Since I haven't posted a weekly report in forever, I thought I'd try to at least summarize our first quarter. All things considered, it wasn't horrible (given all that happened), but it certainly wasn't the best either!

In a nutshell, after the kitchen fire that started our school year, we had to temporarily move out of our house while repairs were being done, and then move everything back in - an exhausting amount of work! While that was going on, my husband was laid off, my neck/shoulder/upper back problems returned (they'll require surgery, again), and my two in public school decided to stop doing all of their schoolwork (resulting in a lot of ongoing conflict). It's been rather crazy around here!

Here's what we managed for school during the first quarter:


We continued our weekly work in Faith and Life: Following Christ and Ignatius Schuster's Illustrated Bible History. We briefly experimented with Faith and Life Online, but decided that it would not work for us.

We wrapped up our study of Saint Dominic, but did not begin another saint biography since this was the single most complained about aspect of our day. With all the other reading I've had the kids doing, the biography was too much, did not hold their interest, and they weren't remembering anything they read from day-to-day. I'm disappointed because I love the Windeatt biographies and Race for Heaven study guides!  


Steady daily work in Teaching Textbooks 6 and 7 (one lesson per day) - no complaints whatsoever!


Unfortunately, science got seriously neglected during our first quarter. With all the disruptions we had due to the fire, it just didn't happen like it needed to. I believe we completed three chapters, and that's it. Truthfully, I'm not really enjoying CPO Life Science - it doesn't really seem ideal for a non-science person (like myself) to teach. J finds it too easy and M finds it too hard, so I don't know, but I'm hoping for a better second quarter.


In history, we completed three chapters in BJU's American Republic, five "living books" from the supplemental reading schedule outlined here, and plenty of 'miscellaneous' reading. I intentionally went very slow this quarter so that we could enjoy mini-units like the one below, but I think that one textbook chapter over three weeks was entirely too slow!

I had wanted a greater emphasis on People's History this year, and so we've also been following the "Occupy" movement closely since its inception, discussing it a great deal. Some of us have had the opportunity to show our support at Occupy Portland as well.

The most enjoyable thing we did was a mini-unit on flatboats and river transportation history - M got really into this unit and became quite the flatboat expert! Here are some of the highlights:

"Mississippi Trist" game board

Homemade vocabulary cards

Language Arts


M read/studied:
  • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, supplemented by The Real Alice by Anne Clark [nonfiction]
  • Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti (we used a 1979 edition from the library - shown at right, illustrated by Ellen Raskin)
  • The Princess and the Goblin* by George MacDonald
*This was by far her favorite and she's now reading the sequel, The Princess and Curdie.

J read/studied [in an outside class]:
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  • Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
For M, I continued to use the reader response cards that I had made (details here) and they've been working quite well.

Reader Response Cards for Literature


We finished the first portion of Grammar Town, but I don't think we'll be continuing with it as it is simply too teacher-intensive for me right now. For the second quarter, we'll be resuming work from Voyages in English (Loyola Press).


M continued to work on her French cursive daily using the M├ęthod Boscher books we'd purchased, she is doing beautifully. J worked on weekly handwriting assignments from the Time Travelers Early 19th Century CD.


We've managed six weeks of Susan Wise Bauer's Writing with Skill for Composition (we started this later in the quarter) and so far, so good.


We continued twice weekly work in the Maps, Charts and Graphs workbook, but the Geography and Culture task cards haven't gone over so well. M has been working on geography in an outside class, so I hadn't stressed about it too much, but now that the class has ended, I'll have to come up with a new plan.

Foreign Language

Progress has been slow in French I (So You Really Want To Learn French), mainly because we failed to do anything in the subject for several weeks. However, work has resumed, and M is doing extremely well. She has an excellent memory, which helps a lot, but has already shown a preference for translating written material to speaking the language.

J is doing poorly in Japanese I - he didn't want me to formally schedule anything in the language for him, and instead has been plugging away on his own when he feels like it (which isn't often now that he's discouraged by it).