Learning Notes – The Week of Books

So I decided to make this week sort of a relaxed school week.  I didn’t want to take the week off altogether, because we’ll take Thanksgiving week off and that’s not very far away.  But I wanted a break from the checklist, a less stressful week with more reading and music.  My daily plan was to do a math lesson, review Latin vocab, read more than normal, practice violin, and get back in the habit of piano (which we’d abandoned since our trip to Ohio in September).


I ran 8 miles before church.

(That deserves a moment of silence.  Thank you.)

My right knee started hurting around mile 5, so I took more walk breaks towards the end.  I’m too new to running to know where the line is – where do I push through pain to get stronger and where do I stop to avoid further injury?  I have no idea.

My whole family decided to go to “my” church with me. The church that the kids prefer is early. My church doesn’t start until 10:30 and I guess they all felt lazy.  My not-so-secret plan is to get them all going to the Anglican church with me anyway, so yay for that.

After lunch and icing my knee awhile, I made a library trip – came home and Ben asked immediately for me to read to him. I was sort of annoyed (I wanted to read my stuff) but I managed to push it aside and read to him for awhile.  We read Little Bear, I Can Read with My Eyes Shut, Best Friends for Frances, and the Spring Brambly Hedge.


Morning time – Hymn: Abide with Me (Emma’s choice), the Indelible Grace version.  Two chapters of Plum Creek.  A little Shakespeare memory work.  Recitation.

Emma did math while Abby and I played through her entire recital.  Ben wandered around, played some outside in the yard.  Did piano lesson with Abby for the first time in ages.

Abby went to do math while I did violin and piano with Emma.

I think they both did their Latin flashcards.  They were supposed to. Maybe Emma didn’t.

Wayne came home just as I was about to read to Ben.  Lunch.  Then I read to Ben: Chester, Frog and Toad are Friends, and a stupid Star Wars book.  Emma needed help with math so I helped her with that.  Abby finished her math so I had her listen to Ben read a Bob book.

Sat down to read a chapter of SOTW, which I decided to bring back for history.  Sent them to read alone for about 20 minutes.  The day goes so fast!!  Emma read Magic Treehouse.  Abby finished The Prince and the Pauper (hooray!) and I handed her A Wrinkle in Time.

And then it was time to put away laundry and get ready for the rest of the activities of the day.  Where did the day go?

Ben’s new trick

We listened to Now We Are Six (read by Peter Dennis, of course) while we traveled to our various Monday stuff.  Delightful! Funny!  I confess that I didn’t know they would be poems when I got the CD from the library.  I just figured we’d enjoy more Pooh stories.

I finished a little biography of Tolkien and started The Return of the King.  I’ve also started to re-read N.T. Wright’s Surprised by Hope.


Hymn (Be Thou My Vision – Abby’s choice), Bible, prayers.  We finished On the Banks of Plum Creek.  I think we all really enjoyed it.  I want to go on in the series, but not sure if we should try something different first?  Forgot Shakespeare AND recitation, darn it.

Abby and I did Latin flashcards and a long list of review questions.  Emma did her Latin flashcards on her own.  Both girls did math lessons while I did a page in the phonics book with Ben (great drama, sitting up even sorta straight and not mumbling is a huge thing for me to ask of him – apparently) and a page of handwriting and his math flashcards.  Then we read a Madeline book.  Wayne came home in the middle of it so that was that.

After lunch I told them they could color while I read to them.  First I read Frederick (Leo Lionni) and then the first two stories in James Herriot’s Treasury for Children (which is on Emma’s read-aloud list for this year).  Then I started Owl at Home, but they all said they’d already read it.  So I moved on to Hans Brinker.  I’ve never read that, but it’s on The Lists, so I thought we’d give it a try.  The second chapter veers suddenly into non-fiction, giving information about Holland; I lost them and gave up.  They did 30 minutes of silent assigned reading; Abby read A Wrinkle in Time and Emma started The Hundred Dresses.  She whined and complained for about 10 minutes and then settled into it.  She only wants to read Magic Treehouse books now – I’m glad she’s reading at all, but obviously I would like her to expand her horizons just a touch.

Ran through most of Abby’s recital with her – started everything, at least.  Emma is playing two songs in the middle, to give Abby a chance to sit down and breathe for a minute, so I went through those with her.  Then on to cleaning and getting ready for the recital.  I was sad that no one came to the recital (other than our violin teacher).  We don’t have many friends, but I was hoping someone would be able to come.  Abby played beautifully and I was so proud.  She’s 11 and she played a 45 minute solo recital, all from memory.



Morning time: Hymn (I Will Sing of My Redeemer – my choice), prayers, Bible, recitation and Shakespeare.  Boom! as the kids say.  I also resumed reading Hans Brinker, but I started skipping some of the non-fiction stuff in the second chapter.  Learning about Holland during that time period is one thing, but listening to the author extol it as the greatest country ever was a bit much.  We read the next chapter as well, where thankfully the story resumed.

The girls did their math lessons and ran through Latin flashcards together, which ended in fighting. Of course.  Ben did a page of handwriting, his math flashcards, a math review sheet, and read a lesson in the phonics book.  I read to him: Little Bear’s Friend, Love You Forever (such a creepy book), and The Tale of Peter Rabbit (all chosen by him).

Shockingly, it wasn’t lunch time yet, so I sent the girls to read whatever they wanted for half an hour.  Emma is reading — wait for it — a Magic Treehouse book.  Abby is listening to The Mark of Athena, the next book in her current Percy Jackson series.  We had to put the book on hold at the library, but the Navy library had the audio book available for download so she’s listening to it on my Kindle.

After lunch I read about the colony of Jamestown in SOTW, plus another book on the topic that I’d gotten from the library.  My library didn’t have many (any?) of the suggestions in the activity guide, but I chose another all on my own. 🙂 Then I read a story from the James Herriot collection, and two picture books: Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge (so sweet) and Ferdinand.

The girls practiced violin and piano.  I realized then that I’d forgotten to have them read their assigned books, but they promised to read them at bedtime so I agreed.

I guess I’ve never mentioned this, but when we finish school (around 2:30 or 3, usually) they go outside and run around with the neighbors – riding bikes and playing on the playground and the enormous pile of it-totally-stains-clothes red dirt across the street.  Mondays we run to activities like crazy people, but they definitely play outside for a good bit the other days. 🙂

Thursday and Friday

Yep, Thursday and Friday happened.  If I don’t write about school stuff right after school, everything we do is erased from my mind as if by magic.  Thursday I watched my friends’ baby, sort of a trial run before I start watching her regularly.

Um, some of you know this well, but…homeschooling with a baby in the house is a horse of a different color.  I was glad we were having a relaxed week.  The girls kept fighting about who was holding the baby more.  And the dog barked at her when she cried!  I guess the dog has never been around a baby before.

We read some books…some more Hans Brinker, some picture books.  We read a little more SOTW and did a map, I remember that.  Ben read some to me, some to Abby.  He read about half of Hop on Pop to me today, and then got tired and (adorably) put a bookmark in his place.  Girls did math on Thursday but not Friday.  They played their violins — Emma played a LOT this week.  She took her violin in her room, which I guess made her more aware of it because she played it at random times just for fun.  And hopefully we got in the groove of daily piano practice as well.  It makes me so happy to hear them play, especially when they just start messing around and playing for fun.  (I have to be careful to hide my excitement, though, or they’ll stop just to spite me.)

All in all, I think our relaxed week worked out well.  I plan to tweak our schedule for next week so that we have adequate time for reading and music, which are both high priorities for me.  I’ve actually been so frustrated with keeping to the lesson plans that I spent a good bit of time looking at other methods in the last two weeks.  I go drool over Sonlight’s website about twice a year.  I love the (idealistic) picture of us sitting on the couch reading all day, but the truth is I can incorporate some of that while keeping all the stuff I love about Memoria Press.  I’m a homeschooler! I can have it all!  I will have it all!

Tonight we went to the Blue Angels air show.  Which is sort of a misnomer, because the Blues don’t fly at the night show. They fly during the day shows this weekend.  I didn’t know that until yesterday.  Oh well, we had a nice time and besides, we regularly see the Blues practicing over our house. Literally. (We hear them before we see them.)  Anyway, we met some friends there and saw some cool airplane stuff and fireworks and we ate vendor food.

Linking up with Melanie’s learning notes – go check out the other posts!


About waymel

Navy wife. Homeschooling mom. Adoptive parent. Pianist. Introvert. One who loves quiet and beauty.
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6 Responses to Learning Notes – The Week of Books

  1. tjchurch2001 says:

    1] First admission (Been doing that a lot on my own blogs): I know I missed a few, so I am not sure what “SOTW” is. (Guessing it’s not “Soup Of The Week”… “Story Of The Week”, maybe? “Story Of The World”?)

    2] Never read “Brinker”, but I know exactly what you mean about the mix between fiction & description of places. My longtime best friend was reading “The Mayor Of Casterbridge” a bunch of years ago, so I picked it up a while later; Start of an early Chapter is several paragraphs of description, like each individual blade of grass, so I finished it, but not for another several decades. (Keep wondering if “Jude The Obscure” is just 1 long description of how “obscure” the person is, etc.)

    3] I know the mistake I made on this one, but couldn’t stop reading & thinking you meant you actually “played” or “ran” during the kids’ instrumental work!

    4] Lastly, I would think that hearing/seeing your excitement would “push” the kids to play more; I know for much of the last year, I’ve wondered during many conversations if my family is actually listening to me. (One reason I love trips like you made up here a while back; I don’t have to talk as much, & feel confident that when I do, someone’s there who wasn’t with me during my experiences, & so is listening when I talk about them.)

  2. jenhamrick says:

    Awww you both look so pretty in the picture from Abby’s recital! I wish we could have been there. Well done, Abby! 🙂
    Isn’t it nice having digital options, audio books, ebooks, etc, for download?
    Homeschooling with a baby in the house?!?! Easy peasy. Babywearing win. 🙂

    • tjchurch2001 says:

      Guess this is one of our rare “sibling rivalry” bits; I need the turn of the pages. (I started reading a book I had downloaded onto this PC a few months back, but that was only after I was unable to find it anymore at the local store. While my PC was at Geek Squad, I started a hardcover, & may never revert.)

      • shirley wilmoth says:

        once again Melanie …thanks for taking the time to do this. I love it. Beautiful pictures too and I love knowing what you are all working on and reading.

  3. redkeeney says:

    I thought you said in the beginning that you were taking it easy this week..? Still sounds like a ton got done to me. So proud of Abby and she is looking so grown up!! Love Ben’s new trick too.

  4. amgboord says:

    My 7 year old started climbing doorways just like that! He also shinnies up the side to the top so he can touch the ceiling. Kind of freaks me out. I’m sort of the same in reverse, I guess, when it comes to checking out lesson plans, although by now I *know* that I can’t keep up with anybody lesson plans because none of them are really built for the combination of kids and ages and abilities (and numbers) that I have. But I own a lot of the Sonlight Instructor Guides (haven’t ever followed any to the letter, though) and routinely check out the Memoria Press plans now that they have them. 🙂

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