Of course, the busy weekend could be coloring my perceptions of the whole week. Swim lessons began (for Gareth, Katydid, and Farmerboy), violin lessons continued (for Katydid), there was a trip to the library, and the rain held off long enough for our Little Flowers and Blue Knights groups to meet at the Shrine of the North American Martyrs in Auriesville.
The shrine is built on the site of the martyrdom of St. Isaac Jogues and his companions. Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha was later born here, and baptized just a few miles away. We had a picnic lunch with one of the priests and the kids played soccer in the field by the gift shop.
Another important event this week...
So those were the special occasions. The boys had to unwrap presents early on Saturday morning as fast as they could, because Andy had to take Farmerboy to his swim lesson by 8 AM. I don't think it bothered them much, though. ;-)
Other highlights of week 7...
Inspired by a project in The Usborne Complete Book of Art Ideas, Gareth cut up an eraser to make his own stamps. He found that stamp ink worked better than the black tempera paint he started out with.
Gareth and Farmerboy also messed around with acrylics a bit...
Gareth's gas giants inside a nebula. As he was painting, he realized he had very little black paint. I provided him with a very cool book I bought off a bargain table several years ago, a collection of Hubble photos called The Universe. Since some regions of space are full of colored dust, Gareth decided that might work for his background. He tried to fill in some black in the gaps. This was basically a painting to experiment with the qualities of acrylic. Since I know very little about painting myself, I will need to do some research and experimentation to figure out how to extend his explorations. I find that this is the area in which I often fall down. I do a fair job at introducing the kids to novel materials and projects, but not such a good job at deepening skills.
Farmerboy was inspired by Gareth's painting, so he decided to paint his own planet:
The red circle is the planet, surrounded by purple atmosphere, streaming off into space.
Katydid and I fooled around with oil pastels this week. I sat down one day when the boys were stamping to experiment with blending oil pastels.
Katydid drew a landscape instead:
She and I also did some sketches for the monthly sketch project, but I'll put those in a separate post.
A Brief Summary of 1st grade academics:
I often forget to mention Farmerboy's academics, which are a little different (obviously) from the big kids'. This is what we're using:
Modern Curriculum Press Phonics A , spending a longer time working on consonant sounds, as he has some trouble remembering them
Handwriting Without Tears , the 1st grade book
A mish-mash of reading materials, including silly sentences I write for him, word cards I cut out from cardstock he can use to make his own silly sentences (silly is a big draw here), and Sonlight's I Can Read It! series (Book 1). I find the Sonlight stories a little weird in some places, but it's nice having them all together in a few books.
Mainly Montessori math materials... the 100 chain is what he has been interested in most since we began our school year in August. He's learned to lay out the tens cards and count the beads one-to-one to 100. He also counts on the 100 board, counts piano keys, counts lots of stuff spontaneously. When we first began, he would often skip numbers, had trouble remembering the -9 to -ty (29, 30, etc) transition, but he's got them down now. Last year I tried to use Singapore's kindergarten workbook with him, which was a disaster. He learned to write his numbers, but that was about it. (In my defense, I had to be able to do something with him while also rocking a baby for 2 hours every afternoon.) This year, since we've switched back to Montessori, is going much, much better. I've done presentations of the decimal system using base 10 blocks, and he is keen to be able to go on to the 1000 chain now that he can do the 100 chain.
A few words about the assortment of books here... on Sept. 29, the Feast of St. Michael and the Archangels, the kids reminisced about the year we made shields. So Farmerboy got off on a bit of a knight tangent. He made himself a cardboard and aluminum foil suit of armor, and shields for himself and his little brothers. The boys then added their own coats of arms. Why don't I have pictures? I have no idea.
And then... the duck and chick books. On and off for months, the twins have made it evident that they are fascinated with eggs. They pretend to be flood monsters hatching out of their eggs (they lie on their backs and put pillows on their bellies for "eggs"). They pretend to be gigantic plum-plums hatching of their eggs. (Pip's invention.) They pretend that they are chicks and I am the Mommy and they hatch out of their eggs and then go on the road. ("Chicks on the road!" they call just like we do when the chickens wander into the street.) Their dearest wish is that we would get a rooster so instead of eating our eggs, we would let some hatch. And then they became enamored of Daisy. So I have been canvasing the library shelves for chick/duck/egg picture books. I think I have found all of them by now, and will probably need to hunt through the rest of the library system.
(Ack! How could I forget? We also read Five Little Ducks about a million times this week!)
Read this week
Gareth: Peter and the Starcatchers, Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson; Fellowship of the Ring; St. Dominic and the Rosary (Vision Books); various Dig!, Muse, and Faces issues re: prehistory
Katydid: Little Women; Dealing with Dragons, Patricia Wrede; Louisa May Alcott issues of Cobblestone; Queen Victoria issues of Calliope; Dig! Neandertals
Read-alouds this week: The Hobbit (everyone); Farmerboy (little boys); Once Upon a Time Saints: Around the Year (appropriate pages)
Listened to this week: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, CDs 3&4 (mostly)
Watched this week: The Planets: Formation of the Solar System; Ken Burn's National Parks: Episode 3 (I have no idea why #2 was skipped)