We started school around 9am – we are not early risers.
We began by listening to the Bible on audio CD, pausing to chat about bits. We’re half way through Romans at present. It’s a difficult book but it’s a central one so we plow on. While we listened, the kids ate breakfast. Then each boy recited the Bible passage they are memorising – “The Lord is My Shepherd”.
Next, we sat down on our reading lounge, as we’ve affectionately named it, with a lap full of books. We began by reading the first chapter of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring”. We read about Rachel Carson last week (she’s an early environmental activist) so we borrowed some of the books she has written. “Silent Spring” was one of them. We aren’t intending to read the whole book, just select chapters. The first chapter of “Silent Spring” describes a town with abundant wildlife and then a town where pesticides have been sprayed with devastating effects. That chapter reminded me of a chapter about Agent Orange in the book “10 000 Days of Thunder”, which is about the Vietnam War. So we read that as well, discussing the difference between herbicides and pesticides and the long-term effects of both. From there, we moved on to read the book “Traveling Solo to Vietnam” – a short informational text about Vietnam. From this book we made a note of two things we want to know more about – water puppets and the islands of Halong Bay. Next we read a folktale from the book, “Children of the Dragon”. Here we uncovered even more of the history of Vietnam in the introduction of the book. We absolutely loved the story of how the tiger got his stripes! Finally, we read, “Helen’s Big World: The Life of Helen Keller”. This was a lovely picture book that included direct quotes from books that Helen herself had written. Of course, this sparked an interest in knowing if our library had any of these books and also whether there was any video footage of Helen Keller speaking.
After all of this reading, we needed a little movement so we took a few minutes to clean up the kitchen, and do some quick chores. Then I set the boys up to do some copywork and painting, while I continued to read. They have been writing Bible passages in cursive, so they started with that, and then moved on to an art project we’ve been working on. While they worked, I read from Rachel Carson’s book, “The Sea Around Us”. We read the chapter, “The Sunless Sea” and reminisced about our visit to the “Deep Oceans” exhibition last year. Then we switched books and read another chapter from “The Mystery of the Periodic Table”. We read about alchemists and ended up doing an experiment – mixing vinegar and baking soda in a bottle and capturing the released gas in a balloon attached to the top of the bottle. The kids loved it. After that, I read another chapter of “The Happiest Refugee” and “Eagle of the Ninth”. By that point, my voice wasn’t cooperating anymore so we moved onto Math. (Oh and part the way through our reading, the postie beeped his horn and I went running – he’s a busy man and I want to keep him happy – to collect two new-to-me books.)
Every day the boys complete 100 multiplication facts so we started Math with that task. We set a timer and the boys began. Slowly, ever so slowly, their times tables are improving. Next, we worked on an exercise in “Discovery Mathematics”. I sat between the boys with my own copy of their Math text and worked alongside them. They love this and I’m enjoying it too. Today we worked on prime factorization and exponential notation. We worked for about an hour and then stopped for lunch. It was about 1pm by this time. While I made some lunch, the boys went outside and measured Brayden’s growing watermelon, recorded its data and then watered their garden.
During our hour long the break, the boys went and played and I replied to an email, downloaded an audio, put books on hold at the library, searched for Helen Keller youtubes and then pottered around the house trying to restore order (a never-ending task).
In the afternoon, I piled up our remaining work in piles for each boy. It wasn’t much but it’s good to have a visible reminder of how close we are to the finish line. First, we sat down and watched the Helen Keller videos I had found during lunch. They were fascinating and we had to restrain ourselves or we would still be following a trail of interesting videos. Instead, we dragged ourselves away and started work. Brayden worked on diagramming and parsing sentences, while Ethan read his Latin lesson aloud to me. Then Ethan left to diagram and parse sentences, while Brayden worked on spelling and reading with me. Brayden also completed a Latin lesson; in fact, he completed three as he didn’t want to stop. After that, both boys worked on dressing up an essay, which they wrote last week, on the Vietnam War. Finally, Ethan completed a spelling lesson, while Brayden worked with some plasticine he’d found in the art cupboard.
Literally seconds after we’d finished school for the day (just before 4pm), Hubby arrived home and decided to read aloud to the boys. Yesterday, they finished reading Eragon and so today they began the next book. While they read, I tidied my desk and then cleaned my kitchen AGAIN. Seriously, that place never stays clean for long.
In the evening, after tea (tacos – yum!), we watched a documentary together about the Vietnam War. It’s our evening ritual. There’s absolutely nothing worthwhile to watch on the tv nowadays so we supply our own viewing. After our documentary, the boys rewatched Helen Keller videos with Daddy. He was fascinated too.
And that was pretty much our day.