Posted by: angiefm | January 17, 2009

In Retrospect – Week of 12th Jan 09

Wow!  Week 2 down already?  How time doth fly!  🙂

I am SO ENJOYING being with our children.  Our pared down schedule, without much of the frenzied activity of last year, has really made homeschooling a whole lot more enjoyable!  And to think that in the past I honestly thought we had to be doing lots of stuff out of the home, going on fieldtrips and having playdates, etc.  Boy do I have lots more to learn about this homeschooling thing!

I was more relaxed this week (having had our first week go so well), and actually took hour-long naps every day that we were home!  Of course I used my pregnancy and aching back as excuses.  LOL!  We also managed to go swimming once during the week and that was lovely. 

Even then we finished all our assigned readings and work, and I realised that our planned hour-long literature reading time in the evening wasn’t needed, because I slotted those readings in as and when we had a little bit of time from finishing any one thing earlier than scheduled. 

And it was a good thing too, because while out on a walk to the beach behind our apartment with Daddy, they discovered 4 kittens, and every night this week they went out after dinner to feed them.  And that’s much more precious than literature readings!


While they were feeding and playing with the kittens, Tee Chiou mentioned that the cats were not domesticated.  Tim asked what that word meant and Daddy said, “kept at home”.  Immediately Alethea said, “from the root word DOMUS meaning HOME”.  Tee Chiou was suitably impressed because … er … he never did make the connection himself.  Looks like our study of Root Words is paying off!


This week Alethea found time to use her Look and Cook cookbook for children which, together with a lovely apron, was a Christmas present from her dear parents.  🙂  She made Deviled Eggs (don’t ask me why they are called that!) which were snapped up in minutes!  Here is her journal entry about it.  (We journal once a week on a Friday instead of doing copywork):

Deviled Eggs – Have you ever tasted deviled eggs?  I have.  Do you know how to make them?  I do.  Here’s a story about them … This week, Aunty Pui Yee came over with two of her children (she has 4).  I wanted to make deviled eggs.  Mummy said I could.  Mark and Tim wanted to help too.  Mark asked his mom whether he could, and she said yes.  First we boiled the eggs, then we cut them in half and took the yolks out.  We mashed the yolks together with mayo, mustard, salt and parsley.  Then we scooped the yolk into the egg whites again.  We served them and everybody had one.  We saved one for Daddy and he said it was very nice.  The End.  Hope you liked the story!



The highlight of Tim’s week was receiving his very own Bible!  Here’s what he said about it in his journal (which I help to write because otherwise it would be the only thing we get done all Friday!):

On Tuesday, two boxes arrived and I asked Mummy whether my new Bible was inside.  Mummy said that she didn’t think so because this was actually supposed to be last week’s delivery which was delayed.  When Mummy opened the box she told me not to look and it turned out my Bible WAS inside!  The day after that I showed it to Daddy because the day that it came I forgot about showing Daddy.  The Bible is called The Adventure Bible (NIV), and it is blue with one “lizardy” with a plam leaf in front of the Bible and two more “lizardies” at the back. 

I asked Tim what his photo of the week was and he choose this one, which is a “self-portait” he says.  I think he learnt that from our study of Van Gogh.  He has figured out that if you turn the flash on, you will have enough of a lag to click the camera then move back before it takes the picture. 


But my own pick of the week is of him hunched over The Mysterious Benedict Society, a 485 page book which he has picked up on his own to read.  Now that we’ve got reading proficiency out of the way, we just have to work on good reading posture!



Nathalie’s best friend in the world is her cousin Julia (whom you won’t believe is half a year younger than Nat).  And here they share a good laugh while working on some colouring/cutting/matching game which Julia’s mom prepared. 

Many people have been asking me to post my schedule and reading list for Nathalie (who just turned 4 two weeks ago) and I will get to it.  Except that it is embarrasingly little!  I guess when you are child #3 in a homeschool, you learn along with the others and pick up what you will by osmosis!  😀

She has followed in her siblings’ footsteps in reading though and has started to blend!  She can read sentences like “The hat has a tag.” without having to sound out each letter!  She is now working on Explode the Code Book 1 having completed the three Primer books in the Explode the Code Series.  In addition, she has just completed the Beginning level of Building Thinking Skills series by the Critical Thinking Company.


Other Things

Bible Verse for the Week was Matthew 7:12: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

Hymn of the Week was Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty.

Picture Studies – continuing on our study of Vincent Van Gogh, our picture of the week was The Bedroom at Arles.


Composition of the Week was Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.  When we came to the part of the recording when they introduce the percussion instruments, Timothy heard them play and immediately said “the hunters and their gunshots”.  He had made the connection between the percussion instruments and the recording of Peter and the Wolf which was our composition for last week, in which indeed the hunters and their gunshots were represented by percussion instruments like the kettledrum and the timpani among others.


As usual I’m ending this post with our children’s narrations.  I type up one of these each week as a sort of record of their work.  Please feel free to skip it.  It is for our own records. 

But before I transcribe them, here’s a little note about narrations.  Always have your child narrate from fresh material.  If they have heard the Bible story, or Aesop’s fable or anything else before, do not ask them to narrate from a reading of it, even if it is from a different source.  This week, Tim was supposed to narrate from the story “A Laconic Answer”, also from Fifty Famous Stories Retold.  But he did a really bad job!  😦  Later I realised why.  Alethea had previously told him the story (she had listened to it 2 years ago), and so he “switched off” during my reading of it, and when called upon to narrate found that he couldn’t!  Interestingly enough, Damon and Pythias was a story I had read to him the day before, but that was still fresh in his mind and he did a very good narration from it.  Here it is.

Damon and Pythias
(from Fifty Famous Stories Retold)
A Narration by Timothy Ng

Once there was a man called Pythias and he was taken captive by the tyrant Dionysius. And he said, “Can you just let me get leave and let me go see my family and wish them goodbye before I die.” But the tyrant Dionysius said, “How do I know whether you will even come back.” And then a man named Damon, who was a friend of Pythias said to Dionysius, “Please let my friend go and please put me in his place and if he is not here by the date you have said, I will die in his place.”

So Dionysius said, “Okay, I will give you leave to say goodbye to your family, but you must come back.” He put Damon in the prison instead of Pythias and gave Pythias leave.

Days passed and finally the day and the time came and Pythias still was not there. So Dionysius said, “Kill Damon.” But just before Damon was killed, Pythias appeared in the door and said, “I am here.” He had been delayed by a storm. So he told them why he was delayed. And Dionysiustook pity on them and said, “I would give all my wealth to have one such friend.”

Marco Polo
Marco’s Father Comes Home
A Narration by Alethea Ng

When Marco was 15, and he Maffeo had their own gondola. One Sunday they went to mass in it. On the way back, Marco said to Maffeo, “Maffeo, when I’m a man, I will go look for Father.” Maffeo asked, “Will you find him?” Marco said, “I’ll find him even if I have to go all the way to China!”

When they reached home, Maffeo asked, “How far is China.” “A very long way away, like ten thousand miles.” “Marco, stop exaggerating,” said his uncle as he came out. “But there’s someone inside who may be able to tell you more about it.”

The boys went inside. A man quickly strode forth to meet them. He put an arm around each of them. Marco did not remember what his father looked like, but he felt sure that this was his father. He could feel it inside. There were tears in the man’s eyes. “My sons”, he cried. “Father you’re home”, shouted Marco. Maffeo didn’t say anything. He was too shy. The man looked the boys up and down. “You’ve grown”, he said. “Well what did you expect us to do? Stay little boys the whole time you were away?” Marco said. Marco’s father laughed.

Just then, another man walked into the room. “This is your uncle. Uncle Maffeo”, Marco’s father said. After greeting their uncle, the boys started eagerly asking questions. Then their father told them all about China. “Was it dangerous”, Marco asked. “It’s much safer now than it was last time”, said Marco’s father. “Last time there were many bandits, but now there’s a king named Kublai Khan. Folks call him The Khan. He made the road safer. Even so, there are still a few bandits around.”

Uncle Maffeo added, “The Khan gave us a message to give to the Pope.” “But there is no Pope now”, Marco said. “We heard that on our way home”, said Marco’s father. “But we shall wait for a new Pope to be elected.” “When you go back, may I come with you”, Marco asked. “No Marco. I know you are big, but you are not a man. The Khan asked us to bring a hundred missionaries to teach his people”, Uncle Maffeo said. “He also asked us to bring some holy oil from Jerusalem. He has heard that it has magic powers.” Marco’s father then showed them some of the precious stones from China. There were rubies and emeralds. That made Marco want to go to China even more.

Two years went by and still a new Pope was not elected. Marco began to hope that by the time the new Pope was elected, he would be old enough to go on the trip to China.


  1. Hi Angie,

    Tks for posting about your homeschooling journey. You’re always so inspirational and generous. Tks once again!


  2. This is so funny…Eli also picked up on and quoted the phrase “I will give you leave…” (to go visit your family) when he narrated Damon and Pythias. I thought it was odd because it isn’t a phrase that we use or that he would have heard before. Interesting that Timothy also quoted that phrase verbatim.

  3. Whoa, very impressive narrations! When I showed it to my kids, they were quite intimidated. And they insisted I bring them to that beach to look for the kittens!

    I borrowed The Mysterious Benedict Society for my 10-year-old but unfortunately she wasn’t interested to read it. But it seems like such an interesting story, so maybe I will try again.

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