January outakes

januaryjanuary 2013

It seems winter went on strike at some point this month, but we didn’t mind. Instead we did what all of you with real winters will do several months from now while we’re profusely sweating and mosquito-ridden — we moved life outdoors. After the new year, Mark of course went back to work and began another semester of graduate school, and we slowly slipped back into our own school routine again, only often taking our books and snacks to the backyard. I’ve realized, some subjects work a little better than others in the outdoors. Since we use a lot of manipulatives for math and a large magnetic board for spelling, I now know they just manage easier indoors. Otherwise, most of our days fill up with reading and writing and playing (and cleaning), and that we can take anywhere. And we do.

We spent our weekends at home (locally, I mean) this month, hanging out with friends gathered around our large table, eating a weekly Sunday brunch at our friends’ house, or even out in the backyard (it was that warm!). As for family time, we went hiking, ate meals together around the firepit taking turns telling stories, and of course simply played (tag, catch, board games). Our housemate, Kenny, often joins us or helps by playing with the kids in the backyard.


Because I have several people ask what we’re doing or reading at home school-wise, I’m hoping to include a monthly educational synopsis with our outtakes each month. Here’s a start:

memory work (with Classical Conversations)

  • facts each week in history, science, math, English grammar, Latin, geography
  • 21/160 major points in our historical timeline (this month between 1400-1800)
  • Exodus 20:1-17 (v. 13-15 this month)

I have almost altogether stopped poetry memorization with the kids (something eventually gives), but because it’s so valuable for complex language learning and patterns, I’m hoping to re-prioritize it this next month. Sigh.

the kids

Liam (age 9) read Hatchet, The Mysterious Benedict Society, several short stories by Rudyard Kipling and other small books on plant life, rocks, and ancient history. He also wrote one paragraph on the Greek Olympics and is working on a mini-research paper on the Roman Empire (Institute for Excellence in Writing).

Burke (age 7) read the Adventures of Tom Bombadil (a collection of poetry written by Tolkein), Who Was Abraham Lincoln?, Who was Ferdinand Magellan? , Who were the Beatles? (We love this series of biographies!), along with several shorter books on plant life, rocks, and ancient history.

Blythe (age 6) completed level 1 of the All About Reading program and is reading several small stories and readers each day. I’m currently reading Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland to her and Olive (age 3) each night. We also read a variety of picture books we have collected in our home or that we can borrow from the library.

Olive (age 3) is still learning her letters and sounds. Since she is a very busy little person, I’m mostly trying to teach her how to be still and listen for 10-15 minutes at a time. (Smile.) It’s harder for her than you would think. Ollie the Stomper is still Olive’s favorite book, naturally. She hunts for it every time we’re at the library. I’m still not formally doing anything with Oli, mostly because she’s just not ready. So she spent most days this month playing dress-up, building puzzles, reading books, or practicing letters and numbers on the iPad.

myself (we’ll leave age out of it – wink.)

This month I finished or am still reading