Summer Reading

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The youngest boy has been reading and listening to many books this summer, and a few have turned out to be much-loved. The summer started out with him on a Brixton Brothers kick. He read all four books, and then together we listened to three of them on audiobooks. Unfortunately the fourth one was never made into an audiobook much to the annoyance of the boy. The boy was also bothered about the fact that there were no more sequels, so he contacted the author, and the author was very nice and replied back to him. The boy often contacts authors, and I am so surprised at how many respond to him. It is great for my author-to-be.

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After reading the Brixton Brothers he listened to The Wolfstonecraft Detective Agency. I picked this one out, and he wasn’t sure he would like it. Thankfully he is willing to give anything a try, and he did enjoy this book. I don’t think he was as crazy about it as some of our other choices this summer, but he is waiting for the sequel to come out. That’s always a good sign.

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The Island of Dr. Libris was a quick, fun read. He didn’t talk about it too much, but he did like it and got through it in one day. He was a fan of Escape from Mr. Limoncello’s Libraryso I was hoping he would like this one too. It didn’t disappoint, but I don’t think it was as much loved as some of the others.

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The boy loves to listen to a Doctor Who book every now and then. The Way Through the Woods is probably one of his favorites. He has actually listened to this twice which shows how much he liked it. Doctor Who books are probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but for my son they are a fun way to spend an afternoon.

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Both my son and I have been listening to The War That Saved My Life. This is a wonderful book that I would recommend to others especially for children 9 and up. It is about a young neglected girl with a clubfoot who is evacuated out of London during WW2. My son was a little reluctant to listen to it, but it has now become his favorite book of the summer. The audio version is especially wonderful because the narrator does such a great job.

2015-16 School Plans for the 2E Boy – A Work In Progress

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I have always loved to spend the summer planning out our fall schedule. I would spend my days scouring the internet, looking at reviews, reading forums, and drooling over curriculum sites. It was always so much fun to try to get the perfect school year planned out.

Then my kids got older. The twins’ school is almost completely online, so there is not much for me to do there (although I am putting together a physics course for the coming year that has been a blast to plan). All that remains is my youngest who is a wildly creative, gifted student who is also twice exceptional. I have to take this into consideration when planning his school year.

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I have a few subjects planned that I am almost positive they will work for the year. For language arts he will be using Brave Writer primarily. We have been working with Brave Writer for years now, and it is the one curriculum I can count on to work with my youngest. The lessons are short, creative, and often open-ended. He learns copywork, dictation, writing skills, grammar skills, and vocabulary all while reading great books and working on creative writing projects. For my son it works, and because not much else does, we will stay with it. I also love the Brave Writer lifestyle which is a nice benefit since I am sure the boy will be using it right through high school.

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For math I have a few plans as he needs to be able to switch between programs when he gets stuck in one. And he will get stuck, or more likely bored, with a few throughout the year. Right now the boy is working through Prodigy which is an online adventure game with plenty of math built in. The boy has been working through it for a few weeks now, and it does not seem that his interest is waning yet. I will let him stay with it as long as he wants, but I also have plans for when he burns out. Right now that includes the next level of MathWorks which we used last year somewhat successfully. I also have some generic math workbooks for him to use when we need a change.

History and science are a little more tricky to plan for. The boy is not very fond of history, and I have had trouble finding him a curriculum or class that interests him. In the past we seem to have had the most luck with learning history through movies or documentaries or with online sources. For the coming year I actually have nothing planned as of yet. I am scourging online sites, bookstores, videos, and reviews. I am just not seeing anything he will be able to work with. For now I am leaving this blank and am hoping that before we start up for the year I have something.

For science what I need is short, interesting, and interactive lessons on a topic he enjoys. He would like to study animals  or birds or astronomy. I would like him to work through a complete middle school course from beginning to end if possible. Unfortunately we have not found anything that meets all of our needs yet. Hopefully I will have some sort of plan before our year starts.

He will also be starting German next year in an online class. His siblings have had the same teacher for the last two years, and the boy had one short class with him last winter. The teacher is very funny and the work is fun and low-key. Perfect for a kid who is somewhat shy and unsure of online classes. It will be nice for him to have a first experience with a teacher he is familiar with.

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One of the boy’s digital drawings. Drawing is a new passion of his.

Other subjects the boy will be working on next year include programming, animation, drawing, creative writing, voice acting, and composing. Most of this will be explored through self-study using online resources. For voice acting we are hoping to find a class in Los Angeles that would be fun for him. We may start back up with piano to help his composing skills.

In all honesty most of his time will probably be spent working on his passions, followed by his language arts and German. My goal is we will hit math everyday, although sometimes that is very hard for him. And I am hoping that we spend a couple days a week on science and history. We will see how it works out.

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If I have learned anything over the last few years it is never to expect any schedule to go smoothly with my 2E kid. I don’t mind though, actually I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Creativity Runs Wild

At TAD Town we often take breaks in our homeschool schedule when it is needed. Whether it is for an illness or just a mental break, I try not to stress if our schedule does not match a typical school schedule. After all a flexible schedule is one of the many benefits to homeschooling.

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This kid here was in need of a break from academics after a hard year of working. We called it a year in April, and he has been doing his own thing ever since. His days have been consisting of writing, audiobooks, cooking, mini-fig making, drawing, and song writing. Basically he has been using all his free time to be creative.

This is one of his songs that he wrote last month. Somehow the twins and I have gotten it stuck in our head, and we are all walking around the house singing “I Googled it. ” It has been very entertaining to us.

And this is a sped up video of one of his digital art works he did. The boy is starting to become very interested in working on his drawing skills especially on the computer.

Here is another picture he did.

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The boy has also discovered the world of custom Lego minifig making. This, along with baking, has been his primary area of pursuit these last 6 weeks. He has been watching how-to videos on the process and then perfecting it on his own. The only thing he needed for this was Sculpey, acrylic paints, different sizes of paint brushes, and toothpicks. The process of him learning how to do this has been very interesting to see. Boiling Sculpey mini-figs in my kitchen was not something I ever envisioned doing, but it has been fun to see the boy work so hard on a project.

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We have also been baking quite a bit together. I will admit every time he sends me a complex recipe online I am not exactly thrilled about it. I don’t find the joy in baking that he does, but once we start cooking in the kitchen I do find joy in being with him in the moment. Baking brings him so much joy, and it is wonderful to see that.

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Basically he has been having a wonderful mental break these last six weeks or so. We will most likely start up with academics again sometime in June. I know when we get back to it he will be ready for our routine and excited to be back in the swing of things. But in the meantime the boy is also enjoying his free time, time where he can follow his passions and work on all things creative.

My Young Writer and his Blog

The boy has been writing Scooby Doo stories for years. When he was little they would be mostly pictures with a little writing, but over the years they have morphed into full-length stories. One of his goals is to be a published writer of Scooby Doo books, and to that end, he has finally decided to create a new blog where he can share his stories and drawings.

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He just started the blog this week, so there is only a few posts as of now. He has a short story, a picture, and a full story (over 50 pages) that can be downloaded as a PDF and read.

The boy is so excited about his new blog. He finally has a place where he can publish his work and see what happens. If you have a Scooby fan in your midst, please come on over to the Scooby Snacks Club and read his stories. Thanks.