Weekly Update with my Intense/Creative Learner

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I haven’t written out a weekly update in some time for a variety of reasons. One of the main reasons is that the twins do the same thing every week and I feel no need to update anything for them. Another reason is that my youngest is schooling in such an alternative way using a variety of materials (many that may not seem educational at first glance) that it sometimes is hard to sum up his work on a weekly basis.

This has been a transitional year for him in many ways. He seems older, both physically and mentally. The other day Autry remarked that there were no young children in our house anymore and I realized how true that is. My youngest is closer now to being a teen than being a young child and he seems to have made a definite shift this year mentally. Gone is the school day that I planned out for him using carefully chosen curriculum. His days are now filled with activities and curriculum of his own choice and I have learned to pull back, let go, and watch him soar.

He is not a typical learner in any way. He is a 2e kid who struggles in some areas and shines in others. He is sometimes very hard to parent and other times he is a joy. He is intense in everything he does and often at the end of the day I am very tired from our interaction but it is worth it because he is thriving and he is happy.

But what exactly does his learning look like? How does one parent a child who is gifted, intense, easily frustrated, full of anxiety, loving, creative, and sensitive. I have learned it is best to let this type of child lead their own learning and to support them as needed. I have left many ideas behind when it comes to this child and he is best served this way. Instead of thinking about traditional schooling and curriculum I think about all the great resources available to us and how we can use these resources to meet his needs.

This week he worked primarily with Scratch, his much-loved programming tool. He was featured for a game he created, and he has spent a good deal of his time replying to comments for this game. It is important to him to reply to anyone asking a question about the game or saying they loved it. Before being featured this was easily done, but when your game has over 17,000 views and 2,000 comments replying becomes very time-consuming. It is important to him though, and I believe it is teaching him good skills so I allow him the time to do it.

In addition to keeping up with this game he is currently working on the sequel that he has planned, Scratch City. He is trying to include many of the requests that other Scratchers asked him to do, but he found very quickly that he became overwhelmed. This happens sometimes when he takes on too much. I think this is very typical in kids like him. I stepped in and discussed it with him. Does he want to make a sequel? What does he want in his sequel? Is there a nice balance between what you the creator wants and what your audience wants? He is spending a good deal of time pondering this and in the meantime he is plugging along with the sequel. Here is a short clip of him showing me one of his new ideas for Scratch City, themes.

The boy also continued working on his animation series, Cindy and Chris. The newest episode will feature Cindy’s grandmother which is exciting. He has the story all planned out and is now working on the drawings. What he has done already is very good, and as I sit and watch it with him I am amazed at all he does. He draws, writes, records the voice-overs, and programs everything. It may not look like traditional schooling but there is much skill and creativity needed to make these episodes.

This week the boy also spent a good deal of time writing. He is working on a mystery right now and he planned out the mystery, the characters, all 12 chapters, and began writing the story. He worked his way through several pages before he cancelled the whole project. This happens quite often with him. As many projects that he does complete, there is as many that he doesn’t follow through with. This is where the intensity can get in the way and be a burden. Everyday his mind is going a mile a minute and some ideas are seen through and some are not. If he never finished anything I would be concerned, but he does so I don’t step in unless I feel he is overwhelmed by anything.

In addition to the above work the boy finished one book in The Three Investigators Series, The Secret of the Crooked Cat. He then started another one in the series, The Mystery of the Dancing Devil, and finished it. He has been on a Three Investigators kick for a while and he is hoping to write his own books for the series and get them published someday. He is planning the book now and is hoping that if he somehow gets it published that will lead to the series being popular once again. This is one of his many goals and one we spent a good deal of time discussing this week.

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The boy also began reading through the second Life of Fred language arts book. He loved the first one and requested that we buy the next one in the series which I promptly did because he was so in love with the first. He and I read Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio which we both enjoyed. We researched polio and spent a good deal of time on that because, once again, he was interested (this hardly ever happens with anything historical so I ran with it).

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We read Chiity Chitty Bang Bang together and he worked through the Arrow notes on it. He and I are both surprised at how much we enjoy this book. He especially enjoys the writing style of the author and wishes Ian Fleming had written a sequel before he died.

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The boy has a traditional math curriculum (Math in Focus) and sometimes he is able to work through it and sometimes it is very frustrating to him. This week was a week of frustration so instead he worked on math with Splash Math, an iPad app that I have for him. Some days it is easier for him to work on an iPad and other days he is able to work more traditionally. Having options works for him and helps him work on the skills he needs without frustration.

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The boy finished up the week listening to Curtain: Poirot’s Last CaseThe twins have been on an Agatha Christie kick for most of the year and their enthusiasm has spread to both the boy and I. We love to read the stories, watch the tv episodes, and now we all enjoy the audiobooks. This one is Poirot’s last case and it is narrated by Hugh Fraser who plays Hastings in the television series. All three kids are enjoying it, and I am enjoying some much-needed quiet time while they finish up the book. It has been a very tiring week but it has been a joyous one. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Weekly Update

I haven’t done a weekly update in a while so I figured this week I would give it a try. The nice thing about being on break is that I have much more free time than usual and am able to take my time in writing an update.

Decca has been sick for a few weeks now and on Monday I finally took him in to the doctors. I am not one to go running into the doctors whenever my child is sick and I believe this time I may have erred on the side of being too laid back. He has had a cough for a few weeks now, but I thought it was just a cold and would go away with time. It did sound bad, but still I thought he just needed time. Monday morning though he was still coughing and it was bad. It was the seal bark, and he was having trouble getting a breath in between the coughing fits. When we got to the doctors they took him in immediately and checked his oxygen levels. They were good actually so no breathing treatment needed (unlike last year when he did need a breathing treatment). The doctor examined him, admonished me for waiting so long to bring him in, diagnosed him with croup, and gave us a prescription. He has been taking his medicine for a few days now and today is the first day that he is not coughing as much as before.

Besides coughing all week the boy has been working on several projects for Scratch, made a few cartoons, and wrote several short stories. He has also started about a hundred other projects that he has not stayed with long. I don’t know if it is his sickness or his medicine or his prescription but he has seemed a little manic this week. Switching from project to project, working on so many things at once, going a mile a minute…I have actually made an effort to get him out on walks this week quite a bit even though he is feeling a little ill. Being out in nature seems to calm him some more than anything else. An added benefit is that the cold air is actually good for a croup cough so we have been spending a great deal of time outdoors this week.

Autry has been taking it easy this week. She had a busy week last week with Evensong and a dance, and this week she needed some down time. She still had to go to choir, piano, and her physical training but other than that she has been relaxing. In her free time she made one of her famous snowflakes for her choir director. I loved the paper she made it with!

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Tru had more to do this week than anybody, and he was sick which wasn’t much fun. He worked through French, went to guitar, and worked on his training. In addition he needed to get  to the midway point in his CTY math class and he had a major test to complete for it. He started off with a very high grade but the last two tests he didn’t  score as high as he had thought he would do. He was very upset about it, so he and I sat down together to see if we could get to the bottom of the problem. It wasn’t to hard to figure out what went wrong when I asked him to show me his work. Turns out he had been doing everything in his head and had no work to show me. I had no idea that was how he was working as he always does math independently.

Writing out problems and taking notes is Tru’s weak spot, as it is for many boys who are STEM kids. For a few days I sat with him during the lectures and showed him what he needed to take notes on, encouraged him to write out problems and work them through on paper (even when he knew the answer immediately), and taught him how to study. He took his test yesterday and he worked out every problem and then went back and checked them all. He only missed one question on the test, and he was so proud of himself. I was proud too and happy to see that his hard work did pay off.

Other happenings here this week –

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Blurry frustration!

We took pictures for our Christmas card. They turned out good, but wow, was it a production to take them. One kid was coughing the whole time, another was complaining loudly, another was frustrated. The dog was freaking out and I was yelling. It was not our best moment but afterwards, while we were looking at the pictures, we all had a good laugh about how absurd it was.

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The twins and I have been watching Inspector Lewis on Amazon Prime. It is our latest obsession. Decca and I have been watching the latest Percy Jackson movie together, and we all watched Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas, my favorite Christmas movie when I was little.

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Decca is celebrating his anniversary over at Scratch. Although he has been on Scratch for years he made his main account for games just a year ago. Today it is DarkCrystalBall‘s one year anniversary (apparently this is a big deal in Scratch land), and he released a new game in honor of this. Happy Anniversary Decca!

Today the twins have a friend coming over. Saturday and Sunday we have two holiday parties, and then on Monday we leave for a train trip to Chicago. We have started packing, and I am trying to get organized for it. I am sure we will have pictures to share sometime next week from our trip out there.

Until then….

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 – Spotlight on my Youngest

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I wanted to shift focus this week from the twins to my youngest. I was so worried about the high school years for the twins that I haven’t spent as much time on my youngest. It is not that we have not been schooling every week, but I haven’t taken time to reflect on what is working and what isn’t. This week though I thought I would do just that.

This week Decca worked on Latin every day and as always did wonderfully with it. He also likes it a great deal, and I know this because he always chooses to do it first. I will be keeping him in Latin all year, and next year I have plans to continue with Latin and perhaps add another language.

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Also this week Decca finished A Wrinkle in Time and read a biography on Albert Einstein. A Wrinkle in Time turned out to be one of his favorite books of all time, so we are going to get the rest of the books in the series to read. He did not like the biography on Albert Einstein, and he disliked the work associated with it even more. He enjoyed learning about Albert Einstein, but I believe, as I reflect on it, that the book was too young and basic for him. He was bored with the book and the work.

He worked through five chapters of Life of Fred fractions. He does not like math, but he does like Life of Fred. The lessons are short, he picks up what he needs to know with only a few problems, and he laughs about the story. He is engaged in this curriculum, and it is working so no need to change anything there.

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This is all he did academically this week. Outside of academics he worked on piano daily, he wrote for hours a day, he created new rules for a game he loves,  he made several episodes of a cartoon he is working on, and he also made a game on Scratch. He fills his days up with no trouble. He is never bored when he is working on his own projects, and he is always doing something creative.

Most days I feel like he is an unschooler who I interrupt to work on formal academics. He doesn’t like giving up on his personal time to work on his work even if it is Latin or Life of Fred. He loves those subjects when he finally starts working on them, but if he had his way he would not be working on any formal school.

Anything that bores him he despises. I don’t blame him for that. We are homeschooling, so I should be able to find materials that engage him. I had him tested last year and I was told that he should be working a grade or two ahead overall, and specifically in language arts, he could easily be several grades ahead. The problem I have is that I am having trouble finding material in language arts that is on his level.  I find that it is quite easy to accelerate a student who is ahead in math, but I struggle with language arts. This is confounded by the fact that Decca has a great deal of anxiety and reading anything at a high school level tends to deal with topics that he is not ready to learn about.

So what to do? The truth is I don’t know. He does learn so much on his own that part of me believes I could leave him alone and he would be fine. Another part of me feels like we should be spending so much more time on academics. The truth is that I am far too relaxed of a homeschooler to do that. I do think that I will double his reading, as he loves to read, and I will pick up a grammar book for older kids for him to work through. Other than that I will leave him to his own devices. He is happy to be working on his projects, and I am happy to give him the time.

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Weekly Update

The kids and I were feeling a little under the weather this week which made for a slightly different week. We didn’t spend as much time out of the house as we usually do because we were sick. Piano was cancelled, park day was cancelled, guitar lesson was a go only for Tru, and the twin’s ortho appointment was cancelled. Last week went from being a somewhat chaotic week to a fairly relaxed week, and I loved it. I needed it.

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The dog wasn’t so happy about us being sick though. He hardly got a decent walk in all week. Luckily I made up for it yesterday when I took him out to chase balls for over an hour. He had a good deal of pent-up energy that needed to get out.

Back to what the kids did do this week, it amazes me how much school they can still get done when they are sick,  especially the twins. Although they missed their online French class Monday morning due to sleeping in they missed nothing the rest of the week. Now that they are in high school they take their schooling very seriously which motivates them greatly.

Some highlights of the week:

The twins worked through a lab in Biology on allele and genotype frequencies using strawfish. This was a fun lab that took hours to complete. It was worth it thought as they learned a great deal and had a good time doing it. Decca even got in on the act for a short while.

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Autry and Decca sat for hours on the piano working on their songs and their own compositions.

Autry amazes me. She took up piano this year because her voice still hurts when she sings. It was very hard for her to make the decision to put her singing on hold. Singing was her passion and to have to walk away from that for a while has been so hard on her.  Her choir teacher recommended that she take up piano this year as it would benefit her to know piano. She has been to four lessons so far and she is doing great. She threw herself into piano and she is practicing for hours a day. It is great to see her passionate about something else. Even though she is so sad about not singing for now, she is still going strong with a great attitude. Life threw her a big case of lemons but she turned it around and made lemonade. For that I am grateful.

Decca puts up with piano lessons because it helps him compose which is where his passion lies. This is just a short little line that he made up that he loves. He played it over and over all week. Hopefully it will find its way into a longer piece.

Decca also spent a good deal of time this week working on several Scratch projects. He is trying to make a sequel to his most popular game on Scratch, but he is having trouble with the engine. He also made some original music that he uploaded for others to use. He created it on garage band.

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Decca also read all of Life of Fred Fractions this week and worked through a number of chapters and two bridges.

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See his face in that picture…that is how much he is loving math right now.

He also read through A Wrinkle in Time this week and worked on some Singapore science. Surprisingly he was interested in the topic which was genetics.

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I don’t have many pictures of Tru this week. This is probably because he does most of his school in his room with the door shut. He works better independently, and Autry works better with someone else. She and Tru do some of their work together, then she and I do some work together, and then she does some on her own. I enjoy spending my time with her doing Algebra.

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Her Algebra work next to mine. We work through Teaching Textbooks together sometimes.

That is our week in review. I close with this picture of the twins at one of our favorite Italian restaurants this weekend.  I’ll be honest and say that I am only including it because of mother’s guilt. I don’t want Tru to read this years later and ask why there wasn’t more pictures of him.   🙂

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I’m including this for future Tru.

Weekly Update

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My youngest had an off week this week. Monday morning started off strong with him beginning a new unit in Moving Beyond the Page (The Wanderer). He plowed through a few lessons in Life of Fred Fractions and he started his new weather unit. Monday afternoon we went to park day with our homeschool group.

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He didn’t seem to have the best time there and when we got home he was done with anything school related.  He was a little sunburn and very tired.

Tuesday he was still feeling tired and unmotivated. He worked a little on weather, reading, and math. He also practiced piano and then we called it a day.

Wednesday he went to piano and had a fairly productive lesson. He also worked for a while on his Latin. It was a review week so he knew all the material which made for an easy time. Also on Wednesday I took him outside to run around and play which was fun for both of us.

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Thursday he went to the studio with my mom to paint. He finished a painting while there.

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He painted this while at the studio.

The rest of the day was not too productive.  He did get a little work done in Moving Beyond the Page. Thankfully he liked the assignment, which had to do with finding your writing voice. The assignments in Moving Beyond the Page never seem like busy work which makes him more engaged and apt to finish. We also completed this fun art project on Thursday.

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Today he has the day completely off. He needed the break, which I understand. Sometimes being 10 can be hard and sometimes being a kid can be hard. He was in need of some down time, so my mom took him to her house for a couple of days, and he was so happy to go.

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The twins working out. They go to a trainer once a week.

The twins, on the other hand, had a great week this week. Their first year of high school is working out so amazingly well that I am almost afraid to write about it in fear of jinxing our good luck.

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Early Monday morning, working on French

On Monday they finally started their French class, which is an online class. It is a live class that meets on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 7:00 am. The first day of class I had to drag Tru out of bed to get him signed in on time. He is not a morning person, so it was quite a production to get him out of bed. Once awake though he loved the class, as did Autry. Their teacher is funny which is the best possible trait a teacher who works with teens can have. He is also quite knowledgeable which makes me happy.

After working through French, math, and history we all went to the park for our homeschool group. The twins hung out with the other teens and then after a few hours they had a group guitar lesson. This was their first lesson and again they both enjoyed it. We tried the first class without a commitment but now we are committed for the year. It is a group lesson in the park that meets twice a month for an hour. This makes it easy to add to our schedule and the practicing only takes about twenty to thirty minutes a day which is manageable for both kids.

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Tuesday they started their day in Laguna working out with a trainer. They do this once a week to help build their core muscles and improve their balance.

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After their session all the kids like to stop in at a local coffee shop for some tea and croissants. Then we spend some time walking around the town and sometimes the beach.

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After our morning the twins came home and did a typical day of school. Their daily work includes biology, algebra (1 and 2), English 1, french, astronomy, piano, and history. Their days are long now that they are doing high school work. Tuesday they worked until 5:00.

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Wednesday and Thursday  was more of the same. French class in the morning on Wednesday, a full day of school until around 5:00. Autry also had piano on Wednesday and choir on Thursday. The twins also made their own painting on Thursday.

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Today the twins had French in the morning, completed math, and then they completed a biology lab. They are working on growing protozoa and also practiced making hanging drop mounts. I don’t remember biology lab being so heavily focused on microscope work when I was younger, but it seems like today that is the main focus (at least so far) in biology.

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 Because Decca is not here today, the twins and I took some time off and went out to eat and then to the costume store. We are hosting a costume party in October and we wanted to get some ideas for what to be. Everyone has to come dressed up as either a historical character or a literary character. Autry has decided to be Marie Antoinette. Tru isn’t sure what he wants to be yet. He was thinking about going as Abraham Lincoln but he didn’t like any of the costumes for Lincoln. If we can put together a Lincoln costume on our own I think that is what he will go as.

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Photo copyrighted and in care of the website Take Back Halloween.
http://takebackhalloween.org/

I am also not sure of what to dress up as. I have been pouring over this great site, and I am getting some wonderful ideas. I appreciate a site that has costumes that my daughter can view without any weird sexual overtones. If you are looking for some costume ideas for yourself or your teen daughter make sure to check it out.

As I finish this update I am sitting on my living room floor watching Midsommer Murders, a favorite around here lately. Tru is in his room working on the credits to a game he finished today. Autry is in her room writing a song. Every so often she runs out here to play something on the piano, then runs back to her room to write it down. It is so quiet here, and already I am missing the noise of my youngest. By the time he comes home Sunday morning I will be ready for his non-stop talking. Until then I am enjoying the peace.

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.

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.

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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

Winter break has come to TAD Town, and we are all enjoying it immensely! Although we have not been toiling all day on school, we have been busy.

This week we made paper snowflakes.

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And we made some holiday ornaments. My sister-in-law posted this awesome link to DIY Lego ornaments (which include a handful of Star Wars ornaments), and we gave it a go. We didn’t have all the correct colors, but we did have all the pieces. Here is our weirdly colored Gingerbread house.

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Decca designed his own ornament, and I thought it turned out nicely. This is his reindeer, complete with built-in hook to hang it from the tree.

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The kids also spent a great deal of time in front of the television watching Horrible Histories. Amazon has the seasons available for only $9.99 right now, so I bought all three seasons. The twins love Horrible Histories and have been watching episodes all week. I can always tell  when they are watching them as the laughter in the house increases substantially.

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Yesterday the kids, my mom, and I went to Disneyland. Nothing puts me in the holiday mood faster than walking among all the decorations at Disneyland. It was quite festive!

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Today I am frantically trying to get ready for our Christmas party that we are having tomorrow. For some reason I thought is would be a great idea to throw a party for the twins and their friends ten days before Christmas. I also decided it would be an even better party if it was Harry Potter themed.

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I am not sure I was thinking straight when I made these decisions, and I would ponder my decision-making powers if I had the time. Instead I am busy making house badges, Butter Beer lattes, wands (both edible and non-edible), and other various goodies. Tomorrow we will be busy decorating for the party. Hopefully it will look great!

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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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