Tag: daily notes

Monthly Summary Jan 2018

Must post this before our trip to Taiwan or I will never remember what we did. Not even going to bother putting in links this time around.  January kind of flew by because my brain was in my computer half the time, planning for our Taiwan trip.  I’m surprised the kids got anything done.


  • English – 
    • Grammar  – IXL reviewed parts of speech, literary elements, Finished NAMC Language Curriculum Year 1!, poetry rhyming, literary elements, metaphor vs simile
    • Books –The Plant that Ate Dirty Socks (AR 4.1), Tales from the Odyssey (AR. 4.8-5.3)
    • Writing – Writing With Ease 2.23-2.24
    • Spelling – Evan Moore 2.13-2.17
  • Chinese – 
    • Reading – 說給兒童的台灣歷史 audiobook, Little House in the Big Woods
    • Writing – 來玩寫作的遊戲 chap 11-?
  • Math – measurements (volumne, distance, length, weight, data & graphs, venn diagrams, unit conversion,angle measurement, parts of a circle, parts of a right triangle
  • Science/History – skeletal system, circulatory system, respitory systemBrains On Podcast
  • Others – Violin 3.2, rainbow loom, Picasso Art in Action Coop, Jazz, swimming, Orff music class


  • English
    • Reading – AAR Book 2 #17-#35
    • Grammar – reviewing parts of speech
  • Chinese –  Chinese dinousaur books, 說給兒童的台灣歷史 audiobook
  • Math – division memorization, fraction equivalence, angles, names of triangles
  • Science/History – same as sister
  • Others – swimming, Orff music class, Picasso Art in Action Coop, Jazz


We didn’t make much progress in January except continuing our focus on measurements and geometry.  Last year’s test scores told me I’ve kind of been neglecting that area of math.  Hey, the trainer never went over measurements so I kind of pretended it didn’t exist?  And I didn’t take geometry class so I kind of neglected too.

Thankfully I’m discovering that Thumper’s learning style is that she understands concepts very quick.  I can explain something just once and she gets what I’m saying.  Then I just have to leave her to IXL or projects and she can practice till she actually learns it.

We just got this year’s test score back and she kind of jumped a lot due to these 2 areas.   With IXL telling me what Common Core teaches, I see that Montessori geometry can go up to 9th grade and high school level, all in elementary.  This is all fine by me because from the albums, geometry is actually fun!  Not the dry AB, CD line, angle A, angle B mind numbing problems in high school.  So I would love for her to learn it concretely while she still love concrete materials.

I shall try very hard to move her back to concrete math in February.

In science we’re focusing on human body parts this session.  The kids have been having a blast with the hands on experiments/projects I found.  And I finally figured out the right format for 6 children.  I realized after one particularly good class that I needed to group the kids together in such a way so that I focus on 4 kids, 1 pair of which can mostly work by themselves, and then another mom focuses on the other 2 kids.  This allows some actual attention on the younger kids and moves everyone along.

The other “weak” part from her test score is related to knowing the vocabulary of literature, and inferring meaning (literary elements).  I’m undecided as to how I should approach this as I think a lot of it comes from reading. But knowing the nomenclature for the literary elements is important as well.   As I asked Baba, the test gives you hard vocab and asks you to infer meaning.  If you’re a kid who reads a lot and has a huge vocab, don’t you just seldom infer?  Clearly she picks up words from reading, so clearly she knows how to infer.  So then I don’t much care if she cannot answer the questions.

So what’s the undecided part?  As I like to tell the children, tests are for finding out what you don’t know.  So I’m just not sure what it is I don’t know about the language curriculum that maybe isn’t covered in Montessori albums but is needed.

We’re also getting stuck in Writing with Ease because it’s working on some mechanics of writing (using quotation marks).  So instead of doing 2 chapters a week, we were back to 1 chapter a week.  In addition, she’s now learning how to summarize without prompts and there were a few tear inducing weeks because it was so hard.  I have to say, once again, how much I love Writing with Ease and I see how it works on writing without actually writing, which suits perfectly for my spelling challenged child.


With Astroboy, we’re just zooming by in our All About Reading book 2, doing 2 chapters a day.  I can see now that I should have used this curriculum with Thumper, the All About Spelling wasn’t really enough as a supplement.  But, I can also see how Astroboy just has this fairly logical brain that allows him to understand phonic rules fairly quickly, see the patterns of word lists, and be able to apply that concept to future word lists.  His sister got around this when she read word lists by using her prior knowledge of words and guessing.  She could not quite apply patterns.  Yet, unlike his sister, he cannot for the life of him remember what I mean when I say, short /i/ sound or long /i/ sound.

I continue to be amazed at how different curriculum just suit different children better.  And the more I understand how the kids learn, the more I can see which curriculum suits which kid better.

Sadly, phonics is just about all we manage to do it seems.  Phonics and IXL.  I still don’t understand why it takes the child 3 hours to get ready for school, when I’m not there to nag remind him when he gets distracted.

We’re finally starting our study of Taiwanese history by listening to audiobooks, and watching travel shows on Youtube.  I’m hoping this will make the actual sightseeing part more relevant for the children.

Lastly, both children really got into a song by Ella Fitzgerald that I put on the other day, Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off.  It’s probably a very good song to use in language class as it talks about different ways of pronouncing a word.  They begged to listen to it day after day till they could sing it.

Then I played Ella’s C-Jam Blues and explained to the kids how she used her voice as an instrument and had a dialogue with the trumpet player as she was singing.  Astroboy especially loved this song and wanted me to play it over and over as well.

On days like this, when we happen upon something that I love and get to show the children, I super love homeschooling.

Monthly Summary Dec 2017

I’m only a month behind.  Not too bad.  I lost my mojo 1 week after I came back from our vacation and writing a flurry of stuff.  I guess it didn’t help that we got into a car accident (all’s well) and I had to deal with the fall out from that.

The kids are doing A LOT of IXL now.  I feel kind of bad.  But as the homeschooling podcasts I listen to says, we go through seasons in our homeschooling life, due to, you know, life.  So no need to beat myself too much for it.


  • English – 
    • Grammar – adverbs
    • Books – Story of Dr. Dolittle (AR 5.1)
    • Writing – Writing With Ease Book 2 Weeks 21-23
    • Spelling – Evan Moore Spelling 2.9-2.12
  • Chinese – Characters – 童話莊子
    • Reading – 水滸傳 (4th), 說給兒童的世界歷史 audiobook completed
    • Writing – #200-210, Writing with Ease (童話莊子), 來玩寫作的遊戲  chap 8,
  • Math – decimal multiplication, fraction multiplication, division review, similar/congruent/equivalent
  • Science/History – reptiles, amphibians, dissected frog!, birds
  • Others – Art class (studied Russo), monarch butterfly fieldtrip, swim, Christmas holiday hike in the city, rainbow loom


  • English
    • Reading – Primary Phonics level 2 reading books, AAR Book 2 #10-13, Magic Treehouse finished (audiobooks)
    • Grammar – prepositions
    • Others – cursive writing
  • Chinese – 神奇樹屋 #9-#35, Sagebooks characters writing, Reading 123 小火龍 series, 說給兒童的世界歷史 audiobooks
  • Math – division memorization, fraction add/sub same denominator, frac multiplication whole number, triangles
  • Science/History – same as sister
  • Others – same as sister,

Maybe I will really try to keep it short and sweet this month.


Monthly Summary Oct 2017

You know homeschooling is getting to you when it’s taking more than a month to post the monthly summaries.  The funny thing is, October went super duper well.  But came November, I started losing steam.  It doesn’t help matters that we can no longer sit at the sofa because it’s piled up with homeschooling crap stuff.  I start losing my mind when my environment is messy.

But, “Onwards and upwards!” as they say.  Here’s what the kids did last month.


  • English – 
  • Chinese – 
  • Math – factors, LCM, GCF, division worksheets, research measuring temperature and report, decimal place values, geometric solids

    Carved a pumpkin while I took a nap
  • Geometry – solids nomenclature, 5 types of angles
  • Science/History – What plants need to grow, Parts of plants (roots, stems, flowers, leaves, fruits), Clock of Eons
  • Others – violin book 2.5-2.7, Mission San Juan Bautista, Mission San Jose, Harvest festival, sewed halloween bag, made Deviled Eggs, Pomegranate picking fieldtrip, made Greek Pasta, carved pumpkin


  • English
    • Reading – All about Reading #29-#41, Charlie and Glass Elevator read to, Seuss books, Magic Treehouse (audiobooks)
    • Grammar – nouns vs pronouns, articles, ./?/! command review, capitals, periods, sentences, pronouns, apostrophes and contractions, adjectives,English – 
  • Chinese – zhuin writing, started on Sagebooks characters writing #1-#5, 怪傑佐羅力 40 books, 神奇樹屋 #1
  • Math – tally, calendar, multiplication memorization, division by 1 digit, 2 digit subtraction review, long division introduction, Chinese math work book first grade, building decanomial poster project, equivalent fraction, geometric solids nomenclature
  • Science/History – same as sister
  • Others – Mission San Juan Bautista, Mission San Jose, Harvest festival, sewed halloween bag, carved pumpkin, carpetry class.

Changing it up once again, I want to post pics of some of their work this month.  But of course first I must talk about it a bit because my eyes glaze over at these lists.  (I basically give this list to my ES.) (more…)

Homeschool Summary, Sept 2017

September was mostly a wash.  There was 5 weeks in the month and we only managed to work completely one week.  The rest was taken up by two trips to LA and testing.   Because we couldn’t have a complete work week due to traveling, I ended up giving the kids some evaluation tests in the morning, then they were free to play.

The following is what they did in that one week plus whenever we were in the car and they had nothing to do but read or listen to audiobooks.


  • English – Wrinkle in Time (AR 4.7) audio and read, Black Stallion audiobook, Harry Potter 4 movie, Writing with Ease Weeks 4-5, plural nouns,
  • Chinese – 小主播看天下, 及時的呼喚 (Wrinkle in Time) not completed, 小學生童話字典 chap 5, 怪傑佐羅力, 精靈迷宮 (read to), 二年級問題多
  • Math – litter/mililiter, decimals & fractions review, line/angle nomenclature review
  • Science/History – Plants vs animals, needs of plants
  • Others – violin book 2.3, autumn festival lanterns
  • Circle Time – 土星環 & 星座(songs),  Space Oddity魚仔, 演員



Homeschool Summary, Aug 2017

Such a great month I had. We worked hard and played pretty hard.

Really, it’s going so well I want to talk about what’s been working for me and what I learned, not the kids.




Homeschool Summary Jul 2017

Wow, it really helps to have monthly summaries even though I never manage it for half the year.   I never think we accomplish too much but re-reading the summaries it’s not too bad.

Here’s what the kids did last month.  It may look like a lot, but this is what we did the whole day, not just during our work period.  Also, something I’m trying this year is only doing the item once a week.  I’ll talk more about that in my yearly Workplan post.  Having a revised schedule also helps in us having more downtime to do activities like reading and practical life.

In general, we had a very good 2+ week homeschooling and another 2 weeks half homeschooling half playing.  The changes I made to schedule and workplan has resulted in a little bit less frustration on my end and I like that we’re covering the materials I think we need to cover.


Homeschool Summary Apr/May 2017

School officially ends this year mid May because we are off to visit family for the summer.


It’s been a year of growth for me.  I have so much to say about what I learned this year, its going to get its own perspective post.  So here’s a short summary of what the kids did the last 1.5 months.


  • English – Finished Explode the Code.  Started and dropped Sara, Plain and Tall, read Percy Jackson 4 & 5 (Guided Reading Level W & S), started and dropped D’Aulaires Greek Mythology (GRL X), started Pawn of Prophecy (AR 5.9), superlatives, syllabication, All About Spelling review, Whodunit Detective Agency series (AR 5.x)
  • Chinese – Sagebooks characters #61-#130
  • Math – opeartor precedence, divisibility of 8, fraction multiplication of 1 unit, decimal multiplication, line, ray, segment, horizontal, vertical, broken, curved lines, division by 4 by 1 digit
  • Others – Cowgirl Creamery, running 1 mile , knitting, Orff class, violin class, sourdough, hawaiian mythology, hawaiian hula 


Summer Reading and Listening for the Homeschooling Teacher

One of my favorite jdrama is Long Vacation.  The main lead is an aspiring pianist who is in a rut.  There is a scene in the drama the main characters are talking about how he is no longer entering in piano competitions and contemplates giving up altogether.  Rather, he’s just floating by giving piano lessons to kids.  The female lead suggests, maybe, he is just in a long vacation.

I’ve always loved that concept of long vacation.  Maybe you’ve falling off the exercise bandwagon, or the eating well bandwagon, or the homeschooling well bandwagon.  But you haven’t failed, just taking a long vacation.

Or as I like to tell my children when I’m feeling lazy, 休息是為了走更遠的路。

This year, we’re staying with my parents for 6 weeks while I help my sister with her sitting month.  The kids stayed with their other grandma the first two weeks.  I spent my kids-free time doing mostly brainless activities, waiting for my 3 meals to be served, not tidying or tackling the huge list of things I’d wanted to accomplish during my time here.

Finally I got bored enough to get off my butt and do some stuff.  Stuff like:

Reading Raising an Emotional Intelligent Child.  The author, John Gottman, is a researcher who studies marriages and his conclusion is that we all need to be emotionally intelligent and learning this skill starts in childhood.

We all know the drill of acknowledging children’s feelings, but he goes a step further.    How do you guide them when they’re having a moment, be it a tantrum or being sad or angry, and help them during those moments to be aware of and to process their emotions.


Homeschool Summary March 2017

I’m going to be sad when Spring semester is over.  Finally, after 3 years, I have figured out what homeschool daily routine works for me and what kind of homeschooling method/curriculum fits me.  I’m also very close to figuring out what kind of homeschool fits my kids now that I’ve discovered Myer Briggs.  Since March is so long ago, I no longer remember what I learned that month.

  • English – Read Percy Jackson book 1 & 2 (GRL W & S), Frindle (GRL R)Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh (GRL V).  Half way through Book 8 of Explode the Code.  Homophones, homographs, Singular & Plural possessives, comparatives/superlatives.  All About Spelling book 3, L2.  Handwriting.
  • Chinese – Percy Jackson book 1 & book 4, 晶晶的桃花源, Writing first 60 characters in Sagebook,
  • Math – common multiples, least common multiples, factors, prime, divisibility of 2, 5, 25, 4.
  • Geography, Art, History – Listening to D’Aulaires Greek Mythology audiobook, reading Chinese history, introduction to biomes, Waseca North America biome portfolio
  • Others – violin lessons, orff lessons, cooking class, Fieldtrips to learn about local foxes and birds, hiking, running laps


Homeschool Summary February 2017

We did bare minimal homeschooling while in Taiwan and getting over jet lag took me all of January.  Early February, my ceiling leaked, which resulted in the removal of a bookcase.  As a result, I needed to reshuffle all my books, which lead to a general purging and organization of the living room/homeschool area.

Finally.  I had a homeschooling area again.  Who knows how long it would have taken me if the ceiling hadn’t leaked.  February was the first month we’ve tried to stick to a 3 hour work period in a long time.

Here’s what the children did this month. (more…)