The year is off to a great start around here. We are about halfway through the wintertime and we are enjoying our rhythmic days of playing and learning. After the busyness that the holiday season brings, it is nice to take a breath and enjoy a month of getting back “on the rails”.
We had plenty of snow but also lots of great warm days this month so we played outside whenever possible. The two older kids love to sled down the hill beside our house. We also enjoy riding bikes in the front driveway. I am excited because Squirt will stay upright on a little push bike now.
Homeschool: Reading and Literature
We finished Little House in the Big Woods this month, which was our evening read aloud with the kids. Peanut is really expanding her habit of attention and loves to listen to the stories each night. She has gotten less and less wiggly during this time and it has become one of my favorite times of our day. Dad, me, Bud and her all snuggle up in her big girl bed. Such a great part of our evening ritual. We also read a few pages from the Jesus Storybook Bible afterwards.
We are also reading Old Yeller with Bud and we are reaching the end. I know it is a sad ending, but sometimes painful stories bring up opportunities to talk about things we wouldn’t normally talk about.
We have been enjoying some great short read-alouds during our morning school time each day. We read wonderful unabridged versions of The Ugly Duckling, The Three Little Pigs, several of Aesop’s Fables, and Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I really enjoyed hearing the original versions of these timeless tales too.
This month, we read Columbus by Ingri and Edgar d’Aulaire. We read a page each day and then Bud would give a narration. It was wonderful hearing his retellings of the stories or hearing him talk about Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand later on our afternoon walks. We both found “brave” to be the best word to describe this man who was so persistent and determined to find a new route for Spain to Asia. We had some wonderful conversations about how our God is also persistent and determined to seek and save the lost (including us!).
This month felt special to our family because Bud finished his first level of RightStart Math. He was very excited and we all celebrated with him. His Dad rewarded him by taking him out for ice skating and hot chocolate. This program has been wonderful and he has completed the Level A objectives:
- Place value to the hundreds
- Addition facts to 10
- Basic geometry
- Basic measurement and weight
- Basic fractions
He is already itching to start Level B. It is so awesome to see his enthusiasm.
Science / Nature Study
We did several great nature study days this past month. We headed to Golden to walk along Clear Creek and observe what happens to it during the Winter months. The ice is quite fascinating how it forms into thousands of shapes and pieces. The kids observed that they seemed to crash into one another and make piles.
There was a bird’s nest laying on the ground in our backyard so we brought it inside to look at it closer under our loupe and magnifying glass. Bud and Peanut drew pictures of what they observed for our nature notebook and we recorded all the different materials that were used to build the nest.
For our natural history book this month, we continued the Arthur Scott Bailey Sleepytime Tales series and read The Tale of Fatty Coon. This book was so fun to read and had us all laughing out loud hearing about the trouble this gluttonous little creature gets himself into. I smiled to myself as I read them this book because there were plenty of lessons about the trouble we can run into when we disobey.
We enjoyed going to our local nature center for their preschool class this month. The theme was foxes and the kids had fun learning about these sly little animals.
Handwriting / Hymn Study
This month we learned the hymn How Firm a Foundation and Bud wrote a line of the hymn each day for his copywork. I have been amazed at how Peanut retains the lyrics of these old hymns and by the end of the month is able to sing through most of the song with us. There were many words in this hymn that are not common in our modern English, so I had Bud look them up in the dictionary and I would write the definition on the board for us all to learn together.
Family Studies: Bible / Artist & Composer Study
We are reading through the Gospel of Matthew this month. I read aloud about 5-10 verses and then the kids tell me what they heard. Some of the teachings of Jesus can bring up questions so we always take time after we read to think and talk about what he is saying to us.
We wrapped up our study of Henri Matisse this month with a visit to the Denver Art Museum. They are having an exhibition right now called “Matisse and Friends” that we enjoyed seeing. The colors were so bright and vivid and it is always so rewarding to see the pieces in real life. We try to keep our museum visits short and fun at this point until the kids are older. My in-laws live pretty close to NYC so look forward to someday taking them to the amazing museums there.
I began introducing Chopin during the day this month. Peanut calls it “quiet music” and I notice that everyone seems to calm down and play quietly when it is on. It has this effect on me too. I used to listen to the Nocturnes in college when staying up to the wee hours working on a design project.
Update on Squirt
Our littlest one made some huge strides forward this month. After 15 months of nightly supplemental oxygen our sweet little premie is now breathing on his own. Yay!
He is also showing new signs of toddlerhood. He is on the verge of walking and loves to be lead around by two grown-up fingers. He also loves looking through our big Roger Priddy picture book. All three kids loved this book at this age. So cute how they follow a pattern, but they are also each such unique little people. Bud liked the construction machine pages, Peanut liked the pages with pictures of other babies, and Squirt likes the animal pages.