What We Did, Jan. 31-Feb. 4

This was a quiet but solid week. I’ve been trying to bring more poems in (sometimes we read them every day and then sometimes . . . we don’t.) D4 has become obsessed with William Blake’s “The Tyger.” If someone just had a book about the Tyger and the Eiffel Tower, that would pretty much keep him happy forever.

We finished The Family Under the Bridge. It was a good fit, I felt. They followed it well and D1 especially identified with the older sister. We are still reading Joan of Arc. D2 always lights up when it’s time for that.

With the beginning of February we have changed our hymn to “Cantad Al Señor / Oh, Sing to the Lord,” which we first heard in church. (One of my favorite things about the church we are currently attending is the way they print out the entire service in the bulletin: prayers, scripture readings, and hymns–with music!) So if there’s something that seems especially fitting, we can easily bring it home and use it.  That song gives us an English and Spanish song, and it’s simple grammar and lots of repetition.

Our poem is “Furry Bear” by A.A. Milne, especially appropriate for enduring the end of winter.

I haven’t changed the Bible verse yet, as I still needed some work on Psalm 90. Since we’ll be studying the Ten Commandments in Sunday School, I think we’ll work on that next. I don’t know what version to use, but since they aren’t memorizing the full text in Sunday School I guess I can use whatever strikes me.

I had an interesting experience with math this week. D2 requested a math page, so I printed out a couple of MEP pages for them to do. The first one I printed out had a word problem with an illustration, some basic facts to print the answer, some mazes, etc. The second one required working forward and backward with addition and subtraction, all symbolically. It was an interesting puzzle to me, but I realized when we started working on it that it was a mistake. It made too big of a leap into the abstract. Instead of reasoning through, they started guessing wildly. I tried scaffolding it for them, but it was just too big a leap and I felt like continuing would model the wrong thinking patterns about math. So we quit.

We had a good discussion on what air weighs, why we need spacesuits, etc. We also had some good discussions on honesty, after I was inspired to pay closer attention to explicitly teaching honesty by a chapter in the book Nurture Shock.

The big kids (really mostly D1) are still working on the Robin Hood play and we actually have a couple of scenes drafted! D1 is really synthesizing the stories she has read well. D2 wants his ‘own’, so he is trying to do one on Tintin and the Shooting Star. Once we started we were having a lot of trouble and I finally realized he had not yet actually *read* the book. So I will be reading it to him and then we will start again. It really requires a high level of understanding and operating to rewrite a story into a play, but hopefully working together we can make this a good experience.

The twins have been enjoying a book of folk tales (“The Three Little Pigs,” “The Three Wishes”). We read The Magical Garden of Claude Monet. We started in on Twenty and Ten. I am worried this will be too intense for the children (and D2 is worried it will be too intense for *him*), but D1 is enthralled.

This week DOB had to be gone unexpectedly for a few days and as a treat he left the children with a new Hot Wheel car each and two lengths of race track. They have been very busy racing their cars and testing how far they go. I’d like to parlay this into doing the science lesson from BFSU on energy and motion.

The books on France seem to be winding up; we will probably be done with Twenty and Ten by the end of the week. I am not sure how to move on; I’d really like to do Germany, but there seem to be NO books on ordinary German life for children. The Germans are always the bad guys. I can get some folk tales from Germany, and those are always well received. We may just move generally around Europe at this point.

I’d like to have them add a little more to their notebooks before we move on. I think I printed out maps at some point we haven’t used–maybe they would like to make use of them.

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