Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Descriptions of Ria's High School Religion Classes

for her transcript in progress:

1st year: Apologetics (including Deus Caritas Est and Sacramentum Caritatis by Pope Benedict)
2nd year: The Life of Christ (esp. Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict XVI)
3rd year: St. Paul and the Reformation (including Deuterocanonical books, Belloc's How the Reformation Happened, St. Paul by Pope Benedict et al.)
4th year: Catholic Moral Teaching (Part 3 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church)

Just call us the Pope Benedict fan club. :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Highlights from Our Week

Read half of Glanville Downey's Stories from Herodotus.

Had our first discussion on the Iliad.

Watched half of In Search of the Trojan War.

Watched two Reading Rainbow Math-related episodes (from Netflix).

Visited Old World Wisconsin. I got slates for Kate and Frank there, hoping that maybe it would cut down a little on the paper usage. They love them so far!

Ria's been enjoying The History of the Ancient World by Susan Wise Bauer. We're focusing quite a bit on history at the moment and also play
"Perspective: The Timeline Game" quite a few times this week.

Gus learned a bit about computers and engineering with Daddy while he followed the Intel Developer Forum via YouTube. He also did a bunch of Math with Daddy one evening.

The kids have been enjoying Beverly Cleary's Runaway Ralph series with Daddy as nighttime read-alouds.

Ria and I went to a special Mass at Holy Hill with Fr. Larry Richards. Great sermon!

Kate's been very faithful with bringing me her phonogram cards and is starting to really move in the reading department.

Music is finally creeping along again. Ria is delighted that I finally picked up Suzuki piano books 3 and 4 (and also ordered CD #5). She's super-motivated, though largely self-taught. The others are less motivated but seem to be enjoying it once again, now that it's a required (though relatively small) part of their day.

Monday, September 7, 2009

School Starts Tomorrow!

And so I'm emptying out the side bar lists for a fresh start, getting things a little bit cleaned up and organized and putting my planner together.

Ria's working on two different math realms this year. I've decided to do most of the geometry with her so that she can focus on the algebra more thoroughly (with some help from daddy). She'll be studying the 3rd part of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (along with a couple of encyclicals) and doing Ancient History and Lit. Chemistry, Latin, Government and an extra lit and writing class this fall pretty much round things out. Just ordered her some Princeton guides for some of the standardized tests she'll be doing this year - SAT, ACT and SAT Subject tests (in Latin, World History and Physics).

I'm looking forward to using the Catholic National Readers again with the younger set as they were a great fit for us last year (makes sense, since they were written for the one-room school house - which is an awful lot like homeschooling!)

We're still happy with Faith and Life and a number of CHC workbooks and our favorite Map Skills books. The younger kids are starting math with DK workbooks from Sam's Club and will move on to something else later (especially my 6th grader who is using it for extra review before she moves into a 6th grade text). Gus is doing Life of Fred Algebra (the earlier books in the series have been a great fit for him!).

Friday, February 13, 2009

Special Days and More This Week

Yesterday we went back to our little "preschool" thing at a friends' house (I put preschool in scare quotes because it's really a much wider age range than that - my middles come along too). To celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln, we brought coloring pages for each and read D'Aulaire's Abraham Lincoln. Because that's such a long book, we didn't get to read the little Fr. Lovasik book we brought on Our Lady of Lourdes, but we did watch Song of Bernadette the previous day. Ria's actually reading the original book Song of Bernadette (by Franz Werfel) for a Catholic lit discussion group that meets tonight.

Last week I ordered a bunch of old SRA/McGraw-Hill Math books used online, based on some very good reviews over at Most arrived this week. One surprise hit so far (even though it wasn't exactly what I had intended to buy - it seems to be a teacher's supplement to the main text that is used for group discussion) is the Level 3 Thinking Story Book. It has funny, entertaining little stories that get the kids to think. The answers are right in the text, so someone else has to do it with the kids, but yesterday, when I was reading this aloud to Bernie, three other kids quickly popped up and followed along. :)

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Few Updates

Terri, Bernie and Kate went to the IMAX with the VH grandparents for their birthdays and saw "The 7 Wonders of the World", which they enjoyed very much.

Ria attended the state Latin Convention last weekend and did very well, especially considering her misgivings about competing at level 3. She actually placed among the top 10 scores (more than ten people as ties are included and there tend to be a lot of ties) on 5 tests! She also took 8th place in the girls' costume contest.

We started a bi-monthly Latin study group at my house yesterday, which went very well, I think. Pulled all of our books together in one place for lending out and for reference (there are a lot around here!) and did some Latin prayers and songs, geography and certamen during the meeting. I also handed out my much-used Latin Treasure Hunt for those who hadn't done it at co-op in past years. Looks like it will be a good group!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Dissection Day

Ria and Gus attended a dissection class this morning with some other teens in our area supervised by a local homeschool dad who is also a doctor. They dissected a frog, a rat and a shark and really enjoyed it. Many thanks to Dr. M!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Back to the Grindstone :)

We're easing back into school - Ria's back to outside classes in art and architecture. Everyone's getting back to required reading and math time and there's a special emphasis on geography right now as Terri and Gus will be competing in the local Geo Bee this weekend. We're also excited that Ria will be able to participate in the new Poetry Out Loud competition next week on the local level. We may also manage to squeeze a Shakespeare read-aloud into the week. We'll see.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Madrigals Christmas Concert

Madrigals Christmas Concert
Originally uploaded by Chez VH
The four older kids worked for months preparing for this concert. Most of them were starting at nearly square one in music reading at the beginning of Fall. I'll try to post a list soon of the music they performed. It was a combination of vocals (just the teen girls), recorder and small percussion instruments. They did a really fine job!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Drama Week

This is performance week for Jane Austen's "Emma" with a drama club put together by some local homeschool teens.

We've been putting a lot of time into drama this fall, but that has stepped up quite a bit in the last week or two, which saw extra rehearsals (which are generally scheduled for three hours at a shot) and two performances this week. We have one more performance this weekend before we're done.

Our three oldest were involved. Ria played Harriet. Gus was Mr. Wodehouse and Terri played a servant. They LOVED working on it and it was really exciting to see them rise to the occasion and help pull it all together. The performances have been incredible so far!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Another Picture from Friday

Funny how my homeschooled kids' favorite places at Old World Wisconsin is the school house. The teachers love to quiz their visitors and mine don't always do very well (one time we had a rather embarrassing spelling bee in which no one seemed to know anything at all!) but Frank had a great time on Friday. The teacher noticed that he was busily copying letters out of the McGuffey's reader at the school desk and decided to quiz him on his letters. He knew many more than I expected him to know. Apparently Kate has taken it upon herself to help him out with his letters without me realizing it. Hooray for trickle-down education! :)

Tuesday, November 4th

We're getting things nailed down a little better with a strict policy of Math and Latin between 9 and 10:30 am. This has been particularly helpful for Gus (who always seems to focus the most when he's being timed) and it has really helped us pick things back up on the Latin. We pulled out a set of Latin flash cards this morning that I bought last year, but never used. There are 1000 cards all alphabetized, so I had to pull out the easier ones to get us started. Ria immediately starting sorting the bunch into words she knows and words she doesn't know. This was perfect since the ones she already knows are probably a good batch to get Gus and Terri working on. Speaking of Gus and Terri on Latin: they're really enjoying the Lingua Latina book. I'm trying to do a page or so of it with them every few days at least.

I'm also getting Kate back on track with the reading. I don't like to push too hard at this age, but she is ready for more and consistency seems to really help at this stage, but she and Frank have been nothing but distracting lately. Out of desparation I picked up a bag of clearance Halloween candy this morning and am offering a piece to each child after they've done their basic schoolwork and chores for the day. It's working like a charm so far, particularly with Kate, who voluntarily read two Bob books and finished nearly an entire spelling lesson (in her CHC book) this morning. Hoo-ray!

Now most of the kids are off to listen to "The Adventures of Sts. Peter and Paul" while they make rosaries.

Lots of music lessons and a catechism discussion will fill out our day. I also hope to find some interesting election things to do, though we probably won't get to them until later tonight in front of the news. (Our discussion goes until 8:30 pm).

Monday, November 3rd


Terri mastered multi-digit multiplication.

Read the Book of Tobit aloud to John, Ria, Gus and Terri.

Started cruising on musical note-reading cards with Gus, Terri and Bernie. Wish I had started these cards a few months ago!

Long and intense drama practice for Ria, Gus and Terri. The play is next week!

Saw two beautiful planets (sans telescope) last night. Wish I knew how to identify which ones they were. I suspect Jupiter and Venus, but I really should look it up. We have been better about taking the telescope out lately and had a nice view of Jupiter just last week.

Frank and Kate's favorite book lately has been Mistakes That Worked by Charlotte Jones and John O'Brien. It seems like we've been reading bits and pieces of this all over the place lately.

Friday, October 31st

Originally uploaded by Chez VH
Last Friday was a gorgeous day (mid-60s) so we headed to Old World Wisconsin for its last open day of the season. We went with friends and enjoyed a nice long visit with long walks through the peaceful late-autumn woods and lots of time visiting with animals - including getting to feed some sheep and horses. We also spotted a whole bunchy of turkeys wandering through the woods. A perfect day!

That night, Ria and Gus went to a "Page to Stage" meeting with some of other Catholic homeschoolers. Page to Stage is a group that reads a work of literature each month and gets together to talk about it a little and watch a movie based on the book. This particular meeting, appropriately enough, was on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

Always Changing My Plans for This Blog

I haven't really been liking the weekly update thing. It seems to me it runs both the risk over over-representing what we get done in a single day and underrepresenting what we get done in a week or in a month.

I'm still sticking to my sidebar lists, but my new attempt is going to be to brief share highlights of each school day.