Gah.  November ran away from me because I started feeling overwhelmed by the lack of prepping in science co-op.  We did one week of half homeschooling, where we did some Evan Moore tests because it was the end of our 6-7 week session, then took Thanksgiving week off.  Last week was getting back to schedule and it was hard.

Never again!   I learned my lesson.

Even though I felt so refreshed after my two weeks off and am once again feeling way more motivated (notice all the blog posts I’m doing again), the kids are not.  They just want to do rainbow loom and pearler beads every day.

Next time, we’re going to do light schooling and I will make them still wake up by 7:30am, so that they maintain a routine.




This month both children were on a tear with listening to audiobooks since they had a lot more free time.  I spent a lot of time downloading audiobooks and ebooks for her.  It’s hard to keep up with the English demand, let along finding time to look for their Chinese equivalent.  I’m on the verge of giving up.

At this point, she’s pretty much caught up to her grade level in English reading, reading 4th and 5th grade books.  We’re still behind in writing, but making progress.  She’s now able to answer her Writing With Ease questions pretty spot on.

However, as for the other aspects of English, namely grammar and elements of literature, based on the Evan Moore tests we took, I think we will be working on 3rd year curriculum the rest of the year.  It’s not exact because I’m following more of a Montessori scope and sequence.  But we’ve never really worked on the elements of literature before and the Montessori albums are kind of scant on actual implementation in this area.  So we will need to use other material.

For elements of literature, it isn’t that she lacks comprehension or cannot tell you what the main idea of a paragraph is, but tests from 3rd grade on start asking students to write their own answer instead of multiple choice, and writing/spelling is something we need to “catch up” on.

With both Chinese and English, I’m now doing a 4 prong approach to reading.  There is pleasure reading, assigned reading that she must finish in 3 weeks, read alouds, and audiobooks.  The audiobooks is there to lead her to reading ever higher level books.  The read alouds are to continue working on phonics and also entice her to read pleasure reading books.  It’s how she got into assigned reading Where the Red Fern Grows and she LOVED IT.

Assigned reading is how I’m squeezing in literature reading in both English and Chinese.  This month she finally finished her Chinese assigned reading of 西遊記, after finishing the funny version 幽默西遊記 last month.  This version has more advanced vocabulary.

Spelling has stopped.  We’re looking for a new way to spell that is more painless.  Sagebook character writing is continuing slowly.  I will be making a change in December, the current method is not helping after 200 characters.  When I ask her to write sentences she forgets the characters she’s learned.

We finally finished Year 1 of the NAMC Math and Geometry Scope and Sequence.  Happy dance!  All it took was covering nomenclature of 2-d and 3-d shapes.  We are now starting on learning measurement of length.  We’re back once again on division.

Thumper really has a hard time with basic math operations and memorization I think, and it requires that I prep properly so she is consistently doing it.    Next month.  We started working on fraction and decimals operations.

Lastly, I’ve started doing a Chinese version of Writing with Ease.  I will write a separate post about it later.  But my conclusion is, it is very evident that Thumper doesn’t get Chinese at the narration level compared with English, even though she’s studied Chinese longer.

division by 1 digit
fraction subtraction
decimal comparison
Decimal subtraction
drawing geometric shapes
triangle nomenclature


For Astroboy‘s read aloud, this month we went through Little Bear in both English and Chinese.  I continue to be amazed by AAR and how it’s enabled him to read more complicated books pretty fast.

We finished book 1 of All About Reading!  We spent a week reviewing and using Explode the Code and reading other books to review all he’s learned.

He binge listened to Magic Treehouse in English and then started reading 神奇樹屋.  Grammar and math was more busy work because my brain was preoccupied.

Both kids went back to crocheting again.  Thumper finished a lovely lemon stitch scarf.  They like to listen to audiobooks while crocheting or doing pearler beads and rainbow loom.

Can I just say, prepositions are hard!

singular possessive
division memorization
Started on Sagebooks!


making quesadilla

What I Learned

1. It is okay to take things slow.  With Thumper I tend to rush rush rush.  We’re done with book 1?  Let’s move on to book 2!  But I’m learning to take things slower with Astroboy.  Because I see that if I don’t make sure they learn something well, a few months later they forget and we have to review yet again. 

So instead of going from one AAS chapter for another I pause whenever he is stuck on a concept and we review in other ways.  I bring out the moveable alphabet, we play hangmen, we read other books.

2. As we introduce many nomenclature for both kids, it is ever more evident to me how Thumper and Astroboy learn differently.  It is not just age.  It takes Astroboy quite awhile to learn the names of anything.    It’s hard getting used to as I’m used to telling Thumper the names of something once or twice and she remembers it.  She remembers concepts that way too.   Isosceles triangle is 2 equal sides?  Check.

Astroboy on the other hand…..we do worksheets, we talk about definitions of nouns, he holds the verb Montessori ball in his hands.  He seemingly gets it, so I move on.  A week later, “What is a noun?  What is verb in Chinese?”  Shrug.


But it’s the flip for math.  Thumper seemingly gets math concepts, but then a few weeks later, she forgets when I ask her.  Or she keeps getting her math calculations wrong.  Astroboy, on the other hand, picks up concepts fast.

For example, both kids were introduced to fraction equivalence at 7.  Thumper hated equivalence research.  She dragged and dragged her feet with that work.  Could not see the relationship between fraction metal insets.   I ultimately gave up.   This month, when I introduced fraction equivalence to Astroboy, he finished the worksheet in two settings.  More importantly, he intuitively got it.  By intuitive I mean, I could say, “What’s 4/6 equivalent to?”  He would stare off into space for a bit, then tell me 2/3.  If he couldn’t see it, he just had to look at the metal insets, and he got it.  He made that jump from concrete to abstract really quick.

I have figured out how to work with Thumper‘s learning style, other than spelling.  But I’m still trying to figure out how to make nomenclature stick for Astroboy.

3.  I really really really need to prep Sunday nights.  It’s what was making me unhappy as I rush monday morning to pull together all of their work for the week.

4.  I much prefer digging deep in a subject the adult way than children worksheet way.  For example, it felt so much more fun having Thumper study measurements by looking up Youtube videos, watching the history of measurements, and then writing down what she learned, vs filling in sheets after sheets of measurement worksheets.  I’m not saying worksheets don’t have their place.  It’s like assessment, and also it makes sure to test you on all aspects of a topic.  But I realized it doesn’t excite me about a topic as following my interest way of learning.  Of course, I’m not the one learning, so I need to continually find the balance between what works for me and what works for the kids.

Other Pics:

Beautiful Mission Santa Clara
Alviso Salt Marsh

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