Our Weekly Amble for March 2-6, 2015

Before this week I would have written that I liked essentially everything about six weeks on, one week off routine.  I found something I don’t like: the first week back. It is surprising how quickly good habits about doing lessons can go by the wayside with one week off.

The week wasn’t terrible by any means, but there was a lot more arguing and lack of motivation than we had at all during our first six week half-term.

That doesn’t mean we didn’t accomplish much, but this is the first time we didn’t accomplish most of what I planned since we started AO.

And that’s OK. Because it’s an amble, a walk through this world. We walk along the way and we talk about the things of God -which, I remind myself, are all the things:

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
(Deuteronomy 6:4-9 ESV)

– and as we amble through our days, even the days it seems like a run, we are considering the things God has for us.  And Andrew Kern reminds us that all things are ours in Christ.

Isn’t that a relief?

To the week:

Part of the reason we didn’t get as much done is that I set the tone for late preparation for the week; I was filling out assignment sheets into Circle Time.  I didn’t preview the readings to know that, for instance, the Age of Fable reading was too long for one day and then schedule it for Friday.  I’m mom, I set the tone. If I set a tone of procrastination, late preparation, and flippancy, that’s the tone my students will re-present to me.  Today I will be preparing those assignment sheets, you can be sure!

We accomplished Circle Time 4 days this week. It was our traveling Thursday and I usually plan for it and we do “car school” that day, but we didn’t get everything gathered before we left.  The one big change we made this half-term was we moved Latin into Circle Time and that was a big hit. It has worked so much better to do Latin earlier in the day and snuggle with read alouds at the end before Quiet Time.

We’ve continued tracking the weather, I copied the chart headings from the Handbook of Nature Study:

On Friday, we did a lot of Thursday’s car-school planned activities.  Something I don’t plan for in the car is an art project, although I do schedule that for Thursdays.  We’ve been using the book Art for Kids: Drawing by Kathryn Temple and have done 4 exercises so far.  I really like it! The drawing projects are challenging, yet can be done and it has so far been very incremental in its approach.

This week we were to use an upside-down line drawing and replicate it.  Once everyone was convinced to try, it went pretty well! I love their looks of concentration in these exercises:

We were pleased with the finished products, too, although all of the heads and faces were a little wonky:

One of our favorite parts of this new schedule is the half-hour break between Circle Time and the rest of lessons.  We’ve never done that before, and I emphasized that the break would go away if I felt they didn’t return well from it.  They’ve done a great job handling the freedom.  I even find them playing games again. 

Math went well this week, M-girl is really getting the idea of multiplying three digit numbers and how each part works.  N-boy started looking at decimals with measurement conversions between liters and centileters.  R-girl continued working on her multiplication and division with 2, 3, 5, and 10.  We did several half-lessons, but I’m OK with that.
The children have continued copying the Westminster Shorter Catechism, and I saw improvement in all of their penmanship.  Geography Blobbing has seen similar success for the older two. In fact, N-boy has asked for the next step.  Right now, M-girl is working on labeling the continents and oceans. I’m going to work more closely with R-girl to be setting continents in the right places according to the great circles.  
The science reading from Storybook of Science remains a favorite.  In fact, M-girl and N-boy both chose to do their written narrations from that reading this week.  M-girl even did her written narration on *Monday to get it out of the way for the week. I’m not sure whose child she is.  N-boy decided to make a comic book page for his narration.  I like the execution even if I’m not thrilled with this instead of a paragraph. I’m excited to see Carol has been linking to videos updating the science portions.  The children have all enjoyed reading about metals and their various uses.  
Over our break week we talked about the best way to approach Madam How and Lady Why.  We decided that we should be focusing on the big ideas of scientific thinking and less on the specifics of the English countryside.  That seemed to help. Plus, this week’s reading was about Lady Why and her persona as “Wisdom” as described in Proverbs 8.  Coincindentally (ha!), I had just copied that portion in my Journible for Proverbs that morning.  We also continued learning about Gregor Mendel’s experiments with peas; how he removed and hand pollinated pea plants to force them to change traits. 
They enjoyed learning about the history of the establishment of Maryland from This Country of Ours.  They did not enjoy the story of the two Margarets in Trial and Triumph. N-boy, in particular, gets so angry about the martyr stories, he isn’t sad but is angry about the injustice.  We’ve read one of the two chapters of Poor Richard this week, I hope to finish the other tonight at dinner as it’s relatively short.  This is one way we are able to have Daddy be part of the walking along the way; we love having him narrate (he does great narrations!) and discuss Ben’s motivations and actions.  We’ve always read at the table, but this added dimension of narration has been fantastic.  
The literature component of AO might be my favorite part. We also read a little Robinson Crusoe, but remain very behind in that reading.  I did mark our unabridged copy with the chapter endings so we can see how far behind we are. We learned about hodds (three sided box on a pole for carrying bricks or the rocks Robinson knocked out of the cave) and flaggs (the thatching he used over his pale).
We only read the first potion of Apollo and Daphne from Age of Fable this week.  I’m interested to see how we catch up.  Interestingly, we read it immediately after talking about treating one another well and not taunting each other … and then we read about Apollo taunting Cupid with disastrous results.  We are walking along the way … even if that takes us off schedule (which it did).
The children have been enjoying their free reads, finally.  M-girl has started The Sign of the Beaver, I don’t think she is terribly far, but I think she likes it. R-girl finished Rabbit Hill, which she swore for chapters was terrible, but ended up loving. N-boy’s similar experience with Calico Captive has been fun to watch.  He told me for days it was terrible and I told him to keep reading.  Yesterday, he begged to keep reading as late as he could before doing organ practice before we left for basketball practice. 
We haven’t worked much on our handiworks or nature study.  We have focused a lot on music as we continue with piano lessons for all and organ for N-boy.  This has also been a season for sports, with all three children enjoying playing on basketball teams.  Today was the final day, and we should have several weeks off before soccer is in full swing.
N-boy had a fun opportunity to go to my parents’ church and play their  big organ.  He takes lessons on a very nice, new pipe organ, but loves to explore other pipe organs.  The one at my parent’s church is bigger, with four manuals (keyboards) and an antiphonal set of pipes. My mom is friends with one of the organists there and arranged for N-boy to have this opportunity as one of his birthday outing “tickets.” They also have a fantastic grand piano which he enjoyed playing.  At his organ lesson later that day, he played a duet with his teacher.  It sounded fantastic!
One last bit from this week is M-girl’s continuing to cook dinner one night.  Usually it’s on Tuesday, but her basketball practice was that night, so she cooked on Wednesday instead.  She decided to make Creamy Chicken Pasta from Simplified Dinners for New Cooks. Once again, made her grocery list and did almost everything on her own.  We all agreed it was a delicious dinner! What a great resource!


  1. Thanks for sharing the drawing book. I'm going to give that a try. Everyone here enjoys drawing so much, but I've been at a loss for how to help them pursue that even more.

    1. We aren't very good at drawing, so it feels very successful. I'm certain those who enjoy drawing could learn a great deal from this book Hope you enjoy it!

  2. I love that N-boy gets frustrated at the injustice of the martyrdoms. He will go far if he thinks like this now.

    1. I love that he thinks this way; I don't love the way he responds to those thoughts and acts out in anger.

  3. It looks like you accomplished a lot & I hope atitudes improve over this next week. We struggle with that too after a break but the break is SOOO worth it! I love the drawings! Great job cooking, M-girl!

    1. I kinda knew it would happen, but I was surprised the attitudes persisted throughout the week. M-girl says thanks 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *