Posted by: angiefm | January 10, 2009

In Retrospect – Week of 5th Jan 09

It’s the end of our first “school” week and I thought it would be good to say a few words about it, as a memory jogger for ourselves and also for those who (like myself) like to take a peek into someone else’s life.  🙂

We were so ready this year to start school!  Checklists printed and bound, schedules drawn up, copywork planned, booklists ready and new books on new shelves.  I’m an excellent planner, but a lousy executor.  So I delegated that to Alethea our sequential child.  And together we were great!  Here is a sample of our checklist.  I have one for each child for each of the 36 weeks:checklist

Here’s a photograph (not staged) of school in progress at the dining table.  In the foreground where Teacher Mummy sits, you’ll see the children’s checklists on the left and a small stack of books we were to read that day.  Alethea and Timothy are doing their copywork while Nathalie is working on Explode the Code Book 1 (notice she’s a leftie!).  If you look carefully you will see a silver clock in front of Alethea and a blue one on Timothy’s right.  Dogglerone (to rhyme with Tobblerone), our mascot of sorts, sits on our card box.  This contains our scripture memory index cards and our English from the Roots Up cards.


Readings and Seatwork – we finished everything we planned to do!  This is probably a first for us in our 4 years of homeschooling!  Ah … the value of planning ahead!  The readings went fabulously well.  The children were attentive, their narrations were great, they did their copywork accurately and were focused, we were on time for everything.  Nothing fell through the cracks!  Now we just need to keep this up for the next 35 school weeks!  😀  On personal reading, Alethea polished off 3 books from her booklist, or the equivalent of 540 pages.  *faint*

Attitudes – I had to work on my own attitude on the first two days.  Was too intent on getting everything done on time, that I was sometimes impatient with the smallest things the kids did to slow things down.  And they weren’t even deliberately trying to stall.  Had to take deep breaths and apologise to them after the fact.  Not a very nice thing to have to do, but very humbling!  Timothy also has to work on his attitude toward doing difficult things.  He loves doing things which come easily to him, but gets frustrated when the going gets tough. 

Picture Studies – we are studying Van Gogh this term, and here is our picture for the week … The Potato Eaters.


Highlight – Alethea’s best friend Rachel Lim turned 10 on Wednesday and we spent a lovely day out with friends.  Started the day at the Jurong East Swimming Complex, a Wild Wild Wet look-alike at a fraction of the cost, then headed to Jurong Point for a late lunch at Swensen’s, followed by a end-of-day trip to Borders (what’s a day without a trip to a bookshop eh?).  Here’s a photo of 3 great friends and an ice cream.  From left to right … Vera Nathan, Alethea Ng, Rachel Lim (the birthday girl).


Best thing is that despite taking a day off school, we managed to catch up on our readings and seatwork (copywork, Chinese, math) over the next two days!  I had explained to the children that a commitment was a commitment and since we had planned to do all that we had an obligation to ourselves to do it.  And they rose to the challenge!

Bible Verses – Our family verse is 2 Timothy 6:6 & 7 – But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.

Our verse of the week was 1 Corinthians 3:16 – Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?

Hymn for the week was “Trust and Obey“.  This is also the theme for Alethea and Timothy’s Sunday School in 2009, so it was apt for us to have started with it.  I had initially planned to do 2 hymns a month, but it looks like I will have to find more, since the kids enjoyed it so much and want a new one every week!

Narrationsfeel free to SKIP this, since it really is for our record and is LONG to read.  These are the children’s narrations for the week.  They are asked to narrate various things – Bible readings, other readings, picture studies, etc, but I only type one up each week for record purposes. 

The Sword of Damocles
(from Fifty Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin)
A Narration by Timothy Ng

Once there was a King named Dionysius and he was very rich and powerful.  And once he won in a battle and won himself the name of “tyrant”.  One day a friend of his came over and said, “I would like to borrow your riches for one day.  And if I could do so, I would be very happy.”

So the tyrant said, “Okay, you may borrow my treasures for one day.”  So Dionysius said to his servants, “Treat Damocles just as well as you would have treated me.”  While Damocles was having a feast, he saw a sword above his head, hanging by a single horse hair.  He was so frightened that he could eat no more food, he could drink no more wine and he could listen to no more lovely music.  Then King Dionysius came out and said, “What is the matter?”

And Damocles said, “There is a sword above my head.”  And then King Dionysius said, “And why do you fear that?”  Damocles said, “The horse hair may break any moment.”  And King Dionysius said, “There is a sword above my head always also.  Every moment I am in danger.”

And Damocles said, “I do not want to live here anymore.  Let me return to my poor home in the countryside.”  And he said, “I have learned that rich people are sooner or later going to have trouble.”  And that is the story of Damocles and Dionysius.  The End.

Marco Polo by Charles Graves
Chapter 1: A Short Geography Lesson
A Narration by Alethea Ng

Marco Polo was lying on his back watching the stars with his brother Maffeo.  Marco turned to Maffeo and said, “Maffeo, maybe Father is looking at the very same stars right now!”  “How long has Father been gone?  Maffeo asked.  The boy had been very young when his father had left and so he did not remember much of him.  Marco thought for a moment then answered, “Father has been gone since 1260.  Now it is 1264.  Can you figure that out?”  Maffeo said, “That’s easy.  1264 minus 1260 equals 4.  Father has been gone for 4 years.”

“That’s good”, Marco said, “Your arithmetic is getting better.  How is your geography?”  “Ask me a question!”  Maffeo said.  “What sea is Venice on?”  Marco asked.  “Oh, I know that one.  But is very hard to pronounce.  It is on the A … Adri …”  “Adriatic”, Marco told him.  “Do you know what sea Genoa is on?”  “I forgot”, Maffeo answered.  “It’s harder than the Adriatic.  It’s the Mediterranean Sea.”  Marco said.

Both the boys knew that Venice was at war with Genoa for the right of trading things with countries in the East. While their father had been gone, their mother had died and they were now living with an uncle. Their father, Nicolo Polo had been gone with another uncle, Uncle Maffeo, travelling to China. Marco’s brother had been named after Uncle Maffeo.

The next day their uncle took them to the quay and there a sailor told them that the Venetian fleet had conquered the Genoan fleet. That made Marco’s spirit rise and he told his brother, “Father’s coming home soon. I’m sure of it.”


  1. Hi Angie! I came across your blog recently and I’ve been really impressed with how you homeschool your kids:) I started homeschooling my boys last year and after reading your blog I’m very interested in this Charlotte Mason way of homeschooling. I’ve been doing my own research to find out more but I’m really at a lost as to how to go about it and where to start. There aren’t many people I could talk to about the CM method here in Malaysia and I’m wondering if I could write to you to get some advice:) Hope to hear from you soon!

    • Hi Pei Yin,

      Good to meet you! 🙂 The best place for you to start is She explains the CM philosophy and method very simply and clearly. In July, she wrote a series on “Getting Started” which I found very helpful even though I have been using the method for some years now. You may want to look it up on the website. If you need specific advice, feel free to email me at

      Happy homeschooling! 🙂


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