Learning Notes for Week of January 12


Linking up with Melanie for last week’s learning notes…

Monday, January 12

Math and handwriting in the morning, and then off to church for a new meeting of our now bi-monthly co-op. We did a craft about a January saint and then went to Confession and noon Mass. William and Louis served at Mass.

Reading in the afternoon, and I spent the rest of the day getting ready to teach a class at our other co-op tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 13

So, this co-op has a permanent, paid art teacher, and then the second class of the morning is taught by one of the moms. We rotate on a 4-week basis and today began my 4 weeks. I was excited about my class, but I am really going to miss my mornings off talking to other adults.

I’m teaching about countries of South Asia, mostly India. We looked at the globe, sang a song about South Asia from Geography Songs, and looked at a drawing Nathaniel did of the Taj Mahal.

The kids colored a picture of the Taj Mahal, and we read the story One Grain of Rice.

It’s a picture book about one young woman during a time of famine in ancient India. A greedy raja is keeping tons of rice in his storehouses and refusing to share it with his people.

After the young woman does a kind deed for the raja, he offers her anything she wishes. She asks to receive one grain of rice, and then double what she received the day before for 30 days. In one month, she’s emptied the raja’s storehouses and saved her people from famine.

All the kids loved the story and none of them seemed familiar with it, so it was fun to see their eyes widen as the rice multiplied each day. One little boy thought God was miraculously increasing the rice. Good Catholic kids!

Then we ate mango chunks and basmati rice, and everyone was happy.

Teddy and William don’t usually attend this co-op, but they were hanging out with me in the classroom.

Reading in the afternoon.

Wednesday, January 14

Tough day of trying to get everyone back in the saddle again. I also had so much housework to get to after being out of the house for two mornings. Disorganization, a potty-training toddler distracting everyone, and people taking hours to do math. I’m going to try not to remember that day!

Thursday, January 15

A dear someone started dinner in the crock-pot before leaving for work this morning, and we got up early enough to leave for Mass without rushing. A much a better start to the day!

I also sat down with all the kids first thing in the morning, instead of asking them to start their work while I finish in the kitchen. We started learning a new Latin hymn and had a nice talk about it.

I gave out little rewards for people taking turns playing sweetly with Teddy, which helped a lot.


Had time for spelling today!


Louis finished early enough to make bread in the bread-maker.


Much better day, but still one straggler. It’s hard to get out of a rut of moving sluggishly. I really expect the kids to motivate themselves to move along and to do most of their work independently, so I need to think a bit how to supply some motivation when the prospect of sitting at your desk all day and not playing is not enough!

Friday, January 16

Altogether we read from the Bible and a bit of Justin Morgan and sang Tantum Ergo. Teddy always finds Latin lyrics amusing. He memorizes the first few words and then sings along substituting whatever nonsense words he can think up.

I think the Latin seeps in gradually, or at least I hope so. Last year at our parish talent show, a girl recited a poem in Mandarin. In the middle of the recitation, one of my kids turned to me and said, “Listen! She’s praying the rosary in Latin!”

Ben, Marie, and Louis all did math, calendar, and handwriting/ copywork alone, and spelling, memory work, and reading aloud with me. Amazingly we finished all that by lunch, I think.

In the afternoon I did dictation and grammar with William, after which I was so tired I actually fell asleep while drinking a cup of coffee.


Tired and disorganized this week but plugging along. I guess my own fatigue probably contributes to the slow pace of certain students.

The saint we learned about on Monday was St. Francis de Sales, and his feast is coming up soon. There’s a letter he wrote to an expectant mother who had asked for spiritual advice that is one of the most helpful things I’ve ever read. I have shortened it a bit here, but I was pleased to see our Learning notes hostess has the longer passage on her site.

My dearest daughter,

I am not at all surprised that your heart seems a little heavy and torpid, for you are pregnant…

A delicate body that is weighed down by the burden of pregnancy, weakened by the labor of carrying a child, and troubled with many pains, does not allow the heart to be so lively, so active, so ready in its operations; but … we must not be unjust and require from ourselves what is not in ourselves. When troubled in body and health, we must not exact from our souls anything more than acts of submission and the acceptance of our suffering, and holy unions of our will to the good pleasure of God, which are formed in the highest region of the spirit. And as for exterior actions, we must manage and do them as well as we can, and be satisfied with doing them, even if without heart, languidly and heavily…and often offer to the eternal glory of our Creator the little creature in whose formation He has willed to make you His fellow worker.

My dearest daughter, we have here at Annecy a Capuchin painter who, as you may think, paints only for God and His temple. And although while working he has to pay so close an attention that he cannot pray at the same time, and although this occupies and even fatigues his spirit, still he does this work with good heart for the glory of our Lord, and with the hope that these pictures will excite many faithful to praise God and to bless His goodness.

My dear daughter, the child who is taking shape in your womb will be a living image of the divine majesty; but while your soul, your strength, and your natural vigor is occupied with this work of pregnancy, it must grow weary and tired, and you cannot at the same time perform your ordinary exercises so actively and so gaily. But suffer lovingly this lassitude and this heaviness, in consideration of the honor that God will receive from your work. It is your image that will be placed in the eternal temple of the heavenly Jerusalem, and that will eternally be regarded with pleasure by God, by angels, and by men. The saints will praise God for it and you also will praise Him when you see it there.

And so in the meantime, have patience. Although feeling your heart a little torpid and sluggish, and with the superior part attach yourself to the holy will of our Lord, who has so arranged for it according to His eternal wisdom.