewell to Summer” dinner, this time a mail-order meal from Portillo’s, which mirrors a dinner we had shortly before summer break began.

A summer classic for dessert…root beer floats:

Plus some Frango mints, another little taste of Chicago:

This year’s first-day-of-school outfits are Animal Crossing themed. It’s a good reflection of our summer, and they were pretty easy to get in a time when clothes shopping can be a little challenging.

The school room has been cleaned and organized…it looks pretty much like it did for most of last year, with the keyboard being the most recent (but not really new anymore) addition:

I prepared the schultüte for tomorrow, too:

So that’s pretty much it. We’re as ready as we’ll ever be, and our 13th year of homeschooling begins bright and early tomorrow morning!

2019-20 School Year–Week Thirty-Five

And so ends another school year.

It was a fairly low-key week, with no field trips (obviously), and several subjects already wrapped up. We continued taking our daily pre-lunch two mile walk around our neighborhood, and while I miss playing tennis, I have to say that time of walking and talking together has probably been my favorite thing to come out of our modified schedule, and I’ll be sad when it gets hot and we won’t want to do it anymore.

Turkey and Bunny read about the fall of Constantinople in world history, and we finished US history, with most of our attention on FDR and WWII, and a brief race through the decades following. They worked with limits of a function in pre-calculus. They also finished reviewing various comma rules in grammar, and read an ode by Phyllis Wheatley.

Ladybug wrote a 1,200 word paper on one of her favorite books to finish her writing curriculum for the year. Her final chapter in history focused on the California Gold Rush. She finished science by learning about the five senses. She also read about Paul’s final missionary journey in religion.

Chickadee finished reading The Sword in the Tree. We also finished My Father’s Dragon. She wrapped up her study of astronomy. Her math lessons were mostly review, although some more complicated borrowing when subtracting was a fun surprise for her.

Today we built a Lego set, as we always do on the last day of school. It was nice that Moose was able to be with us for our last day, even though he won’t be done (and graduated from eighth grade!), until the middle of next week. This time it was the Lego Ideas ISS, which goes well with all of our other Lego space sets!

This is the most anti-climatic last day of school I can remember, and I have to admit, it was kind of a sad day for me. I had so many things that I wanted to do in the last few months…visiting the Van Gogh exhibit at the St. Louis Art Museum, touring the Mississippi River exhibit at the Missouri History Museum, spending many lovely hours walking around the Missouri Botanical Garden and sketching the spring blooms, enjoying tulip time in Forest Park, and visiting the St. Louis Zoo were all on my list. Obviously, none of that could happen, and we also haven’t been able to look forward to our annual trip to Chicago that we were supposed to take next week. I’m also trying not to think ahead to the future too much, because it scares me a little when I think of what the beginning of our next school year, Turkey and Bunny’s last year of homeschooling, could look like. I’m trying really hard to focus on the positive, so I’ll leave you with some pictures from Wednesday, when we got to play with dry ice, something we probably wouldn’t have gotten to do if it wasn’t for this weird time of isolation:

Lego Corner Garage–The Second Half

Time to take a look at the second half of the build for the Lego Corner Garage!

The second floor contains a vet’s office, which includes both the waiting and examination rooms. There were a lot of cool little builds in this section, including a neat desk lamp and a heat lamp for a frog. Two minifigs were included this time…the vet himself, and a child, who I assume is taking her pet (possibly the rabbit) for a check-up.

As always, the amazing sense of humor the Lego Group has is obvious…Dr. Jones Animal Care…No snakes!

The windows on the second floor were fun to build, too!

The third floor is home to the minifig that came in the fifth set of bags. It’s a nice little studio apartment, and it contains something hard to find on our Main Street…a BATHROOM! I especially loved building the little TV.

Even without the roof, it’s an impressive building!

The sixth set of bags was a quick an easy build…just the roof, with a nice little garden, and a place to lay out and catch some rays:

Even though I wasn’t necessarily thrilled with adding a garage of all things to my Main Street, I have to admit, it’s a nice-looking building, and I love having another corner to add to my modular grouping!

As soon as I’m certain I’m happy with the layout, I’ll shared a picture of my updated modular Main Street!