This week our first week back from spring break so work was kept much lighter than usual as we all struggled to get back into the old familiar routine of school.


We did not do any work out of Faith and Life: Following Christ this week, and honestly, now I'm questioning my decision to begin using it so late in the year. Since I really love the curriculum, I may just save it for next year. The kids were quite busy this week with first communion preparation at church, athough that is still nearly a month away. I've been working like mad at decluttering the house (my goal for Lent), and so far, so good, though there's still an awful lot to do!


I kept history as simple as possible this week. The kids continued studying the American Revolution with BJU's American Republic and watched 3 episodes per day of Liberty's Kids. I think they've actually learned more from the DVD's than the textbook, but the textbook stresses them out pretty badly!

They were a bit behind in world history, so I had them read 28 pages per day from Horrible Histories: The Gorgeous Georgians and The Vile Victorians. This was essentially the entire book on the Georgians. In addition, they had reading from The Usborne History of Britain. This weekend we'll be watching a DVD that just arrived from Amazon UK: At Home with the Georgians, though I suspect this will appeal to me far more than it appeals to them! A review of the 3-part series can be found here: Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3.


Math was as uneventful as ever. M's working on geometry and J finished up his unit on fractions. They're both pretty much done with their books, so I think I'm going to have them do Khan Academy math for the remainder of the year, maybe.

Language Arts

In Voyages in English grammar, the kids studied singular and plural possessive nouns, nouns showing joint and separate possession, appositives and appositive phrases. We did quite a bit of extra work on these since they both found them difficult. In writing, they worked on dictionary skills.

We did not learn any new terms from Figuratively Speaking this week. For literature, M continued reading The Doll People by Ann M. Martin and J continued reading Monkey: Folk Novel of China (a book that he insisted on). M is enjoying her book, while J is not.


This week finally included some art since I've been busy planning art for next year (it will happen!). When the kids were little, we used to do art every day. At that time, I worked in the industry and trying out new products and coming up with projects was a part of my job. Both M and J miss those days, and really, so do I. So, my goal is to incorporate more art into our lives from here on out (although this week, it seemed to take over). :-)

Over spring break, we watched two excellent documentaries: Herb and Dorothy and The Art of the Steal, both of which provoked some great discussions. One of the things we learned from Herb and Dorothy was that you don't have to be wealthy to collect art. I guess that should be obvious, but I'd honestly never thought about it before. This prompted J and I to spend some time on Etsy looking at original art, and as a result, we purchased a sketch from Berkshires artist Thor Wickstrom (one of his paintings will be next) and an abstract floral painting from California artist Linda Monfort:

The art arrived this week and was absolutely fabulous in person...the painting, in particular, just screams spring, doesn't it?! Also, M and I have become addicted to playing Master Pieces: The Curator's Game on my iPad - it's a terrific way to learn to appreciate the details in art, as well as memorize famous paintings and their creators.

This week's primary art project was a Giuseppe Arcimboldo-inspired collage, borrowed from Do Art!. When I first found the project I fell in love with it, but couldn't quite fit into my plans for next year, so I decided to do it right away. It helped that I had stacks of garden catalogs that I needed to do something with, since I didn't want to pack them when we move this summer. In the end, however, we mostly used the Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds Catalog which had big glorious pictures.

We reviewed all of Arcimboldo's allegorical portraits (links below), discussed our favorites and learned what an allegory is. As the kids began work on their projects, they occasionally stopped to browse through Arcimboldo's gallery again for inspiration, this time using Art Authority on my iPad. We used a half-sheet of white posterboard for the head, mounted on a half-sheet of black posterboard, so the finished portraits were BIG!

To make the assignment more difficult, I decided that they should use only fruits, vegetables or flowers for their faces, rather than painting on eyes and a mouth. By the time the challenge of composing a face was resolved (this took 3 days), they were pretty much done with the project. The clothing was rather thrown together and it shows!. Overall though, I think they turned out pretty good and they were (initially, at least) a lot of fun.


Vertumnus by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, Oil on panel, 1590

The Clown by M

Untitled by J

On Friday, we also attempted these ink creatures, though they weren't such a success. The kids enjoyed blowing the ink around far more than they enjoyed having to create something from their ink shapes.

Monster by J

Butterfly by M