Friday, April 16, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up: Excelsior!

Excelsior! seems a fitting title, since we read Longfellow's poem by the same name this morning.  I had to look it up online to find out what, exactly, "excelsior" means.  Seems like I knew the definition once upon a time, but no longer.  In case you're in the dark as well, "excelsior," translated from Latin, means "ever higher" or "onward and upward."  (Thanks, Wikipedia!)

And it's doubly fitting since I'm ending this week with that philosophy in mind, despite having some serious doubts about our approach to math and falling a tad behind due to illness (mine).  We caught up by Friday, and I'm feeling better about math (see my two previous posts for more info).

In order to keep things moving along during my illness, the girls worked quite a bit in the BrainQuest workbooks this week.  We managed to complete all our scheduled readings, too.  A highlight this week was Marco Polo's account of the "gold-teeth people" in The Adventures of Marco Polo, by Russell Freedman.  We also enjoyed learning about Bartholomew Diaz and Vasco da Gama in The Discovery of New Worlds, by M. B. Synge.

We've been gently studying Van Gogh over the last few months (you can read my post about the IMAX film about Van Gogh that we saw here).  This week, we read Van Gogh, by Mike Venezia, in the "Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists" series.  This is the first we've read in this series, and I found the book to be engaging and child-friendly.  Of course, there's no getting around the fact of Van Gogh's suicide, which has prompted several discussions about Van Gogh's particular genius, his obsession with painting, and his state of mind.

Our zinnia seeds have sprouted in the raised-bed garden.  They are the only ones yet to show themselves.  The girls and I are anxious for the others to sprout, too.

My huge azalea mass has come into its glory.  I love these shrubs!  Himself and I talk of pruning them back throughout the year, and in the summer they do seem a bit blowsy, but then spring rolls around again and we leave them be.  We have other grandiose white azaleas mass planted as well, but they burst fully into bloom about a week later and the flowers are smaller.  The one below is my favorite.

And I'll leave you with a photo of Jasper, who continues to grow and delight us (and jump up on the couch, and run off with hats, and. . .).  He is our sweet boy!

Homemade pizza dough is in the bread machine, it's gorgeous and warm outside, and I can hear the girls playing.  My book awaits me this evening, Emily Davis, by Miss Read, and it's Friday.

Excelsior, indeed!


  1. Oh, oh, Emily Davis ...... (hugs self and smiles into mug of cocoa ...)

  2. Sweet week, you guys are the homeschooling weigh lifters I'm going to call you, day in day out working on amazing books, poetry, studies, and still time to post these amazing pictures of your garden and JASPER. Oh, what a cute cute face, he has you all wrapped around his finger, that I can tell.

  3. Your Azaleas are AMAZING and your puppy is TOO CUTE!!!

    Also, I am glad to see you kept 'em schooling even when you were sick- I am SO BAD at doing that! When Mama don't feel good, seems like a good day to take a break...

  4. Your azalea is gorgeous! My mom had those when I was growing up and I loved them :)

  5. Lovely plants, cute doggie, looks like a good week was had by all. Thanks for sharing!



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