Shapeways

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I have blogged before about Shapeways, a great site where you can order 3D models of items you have created. My kids love to see their ideas come to life with 3D printing. Last week Tru worked on a new character, Thor, and we received it in the mail today. He was not disappointed with his creation, and it is now sitting on his shelf with the rest of his Shapeways.

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If you are looking for a unique gift for your children for the holidays, you may want to check out 3D printing. Transforming your kids ideas into a physical object makes a wonderful and unique present!

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My Oldest and Occupational Therapy

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Tru has been in occupational therapy for the last seven months working hard on his fine motor skills and his bilateral coordination. When he first started he was far below average on everything. Today he was re-tested and his numbers tripled on almost all the tests, putting him firmly in the average category (which is great!).

He officially graduated from OT, and I am so proud of him. He has had many struggles since the day he was born, but I feel like we are finally getting to a point where that won’t matter anymore.

Great job Tru!!

Weekly Update – 8th grade

Last week I featured my youngest son and his work, and this week I thought I would discuss Tru and his work. This is his eighth grade, and the year has been going so smooth I can hardly believe it. He is working almost entirely independent, and he is doing all his work easily and without complaint. It is as though he matured over the summer and is suddenly the perfect homeschool student. He enjoys all his school, works hard from about 7:30 in the morning until 4:00 in the afternoon, and doesn’t complain at all. It has been wonderful.

He seems to have gotten into a routine of sorts. He starts the day with his computer work, which for him is CNN student news, Rosetta Stone French, The Great Courses Understanding Astronomy, and Teaching Textbooks Geometry. After this he completes his geometry lesson and works on his one-year American history (which is mostly reading). Then he breaks for lunch.

After lunch Tru starts back with LoF Algebra (which he wanted to work through again this year for review), works through language arts (IEW, easy grammar, vocabulary), reviews his French textbook, and then works on his film studies.

I picked this vintage French textbook up years ago, and now Tru is using it. We both like it very much.

This week he is editing a film that he shot last weekend. He is also watching The Battleship Potemkin with me and taking notes on it (specifically going over the plot and writing down the plot points).

Tru finishes his day with independent reading. This week he read The False Prince which he seemed to like, but I don’t think he was crazy about it. He has a long day, but he has consistently gotten through his work, and I am very proud of him.

One of his boss creations

Of course I should mention that once he is done with his work he is free to get on his computer. He got a new computer this week, and he has been creating  bosses for a game he is making. He is obsessed with this right now, and I believe is might be motivating him to get through his work even faster. I don’t mind, as it makes for very pleasant, stress-free days.

Shakespeare Study

Tru and I have begun reading Romeo and Juliet together. He has always enjoyed Shakespeare’s stories, and we have read various versions of his plays since he was little. This year Tru wanted to read full versions of his work, and I decided we would start with Romeo and Juliet.

We are using Romeo and Juliet – No Fear Shakespeare for our study, and I like the series because it translates the text for you side by side on the pages. However I was a little taken aback by how sexual the translation is, and if you have kids or teenagers on the young side you may not want to use this. At the very least you should pre-read it and decide for yourself.

Along with reading the book I have been gathering other resources to use in our study. We recently purchased an Apple TV, and there are podcasts on it that you can watch and/or listen to on you tv. I have discovered so many podcasts that I love and that can be used in our homeschool, and of course with our Shakespeare study, I have not been let down.

There are many podcasts that deal with Shakespeare, and one I especially enjoy, as does  Tru, is the BBCs Shakespeare’s Restless World. This podcast explores Shakespeare’s time period by taking a close look at twenty objects from the period. The first podcast deals with Drake’s Circumnavigation Medal and how his voyage around the world shaped the world of England at the time. It is all very interesting, and it adds a good deal of background information to the study of Shakespeare.

Another podcast that works nice with our study is BBC’s Shakespeare Dramas.

This podcast will feature three new productions of Shakespeare’s dramas, and the first one features David Tennant as Malvolio in Twelfth Night. David Tennant and Shakespeare together, what’s not to love about that?

One more resource that I am using in our study is the iPad app Shakespeare in Bits: Romeo and Juliet. I have mentioned this app before here at TAD Town, and I wanted to mention it again because I think it is a wonderful resource. It is an expensive app, but it does a wonderful job of making Shakespeare accessible to kids and teens, which I believe is the goal of the app. In a way that is my goal too. I want Tru to find meaning in Shakespeare’s work, and I want him to be able to relate  to it even though it was written hundreds of years ago. With this study I hope to accomplish just that.

Weekly Report

My daughter is home from school today. Because of this, and the wonderful weather, we are not doing any school. Instead we have spent most of the day outdoors. We started the day with a swim, and then Decca and I went on a nature walk. I love days like this.

The rest of the week we were all hard at work. Because I focused on my youngest son last week I thought I would focus on Truffaut this week. Tru has fallen into a wonderful schedule, and for the first time I can see how I would easily be able to homeschool him for the high school years if he so desires. The reason for this is that he has started to take control of his education. He knows what he wants to learn and what he needs to learn, and he takes responsibility for all of it.

This week Tru worked through 6 lessons in Saxon Algebra 1. He has also began working through Saxon grammar and writing, and for the first time he is doing all the writing required in this program. He realized that he needed to get his writing skills up, and now that he has realized that, he is determined.

Life is hard when you are a homeschooler. Here is Tru in the morning at his desk. He is watching a lecture while enjoying his Starbucks.

Besides all of his Saxon work, Tru is plowing through a new Great Courses course. His newest one is Einstein’s Relativity and the Quantum Revolution.  He started this course last week, and he is nearly finished. He sits and watches these lectures for hours a day, and he never gets bored. I keep thinking we will get one he doesn’t like, but so far he has enjoyed them all.

(Note to self – before next school year you need to stock up on more courses for Tru.)

For French, Tru wanted to add an actual course to his Rosetta Stone, so last week I purchased Breaking the French Barrier. Tru has only worked through the first few lessons, but he seems to enjoy it. I think he is just happy to have a physical book for learning French. Rosetta was working for him, but it wasn’t enough. The two programs together will be more complete, at least in Tru’s mind.

Also this week Tru continued with his golf lessons. I am thinking about adding another day of lessons to the week. Tru isn’t sure how he feels about that. Some days he loves golf, and sometimes he is completely frustrated by it. I think that is a fairly normal reaction to the game.

And that is our week in review. If anyone missed my daughter’s song in the previous post I highly recommend you take a listen. She recorded all the parts to the song, and I think it came together wonderfully. Of course everything she does sounds great to me. After all, I am her mom….

Stop Motion, Hugo, and Film Studies

Autry and Tru are a great team when it comes to making films, for they both bring separate strengths to their projects. Autry is the more technical of the two, and she is a great editor. Tru is great at coming up with stories and characters for the films. He is an idea man.

Over Christmas Autry figured out how to use the 3DS to make stop motion films. She started by writing lyrics to Christmas’s songs. Here is one she did.

After she worked on those for a day or so, she got her brothers interested in the process. Together she and Tru made a cute little film about the adventures of Junk Bot.

The lightning is too dark in some places, and sometimes the actions moves too fast, but I think it is a good effort on their part.

I took the kids to see Hugo today, and the twins left the theater in utter amazement. Truffaut thought it was the most amazing film he has ever seen. He was so appreciative of the film history we worked on this fall, as it provided him with the historical background and references needed to enjoy this film.

Hugo has inspired the twins to make even more films together, and it has inspired me to continue with our film history studies. Although I haven’t figured out the whole plan with Truffaut for this coming year, I know film studies will be an important and integral part of his education.