We studied Germany during two half weeks- the week of Thanksgiving and the beginning of the next week, before I left with Shortstop to go across the country and give my family a hand with things. So it was a long time ago and I hardly remember anything about what we did. I do have a list of the books we read-
1. Exploring Countries- Germany – I like this series. We’ve used this series to read about each country we’ve studied. These books have great pictures, good information that the kids are interested in, and a list of words like “Hello,” “Goodbye,” and “Friend” in the language of the country (and how to pronounce them).
2. The Fisherman and His Wife – a Grimm’s fairy tale about contentment. We liked it, though the real message went a little over the kids’ heads. That’s ok.
3. Into the Castle– this was a very simple story that we all loved. We read it a couple of time and it truly was a hit with all three of the older children. It had really great illustrations too.
4. Robert Browning’s Pied Piper of Hamelin– the language was very old and rich. The story was good and the kids didn’t fully understand it. I expected that- but now they have been introduced to the tale. The next time they read it, they will understand it better.
5. Rapunzel retold and illustrated by Sarah Gibb- this was my daughter’s favorite book. Not only of the week, but probably her favorite book we’ve read all year. She held this by her side for most of the day, several days that we had this one. I think I’ll have to get it for her for her birthday. Anyway, this is a lovely version of the fairy tale and it is beautifully illustrated.
So that is all I remember of our studies of Germany. Last week and a little into this week, however, we studied Russia. We also got back into our phonics and math work. So here are the highlights of the past 2-ish weeks-
Bible: We’ve started afresh in the story of Moses. One day, X-man decided he wanted to draw and illustrate the story I read from the Bible- the story of Moses and the Burning Bush. We started learning the hymn, “On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand.”
We continue to work their weekly Awana verses and we haven’t started a new “virtue of the month” yet, but I’m contemplating doing honesty (because of the new book we’ve started this week).
“Trip Around the World”: We read a number of books in our study of Russia. We read the book from the Exploring Countries series. (Russian words are hard to pronounce! The only one I was able to pronounce at all was “Do svidaniya!” since it is sung in the animated movie Anastasia and my sister and I spent many fun hours singing songs from that soundtrack.) Then we read Peter and the Wolf, Clever Katya, The Tale of the Firebird, and The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship. X-man gave me a very good narration from Peter and the Wolf and really appreciated Peter’s bravery and cleverness. My daughter especially enjoyed Clever Katya because of the last page, when she gets married, she looks very beautiful. She also enjoyed The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship because of the princess at the end. All of these tales were very enjoyable and quite interesting to me as well.
Phonics: We visited Grandma’s house last week. She has a fun set of simple word puzzles. The word is on one half and the picture is on the other. X-man and I sat and he read the word and then found the picture that matched. He lined them up in a particular order and then when we finished matching all of the words, he told me a story using the words in order. This is a game he and Grandma came up with and I think it is pure genius! What a great game!
When we got home, we worked through a couple of phonics lessons from The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading. I introduced the blends we were focusing on, he read a few words off the white board, and then I had flashcards with words I wrote that contained the blends. I had written pairs of rhyming words. So after reading them all, he matched the rhyming words. He enjoyed this- he thought of it as a game!
While I worked with Princess K- she wanted to read and match the rhyming words too!- X-man played with our String-A-Word phonics activity- he did great with creating the words and identifying the missing initial letter. Princess K had a lot of fun reading each word. As soon as she figured out the word, she explained to me- with hand motions- what the word meant. She got a little confused with the word “moss,” though. She explained, “Like when you moss the floor,” as she did a very good impression of mopping the floor.
Math: I am really loving our RightStart Math program. We work with problems on the abacus, sing math songs, play number games, and just have fun. I am definitely noticing a great improvement in their understanding of mathematical concepts. X-man especially enjoys this- he tells me that he likes doing the “numbers” part of school better than the “letters” part of school. Princess K tells me that she likes the “drawing” part of school best.
We finished with Russia early on in the week and have started studying the countries of Scandinavia. With this, we’ve started reading Pippi Longstocking, and the kids are absolutely loving this story. They think she is hilarious and she is, although we do have to talk about how lying is not a good idea (and thus, I think honesty might be the next “virtue of the month”). They beg to read the next chapter every time finish. It is fun to see them get so excited about a story. We’ll finish our studies of Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark (and I think we’ll throw the Netherlands in there too) next week.