Friday, February 26, 2010

Antheraea Polyphemus

Well now. If you remember, way back in August B and W found a big, juicy, green caterpillar/worm thing in the park. They brought it home and it was just starting to make a cocoon. We named it "Heimlich" after the character in "A Bugs Life" - because it looked just like him. It was semi-attached to a couple of twigs and leaves and we put it in one of our old fish tanks. It was out of the way on a bookshelf in W's room. It moved furiously one day in November and I thought that was it. Now it's dead. It just had a seizure or epileptic fit from not being in the park where it's supposed to be. The cocoon was white and hard and never moved again. But we left it alone, just in case.

Today, all of a sudden, I hear some weird, fast fluttering and lo and behold - there's this huge, brown moth in the fish tank. No, I mean HUGE. With closed wings it's the size of my palm. It is NOT a luna moth. It looks more like a female polyphemus moth. These do not eat - and they live only 1 week. In that time they must find a mate, lay eggs, and die. Poor thing.

I can't let it go yet (there's about 2 feet of snow outside today). I put some sugar water on a cotton ball for her, but what do we do now? Anyone?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

We all agreed to go to the game place this week instead of Mad Science. We had a blast! A bunch of J's and W's friends were there - and my friends, too! It was Mardi Gras week and we had masks, horns, beads, candy, and coins to find on a scavenger hunt. One mom made a beautiful "kings cake" and a few kids decorated that with icing and purple (justice), gold (power), and green (faith) sprinkles. J and her friends (about 8 kids total) went across the street for pizza after a while. W met a new friend - 10y/o S - and they played together the whole time. And it didn't matter to him one bit that S is a girl, lol. They played chess, foosball, ping pong, and pool. Love that place.

Later that day, J and I went to her new high school Open House. Normally, school open houses are in autumn and you go to check out the school and see if it's one you'll consider. LaGuardia's open house is only for those who were accepted. So, we went. My mom, sis, and B all came too. We stayed mainly on the dance floor, watching demo classes of ballet and 2 different modern classes (Graham & Horton). J was very impressed at the level of training she saw. That was one thing that pushed her toward an arts school in Manhattan over any other borough. LaG also has a very rigorous academic program and J prefers that. B and I stayed to check out the rest of the building while J went with my mom and sis to grab a bite to eat. Demo classes were being given in all the main subjects and families were able to sit in and see how the classes are run, what the teachers are like, and see sample schoolwork on the walls. I loved it all and I know J will really thrive there. One of my favorite things was the gorgeous city view from each classroom. What an amazing place. J already bought some LaG clothing. ;)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Miscellaneous Goings-On

J's first dance competition of the season was a couple of weeks ago. This one was local and one we love doing. She was in 5 groups and 1 solo. No vocal this year. She's just not as into it as she is dance and tossed it for now. I'm proud of her that it was something she'd always wanted to try and was really successful at it for 2 years (even winning junior title at one comp last season). She's thinking she might sing for the recital in June. Anyway, J's numbers were all top scoring and one lyrical group number won best choreography overall for the day. That was really exciting. Now J and her friend Mich are working on a duet to take to the next comp in March. The choreographer they have is unbelievable (new to the studio this year) and the girls will have it nailed in only 3 hours of rehearsal time. For the March competition, J will be in 6 groups, a solo, and a duet. I love competition season!

Tuesday, W and I went to another Mad Science class. The 10-class series revolves all around the same detective theme. W enjoys it, but has been longing to get back to the game place in the West Village. J, too. So that's where we'll alternate going until mid-March when the science series is over.

Daily academics are going well. The kids and I fixed up the morning schedule and we're very happy with it. Here's a look:

Monday, Wednesday, & Friday:
- W and I do 2 AO readings with narrations while J reads some classic literature.
- W does 1 lesson in TT5 and J does 1 or 2 LoF chapters.
- I read a poem aloud and both kids do poetry copywork.
- W does 1-3 pages in his language arts workbook while J does a page or 2 in her writing workbook.
- W and I do another AO reading w/narration and a few pages from a "free reading" book.
- Then it's: Nature study (Mon) using the Outdoor Hour Challenges from, French (Wed) using and various books, and Timeline (Fri - for W), where he creates a few index cards of different people and events we've read about during the week.

Tuesday and Thursday:
- W and I do 2 AO readings w/narrations while J reads science (Tue) or history (Thu).
- W does a page or 2 in his math workbook and J does a chapter or 2 of LoF.
- I read a poem aloud and both kids do poetry copywork.
- W does 1 lesson in his HoP Master Reader program while J does a few pages in her English workbook
- W and I do another AO reading w/narration and a few pages from a "free reading" book.
- Then it's: Artist Study (Tue) and Composer Study (Thu), where we look at lots of paintings/works from the focus artist/composer and learn about their life.

This is so simple and works beautifully. J is glad to be hitting the books, getting ready for school in September. She even has summer reading to do for the school. She's confident and feels ready to take this on. The rest of this school year looks to be really busy and fun. We'll be pulling back on many of the homeschool group classes mainly to do our own thing (with only 1 or 2 other families). The kids definitely prefer it that way. I can't wait til spring.

Friday, February 12, 2010


J and her friend Amanda (who she met doing that show last summer) went to see Selena Gomez last night. The concert was at the Grammercy Theater on Lexington and 23rd. J had a fantastic time. The opening act was a band called "Days Difference". Selena was great and the girls were glad to get a few waves from her. They were 3 feet from the stage. They saw the boy band downstairs and got a few pics with them. Outside, Selena walked right out past them to go into her limo. J said it was such a fun night.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Excitement and Worry

Wow. Such a crazy week here. I've been doing as much research as I can on J's new school and the more I read, the more impressed I am. There are so many articles and amazing youtube videos. J is really happy, but was a little unsure since none of her friends made it in. It's scary when it's just you. Then the other day she found out that one of her best friends from 3rd grade (that she still keeps in touch with) will be going there for dance, too. Both girls are just giddy happy.

So, now that we know where she will be going, it's time to buckle down harder on J's homeschool work. Even though this is a performing arts school, the academics are very rigorous. J has done very well on her standardized tests and must have done well on the writing sample she had to do for the school. So, I'm not too worried about the academics there. I guess I'm just worried about the newness of the experience. Going to school every day in Manhattan, spending 3-4 classes every weekday morning on dance, I do worry a bit about the pressure. J is extrememly resilient and nothing really negatively affects her, so I'm sure she'll be fine. I still worry, though.

Other than that, this week was filled with lots of snow, lots of friends, a 24-hour flu for me, and J's first dance competition of the season. Her studio did very well - J's small group number (6 kids total) won overall best choreography of the day. Next comp is in a month.

Hopefully this will be a nice, quiet weekend. :)

Sunday, February 07, 2010


J found out on Friday that she was accepted into Laguardia High School for Performing Arts. The full name of the school is Fiorello LaGuardia School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. With it's 6% acceptance rate, J knows this is a really big deal. I can't even begin to tell you how ecstatic we all are about this. It's so exciting and it's really happening. My little girl is going to high school. 

Then LaGuardia sent us a congratulatory letter the next day.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Hayden Planetarium

Yesterday we went on a cool homeschool group trip back to the American Museum of Natural History. This time we went into the Hayden Planetarium to watch a movie about visiting the moon. It was called "Field Trip to the Moon" and was J and W's first time there. It showed what astronauts see when they go to the moon. Orbiting the earth was cool - we saw the day/night boundary and how big the oceans and the Sahara Desert really are. Planetarium shows are so freakin cool. Afterwards we got worksheets about the moon and Earth. We stayed in that one area - near the model of the moon and the moon rock, and the Hall of Planet Earth. J enjoyed the worksheet and was busy finding answers to the questions. W was too interested in the rock cart, where a couple of instructors discussed many different types of rocks - all being igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic. Then we went down to the first floor to see more exhibits about space. They saw what they would weigh on Mars and Jupiter and learned about the lifespan of a star. We headed home right after that - no one felt like seeing the museum again since we were only there a month ago. I loved this trip.

Monday, February 01, 2010


Today was W's last NY Hall of Science class in their first ever monthly homeschool series. His 3rd-5th grade class was all about "Reflecting on Mirrors". They discussed characteristics that cause mirror reflection, light's interaction with various surfaces, and the angle of reflection. He loved it and came out with a "magic box" he made - cardboard and an angled mirror make it look like anything you put into the box disappears. Before the class we watched a demonstration on "Airplay". W got to be a volunteer showing how strong air pressure can be when it creates a vacuum.

These classes were such a great idea and I want to thank Sylvia P. from NYHS for putting these together. She said there will be another session in September! Homeschooling has really come such a long way since we started. It's awesome that homeschooling has finally hit the mainstream in this city. Resources for us are appearing everywhere and I love being a part of all of it!

HEY, it was 5 years ago yesterday that J started homeschooling!! Wow that went by fast.