Back to Learning Notes – Week of February 14

Join us in the Guilt Free Learning Notes Linkup at The Wine-Dark Sea.

It’s been a while since I’ve managed to write these up properly. For a long stretch, the learning was haphazard and frustrating, and full of fighting and refusals, and I just hated documenting the strife. It was awful. And there is what feels like a continuous run of festivities from Christmas till the beginning of Lent. But learning is finally happening again.


So I’m starting a day early in this week’s learning notes because something really incredible happened. The day before, David had been working on that week’s spelling lesson in the workbook and when I checked the segment he had done, it was completely illegible. Worse than it’s usual illegibility. When I asked him what he was trying to do with his writing, he announced that he was using cursive.

I told him that we would start real cursive today, if he would just do that day’s work in print, which he did. Here is his very first page of ‘a’s.

I’ve seen (and graded) some of Himself’s high school student’s work in years past. This is at least as good as their worst handwriting. And he is enjoying himself immensely.

Otherwise, it was a holiday. It’s Valentine’s Day, a patronal feast for Himself and Raphael (St. Cyril), and Tree was visiting. We ate homemade Turkish food and played board game, and generally enjoyed ourselves.


A day of rest. David really appreciates these days of rest. You’d think I sent him into a coal mine for the rest of the week. Legos were played with, and I think a game of Rampage as well.


Himself and I both had the day off for President’s Day, although we did school as usual. We picked Story of the World back up and reread the chapter on the Middle Kingdom of Egypt. David learned the cursive ‘b’ and how to link ‘a’ to ‘b’ and ‘b’ to ‘a’. We struggled mightily against David’s mental block in regards to place value, finally resulting in going to Kinkos and printing/laminating this enormous number grid. David was pleased with the new acquisition, and I hope his enjoyment of it helps overcome everyone’s bad temper over the whole business.

We also stopped at Hobby Lobby and acquired handkerchiefs in every liturgical color to use as table clothes in our oratory.

I also sat David down and talked about Lent with him. He apparently forgot everything he learned about Lent from last year. Sometimes teaching this kid makes me feel like I’m banging my head into the wall. But we talked about what Lent is for, and why we make sacrifices of fasting and prayer and almsgiving. About why we abstain from meat on Fridays, and Mommy and Daddy fast on Ash Wednesday. I helped him make his penance chart for this year, and told him he was in charge of making sure the oratory had the correct color of table cloth.


This was a full day of work for me. David was sent off with some more place value math homework, which he failed to do in his math notebook. Instead he did it on his laminated chart, and all the markings got rubbed off in the transit home. *sigh* He also practiced his cursive ‘a’s and ‘b’s.

Not much learning when we got home though. I made pancakes and sausage, and a galette des rois (which oozed frangipane, but was delicious). And we all went to bed early. Luxury!


Ash Wednesday was a challenge. Our Mass choices are 6:30am, 8:30am, and 7pm. With all the construction in our area, traffic is highly unpredictable. And within another year or so, David will also have a Mass obligation. Right now, Mike and I can always go separately during our work day, if we need to. But going is only going to get more difficult as the boys grow up. So, while Ash Wednesday isn’t an obligation, we used it as a trial run for going to the 6:30am Mass as a family. It worked pretty well, but it was rough.

It was another full day of work for me, but I gave David the day off school work.


Thursday was a great day. We used the new number grid with pennies, dimes, and dollars to do place value work and started cracking that block. He really can’t move on much in Khan Academy until he cracks this, so it’s important.. I read aloud from Story of the World (and David remembered what I read about!). We also looked at some maps of Egypt’s Middle Kingdom, playing with our new geography curriculum. David learned cursive ‘c’ and ‘d’. We read the Sugar Snow chapter in Little House in the Big Woods, and agreed to have our own sugar off sometime soon. (We don’t have sugar maples, but you can boil real maple syrup down into maple sugar.) A spelling lesson took place. Naps were had. And dinner was made on time.


Another great school day, we did both the grocery store and managed a full day of school. A spelling lesson, more place value work with money on the number grid. Another chapter (with retention!) from Story of the World. More maps of Egypt. Cursive ‘e’. And the first paragraph of the *CCC.

*I have been looking for a good children’s catechism, and I just can’t find a good one. In the meantime, we’ve started having monastic style reading aloud during dinner for Lent, and David has been listening. And asking questions. Intelligent questions. So instead I’ve started reading him selections from the catechism itself. It’s still not as good as a children’s catechism would be, but it’s what I’ve got.


I had another FTCM, but we’d had such good school days all week that I let David have the day off.

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