Looking Ahead ...
A Little Break

Lesson Planning: Post Two

(Sorry, for the long delay in posting - I meant to post this yesterday but I seem to have come down with a little bug. If you would, please say a prayer the boys don't get it!)

Here is what my plan looks like this week. *Quick disclaimer - please keep in mind, this is a "wish list" - something to shoot for. We almost never (ever) get it all done.*

Before I launch into the details, I just want to say that I write out a page like this for most weeks. (And, yes, I do write it out with pencil and paper - very archaic, I'm afraid!) I am sure there is a much spiffier, more efficient way to do this, but this way just works well with my brain. :)

I also use my month-at-a-glance calendar to keep track of when we are out of the house and when we are home, as well as what special events/feasts we are celebrating. If I have my folder, my calendar and my journal on my counter at all times, along with a well-sharpened pencil, I feel some semblance of control over our week (however imaginary it might be, lol!).

Speaking of calendars, just this past weekend I had a bit of a calendar epiphany. I realized I was trying to keep too many calendars up and running! I have now commited to just one 14-month-at-a-glance, spiral-bound, lie-flat, portable, not-at-all-fancy-but-suits-my-needs kind of calendar. I've been filling it in with colored pencils (liturgcally speaking) and I am feeling "ok" about it. It's not all that pretty, but it is practical - more on that later.

Monday, January 29th - Sunday, February 4th, 2007

Of note: Speech therapy, CCD, Heritage Day-Bake Sale with homeschool group, van going into shop, Homeschool Book Group, co-op meeting here *or* at Valentine-making workshop, feast days (St. Brigid, Candlemas, St. Blaise), spring soccer sign-ups, February begins!

  • Note: This is an unusually busy week for us. I am of the mind that to home educate you actually have to be home. But sometimes activities pile into one week, and we balance our lessons out over the following weeks.

Math: Daily (more or less) Saxon math lessons for Bookworm (7/6) and Crackerjack (2); Little Folks' Number Practice/number drawing/counting books with Earlybird

  • We try to do math first thing in the morning. BW is quite independent while CJ needs me to work with him. EB joins us at the table to draw numbers and shapes, or work in his LFNP; sometimes I have BW help CJ if I get busy with EB.

Langauge Arts: Lingua Mater (BW), Language of God A and Little Stories for Little Folks (CJ), Little Folks' Letter Practice (EB), penmanship practice, vocabulary from Catholic Mosaic and Magnifikid, lots of reading, Homeschool Book Group (older boys) 

  • We do some kind of language arts every day, but what we do varies day to day. Some days we just read a lot. :)
  • Bookworm works in LM twice a week, but CJ works in LOGA every day.
  • Bookworm is practicing cursive writing, something we kind of glossed over these past few years. This year he really likes it and it's clicking.
  • Crackerjack is improving his printing. His capital letters are great; his lower case letters need some work.
  • Bookworm is always reading at least one novel. This week it is St. Thomas Aquinas and The Preaching Beggars, as well as Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony (for Book Group).
  • Crackerjack and I read all kinds of books aloud - picture and chapter variety. This week we are reading Mr. Popper's Penguins (for Book Group) and Days of the Blackbird.
    • Do you know the Tomie dePaola book mentioned above? It is an Italian folktale based on the "coldest days of the year" - January 29-30-31. We'll be reading it this week, in conjunction with our bake sale for a local oil heat fund.
  • EB is working on sitting longer for read-alouds and giving narrations as best he can. He loves to draw letters (and trains).

History: Begin Crusades unit: Read and review SOTW Chapter 18: "The Age of the Crusades," do mapwork, Begin "History of the Sword" notebook (using Coloring Book by the same name).

  • We do history M-W-F for the most part. This is not a hard and fast rule by any means. For example, the History of the Sword coloring book arrived in the mail today and Crackerjack is insisting we begin our notebook tomorrow!
  • We generally try to cover one chapter of SOTW a week, doing the review questions, mapwork and some of the activities. I also try to choose some of the suggested literature from the library. Some chapters, such as this current one, take longer to cover.
  • Books on request at library:
  • On order:
  • I would like to take a look at how the custom of praying the Stations of the Cross began during pilgrimages at this time to the Holy Land.
  • We'll make our own Pilgrim's badges (quick craft from SOTW).
  • In light of Candlemas on Friday, we will talk about fire in medieval society - how was it used? What was its importance?
  • Begin Sword notebooks, as mentioned above.
    • Plan trip to armory museum; look back at castle trip photos.
    • Use tiny "party swords" for cupcakes on Friday; connect with Simeon's words to Mary.

Nature Study: Continue observations. Read chapter 5 , "Woodpeckers" in The Beginning Naturalist. Saturday walk with Daddy - look for "woodpecker trees."

  • Nature study is ongoing, but we try to do some kind of formal reading or discussing or notebooking on Mondays.
  • We are reading one chapter a week in The Beginning Naturalist; the chapters tie in to the seasons.
  • It is such a busy week, I don't expect to do so much nature study. We did spend quite a bit of time watching the windows for woodpeckers (and saw three within an hour).
  • We found a neat birdfeeder project in The Backyard Bird Feeder's Bible; we will ask Daddy to oversee the planning and construction.
  • I would like to try to find snowdrops ("Candlemas Bells") at a local nursery, or order them online. At the very least, I want to find information on growing them (they may be a bulb that needs to be planted in the fall).

Science: Explore the element of fire (within reason, of course). Read about heat and light in various science books we own.

  • I try to schedule any science lessons on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
  • Conduct simple experiments from this book:
    • "Make a Fire Extinguisher"
    • "Candle Race"
  • Show Daddy the chapter on "Playing with Fire" in Earth, Water, Fire and Air: Playful Explorations in the Four Elements; he and the boys can decide which project to try. (There are some neat candle experiments.)
  • Read current Ranger Rick (BW), Big Backyard (CJ) and Zootles (EB).

Religion: Catholic Mosaic (Brigid's Cloak), CatholicMom.com's Mass worksheets, CCD books - go over current chapters (attend CJ's class), celebrate feasts of the week, liturgical tea on Thursday (Irish theme), one chapter from A Life of Our Lord for Children, CJ and BW choose new prayers to learn this week.

  • Today we read Love Is ... recalling Sunday's second reading (Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians 13:4-13)
  • We have been setting the timer to watch EWTN's children's programming at 4; I call this Mama's Quiet Hour. :)
  • Our history lessons this week on the Crusades are offering us many opportunities to discuss our beliefs and religion.
  • Feast Days:
    • At our Thursday tea in honor of St. Brigid, we'll serve Irish cheddar, Irish decaf., and Brigid's Bread. Following CM suggestions, we'll make a page for our family faith notebook using blue paper, star stickers and a printed image of St. Brigid.
    • For Candlemas on Friday, we'll choose some of the activities I mentioned in this post.
    • For St. Blaise on Saturday, we might try making herbal candy, using a recipe in China Bayle's Book of Days. (I bought the ingredients and candy thermometer ...)
  • By Thursday we will begin preparing for Mass by reading Sunday's Gospel in Magnifikid. (Luke 5:1-11) Discuss meaning of phrase "catchers of men." The boys will do this coloring page, as I read aloud.
  • Bookworm's patron saint is St. Thomas Aquinas - his feast day was yesterday. He is reading the Vision book as previously mentioned, and making a frame for his holy card.

Music: Listen to The Kids Classical Hour on radio, Saturday morning.

Art: Put up new art print on February 1st, The Return of the Prodigal Son by Rembrandt  (We use CHC's Art Masterpieces: A Liturgical Collection).

Remember - this is a wish list! It looks like a lot, but we only do what we can every day. We strive to do math, language and religion each day. History and science at least twice a week, and art and music if we can.

I was going to post about our weekly household routine (i.e. bedrooms on Monday, bathrooms on Tuesday - that kind of thing) but once again, this post has gotten very long and I am running out of steam. So I will try to post more soon!

I hope you are keeping well and warm. :)