Jonah turns 7 years old!


 This has been a great year for you! You've really grown up and I'm so proud of who you are. You are smart, funny, silly and a great brother.

We did an early celebration with Grandpa Bob and Gigi while we were visitng Gulf Shores last week. That week was a fun chance to really see how much you've grown. You raced right out to that water without even looking back! You also showed off your love of nature and your great observation skills. We all know a lot about crab claws now!


Jude is one of your very favorite people and you two have a special bond. You love your sisters too and CAN get along great with them - but you also have your frenemy times as well. But I know that, even if your self control fails you at times, you love them fiercely. 

I'm really enjoying doing school with you these days. You make first grade seem like, child's play :-) You love math the most. So much so that we're actually going through two programs. You also love your readings. Handwriting is really the only thing you aren't super enthuisiastic about but even then you don't complain. You love problem solving and experiementing, snap circuits, maps, games, puzzles and riddles, robots,  art and above all - LEGOS! 

You're still not a big guy but you are growing! You're 41 lbs and almost 4 ft. But you're strong and fast and all the holes you've dug in my back yard show that fact. 

Now, that's enough from me. Let's hear what you have to say about yourself!

Jonah's Birthday Interview:

What is your favorite color? Red

What is your favorite toy? Legos

What is your favorite game? Settlers of Catan

What is your favorite song?  The Echo Song from church  (I think he means the Prince of Peace?)

What is your favorite animal? Fennec Fox

What is your favorite book? My new MAPS book

What do you like to snuggle with at night? Nothing.

What is your favorite movie? Star Wars!

What is your favorite thing to eat? Spaghetti and Pizza

Where is your favorite place to go? Legoland and to the Lego store to get me another Lego set. 

What is your favorite outfit? I don't have. 

What do you like to learn about? Legos (laughing) What about in school? Math.

What have you learned in the last year? How to build a Lego AT AP walker. 

What is hard for you? Lifting a house.

What is your favorite thing to do as a family? Go on a vacation

What do you like about Mommy? That you make spaghetti and meatballs for me. 

What do you like about Daddy? That he plays games with me. 

What do you like about Lucy?  That she makes me breakfast sometimes. 

What do you like about Norah? That she is funny. 

What do you like about Jude? He laughs and he is sooo fun to play with. 

 What do you like about yourself? That I'm good at Legos. 

What do you want to be when you grow up? A person who lives in a Lego house. 


Mason for me - crawling over the finish line!

I did it! I finally finished Ambleside Online Year 8! Okay, so it took my a whole year and a half which is twice as long as I had hoped but I also had a kid in that year and a half so I think I did good. These are some of my notes, mostly just the things I want to remember for when Lucy actually hits this grade.

History/Biographies: Churchill has really grown on me. I'm not sure if I've just gotten better at reading him or maybe since I was reading a bit behind where Lucy and I were in history with Our Island Story I already had a better background understanding but this second volume was much easier for me than the first. History is not my favorite subject and I was tempted to cut some of the shorter items (the speeches, journals, Life of donne, etc) but I did keep all the addtions and I do think they added to the overall program. I won't be moving on to year 9 (more on that later) but I do think I might buy the next Churchill and maybe other main history texts, trying to keep in the same time period as Lucy as she progresses because doing both the younger year and the upper levels together has some major advantages!

Geography: Kon Tiki. Interesting but not really mappable :-) I didn't really like The Life of Christopher Columbus so I might try the other selection when I have a Year 8 student.

Citizenship: I didn't start Ourselves in Year 7 and I haven't finished it but I thought it well done. I'll probably hold off on reading the rest and just pre-read closer to when my student reads it because it's not narrative enough for me to be able to remember for individual narrations years in advance. Utopia is a great read in terms of discussions and Bacon's Essays are easy but deep reads.

Literature: Westward, Ho. Okay, that was not my favorite but I finished it and I can see a young man enjoying it. The other literature selections are great, I'm looking forward to re-reading The Betrothal with Lucy. I gave up on The Holy War. I just don't like Bunyan. Lucy loved Pilgrim's Progress while I had to hide my distaste for it so I'll probably at least have her try this but I also won't hesitate to substitute if need be. Sorry not sorry.

Poetry: I've come so far with poetry! And I'm so proud of myself! I had already read Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves but I do want to get the second in the series. I read the other poetry this year with the exception of Paradise Lost. I had planned to read that but I've just started Anthony Esolen's translation of Dante's Inferno and while I'm definitely coming along in my ability to handle poetry, both of those would be too much for me to take at one time!

Science: When I started year 8, I wasn't sure how much of the science I was going to attempt. Mostly because I'm using this to expand my horizons and since it was my field of study, science is already an area I feel pretty confident in handling. But then again, I also really like science so not surprisingly, I ended up reading everything except First Studies of Plant Life and Signs and Seasons and Adventures with a Microsope. I wish I could have read those too but they're on the pricey side for mother culture (well, Adventures with a Microscope isn't but I'd need a microscope and those are). I enjoyed reading the ones I did get to but I will also be quite honest and say I'm pretty sure I'll be tweaking the AO plan but how much is undecided for now especially as I didn't get to pre-view the most textbook type books they've included in the program so I know I'm not getting the full picture for their science plan. I know that. That said, I really loved The Microbe Hunters so that will probably stay and I do think Chemical History of a Candle and Briefer History of Time probably will too. I won't use Napoleon's Buttons and if I need to cut, I'd feel fine about taking Kepler and Gage books although the Gage book is quite an easy read and probably one that most 8th graders wouldn't mind reading about.

Overall, I really loved year 8 and I'm excited for my kids to hit this year in the future. And now that Lucy's in year 4, year 8 doesn't seem nearly as far away as it did when I started Mason for me and she was just in year 2. But now that she is in year 4 and I'm having to pre-read as well as read aloud year 1 for Jonah, my time is running thin. So I won't be able to keep a full year 9 schedule. I will be trying to keep up with history as I said and use their selections for biographies and literature if I'm looking for some quality reads. I'd love to have as many of them read as I can before I hit those years but no pressure. I just love knowing that the AO list is a quality list that I can depend on when looking for something for my tbd pile.