Weekly Update

Waiting outside LACMA for the Tim Burton exhibit.

Hmm…how did our week go. Well we went to LACMA to see the Tim Burton show on Tuesday. This was a wonderful show, and I wish I could have taken pictures. Photography was not allowed, so you will just have to trust me on this, it was a great exhibit. The boys enjoyed it, and I think it inspired them to draw even more than they already are (if that is possible).

While we were at LACMA we also visited the Pavilion for Japanese Art. The building is very funky and dated (I felt like I had just step back into the seventies), yet peaceful and full of great art. The boys loved the netsuke room and the paintings.

Inside the Pavilion for Japanese Art

We also walked around the grounds of LACMA. The Brea Tar Pits are there, so Decca explored a bit. He wants to come back to visit the Page Museum and to learn more about the tar pits. I think I will bring them back in a couple of weeks.

Looking at a tar pit

The boys had to turn in a writing sample for our charter school. I detest this assignment, and every year I threaten to quit the school because it frustrates me to no end. I don’t mind that they have to produce a writing sample, but the assignment just seems like busy work, and it disrupts our week. Anyway Tru had to write an essay comparing and contrasting microscopes and telescopes, and Decca had to write one comparing and contrasting board games and video games. It was a very boring assignment, and I am just glad it is over.

Tru enjoyed another great class at speech and debate this week. I am still amazed at how much he loves this class. I never would have guessed this would be his favorite activity this year. They played a fun game in class were you weren’t allowed to use certain words when you talk, and Tru taught Decca and Autry the game. This led Decca to create a shirt with the words on it.

Decca with his shirt

The kids didn’t really do much else this week besides Time4Learning everyday. I am still sick, and I haven’t had the energy to do too much. This has made for some happy kids and for a messy house.

Enjoying their week

And that is our week in review.


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.

Film Studies

My son Truffaut wants to study film next year, so I am trying to put together a course of study for him. I am excited about this as I majored in film in college. I am thinking I will divide a year study into three main areas. We will study film history, film as literature, and film making.

I have been searching amazon for a book or two to help with our study. I have found two that seem promising. They are Filmmaking for Teens: Pulling Off Your Shorts and Screenwriting for Teens: The 100 Principles of Screenwriting Every Budding Writer Must Know. These two books are going to form the basis for his film making study.

For film history I am going to use The Young Oxford Book of the Movies (Young Oxford Books). I have had this book for years, waiting patiently for my children to show interest in learning the history of film. Now that one has expressed interest, I cannot wait to begin working our way through it.

The book covers film history from the earliest beginnings (the magic lantern, zoetrope, etc.), silent films, the Hollywood system, European films, and National Cinemas. In addition it goes over the major genres in film, such as westerns, musicals, comedy, etc. I am hopping to watch two films per each section in the book. I think that would be a nice overview for him, and I hope to have this list put together soon, for anybody that is interested.

After film history, we will concentrate on two genres of films in our study of film as literature. My first film class in college was a film literature class, and I can’t wait to study this with Tru. In college we studied Hitchcock, the French New Wave, and screwball comedies. I am not sure Tru would be as interested in the last two categories, but I think he would enjoy a study on Hitchcock films. Along with our Hitchcock study, I am toying with the idea of studying either Westerns or films that have been adapted from classic literature.

All in all I am happy with the plan so far. I am confident we will be able to get it all in over the year, but if Truffaut is really enjoying it, I may stretch it out over two years. If we get it all done in one year, we will concentrate on animation (the making of animated films and the history) for the next year. I can’t wait to get started!

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.

Weekly Report 9/13-9/17 – A Week in the Car

We had our first week with all our classes and all I can say is that I am tired! Seriously, what was I thinking?

Monday – Swim lessons at our place. Luckily this might be our last week because the weather is cooling down (and yes I am talking about California cool, which is high 60’s, low 70’s, and yes I know we are wimps out here!). The kids did math, language arts, and history. Everyone practiced their music.

We also spent sometime listening about Bach with this wonderful series by Vox. The CDs are very affordable; we picked up a few of them and are currently learning about all the composers.

Tuesday – Tru has drum lessons with a wonderful group in Garden Grove. This is about 20 minutes away from us, so it takes about 2 hours out of our day. The lessons are also about five minutes from Disneyland. Five minutes, and we have passes! It is impossible to overlook this fact, and I know that most Tuesdays this year we will be at Disneyland. How sad for us! The kids listened to another CD on Mozart.

Wednesdays – We had an early day Wednesday. The kids had to take some beginning of the year tests for their charter school. We were up and out the door at 7:30 (it was amazing that we accomplished that!), and our first stop? Starbucks. Yes I am that kind of mom.

After that the kids took their tests, and I had our first meeting with our ES. From there we had to drive to homeschool choir. Decca and Autry had their first meeting, then we got a half hour break for lunch. This was followed with Decca’s piano lesson and Autry’s voice lesson. We got home at 2:30.

I thought we were in for the day, and that we were done driving around. Then I realized that this was the last day to pay for Peter Pan tickets through our school, and I really wanted to see this play. What to do? I threw the kids in the car and drove to Long Beach in rush hour traffic. Not fun, but we were able to pay for our tickets. I am looking forward to seeing the play.

Thursday – Most of our day was open, so we did get some work done. Thursday afternoon Autry had her first class at South Coast Rep. The boys and I had to stay for the first forty minutes for a parents meeting, and by the time we got out they were starving. There was no time to run home before Autry had to be picked up, so we grabbed some dinner at South Coast Plaza. A nice, uneventful dinner, and then our check came. I looked in my purse for my wallet, and I realized, to my horror, that I had no wallet or money or anything to pay for this dinner.

I thought back to my childhood, and how mortified my brothers and I would be in this situation.

My older brothers before I came along.

Harold and I would be under the table hiding in embarrassment, and Jesse would probably be making some joke about it, while Sam would be the only one trying to help mom. I thought my kids would be equally embarrassed, but they were more panicked, especially Tru. He didn’t know what we would do.

Thank goodness I have a little charm left in me. I used it, and the waiter didn’t care about us not being able to pay at all. He joked that he might need the boys to do some dishes, which the boys didn’t think was funny. In the end we just left with a promise to pay the bill later.

That night the kids did math and language arts, and then they started making a funny video on the life of Mozart. Decca played Mozart, and Tru was his father.

Friday – I registered the twins for a day of classes at this wonderful homeschool campus. They started their day with a science lab, then Tru went to an engineering Lego class. We then had an hour lunch break. Autry ended the day with a drama class. The class is using Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! as a basis for their play. I think Autry is going to enjoy working in this class.

We got home at 4:00. It was a long day, actually a long week. I was ready to do nothing, but Decca decided to work on his Egyptian pyramid kit that we had picked up from our ES.  I was surprised how nice this kit was, as I usually am not impressed with kits such as this. The boys worked on it for over an hour, and Decca kept going on about how he is a famous adventurer who discovered this pyramid. Tru was a famous archeologist that he hired to excavate it. Autry was working in her new workbook all night while this was going on. They all had fun, and it was a nice way to end the week.

Saturday and Sunday – What, work on the weekend? I have to make up our missed work somewhere, and this is the beauty of homeschool. We aren’t on a set schedule, and the kids can do their work whenever it is necessary. Luckily the kids have no trouble working for a few hours on the weekend, even if that means Saxon math.

Saturday school is done in pajamas.

And that is our week in review.

Weekly Report

We began school this week, slowly easing into our routine. It was hard getting the kids going, but I am excited about this year, and I think we will be on a routine soon.

I have changed our math program again, but after doing LoF with Autry for a few days last week, I realized it was not going to work. I had Saxon 7/6, and I dragged it out, and the kids worked through the first three lessons. They don’t like math, I don’t think they ever will, but they did do it without much complaint.  I was actually thinking they might actually enjoy math this year, but then I saw this video at my daughter’s blog, and I realized I was wrong! At least it is inspiring their creativity…

The twins did three lessons in their K12 Language Arts. This is working great for them, and they seem to enjoy all the reading. Hopefully they won’t be making a video about their hatred of this anytime soon!

We also began our Rosetta Stone Spanish. I was surprised at how quickly the kids catch on to this.

Decca hasn’t done much this week. He doesn’t like the idea of summer ending at all, and he is boycotting school. The only thing he willingly did was the little history we got in for the week. We began our ancient studies, and the kids all made their own cave paintings. Hopefully Decca will get into the swing of things next week.

Actually Decca did spend a good deal of time on one more thing, as did the twins, and I wanted to write about it.

mini LUK

I ordered the mini LUK on a whim, not really understanding what it was. When I got it I finally figured it out, and the kids and I have been playing with it for days. It is a great little system that quizzes you on logic, math, geometry, and visual perception. You use the controller to record your answers, and if you are right the tiles will make a picture. It is so simple, but a good deal of fun. I ordered the books for grades 2 to adult, but they also have books for younger kids that I imagine are fun and educational. If you are looking for a little something to get your kids thinking, I recommend you look into this.

Weekly Update

I am trying to get back in the habit of updating this blog, hopefully I will keep up with it.

Let’s see, what did we do this week. We moved last weekend, and this week has been spent unpacking. I still have more to do, but I feel that I am 3/4 of the way done, so I am happy about that.

We painted all weekend. Here is my bedroom.

The kids will be starting back into work next week. Not all subjects at once, but a few to get back in the habit. The twins will be doing math, language arts, and Spanish. Decca will be working on math, reading, and piano. They really need to be on a schedule again, so I am looking forward to next week. Summer has been great, but everyone is ready for a little more structure.

Next Friday we are bringing a puppy home. He is a Goldendoodle, and he will be Tru’s. Tru choose Kingsley  (from Harry Potter) as his name. He is just a puppy, so I know I am in for a lot of work.

We are looking forward to this addition to our family.

I made a little bird watching area on our back patio to encourage bird watching. I just attached a bird identifier book to the back patio, and I put out our binoculars. I didn’t tell the kids, I wanted them to discover it for themselves. Decca seems to be getting the most out of it. I find him out there often looking for birds.

Apple thinks I tied it up for her.

And that is our week in review.