Wrapping Up Week 2 (2016-17)

weekly wrap-up
During this second week of school things seemed to take a lot less time.  Now that they know what to expect, the boys are zipping through their work fairly quickly.  Elijah has even been diving into his independent work first thing in the morning, so sometimes he’s already gotten a good chunk done before breakfast!  His Veritas Press Self-Paced Course on Genesis – Joshua only has 4 lessons each week, but I’d like him to finish the course by Christmas break so he can do Judge – Kings in the second half of the school year.  Luckily, he’s highly motivated (he even did lessons on Saturday and Sunday), so I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.  He’s usually done with Bible before I even get up.


Talking ShapesAs I shared in a separate post, Arianna and Nico’s preschool activities this week were all tied to the story of “The Three Bears.” On the computer Arianna got a little deeper into Talking Shapes, with which we’d gotten off to a rocky start last week.  It’s been really good for reinforcing some of what she’s already learned on  Reading Eggs, only at a slower pace and focusing on consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) words.  I have had a hard time getting her to try any sort of reading apart from Reading Eggs, so this had been a great confidence booster for her.


I like the balance we have this year of subjects I cover with the boys and some that they can do independently.  I’m there to help them as they go through their Bible, math and grammar, but aside from introducing new grammar concepts on Mondays, I really just check in with them occasionally on those subjects.  Then I get to spend the bulk of my teaching time covering the things I love, like history, biographies, and literature.


Light and the GloryIn The Light and the Glory for Children we read chapter 3, which talked about the Spanish missionaries who came to the New World to bring the light of the gospel to the Native Americans.

We also studied some California history this week, both because it fit here chronologically and because we’ll be spending some time around the state next week.  Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo was an explorer who doesn’t often get mentioned outside of California, but he is an important figure here, being the first European to explore the California coast.  I read a little about him from various sources and then summarized for my kids as they colored a page about him.

Cabrillo coloring page


Junipero SerraOur biography tied in directly with our history lesson.  We read about Junipero Serra, using both an older book I inherited from a teacher years ago, Father Junipero Serra the Traveling Missionary, to cover his early years, and then Junipero Serra: Founder of the California Missions.  I actually really liked the first book, but it didn’t have as many illustrations, and those it did have weren’t in color, so I opted for the second as our main reading.  It had vibrant color illustrations and still focused on Serra’s missionary mindset, which was why I wanted the boys to learn about him.  We followed up by watching the first part of Inside the California Missions, a DVD Grandma had bought for us one time when she was touring a mission.

Father Serra has become a controversial figure in recent years.  The Pope canonized him as a saint in 2015, which upset many people who view him through a modern lens and object to the Spanish treatment of the Native Californians.  However, I think we need to be cautious about judging historical figures against current standards, so while we discussed those aspects of his life, our focus was on his primary motivation, which was to serve the Lord and spread the gospel to the local people.

Father Serra copywork


Island of the Blue DolphinsLast week with the older boys I started reading Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell, to go along with our focus on early California history.  They both loved the time each afternoon when I would read to them as they played or finished up work from the morning, often begging me to keep going.  This week I read several chapters a day so that we could finish it by Friday.  I just found out there’s an old movie of the story, so we’re still hoping to watch that.

Throughout the week I had the boys work on labeling a blank map of California, marking major cities, places we’ve been or will be visiting, and San Nicolas (the “Island of the Blue Dolphins”).

 labeled map of California


So far we really like Foreign Language For Kids By Kids, but since it repeats the same video for several lessons, I wanted supplement it a little while I made sure my kids were absorbing the vocabulary.  We supplemented this week with the first Salsa episode, which also covers the words “grande,” “Pequena,” and “me gusta.”  Like FL4K, it is an immersion program, so the only thing the were hearing was Spanish.  They loved how much they could understand.  (Ian and I have used the Salsa program and the lessons that go along with it before, and the other kids have seen some of the videos, but it’s been a long time, so it was the perfect thing to pull out this week.)

The boys had fun this week using the FL4K stickers, especially “me gusta” and “no me gusta.”  I kept opening the fridge and finding labels on things Ian doesn’t like.


Upcoming Reviews

We’re enjoying several products right now, so watch for these reviews in the next few weeks (may contain affiliate links):