What We’ve Been Up To– First Quarter Wrap-Up Edition

Once upon a time, I was posting weekly about what we’ve been up to in our home school. Then life got a bit busier and I just didn’t have time to take pictures of everything all the time, so I haven’t posted in several weeks. But last Thursday we finished our first quarter of school– nine weeks under our belt!– and I thought maybe a few of you might be interested in how everything is going. If you’re not interested, read it anyway. There’s cute pictures of my kids!

I’m just going to divide this up by subject . . .

For Bible, we’ve been relying mostly on the boys’ AWANA books. Both boys are doing amazingly well. Bubs is in his first year of TnT, and Stinky is in his second year of Sparks. Both of them are 1/4 of the way through their handbooks already, and it’s only October! I am so proud of them.

This picture is from pumpkin night a few weeks ago. I painted both boys’ faces, but Bubs wanted something more. He ended up taping paper that  he had colored orange to his hat and adding a paper stem. And he wore it all night! You have to give it to that boy– he’s not afraid to express his individuality.

He is, however, unable to smile nice when posing for a picture. Sigh.

In History, we have also gotten a good dose of Bible, because we are studying the ancients and many of our stories are about Bible characters and history.

We learned about Joshua, Rahab, and the battle of Jericho, and we acted the story out using blocks, a Little People Rahab, and army guy Israelites. Oh, and we blew on toilet tube trumpets and marched around the table before the boys knocked down their city.

We learned about King Tut and several other famous Egyptian pharaoahs.

And Art helped us write our names in Egyptian hieroglyphics (which I apparently failed to photograph).

Last week we studied the story of the Trojan Horse and made our own paper-and-cardboard version.

Honestly, that craft was kind of a pain in the neck. I prefer projects the kids can do mostly by themselves, but that one required me to do most of the work while they watched. But the boys were happy with their results, and we all survived.

And just this week we studied Samson. And no, this week isn’t technically the first quarter anymore, but I think this picture deserves to be shared anyway.

Yeah. They rock.

Next up, some math. No pictures for this one . . . but I’m really pleased with the progress both boys are making in their Horizons math books. Bubs is doing multiplication, which he is pretty good at, and just started learning about how to draw bar graphs, which he loves. Stinky is doing well too; he has been learning how to add two-digit numbers and about the hundreds place, among other things. Currently his biggest problem is that he has trouble remembering which direction the numbers are supposed to face.

In reading, both boys have been using the Pathway Readers. I really like these books, mostly because it makes it easier for me to test their comprehension and work through things I might not think to work through with them. For Bubs, I have no doubt that he understands what he reads, but the workbooks also introduce vocabulary and take the kids through paragraphing, recognizing themes, and that kind of thing, which is really good for him. For Stinky, it really helps me measure his progress and it gives him confidence because he can read the stories fairly easily.

A couple weeks ago, though, I cut back how often we’re using the readers down to two days a week. As much as I like them, the boys aren’t as thrilled (especially by the workbook pages), and I wanted to give them the chance to read other things too. So Bubs has been choosing books off of Ambleside’s recommended list; he just finished King of the Wind and is going to start Five Children and It tomorrow. He is an avid reader but prefers the Hardy Boys, so this is just a way to expose him to other literature and great books, while still giving him time to pursue his own choices as well. He has to read from those books for half an hour on the days he doesn’t have an assignment in his reader.

Stinky has been making huge strides in reading; it is so exciting to see him blossoming. I recommended he check out some books from the easy reading section of the library, which he did, but I don’t think he actually realized he could read them until yesterday. Silly kid. I’ve just been having him read whatever he has from the library to me. Nothing super literary, but just gaining confidence and fluency. He is doing so great. I am just so proud. It’s hard work for him.

Bubs is doing really well in grammar and spelling; not sure there’s too much to share there. And Stinky is moving quickly through his phonics books; I think he has just another week or two in Explode the Code 3. His biggest trouble is spelling the words, but seriously, English is a pretty tricky language when you think about how many different ways words are spelled. Right now I’m mostly focused on getting him reading. Both boys are rocking their handwriting as well.

For literature, I’ve read Shakespeare adaptations to both boys, as well as multiple Aesop’s fables to Stinky. I think he likes those because they’re short. I also read a poem a day to each of them– Stinky’s from A Child’s Garden of Verses and Bubba’s from various poems of William Blake. We all love Stevenson’s poems but I think Bubs and I both feel pretty ambivalent toward Blake. I’ve almost finished reading The Princess and the Goblin to Bubs; he has really enjoyed the story and is always sad when I don’t have it on the plan for the day. He also loves the American Tall Tales, although Paul Bunyan was his favorite and none of the others so far have measured up. I am enjoying reading the Just So Stories to Stinky (one every couple of weeks)– I had never read most of them before and sometimes Kipling’s writing style just makes me giggle. They are a lot of fun to read aloud.

And now . . . science! We are all loving our study of botany this year. Seriously. I am learning just as much as the kids, if not more, and it is just making me appreciate God’s creativity and awesomeness even more. We are about halfway through our book already, so I’m starting to think about what we will do next semester. But in the meantime, we have studied seeds, flowers, pollination, fruit, and now are studying leaves. So much good stuff!

I have been so grateful for our Botanical Center membership, as we have been able to take two field trips there already to study the things we’ve learned up close.

The cool thing is that we keep learning new things, so every time we go back we have something new to look for and talk about and experience. And you know the boys are always very excited to show off their knowledge of nectar guides and monocots and compound leaves! 🙂

Of course our study of fruit required a field trip to the apple orchard.

(Don’t ask about the face. I seriously have no idea.)

And we’ve been enjoying the beautiful fall weather and colors during our study of leaves. It really is just a joy to watch these boys learn and experience the intricacy of creation. So much beauty.

For our other studies, both boys are taking piano lessons, which is why this was an epic day in our house last week . . .

We got this piano off Craigslist, and our adopted college student from church and a wonderful friend helped Art move it in on Thursday. Unfortunately it is dreadfully out of tune, and also unfortunately the boys still need to practice, so we’re praying that we’ll be able to get it tuned soon! Because Art is kind of developing a twitch . . . 😉

We’ve also been studying Mozart and Fragonard (a French Rococo painter) for our composer and artist studies, and plugging along through our Draw. Write. Now. book for art. The boys really enjoy their drawing lessons.

And, if you’re wondering what our smallest family member has been up to while we’ve been stuffing our heads full of knowledge, well . . .

Also there has been a lot of yelling, and limit-testing, and use of the word “no,” but we choose not to create photographic evidence of such things. 🙂

It’s been a great quarter. And if you have read all this, you deserve a prize.

(You should be glad I resized this. In the original you can see those nose hairs much more clearly. Also, this picture traumatizes Squeezy. She kind of does this hysterical laugh/cry thing when she sees it. Snicker.)

Have a great day!



4 thoughts on “What We’ve Been Up To– First Quarter Wrap-Up Edition

  1. My oldest (now 31) still fondly remembers knocking down cities I would build with block and legos for him. Like his father, the youngest (now 23) liked to build those cities. The grandson, son of the oldest, takes after his grandfather and uncle. He’s a builder. His father likes to knock down cities he builds. I call this the Jericho syndrome.

  2. I’ll read anything for cute pictures of kids :). And these don’t disappoint! How creative these lesson plans are, and how fun! It must be rich to sit in your classroom. (I’m kind of glad there are no pictures of math.)

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