Learning Notes – Week of September 1st

I am so happy and grateful that Melanie has agreed to begin a linkup for her Learning Notes posts this year. Last year’s learning notes posts were always an encouragement for me, especially as our kindergarten year (seemingly) descended into tantrums, Netflix, and madness. They were encouraging because they were neither glossed-over perfection, nor overexaggerated chaos. Some things worked. Others didn’t. They were guilt free and collaboration encouraging. Occasionally, there would be a science question I could answer, and/or provide more information. Reading them was like having both a friend next door and spare time enough to talk everything over. This year, with so many of us linking up, I hope will be even better.

Join us in the Guilt Free Learning Notes Linkup at Melanie’s blog The Wine Dark Sea! The linkup widget isn’t working yet, but that doesn’t matter, because these notes are 100% guilt free! Just leave your link in the comments.


Not much went on today. We haven’t started school yet, and anyway it’s Sunday. We registered him for CCE after Mass today.

The rest of the day was spent either doing some chores at home, or over at my parent’s house, because my brother was in town, and that means Innovation marathon. (Which I won.)


We semi-officially stick to the school calendar here in the Geek Domicile, simply because Himself’s schedule is already bound to the school year so we might as well. However, I’ve laid down the law – we don’t start until the day after Labor Day. So today, we hadn’t officially started school yet.

David has, however, been going on for the last two weeks about how he ‘just can’t wait that long’ for school to start. And there’s been some Khan Academy going on, because I can’t bear to tell him ‘no, you can’t learn math in your spare time’.


Today, we rather eased our way into school. David did the first lesson in his spelling workbook and wrote an email to his abuela in the Valley. We’ve decided to just skip reading lessons entirely, in favor of the spelling workbook and dedicated time to read books. Today he read me two BOB books. I read some of The Wizard of Oz aloud. He played with Legos and helped me do laundry and pick up around the house. Raphael was needy and clingy all morning, and he could not tolerate David sitting on my lap.

Then we went out to Pappadeaux, where one of our D&D group is a manager, and she’s been nagging us to come eat on her sometime. Today was slow, so we did. David was offered the opportunity to pet a lobster, but he declined, much to her disappointment. He did taste the fried alligator, which has got to be educational. Raphael ate an entire cheese stick.

On the drive home, we discussed how David doesn’t like history because there is no punching heads. Obviously history is full of punching heads, but he declared that it was only interesting if he was doing the punching. I suspect this is just him in the afternoon droop and that we need to be sure to get as much done during the cooperative morning hours as possible.

Also, we wondered what species of alien Yoda is. David declared, in a tone of ‘duh, mommy’, that Yoda is a Muppet. Touché, son.

Fun fact, though. Yoda’s species remains unknown to the expanded universe.

In spite of the head punching objection, we read the whole chapter about nomads from The Story of the World Volume One. Except for the silly fake history bits at the end. David was suitably fascinated by the description of nomadic life and the transition to farming without needing those parts. I can’t even bring myself to read them aloud. They’re like the Belly Button Song from the Boyton book.

Then we did science, which today involved just discussing the properties of living things versus non living things, and the definitions of organic and inorganic. It is amazing the amount of information a child can absorb from a 5-10 minute discussion. Then he moved on to Math vs. Zombies, which would be a brilliant learning tool if only it would let you select a permanent difficulty level.

When Himself got home, David was prompted to tell him about the science and history he learnt. The result was a quite reasonable recitation of the definitions of organic and inorganic, and the statement that “nomads settled down to become farmers on the crescent moon.” Which is, honestly, better infomation retention than a lot of Himself’s former high school students, so I’ll take it.


This was the day I had been dreading, the true test of the curricula and schedule I had set up. David was packing up his work to do at my mom’s, while I was at the lab. He was to do the second lesson from his spelling workbook (Spelling Workout A), read two BOB books aloud to my mom, and that was it. Other than missing the last page in his spelling lesson, he accomplished it all quite gamely on his own schedule and initiative.

Here’s something I’ve learned about David in the last year. He wants to be in charge, very very badly. I’m already having more success this year than last year by letting him be in charge. Up to a point.

However he’s hit a wall on Math vs. Zombies, and complains constantly that level 3 is too hard. And it is too hard for him. I need to just buy another composition notebook and write out math problems for him to drill with the days he’s over at MoMos.

I did have him review the history and science on the drive over to MoMo’s. He had the same slight difficulty with organic and inorganic, but this time he declared that nomads made villages in the grass crescent. I think he’s having trouble with the word fertile. It’s a new word and so he doesn’t have a context for it yet. It’s a nice intersection between the history lesson and the science lesson though!


I was at work all day again today. He did part of his spelling lesson and was required to finish it when we got home, much to his displeasure. Laziness is beginning to assert itself, and I knew it would. Oh well. He did do his reading aloud.


Today was our homeschool group’s annual Mary’s Birthday / Beginning of School party. First Friday Mass at a local parish, followed by play time, picnic, and a cupcake rosary at a local park until about two.

We did not make Mass that morning. We got going too late, and we needed to stop at the grocery story for picnic supplies anyway. So we did a couple errands, then went to the park for the party.

David volunteered to say one of the Hail Mary’s in the decade of the rosary that we did. This did not end well. He hates performing, doesn’t know the Hail Mary that well, and is prone to stage fright. But he insisted, so I let him find out the hard way. Poor little son. Actions have consequences though.

After the park, we went to the library. David signed up for his very own library card, and checked out a bundle of books.

Then we went home, where naps were taken and playing took place, but not much more school.


This was an extra busy day. First I had Catechist Orientation, so I was busy from 8-1. Then I had to go to work and inject mice, so we all bundled into the car and while I was in the lab, Himself took the boys to the natural science museum to renew our membership and see the dinosaur exhibits. We were renewing our membership in advance of the fossil wash that the museum extension in Sugarland is holding in two weeks.

After I was done, we drove up to the Co Cathedral for the annual Mass of Blessing for Homeschoolers. David and Raphael proceeded to be as badly behaved as humanly possible. So instead of going out for Tex-Mex, like we had originally planned, we went home, and I cooked the boys migas while Mike went out and picked up Tex-Mex for the adults to consume after the boys were in bed.

David was devastated by this, but again, actions have consequences. And the consequence of behaving badly in Mass is that mommy and daddy don’t really feel like taking you out to dinner anymore.

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6 Responses to Learning Notes – Week of September 1st

  1. lokispeaks says:

    My mother would say you are earning your heavenly crown as a Mother of Boys. (The more boys, the more merit.)

  2. Foxfier says:

    There’s a rather funny bit of clipart floating around that has Future-Darth-Vader talking to Yoda:
    “Master, I have a problem.”
    “That is what, young Jedi?”
    “I found your Jedi graduation photo.”
    *Picture of Mogwi from Gremlins photoshopped on Jedi robes*
    *sheepish Yoda*

  3. Melanie says:

    Does David know about fertilizer for plants? That might be a hook for Fertile Crescent.

    When I think about this, I keep remembering when my little brother, Stephen, went to Pompei with a high school Latin class trip. As he was showing us his photos, he kept emphasizing how green and *fertile* the grass was there. Fertile, fertile, fertile. It’s become rather a family joke. Not that that would help David. But it’s what springs uselessly to mind.

    I keep wondering if Bella might learn reading better if attacked from the spelling end. Today she had fun going through flashcards I’d printed out with various letter combinations. I told her the sounds they made and a word or two to go with the sounds. Perhaps I should check out a spelling workbook for her. Hmmm.

    • GeekLady says:

      Spelling Workout seems pretty good. I got the homeschool pack, with the teacher manual, but I’m not sure I would waste money on that in the future. The first four lessons were frustrating because you couldn’t always tell what the picture was easily, but we’ve gotten into the actual spelling part now and it is going well.

    • GeekLady says:

      And I actually tied fertile in with the beginning biology lessons, since we were talking about the characteristics of living things, and reproduction is one of those. Yay for interdisciplinary connections!

      • Melanie says:


        Also, I meant to say thank you about the glowing things you said about my learning notes up there at the top of the page. I’m so glad you encouraged me to do the link up. And I think I might get the widget up tonight. Maybe.

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