Saturday, May 30, 2009

Life is so Fun

Another fun week of sprinklers at the playground and biking with friends for W, dancing, meeting friends at the park and sleepovers for J, and school, tanning, out for dinner with friends, and work for K. K is loving work so much, she even worked an extra day this week. She wants to save up for a laptop. Her friends all work - one girl even has 3 jobs - so it motivates her to keep a positive attitude and enjoy it all. I love that she tells me all the funny stories of the day and we just get silly and laugh a lot. My friend saw her in the pizzeria today and called to tell me how cool it was that she's working, and of course how old we both feel, lol.

The big recital rehearsal was on Thursday evening. W and B are in the musical theater number. They're squeezing the entire "A Christmas Carol" into 15 minutes. W is a townsperson and a ghost, B is a townsperson and the Ghost of Christmas Present, and J, well put it this way, J has 5 costume changes in that one number. Altogether, J will be performing her 6 competition group numbers, her vocal solo, the big opening number, an acro number, a ballet number, and the 15-minute musical theater number. 11 numbers, 16 costumes, and she's also in "the pit" guiding her baby class through their 2 numbers (ok, they're not babies, they're like 7). She wouldn't trade any of it for the world. :)

W is staying on track with the AO schedule. He loves doing his work with B. Since B's been home (did I mention he lost his job in March?), he's been taking over the seatwork. I set everything up, mark which pages they're doing, and they get to it. It's nice seeing them together like that. There really is something so cool about seeing your husband reading poetry to your son.

Here's W's recap for the week:

Spectrum Phonics Grade 2: (double vowels - EA, OW, AY, AI, EE, OA, OO)
CIMS Math: (addition & subtraction w/money as decimals, 3-digit addition) - He really loves math and is just flying through this.
Poetry A.A. Milne: 3 poems
Copywork: the day's poetry (one line and/or title of poem) - He's starting to get slick by picking the shortest poems with the shortest titles to avoid much writing, lol. We may have to come up with something else for copywork
Fifty Famous Stories Retold: "Picciolina" - He gave a great narration for this.
An Island Story: "The Coming of Arthur" - And another great narration for this one. I'm amazed at how well he's learned to do that. The whole premise here is that narrations are the precursor to good writing skills. We'll see.
Aesop for Children: "The Stag and his Reflection", "The Peacock" - He's starting to understand and figure out the morals himself. That's so awesome.
Tales From Shakespeare: "The Winter's Tale" - These are hard to understand when you're not used to the language. I don't even bother asking for a narration with these. He just listens.
George Washington: (D'Auliere) - I love this author. The story is interesting, the pictures are wonderful, and W relates to the character's childhood. He loved Ben Franklin too.
Little House in the Big Woods: 20pgs. - This is the homeschool book club selection for June. He likes the story. I always thought these were a bit "girly", but W likes the parts about hunting, food preparations, and wild animal encounters.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

W marched in a Memorial Day parade on Sunday with his cub scout pack. It turned out to be a beautiful day even though the weatherman said rain. He had on his scout shirt and neckerchief and was given a small flag to carry as he marched. B and J were invited to march with them too. I stayed on the sidelines taking pictures. Afterwards, we met back at the lodge for hotdogs and soda. W had a great time running around with his friends. J's friend from dance was there, too, so they hung out together.

Monday it was nice out again so B took W to a different playground by the dance studio. There were lots of his cub scout friends there and parents that B knew. B got to sit and chat with everyone. W rode his bike around. They both decided that was their new favorite park.

J has been all over the place with friends this weekend. I swear that kid is never home, lol. I think she was at 4 different friends' houses in as many days. We've made plans this week to redo and clean up her bedroom so her friends can come over too. She hates messes and won't have anyone here until it's clean. Today she's at dance for 3.5 hours. Her first class is where she teaches the little ones. B was watching her last week and said she's so cute in there and the kids love her. She stretches with them first and then she mainly demonstrates steps and technique. She even has a shirt that says "STAFF" on it.

K is back to school today. She really had a great week off. Work is wonderful. We visited her on Friday afternoon (we were already in the area running errands) and everyone there really is nice. They gave us free pizza and ices. I can see why she loves it so much, lol. She got paid on Friday and it was way more than what we both thought she'd get. She's on cloud 9. She put away 1/2 the money and is budgeting the rest for the week. She already got her hair cut on Saturday and went out to dinner with about 7 friends last night. When I picked her up she said it was so amazing to actually have her own money. I'm so proud of her.

Friday, May 22, 2009


W had a nice Urban Rangers class today at Central Park. This one was about "Orienteering", using maps and a compass to find things or know where you're going. W had a good time. Lots of his friends were there. It was really hot out and trekking through the trails, rocks, and woods wore me out. I'm glad we brought lunch and bottles of water with us. If I wasn't so tired we probably would have gone into the Met Museum of Art afterward. It was right there. But we're going with friends in a couple of weeks and I'd rather wait. I stole some batteries out of the TV remote, so I got some pics today:

Urban Ranger Homeschoolers with Park Ranger

The view from the castle

The road to the castle in the spring...

...And last fall

W really stuck with his academic schedule this week. B got to work with him a few days, and W loved that. W is flying through the math and is convinced he's ready for the 7th grade stuff J is doing, lol. Here's his recap for this week:

Spectrum Phonics Grade 2: (silent consonants, double vowels)
CIMS Math: (place value w/money, using ordinal numbers, adding 3 numbers)
Poetry A.A. Milne: 4 poems
Copywork: the day's poetry (one line and/or title of poem)
Spanish: Numbers 1-10 (digits and words)
McQuerry Science: Ch. 3 Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Fifty Famous Stories Retold: "The Ungrateful Soldier", "George Washington and his Hatchet", "Doctor Goldsmith" w/narrations
Blue Fairy Book: "Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp" (7pgs,completed) w/narrations
Aesop for Children: "The Hares and the Frogs", The Fox and the Stork", "The Travelers and the Sea" w/narrations
Tales From Shakespeare: "As You Like It" (5pgs)
George Washington (D'Auliere) - 1 pg w/narration
The Burgess Bird Book: "Old Clothes and Old Houses" w/narration
Paddle to the Sea: Ch 25, 26, 27 w/narrations
Class: Central Park Zoo School 5/18 - "Polar Expedition" (adapting to life at the poles)
Class: Central Park Urban Rangers 5/22- "Orienteering" (using maps and a compass)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It sucks having no camera betteries. I keep forgetting to get some.

Monday W went to a zoo class at Central Park on "Polar Expeditions". It was about knowing what it takes to survive the harsh conditions of the poles. They learned about adaptations and geography. Afterwards they pet some zoo animals and went around exploring the whole zoo. B took W this time. B hasn't been to the Central Park Zoo in ages and was excited to see it again. They watched the seal feeding and loved seeing the polar bears. It was a nice, easy train ride and a very short walk to get to Central Park. Actually everything is a nice, easy train ride and a short walk from my house, lol.

The rest of the week, W has been going to the playground every day. He meets up with his friends and plays tag and cops & robbers. This week he's been riding his bike every day as well. He finally grew into the craigslist $40 bike we got for him last year, lol. I was going to buy him a new bike for his birthday this year, but I just don't see the point. He scratches his bike up, crashes into things (lol), and it falls over sometimes even with the kickstand down. W's musical theater class was really fun this week. It's almost recital time and they're down to the wire.

J has been busy with dance this week. By Wednesday night, she had already put in 7 hours. Tonight she'll be there another 2 1/2 hours. They created a huge opening number for the recital and it's so good, that they may take it out for competition. We've been doing some more math this week. I think she's ready for the exam. That will be given the first week of June.

K worked Tuesday and will again on Friday. She still thinks it's fun and seems to take her responsibilities seriously. Her school is closed this whole week due to swine flu. She's been making lots of plans, hanging out with friends, and deciding what to so with her new money, lol.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Pizza, Regional Title, and W

K loves her new job. The pizzeria is so fun. She's the cashier, the phone-order taker, and will serve Italian ices outside in the summer. A few friends of hers already came in to see her. She gets a few breaks throughout her shift and all the pizza and beverages she wants. For 3 days a week of work she'll bring home well over $100. She couldn't believe how much fun it was. The people there are really nice. She already memorized the menu and the prices. The owner said she's the fastest learner they've had. I love that she's so happy. This is a great place, in a great location.

Today was J's final regional competition. She did 2 solos and 6 group numbers. She scored Platinum on 6, Xtreme Gold on 1, and Xtreme Platinum on 1. In the Junior Solo category she came in first place overall and WON TITLE!! She got a plaque that says "Junior Miss XXXX 2009" and a jacket that says XXXX Title Winner across the front. She also made it onto their Extreme Team - a performance team like the one she did a few years ago. This is the 3rd performance team she's made it onto, all from different dance competitions! We aren't doing it (time and money are never on our side), but it's still so awesome to be picked!

W put up with the competition like a trooper. He hung out with his friends and made a few new ones. For an 11-hour day, he was surprisingly in a great mood throughout. He did a couple of days work this week - not as much as scheduled - but it's fine. Again, it's his choice what he wants to do. He knows that and some days he'll decide on one page other days he'll do 5 nonstop. He has a bunch of trips and classes coming up over the next few weeks so that's all part of his learning. We'll get to the schedule when we get to it. He's playing along well though, and still enjoys it all. :)

Here's his weekly academic recap:

Spectrum Phonics Grade 2: 3 pgs (silent consonants)
CIMS Math: 5 pgs (addition review, place value to hundreds, adding coins up to $1)
Poetry: A.A. Milne: 3 poems
Copywork: the day's poetry
Our Island Story: "The Story of How the Giant's Dance was Brought to Britain"
Fifty Famous Stories Retold: "Sir Philip Sidney"
Blue Fairy Book: "Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp"
Aesop for Children: "The Lion, the Bear, and the Fox"

(All readings include an oral narration. He's really good at that and has fun with it. He's starting to be a perfectionist with his handwriting now. If it's not perfect, he'll get upset, erase it all, and do it again. It doesn't matter that I tell him it looks nice. He wants it to look a certain way. I hope it's just a phase, lol.)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Alley Pond Environmental Center

Yesterday W went to "APEC" for a class on earthworms. We had a great instructor who really knew how to keep the kids interest going. They learned about the parts of an earthworm (segments, head, anus, clitellum, setae, etc) and got shovels to go out and dig for their own. "Clitellum" was certainly the word of the day and W knew that's where the worm's 5 hearts are. W found a bunch of worms and it was so cool to see everyone naming all the worm parts. After the dig, we walked through the trails. The instructor pointed things out and all the kids asked tons of questions. .She seemed almost amazed at how interested the kids were. I don't think she expected that, lol

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The boys are having a blast camping. Dh said W was shooting BB guns, learning archery, playing mini-golf and running around getting completely filthy. Gotta love it. You're not an 8yo boy unless you can get completely filthy dirty fairly often. He's in an awesome troop. They do lots of cool things and go on about 4 or 5 camping/fishing weekends a year.

K went to a Regents test prep class early in the morning. She got out at about noon and took the bus over to a nearby pizza place. It turns out, that the night before she was talking with friends about wanting a job. This kid D, who grew up in Italy and has been in NY for only about 2 years, mentioned that his uncle owned a pizzeria and needed someone afternoons and weekends. She was nervous and excited and stayed on the phone with me the whole time on the bus and walking the few blocks to the doorway. 15 minutes later she calls me almost in tears that she got the job! This is a dream come true for her. I'm so proud of how she handled everything. She starts Friday.

J went over a friend's house for the afternoon. Dh's aunt drove me to work by 2. K took the bus home. Dh's aunt and MIL picked K up at around 5, went to church, picked me up at work at 6, then picked J up at the friend's house. And to top it all off, they took us all out for dinner! Wow. :)

Friday, May 08, 2009

Thursday we drove over to Brooklyn to pick up our new bird! She's adorable. We're all in love. We picked up some food and toys on the way home. W decided he is in charge of changing her water every day. We just sat, talked, and played with her for most of the afternoon. Then W did about an hour's worth of academics.

J went to dance class at about 4pm. Thursdays she has jazz tech and acro. She tried on about 4 costumes that she'll be taking group pictures in tomorrow. These are just to be worn in the recital next month. She has 10 other costumes that she competes with. And since all the competition numbers are in the recital - we're looking at 13 costume changes in 3 hours. And that's just for J. W's in the recital, too.

Today we were all up early since the contractor had to come back with the city inspector to make sure the wiring was done correctly. A couple of things need to be replaced, but it should be quick and painless. The contractor stayed most of the day today to finish up - and he did in fact finish. W got his academic stuff done pretty early today. Then he changed the bird's water and we sat and talked to her for a while. Here's what W did today:

At around 1pm we drove up to the Inwood section of Manhattan to the nature center for an Urban Rangers class with the homeschool group on American Indians. Our park ranger discussed the various trees and animals in the park and talked all about the American Indians who once lived in the area. This park is untouched and as it was for thousands of years. We climbed rocky areas and saw caves that were used for shelter. The ranger talked about the tools and furs the Indians used and the kids went into a full-sized wigwam. W had a lot of fun and met some new kids, too. Here's what the website says:

>>Inwood Hill Park is a living piece of old New York. Evidence of its prehistoric roots exists as dramatic caves, valleys, and ridges left as the result of shifting glaciers. Evidence of its uninhabited state afterward remains as its forest and salt marsh (the last natural one in Manhattan), and evidence of its use by Native Americans in the 17th century continues to be discovered. Much has occurred on the land that now composes Inwood Hill Park since the arrival of European colonists in the 17th and 18th centuries, but luckily, most of the park was largely untouched by the wars and development that took place.<<

This afternoon was picture day at the dance studio. W and J took a bunch of group shots. After all the picture-taking, J and her friends went to a dance at the nearby school. 3 of her best guys friends from dance go to that school and they invited the 4 girls on the team. She got home around 10:30pm.

In the morning, K is taking Regents prep classes at her school. She's sleeping over a friend's so they could go together. Dh and W are heading out to a camping weekend with the cub scouts in the morning. They have been looking forward to this for weeks. Everyone's all packed and ready to go. They're taking the car, so I'm going to have to play a little juggling game getting everyone where they need to be this weekend.

And the new bird is so friggin cute.

W's academics this week:

- Read 7 A.A. Milne poems

- Daily copywork = First line of one poem (in cursive)

- Phonics workbook 7 pages (3-letter consonant blends, silent consonants)

- Math workbook 8 pages (Rounding to nearest 10, lines, line segments, rays, addition review)

- Read "Casabianca" (Fifty Famous Stories Retold) w/narration

- Read "As you Like It" (Tales from Shakespeare) w/narration

- Read "The Boar and the Fox", "The Ass, the Fox, and the Lion", and "The Birds, the Beasts, and the Bat" (Aesop for Children) w/narrations

- Read Paddle to the Sea ch. 23 & 24 (now that we're near the end he wants to pick up the pace, lol)

- Read Parables of Nature "Training and Restraining" (this book is okay. Has a religious "moral" to it, but he likes the stories)

- Said each letter of Spanish alphabet and a Spanish word beginning with each letter. Learned how to say "I want" and "I need", "to go", and "to the" park, office, pool, work, home, movies, etc. We'll practice saying this all week in random conversation.

- Wrote "Franz Liszt" in script and watched the Tom & Jerry, Bugs Bunny, and Victor Borge versions of the Hungarian Rhapsody No 2

- Studied and discussed "The Wanderer Above the Mists" by Caspar David Friedrich. Will created his own interpretation of the painting with watercolors, then wrote out the painting's title and author's name below it.

- We picked a wildflower/weed from the front garden and tried fruitlessly to identify it. I set him up with drawing pencils and the field guide, but he wasn't into it. We're going to start doing the weekly hour challenges, but it got too late today. W loves doing a good nature study. We'll try again next week.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

This morning B drove K to school, made coffee, did dishes, and started cleaning out the basement. I know. I slept til almost 10am.

W and I do all the Ambleside Online "extra stuff" on Wednesdays. So today was a nice bit of a diversion. W had a lot of fun with it all.

In the afternoon, W and I played a game of chess and then B took him out to the playground for a bit. He got home and fried up some sliced turkey. For an 8yo boy, he is a very good little chef. Thankfully he has his father's cooking gene and not mine.

While W was at the playground, J and I spent about an hour doing some 7th grade math review. That standardized test is in a couple of weeks and she wants to brush up on the math skills. Since she's done mostly 8th grade stuff this year, she just wants to make sure she remembers the 7th grade stuff. She went over her friend's house at around 4pm and I went to work at 6.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

After a bit of cleaning and a great breakfast made by dh (he made this incredible bread pudding from the leftover 4 baguette loaves we had from W's party) W did some academic stuff. He loves Aesop and loves the battle stories a lot. Shakespeare, well, he can take it or leave it, lol, but still likes listening. Dh drove J to her friend's house at around noon - she's moving to Spain in a week, so they want to spend as much time together now as they can. Then dh and W went to the cheapo clothing store to try and find more pieces to the musical theater costumes for the dance recital. They're doing a Scrooge piece and the kids are various characters like ghosts, guests at Fezziwigs party, townspeople, etc. 19th century clothing isn't so easy, lol.

Rain rain and more rain today, so no playground for W. He bounced around the house practicing his ninja moves for a while, then played his new DS games and some Wii. When K got home from school, we all watched really funny You Tube videos and had a snack. W went around measuring things with the tape measure and was thrilled that he now measures 54" - finally at the "Twizzler" height and can go on all the Hershey Park rides!

J and her friend dyed the underneath part of each other's hair platinum blond, and then dh drove her to dance. She assisted with the 7yos (and can't wait to direct them from the "pit" in the recital!). Then she had her company tap class where they all went over their competition numbers a few times. Dh drove me to work by 6 and drove W back to the dance studio to join his sister in the musical theater class. He really loves all the singing, dancing, and acting. Total ham. Fits in well with the rest of us.

Monday, May 04, 2009


W's First Holy Communion was on Saturday! He looked gorgeous in his suit. The ceremony was nice and they set it up so the parents sat in the rows behind all the children and got to go up and receive with them. The extended families and friends sat behind us. The kids had songs to sing and prayers to say. We took a lot of pictures inside and outside of the church, a few with the Monsignor, and some with the family. A girl in his class wouldn't leave without getting pictures with W. I think she has a bit of a crush on him - W ate it up, lol.

After picking up a few more things for his party and J's friend, Samantha, we headed out to my mom's to celebrate. Rain was in the forecast from Friday to Sunday nonstop, but my mom said all she had to do was put a Blessed Mother statue in the front and back windows (facing outward) and it wouldn't rain. And would you believe we had the most gorgeous sunny day?! About 30 people were there. We had lots of food and cake and we hung out til almost midnight. The kids ran around playing manhunt and roasting marshmallows over the fire pit. W changed out of his suit as soon as he could, lol. It was a great party!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Thursday was an easy, relaxing day. J had dance at 4:30, W went to the playground by the dance studio, and then had Communion rehearsal at 7:30. Today B took J and W shopping for some last minute stuff for tomorrow and for pieces of costume to wear in the dance recital (white tees, sweatpants, necktie, etc). I actually went out and got a haircut (I think I go bi-annually). Now I just have to finish up some more grooming for tomorrow. B is going to cook lots of Italian food tonight. J had dance practice at 4:30 and is going to see a show at one of the performing arts high schools. Her whole team is going (6 kids). It's so nice that the studio does all these things together.

Things are changing again at work. My whole department is outsourcing and completely disappearing from our building, so 40 of us will be purely sales from now on. I always did retention, collections, and a few sales for the last 3 years. I think it will be nice to focus on just sales from now on. I'm a little nervous, though.

This will be the last daily academic recap. I'll just do a weekly one from now on.

W's academics today

~ Elementary Life Science (McQuerry) Ch. 2, crossword, definitions

~ We read a short bio on Caspar David Friedrich. W studied "The Cross in the Mountains" for about 2 minutes and W created his own interpretation with crayons on drawing paper, then wrote the title and artist underneath in cursive.

~ We went over how to use a dictionary. I never realized how much there is to know when you show someone else.

~ We read 4 pgs of "Little House in the Big Woods".