High School Year 3

Amazingly these two great kids are juniors this year. I can hardly believe it.

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They have been back to school for a while now as they take classes online at Harari. Harari goes year round with their first quarter having started in June. In addition the twins are running an online book club this year over at SEA. They even made a video introducing the club for anyone who is interested.

Outside of Harari and book club the twins do not have a great deal of down time. When they do have free time they work on their own projects, mostly art, music, and making games. In addition they like to hang with friends (what teens don’t?) and are making plans, lots and lots of plans for their future. Basically they are just being teenagers which is great because honestly teens are so much fun!

Here are their school pictures for the year. They took a great deal of interest in their photos this year as opposed to all the other years we took school photos. The pictures came out great and really captured their personalities.

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I am looking forward to the future too. I can’t wait to see where it takes these two. At the same time I find myself feeling a little sad at how fast time passes, at how quickly the twins have grown up. It is a cliche but time really does pass by in the blink of the eye. These last two years will be gone before I know it. In the meantime I am going to sit back and enjoy watching these two make their final journey towards adulthood.

Almost 15…

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These two are going to be 15 in a few days. I can’t believe it has been fifteen years since I brought home two very small babies from the hospital.

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That first year I slept less than I ever had in my life, but I also had more fun than I ever have. And it has been an adventure ever since with these two.

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I sit here and reflect on all of this, and I think about the last few months. It has been a somewhat difficult few months around here due to the fact that we are in the process of trying to figure out if the older boy has a genetic disorder. We won’t know for a while if he does in fact have one, but we have had a somewhat hard time navigating this new world of doctors and genetics. It is very time-consuming and emotionally draining but we are all thankful for the great health insurance we have and for the wonderful doctors we see.

I am also thankful for the twins. They have had a wonderful attitude through all of this. The girl has been supportive and sweet, and the boy has managed to stay positive even when facing all of this.

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Happy Birthday you two!

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Looking Ahead to the Next School Year

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To be honest this last school year did not quite go how I envisioned it. My time was taken up by several health issues and therefore I was unable to be as involved in homeschooling as I would have liked. Even though the kids are older and are very independent homeschoolers they do need some structure and someone leading them along through their days. This is especially true for the girl who craves interaction and feedback from me while doing school work.

Looking back though I do realize that we finished all the work we set out to even though it didn’t feel like we did. The twins had several online classes and those went great, and they learned that they love online, live classes. Tru finished all his math early and had time to go down several rabbit trails on his own. Their first year of high school English went great as did science. They fulfilled all the credits we set out to at the beginning of the year, and their love of learning is still there. I worried that the pressure of doing high school right might have taken away from the joy, but it didn’t.

The younger boy worked through Bravewriter’s Arrow again this year. I cannot say enough about this program. For an advanced child in writing it has been a perfect match. He enjoys the books and feels like the instruction does not talk down to him. There has been a few times that we needed to skip sections because he already knew what was being discussed, but for the most part he was happy to read the weekly notes and to work on the passage. Because he is a writer, this program speaks to him. It is the highlight of his day.

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The boy worked on math here and there, but this was a real struggle this year. I feel that his very low processing speed had something to do with this and I am debating whether we should seek out further testing. History went great towards the end of the school year. He discovered The Kane Chronicles and then moved on to the Percy Jackson books. Along the way we studied ancient history and myths to go along with it. Overall I was very excited about his sudden interest in history.

Next year I am buying very little curriculum, and I feel so good about that. The twins are enrolled in an online private school that is free. They are in five classes each, and I couldn’t be happier. In addition to these classes they need to keep up with math, and they need to take chemistry. I am still looking for a chemistry class for them, but I feel good about their upcoming school year. My goal is to be more involved in the oversight of their learning and to have daily feedback for them. I know this will be appreciated by them both.

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For the boy we are going to go through the Arrow one more time (this will be his third year) and then we will move on to the Boomerang the following year. He also will be working through Thinkwell math at the recommendation of his older brother. This is all the formal school he will be doing. One aspect of him that I had re-affirmed this year is that he fills up his days quite nicely. He works on Scratch, he writes, he reads, he listens to audio books, he draws, and along the way he learns quite a bit. I don’t want to get in the way of his self-learning as he goes through the middle school years.

 

 

Checking In…

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I have been missing in action here at TadTown for a little while now, but I am going to try to make an effort and get back on track with my posts. Life has thrown us a few curve balls lately, and the kids and I have been trying to stay on top of everything which hasn’t left much time for anything else.

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Through it all the kids have been plugging along with their school work. The twins are nearing the end of their studies this year and overall they have had a positive experience with their first year of high school. I believe the kids had the right balance of online classes and at-home classes. Next year they will have a similar balance of classes because I strongly believe that if something works don’t mess with it.

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The twins have also begun fencing, and I am so surprised at how much they love it. It has been such a positive addition to their routine and they are both so psyched about fencing. It is wonderful to see them both so excited about something new, and it is wonderful that they have a shared passion.

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Decca has also been plugging along with everything although most of his studies are now interest led. He reads often, works on his Scratch projects (his newest is ScratchTopia), writes, and animates. In between all this I try to sneak in a few math lessons here and there. Math is not a favorite subject for him, but I encourage him to keep working at it. Slow and steady is our math motto and I believe it will be that way throughout his school years.

 

 

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 – Week 6

I am feeling a little under the weather today as are all  the kids. It seems appropriate that it is nearly fall, and we are experiencing our first cold. I almost feel that we seem to get  a cold whenever we are in need of a little break. We have all been working hard for six weeks and now we have a cold which forces us to pull back and rest.  As far as this week the kids accomplished quite a bit. Highlights include:

Decca worked on his own Mister Man books. He even wrote one titled Mr. TAD in honor of our blog.

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He also worked through more of his weather unit from Moving Beyond the Page. The twins helped him with one of his projects, making an anemometer.

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The twins worked on various experiments with the protozoa they grew. Again it mostly consisted of creating slides and observing under a microscope.

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We made covers for our Kindles. This was a fun project for all of us.

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The twins are still crazy about their French class. The teacher makes them laugh through all the lessons which they appreciate.  Overall they are both very happy with their work this year.

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On Friday we had a bonfire at the beach with our homeschool group.

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And this morning the twins went to an open house at a fencing studio. Their friends are members and invited the twins to try it out. Autry had so much fun. Tru lasted for a while and then went home sick.

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Tonight we are all on the floor in the living room feeling sick. We have Midsommer Murders on and we are all drinking hot tea. It is cold enough outside that I have the fireplace going. It is a perfect night at home and one that I appreciate after a week full of activity.

Weekly Update

Our week had a rough start due to the Labor Day weekend, but Wednesday went much better than Tuesday as did the rest of the week. Decca finished his MBTP unit on The People of Sparks and continued with his geography unit. The highlight of the week was working on a map of North America.

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He also began working on Life of Fred fractions. He made it through the first three lessons. He loves Life of Fred and he loves Beast Academy, but he needs to rotate or he gets tired of the work. I will have him do a section in Beast Academy for a few weeks, then have him switch to Life of Fred for a set of lessons, and then go back to Beast Academy. It works for him, so it works for me.

Also this week he managed to watch a great deal of BrainPop. He watched all the videos that tied into his geography lessons.

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He worked on his cursive, which is very difficult for him. To lighten it up he made cursive characters to help him along.

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Other work he did this week – He began reading Inside Out and Back Again and learned all about Vietnam and the Vietnam War.

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He was especially interested in Vietnamese cooking, and we watched some how-to cooking shows on YouTube on the subject. Decca also completed week 4 of his Latin, wrote a number of short stories, and worked on piano. Overall it was a good week, especially when you take into account the bad start we had in the beginning.

The twins continued along with their high school work. You can read more about what their first year of high school looks like here. It is hard to detail everything they did this week but here is a few highlights.

They continued working on their Spencerian cursive. They love it!

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Notice our very messy table – I’m just trying to keep it real here!

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They received their new microscope in the mail and we did several labs for biology relating to it. This was probably their favorite activity they did this week.

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Only a homeschooler would have these books on her kindle 🙂

They both began reading another Agatha Christie novel. Agatha Christie is their new favorite author and they are loving every book of hers that they have read.

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Autry’s take on Poirot inspired by her love of everything Agatha Christie.

They also began the second half of their Latin this week. They are not doing a major Latin program this year as we had originally planned. Instead they are finishing up with Getting Started with Latin and then they will move on to something else (I don’t know what yet).

A new thing we are doing this year is tea time. Autry wanted to reinstate it, as we use to have tea time everyday until the kids got older. She felt we should bring it back, so we did. Everyone enjoys some afternoon tea and the reading of poems and speeches.

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And that is our weekend in review.

One of Those Days

We are having one of those days, you know the kind of day where nothing goes right. The kind of day where everyone, including myself, isn’t motivated to do much of anything. The kind of day where one Latin worksheet causes this kind of reaction.

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I blame the long three-day weekend. The kids and I left town to go up to the mountains for a while.  We had a great time up there enjoying the outdoors and the cooler weather.

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Kingsley had a great time too.

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Now we need to switch gears and get back to our routine. It isn’t going quite as I had planned. The twins were late to their Tuesday morning work out session with their trainer. They weren’t a little late, they were a half-hour late, which meant they were late coming home and getting back to school. Autry’s computer broke, so she was unable to do her math.

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The twins lost their history book, so they can’t read today. There is a good deal of teen angst in the house this morning, short tempers, and a few tears from my youngest. There is also far too many incidents of dramatic heads-falling-to-the-table going on.

I am calling it an early morning and giving the kids a few hours to re-group. This afternoon we will come back together and try to get as much work done as we can. What we don’t finish today we will get to later this week or this weekend.

Flexibility – another benefit of homeschooling.