Autry and iPads, part 2

My daughter is having so much fun with the iPad mini she received for Christmas. She especially enjoys Sketchbook Pro‘s new time-lapse feature, and I thought I would share one of her creations:

Also, my daughter declared this week that she is “one of the biggest Lord of the Rings nerds on the planet”, and so she just had to record this song on Garage Band, another of her favorite apps.

She wasn’t very happy with it, saying that her voice was too cracky and flat that day, but I still think it is amazing that she recorded the main part along with all the chords in the background.

iPads are a tool for learning in the 21st century, and for my daughter they are a tool for creating!

Silent Night

My daughter has spent the last month and a half working on her first arrangement. She arranged Silent Night for four voices, with four base tones that broke into two main lines, both in a soprano/second soprano range. They rehearsed it today for the very first time. I was amazed at how beautiful it was and decided to share it with you all.


Weekly Update

Decca modeling his lower metal. He also has metal on the roof of his mouth and on the inside of his cheeks. It is not fun!

We had a light week this week. There was not much done in the way of tangible work, but that does not matter, as we needed some days off. Decca got an expander and an herbst appliance placed in his mouth on Tuesday, and it caused so much discomfort. Although the pain is subsiding today, he still cannot eat. I am hoping he figures that out soon, or he will be drinking smoothies and shakes for the next 6 months to a year.

Since Decca was in so much pain this week, I kept the school light and fun. We played a few games in math from Kitchen Table Math. He had fun playing them, although they were a little easy.

In this game he would build up numbers and write them down.

In this game he and I would take turns drawing numbers to try and create the larger number.

He also completed a few Mom-made worksheets based on the lessons of Kitchen Table Math.

He still reverses many of his numbers. We are working on this, and it seems to be getting a little better.

We also finished Little House in the Big Woods, and Grandma helped him make a cabin for a final project. This was a time-consuming project, but it was worth it. He took so much pride in making it, and he has been playing with it everyday since. Although it started out as a cabin from Little House in the Big Woods, it quickly morphed into a playset for his Scooby Doo games.

Making his cabin with Grandma's help.

A monster hiding in the trees.

Scooby and Shaggy trying to solve the case.

Tru worked on all his normal studies: French, Pre Algebra, History, and Writing with Skill. We also got in another chemistry lesson. This week the kids studied thermometers and how temperature and molecules work in the thermometer. It was another great lesson from Middle School Chemistry.

Reading the temperature on the thermometer.

Filling out his lab worksheet.

We also played a fun game this week called I’ve Got a New Business. This turned out to be the best game. The kids, my mom, and I played it all day. I decided to make a little video of it, as it was so much fun.

And that is our week in review.

Wordless Wednesday (I know, it is not wordless!)

The smooth pale trees seemed to be aglow from the silvery moonlight soaking them. They swayed and bended gracefully so that they wove together. Oranges blossomed from the boughs.

The moist and earthy carpet of dark grass beneath them was speckled with white roses and lilies. They gave the air a vaguely sweet fragrance and looked silver in the pale dark, twinkling like the stars that mirrored them above on a sky of black velvet like the soft grass. Water cascaded in luscious arcs and into a nearby lake that was so dark and yet so light that you could see your reflection in the pool.

Autry’s Short Story

Autry began writing a short story, and I was quite impressed with it. I noticed that a number of the vocabulary words we are working on in LLLotR have made their way into her story.  I wasn’t going to do the vocabulary work from LLLotR, as I felt she already had this covered in her other areas of school, but the story is so rich with words (how can it not be with Tolkien’s background) that I knew we could not pass it up. I am glad we didn’t!

Autry’s Story

“Tell me we’re there,” breathed Alina softly.

“You are not as hardy as I suspected, lassie…” said Fredgar, the old haggard driver. His face was always hidden from view under a worn and weather-beaten black hood. Alina’s friends had informed her that he did this to hide his jagged scars and sallow face. She tried to convince herself that she did not believe these ridiculous tales, yet there was an ominous air about him, and Alina was now apprehensive about uncovering the truth, which she was sure she would find concealed under that horrible hood.

To distract herself, she scrolled through the playlists on her iPod. Alina finally settled on a new album she had purchased for the dull trip through the dreary quagmire to her great Aunt Lettia’s. She popped in the headphones and began to listen to the loud music. But slowly, she noticed that the entertaining beat of the song had changed: the drum beats faded, the guitars seemed to melt away, the vocalists became soft and grave, then incomprehensible, and then died away all together, as if they had been from a distant dream.

Gradually, the beat struck up a slow, mournful tune. Alina impulsively tried to reach up her hands to take out the headphones and change the playlist, but she found that her headphones seemed to be bound to her very ears. A dread grew inside of her, and she knew that she needed to stop listening to this strange new music. Yet Alina could not take off the headphones and could not force herself to ignore it. Her heart felt heavy, the music seemed to now pulsate in her ears, eerie and monotonous. Her eyelids drooped and she began to lay her head on her shoulders. She was almost asleep when the music once more became louder than before, but now too loud! It screeched and wailed deafeningly in her pounding ears.

“Turn that down, miss, or I shall have to turn it down, for you!” called Fredgar. Alina tried to reply, but she could not speak. Her voice had stopped sounding and her lips had frozen. Panic and fear grew inside her, and she tried to move her arms to communicate, but she seemed paralyzed! She could not even blink; all she could do was sit there and breathe heavily. A horrible raspy voice came on in her headphones. She felt sure that she was nearly deaf. The voice crooned in a horrible jarring whisper:

Go to sleep, Alina… Go to sleep!

It screamed the last words, but Alina could not shut her eyes! The hood of Fredgar was bending over her, now. The last thing she saw was the horrid pale marred face of the driver before everything went silent and black.


Beware of the younger sibling…

She loves being his older sister.

The other day the twins and I were going over their Life of Fred math. I LOVE this curriculum, and we always go over the chapters together. I read the story out loud, and then we work through the problems. After this I have the twins do more problems to reinforce what they have learned.

Everyone in this family loves to hear about Fred, and that includes Decca. Usually he does not say much during the lesson, and sometimes I do not even know if he is paying attention, but lately that has changed. Decca has decided he would like to work on these math problems too.

The twins think this is funny, and they love to give him hard questions that he cannot answer (“Decca what is 300 times x divided by y times .275 times 3.14 etc….). However the other day Decca answered a Life of Fred question from the decimal book, and he did it before his sister could figure out the answer. She was mortified!

He's only 7, how can he figure out a math problem before me?

I had to explain to Autry that math is one of Decca’s strengths. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Math happens to be a weakness for both Tru and Autry, and it happens to be a strength for Decca. She didn’t like the sound of that, but then I reminded her of all of her strengths, and that made her feel better.

They learn from each other.

I am glad I homeschool. In school Decca would probably be bored out of his mind, and unable to sit still. He might not have discovered his love for math and Fred. Autry might not have discovered her love of music, and Tru would not have discovered his love of books. At home it is easy to figure out where their strengths and weaknesses lie, and this is one of the greatest strengths of homeschooling.