Friday, March 30, 2012

Well, Yeah.

Stolen from Twinkle,, and College@Home.  Thanks.

Created by: College At Home

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Today we joined our wonderful homeschool group for the Superhero Tour of New York!!  We all met by the Empire State Building and started our walking tour.  Our guide was great - young, fun, and interesting.  Every location on the tour was a place we knew or probably walked by frequently.  The cool thing is finding out things we don't know about these places.

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 Check out this fabulous itinerary:
• Empire State Building The NY landmark has featured in countless Superhero adventures, find out which ones!
• Flat Iron Building Not only was this The Daily Bugle in Spiderman, it has featured in countless other films too
• Chrysler Building Spidey's regular perch when he's using his spider-sense, this incredible skyscraper has a long association with Superheroes
• Batman The former Park Avenue offices of Batman creator Bob Kane, and Will Eisner, creator of The Spirit
• Marvel Enterprises HQ Learn about the history of Marvel
• Grand Central Station Find out which Superheroes have battled in this magnificent train station
• Fantastic Four The ‘real’ location of the Fantastic Four’s fictitious Baxter Building
• The News Building Step inside Clark Kent's workplace, The Daily Planet offices are here
• New York Public Library Where Uncle Ben told Peter Parker, 'With great power comes great responsibility!'
• Spiderman The Green Goblin’s Gothic Manhattan mansion
• United Nations Where Batman and Robin saved the Security Council from the "fearsome foursome" of Joker, Penguin, Riddler and Catwoman
• The apartments of Lernore Lemmon (suspected of killing George "Superman" Reeves ) and across the street Kirk Allan (the first Superman 1948) - no they did not knew each other!
• The hidden bar where comic book artists have been drawing superhero cartoons on the walls since the 1960's

• The Superhero Tour incorporates some of the greatest New York architecture and NYC Hotels as seen in the Superhero movies 

The Chrysler Building

The revolving globe from The Daily Planet

Grand Central Station

The "hidden bar" is called The Overlook.  Originally, cartoon artists would go there for drinks and instead of paying their tab, they would draw something on the wall.  So many famous artists left their mark here and I felt privileged to end the day there having a great lunch with friends.  

A wall in the Overlook Bar

W and I are both really enjoying the homeschool life lately.  Maybe because the weather has been beautiful for the last few weeks, but I especially feel a nice sense of calm.  Using the Worldbook course of study as our guideline has been perfect.  We have a great list of what's typical for 5th grade and we cover each subtopic as we like.  It's working.  And neither of us feels stressed.  I love being able to go very in-depth with certain things and revisit subjects until I know for sure he knows it.  I have no doubt he'll be more than prepared for high school.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Pat's & Other Stuff

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  As I am more than a quarter Irish and dh has a smidgen somewhere in there, we are having our annual corned beef & cabbage dinner complete with Irish soda bread, rye bread, carrots, & potatoes.  I look forward to it every year.  I refuse to have it any other time - it doesn't feel right, lol.  K is going to another one of those swanky parties with the boyf and his extended family and J is babysitting all day with her friend.  Both won't be home til tomorrow, so dinner will just be the 3 of us.  Well, thankfully, this dinner tastes just as good the next day, so the girls can have theirs on Sunday.

J went to pointe class this morning and then taught her usual 3 dance classes.  W went to karate this morning. He did sparring today.  He is getting better at the movements, but tends to punch like a street fighter.  He does take direction well, so I'm sure that will fix itself before his orange belt test next month.  K is just so happy to be back at the health food place that she even enjoys last-minute covering for those who have called out.  She loves being surrounded by the healthiest food: brown rice wraps, smoothies, fresh juice, homemade oatmeal, etc.  Speaking of healthy food, I decided we are all going to start on a Mediterranean-type diet.  I already made my list which includes things like lots of fruits, vegetables, extra-virgin olive oil, fish, whole grains, brown rice, nuts, and red wine.  I found some great recipes, so I think they'll love it.

In other news, my 25th high school reunion is next weekend.  I have reconnected with more than half of my graduating class through facebook and I can't wait to see everyone.  I went to my 10th and 20th already, but now so many more people are aware of it and will be there.

W's Academics This Week
English/Language Arts:
Using context clues to figure out what certain words mean, The different types of fiction & nonfiction and how to identify and compare them (sci-fi, poetry, myth, textbook, newspaper, instruction manual, biography, etc), Vocabulary words, synonyms, antonyms, homophones, homonyms
Using charts & graphs, Finding mathematical patterns, Equivalent fractions, Long division, The value of an unknown, Geometric figures (from triangle to dodecagon).
Various reading, websites, & documentaries on The American Revolution
Earth, clouds & weather.  Reading & websites.
DK Language Learner Lesson 1.  W and I had fun with it.  We're both learning together using the book, the CD, and playing the games.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

American Folk Art Museum

We met up with the homeschool group again this week for another one of those child-led museum explorations.  This time we hit the American Folk Art Museum. I have never been here before, so it was a trip I looked forward to.  It's really small (one floor) and they didn't have a museum map, so each child picked a gallery and a piece to discuss with the others.  We moms left them to it, standing in a center area between all 3 galleries to keep an eye on them.  The idea of 10-12 year-olds looking at artwork and discussing it together without being guided sounds like it could never work, but you'd be surprised. I certainly was.  Once again, they took the responsibility seriously and rose to the occasion.  
An hour or so later, we were lucky enough to get a tour from one of the workers there.  She was great.  She brought us to several pieces of artwork and told us all about their history, artist, and meaning.  The tour was fun and interesting, but I do think the kids get more out of these trips when they have to come up with their own ideas.

Check out the dancers in the subway the other day:

Saturday, March 03, 2012

More 5th Grade Stuff

For the remainder of 5th grade, W will be doing the following:

  • Language Arts - Simply Grammar, Spelling Skills 5
  • Writing - Journaling, oral & written narrations, Writing Strands
  • Spelling - Spelling Skills 5
  • Independent Reading - His choice
  • Math - Typical 5th-grade standards (various 5th Grade workbooks & test-prep books, Khan Academy)
  • History - Colonial America & the American Revolution (books, websites, projects, timelines, documentaries, field trips/classes)
  • Geography - Mapwork related to colonial times, states & capitals, countries & capitals, oceans (atlases, flash cards, websites, workbooks)
  • Social Studies - US Government, Presidential Elections, CNN Student News (books, websites, documentaries)
  • Science - Weather, plants, cells, basic physics (books, websites, experiments, documentaries, field trips/classes, nature study/journaling)
  • Health - Nutrition & fitness (smart shopping, exercising, documentaries)
  • Spanish - DK Language Learner  (I just bought this.  I'll let you know how it is)
  • PE - Karate 4-5 classes/week, Free play

W is considering enrolling in this accelerated secondary school which goes from 7th-12th grades.  I'm not very keen on middle school at all, but it's his choice, and it's one of the very few schools I actually approve of.  They give an admissions test next year and W will be taking it.  He may not want to actually go when the time comes, but at least he'll have taken the necessary steps to have that option right up to the last minute.  It's my job to make sure all doors are open for him if he does choose to go there.  He also will be taking the California Achievement Test (CAT-E) in a couple of months.

So, based on that, we are also doing some test-prep.  There are test samples online and I just bought a couple of prep books for him to practice with.  I promise this will not make our daily academics any longer.  We still spend about 2-3 hours on the academic stuff each morning.  Afternoons are still always free to pursue interests and just be a kid.  I'm not going to stress over these tests.  I know they hardly scratch the surface of what my son knows and understands.  W has never really taken a test before, so he's a bit nervous, but is eager for the experience and to see what it's all about.  I'm sure he'll be fine.

Thursday, March 01, 2012


The last 2+ weeks have been crazy:  dance competition, Valentines Day, wake, funeral, grandma's house, Pokemon party, sleepover, pool & ping pong in the West Village, K getting rehired at health food place, Lucy (our black-capped conure) laid her first egg, President's Week off from school, J's new boyfriend (!!), car repair, back to the gym, and furniture rearranging for delivery of new couches.  I definitely need a long nap.

National Museum of the American Indian
But alas, I just can't stay away from a cool field trip.  The other day we went back to the National Museum of the American Indian with the homeschool group.  Our group of almost a dozen tweens  (all about 10-11 y/o) had fun with leading their own trip.  Each kid got a turn picking a gallery to visit, then they had to lead us all there using the museum map.  We really enjoyed it - especially since many of W's friends were there.  We also met some new families.  I'm happy to say we have several more trips like that coming up.

I plan on spending some time each week getting W ready for his CAT-E test in May.  We've already been doing a lot of the 3 Rs anyway, so I'm thinking the test should be fairly easy for him.  I just hate tests, but we'll jump through these hoops if we have to in order to maintain our academic freedom.

W spent a lot of this week off on his skateboard, playing XBox Live, Myachi, basketball in the backyard, at karate class, making videos, and hanging out on the block with his friends.  He keeps himself busy and has fun without overdoing any one thing.  It's great.  I believe that many kids tend to "overdo" because parents put limits on things like TV, computer, video games, etc.  Kids feel they have to get as much in as possible before it's pulled away from them (usually in frustration or impatience).  If they never have to worry about that, it doesn't become that forbidden fruit and they self-regulate naturally.  This quality is important, especially through the teen years and adulthood.

It's going to be a great upcoming few months.  We have a lot in store.  I'm certainly feeling a lot of homeschool love and gratefulness lately.