Summer Has Begun

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Decca woke up with hair like this one morning. He loved his horns.

Yesterday my youngest spent a long time at TAD Town reading all the past posts. He enjoyed reading everything, looking at pictures, and recalling past memories. I was surprised at how happy it made him, and I realized I needed to get back in the habit of posting regularly once again.

We have been on a summer break for a few weeks now. The twins have signed up for a new school (online) and it starts June 16th, so we are trying to cram all of summer break into a few short weeks.

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Silverwood Lake

We went to Vegas last week for an earl birthday celebration for me. I turn 40 in a few days, and I wanted to celebrate that milestone in style. We drove out and made a few stops on the way to take in the beautiful nature.

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Family picture

 

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The boy with a Greek statue outside the Mad Greek. We stop there every time we drive to Vegas.

 

We stayed at the Palazzo and at the Wynn.

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Enjoying the view from our hotel room

 

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In front of the waterfall at the Wynn

 

Two of my brothers came out for the holiday as did my mom and step-dad. It was wonderful to have so much family around and the kids loved visiting with everyone.

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Fun with their Uncle outside the magic store

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Family photo on the last morning…some of us look a little worse for wear.

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My mom, brothers, and I had a very nice dinner one night.

 

A few days after we got back from our trip it was the youngest boy’s birthday. He turned eleven (eleven??? How can that be?) this year and he had a small but memorable birthday celebration at home.

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Getting ready for the celebration

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With his cake

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Enjoying the cake in one bite!

 

Other happenings around here include:

The twins dragged my bass out of storage. The girl wants to learn to play the bass this upcoming year.

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The girl with my old bass

 

The older boy has been busy (as have I) with doctor visits, doctor visits, and more doctor visits. We are going through a lot in this area. I don’t want to share too much on here, but if everyone could keep this terrific kid in your thoughts I would appreciate it.

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At the eye doctor…this kid has an amazing attitude through everything. I could not ask for a better son.

 

I will end this post with a cute picture of Kingsley. He has been keeping us busy as usual which is a good thing. In this photo he is playing his favorite game which involves grabbing something of mine that I need and then has me chasing him. He doesn’t drop it until I give him a treat (he’s smart like that).

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King with my dish towel.

 

 

Looking Back, Looking Forward

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The twins and I learned a great deal in the fall of 2013. We learned that we could in fact be successful at homeschooling high school. We figured out how to navigate the world of online classes, and the twins learned that they enjoy them.  We learned that high school could be fun and not as stressful as we had anticipated. Overall it has been a very positive experience for all three of us.

As I look to 2014 I am very relaxed and looking forward to all that it has in store for us. I have no worries about finishing up ninth grade, and I am excited about tenth. I am excited to work out a schedule with the twins, excited to see them develop their passions even further, excited to be another year closer to graduation, and excited to get to know the young adults that they are turning into.

I do have specific goals for the coming year that I want to share (somehow sharing makes me more accountable).

1. I need to find a math tutor to work with Tru. I am thinking a student from the nearby university would be perfect, as we need someone to take Tru through a very high level of math over the next three years.

2. I need to find someone to work with Autry on advanced music theory.

3. I want to enroll the kids in two AP classes next year and I hope to do this through Pennsylvania Homeschoolers. I am happy that they allow for monthly payments because homeschooling two kids in high school can get very expensive quickly.

4. I want to make sure the twins are staying on track with their high school writing because I feel this is essential for being prepared for college.

5. Finally I want to get the twins to museums and concerts more than I am now. We do go and experience some events, but I would like them to have time to go even more frequently.

I am looking forward to a smooth year with the twins, and I can’t wait to see where we are by this time next year. Happy New Year everyone!

This post is part of the January 2014 Let’s Homeschool High School Blog Hop.

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Homeschool Consultant – That’s Me!

For years now I have been helping many families on their homeschool journey and this has been one of my greatest joys as a homeschooler. I truly feel that homeschooling is one of the best decisions that a family can make and it gives me great satisfaction to help a family transition smoothly to homeschooling and to help a family discover all the joys that homeschooling has to offer.

After years of helping clients in my area in a rather informal way I have decided to become more business-like and formal. Out of this my business has been born. Please check out my site and if you have any need for my services or know any one that does please send them my way.

Also this spring I am offering three different homeschool classes in Corona, Ca for children and teens. If you are in the area and are looking for some social and creative outlets for your children please take a look.

Starting this summer I hope to have classes at other sites in the Southern California area. Please check back often if you are interested. If you would like to request classes for your area please let me know.

Thank you.

Weekly Update

We are now so far into the school year that I have lost track of what week we are on, and I feel good about that. The twins are still plugging along with everything although this week was somewhat slow because they were recovering from their costume party and other activities from last weekend. They worked on all their classes  at a somewhat slower pace, and Tru finished up another Great Courses class, this one on gravity. The Great Courses had another great sale this week, so we picked up his next course for him, this one on quantum mechanics.

Autry is also enjoying her course on opera, and when she is done she will be moving on to another course taught by her favorite Professor Greenburg, this time on solo piano works. She can’t wait to begin this course!

It is interesting to me to see how the twins both use these courses. Tru watches them at record speed absorbing all the information and then he moves on. He doesn’t take notes on the material, but he is learning it which amazes me. While he is learning from all these courses I also have him work through an astronomy book, and from this he takes notes, answers questions, and writes papers. Autry, on the other hand, watches her course with her iPad in hand taking extensive notes as she views the lectures, pausing often to get everything done. Then she researches the music on the internet, watching performances on YouTube. She also writes essays based on what she is learning, and these essays are quite good in that she develops a clear thesis and supports it with her extensive knowledge. I am so thankful for having this resource for the twins. They have been watching these courses since sixth grade, and they have learned so much from them. My hope is to begin Decca on some next year, but he is such a different kid that I am not sure that will work.

Speaking of my youngest, this week he continued plowing through Latin. He is now finishing week 14, and he is still having a great time with it. He finished working through reading Turtle in Paradise which he loved. Actually I was surprised at how much he loved it because I didn’t think it would interest him. He surprises me sometimes though in what he enjoys to read. He loved this story almost as much as A Long Way from Chicago which is another story that takes place in the depression. Also this week Decca finished another Three Investigators, worked through Treasure Island, and read a few Scooby Doo books for pleasure.

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We found a new music teacher at the start of the year and now all three kids are working with him. Autry and Decca are on piano and Tru is on guitar. They all click with their new teacher and they all respond to his teaching methods which is wonderful. Having kids who are 2E and one who has a few physical delays, it is wonderful to find a teacher who has the patience and understanding for that. He makes me so thankful for all the amazing teachers out there.

Other highlights from the week…

Decca began Beautiful Feet’s geography program. I did this with the twins many years ago, and I loved it so much that I wanted to do it with Decca too. He enjoyed reading the first story, Paddle to the Sea, working on his map, and researching Canadian Geese.

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He also watched part one of the movie Paddle to the Sea. He wanted to watch more, but I asked him to wait until we read more of the book.

He also made some drawings of some characters this week. Here is The Raven.

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The twins began their biology coloring book. Tru was quite embarrassed to be working in a coloring book, but once he spent some time reading through it he realized it was at quite a high level. Still he was not too happy about it, but Autry enjoyed it. It was a nice break from their regular biology work.

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Autry also spotted a praying mantis outside our house this week, and she pointed it out to me, because she thought I would like it. My girl knows me well! It was not the usual green but a yellow which we hardly ever see.

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Now Friday is coming to an end. Decca is watching BrainPop videos, Tru is working on writing, and Autry is sitting next to me eating an early dinner. I am looking forward to the quietness of the weekend. On Sunday we are going to the theater to watch The Magic Flute being performed by the Salzburg Marionette Theater which should be entertaining.

Weekly Update – Spotlight on my Youngest

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I wanted to shift focus this week from the twins to my youngest. I was so worried about the high school years for the twins that I haven’t spent as much time on my youngest. It is not that we have not been schooling every week, but I haven’t taken time to reflect on what is working and what isn’t. This week though I thought I would do just that.

This week Decca worked on Latin every day and as always did wonderfully with it. He also likes it a great deal, and I know this because he always chooses to do it first. I will be keeping him in Latin all year, and next year I have plans to continue with Latin and perhaps add another language.

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Also this week Decca finished A Wrinkle in Time and read a biography on Albert Einstein. A Wrinkle in Time turned out to be one of his favorite books of all time, so we are going to get the rest of the books in the series to read. He did not like the biography on Albert Einstein, and he disliked the work associated with it even more. He enjoyed learning about Albert Einstein, but I believe, as I reflect on it, that the book was too young and basic for him. He was bored with the book and the work.

He worked through five chapters of Life of Fred fractions. He does not like math, but he does like Life of Fred. The lessons are short, he picks up what he needs to know with only a few problems, and he laughs about the story. He is engaged in this curriculum, and it is working so no need to change anything there.

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This is all he did academically this week. Outside of academics he worked on piano daily, he wrote for hours a day, he created new rules for a game he loves,  he made several episodes of a cartoon he is working on, and he also made a game on Scratch. He fills his days up with no trouble. He is never bored when he is working on his own projects, and he is always doing something creative.

Most days I feel like he is an unschooler who I interrupt to work on formal academics. He doesn’t like giving up on his personal time to work on his work even if it is Latin or Life of Fred. He loves those subjects when he finally starts working on them, but if he had his way he would not be working on any formal school.

Anything that bores him he despises. I don’t blame him for that. We are homeschooling, so I should be able to find materials that engage him. I had him tested last year and I was told that he should be working a grade or two ahead overall, and specifically in language arts, he could easily be several grades ahead. The problem I have is that I am having trouble finding material in language arts that is on his level.  I find that it is quite easy to accelerate a student who is ahead in math, but I struggle with language arts. This is confounded by the fact that Decca has a great deal of anxiety and reading anything at a high school level tends to deal with topics that he is not ready to learn about.

So what to do? The truth is I don’t know. He does learn so much on his own that part of me believes I could leave him alone and he would be fine. Another part of me feels like we should be spending so much more time on academics. The truth is that I am far too relaxed of a homeschooler to do that. I do think that I will double his reading, as he loves to read, and I will pick up a grammar book for older kids for him to work through. Other than that I will leave him to his own devices. He is happy to be working on his projects, and I am happy to give him the time.

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