Friday, February 29, 2008

Hey! Happy Leap Day! Just for the record, although most of you already know this, I wasn't sure, so this is what I hear: Leap year exists because the earth's rotation cannot keep up with our calendar - hence we lose 1/4 day every year. So, every 4 years we give ourselves another day to make up for the loss. Otherwise, eventually summer would take place in winter, and that wouldn't be good.

It's been very cold here this week. I think the windchill has been hovering at about 7 to 17 degrees. I'm glad spring is right around the corner. I still have to put up W's new basketball hoop in the backyard!

Being home has put the kids in the mood for academic stuff. J is still loving the Teaching Textbooks program and completed Lesson 3 the other day. There are anywhere from 4 to about a dozen lessons in each chapter and there are 17 chapters. Since she wants to finish Math 7 by June, she decided to shoot for a chapter per week. I love that she sets her own goals. I'll see if she wants to write her goals down and have some sort of calendar (or draw one of those big thermometers where you keep coloring in another layer of red) to keep track of her progress. She also did some Spectrum writing workbook. This was about the parts of a research paper and how to turn an outline into a rough draft. She remembered doing this in 2nd grade, but (as I figured) she forgot just about everything she'd learned and enjoyed relearning it on her own terms.

We also finished reading Sarah, Plain and Tall. She now wants the other books in the series. While she detests the thought of book reports (which stems back to them being forced on her as busywork in the back of the room in Kindergarten - almost like punishment for being above grade level) she likes writing up book reviews. She likes it being about her opinion - what part she liked, who she connected with, what made her laugh.

W (who gets prompted to "do workbook" when J does hers) did a few pages in the Kumon Words book, and a few word games in a puzzle book. His favorite are crosswords and coded sentences. He and J spent time reading together (aww) and playing a new game we bought called Rush Hour.

We went to Barnes and Noble again - I returned some Christmas purchases which gave me a $56 gift card to use (whee!). They both picked a magazine and W ran over to me with 2 small Frog and Toad books. He said he wanted to do copywork with these. I wonder if that new chair/desk thingy we have is prompting all of this new academic interest. After the recital we'll have the other one too, and it'll look like a real school in here! UGH, lol.

K stayed home from school the other day and at around 11am (when she felt better) she conferred with her siblings and all 3 came to me to ask if they could switch bedrooms. Sure, why not? So that was their project for the day. Moving the closets, beds, clothes, toys, books, and dressers (and sweeping/mopping) took about 6 hours total. It all looks great and everyone's happy.

At circus class yesterday the kids learned more acrobatics, jumps, flips, etc. It's great exercise and W certainly needs this (along with basketball) to stay active in these cold months. I noticed that J is not only learning new moves, but she is practicing using more control with moves. Control (hand placement, body form, advanced technique) is the only thing that prevents her dance solos from getting a platinum award - she's always a few tenths of a point short - and it drives her batty. I think this circus class will help her reach that next level of dancing. And the instructor is trained in dance and J looks to her almost as a mentor.

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