Saturday, May 30, 2009

Busy Weekend

Yesterday, I cajoled Becky and Sean into starting history notebooks. What inspired it was twofold. I was cleaning through some cds and stumbled upon two cds I had purchased from Hold That Thought a couple years ago. . . . and had never used. Am I a compulsive buyer or what? Anyway, I got them out and looked at them and right off the bat I saw that it could, in theory, be complementary to all the read aloud we are doing. Both Sean and Becky were proud of the binders they used for our 1 semester co-op that we did last fall. Becky is so attached to it, she won't let me re-use the binder for something else. It dawned on me that they actually like seeing output for what they are learning. They don't always enjoy making that output but they always seem to enjoy having that output there. So I announced that we were going to start notebooking for our history read alouds. We didn't get far on it. I told them they could decorate their new binders and then showed them the nifty binder covers on the Hold That Thought history cds. But they didn't want to do that. Years ago they decorated their copybooks and they wanted to decorate these new binders the same way. So we spent a lot of time looking for coloring sheets of Princess Peach and Mario. Sean also put a picture of Homestarrunner on his notebook!

After that we had a make up Vision Therapy session to go to and then on to tennis lessons. Josh spent a good deal of the morning reading Beowulf.

Anyway, after tennis, Josh had his friend over. Hannah and I got ready for her homeschool graduation. Becky asked me if she could pick out the clothes I would wear, since I had to dress up for the occasion. She was all excited about rooting through my closet for. She shows very good taste. She picked out a long jean skirt (it doesn't look casual at all; it's a very fancy jean skirt!) and a black long sleeve kind of stretchy knit shirt that has sparkles around the neckline. I had completely forgotten I had that shirt. Anyway, the outfit was nice!

Went to Hannah's graduation which was lovely. There was a beautiful mass and then a nice graducation ceremony and little reception afterwards. I didn't tear up though but I did do a lot of praying!

Meanwhile, Rick took Will, Josh, his friend, Sean, his friend and Becky to see The Pirates of Penance. I stupidly told Rick it would be alright to get the tickets for Friday night instead of Saturday because I thought the graduation was Sat. night. Duh. So they were at the Pirates of Penzance having a great time. Everybody enjoyed it immensely.

Today is Sat. Becky wants me to take her to the homeschool curriculum sale. Not because I need anymore homeschool stuff, but because her friends are going to be there! Then I take Will to his band practice from 1 to 4. Then we go to 5:30 evening Mass tonight because tomorrow we go over to Baltimore for a big family + more picnic put on by FIL's new girlfriend! But wait, tonight Rick and I are also going to the opera! We are going to see Turandot! I love the music in Turandot! This will be my second time to see it. And this is the last opera of the season. No more until next fall.

Also Hannah is going out tonight with kids, don't remember the occasion. And tomorrow night both Will and Hannah go out to a graduation party. It is just partying time all the time around here!

And I have already scheduled an hour of Latin homework today at 11:00 a.m. We have lots of homework and I don't want to try to cram it all into Monday. Too busy that day! But of course I have to be back from the curriculum fair by then, don't I?

So when, you may ask, will I be able to do things like laundry and cleaning the kitchen? Probably won't happen much. But that's okay.

Okay, time to go get bagels and coffee. Good morning!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Journal 5/27

We were supposed to go strawberry picking today but the weather is so wet and overcast plus Becky woke up in the middle of the night with a cold so we abandoned the idea. It was to be Sean, Becky and I.

Josh and Will met with Math tutor and did math most of the morning

Becky slept very late. Only got a little bit of spelling done with Sean and Becky. Like pulling teeth. S is droopy, Becky not feeling great and weather is dreary.

After math, Josh is rereading The Westing Game, Will played guitar

Read Bible story about Moses, first Egyptian Tale – Ra and his children to B and S. Read last chapter in the book On the Waterways about the steamboat race between the Natchez and Rob with while reading to keep her busy but she kept getting frustrated trying to line them up and then make them all fall over ert E. Lee, read next chapter of The Westing Game.

Gave Becky dominoes to play with while reading aloud so she wouldn’t interrupt so much. Big mistake, she kept lining up the dominoes so she could knock them down in a long row. Kept crying from frustration when she had trouble setting them up. However she built several of those rows and that was entertaining!

Made bacon and cheese sliders for lunch

Hannah worked on gov’t homework and paper then went out to lunch with St. Mark kids. Will couldn’t go as he was still working on math. Then H goes right to work at Starbucks.

Tried to look over CHC materials for next year but Becky wanted attention. Read her a Fancy Nancy book and then we played with beeswax.

S just talks about Homestarrunner, Psychonauts and the finer details of the art of animation.

VT for S and Will. Becky and Josh stayed home and watched Phineas and Ferb. They were outside in the front yard when I got home.

Will played piano and worked on Gov’t homework

Sean, Becky and Josh played outside. Josh and Becky found wild strawberries, picked them, washed them and tasted them. They had no flavor!

Lot of nature study today. Becky and Sean along with a neighbor and occasionally Josh found and ‘played’ with all these tiny toads in the yard. This provided them with hours of fun!

Josh finished reading The Westing Game in one day. I tried to reading it aloud to Becky and Sean but it is a little too scary for them so we are canning it!

Will was supposed to working on Gov’t homework but he just isn’t it. He’s like Tom Sawyer trying to get out of his work.

Took Will to band practice

Becky watched more Phineas and Ferb

Took Will and Josh to CLC. Came home and Becky and Sean were downstairs watching homestarrunner videos. I worked on the global puzzle Rick and I have been pecking away at since Saturday. None of the kids have been working on it. So much for strewing a map jigsaw puzzle to squeeze a little geography in. Actually, Josh has worked some on it.

Rick read The Hobbit to Sean.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I've been watching a lot of movies lately. I can't seem to get the kids to watch them with me. I guess I don't pick the kind of movies they are really interested in. Then I get a bit irritated with them (and Rick) because they are very into MST'ing them and sometimes I just wanna watch a movie and not listen to smart-aleck comments all the time!

Keys to the Kingdom: This is a movie starring my favorite, Gregory Peck. He plays a Scottish priest who is a missionary in China. I've been wanting to watch this movie for a long time. Ever since I heard a priest years ago say that this book (he read the book and saw the movie too) inspired him to want to become a priest. Also, it was one of the few Gregory Peck movies I hadn't ever seen. Well, it was a good old-fashioned movie about a saintly priest and his struggles. Peck was wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Monsieur Vincent: I started watching this French movie a few weeks ago and only got part way into it, before I got interrupted. So I tried again this past Saturday. Wow, a really powerful movie about St. Vincent de Paul who apparently was the Mother Teresa of France in the late 1600's. Very well filmed, moving, deep, well acted, etc. It really made me think about how little I do for the poor and how we really are supposed to be Christlike, no matter what the expense is to ourselves. Only by dying to ourselves can we really live in love. Made me want to go to confession! But so far I haven't made it.

I know I watched more movies than that, but they were fluffier and I can't remember now which ones they were! And I'm out of time.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Reading List

I've been having fun keeping a running log of the books I've been reading as well as books read aloud to the kids and most of the books the kids have been reading independently. I don't know if I've noted every single one of that last category.

We've just finished up all our American literature assigned reading. I thought that, like last year, the teens would take a break from reading. I felt guilty that I'd assigned stuff and thought I'd turned them off. But no! Hannah wants to start reading the Iliad with me as soon as she gets through the last portion of high school and graduates on May 29th. And Will has started reading from cover to cover an unabridged collection of Sherlock Holmes stories. In fact he has been staying up late reading them, so I can't get him out of bed in the morning.

I'm in the middle of reading several books at once, which unfortunately for me, means that most of them won't get finished. I tend to spread myself too thin. I have to prioritize them if I want to finish them!

No. 1 current read is a fascinating book called The Heroes of the City of Man by Peter Leithart. I really like his books. I've read his on Austen and on Shakepeare and this one is really good too. He is a Reformed Presbyterian minister and professor, I think at the University of Idaho or someplace! Anyway, this book is a Christian take on Hesiod's Greek Mythology, the Iliad, the Odyssey, the Aeneid as well as Greek Tragedy and comedy. I am thoroughly enjoying his easy writing style, his clarity and his reasonable and deep Christian perspective. A really good book so far (I'm only half way through the part on the Iliad).

No. 2 current read is Karen Edmisten's book on the rosary. Can't think of the title right off and it is in the car. I'm too lazy to run and get it. But it is my current car read, so I read it whenever I have a few minutes waiting for kids at various lessons/appts. It is a lovely, inspirational and practical approach to making the Rosary part of one's prayer life.

No. 3 current read is Heroes by Charles Kingsley. Kingsley is a Victorian Anglican cleric who also wrote the Water Babies. I really enjoyed that book. So I'm reading Heroes, which is his retelling of Greek myths when I am sleepy and don't feel up for Leithart's book. Kingsley is a lovely story teller, so gentle. Like a kind grandfather.

No. 4 current read - Prince Caspian. I started this and then put it down when I got Leithart's book in the mail. This one is kind of on the back burner for now. We don't meet for the Narnia book club until the second week of June, so I can get back to this when the other books get cleared away.

I've also been making tentative lists of read alouds for the summer in both American history and World history. The American history list is:

1. Finish the Waterways book (May)
2. Erie Canal by Harness (May)
3. Hitty (June)
4. Indian Captive (July)
5. The Light Princess by George MacDonald (cds in the car for when we drive to beach and back in July)
6. Johnny Tremain (to correspond to our trip to Boston in August)
7 Old Yeller (September. I wanted to read stuff about Texas since Hannah will be living there)
8. Books about the Old West ?????
9. Across Five Aprils (Civil War)

Becky is still really into all the American Girl books and we've been reading through those at a steady rate. She inherited them all from Hannah. She also wants to read books about 'farms.' So far we read Strawberry Girl (we are supposed to go strawberry picking this weekend!), The Wonderful Farm and now I'm reading her The Cabin Faced West by Jean Fritz.

Rick is reading The Hobbit to Sean. Josh - well, I can't keep up with him. But he is reading a new version of Beowulf for an online class he's going to take.

World history list:
1. Bible History (ongoing)
2. Egyptian Tales by Roger L. Green (start this month)
3. Heroes by Kingsley (end of May/June)
4. Archimedes and the Door to Science (July)
5. The Librarian Who Measured the Earth (picture book, August)
6. Cleopatra (picture book, August)
7. The Aeneid for Boys and Girls (September)
8. Famous Men of Rome (Oct. Nov)
9. Galen (can't remember the full title) (Nov)
10. Marigold Hunts book on Jesus' Life (corresponding to Advent)
11. Hunt's book on the Acts of the Apostles (January)
12. The Bronze Bow (Lent/Easter)
13. Young Folks Josephus (audo cd from Paidea Press)

So that's the plan. It has been fun coming up with it. I have no idea if we'll really stick to it!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Journal 5/13

  • had nice sit down breakfast with everyone but Rick who came home from CA last night and rushed off to work early this morning for a meeting. Made scrambled eggs and sausage. Had nice family conversation. Lots of laughing. Becky got on starfall and played classical music from it. Beethoven, because Will was saying that Beethoven paved the way for metal rock!

  • Becky and Sean made 'drums' out of various toys and tape. I guess it is a drum set. The stuffed animals seem to like to play it.

  • Read Bible History about Joseph (still! He finally revealed himself to his brothers) and Devotional stories which led to a long discussion about the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

  • Josh did math with tutor

  • Will did math with tutor

  • Hannah read A Good Man is Hard to Find (Will read it last night)

  • Becky and Sean did spelling workbooks.

  • Sean did a couple of probability problems

  • Sean's new thing is to start on the back patio run across the lawn, climb the fence, run down the bank through the little patch of woods to the pond, run around the walking path that circumvents the pond, dash back up the bank, climb over the fence again and stop at the porch. Last night he did it in 2 min. and 30 seconds. This a.m. he did it in 2. min and 26 seconds and then again in an amazing 2 min. and 17 seconds. He was booking!

  • Josh played on the computer some and then did his poetry study from Kolbe.

  • Will played guitar

  • Over lunch we recited 1st and 2nd declensions and 1st, 2nd and 3rd conjugations

  • Hannah went out to run errands

  • Took Will and Sean to VT. Becky came with us and she and I took a nice long walk while they did their therapy. Josh stayed at home.

  • Made Josh get off the computer, finish his poetry assignment and go outside to get some fresh air and exercise

  • Will worked on Gov't homework

  • Becky found some wild spring onions, pulled them, washed, them chopped them and is now chopping up baby carrots to mix with the onions. She is now cooking them in the microwave. Industrious child!

  • Sean has taken to seeing if he can jump the bushes in the front yard without touching them with his feet. Hard work!
  • Took Will and Josh to CLC. Will didn't have band practice today.
  • Read more of a Josephina story to Becky today. I had read some of it earlier in the day.
  • Read some more of The Wonderful Farm to Becky
  • Rick read more of the Hobbit to Sean
  • Josh is re-reading The Swiss Family Robinson. He informed me this a.m. that upon hearing that we'd be reading The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Book of Job, he has already over the last couple of days read both of them. I guess he'll be well prepared! I'm thinking of signing him up for a short summer course on Beowulf. Have to see if he is interested.
  • Sean is reading Dogs Don't Tell Jokes by Louis Sachar. I think this might be a re-read.
  • Rick, Hannah and Will are all watching the season finale of Lost
  • I am almost done with Hebrews, Greeks and Romans lectures by Prof. Shutt
  • I started reading Karen Edmisten's book on The Rosary. So cool!
  • I also started reading Peter Leitharts' book The Heroes of the City of Man. Looks really intriguing.

  • Sean found a snake in the front yard. Looked it up; it's a Northern Brownsnake.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Rules for Living
(I made up a list or regula (is that the Latin term that monks use?) for our family to follow. Different children struggle with different aspects of this. And I struggle with some of these good habits as well (eating well, exercising, going to bed at a decent time, for instance).

Hygiene (What can I say, I have boys!):
Brush your teeth at least 2x a day
Shower every day
Use deodorant
Wear clean clothes every day

Eat three square meals a day
Exercise every day (weights, jogging, running, walking, biking, rollerblading, Frisbee, basketball, tennis, swimming, push ups/pull ups, yard work)
Have sensible sleep habits

Getting things done:
Make a list of what you need to do each day
Do the stuff that is hard or you don’t really want to do first
Then reward yourself with doing the stuff you enjoy/want to do

Being a better you:
Read a lot every day; people who are widely-read are smart
Clean up after yourself; this shows consideration and keeps chaos at bay
Pray always; this keeps God close and you close to God!