Last Few Weeks’ Wrap-up

Schoolwork has been routine these past few weeks.

We’re so close to wrapping up math! Only four more lessons and we’re done. They’re all review lessons. We wrapped up the year with G knowing his multiplication and division tables up through the fives. He has completed his addition and subtraction facts; we went all the way to the 20 family. He’ll spend his summer break reviewing all these facts ad nauseum, because Abeka’s 3rd grade math course dives right into things with the expectation that these facts are all completely mastered.

We’re halfway through his English textbook and are about to finish up our unit on pronouns, so that will be a perfect stopping place for the summer break. We have four days’ worth of review work left, and then he’ll have a final unit test. So he’ll finish this year having learned nouns, verbs, and pronouns. Next year we’ll pick back up where we left off, and he’ll learn adjectives and adverbs, as well as a unit on putting everything together with proper usage.

We have nine more lessons left in G’s writing course, so we should finish that up within two weeks. We’ve so enjoyed this course, and G’s ability to write independently has improved dramatically. A really neat thing that’s happened over the past few weeks is that some of our weekly selections have been about ancient Greece (Athens and Sparta), and very coincidentally, our history lessons have also been covering ancient Greece. For example, we’d read and G would summarize a passage about the daily lives of Spartan boys (very brutal, in case you aren’t familiar), and then our history lesson would cover Sparta and would also mention their harsh practices, including toward their children.
We’ve also covered selections from great works of fiction, including The Hobbit, some Hans Christian Anderson tales, and a couple of whimsical poems (Rebecca: Who Slammed Doors for Fun and Perished Miserably had G giggling all the way throughout).

History has covered the aforementioned ancient Greeks, as well as the Persians and Israelites. We’ve just finished up a quarter that stopped with the book of Malachi in the Old Testament, and we started a new quarter (the final quarter in this book, Volume I of The Mystery of History) this week. It started off with Plato and Aristotle, and it looks like we’ll be on to King Philip of Macedonia and Alexander the Great next week. We won’t finish up this book by the end of the year, but will pick it back up next year. I’ll have to find a stopping place in a couple of weeks—probably a good place would be when Rome takes over control of the ancient world, which is coming up pretty quickly after Alexander.

We finished up all of our Journey to the Cross lessons as of yesterday. I can’t recommend this book enough for the Easter season. I learned so much from it! There are so many little details regarding the end of Jesus’ life that I’d never known or completely understood, but now I do. For instance, the Bible says that after Jesus arose, he folded his facecloth neatly and placed it by where he’d lain. But do you know the significance of that small detail? In Jewish culture during those days, the practice was for dinner guests to use their napkin to signal what they thought of the meal. If a guest enjoyed the meal very much, he would crumple his napkin and leave it in the middle of his bowl. But if he hadn’t enjoyed the meal and didn’t intend to come back to that house to eat again, he would fold his napkin neatly and lay it to the side. So think about it, and you’ll see what Jesus thought of his whole death experience. I loved that! And the book is full of little details like that.

G has done a lot of independent reading since my last update, but I can’t remember a lot of the selections. He read a couple of Henry Huggins books, which he liked, but not as much as the Ramona books. He also read Pick of the Litter, a book about a boy who visits his grandpa for the summer and falls in love with a particular puppy that was born, but has to deal with the fact that his grandpa had promised that puppy to someone else. G liked this book okay, but was bored with it for a long time at first, because it took nearly twenty chapters before they even introduced the puppy. He is currently reading Stuart Little and is enjoying it very much.

G has busied himself lately with doing lots of planting out in his section of the yard. He’s been digging up little weeds and bushes near the woods and transplanting them to a little section of yard he’s designated for “his” plantings. When inside, he’s been writing up tutorials detailing how to transplant and plant, with illustrations of each step. He’s done a dozen other little writing and art projects over this time as well—he’s always doing something like that, and he always keeps himself busy that way. It’s amazing what creative ventures a child will come up with when they’re not in front of a TV or video game console. Those mindless intrusions—especially the latter—make me so sad for this generation coming up. This reminds me-
G has spent a good deal of time with our neighbor lately, an older widower who lives down in the woods to the side of us. Mr. H has a fascinating, lovely yard with a fish pond, a garden, and a myriad of plants and trees. He’s into woodworking and has made several old-fashioned toys for the boys lately. He likes to buy a bunch of crickets at the bait store and calls the boys over to “help” him feed them to the fish in his pond. It’s sweet because he’s really enjoying their company when he would otherwise just be by himself. And the boys love the time over there because there are so many unusual things for them to do. I absolutely love this neighborhood! Aside from the couple our age living next door, all our other immediate neighbors are seniors—most are widows living alone (or in Mr. H’s case, a widower). The atmosphere is classy, friendly and caring—and quiet. Except for when the neighbor girls are outside; then it’s loud! But not the bad kind of loud. And, like most other kids these days, they’re hardly ever outside. A real shame.

I’ll update again when we finish up. No more than two more weeks and we are on summer break! 🙂

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