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.




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.




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




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




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.



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




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.




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.


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


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.

Weekly Update

We are on a very relaxed schedule now, and we will probably be on this schedule through July. We do this every year, and it works out for all of us. By May the kids, and truthfully I, are all burned out and ready for a break. I pull way back on what I expect from them, and they spend most of their time doing what they want.

This doesn’t mean that we stop all academic work. Tru is still working through his algebra, as he wants to have this done by next September. He is also reading Shakespeare and keeping up with his French (Rosetta Stone) and history. He plays golf 3 to 4 times a week.

In his room working.

Decca is working on Dreambox math, and he is reading everyday. He is also keeping up with his piano.

In addition he is working on his Scooby Doo story that he is writing, and my mom is illustrating. He takes this very seriously and is on page 33 right now. He hopes to have it finished by June.

The cover of Decca’s Scooby book

With all this free time what have the boys and I been up to? Well we have been swimming nearly every day this week. It has been so nice out, and we felt we had to take advantage of this wonderful weather by being outside.

We have been going on many walks enjoying the nature all around us.

The boys have been working on their Scratch projects, and they both are excited about Scratch 2.0 coming out.

Tru’s latest Scratch project

The changes to Scratch look amazing, and if you haven’t downloaded Scratch for your kids yet, now would be a good time. Here is a video explaining the new version.

Autry was very busy last week with school. She had a concert and a competition. She did an amazing job in both, and she was so happy to find out this week that she has passed the first round in the Southern California Junior Bach Festival, and she will be competing in the second round in September.

Arriving for rehearsals for the Bach Competition.

She sang her songs in English for the first round, but I think she will have to learn them in German for the next round. She is happy that she has all summer to work on them.

Picking up Autry from school on Thursday.

School seems to be winding down for her too, which works nice with our schedule. She only has two more weeks of conservatory and four weeks of academics. Homework is very minimal right now because most of the kids at OCHSA are busy with concerts and shows, and this is great. Autry has been able to come home from school and just relax with the rest of us. In her down time she has been working on writing songs and drawing comics.

Autry’s song Ode to Purple

A comic Autry has been working on this week.

And that is our week in review.

Weekly Update Through Pictures

I thought it would be fun to do a weekly update through pictures only. Right? Isn’t this fun?

Actually the truth is that I am feeling kind of lazy today, and I just don’t want to write out a long weekly update. So this is not only fun, but also very convenient for me. Yeah!

I can tell already that this is going to be a very random post with very random photos. The one above is of my daughter’s llama friend.  He has recently grown a mustache, and I for one like the new look.

Now to get down to business. What has been going on here lately? Well we had a wonderful storm a week or so ago. I loved it because it was truly a downpour, something that is very rare here in Southern California.

My brother Jesse came out to visit us for a few days. We all had fun spending time with him, but I think Decca and Kingsley enjoyed the visit the most.

I caught Decca working on a new composition on the piano. I love when he sits down at the piano for an hour or so and experiments with sound and rhythm.

And just because I know everyone is dying to hear another song that Decca has been working on here is Worlds are Dying Stars are Crying.

Speaking of music Autry has a concert and a competition next weekend. She has been working hard preparing for both. I hope I am able to get a recording of her songs to post on here next week. In the meantime here is a clip of her and her fellow classmates working on Swing Low Sweet Chariot.

Autry has also been on a Harry Potter kick ever since she signed up for Pottermore, so she created a paper version of getting into Hogwarts. Here is a page where you get to pick your animal. The choices are so cute.

I would have to choose the awkward owl for no reason other than to see the awkwardness.

Now that I have read back through this post I am worried about the possibility of any grandparents and/or other relatives reading this and wondering whether or not the kids have done any real schooling this week. To alleviate those fears I feel the need to state that yes they have done some school this week.

Tru began reading and studying Romeo and Juliet.

And Decca read two books of Scooby-Doo.

We started back up on our study of film history. I put this on hold for a long time because I lost the book we are using as a spine, but I am happy to report that it has been located and our study is going forward. Hopefully by the end of summer the whole study will be completed and uploaded onto my blog.

Also this week I was lucky enough to spend some one-on-one time with a great kid. I snapped this picture of him while we were driving around on errands.

I also snapped this picture of Kingsley in the car with me. The kids and I took him to In-N-Out, which he loved.

And that is our (very strange) week in review.

Weekly Update

I haven’t posted an update in a while, but I felt inspired today to share what the kids have been working on. Maybe this desire stems from the truant officers visit yesterday. Something about that leaves me unsettled, and I feel that if I go over what we worked on this week I will feel better.

The girl and I went on many walks this week.

Autry was on a final schedule at her school this week, which meant she had Monday and Friday off, and she had half days on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I loved having her home so much. I miss her when she is at school, and I cherish the time when she is here. Because she is only in seventh grade she did not have too many finals. Most of her teachers opted to not give finals, which she was happy about. The two finals she had were in Jazz Dance (she got an A!) and pre-algebra.

Autry spent most of the week singing, taking photos, writing on her blog, and hanging out with her twin brother.

Decca has been working on a Monet study the last two weeks. He and I read several books about Monet, including Charlotte in Giverny, which he loved. He also spent the last two weeks exploring impressionism and trying to paint and sketch in that style.

We finished with his Monet study this week and started a unit study on Rocks and Minerals. He was excited to start digging for his dinosaur bones in his kit, and he can’t wait to start using his Rocks and Mineral kit.

Decca also spent much of his time this week working on math with Dreambox learning, working on his handwriting skills, and working on his writing skills. He is a contributor to the Scooby Doo fan wiki page, and he spent hours writing for this. I love that he can do something he is passionate about, and I can count it as school. It works out great for both of us.

Tru read A Single Shardand The Kite Fightersthis week, and he is working on an essay in which he is comparing and contrasting the two stories. He told me yesterday how much he enjoyed reading both books, and he has decided that Linda Sue Park is one of his favorite authors.

Tru is working his way through Life of Fred Pre-Algebra with Economics. He is on chapter 15 now. He has taken two bridges and passed them both on the first try. I have a feeling that most of the information in here is review, but he wanted to get the book and work through it anyway. When he is finished working through this book (which he has read all the way through twice this week) he will start Saxon Algebra 1 4th Edition. I haven’t read too many reviews about the 4th edition, but Cathy Duffy gave it a positive review, so I thought we would try it out. I will let everyone know how it goes once he starts working on it.

Tru studied Ancient Korea this week to go along with his reading, and Autry is studying Ancient China in school, so I decided to take the kids to the Bowers Museum on Friday to see the Terra Cotta Warriors. It was a great field trip!

Autry taking some pics at the exhibit.

I have so many pictures I want to share from our day at Bowers. Not only was there the Warrior exhibit, but they had another interesting exhibit on Skrimshaw, which is the art of the American whaler.  I will have to make another post with all our photos from the day soon, but I will leave you with this short video on Decca’s favorite part of the exhibit. Make sure to watch to the end of the video to see a working miniature guillotine.

And that is our week in review.

Weekly Update

Our week started out great. Everyone was working hard, I was feeling good about OCHSA and the drive, and curriculum was working out. I was feeling great about everything, and then the inevitable happened. We all got sick!

Apparently Autry was feeling bad in the beginning of the week with a sore throat. She didn’t want to tell me because she was afraid she would have to stay home sick from school, and she didn’t want to do that. So she was sick in the beginning of the week, then Tru and I started having a sore throat Wednesday night, and then Decca got sick.  He always seems to get a high fever every time he gets sick, even if the rest of us don’t. He has been sick in bed for the last two days with a 104 degree fever. I am hoping it breaks soon, and that he sleeps tonight, because I am so tired.

We did get some work done in the beginning of the week. Tru is still enjoying his MBTP work. He is working his way through The Hobbit and learning about the history and culture of Australia and Oceania. He is working on maps in both areas, and for literature he is enjoying making his own fictional creature that could be part of the world of The Hobbit. He is going to sculpt a figure of his creature this weekend with his Grandma, and I hope to have a pic up next week of it.

Hobbit map

Map of Australia and Oceania

In science Tru continued studying the lithosphere. He studied shock waves, seismometers, Alfred Wegener, tectonic plates, and the continents. He did two experiments, both of which he enjoyed immensely, even though I thought they were rather simplistic for his age.

In this experiment he was testing how sound travels through different solids and liquids.

A rebound model in which Tru tried to show how the ice age affected the earth's crust. He decided he needed an audience, hence the Lego guys.

In math Tru continued to plug along in LoF pre-algebra. We haven’t received his AoPS book yet. When we do we will share our reactions.  Tru had another speech class, and he is still liking it. He gave a short speech on why he wants to become a better speaker. He told the class that he either wants to be a history professor or an attorney when he gets older, and he thinks being able to speak in public would be helpful for either of those jobs. I thought that was funny.

Decca did a little work this week. We worked through most of LoF Apples. He still loves it. He also continued working in his Singapore Word Problems book. We read more of The Sign of the Beaver, and he did some worksheets on cause and effect and on vocabulary.

He also watched the Sign of the Beaver on Hulu. It is free, and I thought it would be fun to watch. The makers of the movie felt it necessary to add a whole story about Matt’s parents, which I felt was very unnecessary. I skipped all those parts, and we just watched the scenes with Matt and Attean. Decca liked it, and we had a great discussion on how books change when they are made into movies.

Autry started conservatory at OCHSA, and she loves it. She has choir on Monday/Wednesday, theory on Tuesday, and solo work on Thursday. This is why she is at OCHSA, and the drive now seems worth it. She is very happy there, and I am adjusting. I love to see her so enthusiastic for school every morning.

On her way to school in the morning

And that is our week in review.

Random Musings for the End of the Week

Autry is getting so excited to start the school year!

I am trying to get everyone ready for the upcoming school year. Autry has all her school supplies, and we did the online registration for her at OCHSA. She has on campus registration in two weeks, and then she starts school the week after. She is so excited and can hardly wait!

MBTP Concept 4

I placed Decca’s order for Moving Beyond The Page. He will be using the 8-10 curriculum, and we will be starting with concept 4, exploration and survival. In addition to MBTP, he will be using Life of Fred for math, which he is looking forward to. I am also going to order Murderous Maths for him to read along with LoF. Decca wants to study Latin this year, but I haven’t picked out a program for him yet. I still am thinking about what he would like.

Tru’s school year is starting to take shape. For history and literature he will be working on a secular version of Sonlight Core H. For science he has chosen to use Middle School Chemistry, and then when that is over, we are going to study the brain using Ellen McHenry’s unit. Tru will study French this year with a Rosetta Stone/So You Really Want To Learn French combo, and for math he will use Life of Fred and Khan Academy. 

Speaking of Khan Academy, I can’t emphasize enough how great of a resource this is. I have researched math programs for months now, and I estimate the average price of a pre-algebra course is around $200.00. Khan Academy is free, and the instruction and exercises are wonderful. There are 2400 videos to watch and 125 practice exercises. My kids enjoy the videos, and they love working on the exercises because they can earn badges. I like that I can track their progress as their learning coach. Khan Academy is a wonderful resource, and I am surprised more homeschoolers are not taking advantage of it. 

Here is an overview of Khan Academy.

And this is a great talk by the founder of Khan Academy. 

Also this week the kid’s finished their film that they have been working on. I am impressed with how well it turned out.

Several people have asked me what camera and software did the kids use on this project. They used an HD Flip camera and iMovie to edit. I like iMovie for learning to edit, as it is very easy to learn. This year as Tru studies film more in-depth, I am going to have him learn Final Cut Pro. He will probably start working on that in a few months. One of his projects this year is going to be to make a film based on a historical figure or event he is learning about, and I will most likely have him edit this film on Final Cut Pro

Not much else going on around here. I did download Alice for the kids finally. The boys aren’t too interested, they would rather use Scratch, but Autry seemed to like it. I think she likes it because she can write stories within the 3D world she creates.  I haven’t explored it too much yet, but I think it is worthy to get, as it is free. I am not sure how much we will use it, but if your kids haven’t had much experience with a game making program they would probably like it.