Weeks 4 & 5 of 2017: Catch Up Post

When I said we were feeling better, that didn’t last very long. It’s been a really weird winter. The weather keeps going from one extreme to the other and it’s really messing up our sinuses (and maybe also arthritis…. ugh).

So here is a little extra catch up post, documenting weeks 4 and 5. I looked through my notes and I know I’m missing a lot, but this is what I managed to write down.


All the kids played hearts (the card game) with their dad. We started reading The Number Devil (Ch 1 & 2).

Kid 1 practiced with flash cards to get faster at math facts, and worked on remembering how to multiply decimals.

Kid 2 did some complex cooking math with grandma, figuring out how to double recipes with tricky fractions. She started filling out a 12 x 12 multiplication table to solidify some of the harder to remember multiplication facts.

Kid 3 learned about adding 3 digit numbers and did addition flash cards.


All the kids are learning vocabulary words. Sometimes we get them from Merriam Webster, other times from the Michael Clay Thompson LA curriculum. One of the words this week was the prefix “sub-“.

We also frequently watch Wheel of Fortune together, which is great for learning about the frequency of letters in English and word patterns and things. We also started reading Harry Potter at night as part of our new “Let’s Get Everyone to Sleep at a Reasonable Hour” routine (see the Health section below).

Kid 1 continues to do a great deal of freewriting (and research! see the science section) with his Druidawn group. I also printed some grammar worksheets, including one about  paragraph correction, because it’s fun to play editor.

Kid 2 learned about contractions and how to spell them.

Kid 3 learned about syllables and where words split.


I don’t seem to have much written in my notes. It was probably all incidental science stuff, nothing really planned. That happens a lot.

However, Kid 1 is working on a project in his Druidawn class to make an airship. It’s pretty complicated! He has to do all sorts of things, such as calculating the weight on the metal he wants to use in the construction of it. So, he had to look up different metals and their weights, how to calculate the weight of a bar of metal depending on whether it is solid or empty inside (he decided on hollow bars of aluminium). He looked up the weights of helium and hydrogen and the pros and cons of each (hydrogen is so much lighter but has that pesky catching-on-fire issue). He decided to be risky and choose hydrogen. He looked up all sorts of materials to use to cover it — it needs to be leak proof, but weight is still an issue. In researching all of this, he had a moment where he realized why the Hindenburg (and other dirigibles) have such a small cabin — weight issues. The next step is to figure out how to propel it.

Social Studies

All the kids study this together. These two weeks we read a chapter in Story of the World about the Byzantine empire. We also read the relevant pages from the Usborne Internet Linked Encyclopedia of History for the past four chapters as a nice way to review what we’d learned.

They are also learning a lot about the government and such just by discussing the news with one of the adults in the house. For example, grandma got to explain the economics of tariffs one day while I was off at work.

We’ve also been watching Timeless, which isn’t a perfect show, but it’s fun enough. All the kids like it and it’s a great chance to learn a little tidbit here and there about different points in history, historical figures and such. It’s always nice to see the costumes and see how people lived in different times and countries. We just have to hope that they don’t remember the changed versions of history and think that was the way it really happened. Heh.


Kid 1 taught the girls and me how to use a nifty little program called Apophysis. It’s purpose is to make fractal art. The top image is what Kid 2 made.

Kid 2 did a lot of cake and cupcake decorating. She sketched out a plan for her sister’s birthday cake and did a really great job on it. She also practiced some decorating techniques with the leftover icing and a batch of cupcakes. Also, she made a celtic chariot out of clay after we read about them in history.

She and Kid 3 also did who knows what all over the house for art. Painting, drawing, stickers, ribbons, etc! I can’t really keep track of it most of the time.


I have nothing written down. At the very least we listened to music and sang in the car.


Dad got some solar viewing glasses and showed the kids how to use them and warned them about looking at the sun.

But, the big deal these two weeks was changing around our whole bedtime routine, because the kids were staying up later and later and getting more and more upset when it was time to sleep. So, we decided together on a new plan to go back to reading together at night. I stopped some time ago when I had health problems that killed my voice. I was barely able to talk much less read a book out loud for an extended time. Another part of the plan is to set an alarm so we go to read at the same time every night. And the final part of the plan was to prepare a checklist of things that happen at bedtime (brush teeth, get water, etc) and make sure they are all done before we start reading. Nothing destroys the sleep-inducing powers of the bedtime read like having a kid suddenly jump up and have to get water when I say the reading is over for the night.

So far it’s working pretty well!


One day we all went on a crazy long walk and found a nice path to get to the park near the library. It’s pretty close, but the road is a bit too dangerous to walk down. Not only does it have no sidewalks, but it has no shoulder or even a nice ditch to hop in if a speeding car comes around a corner.

They also played outside together, played foursquare with the neighborhood kids, and the girls did their regular dance classes.


This category is just for things that don’t really fit in the state’s mandated eight subjects above.

Kid 2 worked on her Japanese letters (Hiragana).

All the kids learned more about computers. I helped the kids with new laptops set up windows updates and backups. I also helped the younger ones make sure they have bookmarks for their email and the house calendar. We made a google hangouts chat room for our school and other fun things like that.


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