The One Where a Kid Composed His Own Recorder Music and Made Craters in My Schoolroom


We finished our first week of the new school year!  It has gone remarkably smooth.  We haven’t had a start this good since Kindergarten.  I hope that I have hit on a curriculum that suits us.  We are basing our studies off of the Mother of Divine Grace syllabus with a few embellishments and alterations.  So far it seems to be just the right amount of scheduled lessons and free time.

It’s been a few weeks since my last wrap-up, so before we get to this week, I have to show you some pictures from our new church’s groundbreaking ceremony.  The bishop came to town!

Alex starts off every morning with math drill using XtraMath.  He’s been doing this for almost a month and I am seeing an improvement in his memorization of math facts.  Technically, he was supposed to have mastered all his addition facts in Math-U-See Alpha before moving on, but mastery is a bit of a vague word.  He can always tell me the right answer to an addition fact, but it isn’t always fast.  The drill is to help him speed up that recall.  We like the XtraMath drill much better than the online Math-U-See drill.  I also discovered this free video game that reinforces facts.

The biggest hit of the week has been learning to play the recorder.  MODG includes recorder lessons in the 2nd grade syllabus but then never mentions it in 3rd grade.  I can only assume that they mean to continue with the lessons since music theory is part of 3rd grade.  I completely chucked the MODG stuff for practical music instruction and have instead gone with Progressive Recorder by Learn to Play Music.  We went ahead and purchased the book for the theory instruction, but if you are more comfortable with teaching that on your own, Learn to Play Music has a YouTube channel full of instructional videos that you can access for free.  Their channel has a ton of videos, so if you are just looking for the beginning recorder playlist, you can easily find that on my own YouTube channel under liked playlists.

On Tuesday, we began studying our first composer, Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.  Alex was so inspired by this, plus the recorder lesson, that he sat down and composed his own music.

It was one of those delightful homeschool moments when your choice to live this life is affirmed.  It was soon squelched by one toddler biting another.

We were able to do nature journals once this week.  I’ll let you try to guess what our subject was based on Ryan’s drawing.  Look for an upcoming post for full details.

By Wednesday, I was very proud of myself for not cutting out any of the fun activities due to laziness.  The core stuff is simple enough to get through, but preparing a craft or activity can be draining.  But, I put on my big girl pants and did this week’s science experiment.  We are using Mr. Q’s Earth Science which includes the text, worksheets, tests, and experiments.  This week Alex studied space stuff.  I’m happy to say we all now know the difference between a meteoroid, meteor, and meteorite.  (LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION)

I began wearing out on Thursday.  By mid-day, I was dead tired and just wanted to sleep.  The two days of gray sky, cool temps, and soaking rain didn’t help, but I am not complaining about that.  It is usually above 100 degrees by now.  Still, continuous rain keeps us indoors just like searing sun, and after two days the natives were restless.  Josh barely took a nap which meant I was left navigating the afternoon activities with a toddler underfoot.  We skipped arts & crafts and drug out the sleeping bags for a pretend campout instead.

I do count Fridays as a school day, but I don’t have much planned beyond math practice, spelling tests, and a bit of history discussion.  The rest of the day is for fitting in activities that we missed during the week or just want to add.  This morning we are having a playdate with some friends.

First weeks (or quarters) are always petty good.  I certainly won’t be declaring this year a success just yet, but I really hope that MODG is the one for us.  I would like to get some curriculum consistency in my homeschool.

That’s it for our first week of school.  The other big news is that I finished the first set of Pocket Calendar Saints Cards for August 2014.  If that sounds like something you would be interested in, check them out.  See you next week!


This post is linked up to Weekly Wrap-Up hosted by Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

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Pocket Calendar Saints Cards for August 2014

Pocket Calendar Saints Cards

I am so excited to introduce my newest homeschool resource to you!  This is a set of FREE printable pocket calendar cards featuring August saints and feasts.  Take a look at a few of the cards in this set.

Click Here to Download the August 2014 Cards
(Please do not share this attachment directly.  Please do link to this webpage.)

These cards follow the liturgical calendar distributed by the USCCB with a few additions when there was a date without a memorial of any kind listed.  August also includes the optional cards seen below.

Each individual card is packed with liturgical information.

PRINTING INSTRUCTIONS:  These cards measure 3 inches by 2-7/8 inches when printed.  If you need smaller cards for your size calendar, I suggest printing the pdf at a percentage of the original.  I have this pocket chart (affiliate link) and print my cards at 80%.  These cards are designed to fit the standard Lakeshore Learning pocket calendar seen in the photo at the top of the post.

REUSEABLE:  My plan is to improve the image quality of these cards, and then create a new set each month for the next year.  When August 2015 rolls around, I will create a new set in addition to a supplement set.  Feel free to laminate and keep your cards for use again next year, and you should only need the supplement set for most of the months.

I hope you will find these to be a wonderful addition to your home.  If you have any suggestions or requests, please leave a comment.  Look for a future post on ideas for using the calendar as a place to begin celebrating the liturgical year in your own domestic church.  Enjoy!


image credits for August 2014 calendar cards (all images are in the public domain)

Post is linked up to Celebrate the Saints and Celebrate the Seasons hosted by Equipping Catholic Families.

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7 Quick Takes – Reading, Eating, and a Free Notebooking Page

7 Quick Takes

If you’ve hopped over here from Conversion Diary, welcome to Our Catholic Homeschool!  For my regular viewers, I toyed with 7 Quick Takes many years ago.  It is a fun link up hosted by an awesome Catholic site.  Let’s get this party started, shall we? I promise if you read to the end it will be worth your while. … Keep reading…

The One With Ryan’s First VBS


Another week filled with activity for at least one of the boys, but at least I didn’t have to do too much. We only have two weeks until school starts again.  Next week no one has an activity to go to. I may try to sneak in a practice school week to iron out the wrinkles in the routine before the real test begins.  I also plan on starting some new traditions celebrating the feast days and monthly intentions.  More on that to come in the next week.  On to this week. … Keep reading…