Learning Notes – Week of November 17


Monday was the second (and – spoiler alert! – final) day of our Whole30.  You can read more about that here.

About 3:30 a.m. Ben started throwing up.  He threw up 5 or 6 times between then and around 6:30 a.m.  It’s a good thing I’d gone to bed super early, because I didn’t sleep much after 3:30.  Once everyone was up, he moved to the couch and fell back asleep.

Happily, he wasn’t sick anymore after that.  I gave him food slowly, cautiously, but he was totally fine.  I didn’t have him do any schoolwork, but I did read to him: The Gnats of Knotty Pine, Froggy’s Worst Playdate, Owl Moon, Snowsong Whistling.

We did Morning Time in the kitchen, since Ben was asleep on the couch.  We went over the new recitation questions for the week and reviewed our Shakespeare memory work.  I think I read some Hans Brinker but I can’t remember for certain.  I think I also read another James Herriot story.  Maybe?

The girls worked on their math while I worked on cleaning up Ben’s bedding.  They worked on Latin, spelling and grammar, and cursive for Emma.  Emma has a review week in her Latin and spelling books, which always makes for an easier week.  Abby has a review week in spelling, too.

Lunch and then Christian Studies – also a review week there.  We did several review pages in their workbooks.

Then it was off to violin lessons and group violin and swim team.  Both girls had a little work to finish up while we were out, which they did.

When we got home, Ben met us at the door to tell us about the new bookshelves Wayne had put in his room.  I had seen pictures of “rain gutter” bookshelves in various places on the internet, and thought it would be a good thing for Ben’s room.  Picture books are easier to choose when you can see the covers. 🙂  Honestly, it was kinda expensive, for as simple as it was.  But Ben is thrilled. (He chose the books to display.  Not necessarily my favorites.)


Wayne took the day off so that I could go to my dermatology appointment without a parade of children.  I was supposed to watch the baby, but got a text early saying that she had her first cold and was staying home with mommy for the day.

I was gone for a couple of hours, with the appointment and then the wait at pharmacy and of course a stop at the commissary for CARBS. (See previous post.)  The girls had done a decent amount of work while I was gone.  I got a text from Emma (on Wayne’s  phone) while I was at the pharmacy, asking, “Can I skip school?”  which made me think she had been doing nothing and alarmed me.  But she was just stuck on some new stuff in math.  The rest of the day was a blur of correcting the work they’d done earlier and working with them on the rest of the stuff.  Helped Em with the new math concept and forced Abby to do about 4 lessons worth of math corrections.  She swears she did them, but somehow the wrong answers were still on the paper, ahem.  Abby finished A Wrinkle in Time.  Her strong words of praise: “I guess it was better than The Prince and the Pauper.”  She’s determined not to like anything I suggest.

We did the Greek Myths lesson together.  The girls practiced piano and violin.  Abby took her test for A Door in the Wall, which she’d been putting off.  And Emma listened to the new Straight No Chaser song about a hundred million times. 🙂

We skipped swim practice because Abby’s regular coach wasn’t going to be there and she’s not really comfortable with the coaches who were going to be filling in.  Besides, it’s cold and we didn’t want to go out.  We watched most of Swiss Family Robinson after dinner, which was better than I expected.  They were all interested and attentive, even Ben.


Wayne had a uniform inspection, and since he almost never wears the dress blues, I wanted a picture.  Emma jumped in and made a goofy face.  Classic Em.

Handsome sailor

We sang the hymn for the week, O God Our Help in Ages Past.  Did some recitation review along with going over the questions for this week.  We spent more time on Shakespeare  – time to start the next passage.  So I read most of the next chapter (we use Ken Ludwig’s book) to them, explaining the new passage and more about the plot.  We ran out of time for Hans Brinker.

The girls did math while I sat down to work with Ben.  He was supposed to practice writing numbers 1 and 2 for handwriting, but his 2’s looked awful.  He knows how to make 2’s; I don’t know what was up.  I finally just took the book away.  Another day.  We did the math lesson, but didn’t finish the workbook page.  It was time for me to work with someone else, so I just told him to go play.

Helped Emma with her Latin while Abby worked on spelling and Latin.  Emma’s desk is in the laundry room, which is between the garage and the kitchen, and is currently freezing.  I think there’s air space around the dryer vent or something.  Anyway, she did most of her work at the table or on her bed today.  Oh, I’ve been meaning to post a picture of her desk.

I think her decorating is cute, but the messy clutter makes my brain almost explode.  I could no more work in that space than I could breathe underwater.  I can’t function in clutter.  I’m after her almost every day to clean it up, but her idea of “clean” and mine aren’t really the same.  (See the iced tea jug?  Just hanging out in case she thinks of a craft to do with it.)

After lunch Emma finished up her work for Farmer Boy.  She had a long review in her study guide, and I decided that if she did well in answering those questions, I wouldn’t make her take the test (which was going to be the same information).  She did great and I declared that we were finished with Almanzo and crew. 🙂  She really liked the book.  It worked out well that we finished it before our Thanksgiving break.

Then we worked on States and Capitals – she had a quiz on the Great Lakes states and then learned a little about Arizona and New Mexico.

Abby practiced her instruments and then started reading her next book: Island of the Blue Dolphins.  I don’t remember reading it so I’ll be working that into my reading as well.  For her literature book (meaning she’ll do a study guide for it) we’ve started Robin Hood (by Roger Green).  So I’ve got to keep up with reading both of those with her, as well trying to finish the Return of the King.  AND Norms and Nobility just came in on ILL for me.  Good thing we’re not doing school next week. 🙂

Anyway, Abby and I went over the discussion questions for the Prologue and chapter 1 of Robin Hood and then worked on her composition (fable stage of the progymnasmata).  Emma practiced her instruments and read a James Herriot story.  I pulled Ben back to read a little.  I read Mama Do You Love Me? and then we went over his recitation.  He’s particularly learning to say the months of the year and memorizing my phone number.  Then we worked a little on his phonics book.  We’ve reached the long vowels section and it’s rough going.  The idea that A has a long sound as well as short sound hasn’t gotten through yet, so reading pairs of words like mad and made, hat and hate, gap and gape is frustrating for him.  It’s ok.  We’ll just work a little at a time and keep at it.


It was a very busy day, not least because we had the baby with us from 6:30-3.  (I love how the British authors say “not least.”)  She fell asleep before long, so with her in the carrier we were able to do morning prayers and Bible and read some Hans Brinker.  Skipped some more Dutch history and culture.  Seriously, this book is like a non-fiction book mixed in with a fiction book.  I’m committed to finishing it, but I’m equally okay with skipping stuff.

Did recitation. Skipped Shakespeare.

The girls did their math while Ben and I worked together.  He re-did the page of 2’s he did so badly yesterday and then did a page of 3’s and 4’s.  (I’m just doing numbers because they’re in the handwriting book.  I’m really ready for him to do copywork and just practice handwriting, now that we’ve gone through how to form each letter properly.  Can’t decide if I should stick with the Zaner-Bloser we’ve always used, or switch to Memoria Press.)  He also finished the math page that we didn’t finish yesterday.  He worked on flash cards a little while I was doing something else.  I read to him: Henry and Mudge and the Wild Goose Chase, Oliver (Syd Hoff), and a couple of Mo Willems books: A Big Guy Took My Ball! and Today I Will Fly!  He read a Bob book to me, but it was kinda chaotic at that time and it was hard to listen.

Emma did a Latin test; Abby did her Latin worksheets.  They worked on spelling and grammar and cursive for Em.  After lunch we did the astronomy lesson and then – in a flash of brilliance – I decided do give them their Christian Studies test orally.  I should do that more often.  I just told them we were going to review for the test, and then I read the test questions and they answered them.  They did great, so why should I copy the test and make them write it out?  One less thing.

While we were doing those subjects, Ben drew this picture.

He told me it’s a moving truck, and he wanted to know how to write Ohio on the green sign, “You know the signs that tell you where you’re going?”  I love the yellow lines in the middle of the road.  He didn’t exactly say we were moving to Ohio in the picture, but Mom, it’s okay if you want to think that. 😉

Abby and I went over two chapters of Robin Hood and she narrated her fable to me for composition.  They practiced piano and violin, though without me, which sometimes means they wander around the living room like roving musicians, playing snatches of pieces they like best.  I have to keep yelling, “Your assignment! Look in your binder and practice what your teacher assigned!” or “I didn’t hear your sight-reading book!”

I forgot to make Abby read the O’Dell book (so of course she didn’t), but Emma did read a story in the Herriot book.

After group violin and swim practice, we finished watching Swiss Family Robinson.  I’m happy they all liked it.  Maybe they’ll read the book voluntarily?  Dare to dream.


Field trip day! We skipped morning time entirely so we could do various corrections from yesterday, Latin quizzes and a chapter of history – all before we had to leave at 9:30.  (Abby accidentally locked herself out of her ipod, so she “had time” to be productive. Ha.)  The history chapter was about the first Thanksgiving.  No joke, that’s where we were in the book.  Okay, I skipped one chapter about Japan, but I don’t think it’ll kill us to miss that.  We read the chapter about the forming of Plymouth Plantation and did the map.

The field trip was a visit to the local theater.  We took a tour of the facility, learned some stage terminology, and did a little acting class.  Here are the girls playing a game where they are statues in a museum.

After the field trip, we – with some friends – walked a block or so to an alfresco dining area that is relatively new to our downtown.  (It’s probably been there a year, but we don’t get out much. :-))  Though it was a bit pricey, the food was good and it’s a beautiful 60 degree Florida day.

And now we’re done with school until after Thanksgiving!

You can read learning notes from other families here.


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 – Week of November 17

  1. jenhamrick says:

    You’re so stinkin’ productive!! Gives me something to shoot for. 🙂
    So glad Ben turned out to be okay!

  2. shirley wilmoth says:

    loved this as usual. I prefer to think that Ben was thinking of me and my little house and wished he could come to visit. Didn’t look like a bad drive to me! Your days are sure busy!!

  3. Becky says:

    You are very structured. I couldn’t homeschool for all the money in the world. It sounds like your girls are getting a great education, Ben too. Wayne looks good in his uniform, still cute. Two more school days and I will be out for Thanksgiving.

  4. redkeeney says:

    You’re moving to Ohio! That’s shocking news! 🙂 You should come over here to Texas. All the kids are doing it these days. Glad Ben is better. Once again sounds like a very productive week.

  5. tjchurch2001 says:

    I had to laugh early: My face slanted, & I thought I read Ben was sick, & then had someone’s (his?) “worst playdate”… One of the few times I’m happy to be wrong.

    I can’t believe they’re learning Latin now!! I didn’t do that till I was in my teens, & I’m sill shocked I passed it! (Apparently; I graduated, after all!)

    Gotta say I’m with Wayne on rarely wearing the “dress” uniform; Guarantees it’ll look nicer when there’s someone with a camera running around!!

  6. loveandkate says:

    LOVE this, as usual! Also, Emma is a girl after my own heart with that tea jug! Just want until she sees what I’m doing with coffee creamer containers! 🙂

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