Weekly Update

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Wow, I can’t believe that we have made it through another week here at TADTown. It feels like we started only a few days ago and here we are at the end of week 3. Our routine is now more firmly established, although the twins are still waiting to start an online french class and writing class. Once those start next week we will be up and running on a full schedule.

 

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Working on his balloon globe with his Grandma.

Decca is working through all his work now. He spends about two hours a day on his Moving Beyond the Page work. This week we continued working through the geography unit and The People of Sparks unit. He is slowly adjusting to the amount of reading required at this age. While he loves to read and will often finish a book in one day, when the reading is a book that he didn’t pick out, it seems to take him a long time. Once his reading is done he enjoys doing the work that is scheduled. This week he did several writing assignments, worked with maps, created a newspaper, and created a setting. The work with Moving Beyond the Page seems to be more than busy work. It encourages the student to interact with the material in a meaningful way, and this is why I like it so much.

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A poem he wrote about the four wars and three plagues in The People of Sparks.

Winter 2

Another work Decca did for an assignment in Moving Beyond the Page – This had to do with setting and was supposed to be a painting or drawing. After he tried for over an hour to get his painting right, he gave up and went to his computer and made this.

In addition to his MBTP work Decca completed another week in Latin, finished a unit in Beast Academy ( he is loving geometry), and began piano lessons with a new teacher that he clicks with. He is now practicing piano every day with no prompting from me.

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He also created a new user profile at Scratch called ScratchLatin and he plans to make videos teaching Latin to kids. His first lesson is already completed and he has begun lesson number two.

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The twins are keeping up with their workload. They are spending a good deal more time working on their school work since they are doing high school level work and taking many outside classes.

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Last year was somewhat of a bust for us because Autry was quite sick for most of the time, so this year we are having to do a few of the same classes again. They are working on biology again this year and Autry is taking Algebra 1 over. She did most of the class last year but she retained so little from it that she wanted to take it again. They are also doing US History again as we did not cover it at a high school level last year. Added to this list is Algebra 2 for Tru, economics for both, guitar lessons for both, French for both, English 1 with additional writing for both, piano lessons and choir for Autry, and fencing and astrophysics for Tru.

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Autry practicing piano.

They are also working on Spencerian Penmanship this year. Tru started this last year, but he didn’t get very far. This year I purchased a set of books for Autry and together they are both working through them.

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They are working through them very slowly, but it is the kind of program where slow and steady is the appropriate way to go. The script is very hard to learn, especially for Tru, but it is worth it. Tru struggles with handwriting  and needed a new program to work through. Autry wanted a program that taught beautiful handwriting,. With Spencerian both of their needs are met. It is hard for Tru, but he takes pride in learning it. They both do, and I have realized that even in the high school years handwriting is important.

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The twins outside the Irvine Museum of Art this week.

Also this week we had park day with our homeschool group on Monday and we went to a museum on Thursday. I am trying to find a balance this year between work at home and activities outside of the house. I want to be able to have time for both, and this week it seemed to work.  I am hoping it works this easily all year.

And that is our week in review.

Weekly Update

We have been home for almost a week now, and we are starting to get back into the swing of things. The first few days the kids and I were very tired from our trip that we had trouble getting motivated.

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This is a picture of three very bored and tired kids on the plane on the way home from Chicago. Our four-hour flight turned into more of a six-hour flight due to runway delays at both Chicago and Orange County. In Chicago we had to sit on the  runway for nearly an hour while the mechanics double checked the plane due to a warning light that came on. We finally left, and our flight was quick and uneventful to Orange County. However once we landed we were informed that there was no gate for us to taxi to due to the thick fog that had been in Orange County that morning. We ended up spending another hour on the plane just waiting for a gate to open. It was hot and stuffy in the plane, and we all wanted off.

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The kids and I were only on about four hours sleep, and by the time we got home I was done. I hardly made it through the day, and that night I slept for almost twelve hours which is quite crazy for me. I must have been worn out from the trip and needed the sleep. The next day the kids and I finished decorating the tree for Christmas.

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My parents put the tree up while we were gone, and my mom decorated the house. It was great coming home to a festive house with a tree already up (thanks Mom!).

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Besides decorating the house the kids each began reading new books this week. The twins are reading Seraphina, and they both love it. They are enjoying it so much that neither can put it down, but since we only have one copy, they have to take turns. The minute one of them puts it down, the other picks it up.

photo(10)Tru is often into a book like this, but it has been a while since Autry has been. Because she was in school the last year and a half, she rarely had the time for reading for pleasure. She had very little free time due to school, homework, and lessons. In addition she seemed to have lost her love of reading while at school. I am so happy to have her home, and I am so happy to see her once again lost in a book.

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Decca also started a new series this week. He is reading The Boxcar Children. This series is below his reading level, but somehow we missed it when he was younger (although the twins read it). There was a deal on kindle this week for the first ten books in the series for only $6.00. I decided to grab them at that price, and he has been reading them all week. It is a pleasant change to see him reading something other than Scooby Doo.

Tru is still plugging along in all his work. He is flying through Teaching Textbooks geometry, and he is nearly finished with his great course on Understanding the Universe. I need to get him a new course for January, and I am hoping I can pick it up greatly discounted. With all the sales floating around lately this shouldn’t be too hard.

Autry is working through Life of Fred algebra. She came home from school with no confidence in her math abilities, but with Fred’s help, it is slowly coming back. Today we worked on mixture problems which did not come easy to either of us. Luckily Khan Academy is around to help. She watched a few videos on the concept, and then she sat back down to work them out.

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We finished the week working on Block by Block and with a game of Sushi Roll. It was a great ending to our week.

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Weekly Update – Spotlight on my Youngest

This week we have moved on to Africa to study animals. Decca read One Small Square African Savanna, Akimbo and the Crocodile Man, and Akimbo and the Snakes.

We have had Akimbo and the Crocodile Man on our shelves for a long time, and Decca never wanted to read it. He thought it looked boring and too young for him. I finally convinced Decca to read it as part of our study this week, and he loved it. On Wednesday I ordered Akimbo and the Snakes for him, and I think I will order the rest in the series for next week. I love when the kids discover a series of books that they love and can’t wait to read. It is one of the joys of homeschooling.

Akimbo and the Snakes is about Akimbo’s visit to his uncle’s snake farm. In it the uncle milks two cobra snakes for Akimbo to see. Decca was very interested in this so we spent some time on YouTube watching videos of snakes being milked.

Decca researched various animals of Africa this week. His favorite was the warthog, which seemed an unlikely candidate to me, but what do I know. I am not an 8-year-old boy, and I do not pretend to understand the inner workings of their minds. 🙂

Decca also continued working through Beast Academy this week. He is working on skip counting and hundred charts. I am constantly amazed at how high the thinking skills are in this book. Anyone who might be worried that their older child might not be challenged by these books are probably in for a pleasant surprise. The workbook questions get very hard very quickly and require a good amount of figuring out. This sometimes frustrates Decca to no end, but when he finally figures out a problem he is very proud of his accomplishment.

Decca also composed several songs in piano this week. Most of his songs that he works on he does not write them out, as it would be too difficult for him at this stage. He composes much more complicated songs than he would be able to write out. For these songs I record him playing, and he takes them into his teacher, and she gives him feedback. However he did attempt to write some songs this week for beginning piano players because he thinks it would be so awesome if he made his own piano books for others. His first song is called Ride.

And just because we cannot possibly go a week without doing something Scooby related (as my son is very obsessed with Scooby) Decca and I created a bar graph of his Scooby Doo books to see what author wrote the most books in his collection.

And that is our week in review.

Weekly Update – Two Weeks in One

I have a love/hate relationship with blogging. Sometimes, when I have a good deal of free time, I enjoy writing posts every few days or so. Other times I just need to completely ignore it. The last few weeks has been one of those times.

Anyway I felt I should update since it has been a while. Hmm, now if I could only remember what we have been up to…

Autry – She had an audition at OCHSA. She was nervous about that, but you would have never guessed it. She has two more auditions at OCHSA at the end of the month. Autry also auditioned for a play yesterday, and I was very proud of her. The play is at a community college, and she went and auditioned in front of a room of college students. I told her I would have never done that at her age, but she was fearless. I have no idea where she gets that strength, but it is something to see.

Tru – Tru has been enjoying his engineering LEGO class, his piano lessons, and making Little Big Planet 2 Levels. He has also been golfing a lot lately, and his swing has gotten better.

Together the twins have been plugging along with all their curriculum. They officially finished LOF Decimals and will begun Pre-Algebra next week. They are working on a research paper for LLLoTR. Tru is writing about Tolkien and Lewis’s relationship over the years, and Autry is researching the character Tom Bombadil. We are still studying Europe in our Eastern Hemisphere studies. This week they began reading Twelth Night and have enjoyed watching BBC Shakespeare Animated Tales.

I also took the twins to see The King’s Speech which they loved. Tru decided it was his favorite film ever, and he wants to see it again.  The kids and I had a great discussion about the rating system used in this country as neither they or I could believe this film was rated R. There is nothing in it that makes it objectionable besides about 20 seconds of cussing. The kids are amazed that a film as beautiful and heart warming as this gets an R rating, and so many violent films with sexual overtones get a PG-13 or PG rating. Anyway if you haven’t seen the film, I highly recommend it.

We also listened to the original King’s speech.

Speaking of movies Tru has always been very interested in films and film history. He has decided that he is going to try to get into OCHSA in 9th grade for film making. Unfortunately that discipline does not start until 9th, so he won’t be starting in 7th like Autry (if she gets in, but I am hopeful), but they would be there together for the high school years. It is a far way off, and many things could change between now and then, but I do think it would be fun for them to be there together.

Decca made a Poppy finger puppet and a home for her for his final Poppy project.

Decca – Sadly, Decca finished his Poppy unit from MBTP. He decided to make his own study unit for Poppy and Rye when he finished his unit, so he has been spending time on that. He also started a new unit on American Heroes. I thought it would be boring for him, but I have been suprised by the fact that he actually likes it. This week he learned about Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson.

Decca has also been working on his piano and math daily. He was stuck for a few weeks in piano, unable to pass anything. He seems to have gotten over that little road bump, and he is once again enjoying the piano. He is working on multiplication  in math. He understands the concept so now he just needs to memorize his facts. We will probably work on this for the next few months until they are cemented in his mind.

Together the kids have been making numerous levels on Little Big Planet 2. I love this game because it is so creative. It is the one game I will let them play all the time. They have created levels inspired by Lord of the Rings, Poppy, and Angry Birds. It is great to see them have so much fun together.

And that is our two weeks in review.