Friday, October 30, 2009

Busy Busy Busy

There is just so much happening here. K's 16th birthday is coming up. She is making list after list preparing for her party. She is having a party bus with about 25 of her closest friends (and my sister there to chaperone). I'm still in the process of finding a photgrapher and doing damage-control on the mess Party City made of her invitations (they are now being redone and will be ready Saturday. This, after I not so nicely or in a ladylike manner expressed my unhappiness over finding out that our order of white cards with black writing came in as dark pink and orange cards with black writing. How do you get "we need white" wrong?).

This Tuesday is J's Confirmation retreat - an all-day gathering and reflection of faith. Her Confirmation is next Saturday. She has chosen my mom as her sponsor. She's had 4 weeks of preparation classes this year (as well as all of last year's CCD classes). We were going to have a party for her, but have settled on a nice family dinner instead since she has an audition the following morning. Her dance solo for this year is finished and all that's left is some clean-up. It is 2 minutes and 30 seconds long, but a 1 minute portion will be used for auditions. this piece falls into the "Modern" category and is a very different style than any of her other solos. She's always done bouncy, cutesy jazz and musical theater numbers. This is a more mature piece that really shows her passion and strength. J has also chosen a new vocal piece and will get started on vocal training soon. Costumes are already being ordered and made for this years competitions. J will be competing with 9 numbers (2 solos and 7 groups). She's excited for this year's comp season where she makes the big transition from the junior category (which she's been in since she was 9) to the teen category. She's going to a Halloween party tonight (and was at one last week as well).

W is very active with cub scouts and dance. He'll eventually start basketball. The league he was in conflicts with his Sunday CCD right now. His weekday mornings are full of readings, fun workbook pages, lots of dry-erase writing, and finally his TT5 came! He's been doing a lesson a day since it came and loves it a LOT. I'm trying to make art study, composer study, and nature study a regular thing, but boy is that hard. I keep thinking it has to be more complicated than it really is. That's why I love reading A Charlotte Mason Companion (Andreola). She reminds you how just exposure to these things is enough and that kids will make their own connections. So I have the beautiful Sanzio artwork displayed around the dining room. I play bits of Ralph Vaughan Williams' music throughout the day (on And I make a point to get at least a little nature study discussion in when we're out. The journaling and sketching we'll get to one day.

My wonderful husband B has now been at his new job for about a month now. He was freelancing there for about 6 weeks before they hired him full-time. He was out of work for almost 6 months, but thankfully we are back on our feet again. His band has a gig in Tribeca in about a month and I'm really trying to actually get to see this one. As for me, I'm keeping sane. Work is great. It's fun and pays just a little too well for how much I enjoy it. I consider work my "me time". It's 4 quiet, easy, mellow evening hours that come just at the right time for me after a day of running around.

I do love our fun, busy lives. We're so fortunate and grateful to live in this city of so much opportunity. There will be plenty of time to relax when I'm old, lol.

Friday, October 23, 2009

High School

Dh, J, and I went on a couple of high school open houses this week. J liked one, loved the other and now knows what her mainstream first choice will be. My mom came along as well - she's awesome, and I love having her input (she just notices things that I don't). J will be going to high school. If not a performing arts school, then one of the focused high schools - maybe where K goes, maybe not. I do want to say that the NYC homeschool guidance counselor is terrific. She mailed us everything we need (and even filled it out for us) and when I expressed a bit of nervousness on the phone, she said not to worry and that she'll be with me every step of the way. Very impressed. Auditions start in 2 weeks.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Ok, so after more than 3 years I have gone and changed the blog template - and a bunch of other things. I like it.

What do you think?


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cub Scout Camp, YEAH!

The boys just got back from camping with the scouts. They left on Friday afternoon and got back tonight. They normally stay til Sunday morning, but both W and J have CCD in the morning. W had such a great time. Friday night was barbecue, roasted marshmallows, and running around with friends. Today was a day full of activities. W did some BB gun shooting, went on a hayride, played on a big pirate ship, decorated pumpkins, and played a ton of games. It was supposed to be a rainy weekend, but it was perfect.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

3rd Grade Update

Things are going great so far with W's academics. I cannot believe how much he enjoys everything we're doing. With our AO readings, all of a sudden, he decided to take notes as I read. He uses the dry-erase shelf and writes down names, dates, and events. He erases them when we move onto something else, but just the act of writing things down helps him remember what we read. I was so impressed that he thought to do that on his own. Our readings this week included An Island Story, Understood Betsy, The Little Duke, and Tree in the Trail.

Another thing he's having a lot of fun with is homophones (words that sound exactly the same but have different meanings and spellings). He did a couple of pages of these earlier in the week and thinks these are so cool. He wrote out a bunch of them (on the dry-erase shelf) and gave me sentences for each to show me he knew which word meant what. Throughout the day, he came up with other homophones - and was so proud of himself.

W also just wrote his first story! It was about Halloween. It had a beginning, middle, and an end, had correct punctuation and capitalization, and was entertaining. Apart from a few run-on sentences and some misspellings, it was perfect. I had never given him a writing lesson or told him how a story is supposed to be set up. I was just thinking about writing and realized I had no idea if W knew about composition. So, I told him I was in the mood to read a great story, maybe about Halloween. Then I added, "You wanna write one for me?". Wow, was he excited and got right to it. It was done on the shelf and I only wish I took a picture of it.

Other adacemics this week included talking about Sanzio's paintings, reasons for dinosaur extinction, the 4x table, and various independent reading. W's reading and spelling has improved tremendously since we started a more multi-sensoral learning approach. All he sees is that we're just having a lot of fun. I'm trying to use what I've read to help him the best I can. He is technically on grade level for reading and writing, but I worry that progress may hit another plateau (or a wall). I've read that many teenage and adult dyslexics remain stuck at a 2nd-3rd grade reading level. I do think W has an advantage being homeschooled since I'm providing him with one-on-one help, I use only what works, and I do constant research to find out what else I can be doing with him. Overall, though, I know he'll be fine.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Bieber at the Plaza

I took J and W to Rockefeller Plaza this morning to see Justin Bieber sing a few songs on The Today Show. We got up at around 4:30am and was on the subway by 5:30am. The F-train left us right down the block from the line. This line was ridiculously long and full of preteens/teens with huge posters, loud voices, and half-asleep/coffee guzzling parents. We forgot to print out "fan passes" and were slotted towards the back of the crowd by the stage. Oh wait, that's right, there WAS NO STAGE. This little 5' tall 15-y/o singer was performing on ground level. If you weren't in the first or second layer of kids, you weren't able to see anything.

We were in about the 40th layer.

We still had fun, though. The crowd was pumped, the kids and parents were fairly tolerable, and J loved every second of it. Just being 20 feet away from her super-crush was enough for her, lol. We were on camera a few times - I DVR'd the show and caught us jumping and waving in the crowd (I'm glad I wore a red sweatshirt). Poor W. He's not a big fan of the Biebster, and only came along for the ride. This is hard for an 8y/o boy. You will be standing for at least 4 hours and you cannot move from your spot - this means no bathroom runs, no grabbing a quick bagel, and yes, your legs will feel like jelly after the 2nd hour.

We stopped in the Nintendo store at about 9:15ish when Bieber had officially "left the building". I figured it was the least I could do for W. He wandered around playing some DS and some Wii while J and I just....sat. It was grand.

We hopped onto the F-train right down the block and got home in about 15 minutes. I swung by the house to pick up K (who opted out of this morning's adventure) and I took all 3 kids out for breakfast. All of us conked out for the rest of the afternoon. I gotta hand it to those moms and kids who do this all the time.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Apple Festival

B, W, and I went to the Apple Festival here in Queens today. It was cute. They had lots of food, stuff for the kids to make, the world's largest apple cobbler, animals to pet and feed, hayrides, and the corn maze (or the "maize" maze). We checked out their assortment of pumpkins, apples, pies, and homemade crafts but weren't loving anything enough to buy it. It was a beautiful day for walking around the farm.

Saturday, October 03, 2009


B took W to a NY Mets game today. It was "Trick-or-Treat Bag Day" and all the kids got a bag. There was also lots of activities for the kids, like a batting tee and a dunk tank. They were thisclose to being in the Jumbo-tron, but missed it by one person over. All the kids there were able to run the bases at the end of the game, with the parents meeting them at home plate, but it started raining half-way through the game. Since that literally put a damper on things, W had enough and was ready to come home. I picked them up by the 7 train and saw that W not only got a trick-or-treat bag, but a small Mets bat, and a sheet of baseball cards. He thought the new CitiField was awesome.


On Friday W was begging to do more phonics flash cards (I know. WTH?, LOL), so we grabbed the dry-erase shelf, some markers and got to it. We finished all the sight word cards (172 words!) and started on the phonics set. These have one word on one side and the other side has 2-4 other words with the same letter combinations (like eight, weigh, and sleigh). He wrote each word a few times, then made sentences out of them. He knows most of the words on the cards, but the continued practice of saying and writing them out are important for him to retain them. He definitely remembers them when he sees them in books he reads. Not to mention he just loves this activity.

We read some Burgess Animal Book and watched a video of Pilgrim's Progess (part 1 of 9). Math is still from The Complete Book of Math (haven't gotten the TT5 yet) and he did a lot of basic multiplication up to 12x. He's very good with arithmetic, "gets" multiplication and division, and has memorized much of the table.

J did 3 LoF chapters and a bridge (an LoF recap of previous chapters). She also did 2 chapters in the Barron's Life Science book. I love that she's at an age where she's taking the initiative to get work done. I think she spent over an hour working on the science. J is very focused and prefers to stick with one or 2 subjects, rather than jump around to many different things. One day she'll do just math and science, and the next she'll spen an hour reading a book, and the next would be history and writing. Having control over what she does and when she does it causes her to enjoy it and put her heart into it. I love that.

Thursday, October 01, 2009


Yesterday's homeschool group Geography Club was all about England. We made cheese and chive scones for the English pot luck. W kneaded and rolled out the dough, grated the cheese, cut the chives, cut out rounds, and brushed them with milk. They came out really good. W is a natural in the kitchen, just like his dad. They were a pretty big hit, too! Other families brought teas, chicken tikka, homemade toffee, crackers and cheese, fish & chips with malt vinegar, and scones with currants.

W wrote out a whole notebook page of information on English sports. He glued 4 large pictures to all sides of a manila folder to show the audience. He went on the small stage and read his report out loud to everyone and showed his pictures. I was so proud of him. Last year we stopped doing the geography club because W was a little self-conscious about his reading. But this year, he's has so much more confidence in himself.

After all the food and all the presentations, it was a perfect time for chess, while all the moms chatted.