Sunday, January 29, 2012

FAO Schwarz & W's Yellow Belt

We met the homeschool group on 5th Avenue Tuesday for a behind-the-scenes tour of FAO Schwarz.  One of the toy soldiers took us around.  We've been to the store dozens of times, but it was very cool learning what makes the store tick.  The kids played with a Barbie Foosball table (that cost $25000), talked with the "nurse" who was holding the newborn dolls in the newborn nursery, saw where the Muppets are made that star as extras in the Muppet movies, and of course, played on the BIG Piano.  And as usual, W found the Myachi guy and spent forever with him - learning new tricks and performing for the customers.

On Saturday W took his yellow belt test at Karate.  He was more nervous than I'd ever seen before.  I knew he knew the moves, but he was so afraid of failing.  Out of about 30 kids going for new belts, 6 were testing for their yellow belt.  I thought it would be quick, but it's a huge event.  The owner (a world-renowned karate master) sits at a table judging every move, writing notes down, and whispering to his assistant.  It's pretty intense.  He did very well - absolutely nailing the kata.  So, now he's a yellow belt and will start "kumite" (sparring) soon.

Academically, W is doing a good amount of math, spelling, & reading.  After FAO, we went to Barnes & Noble with a few others.  After a while, when it was time to leave, I saw that W was sitting on the floor completely immersed in a novel.  I called him over and he begged me to buy it for him.  Well of course!  He was reading Star Wars IV, A New Hope (not a kid's book).  He read it the whole subway ride home and then at home over the next few days.  Wow.  I'm so proud of him.  Apart from the occasional "what is this word, Ma?", he is reading it completely independently with full comprehension.  Things like this make it all worth it.

J is almost done with this season's choreography.  There have been non-stop rehearsals for the upcoming competitions.  I think in total, she spent about 17 hours at the studio this week.  Add that to the 3 hours of dance every day at school and I say thank goodness she loves it.  2 more weeks til the first comp!

K started her new semester of college.  She's happy with her classes so far and is determined to make this semester even better than the last one.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Macy's, Myachi, and The Pulse

Outside Macy's
The guide was fabulous
We went with the homeschool group yesterday on an historic tour of the huge flagship Macy's in Herald Square. This is usually geared toward high school age, but all of our 10 & 11 year-olds loved it and asked tons of questions.  We started in the "Cellar" and worked our way to the 4th floor.  In one section of the store are the original escalators from 1902.  It was so interesting how much planning goes into the marketing and merchandising that makes this store so successful even after 154 years. There are 11 floors and about the same square footage as the Empire State Building.  We were told why makeup and perfume are always on the first floor, why the designer floors create an entirely different "boutique" for each designer's area, and noticed how the teens clothing floor had completely different music, decor, and eateries.  The guide told us all about the Thanksgiving Day parade, how they have the real Santa Claus there every December, what they do for Black Friday, the annual flower show, the holiday windows, the employee training, and the whole history of how Macy's came about.

W and the Myachi master demonstrating some tricks
After the tour, a few of us got some pizza and went to the big Toys R Us in Times Square.  W scoped out the Myachi master and spent almost an hour learning some cool new Myachi moves.  W brought his little video camera and made a cool interview video with the guy - who was more than happy to participate, lol.  It was a great day!

Last weekend we took J to Atlantic City for The Pulse!  It's a huge dance convention with classes taught by the best choreographers in the country.  J and about 15 others from her dance studio spent 2 days dancing with Tyce Diorio, Desmond Richardson, Laurieann Gibson, Wade Robson, Brian Friedman, Cris Judd, Robert Hoffman, Dave Scott, Gil Duldulao, and Brooke Lipton.  It was incredible.  They even got to perform a number in the big showcase - in front of all the famous choreographers!  The highlight for many of these teen girls was meeting the ICONic Boyz, who were there to take the classes too.  Great experience and great weekend.

W's academics this week included:
Least common multiple, reducing fractions, equivalent fractions, factoring, possessive and plural nouns, continents, & reading.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Weekly Report 1/1-1/7

Happy New Year!  Celebration was at my house this year with the family and one of J's friends.  Lots of food and Dick Clark!  K and the boyf  went to this swanky, ritzy party in Long Island.  Boyf's whole family was there and they all took limos there and home.  K had an unbelievable time and looked beautiful in a long-sleeved, open-backed, blue velvet short dress with tan clutch & tan wedge heels.  She was stunning.  K's doing great at her job and school starts up for her again in a couple of weeks.  J's been crazy busy with dance.  Competition season starts next month.  Next weekend we're off to Atlantic City for a big dance convention.  She's getting together a bunch of info for summer dance intensives here in NYC.  She's not sure what she wants to do yet.  School is still going great (she got another A+ on an English paper, btw) and she just loves every second of it.  It goes by so fast, though.

W and I went to our usual weekly winter haunt again - the uber-cool homeschooler get-together at the pool hall in the West Village.  Pool, foosball, table shuffleboard, and ping-pong were on the agenda for him that day.  Some of the moms and I chatted while making these pretty paper star crafts.  I'm not really the crafty type, but mine came out pretty good!

W is almost ready for his yellow belt in karate.  He got a stripe added to his belt this week.  Test at the end of the month!  He got contact lenses this week and now he doesn't have to worry about his glasses sliding down or flying off.

We were scheduled for a trip this week to Wall Street for a class on the History of Money, but W came down with a sore throat, cough, & fever.  He's feeling better now.  He has responded very well to the relaxed academics and seems to be retaining a lot more.  He even came to me at 9:30pm one night to "do work".  We're moving really quickly through math, his reading is still at or above grade level (have we passed the typical dyslexic plateau level?), and he's picking up 5th-grade grammar very easily.  Science and History have been in the forms of readings & questions, documentaries, field trips, and projects/experiments.  It's fun and stress-free, just the way we like it.

This week's academics included:
Prime & composite numbers, Factoring, Greatest common factor, Equivalent fractions, Reducing fractions, Proofreading paragraphs, Prefixes, Dictionary pronunciations, The Giraffe, Pelly, & Me (Dahl), The history of money (Money Sense).