It’s Monday and more!


It’s Monday! First on the “to do” list was to get to the library to pick up our books that had arrived. Errands and learning done hand in hand, as we had many things to get done today!

Listening Skills: On the trip over we listened to the audio story “Kenny and the Dragon” by Tony DiTerlizzi.  Both of the boys seemed to enjoy it as they giggled at some of the humor in the story. Luke who is 2yrs old,  mostly repeated words that stuck out to him and Liam made several comments as the story continued on.  Quick trip over, so we’ll have to continue that one on our next car ride. Great way to use the imagination and create mental imagery! Not to mention a positive way to keep occupied as we do errands or travel around!

Science: We returned home and watched a DVD from the library “All About Amphibians” as we ate lunch.  Both boys again loved it! We are focusing on bodies of water this year and right now it’s rivers, lakes, ponds etc. so this fit right in. They yelled out with excitement at the different frogs, toads, fish etc that were shown. Luke repeated many words and cracked up at some of the cartoon imagery in between the segments! He just woke up from his nap as I was writing this and asked to watch it again! Liam knew a lot of the information already but did learn a few new things as well.  I tested him by asking a few definitions to some vocabulary words we heard as well as asking him to verbalize the similarities and differences we heard about fish, reptiles and amphibians.

Math: We started  “Life of Fred” math today. This is an alternative type of math learning, not the typical work/text books you see. These tend to be told in story form and then give a “your turn” section at the end of each short story. I figured we’d do one each Monday as something different for math learning.  Today’s chapter was about pets and Liam learned the meaning of Cardinal and Ordinal numbers when answering the “your turn to play” section as well as a little intro to algebra by figuring out what value X and Y had, to make the statement true. He was a little confused, but said he understood after several explanations?!

Writing:This year I am using the workbook “English for the Thoughtful Child 2″ and today’s lesson happened to be a writing exercise. He was asked to write in his own words the featured story….well, he hates to write so two sentences down was all I got, however he knows it’s expected to be spelled correctly and written as neat as can be, both of which he did. Next, we did copywork from the poem ” The Arrow and the Song” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  Again only a few sentences done with his best effort each day until it’s completed. I chose this one because he’s into archery, we are studying the Middle Ages and figured by putting the two together he would enjoy it! He likes copywork, so no complaints on this one :).

Geography: Alaska is our state this week. I pulled out our big wall map as we located the state,  the capitol and the highest mountain, Mount McKinley! The size and the thought of the long days or nights gave him lots of fuel for questions and making comparisons between the states.

This weeks Read Aloud: We are continuing to read “Wonder Struck” we are about half way through now and hope to finish this week, as we’re both anxious to see how these two lives are going to connect! We read aloud each day for about 15-20 minutes, followed by some narration. -link to narration ideas and the method.

Spanish: Today’s lesson was to read and circle the Spanish number corresponding to the shown number of objects. This was done is a couple of minutes, so I think we’re ready to move on to some basic words next week.

World History: The book “Castle”- Medieval Days and Knights” by Kyle Olmon was last on the list today. Liam found this book at the library this morning so a last minute change in history plans for today, but I have to say it was a great find! It’s a pop up book with facts about life in the Castle. His favorite page contained a small catapult in which to put a small rolled up piece of paper and launch it! I stacked up some dice we had handy as a target and he like that!


We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

We have been enjoying the summer, but I felt it was time to get back into the groove this week.  Although we inserted as much education into our outings and the weekly trips to the library served us well in not totally abandoning all things educational for the past few weeks, it’s time to officially begin our “school year.”

This years topics: Middle Ages, Colonial Times, the 50 States, various genres of literature/poetry, Intro to Spanish, various Science topics, Singapore and Life of Fred mathematics. Follow along as I will always share quality books I find to go along with the different topics we are studying!

First Book:

“When Knights Were Bold”by Eva March Tappan

Squires Castle in the Fall

Squires Castle in the Fall (Photo credit: Tim_Arai)

This is the first book we are starting on the Middle Ages. Before I began to read aloud the first few pages, I asked him what he knew about this time period already. Apparently at boyscout camp a few weeks ago, this topic came up, as part of the camp was named “The Sherwood Forest” and his favorite activity of the week was archery! (I love it when one thing unexpectedly leads to the next!) So, he knew of a few things as we started.

Before jumping into the first chapter, I asked him if he knew the difference between a Page, Squire and Knight. I have to say I liked the explanation (8yrs): ” Well a Knight he’s like the ultimate guy, the Squire is his right hand man and I’m not sure what a Page is.”  By the end of the first chapter he had comprehended that a  Page was a boy close to his same age and found that scary and intriguing all at once! He said that it sounded like it was pretty hard to live back then, but fun too if you can become a Knight, hmmm?!
As we finished he said “I like this year better already, all the new books, even the math is better!”  ….SCORE!

Next highlight of today:

‘Wonder Struck”by Brian Selznick – JFiction

This book was recommended by a fellow home school parent at our “Happy Homeschool Hikers” group meeting last week. We’ve only just begun the first chapter on this one as well, but AMAZING! It is “A Novel in Words and Pictures.”  The basis is two children 50 years apart in time,  each tell a story, Ben’s in words, Rose’s in pictures and they begin to weave back and forth and unfold the symmetry. This quote in the first chapter that appeared more than once  “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”  had us both thinking and wondering what it might mean as we see the two characters coming together, a little foreshadowing perhaps! This was a great opportunity to teach him about foreshadowing and what it means as well as great grounds for narrative speaking on his part.

Once again, I love the Charlotte Mason approach of using living books for learning it is so effective and enjoyable!

Abstract Art

As seen in a previous post we did a science and math activity with marbles, which sparked an idea from my oldest to do marble painting!

My first thought was yes! But, first lets do a picture study of  Jackson Pollock  who is know for his Abstract Impressionist art work.

Jackson Pollock  "Spring Inspired"

Jackson Pollock “Spring Inspired”


First, we looked up~ What does the word Abstract mean?  Then we went on to view the art work of Pollock -Observing the colors, movement and feel each one entailed.  We were also able to view some photographs that were taken, read his biography and studied the portrait of Pollock himself.  I really wanted him to see the movement and tell me what he saw in the paintings.

I asked questions such as:

Do you think he just splattered paint around or was there a purpose to it?

How big do you think the canvases are?

Why do you and I each see different things in the picture?

How do you think he named them?

So, with all this freshly on his mind we headed onward to create artwork of similarity.  We had a box, some paper and marbles. Both boys chose the color paper they wanted along with paint colors.  Each took a turn rolling the marbles around and making their own masterpieces! Then I asked my 8yr old to name them!

“The Circle of Art” by 2yr old


“The Roaring Lion” by 8yr old

A fun site to visit to make your own digital masterpiece: