Friday, December 05, 2008

Week in Review #15

Just a few things that have been going on, in no particular order:

Aidan loves his calendar work:

He worked on it hard all week.

On Wednesday night he asked me to help him to put the numbers in order, not once, but again and again. Then he asked me to put them next to his bedside. Since then he hasn't been as interested in them, so I think he got to some conclusion or other. It was interesting to watch him come closer and closer to approximating calendar order.

"When a child utters his first word there is no need to prepare anything special for him, since his prattling is heard as a sound of joy within the home. But the work of tiny hands which are the first stammerings of a man at work require 'incentives to activity' in the form of objects which correspond to his desire to work. " Maria Montessori

He also got out his HWT letterforms and made his version of "Hello World" with it.... he writes "top" on everything, with refrigerator magnets and crayons and everything in between.

Paddy had a birthday this week and turned six!

He has been playing Battleships, with me and by himself.

I brought out this book for him -- it is an old California school textbook but has NICE stories in it, with fair to middling illustrations, as you can see -- one nice aspect to the illustrations for a barely 6 year old child is the way they border the pages.

He enjoyed Elephant's Child (I always avoided reading the Just So Stories to my kids, just not my type of story, but obviously the 'satiable curtiosity and all the familial violence really appeal to his sensibilities right now because he has asked for this one again and again). He also liked The Apple and the Arrow and Knute the Snake (a Paul Bunyan tall tale, though Paddy takes the exaggeration quite seriously right now).

Kieron had a light week of homeschool, because he was immersed in rereading Harry Potter -- I brought them out of Liam's room while Liam was home for Thanksgiving, and both he and Sean have been absorbed in them again.

We are reading The Gold Bug and continuing slowly through American history. He is covering fractions in math, we just finished Unit III in Latin is Fun, we are continuing slowly with Introductory Logic, and starting a bit of science on motion and mechanics through the story of Sir Isaac Newton.

He makes the greatest cookies, which he did this week -- here are some he made using the Toll House recipe, but substituting peanut butter for half the butter -- in other words, 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup peanut butter instead of a whole cup butter.

Sean is back at school, counting the days until Christmas break. He got a great grade in his research paper that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. ... almost full points, 295/300. I just wanted to commemorate that.

By the way I find that he and the other boys often compare grades and there are two ways to look at that. One is the "Eustace Scrubb" way -- you remember how CS Lewis remarked that Scrubb was known to say "My score was such and such.... What was yours?" It was obvious that Lewis thought that was creepy.

The other way is the Jesuit "emulation" and "rivalry" way, which goes all the way back to the Iliad and Aeneid game contests, and has been a time-honored way of channeling the competitive energy of boys and young men, and in the context of Sean's school environment it seems more like that. The kids often test themselves against each other in athletics and comparing academic points seems somewhat comparable and gives the less athletic kids a parallel forum for excelling. For instance, one of Sean's friends at school who like Sean homeschooled until this year doesn't do sports but gets excellent grades and Sean admires his ability particularly in Geometry. Sean loves all contests with measurable outcomes and was quite happy with himself for doing so well in this quite challenging project -- which involved not only a 5 page research paper with college-type MLA reference page, but also a business letter, a personality/career test, and an introductory paper telling why he chose the research area he did.

Clare has been reading lots, and writing about books, including a rediscovery of Lord of the Rings.

As for me:

I made timeline figures, some more timeline figures (for Lepanto), and continent cards.

I made the bits and pieces on the turkey carcass go for several meals.... I made a turkey pizza (turkey simmered in BBQ sauce with jalapenos, bacon and green onions on the pizza), a turkey casserole (just pasta wheels, white garlic sauce, cheese, and turkey bits with crushed corn flakes on top baked in the oven) and turkey wraps (with leftover pizza dough) plus a couple of turkey sandwiches. I was going to make soup but gave up : ).

I also found the first brownie recipe I was happy with (easy to make, good chewy consistency, uses cocoa instead of chocolate squares). I'll write it out some other time.


I guess we always get a bit relaxed during December -- more books, more baking, more planning, more projects. That seems to be happening again this year. But we seem to have a good "flow" going. I always remember that the required academics are meant to support and protect the things they are doing on their own. So when they are doing quite a lot on their own, even if it doesn't "look" schooly, I usually am OK with less "requires". Hope that made sense.

Aidan wanted to contribute so here is his list of spelling words that he typed out by himself:



Anonymous said...

"I always remember that the required academics are meant to support and protect the things they are doing on their own."

I really like that.

BTW-Congratulations on/to your daughter- what a mature, confident, intelligent and God-loving woman she must be (from her writing that you linked about her acceptance.)


Anonymous said...

I love your thoughts on competition -- the healthy versus the "creepy" kind. What a great week!