Friday, February 19, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up

We had a wonderful week, and it was due in part to the fact that we had fewer activities than we normally do.  I'd already been of the mindset that we are overscheduled, and now I am sure of it.  What to cut out remains a big problem.  So for now, we will soldier on.

A highlight of our week was Russell Freedman's excellent The Adventures of Marco Polo, which is one of AO's recommendations. The book includes not only beautiful illustrations by Bagram Ibatoulline, but also archival art, such as depictions of illuminated manuscripts and medieval and Renaissance paintings. To add to our study, I found online an interactive map of Marco Polo's travels. AO also recommends a Metropolitan Museum of Art site called "In the Footsteps of Marco Polo." I found this site fascinating, but it was a bit too "old" for the girls. Older middle schoolers and high schoolers would find it more intriguing. I especially enjoyed the Journey map, which offers clickable links of various locations, some with sound featuring Polo's own words of description. Even if your children aren't ready for a complete Met "tour" of the exhibit themselves, you can spend some time here and then pass along information you glean during your family readings. A visit here will greatly enrich your Polo studies.

For Bible study, the girls are presently ensconced in their own individual devotions, which they are enjoying.  Miss Priss's is Chick Chat: Devotions for Girls, and Tiny Girl's is God and Me! 3.  Each day also included copywork, MEP math and times tables quizzes, French, piano practice, poetry, and memory work.  Miss Priss and I continued with Latin twice a week.  Grammar included a lesson from English for the Thoughtful Child 1 and Many Luscious Lollipops: A Book about Adjectives.  They also made an adjective poster by cutting out adjectives from magazines and then gluing them to a small piece of cardstock.  We've done the same before with nouns and verbs.

Our readings included The Heroes, by Charles Kingsley; Secrets of the Woods, by William J. Long, which we all love; The Story of Inventions, by Michael J. McHugh and Frank P. Bachman; and Pilgrim Stories: From Old Homes to New, by Margaret Pumphrey, which we enjoy.  In Our Island Story, we learned about Richard III and the princes in the tower.  I found loads of information on the Tower of London official website "History and Stories" page.  There's even a slideshow of prisoners through the years, a timeline of events, and many other helps for history study.  The site is wonderful for bringing history to life.

We have been studying Van Gogh over the past few weeks.  This week, we looked at the painting "Vincent's Bedroom in Arles."  The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam hold this work, which they title "The Bedroom," in its permanent collection, and provides an informative write-up on its website here.  The museum also offers a coloring page of this painting here.  Both girls are working on a coloring page with their nice color pencils.  Above is Tiny Girl's effort and the postcard reproduction she is copying.  (I bought the 24-card set, available here from Dover Publications.)  Another website,, has a larger depiction of the painting, an even more in-depth article, and an excerpt from Van Gogh's letter to his brother, Theo, describing the painting.  His words in the letter give us an idea of how much thought he put into his paintings.

We also entered our data from the Great Backyard Bird Count.  We found our numbers dropped severaly after the unaccustomed snowfall.  We supposed these Southern birds stayed huddled in their nests to keep warm!

All in all, a wonderful week!


  1. It is so easy to get wrapped up in too many activities, isn't it?
    I like the art-card set!

  2. Isn't it funny how much WE learn as the teachers (commenting on your comments about the Marco Polo book)?

  3. It's amazing how much time the extra curricular activities can suck from our schedule! What great topics of study, Van Gogh would be interesting.


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