Art Work, Reading, Writing and Algebra

We’re all retreating into the living room around the warm fire. There’s so much to do in this contracted world.

  • Art

Not a day goes by when Amie doesn’t work at her art. She’ll often pronounce “I am practicing because I want to be an artist.” She enjoyed discovering the technique of splashing by rubbing an old toothbrush over a net. She also likes our instruction book on how to draw basic animal figures (ours is an out-of-print Usborne). She was intrigued when I drew some circles and proposed she draw the basic emotions. She got them down right without my help, contorting her face to feel the shape of her mouth, her eyes and nose.


Lions, step by step, from How to Draw Animals


Trying the toothbrush and net splash technique, and the result:



Emotive faces


Girl on a bike, from a (paused) video

The last drawing was made from a tiny video still, and Amie became very frustrated with it because it wasn’t turning out exactly the way it looked on the screen. I explained that it was a very difficult subject – the word “subject” is now her favorite – and that the example was really too small. Still, she was nearly in tears, and I cursed myself for not gently leading her away from the project. l will be conscious of  this perfectionist streak in her and help her keep it under control. I know how it can ruin the fun! (Also read Lori’s helpful advice in the current Camp Creek Blog thread).

  • Reading


Our 100-books-a-month table, with list

Amie is reading spontaneously now, here and there. Only last week she deciphered “Reese’s Buttercup” and “travel” and “cheese,” all of her own accord. Three-letter-words are read fluently, as well as certain sight words like “the” and “and”. Four-letter-words will soon be rolling off her tongue as well.

I know that at her preschool (Montessori) she uses cards and lists of words and all kinds of reading aids, but here at home she just reads books. She has mostly stopped trying to guess what the words could be by looking at the pictures – not all “first books” are clever in that regard! – but she’s good about using the context of the story and the sentence to speed up her reading. In our 100-book-a-month challenge we are aiming for 1 out of 4 to be read by her.

  • Writing


Amie lists another title

Writing does not come as spontaneously as reading does, but she has gone from penning nonsense words and collections of letters to spelling out real words. When I suggest she write the title of a book we’ve read in our 100-books list, she readily grabs the pen and sets to the job. She will read the words and spell them out as she writes them down, or she’ll copy the letters of the more difficult ones and wonder aloud why some are spelled the way they are. What can I say, English is a funny language! For the latter though I’d rather she use invented spelling than mere copying, which becomes automatic and then she mindlessly forgets letters.

We are now starting to pay attention to her penmanship: the size of the letters (I draw lines) and whether she wants to use capitals or small letters. She still feels more comfortable with the capitals.

  • Math


Doing algebra

Amie will happily spend half an hour on algebra exercises, but usually only with constant encouragement or if we sell it as “homework”. She’ll also do basic exercises on DH’s Ipod. She can solve:

5+8 – _




For anything under 5 and the addition or subtraction of 1 she no longer needs her fingers, doing them in her head – though sometimes it helps her to imagine cookies. She’ll still resort to her fingers, and her toes if need be, for the higher numbers, and we usually stay under 20. We don’t use flash cards but cheapo math books, because she likes to make that mark. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but she does like a sticker as lure and reward, and it helps if the math is presented as a game, like a maze.

Join the Conversation


  1. I loved reading this post. My only regret about homeschooling is that I didn’t start sooner.

    I wanted to tell you that your comment on my yogurt post brought up a very good point. Now you’ve got me on the hunt for more information! When we get goats, that will obviously be raw milk, so I need to know more.

    The best information I found was at the Weston A. Price Foundation – “To Heat or Not to Heat: A Yogurt Question” –

    I found two more good articles. One at the Passionate Homemaker – “Make it yourself yogurt” –

    and the other at Kitchen Stewardship – “Raw Milk Yogurt Escapades” –

    I hope you’ll post on your own research and discoveries on raw milk yogurt. I’ll be very interested for sure.

  2. Hi Leigh,

    thanks for the links! After my first bread, which I’m working on right now, it’s the yogurt’s turn!

    I actually don’t homeschool in the full sense of the word: Amie goes to preschool in the mornings. But I guess in the afternoons I do homeschool. Every moment is an opportunity to learn something new, and we jump on it!

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