Parent Curriculum notes are emailed to parents every other week. The purpose is to inform parents about their children’s studies and provide ideas for dinner table or evening conversation.

Curriculum Notes from the weeks of November 1 and 8, 2021

Younger Group


The students are starting classes with mindfulness exercises to continue working on exploring our inner monologues and regulating our bodies. We had a zoom lesson due to illness the first week of this session so we played charades and this past week we took advantage of the sunshine to play an emotion extreme game called Emotional Fairytale.


We are learning the elements and principles of art and design. We will be starting with the study of line, looking in particular at artist Vincent Van Gogh’s use of line in landscape. We will create our own landscapes using various lines.

Art Appreciation

Art Appreciation


As we continue reading Leif the Lucky:
The storm took Leif of course and he was blown west to a new land. This land was rich in forest and vines and he called it Vinland.
He wondered was this the land he had heard about in folktales and myths?

Eventually he returns to Greenland to a hero’s welcome and shares the spoils of the new land.

What is your Love Language?

It’s very normal in our group to have conflicts where we are ‘storming and norming and then performing’.

It really does take lifelong learning to continue to grow in empathy and understanding of each other’s perspective and point of view. Knowing myself and understanding another helps to bring harmony. We had the opportunity to sit with Mr. Pension and to hear and understand each of our love languages and what that means when we communicate to each other.

Language Arts

We read the picture book, Now One Foot, Now the Other story and pictures by Tomie dePaola. The story shares how a beloved grandfather teaches his grandson how to walk. The bond between the two is very precious. Later when the child is older the grandfather has a stroke. He loses his ability to speak and to walk. At first it is a confusing and scary time for the young boy. But through love and patience the grandson now teaches his grandfather how to walk again. The story touched the children very deeply we had some tender sharings of their experiences with serious illnesses.

We continue with our poem is The Moon by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Every day during language arts the children have time set aside for individual reading. They each work hard on their individual books and enjoy filling out their reading log. Looking back at what they have read is very satisfying.


We finished Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.
We enjoyed the stories of the sisters’ lives together in Concord Massachusetts. The children delighted in the humor and were moved by the serious passages. It was very sad when Beth died.

As we watched the movie the children were excited to see the actual home of Louisa May Alcott that they recognized from our field trip. They were quick to point out different parts of the home that the custodians shared with them.
“Look, there is Beth’s piano.”
“I see the drying rack that their dad made.”

Currently we are reading The Borrowers by Mary Norton.
This is a different style of fiction, where we have been introduced to a family of tiny people living under the floorboards of an old country home.


Students are using the abacus to add multi digit numbers. The abacus visually and tactilely reinforces place value concepts of trading one’s for tens, ten’s for hundreds, hundreds for thousands. They are also playing “banker” in games that involve trading pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters in for dollars bills along with trading lower bills in for higher denominations ($5, $10, $20, $50 & $100)

math - plumfield academy
math - plumfield academy
math - plumfield academy

Music Appreciation

Did you know that Mozart wrote his first piece of music at five years of age? It was a minuet. He wrote his first symphony at eight years of age and his first opera at 11 years old!

Music Theory/Applied Music

Continuing to learn natural notes on G clef and the F clef, and learning the notes on the piano using worksheets and keyboards. Students learned to play Amazing Grace with both G and F clef.

Nature Study/ Science

Nora Neil (beekeeper and friend of the DeRenzis) brought in her amazing honey bee colony! We learned much about this extraordinary, hard working, honey manufacturing insect. Afterwards, she taught us how to make beeswax candles. Much thanks, Ketylina, for introducing us to Mrs. Neil.

We went to Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, climbed the Rockery, fed birds from our hands and more!


In our new testament story we read about Jesus healing the paralyzed man.
I would like to share one students narration:
“Jesus was at his house healing people. This guy who had legs but couldn’t walk, had four brothers. They wanted to take him to Jesus. When they got to Jesus‘s house there was a big line and they couldn’t get in. They could and they did, climb up onto the roof and they lowered him down into Jesus’ house. When Jesus saw him he said to him, “Your sins are forgiven.“
When he heard this he said, “What do you mean? Only God can forgive sins.” The people around him said of Jesus, “He’s one of three things he is a liar or a lunatic or God!” Then Jesus said, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” And his legs were perfectly fine. Then he walked home and when people saw him walking home, I think that about 15% of the people’s jaws dropped. About two people fainted and 13 people coughed a bit because their mouths were wide open for too long.“


11/1- In Spanish class we worked on Series three “ I put three pencils in the pencil case” they reviewed previously learned verbs in a different context. The verbs or verbos reviewed were open/abro, take/tomo, put/pongo, and close/cierro. The students also practiced counting from first to tenth to indicate the order in English next week they will practice counting in this way in Spanish.

11/8- The students reviewed Series 1,2, and 3 and did various exercises in counting from 1-10 / uno a diez and first to tenth / primero a decimo.

Crafts and Cooking

One Wednesday baking project was to make our individual pizzas for our literary luncheon.

We also made pumpkin bread from scratch for the whole school to celebrate the birthdays of our beloved Mrs Dunfee and Mrs Pension.

Middle and Older Groups


We had a zoom lesson due to illness so we played charades. Then we took advantage of the nice weather to play an emotional extremes game called Emotional Fairytale and a tactics game to help understand objectives and intentions in scenes.


We are learning the elements and principles of art and design. We will be starting with the study of line, looking in particular at artist Vincent Van Gogh’s use of line in landscape. We will create our own landscapes using various lines.

Art Appreciation

Students did a group narration on Raphael’s fresco “The Fire in the Borgo.”

Skills Class

Free Read – Students selected a personally interesting book for Free Read during Skills, Free Time, or to bring home.

Handwriting / Typing – Students use excerpts from History, Literature and Poetry to transcribe a small paragraph in their best handwriting. Some students are completing the transcription with cursive handwriting, while others receive instruction in cursive. Students use Typing Club to improve their typing skills.

Grammar – Transcribing poetry adds an extra layer of attention to how the poet formatted the poem. Students carefully copied a poem’s alignment and line breaks.

British History

Catherine of Aragon arrives in 1501 to marry King Henry the VII’s oldest son Prince Arthur. Students were surprised to learn that these two were promised to each other from the time that they were toddlers.

Arthur’s younger brother, Prince Henry (the future Henry VIII) had an important role to play on the day of the wedding. Although he was only 10 years old, he rode alongside Catherine of Aragon from Westminster Abbey all the way to St Paul’s Cathedral, and then escorted her down the main aisle to meet Prince Arthur. Wow!

After the wedding, Prince Arthur and Princess Catherine were sent to live in a Castle in Wales. Four months later, Arthur died of consumption, leaving Prince Henry in line to be the next king. In a few years he would marry Catherine of Aragon.

The students wrote narrations on the above stories in the first person form as though they were Prince Henry. The narrations were based on readings from a book called “The Autobiography of Henry VIII” by Margaret George.

Leadership (Older Group)

We are working our way through The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey, Part III – The Public Victory.


Habit 4 – Think Win-Win
We each took the 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman survey and discovered our individual love language. Each of us has an emotional tank. The tank gets filled up as we experience love from others in our “love language.” We also give love to others primarily through our love language.

When we experience a hurt, we recognize that our emotional tank has sprung a leak, and our sense of well being is diminished. The prime way to heal the hurt is forgiveness and as a result our tank is refilled.

We discussed the challenge we experience when a family member or friend has an opposite love language e.g. my #1 love language is their #5 Love Language. It requires a conscious effort to demonstrate love to the other and fill their emotional tank.

The older group returned to the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens and explored “The Fruits of the Win-Win Spirit.” “Believe me, this win-win stuff is contagious. If you’re bighearted, committed to helping others succeed, and willing to share recognition, you’ll be a magnet for friends. Think about it. Don’t you just love people who are interested in your success and want you to win? It makes you want to help them in return, doesn’t it?” p159

“The true test of whether or not you are thinking win-win or one of the alternatives is how you feel. Thinking win-win will fill your heart with happy and serene thoughts. It will give you confidence.” p161


(Middle) We are working our way through The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey, Part II – The Private Victory


Personal Bank Account page 41-43

“Magnify your talents”
We read a story about a man named Bryce who had a talent for baseball but one day he was using a BB gun and it ricocheted back and hit him in the eye. The doctor’s said that he won’t be able to run again. He had to change his perspective and find a new talent and way to spend his time. He took up rock climbing and it became very important and healthy for him after the experience of injuring his eye.

The story is to be continued..However we had a great group discussion on our talents and the different gifts that God has given us.

Literature (Older Group)

We began The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. An entrepreneur, Mr. Westing, has died and through his will has brought together 16 nieces and nephews. He claims in his will that one of them has killed him and one will be his heir. The challenge is for them to discover who is the murderer and who inherits from a number of clues. Each of us is on a quest to discover the answer to the mystery.

(Middle Group)
Middle has been reading King Arthur and the Round Table by Beatrice Clay and illustrated by Water Enright and Dora Curtis. This fictional story is from The New Junior Classics, Volume four, Hero Tales.  We have enjoyed reading this story together. We are taking it slow and each chapter at a time, discussing the different nobles and knights that lived and fought during the reign of King Arthur.

Logic (Older Group)

“Negative Statements” “Affirmative statements connect ideas; negative statements disconnect ideas. When we say that a statement can be affirmed or denied, we are saying merely that it can be true or false. The denial of a statement, then, simply means to declare it to be false.” p52 “All things being equal, if the same idea can be communicated both affirmatively and negatively, it is better to opt for the affirmative construction.” p53

“Making Comparisons” – It is through the mental Act of comparison that we note the similarities and dissimilarity among things.” p55

“When we look at two things for the purpose of comparing them, we can discover that they are either completely alike, completely unalike, or a combination of likeness and unlikeness.” p56


The middle group students are in their right place for Saxon math and each working diligently to complete the lesson and concepts at hand.

The older group continued their disciplined math routines. All are working in areas of growth, e.g. math facts, fractions, polynomials, or geometry, etc. Students have identified a goal of completing X number of lessons/problems for the month of November. Daily, we are looking to see that we are keeping up with our goal.

Music Theory / Applied Music

Students continue to learn how to “spell” chords on paper and on the keyboard. Learning to play chord progressions. Students are learning the songs Count On Me and Let It Be.

Nature Study

In nature study last week, we went on a mushroom hike and harvested a beautiful collection! Dr. Chan (Max’s mom, Mendy) presented other fascinating classes of the Fungi Kingdom including molds and yeast. Later in the week we fed yeast with sugar and watched them turn sugar into energy and release carbon dioxide gas that blew up a balloon! Thank you, Mendy, for inspiring us to discover “the fungus among us” with this interesting experiment!

Poetry Appreciation

Our second poet of the year is Shel Silverstein. How many parents remember laughing over his poems in your own childhood? We are taking a look at poems that also have a deeper meaning for us to consider. Our first poems are “Put Something In” and “How Many How Much”.

Scripture (Older and Middle Group)


After completing Psalm 23 – The Lord is My Shepherd, we are considering The Gospel of John, Chapter 10 – The Good Shepherd.

“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”

We considered what we discovered in Psalm 23 about a shepherd. God, the Creator as the Shepherd of the author of Psalm 23; the shepherd cares completely for all the needs of his sheep; they know the shepherd’s voice and follow him; the shepherd protects his sheep by sleeping at the door to the sheep pen.

We looked at the previous chapter and discovered that the Jewish leaders – Pharisees and Scribes were upset that Jesus healed on the Sabbath (it was considered work and no work was allowed on the Sabbath. There was a disagreement between the Jewish leaders and Jesus – Healing on sabbath? Is the law most important or the people?

At Plumfield, we have a rule that, “People are more important than things.”

The author of the John 10 is directing the reader to consider the leadership of the Jewish Temple leaders and/or Jesus in relation to the image of a shepherd in Psalm 23. The people of that time would be very familiar with a shepherd and recognize the role of the shepherd.

“When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice. 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.”

The author of John has Jesus challenging the Jewish leaders and inviting them to notice the people who are healed and who they are following.

Spanish (Middle Group)

11/1- In Spanish class we worked on Series three “ I put three pencils in the pencil case” they reviewed previously learned verbs in a different context. The verbs or verbos reviewed were open/abro, take/tomo, put/pongo, and close/cierro. The students also

practiced counting from first to tenth to indicate the order in English next week they will practice counting in this way in Spanish.

11/8- The students reviewed Series 1,2, and 3 and did various exercises in counting from 1-12 / uno a doce and first to twelfth / primero a duo decimo.

Yo cuento:

Yo indico el orden:





















Writing Workshop

(Middle) Students each chose a scene to narrate from The Little Prince, and added comments regarding the scene’s meaning. Now we’re on to a secret Christmas project!

(Older) Our students write meaningfully, in their own writing voices, and we had a lot of positive comments to share. So, our Little Men Writers’ Tea took two classes to complete! Now students are preparing their appreciation projects for our Sara Teasdale Poetry Appreciation Day.

Script Writing (Older Group)

Sarah Yetts, former Plumfield Student and daughter of Mary Yetts, offered this class.

Students discussed the importance of the “three act structure”. We then met in individual groups to discuss their progress and go over formatting on their own original scenes.


Students previously planned their design, organized materials, and built the base and sides.  Last week, students constructed and attached the roof which completed their bird feeder project.   This week, we began personal art work picture frames to give as Christmas gifts.