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Friday, August 10, 2007

Week 3 Report-In Detail

Warning: This is a super long post with lots of pictures.

Overall, I would give this week an B+! It could have been better but it went well. On Sunday I was concerned about catching up with our work in certain subjects because of the patchy week we had before but Camille really rose to the occasion and did the work necessary. I am very proud of her for not complaining about it and just getting it done. It gives me hope!

I made a few changes this week that I feel are worth mentioning (is there anything I *don't* mention?).

1. Camille received an alarm clock.
It is set at 6:30 a.m., she is to wake-up walk across the room and shut off the alarm, get dressed, make her bed and bring the day's laundry out to the den to put in the laundry basket. I do one load of laundry each day and each day has its' own load (i.e. Monday is Jeans, Tuesday is towels, etc.) If you wish to see our cleaning routine, it's on the right hand sidebar under Life.

2. Family Circle Time before lessons.
The children and I (dh is usually unable to participate but will as he is able) sit in a circle on the floor holding hands and talk about what we need to do for the day. This includes special errands we may need to do, behaviors we need to focus on, and the kids share what they might like to do after 'school'. We ask Danny but he's not sure what we're talking about, he just says "go bye-bye". We then take turns praying, I pray over the children aloud, I pray for myself as a mother/teacher and I pray for people we know that need our prayers. Camille then prays aloud and I pray for Danny to end. After this we start our Bible lesson.

For the longest time I felt I needed to do the Pledge of Allegiance, focus on "this day in history" or some other way to start the day. This is SO MUCH better! Throughout the day I can remind Camille of what she prayed about or what I prayed about for her and it instantly humbles her (at least so far). I have to thank Jennefer at Smooth Stones Academy for sharing that she watched Buzby the Misbehaving Bee by Max Lucado with her children, we did that Monday and I probably asked Camille about 30x this week if a choice she was about to make was walking the "straight path".

3. This week we added French, Spelling and Music appreciation into our schedule as our third week phase in. The phase in itself has worked wonderfully, although I panicked this week thinking we have too much to do! All I need to do is re-adjust a few things, such as Spelling. For Camille to have a spelling test on Thursday with her regular spelling lesson, she needs to get her spelling words on Monday and she needs to review them during the week. So, I will make flashcards for her each weekend and review the words with her everyday starting each Monday.

I am also seriously considering dropping the church history portion from our history studies. I'm torn about this in so many ways because I feel it is beneficial to be exposed to the great people who have sacrificed so much for us to be able to practice our faith in the present day but I also feel that the trials and tribulations may be better suited to learn (and understand) in the logic stage and beyond. I still love Mindy and Brandon Withrow's History Lives books and recommend them highly but I think for us, they might be better for when Camille is a little older and can enjoy reading them on her own followed by a discussion to highlight the events and happenings that I feel are important. There are wonderful picture books out there to use in the meantime. I'm still considering this and may use the History Lives books, as well as Trial and Triumph when I feel it's appropriate. This will be determined on a week by week basis because over the weekend I look at all the materials I have planned out and read them to ready myself for the week to come.

The Nobility Record is working well, I feel much less burden just putting a checkmark √ or X beside each task. It is serving as a reminder for Camille and me to do certain things throughout the day. When it comes to Camille doing her piano work each day she "knows" how much work to do because with the Nobility Record, I staggered her piano work throughout the week: Theory book work on Tuesday, Notespeller book work on Wednesday, etc. We're also ending each day with a recap of behaviors and preparing ourselves for the Family Circle Time prayer for the next day.

Okay let's get to the pictures and details about the week! This picture is Camille's picture- she wanted to take a picture of Mom's work since I took so many this week of hers.

Bible: Beginnings II: Jesus, My Shepherd, Week 3- Lessons 1-5
Scripture for the week: "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light." Isaiah 9:2

We have talked about how God loves his people, even though his people have turned away from him and how God sent Jesus to save us all. This has been very powerful this week as we have addressed some behavior issues through our Bible lessons. It has led to very fruitful conversations.

Daily Memory Work
We are supposed to be memorizing the Books of the Bible. I finally canceled our order from after not receiving any word from their customer service regarding shipping or anything, I called and canceled. Four days later and I still have not received a refund, I'll have to call them again. Urgh. I did place a order for the same products at and I have received: an order confirmation, a shipping confirmation and even a way to track the package! We are waiting until our chart arrives to start. Of course I can do it without the chart but hey, you don't mess with the master plan! Lol.

Math: Horizons 2, Lessons 9-12

Concepts covered have been: counting by tens, place value up to the thousands, before and after by tens, fives and twos and horizontal to vertical addition, subtraction.

Camille has done very well so far with her math lessons, I feel most of it has been review but it has been reassuring that during the 6 weeks we took off for summer she didn't lose any of her mathematical prowess. (How you like that? Lol). She scored a 99 on her first test, she missed one due to not paying enough attention. She had to number a 0-100 chart and she wrote 36 twice. Thousands in place value was no big deal this week, I think math is her favorite subject. (She says all of her subjects are her favorite but she usually starts the list with math)

Independent Reading: A Bargain for Frances by Russell Hoban

Click any picture to make larger

I told Camille she could take all week to read this book if she read 10 pages a day and did a book report at the end. We're using Evan-Moor's How to Report on Books Grades 1-2 for the book report. The book report is very simple, is this book real or make-believe. It gives us an opportunity to discuss these things. I didn't read a non-fiction book to compare to the fiction book like the instructions said to but I'll be more viligant about this from now on.

Handwriting: Classically Cursive Book I

Cursive instruction is going well, I help Camille in the beginning and just allow her to finish it on her own. Danny and I are working with his ABC laminated cards, tracing them with his finger and saying the letter sound aloud. I want to continue working with Danny as Camille works independently on her handwriting. Problem? I want Camille to start doing cursive in her copywork and eliminate this time being spent doing "handwriting".

Grammar First Language Lessons, Lessons 92-94
We are behind in grammar, I know it. We are supposed to be further along and it's my fault. I love First Language Lessons but it's not really the best fit for us. It is a case of loving the elements of a program and it's easy as pie but for it to be effective for your child, you use the program differently than how it is laid out. I haven't wanted to admit this because I truly like First Language Lessons but I will be much happier when we start using Loyola Education Group's Exercises in English. Camille does so much better with something concrete in front of her like a worksheet where she can examine the work and make the connections.

Right now I write the FLL lesson on our dry erase board. I have Camille copy the grammar rule or definition and we work on samples, provided in the book and ones we make up. The poetry memorization, narration and later on dictation are elements that I value greatly but I can do these things without FLL. I even entertained the idea of creating our own FLL Level 2 worksheets for this year based on the lessons in the book. Who knows, I might do this if I'm not staying on track better in the next week or two.

Spelling: Spelling Workout C, Lesson 1
This went very well! I did not test Camille because we discussed it and decided together that she needs more time to study her words. I mentioned the flashcards above.

Monday- We (Camille, Danny and I) watched Bonjour Les Amis 1, the first segment which I'm calling lessons. We sang Frère Jacques and practiced the vocabulary in the first segment. I had Camille pause the video and write down the vocabulary. Don't you just love it when you can find ways to lighten your load as the teacher?

Tuesday- With Un Peu De Tout, we worked on family members' titles: la mère, le père, etc. and did a little art project. I posted about this with pictures at
We also discussed how le is masculine and la is feminine.

Wednesday - We watched the first segment of Bonjour Les Amis again, making sure we were pronouncing the words correctly and practiced conversation with each other and telling each other "voici, la soeur"

Thursday - We're going to read Toute Ma Famille (out of print book), and listen to a song from chanson et jeux français pour débutants petits et grands (Sara Jordan), "Mon ami Louis" and follow along with the lyrics page provided and do a crossword puzzle from the same book about family members titles. With the lyrics page (which I'm photocopying) I'll have Camille circle the family members titles that she identifies.

Friday - Listen to a french song to learn. We'll be visiting a friend so this will be done in the car, I'll photocopy the lyrics for Camille.

I've relaxed a lot about learning french, in fact I haven't been studying myself because we have so much going on and I'm trying to settle into our routine better. This year is going to be about achieving balance, I can tell! We have so many resources for french and we're just working through them one step at a time. I haven't really planned anything out for french other than following the lead of Bonjour Les Amis and doing things I feel will enrich watching it.

World History SOTW 2 with AG, customized lessons

Chapter 2- The Early Days of Britain

The studies this week have actually been great, I eliminated some readings Sunday night (I look at our lessons each weekend before we do them) which I feel really helped overall.

For our bedtime read-aloud we're reading Britain, The Country Series which is an older book that is out-of-print but it is about different people that live in Britain and their daily lives. This is helping us tie together the past and the present and Camille is making the connections when we read about people who work in Angle, Wales, Scotland, and more places that we read about in the SOTW chapter and through our map work.

We read the SOTW 2 chapter section 1 on Monday, did the map work, and colored a page from Celtic Gods & Heroes coloring book. Camille also did her history copywork on Monday. We had a narration hiccup on Monday which was really an attitude problem but Tuesday things went much better.

On Tuesday we read Beowulf from Favorite Medieval Tales instead of reading it from SOTW and Camille colored the coloring page on Beowulf from SOTW student pages. We also read a little from Celtic Illumination by Courtney Davis, which involved reading about the history of the art form:

"...key patterns and spirals are associated with protection and were often used to protect warriors, their weapons, homes and final resting places.

Zoomorphic ornament is based on the forms of animals, birds, reptiles. Its origins are the worship of animals and their power, and the earliest images are found in caves. It appears early in Celtic art but reached its height much later, as elaborate carvings on Pictish stone slabs and in illuminated books."


We looked at knotwork, spiral, key and zoomorphic Celtic art, the book is filled with each type and instruction on how to do them. I bought this book for $4.99 at Ross Dress for Less (similar to TJMaxx) in their little book area sometime during Camille's first grade year. I thought it would be worth the $4.99 but I didn't realize how fabulous it would be. I can forsee Camille actually trying to do her own Celtic art during her logic stage years, this form of art involves a great deal of work and patience. After reading about it, Camille picked a page from Medieval Alphabet to Illuminate instead of the SOTW student coloring page. I think it turned out beautifully! After worrying a little (just a little) whether we should start using TOG now, I realized that I have time to get acquainted with TOG a little more and make it work for us in ways I know will work. Does that make sense?

A side note: We do not like the woman's voice singing on the Medieval cd for the Veritas Press history cards. I will repeat, we do NOT like the woman's voice or the type of singing. Dh actually had a laughing fit when the singer stretched out Summa Theologica. I stopped the cd and decided it would be much better to just read the cards and flip through them each day we do history. Camille liked it better too. We loved the Old Testament and New Testament cds but the Medieval one irks us.

I skipped the church history reading for this week. I do have Across a Dark and Wild Sea by Don Brown for next week's reading from the library and I am excited to read this aloud. It is the story of Columba, who "founded the famous monastery on the Scottish Island of Iona and left a legacy of learning that illuminated a corner of the Dark Ages." If you have a grammar stage student, this is a wonderful book!

Earth Science with Geography
Complete satisfaction. That's how I feel about our science studies. When you take a chance and create your own lesson plans you "feel" like they will work and that they will fit well but when they are actually in practice, that's the true test. We had so much fun with science and geography this week. Don't worry, I've got pictures...

I decided to study only earth science on Wednesday and let a little spill over on Thursday with our geography work. On Wednesday, we read from our spines (it seems like a lot when it's listed out but it really is not) which took about 10 minutes total. We spent time discussing the readings- what is an atmosphere? What are the layers of the earth and what exactly are they. The Childcraft book reading was a huge hit, it provided that "living" book experience. The books I requested from the library on inter-library loan did not arrive in time (sigh) but they are still on their way. I'm really looking forward to reading I Can Be a Geologist by Paul Sipiera and Rocks in His Head by Carol Otis Hurst.

Camille was very excited to use the Usborne interactive activities, where she took a 'peek inside planet earth' and did an earth words quiz. After she was finished she drew her own picture of the earth's layers and labeled it.

On Thursday, we watched Junior Geologist: Our Planet Earth (10 minutes) at United Streaming and I discovered that there were worksheets with the video so I printed them out and we used these as our projects. What we originally were going to do was use two experiments from Hands-On Earth Science (Carson-Dellrosa) but I decided at the last minute to change. Camille completed her Lesson 1 vocabulary worksheet that I created for her, and we went to work on the projects.

One was an art project from United Streaming-step one: color the earth (two sides) land and water and then paste cotton onto it for clouds. Step two: at least what we did, paste paper stars to foil and cut them out. It was supposed to be a model with stars and the earth but we pasted it to a blue piece on construction paper and hung it with pipe cleaners.

I didn't have the books I wanted from the library so I looked in the earth science books we have here and I found information about geologists in Reader Digest's Rocks and Minerals book. Camille completed a scientist profile on geologists.

There was a playdoh experiment in the book which I felt was better, (which means I forgot to make the cupcakes that were needed for the Hands-On Earth Science experiment but hey, it worked out anyways). I seem to have a problem with instructions. I didn't do the experiment like the book said, which was to create multi-layers using different colors of play-doh and use a wide straw or tunnel to take a section out nice and neat. Nope, I made play-doh balls and layered them. Lol. I was sweating it for a minute or two as Camille cut the play-doh but it turned out great if you ignore the fact I only did three layers instead of five.

Geography was next and it went very well. I had printed out a page from Enchanted Learning which was free, label the continents worksheet. We read the information, looked at the globe and did the little scavenger hunt exercises that were in The Geography Book and she labeled the worksheet. Originally we were going to start the Global Puzzle but decided against it until we get one of those puzzle boards to put on top of a puzzle (to keep it safe from ds3).

Music Appreciation: Themes to Remember
We listened to Vivaldi's Spring from the Four Seasons (the entire piece) all week in the background. Camille is convinced she likes Vivaldi's style. Then Thursday we did our music appreciation lesson, and sang the lyrics to the song. We loved it. Our study of each piece lasts two weeks, so next week we're going to read about Vivaldi. I've had a hard time figuring out what "day" to do the lesson for this, it may change week to week because it may just be when we "feel" like it. It's nice to have something like that, you know?


Danny is doing well this week, we've focused on listening skills. I've been having him repeat sentences. The wedgits have been a complete HIT around here. I think Danny has played with them every single day. The Galt puzzles are nice too, it's better to do one at a time instead of having them all poured out at once. We had one incident this week, Danny broke one of the Leap Frog DVDs that had arrived only the day before. It was the Talking Words Factory 2 disc, so we have time to get another before he's ready for it. Broke it in half. Sigh, sorry- I was just reliving the moment for a second there. You can see from the pictures that Camille has been enjoying the wedgits too. I can't tell you how many formations I've looked at this week. "Mom! Look at what I did! Isn't this great?" Lol. Danny decided he wanted to play with the Zoob pieces too. It looks like a mess but Danny is doing very well in cleaning up after himself. I'm a proud mama in that regard. I say "let's pick up our toys" and Danny gets right to work- most of the time.

That is our week! Our nitty-gritty, probably the longest post I've ever done, detailed to make your mind go numb post about our week 3. This post has been a work in progress all week. I won't be doing many of these throughout the year, by the way.

: ) Jessica



Jennefer said...

I am so glad you guys enjoyed Buzby the Misbehaving Bee. My boys have enjoyed all the books and videos in this series so much!

Sounds like you all had an amazing week. I am still tweaking ours to get where we want to go! :) Blessings to you!


Anonymous said...

Looks like a great week! Sounds like your really getting your 'groove' going which for only the 3rd week, is great! : )

Koinonia Academt est. 1995 said...

Greetings and salutations.... What a great week Jessica.... Tell Camille she did a spectacular job and her school work!( you too !!) She should be so proud! Way to go team Trivium Academy.....

We begin a little Monday.... but won’t begin full on till the 20th..... I’m feelin good about it... and a little excited too. *Ü*

PS. I love the Christopher Robin quote!!!! Might have to uh... borrow it.... hehehehe


Barbara said...

Oooh, it's so fun reading what you're doing -- my 2nd grader is starting SOTW2 in three weeks, lol. We started homeschool warmups this week, finishing Rome/late antiquity, and will begin a light normal schedule in another week.

I completely agree about dropping "Peril and Peace," "Monks and Mystics," etc., for a second grader; I just did it myself! I thought I'd use those books for both my sons this year, but once I started looking them over carefully, I realized I needed to switch to easier books for my younger son's church history. I happen to have a couple -- whew! On the other hand the History Lives books will be perfect for my 11yo son.

For my 7yo son, I'm going to use two books I bought used, sight unseen, that I'm quite happy with: "Early Saints for God" and "Kings & Queens for God" (Augsburg Fortress). They are full of biographical stories (St. Nicholas of Myra, Elizabeth of Hungary, St. Margaret of Scotland, etc.).

I'm matching up the chapters somewhat with the SOTW2 timeline. When we've finished them he'll read Bible stories and saints stories to "tank him up" on his faith stories. I think it'll work!

BarbaraL in OK

barrellfullofmonkeys said...

What a great week! I always enjoy seeing the nitty-gritty of what people actually do during their school days. I do the same thing on my blog, mainly because this allows our families (who live 400 miles away) to see what we're doing. I hope you have a wonderful 4th week as well!

Kathy D.