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Weekly Wrap-up ~ The 3R's, Lewis and Clark, and a Massive Field Trip

In our regular life this week…

Rain, rain, rain. I got my raised beds filled with their soil, compost, peat moss, and vermiculate mixture just in time! We stayed indoors most of the week due to the rain, with only a trip to Scouts on Monday evening and a trip to the dog groomer on Tuesday for the little dogs to get their spa treatments. Regular life met school life this week as we took school on the road to St. Louis, Missouri.

In our homeschool this week…

As we were preparing for a trip to St. Louis, we concentrated our studies Monday and Tuesday on Reading, Writing, and Math, and a mini-unit study on Lewis and Clark.

Reading - We read the last book in The Spiderwick Chronicles series, The Wrath of Mulgarath. That was the most reading aloud we have ever done at one time. We loved the series! Brynne finished reading Rascal and moved onto Snowball in the Puppy Place series by Ellen Miles. We ordered the next box set of books 6-10. Eli finished Book 4 in the Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey and started Book 5.

Writing - We are still working on cursive handwriting, using Handwriting Without Tears. We did a workbook page each day.

Math - Multiplication will be our constant companion for the remainder of the school year. They watched the dvd instructions for Lesson 3 of Math-U-See and did workbook pages each day. Then they continued to practice their math facts on Math Rider (review coming early next week) and with their Multiplication Wrap-ups.

Unit Study - Since we were planning to spend Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday in St. Louis (the beginning point of the Lewis and Clark Expedition), we did a mini-unit study on Lewis and Clark on Monday and Tuesday to prepare for all we would see on our trip. We read three books (The Lewis and Clark Expedition (We the People) by Patricia R. Quiri, The Crossing by Donna J. Napoli, and Sacajawea: Her True Story by Joyce Milton). The kids got to see the expedition through the eyes of all of the characters, including baby Pomp. We also made a map of the route we would take to St. Louis (actually, the kids did this all themselves). Although it added about 20 minutes to our trip, Rick took the route they had created so that we could go through Jefferson City, Missouri, the capitol city.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

A really cool part of our drive to St. Louis was seeing the rivers. The kids instantly recognized the Missouri River each time we saw it and discussed how Lewis and Clark had sailed in that exact spot we were looking at. It was fascinating for them! In fact, Brynne asked me if Lewis and Clark went through Jefferson City and I said I wasn't sure. A few miles later we crossed the Missouri River. So, yes, they did go through Jefferson City. She was so proud of herself for putting all that together.

Of course we are also saw the Gateway Arch, the Mississippi River, ILLINOIS (just across the Eads Bridge!), the Science Center, City Museum, Turtle Playground and the St. Louis Zoo!

A favorite thing this week was…

Rick's - The talk on inelastic behavior of steel on tall buildings ....  NOT! (He was stuck in conferences while the kids and I were out having fun.) Really it was having dinner at Fitz's.

Mine - Riding the Metrolink with the kids, and a beautiful day at the zoo.

Eli's - Footboarding at City Museum.

Brynne's - Playing at City Museum and getting over her fear of some of the slides and trying new things.

What's in the kitchen this week ...

The Drury Inn had full breakfast for us each morning, and a meal each evening! They had hot dogs, pasta with meatballs, baked potatoes, chili, chicken strips, mac and cheese, and more! Free breakfast, free dinner! All we had to do was take care of lunch. And our room had a mini-fridge and microwave, so we got lunchables and pizza rolls as lunch treats.

What we're reading ...

Mom: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, Becoming a Titus 2 Woman by Martha Peace, Created to be His Helpmeet by Debi Pearl, Papa's Pearls by Diane Flynn Keith, Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

Eli: Captain Underpants (the fifth book) by Dav Pilkey

Brynne:  Snowball (Puppy Place) by Ellen Miles

Things we're working on…

I had each of the kids pick an animal at the zoo that they had never seen before. I took a picture of it and pictures of the information about the animals. This week the kids will do a journal page about them, sketch them, and give them their own names. This is exactly what Lewis and Clark did on their expedition! 

I’m grateful for…

The opportunity to SHOW my kids the Lewis and Clark expedition instead of them reading about it in a textbook in the 5th grade (that's when you learn Missouri History in our public schools). We read about it, touched the Mississippi River, and planned to watch an IMAX movie about the expedition while at the Arch (they had the theatre closed for repair .... DARN!! I have it in my Amazon Cart for purchase). Then we went to the Westward Expansion museum that is at the base of the Arch. Eli and Brynne earned their Junior Ranger Badge for the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.

I rewarded my kids this week by…

Taking them on the Metrolink from the Forest Park area of St. Louis to the Gateway Arch (actually across the Eads Bridge to Illinois .. they really wanted to cross that bridge)! They have always wanted to ride the train. It was so FUN!

Things you might have missed at Journey to Excellence ...

A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…

We are happily linking up this week at the following sites:


  1. How much fun!!! My parents grew up an hour from St. Louis, and as a girl I remember going there every summer (the big city) when we'd visit my grandparents. Loved the arch, although I did get claustrophobic!

  2. Wow! So many awesome things I don't know where to start! The slides look fun - and isn't it cool when the "book learning" meets reality?

    When you are done with Created to Be His Helpmeet, I will be curious to know what you thought. I read it years ago and until a couple years ago I had no idea how "controversial" it was. There are some strong opinions out there!

  3. What a great week! We lived in Columbia MO for five years, and we've been talking about a trip back that direction with the kids.

  4. Looks like a fun week. I remember getting into that little car that takes you to the top of the Gateway Arch. At that very moment, my daughter told us she was claustrophobic. And I have a fear of heights...oh no! In the end, we had a great time.

    One of our favorite books about Lewis & Clark is Seaman. It's the story, told from their dog's perspective.

    I'd like to hear your perspective on Debi Pearl's book. I had mixed thoughts about it. It's been a long time since I read Martha Peace's book. I need to pull it out again.

    Kerry Beck

  5. Please tell me what you think about "Created to be His Helpmeet". I've heard mixed reviews and so far, you haven't let me down in the book department. ;)


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