Learning Notes – Week of October 9th

Muahahahaha, I’ve figured out something I can reliably blog ahead of time time and post on Monday. You shall all meet your doom by education notes!


Today was Columbus Day, so we didn’t do school. Himself had the day off from school, and so he was home with the boys, who played Wii and outdoors all day and then went to Cub Scouts in the evening.


Due to an experiment rearrangement, I was unexpectedly at home on Tuesday, and we got a lot of work done.

Right now, David is working his way through Saxon 3. He should be in Saxon 5/4, but when I gave him the Saxon placement test in August, he aced all of the objectives in the Saxon elementary placement, but couldn’t hack the structure of the work that Saxon 5/4 wanted. Plus he still needs multiplication table drill. So I ordered the Saxon 3 workbook, only to discover that it’s a really terrible fit for us. Today, we figured out that if he does 3 pages of work every day, he’ll be done with Saxon 3 by Thanksgiving, and if does 3 pages of work the three day he’s doing his schoolwork at home, he’ll have finished Saxon 3 by Christmas. Then we will try out Beast Academy Level 4 in the new year. I have high hopes of Beast Academy, and it’s more affordable simply by virtue of not having to shill out all $100 at the beginning of the year for the books.

Today I also switched David’s copywork to cursive. His print has improved vastly this year, and so I think it’s time for a new challenge. He’s currently fascinated by the Salve Regina and is copying that in Latin and then in English. Next I think I’ll have him copy Strictly Germproof, because that’s a lot of fun, and also has lots of capitals inside the lines so it requires a little more attention.

We also finally dug into Mapping the World with Art on Tuesday and had our first lesson drawing a map of Mesopotamia. Here is David’s. I’m really proud of his work!

Raphael continues to work on writing his name. He’s getting extremely good at it.


No CCE today, alas. David chugged his way through his morning work and did some independent reading, My Father’s Dragon, and then we read some more of Story of the World. I think we’re finally over the hurdle of Story of the World and he’s beginning to find it interesting. Today we read the story of Odysseus and the formation of the Greek alphabet and about the Olympic games.

As a geography exercise, David drew an overhead map of his bedroom. His first rendition, he attempted to show the objects in 3D, which rather defeated the purpose of an overhead map. I sent him to redo it and he produced a map with all the objects in his room mysteriously small and moved away from the walls. I think we’ll come back to this again next week.


Today was such a disaster. Last night I told David to pick up his schoolwork and put it away. His schoolwork vanishes from the coffee table where it had previously been scattered, and I presume it has all be put away where it belongs. This morning I tell David to check make sure he has all of his necessary schoolwork in his backpack before we leave for speech therapy. I have an experiment today and am dropping them off at my parents immediately after and going in to the lab to work late into the night.

We arrive at speech therapy. David mysteriously does not have this week’s page of grammar, nor does he have his spelling. Nor does he have his math folder, because he typically does whiteboard drill on days I go to work. Nor does he have a book to read. He did have his iPad, and fully intended to play Minecraft for the hour of speech therapy. No dice son. I got onto Project Gutenberg and put Edith Nesbit’s The Book of Dragons on his iPad and told him to start reading.

This is the part of parenting that I hate, deciding punishments. Especially when this is an ADHD/executive function issue and not outright defiance, which makes both arbitrary punishment and natural consequences less effective at actually curbing the behavior. Himself and I finally settled on him not being allowed outside until he had:

  1. located and completed the work he didn’t bring with him
  2. demonstrated that he has put all of his schoolwork away neatly in the the appropriate folders and those folders have been neatly stowed in his backpack.
  3. At least a week worth of supervised picking up and proper stowing of his school work, to help him develop habits that will mitigate the effects of ADHD-ishness.

We’ll see how this goes.

On the plus side, while Raphael’s speech therapy had a rough start this year, he’s now totally in the swing of things, and his speech is really starting to take off. His favorite thing to do now is walk up and say “Mommy, I have good news and bad news…”


We polished of the last bits of the regular weekly work and otherwise had a half holiday because my brother is in town this weekend for his and mom’s birthday celebration.

Today I explained to David what a perfect square is and how it relates to the multiplication table, and we worked out the squares between 1 and 100. I love it when we get into the fun bits of math. I need to get my big multiplication table printed and laminated so we can do some fun stuff!

We did have to take a break from family visiting to go to our first Cub Scout den meeting, but I left Raphael with my parents and just took David and the baby. Raphael played a round of The Dinosaur Game with Big Daddy and his uncle. He’s getting very competent at counting and understanding the rules and mechanics of the game.

At Cub Scouts, we started working on the Cast Iron Chef adventure. Recipes were distributed for dutch oven cooking at the next den meeting, and a competition was arranged to see who could bring their recipe in the most under their budgets of $15.

Also, I discovered that some people put hot dogs in red beans and rice because they don’t think kids will appreciate Andouille sausage. Nuts to that, sez I!

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