Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rockin' and Rollin'

W is on a good track to finish AO Year 2 before January.  It would be nice to get to Year 3 while he's still in 4th grade.  Yesterday we spent almost 3 hours on:

  • Wind in the Willows - Readaloud with narration
  • Abraham Lincoln - W read a page to me
  • Five Children & It - Readaloud, no narration
  • Teaching Textbooks Quiz - W took another math quiz.  It had 25 questions which included fractions, area, perimeter, rounding to the thousands, subtraction with borrowing, 4-digit addition, and types of triangles.  He missed only one. 
  • Copywork - W asked to do this.  He copied the first half of a poem into his notebook and used cursive.  He was so proud of how nice he writes, that he even signed it when he was done, lol. 
  • An Island Story - 2 stories on King Edward.  We're in the Middle Ages - right around year 1200.
  • Spelling Skills - This week he's doing words with the Long E sound (e.g. reason, between, scream, squeeze).  Today's exercise was to proofread a paragraph, circling spelling mistakes and adding missing punctuation and missing words.  He found all the mistakes.  I was so pleased to see that he can recognize misspelled words and know the correct spelling - except for 1 where he knew it was misspelled, but wasn't sure of the right spelling.  This kind of exercise is so difficult when you have issues with reading. 
His reading is improving every week.  I feel that the excellent books and slow reading schedule used in Ambleside Online, and what we do for spelling and writing has turned W into a capable, confident, fairly strong reader.  The strength of those 25 out of 26 dyslexia symptoms he exhibited about a year ago has decreased so dramatically and some have even disappeared.  It's almost shocking to see how far he's come. 

In other news, J is doing great in high school.  She loves it so much.  It's tough.  Her schedule is grueling.  She's still dancing at her studio and doing a work study there on Saturdays.  With all of that, she gets her homework, studying, and projects done without issue.  She's pulling top grades - she even has a 90 average in French.  It's been so wonderful for her.  Homeschooling allowed and nurtured so much of J's independence, self-sufficiency, self-esteem, and the confidence that she can accomplish and achieve anything.  Her amazing high school gives her the platform to use these skills.  It's working out better than I could have imagined.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Scout Camp

B took W camping this weekend with the scouts.  It turned out to be a beautiful few days with great weather.  The trees are starting to turn colors and it was just chilly enough to really enjoy the campfire.  W is a webelo scout now and he was so happy to finally earn his whittling chip.  This means he can now bring his pocketknife to all the scout camping trips.  He sailed through the whittling test with lots of kudos from the scoutmaster and few other kids.  W has been using a pocketknife for a while, though, carving and whittling any piece of wood he could find.

The rest of the weekend was filled with fun activities, games, and playing, which included:  pumpkin decorating, archery, target practice with a fire hose, running in and out of a big pirate ship, and hanging out in the cabins. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Manga Drawing Workshop

I took W to a Manga drawing workshop today here in Queens.  As interested as he is in drawing and cartooning, it was the perfect outlet and learning opportunity for him.  Located in the Little Asia section of Flushing on Main Street, this workshop was held on the lower floor of an office building.  The instructor (Hojin) does this kind of cartooning for a living and was a featured artist at the NY Comic-Con being held this week at the Javitz Center in Manhattan.  W was completely rapt and gave his full attention for the 2 hour class.  W's drawings have mainly been very cartoonish - big round heads, round bodies, disproportionate limbs - but today he was taught to really visualize the human form.  Hojin explained you have to know how to draw people correctly before you can transform them into cartoon - "You have to know the rules before you can break the rules".  So, W worked on head shape, proportion, muscle placement, and most importantly - visualizing or coming up with a plan of action before drawing.  And a really helpful thing was learning how to create anything using only a few basic shapes. 

W couldn't get enough.  I knew this would spark a renewed interest in art.  He could have stayed another 2 hours.  They gave him lots of pencils, sketch pens, thick white erasers, and plenty of paper.  I was told he was very bright, very creative, and that he seems to love to draw. 

The funny thing is that this time slot didn't have anyone in it except W and 1 adult art student.  The one-on-one was great, but I realized something.  Schoolkids don't want to go to a class on their day off from school, and homeschoolers don't want to do a (public) class when schoolkids are off.  I am in the latter category, but now I think I'll try and find more of these types of classes.  Maybe they'll do a series of workshops just for us homeschoolers.  There's nothing like learning something from someone who is passionate about the work. 

Saturday, October 09, 2010


Computer has been down for over a week.  This sucks twice as much since I work for the cable company.

New post coming on Monday. 

Thank goodness the girls have laptops or I'd be truly lost, lol.