This week was especially fun as we made room in our schedule to delve into our Five in a Row selection, Wee Gillis (Munro Leaf), and to submerse ourselves in learning about Scotland. Eric studied the ordering of numbers up to 5 (although he actually can count to 11), the letter Dd, relative size, patterns, sequencing narratives through pictures, and more.

Katie continued with proper nouns; daily journal entries that focus on capitalization, complete sentences, word spacing, spelling, and punctuation; phonics; reading practice; ordering steps in a process; addition strategies (doubles, and doubles +1); vertical addition; translating word problems into number sentences; penmanship/copywork; map reading; and more. She took a history test on the seven continents, four oceans, natural resources, and United States neighbors: she earned a solid “A” on her test, and her confidence is building. Mine is, too: I am pleased to see both formal and informal evidence of her learning in our schooling model. Toward the end of the week, she also took a Chapter 2 math test and also earned an “A” on that test. It’s going well. Our biggest area to improve is getting her to remember those writing conventions we’re working on, particularly spacing between words and letter sizing in small spaces. I have been giving her tricks for this, and I think what it amounts to at this point is just practice, practice, practice—just like it did for me when I was in first grade!




Eric uses our apple cards to put the numbers in order


Our “Dd is for dump truck” project—thanks Pinterest! Seriously, what a great resource if you are a person who likes to curate.


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We had “Dd is for dirt cups” as a snack this week, too.

In Wee Gillis, the main character is a Scottish boy who must determine whether he will spend his life with family in the highlands stalking stags or with his family in the lowlands calling cows. In the end, he decides to become a bagpiper in the middle of both places. He has spent his life building up his lung capacity and breath control by calling for the cows in the mist and by sitting silent as a stone in the highlands, so he can play the biggest bagpipes in all of Scotland.

We had so much fun with the science of sound and breathing this week!

First, we made a model of a human lung using part of a tonic water bottle, a balloon, a rubber band, and a bag. The balloon was the lung, and the bag functioned as the diaphragm. Katie wrote down our materials for our experiment:




Playing with our model lung:

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Eric learned, too!


Soccer practice: holding hands with a new friend




Math test happiness!



Eric used autumn themed pattern cards and manipulatives (thanks, Susan!) to practice math concepts. He loves the bats, squirrels, and owls.


Art: practicing cross hatching, just like that used in Wee Gilis.



We made some chocolate Scottish shortbread—had a bit, and gave some away!



Patting the shortbread dough into our shortbread pan.


Festive for Scotland week!




Art: we looked up several examples of tartan and then practiced painting some!



Katie memorized part of Robert Burns’ poem “My Heart’s in the Highlands” and performed it for us.



What is sound? Sound is vibration, the pushing away of air…

And we also made a pretend bagpipe from a paper bag, cardboard tubing, and construction paper:




The bagpipes inspired us to dig back out our balalaika project that we made when Katie was about 3 years old and to repair it. Kiddos had a jam!

This week has started off with a bit of the autumn sniffles, but we’re getting business done. It is “Ee for elephant” week here, and Eric is starting to do a bit more bookwork, as well. Katie is finishing up a botany unit, and we’re also off on one of our own tangents: she is super interested in Jane Goodall right now, and we finished a biography and have been viewing as much as we can about her and her chimps on YouTube. Both the kiddos are enjoying a nightly nonfiction reading about the Sioux indians (it has lots of pictures but is quite lengthy, so we’ve been breaking it up into bits). Katie is continuing with addition strategies, but we’re also stepping back into subtraction at the same time.

We will also be taking time to enjoy the season. We went to Oak Glen this past weekend for apple picking, and we’ve been spending some time each day using our apple harvest in the kitchen. We also want to decorate for Halloween this week, and we have my cousin’s baby shower (for which I am planning the four games and prizes) this weekend. Little less than two weeks, also, before my half-marathon. I’ve been keeping mileage up, and also have been having new PRs/PBs during my speed work runs (3.3 miles in 25 minutes has been my best so far). This is a gloriously full and beautiful autumn!