We started out our semester buying a new chair for each of them (and more Lego storage)

We have quite a bit of time to make up for after last semester – at least where Penelope’s logged hours are concerned – so we wasted no time jumping right on in.

The girls both completed an hour a week of piano lessons. I hope to get that up to at least two hours a week soon.

Katie (our cat) left a Blue Jay for us so, naturally, we spent the better part of an afternoon studying about them. We used various books we have here at the house, as well as hearing their call and reading John Audubon’s journal here.

…and we buried it in a sunny spot, as we do to all dead animals our cats leave for us.

We all enjoy world history, so within the last year / year and a half, the girls and I have read through the Story of the World series (Vol. 1-3) as chapter books, popping in on topics as they pertain to our lessons. Now that the girls are older (mind you, they are six and eight., not ‘old’ by any means), we are starting at the beginning once again, this time we will include projects and expand our reading using other resources along the way.

Our first topic was the first nomads and the first farmers. They’ve always been one of Mae’s favorite people to learn about.

We watched Primitive Technology on many lunch breaks. We also watched Season 3, episodes 5 & 6 of Tales by Light on Netflix about the Australian aboriginal culture. The girls practiced building a tiny primitive hut (based on one built by the Primitive Technology guy) and built a model of the first farmer’s irrigation situation – minus a shaduf. They plan on building a slightly larger model of that.

(Snow and rain have stopped construction, but she will finish the hut when the weather allows.)

Mae set up a campfire scene after watching Tales by Light. They “cooked” apples, danced, and pretended to nap when the fire died out.

Sunset by the beach, by Mae

The night sky through a crack in a canyon, by Rae

Last month’s Little Passports country was France. We didn’t have time to study it much, so we extended it over into January.

We’ve begun cooking our way through In the French Kitchen with Kids cookbook – and boy is it delicious! Crepes so far are their favorite. I hope to cook every item in there before the semester is over.

The girls each did a report and portrait of Oscar-Claude Monet. They also did their own painting in his painting style. They chose landscape images from the internet they liked and spent the entire month painting it – typically for three or more hours at a time. – BUT- the girls were completely annoyed with the technique, so when they had nearly given up (having one week left to finish them) I told Mae she could paint hers in her own style.

They’re now seeing Monet everywhere – like in this sunset, spotted by Mae.

During read-aloud time (where they listen to me read to them or an audiobook) they chose to play with Mad Matter sand, playdough, Legos, weave on the lap loom or worked on their Monet paintings.

On not very blustery days we spent as much time as we could outside. On a whim one morning we went fishing at the lake (those shorts are a lie – it was pretty unbearable) and on a separate whim, we drove down the road to the river just to walk around and skip rocks.

Now that both girls are reading, we spent, I would say, the majority of our school days reading. I need to focus on spelling, but for now, they are becoming incredible readers, so I’m going to see how their writing improves through reading.

And finally, in their eagerness for spring (always trying to savor each season while impatiently dreaming of the next one), they are beginning to get things moving in the garden department. Sprouting onions, scouting out where the strawberries should go and choosing which flowers they will plant this year. I’m still trying to figure out which lessons we should study in regards to plant life when the time comes. We’ve studied worms, plant companions, and decomposition in past years.