Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Keeping Company :: June 2016

our hibiscus tree suddenly burst into bloom this past week!  the kids went running for our Book of Firsts. :)

And just like that, it's June!  Summer lends itself so well to keeping: lazy days on the patio with book and commonplace, nature journaling at your campsite, considering and re-considering the "keeping culture" in your home as you begin to plan next year's school days.  The less-busy days of summer are a wonderful time to build habits -- in our students and in ourselves.

For some inspiration, check out the Keeping Company link-ups from previous months.  I've been finding new ideas by reading old posts lately.  It's neat to have so many relevant examples all in once place!  (And as a side note: in reading those old posts, I've also been struck by the e-friendships I've been blessed with through them.  So thanks, readers and contributors, for making this link-up a comfy place to share and chat.)

In the Past Month

There are lots of moms doing lots of keeping this month!

We've got moms excited about nature journals...

camilem - hollieannd - witheagerhands - msjschole
rjnsix - ambervanderpol - sarahjokim - happylhomemaker1

...faithful to commonplace-keeping...

spreadingthefeast - theycallmemommy618

...turning gardening into a keeping activity...

from obispo98

...making quite weather notes in their BuJo...

from northlaurel

...keeping reading notes for Schole group...

from beuniqueheather
(and a group with both Kay and Heather?! I'm jealous!!)

...and memorizing poems!  (Amazing job, Jen!)

from happylhomemaker1

We also have some lovely children's work this month -- I just adore these.

mariasugiyopranato - vlcjrogers - lylyfreshty

That first and last are from a couple ladies living a rich and full CM life on the other side of the world from me.  I feel blessed to get a peek at their days.  (That handwriting is gorgeous, isn't it?)  And that middle one is dear Virginia Lee, faithful keeper -- and now in the home stretch of her pregnancy! :)

Last but not least, I have a couple posts I want to point you toward today:

Melanie meshes some CM-inspired keeping with her own classical preferences, and she does a bit of a year round-up here.

And Carol uses her beautiful script to journey into All Quiet on the Western Front and gives us a look at some unique animals "down under"...and in Moozle's nature journal.

It gets me so inspired to see you guys living out active leisure and diligent notebooking in your families!  I'm so happy we're all in this together.


Okay, I'm a bit late, so I'm heading right on to the link-up!  I hope you'll take a moment to share the keeping going on in your homes this month with us.

The Link-Up

:: For bloggers: Click on the "Add my link" button below, and it will prompt you to include the information for your post.  Once you submit it, your link will be added to the list, and others will be able to click over and read what you have shared.
:: For Instagrammers: Tag related photos with #KeepingCompanyCM to join the link-up.

:: Remember to link to a specific post and not to your blog's homepage. 
:: Any posts about CM-style Keeping are welcome!  The prompt is optional.  Your post can be as simple as a photo of your commonplace book.
:: Feel free to add more than one post.  The link-up will be open for a month, so you can come back and add more if you are so inclined.
:: You can grab the button over there on the sidebar if you'd like to add it to your post or site.

As always, thanks for sharing!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Our Summer Schedule :: 2016

Let's talk a bit about summer school!  We are not year-round schoolers, but we do arrange a bit of schoolwork into a light summer term each year.

Our summer vacation runs from the beginning of April through the beginning of July.  This shifted school calendar originally began when my Big Kids were in Year 1; I had a baby due in September and wanted to get a head start on our school year in case I needed to take time off.  Since then, I have had a baby due in April and a baby due in May, and both times I was grateful to be finished with our year before their arrival.  This past year, I had a baby in November, and we were several weeks into Term 2 before he arrived, which made the rest of our school year much easier.  All that to say: our adjusted schedule is mostly baby-related and specific to our family's crazy needs. :)

But since then, I've uncovered enough good reasons for our family that I didn't expect:
:: We start up the year when there are no outside activities, so we aren't starting everything new at once.  Piano and art lessons pick back up when we're already adjusted to the new routine and have ironed out the kinks in our lessons.
:: There is a lot of margin in our year's plans.  You moms schooling with littles know that margins and flexibility are absolutely essential when you're managing babies and toddlers alongside your homeschool.  I have had a new baby just about every year I have been schooling!  That means I like to allow myself LOTS of margin time.  I like to know that I can take as much time as I need and not feel the pressure of finishing before the next school year rolls around.
:: Similarly, if I have to take off for illness, family visit, some difficulty, or a particularly busy week of outside activities, I know I have that wiggle room and can take as much time as needed stress-and-guilt-free.
:: I start my school planning before our charter school's year ends, so I have time to order next year's necessities while I still have funds available.
:: We can do day trips and vacations when the beaches aren't crowded.
:: And for my own mental well-being: I like to feel like I'm "ahead."  When everyone else hits the February blahs, we're looking at the last half of our last term and I'm getting year-end exams ready and considering "summer" plans!  This is one way I de-stress our years.  It's totally a mental game (we still school for just as long as everyone else!) but it works for me.

Obviously there are some cons too, but so far this is working for us!


So that's the why.  Here's the what!  First, our Morning Basket:

Our Morning Basket continues during the summer with some books we didn't have a chance to get to during the school year.  Here's what's on our shelf right now:

:: Poetry - The Golden Treasury of Poetry, A Small Child's Book of Verse, A Child's Book of Poems, The Jessie Wilcox Mother Goose (not pictured)
:: Religion - Leading the Little Ones to Mary (finishing up), The King of the Golden City (we have the oop edition put out by CHC, I believe -- the one is the same but doesn't have illustrations), the Bible (we like the Douay-Rheims)
:: Nature Study - The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling, The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady, Botany in a Day, The Big Book of Animals Every Child Should Know
:: Folk Songs - The Battle of the Kegs
:: Stories - My Naughty Little Sister, The Big Alfie Out-of-Doors Storybook, Pinocchio, Kindergarten Gems (I'm aiming this read-aloud slot at my littles.  We save the books aimed at the Big Kids for naptime and audiobooks in the car.)


I also printed out a simple weekly checklist for my Big Kids.  As usual, in addition to daily piano practice and chores, they spend a bit of time each day (about 30-45 minutes) working toward these weekly tasks:

:: Math. Currently the Big Kids do three days of math a week, each session taking about 20 minutes.  One day, they do a lesson from RightStart Level G (their hands-on geometry drawing program).  One day they do a page from Math Olympiad (this is a new addition to our schedule and they love it!).  And one day they work from their current math book, Jacobs' Algebra.  (Cate also does some math, but with me.  We aim for a RightStart lesson twice a week.)  Including math through the summer is what allows us to do math 3-4 times a week during the school year with no guilt. ;)

:: Map drill.  They choose a region they have already learned to quiz themselves on by filling out a blank map.  Then they check their work and make note of any errors to keep in mind for next time.

:: Italian.  They play an Italian game twice a week together with their younger siblings, and once a week I also give my Big Kids a short written activity to complete.

:: Latin and Grammar.  They do one exercise from Getting Started with Latin and one from Winston's Grammar a week.  (Gianna moved ahead in grammar and finished the next couple months of lessons, so she actually doesn't have that on her list for summer.)

:: Free reading.  The kids asked if we could do some scheduled free reads like we do during the school year.  So we're doing Anne of Green Gables (three chapters a week) and books from the One Small Square series (their choice, a few pages a week).  We're also continuing our Sunday reading from this past school year, Treasure and Tradition.

:: Penmanship.  Once a week, they spend ten minutes with their Prose and Poetry Notebooks.

:: Typing.  We used Typing Club this past year, and I'm now letting them work on their typing speed for ten minutes a week.

:: Recitation.  This is something we do together.  We review the memory work we have already learned in a once-weekly session, usually while driving to the beach. ;)  At the beginning of the summer, I move everything from the daily, weekly, and even/odd notes to day-of-the-month notes for ease of use.  Then I open up Evernote and go through our Memory Work "notebook" for the dates of each week all at one time.  So for example, on last week's drive to the aquarium, we reviewed all the memory work for the 23rd through the 29th (that whole week).  We aren't learning anything new -- just keeping those items fresh.  And enjoying them! :)


So that's the school-ish stuff.  But of course our plans involve lots of summertime fun too!  The rest of their day is free time, which they spend in a variety of ways...

Audiobooks + Legos.  Almost every day at naptime, I start an audiobook and my oldest four play with Legos for a couple hours while I tend to the baby and listen in.  If he ends up falling asleep too (not often but occasionally), I even get to lie down with a book! :)

Chess.  Gianna gets out the chess book and sets up the various exercises for herself.  I'm not entirely sure that it's helping her chess game, but she enjoys it!

Time outside.  I'm sprucing up the backyard this week with new toys

Outings.  I'm not a big outing person, so I choose when we leave the house pretty selectively.  But based on my kids' request, we've got going a weekly park day and a weekly nature study outing (both with friends) and a weekly trip to the beach (with Daddy).

Shakespeare.  Since seeing The Winter's Tale last month, the kids have been memorizing bits of scenes, casting parts, and thinking about how they would stage it all.  I have a feeling there will be some performances here over the next couple months!

Writing stories.  Gianna has two stories in the works: "Charity, the Duke's Daughter" and "A Gift for George Washington."  She dutifully writes every day. :)

Handicrafts.  They are still busy with origami (last year's handicraft focus), and Gianna has been digging into Fun with Paper.  Summer always means more opportunities for the girls to cook, and the boys have been busy with beeswax.  Handicrafts is one of my weak points, so I usually take the summer to ease into something they can then continue into the coming year (with an eye toward handmade Christmas presents too).  This summer, we'll be doing some felting kits they got for Easter and I hope we'll continue felting through school year.  (Wish me luck because I don't know what I'm doing! LOL)

And lots of drawing and reading, of course!


And what's Mommy got going on this summer?  I always make for myself way too many a few goals, some fun and some necessary.  

:: Develop a simple programme for The Laws' Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling.  I want to use this in our home to its full potential, so I'm breaking the book into reading assignments and accompanying challenges.
:: Work on some calligraphy -- alongside Gianna!
:: Read.  I have a few monthly live online discussions I'm hoping to keep up with this summer, including a new one on CM's Volume 2 and one on Circe's Restful Teaching video series. Our local study group is reading through When Children Love to Learn, and some friends and I have a monthly fiction book club too. And I've got some book goals of my own: The Story of Charlotte Mason and some novels.  And some pre-reading!  All good stuff.
:: Run. Trying to improve my time for a race I'm planning to run this fall. (Not aiming for anything remarkable -- just hoping to increase my current pace which has not bounced back since Justin arrived!)
:: Mount wildflowers. I have a backlog of pressed wildflowers to add to our collection.
:: Blog projects. I've got a whole list of posts in progress that I would love to start ticking off and getting up here!
:: Get Italian materials ready for next year.  I also want to reorganize the way I store my Italian supplies and preview some written resources for the Big Kids.
:: Re-read Nurture by Nature as I consider my kids' "types" and the best way to present this coming school year to them. (I did this last summer too.)  Managing all the personalities in my home requires me to be constantly mindful and I consider it one of my biggest challenges. This book has been a help!  It pegged my most difficult child to a T. ;)
:: And plan our coming school year, probably the most important task of all!  I've got Years 5, 2, and 1 next year.  Thankfully AmblesideOnline does most of the work for me, but I still have a lot of prep work ahead of me if I want our days to run on smooth rails this fall.

And if you'd like to see our plans from the past, here's last year's and the year before's.  (You'll note they look very similar. :))

What are you up to this summer?

Thursday, May 26, 2016

What We're Reading :: May

L' Amour's The Lonesome Gods (set in the California desert)
Undset's Kristin Lavansdatter (chagrined to say I've never read this classic!)
Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 (a re-read for our local book club)
Shakespeare for Children: Six Scripts for Young Players (previewing on Amber's recommendation)
Cholmondeley's The Story of Charlotte Mason (have had this on my shelf for a year but am finally reading it!)
Cooper's When Children Love to Learn (for our local study group)

Vincent, age 9
Enright's Thimble Summer and Morey's Gentle Ben (both Year 4 free reads)
Fradin's The Signers (some Revolutionary-era non-fiction)
Eager's Knight's Castle (a re-read, part of his Tales of Magic series, which sounds twaddly but isn't ;))

Gianna, age 9
Cecily Barker's The Complete Book of the Flower Fairies (she's drawing her way through these poems)
Burnett's The Lost Prince (not as good as her other books, but Gianna doesn't seem to mind :))
Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables (starting in on the Year 5 free reads!)
Haywood's Betsy's Busy Summer (reading aloud to Cate)

Cate, age 7
Elsa Beskow's Princess Sylvie (she took her most recent art project with her teacher from Beskow's illustrations for this book)
Beskow's The Flowers' Festival (inspired by our yard bursting into bloom this month)

As a Family
d'Angeli's The Door in the Wall (a re-listen on audio)
Ransome's Swallowdale (on audio also -- just started it as our "car book")
Enright's Gone-Away Lake (just finished -- I handed the Big Kids the sequel to read on their own)
Collodi's Pinocchio (the new read-aloud in our Morning Basket)

The Little Kids have been busy with birthday books from the past month...

From Xavier's birthday...

The Arnold Lobel Book of Mother Goose (a lovely hardcover copy popped up on PaperbackSwap!)
Helen Ward's The Rooster and the Fox (I just love Helen Ward's illustrations)
Peter and the Wolf, illustrated by Wallace Chappell (yep, yet another version :))
Belloc's The Yak, the Python, and the Frog, illustrated by Steven Kellogg (fun combination!)
Greene's Railroad Engineers and Airplane Pilots: What Do They Do? (perfect for a transportation-loving boy!)

And Drew's second birthday books...

Ruth Krauss' I Can Fly, illustrated by Mary Blair (ours is a larger copy, but I linked to the regular Golden Book version)
McKie's Noah's Ark (love oversized books)
Margaret Wise Brown's The Wonderful House (classic)
the Ahlbergs' Each Peach Pear Plum  (which we somehow did not own already!)

In the Mail

Animal Tales (my parents found this lovely reproduction full of pop-ups sitting in their garage!)
Lobel's The Wisest Man in the World
The Jessie Wilcox Smith Mother Goose (I can't get enough pretty Mother Goose editions)

For our non-fiction collection...
Pettit's Animal Signs and Signals
What Makes a Bird a Bird (I love Leonard Weisgard's illustrations)
Day's What Is a Flower?
Cherry's A River Ran Wild
Gail Gibbons' The Honey Makers

Girls Who Looked Under Rocks (I pre-read this for my daughter and it has a couple bothersome phrases I need to make a little note next to before handing to her, but otherwise it's a decent book of short biographies for a girl naturalist -- especially because it includes Comstock!)
Five Little Peppers Abroad (in hardcover, how could I resist?)
Palace Wagon Family (a book about the Donner Party that I want to preview for my Year 5 kids)
two more hardcover Narnias to make our collection complete -- now I can sell the paperbacks!
Aliki's William Shakespeare
Dalgliesh's The Columbus Story (not as good as d'Aulaires' but couldn't pass up Dalgliesh)
The Age of Chivalry: The Illustrated Bulfinch's Mythology (a beautiful edition!)

What are you reading, friends?  Picked up any good books lately?

(Links above are affiliate links. I left un-linked the books that are recommended by AmblesideOnline because I'd prefer if you clicked over to their site and bought through their affiliate links. As always, thanks for your support!)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

{This and That}

First, the lovely Leah Boden invited me to contribute to her My Living Books Life series.  She was extremely patient with me while I handled the retreat, the end of our school year, and a nasty cold, but I finally got my little memoir to her and she has it up today!


Cate received her First Communion on Pentecost.  She was one of five girls to receive at our Traditional Latin Mass community, and it was a blessed day.

and there's vincent there in the front row of altarboys!
The week before, we had a May Crowning, and this year, all four of my girls were old enough to participate as flower girls.  Love.


We also had a few birthdays: Drew turned two and Justin turned six months.  I have a post coming later this week with their birthday books.

I just posted a video yesterday over on Instagram of Justin's "crawl," which is really more like a cross between inching-like-an-inchworm and doing a butterfly stroke.  He is more efficient than the video suggests when he has somewhere to be, but mostly, that's how he has gotten around for the past couple months. However, he just pulled himself up on the sofa to stand for the first time on his own yesterday, which he was extremely pleased about and I was...not.  So I think his days as a crawler are limited!


I've started Year 5 planning, which at this point means that I'm collecting pretty books into shelves and piles and staring at them excitedly.

But I'm hoping to get around to actually planning things this week!  First up: I'm going to figure out how I'm combining my Year 2 and Year 1 kids next year.  Wish me luck because that has been feeling like the sticking point for me.  (I'm considering something like Virginia Lee's Form I rotation but modified for our family.)


A lot of exciting opportunities have popped up lately in the Charlotte Mason videochat world!  It started, I think, with Amber's recent interview on Schole Sisters, in which she discussed finding community online--not just through type- or photo-based formats (like forums or Facebook, which are also great for building relationships with like-minded moms) but also through live video and voice discussions. I've tuned into webinars, (Peri-)scopes, and hosted video events for years, but live formats that allow for back-and-forth communication like an in-person discussion really have an advantage in lots of ways.

And now there are now a bunch of options in that vein available!  The lovely ladies at Mater Amabilis have started working through Mind to Mind in a monthly videochat, Jen is leading a live discussion on Circe Institute's Restful Teaching series, and I popped into Ashley's first Online Scriptorium last week.

And the opportunity I really wanted to share with you: Amber is also putting together some groups to go through Brandy's "Start Here" study guide over the next year through monthly live video-and-voice discussions. So if you have always wanted to join a Charlotte Mason study group but don't have interested moms close by or can't get out of the house for meetings, now is your chance!


The CM West Facebook page is getting busier!  West Coast friends, are you following?  I posted about wildflowers last week, and Amber shared her thoughts on our recent retreat.  I'm excited for the big plans we have in store for the West Coast CM community, including the Northern California Conference in the works for next February here in the Bay Area.  (You can bet I will be talking a lot about that in the coming months, and I'm hoping I'll see you there...maybe?)


A bit of late spring color on the ground and in the sky...

our wildflower bouquet after nature study

on my early-morning group run

Keeping Company is a bit quiet this month on the blog, but it's hopping over on Instagram!  If you'd like to participate, click around to read, link up, or tag.  I always enjoy what you ladies have to share!

This week I'll be sharing our Summer School plans.  We are already a third of the way through our "summer" break, so it's overdue! :)

Friday, May 20, 2016

The School Year in Review :: Years 4 and 1

This year went about as smoothly as a year with a baby born smack in the middle of it could go.  We started right after July 4th and finished at the beginning of April, with short breaks for Justin's birth, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Lent/Holy Week.

I know I shared all about our schedule for this year back in the fall, but I thought I'd update a bit about how it actually worked in practice...

As a reminder, this is what our ideal-day plan looked like this year:

Our days ran rather smoothly on these "rails." We certainly did not hold to this schedule every day!  But the structure was there when we needed it.

Some things shifted around a bit by the end of the year, even for our ideal days.  For example, the Latin and Italian in that "Work with Big Kids" block became independent work after Justin was born.  Also, I started having the kids stay outside until 11:30, which means that the Bathrooms + Floors chore time got switched to the pre-dinner hour most days.  I didn't do math with Cate daily--that pre-breakfast time slot is just itching to be used (my toddler sleeps in and littles are busy coloring usually), but I just can't seem to get going right out of the gate like that.  I'd much rather catch up online or read while I drink an extra cup of coffee.  That was definitely a discipline issue on my part!  Luckily, we school math year-round, so Cate will have plenty of math time with me in the summer.  Little things like these always creep up as we work through the year, but I just adjust and keep moving along.

The biggest benefit to having a schedule like this is the knowledge that if I do need to make sure we stay carefully on task in a given day, I can follow this schedule and everything will get done.  With a big family, it's valuable to know that there are indeed enough hours in the day for the items you are asking your children (and yourself!) to do.  Beyond that, there is plenty of room for flexibility within that routine.


As far as curriculum, we didn't adjust much at all.  (Here were my plans for Year 4 and for Year 1.)  We completed all of the readings we set out to cover in the fall, and we made satisfactory progress in our skill-based subjects. We switched out a couple of the memory work selections, and we did not get to all my handicraft plans. I did change one thing for the Big Kids: I added in Winston Grammar, one lesson per week, for Term 2 and 3, and we are liking it a lot.  We then apply the concepts used to our dictation passage for the week and are finding it to be a nice combination.


I promised to share how our Keeping went this year...

My Year 1 student kept a map for Paddle to the Sea.  (She chose the colors. ;))

She also started a simple timeline like my Big Kids have.

My Big Kids did quite a bit of Keeping for history and geography this year:

They so enjoyed working on these century charts.  We will definitely be doing this again next year for the 19th century!  I love how they each made different inclusions and presenting the people/events in different ways.

We read a California geography book this year, The Cruise of the Arctic Star, as well as a biography of Fr. Junipero Serra in Term 2.  They tracked the information from both of those readings on these blank watercolor maps they made at the beginning of the year.

They also kept maps for Minn of the Mississippi and our Revolutionary War history readings.  These should look very similar to the maps they used during Term 3 exams.

And they requested to start a Reading Log, so I printed out a simple form for them to use.  Here's an example from my book-loving daughter:

I'm preparing a Reading Log they can keep in a notebook for next year, but this was a nice start to the practice.


My Year 4 students have been doing one written narration a week this year.  During our "babymoon," I increased it to two written narrations a week to lighten my load a little: one on Fabre's Storybook of Science and one on a book of choice.  (I have very chatty narrators, so it takes me far less time to read a narration and discuss it with them than it does to listen to their oral versions!)  I also mentioned that rather than just a straightforward prose narration, as they had been doing, they could also choose to let their narration take a more creative form (a poem, a play, an illustrated paragraph, and so on).

In Term 3, Gianna continued with two written narrations by choice and really let her dramatic-poetic side come out.  Writing is an activity she truly loves, and I wanted to share a few of my particular favorites. (If you're interested in reading some of her work, click to enlarge.)

As you will notice, most of her creative narrations are humorous too, with lots of inside jokes with me.  (Like those morals! LOL)  I had no idea that we would bond over her writing, but it has been so fun!  She leaves her narration on my desk and then giggles until I read it. ;)  I share these because I really feel like this is where personality can develop in a writer when one doesn't force them into a composition "formula."


So the year ended, and we celebrated with a teatime treat and, naturally, books! I make a habit of putting aside used books I pick up that somehow connect to this term's readings.  It's a lot of fun to come across books on similar topics (the kind that in another style of learning, I might pull as part of my kids' lessons and overload the schedule!) to add to an end-of-the-year celebration package.  And bonus: my kids get to read a bit more about the topics that interested them from our school year during their free time.  

The Life of Buffalo Bill (a vintage comic book version of his biography)
A First Book of Brahms (easy arrangements for my younger kids)
Brenner's The Boy Who Loved To Draw (a picture book about Benjamin West)
Edmonds' Drums Along the Mohawk (historical fiction set in the Revolutionary Era for me -- NOT for the kids)
Schneider's Rocks, Rivers, and the Changing Earth (a tie-in with Madam How and Lady Why)
Farjeon's Kings and Queens (couldn't resist after getting her Heroes and Heroines for Christmas)
Coatsworth's The Fair American (Bethlehem Books reprinted this historical fiction book that fits nicely into Y4 studies--it's part of a series)
a vintage edition of Robinson Crusoe (abridged, but I thought they'd enjoy looking at these very different and very fun illustrations now that they have read it)
Yolen's Apple for the Teacher (another songbook)
Paul Revere's Ride (illustrated by Paul Galdone -- we already have the one illustrated by Ted Rand)
Leeming's Fun With Paper (they're very into origami right now, so I know this sloyd book will be a hit!)

If you're wanting to homeschool using AmblesideOnline but worried that your kids won't connect with one another if they're not all studying the same period in history: don't be! Even though I grabbed Buffalo Bill with Cate (my Year 1 student) in mind, the kids agreed that it rightfully belongs to everyone since they all loved listening in. On the other hand, Xavier and Cate were riveted by Paul Revere's Ride (a Year 4 poetry selection). Thanks to Madam How and Lady Why, we have been making comments about landforms as we drive along all year--so much so that even though earth science is scheduled for Year 4, Cate wants Vincent to read her Rocks, Rivers, and the Changing Earth because she thinks it will have "more about earthquakes and volcanoes and mountains and stuff."  (It does, and it was a wonderful recommendation from one of my Mater Amabilis friends.)  And Kings and Queens--well, that is certainly for everyone!  Gianna has been reading relevant bits from each person's year to entertain us all.  Brahms was a family subject, as were the folk songs that inspired Apple for the Teacher.  And Xavier grabbed up Fun with Paper, which I intended for my Big Kids, and is attempting to decipher instructions despite not being able to read all that well!  There is so much combined learning going on around here despite each student having his own "year."

Last but not least, we also took a trip to the theater for a performance of The Winter's Tale to celebrate.

Shakespeare is probably my kids' favorite reading, and Gianna in particular memorizes lots and lots of lines for fun and is dying to act.  Thanks to Amber's recent posts on her Shakespeare club, I'm starting on a plan for fulfilling that need!


We have about two months of vacation left before we start back up in July.  In the meantime, I've got Year 5, Year 2, and another round of Year 1 to plan!  We also do a light summer session, so we've still got a Morning Basket going and some short daily tasks.  More about those another time.

So are you almost finished up with the school year?  Any special ways to finish off the last term?