A Little Break
How Well Do You Know Your Catechism?

Lesson Planning: Post Three

First and foremost, thank you all so much for your kind comments and prayers. This morning I felt much better, due in no small part to the extra rest Bill has given me these past two mornings ~ letting me sleep in till 7 (yesterday) and 6 (today) and bringing me coffee in bed. (Yep, he's a keeper.)

I'm taking things slow, but I really wanted to get back on track today with our lessons. I thought for lesson planning post number three, I'd record the details of a day in our home learning life, in real time (give or take).

(As usual, this post is quite very extremely long, and I'm fading out, so I hope it reads all right - I will try to work out any bugs in the morning.)

Before the boys get up, I ready the learning room and the morning's first lessons. Once they're up (around 6:30-7), the morning gets underway ...

  • Breakfast: A bit of leftover rugelach from yesterday's Heritage Day for me, Honey Nut-O's for the boys. (Except add two slices of homemade pizza, an Envirokidz bar and 1/2 a cream cheese bagel for EB; the boy eats like nobody's business, lol.)
  • While the boys eat, we read Your Big Backyard; we remember the day after tomorrow is Groundhog Day when we read several fun articles about groundhogs, or woodchucks, as they are also known:
    • Bookworm reads aloud a short story called "When Groundhog Wakes Up."
    • We dig out our groundhog puppet; CJ keeps him close by.
    • I impress the boys with my ability to say that old tongue-twister "How much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood ..." I can say it really fast.
    • I run downstairs to check the laundry and bring up Groundhog's Garden from the spring book basket.
  • Bookworm continues reading Artemis Fowl; he needs to finish by tomorrow for Book Group.
    • While reading, BW asks what "quark" means; I have him look it up in the dictionary.
    • I show CJ what the dictionary is; we look up "fortress" as an example. He is now carrying it all around the house with him. :)
  • I tell the boys about our proposed candle experiment. They talk me into doing it right away:


  • Here we have two tea lights, one burning in the open, one underneath a glass jar. Which one would burn longer? Well, since fire needs oxygen, the one on the left stayed lit, while the one on the right went out in 12 seconds. (We counted.)
  • Bookworm (yes, still in pajamas) decides to try a larger glass and compare:


  • The larger glass on the left afforded the flame 20 seconds more life.
  • We use a fun book to create shadow shapes on the couch (butterfly, crocodile, sea anenome) ...


  • Crackerjack (also in his pajamas) demonstrates a butterfly (Bookworm's shadow is underneath).

(I forgot to note the time of all the above activities, but suffice it to say, it was before nine a.m.)

  • 9:30 ~ In the thick of math lessons (Saxon), I'm running out of steam, so I warm up a cup of coffee and we break to read Mr. Popper's Penguins; BW continues his math.


(The keen eyed observer will notice CJ is still wearing his pajama shirt. This is true - today he was a "real sports car driver.")

  • 9:45 ~ We launch into grammar lessons.
  • 10:00 ~ Oh my goodness! Tough Nut is here!!! We are so excited! Please see my Nature Corner for the pictures. We cannot tear ourselves away from the windows for a good 5-10 minutes. This is that female squirrel with the half-length tail, whom we have not seen in months. I was fearing the worst and now here she is! Hooray! Before we return to the table, CJ gets out the squirrel puppet to keep with him while we work. We are so glad she's home.
  • 10:10 ~ CJ's lesson incorporates the Guardian Angel prayer, which is his new one to learn. He tries it on his own and he knows it! (He's heard BW say it every night for the past so many months, I'm not surprised.)
  • 10:15 ~ We take another break. BW reads; CJ finishes penmanship, then plays with the squirrel puppet for a few minutes. EB is playing with trains.
  • 10:30 ~ BW keeps reading; CJ reads his phonics booklet and completes the accompanying exercise; EB is drawing on a doodle pad.
    • We all discuss the Book Group I am leading in April (younger group); tomorrow I have to tell them my book choice. Cricket in Times Square or Mouse on the Motorcycle? Hmmm ...
    • Suddenly EB brings our attention to several cobwebs around the beams in the family room. (I simply cannot imagine how they got there!) Mournfully, covering his eyes, he pleads, "Piders, MAMA!" CJ, BW and I use socks and a bird puppet to get rid of the offending webs (by tossing them up and over the beams to catch and disperse the webs). We congratulate each other on our clever dusting method.
    • I notice my neighbor's dryer vent going and remember I need to go back down to re-boot my own laundry. (Usually M-T are my laundry days, but many's a week it trickles over into W, and this does not include folding which is an ongoing affair.)
    • Before I head back to the learning room, I take 2 sticks of butter out for chocolate chip cookies.
  • 10:45 ~ Begin history. Read Story of the World, chapter 18, section 2: "Recapturing Jerusalem." Follow up with review questions. The boys start mapwork; I leave it to BW to explain directions to CJ and start in on kitchen ...


  • 11:10 ~ BW and CJ sit in living room to read Mr. Popper's Penguins aloud (which, I dont think I've mentioned, is CJ's Book Group assignment this month), while I start cleaning the kitchen. EB sticking close by with several monster trucks in tow.
  • 11:30 ~ Free time - the boys all play. I'm still working in kitchen.
    • The boys are instructed to look through several of our middle ages picture books to look for examples of fire use - warmth, food, defense and attack. When we wonder if monks used candles to write their manuscripts at night, it at first seems they would. A bit of research reminds us they did not - the threat of the precious parchment catching fire was too great, and so they called it a day once it grew too dark.
  • 12:00 ~ I'm loading the last of the cutlery; the boys are watching Sesame Street Old School.
  • 12:15 ~ Dishwasher is running and the kitchen is clean; the boys have lunch:
    • PB-banana on whole wheat bread, organic cheese sticks (except BW who does not like them so he has two slices of rolled up bologna), Annie's bunny grahams, milk
    • I toss the crusts out to the birds.
    • I start thinking about supper - Italian in some form.
  • 1:00 ~ Boys back to table. BW reads MPP aloud while CJ and EB draw. I work on grocery list.


(Yes, that's my cat. Yes, he is on the table. Cats have a thing about being wherever your work is. Please know the table gets washed regularly, particularly before any meals are served.)

  • 12:30 ~ Mid-day tidy. I go down to get mail and re-boot laundry. At this point the kitchen and learning room (dining room) are clean, the living room is neat. The bedrooms need (more than a bit of) straightening, as does the bathroom. The family room looks like ... well, like three boys live here, lol. I always tackle that room last thing before Bill comes home. It's like shoveling in a snowstorm otherwise. I take out the rest of the ingredients for cookies, and the sauce and pasta for tonight.
  • 12:45 ~ I read aloud about St. John Bosco; the boys play with toys (CJ), crayons (BW), and at the sink (EB), as I read. BW chooses his new prayer to learn (St. Francis of Assisi).
  • 12:55 ~ We see the red squirrel and his tail has been injured! It appears shorter, so we look more closely and we can see the very tip is without fur! Something has been at him! We are alarmed, but very grateful he made it out of that situation alive.
  • 1:45 ~ I am reading Days of the Blackbird aloud. CJ gets teary-eyed when La Columba takes to the chimney to keep warm. When she emerges all black, we discuss her sacrifice and CJ says it's like when Jesus loved us so much he sacrificed himself for us.
  • BW is painting his St. Thomas of Aquinas frame (his patron saint). He chose purple, his favorite color.


  • 2:15 ~ We are done for the day except for the boys finishing their books. EB is playing with Lucky Ducks, BW is planning his garden (for a PHF badge) and CJ is playing with an odd assortment of toys - making up some sort of "sword story" - one I am trying to listen to while pretending I'm not listening. :)


  • 2:50 ~ The cookies are in the oven. BW is looking through seed catalogs. He and CJ begin a list of what we should grow. I remember I bought a package of pea seeds to plant on President's Day and bring it out for them. You'd have thought it was gold! They use crayons to mark their selections. (You should have heard them discussing the merits of heirloom tomatoes, lol.) BW tells me he will grow green tomatoes for my picallili on Labor Day. :)


  • It's nice today -the cold winds are blowing (28 degrees right now) and yet the sun is streaming in the windows. The kitchen is messy, oh yes, but the air is filled with the scent of chocolate chip cookies. :)
  • While first batch is in oven, I neaten the learning room one last time - tote bags and book piles - and vacuum. The table is again clear for the morning. It reminds me of how I like to do baking. Clean surfaces, items needed set out - organized and inviting - and then things get put away as you go. In the end, it takes only a bit of straightening and wiping to put things back the way they were.
    • Of course that is NOT how it always works! Our learning room is spic and span, but to be honest, the kitchen looks very much like a working kitchen.
  • 4:23 ~ The end of the day ... vacuuming's done, supper's started, the boys are crashing monster trucks in the living room (but they're playing very nicely with each other, so what's a few dings in the furniture?), the lessons are put away and Bill's on his way home ...
  • And the table is ready for a brand new day ...


So are the books!


And there you have it - a peek at our day. I hope yours was a good one and I wish you a blessed night!