2022-23 School Year–Week Four

This week has been more…complicated than I expected. It started out pretty well, with a day off on Monday so we could see Moose march in the town Labor Day parade. And then on Tuesday, we had a field trip day to the Missouri History Museum (for the first time in almost three years!), to see the new Coloring STL exhibit. We had a really great time…how often are you encouraged to color on the walls of a museum?!?

Even I made a small contribution, because I found something mid-century marvelous!

On Wednesday, we got back to our regular work. Ladybug reviewed radicals in algebra 2. She began Act III of Romeo and Juliet. She learned about mixtures and compounds in chemistry. In history, she read about Flavius Theodosius and the Roman Catholic Church. Her creative writing course had her rewriting sentences to make them more interesting and less repetitive. We continued reading The Fellowship of the Ring, and baked Barliman Butternut’s Blackberry Pie, which was delicious!

Chickadee reviewed calculating area and perimeter in math. In science, she continued learning about order Carnivora by starting a chapter on bears. In history, she read a brief history of the Jewish people, focusing on Abraham and Joseph. She learned how to add adjectives to a sentence diagram in grammar. We continued reading Heidi, and to my relief, we have almost reached the part where she gets to go home to the mountains.

On Thursday, our school day was interrupted by the developing news in the United Kingdom, and we spent most of our day watching the BBC. Today, I decided we should continue to focus on the life of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, so we watched The King’s Speech and some of our royal documentaries. Hopefully, next week we’ll have a little more success staying on task!

Chickadee Thursday

On Tuesday, we went to the Missouri History Museum for the first time since before the beginning of the pandemic…almost three full years! We had a great time, and Chickadee loved the new “Coloring STL” exhibit where you’re actually encouraged and expected to color on the walls!

2019-20 School Year–Week Ten

We’re definitely over a quarter of the way through the school year now…how is that even possible?!?

Turkey’s and Bunny’s study of the Augsburg Confession this week focused on the Sacraments…I was very impressed that it very clearly stated that absolution is the third Sacrament, something I’ve taught at home from the very beginning, but an idea with which some Lutherans are uncomfortable. They continued to work on proving trigonometric identities in pre-calculus. In physics, they finished the chapter on parabolic motion and range. They started a chapter on the senses in health. We had some very good conversations based on the cantos they read in “The Paradiso.”

Ladybug reviewed ratios in math. She practiced finding the mechanical advantage for the various simple machines she learned about in science last week. In writing she read “The Open Window” so she could analyze the plot line. She learned about Charles I and the English Civil Wars, Oliver Cromwell and the Interregnum, and Charles II the 1660 Restoration in history.

Chickadee practiced regrouping tens in math. She finished the Old Testament portion of her read-alouds from The Beginner’s Bible. She also finished the first of three Explode the Code books for second grade. We read more stories from Tales from Beatrix Potter, some of which I had never heard of before! She finished her study of Venus in science by learning about its phases.

Since we worked so hard this week, I decided that today should be a field trip day, so we headed to Forest Park, where the fall color is reaching its peak:

The true destination for our field trip was the St. Louis Art Museum, where we toured the new “Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt” exhibit, which is on loan from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

One of the best parts of the special exhibits at the St. Louis Art Museum is the Explore Lab, which adds a hands-on component to the event:

Here’s a glimpse at some of the children’s artwork:

After we finished at the art museum (and walked around Forest Park a bit more), we stopped by the Missouri History Museum to see what is admittedly a very small, but very meaningful exhibit about the St. Louis Blues Stanley Cup Championship:

This was a very fun and relaxing way to end a busy 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!

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!

Kantorei Kamp Week

For the fourth summer in a row, “The Bigs” have participated in a Kantorei Kamp at Hope Lutheran Church in St. Louis. It’s a busy, fun week for everybody, because while they’re at camp, Chickadee and I go adventuring…sometimes, I think she has more fun than her siblings do!

On Monday, while the Kamp had a full day of music theory, handbell practice, and choral rehearsals, Chickadee and I went to the playground in Forest Park and to the Missouri History Museum, where we visited the History Clubhouse and the new “Muny Memories” exhibit:

On Tuesday, Chickadee and I went to the Missouri Botanical Garden in the morning, and then joined the Kantorei Kamp for some swimming at the YMCA:

Wednesday was a little bit cooler, so Chickadee and I walked around the St. Louis Zoo and the St. Louis Art Museum:

We only had a little bit of free time on Thursday morning, so Chickadee and I visited the St. Louis Public Library and read some books before joining the Kantorei Kamp for a backstage tour of Powell Hall, a picnic lunch, concretes at Ted Drewes, and a concert by a quartet from the Greenleaf Singers for Make Music St. Louis Day:

And today we went with the Kantorei Kamp to the LC-MS International Center to hear them sing for chapel. After that, Chickadee and I visited the St. Louis Science Center before picking up “The Bigs” from their last day of Kamp:

And a bonus handbell piece from church on Sunday, which I managed to record while they rehearsing before the service:

2017-18 School Year–Week Eighteen+

I’m wrapping up two-ish weeks of school, and I’m late with it to boot! But when you see how busy we’ve been, I think you’ll see why!

The week of the 15th-19th was just INSANE! Moose had off school that Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and we always do some different things on that date, so while we had school, it wasn’t exactly our normal schedule. And then Moose’s school cancelled school Tuesday on account of cold (don’t even get me started…I enjoyed having him home, but I really think the schools in the St. Louis area have a different definition of cold than I do after having grown up in the Chicago suburbs!), so that wasn’t really a full day of school for us, because we wanted to hang out with him at least part of the day. We did have a normal day of school on Wednesday, but on Thursday, we hit the road dark and early to go to Chicago, where we did manage to cram a few educational activities/field trips (visits to the Adler Planetarium, the Chicago Botanic Garden, Legoland Discovery Center, and Wheaton College, to see the Perry Mastodon, which went perfectly with Ladybug’s science lessons from that week) into our weekend:

The last week wasn’t exactly standard, either. We had school on Monday, but we spent the day at the Missouri History Museum, where they were holding a “homeschool day” focusing on immigration to St. Louis. It was really interesting learning about some of the groups that settled in this area (particularly Bosnian and German immigrants), as well as what their journey might have been like, and what kind of cultural arts they brought to the area with them (we loved trying Bosnian “carpet” weaving and Scherenschnitte, which is German paper cutting). We even got to try our hand at a bit of translation!

After that, the week was more or less normal…except for the half-day we had on Friday, because Moose had another day off. Turkey, Bunny, and Ladybug all finished up chapters in their science texts. We finally got back to our literature studies of Heidi and Beowulf. Ladybug has been doing some simplified versions of the things Turkey and Bunny have been working on in geometry (volume, surface area, and drawing circles with a compass), while they have moved on to working with radicals. I never thought I’d say it, but I am so glad their curriculum for the last few years has been so demanding, because it made everything seem much easier this time through! And we tried to observe National Lutheran School Week as best we could, even though I have never really figured out how to incorporate it into our homeschool!

This week should (hopefully) be completely normal, and I’m hoping we get a lot accomplished to make up for some of the weirdness in our schedule since basically before Christmas!

2017-18 School Year–Week Nine

In an unusual twist for us, our school week started on Sunday. Since we were already in the city, we decided to stop at the St. Louis Science Center to see the Omnimax Theater Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs film. It was an excellent movie, and went perfectly with the King Tut exhibit we saw earlier in the school year, as well as what we’ve been studying in history. Of course, while we were there, we also checked out some of the other exhibits, too!

The fun continued on Monday, when we went to our first “Homeschool Day” of the year at the Missouri History Museum, and since Moose had the day off school, he got to come with us! We learned all about cameras, photography, and the importance of photography in modern history, and we got to tour the new Panoramas exhibit while we were there. When we were done at the History Museum, we went back to the Science Center to see the new star show we saw on the schedule when we were there on Sunday: Mission Mars. It was excellent, and we got to try out the new and very comfortable chairs in the planetarium!

After all that, the rest of the week seemed rather boring, I suppose, but we got a lot done. Turkey and Bunny have been reviewing perimeter in math, in preparation for discussing area next week. They also worked on figuring out the measure of multiple angles in a shape with different bisectors given a few beginning figures. Ladybug has entered into the exciting world of exponents. Chickadee is still working on counting by tens.

Ladybug learned about kangaroos and koalas in her study of marsupials…next week, she’ll be learning about animals like sugar gliders and possums. Turkey and Bunny had to create another biological key in science…this time, one focused on Kingdom Fungi. So far they’ve learned about the most recognizable members of that kingdom…mushrooms, puffballs, and shelf fungi.

Even though they’re reading different books, Turkey, Bunny, and Ladybug all learned about the Shang dynasty in history. Ladybug also learned about rice farming and Chinese pictograms. In addition to the Shang dynasty, Turkey and Bunny also read about Hatshepsut, and Thutmosis I-III, which was great since we learned all about the Valley of the Kings at the Science Center on Sunday!

Turkey and Bunny finally finished the third fit of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Curiosity got the better of me, so I looked ahead to see how it ends. Don’t worry, I won’t let them know! We have reached the part in Ladybug’s study of Heidi where I really start hating the book (when Heidi is taken away from Grandfather), so I’m dreading next week’s lessons, but I guess we’ll survive. We’re also already almost done with Ramona and Her Father, and Chickadee is already looking forward to the next book.

I can’t believe we’ve finished nine weeks of the school year, and I haven’t schedule a fall break yet. This year is going really well, though, so we’ll keep at it for a while yet!

2016-17 School Year–The End

And just like that, my ninth year of homeschooling is finished!

There wasn’t too much work this week. Turkey and Bunny took their last science test, and they both had perfect scores. We went through the study of “We Didn’t Start the Fire” that I had prepared. I think we were all surprised by how many of the pop culture references from the 50s that they recognized from watching I Love Lucy!

The only other thing we did this week was attend the final homeschool day of the school year at the Missouri History Museum. This month’s topic was war (particularly WWI), and how St. Louis was involved. We got to attend a flag folding workshop hosted by a retired colonel of the Air Force, which was really interesting. Not only did we learn how to properly fold an American flag, we also learned the meaning of each of the 13 folds. We studied propaganda posters from WWI, and talked about what kinds of emotions they were trying to stir up. There was a fun poppy craft, and an opportunity to write letters to soldiers. We missed the WWII rationing workshop, so I led my own workshop in that gallery, instead, which was interesting…my children had no qualms about serving liver and onions for dinner, but I have my doubts about whether or not they’d actually eat it!

This morning, Turkey, Bunny, and Ladybug built the Lego Architecture set that I had set aside for today. Since they visited Chicago last May, they had a pretty good idea of what the skyline looks like, and we were able to discuss the specific landmarks they built: Big Red (the CNA Center), the Bean (Cloud Gate), the Sears Tower (Willis Tower to some of you, I suppose), the Wrigley Building, the DuSable Bridge, and the John Hancock Center.

So that’s it for this year. Turkey and Bunny have now completed K-8 at home, and are looking forward to starting high school here in August, and we celebrated their eighth grade graduation with a trip to Starbucks this afternoon.

Ladybug has now finished fourth grade, and can’t wait to begin fifth grade in the fall. And Chickadee will be a kindergartener come August! Time flies here at Veritas Academy!

Gold Stars

The Missouri History Museum has a very cool visual display right now, comprised of 1,075 gold stars, one for each St. Louisan who gave his or her life during WWI. There’s something about seeing all those stars together that really drives home of the point of how many lives were lost. Each of their names is also displayed there, and like the Flags of Valor that were displayed in Forest Park, it really helps put a face to war, so to speak.