Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Looking Ahead

J's dance recital was cancelled because of a blackout caused by a big thunderstorm.  They rescheduled it for September (?!).  She's excited school is over and is looking forward to being a junior!  She told me she is considering going into the science field, working with either dancers, athletes, and/or kids.  I've already bookmarked a few colleges to look at, lol.  She also plans to keep dancing.

J went to the Broadway Dance Center with a friend this week and took a contemporary jazz class.  She used one of her free passes and plans on going there a lot this summer.  Her theater jazz summer workshop starts on Sunday.

W's show choir performance was awesome and he can't wait to start the next session in the fall.

Here's the final outline of what we'll probably be using and doing for 6th Grade.  This is the general plan but I predict there will be lots of tweakage. I have almost everything now and I'm really looking forward to September.

W 6th Grade

Spelling, Grammar, Vocabulary
Spelling Skills 5 & 6 (Harcourt)
Simply Grammar (Andreola)
Wordly Wise Gr. 6 (Hodkinson & Adams)
Studied dictation exercises
Creative writing 
Saxon 7/6 (TT7 & LoF are on hand)
History & Biography
Various books & workbooks on US & World History
Oral & written narrations
Field trips
States & Capitals
Countries & Capitals
Continents & Oceans
Science/Natural History
Nature Study: The Handbook of Nature Study (Comstock)
Outdoor Hour Challenge blog
Various books & workbooks
Oral & written narrations
Field trips
The Chronicles of Narnia series (Lewis)
   -The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
   -Prince Caspian
   -The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
   -The Silver Chair
   -The Horse & His Boy
   -The Magician's Nephew
   -The Last Battle
Some oral & written narrations
Daily Independent reading - books of choice
Getting Started with Spanish (Linney & Orta)
Artistic Pursuits, Junior High Book One: Elements of Art & Composition (Ellis)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Winding Down the Year

Our last field trip with our wonderful homeschool group was back to Highline Park for a class about native plants.  It was a rainy day, but the Highline was still beautiful and the kids had fun.  We walked almost the whole southern length of the park, stopping to sit at all the underpasses for discussions.  We had 7 or 8 kids (ages 9-13) and they all got booklets describing many of the native plants found all along the Highline.  Looking for and learning about new things is way more fun when you're running around in the rain, lol.  After the class a bunch of us found some (dry) tables and chairs and had a nice picnic lunch together.

Sitting under an archway for a lesson

W went home with one of his best homeschool friends for a sleepover and then headed back to the city with them to hang out at another friend's house.  So what do three 11 year-old boys do when they have the whole day to themselves?  They make movies!

This week we headed into Manhattan again for an all-day acting and improv class for homeschoolers.  W loved it.  The instructor was great with them.  They did a lot of creative stuff in small groups and presented it to the rest of the class.  W met some new homeschooled kids and had such a great time.

It's been a helluva year with the trips and classes we got to be a part of.  We've been to so many places we'd never been to before and seen familiar ones in a brand new light.  I'm so grateful for all of it.

And speaking of grateful, we just got the amazing opportunity to get W officially evaluated for dyslexia.  I hadn't gotten it done sooner because every place and doctor I've called said a basic eval would be at least $1500 and a full one at least $3000.  So, I have just been teaching him as if he does have dyslexia.  Whatever I'm doing seems to be working pretty well, but to know exactly what he has would mean I can tailor things more to his specific issues.  Anyway, we signed up for a full evaluation at the Albert Einstein Medical Center here in NYC.  He will have a complete battery of tests (including an IQ test) done at their cognitive Neurophysiology lab.  We get a full report with clinical feedback and recommendations signed by a psychologist.  If he does have dyslexia, he gets to participate in their brain imaging study (over 3 more visits).  I'm super excited to finally get a diagnostic report and he's looking forward to it because they'll be paying him about $50 a day for his participation.  I pay nothing.

Here's a picture of some of the books we're using for 6th grade in September.  I still have to order Saxon Math and I think I want to try Artistic Pursuits with him.  Day camp starts on Monday already (!) so our academics are officially over.  I have a 6th grade bridge workbook for him to do and I really would like him to do some reading every day, but I'll take anything I can get.  In a month or so, Target and Staples will be having  their big back-to-school sales and I will not miss it this year.  We need so many supplies.

Some of the books for 6th grade

W took the 5th grade CAT-E test on Monday.  Now we're just waiting for the results and I'll mail all our paperwork before the 30th.  I already have the 4th quarterly, annual assessment, and letter of intent all printed up and ready to go.  I even have his 6th grade IHIP completed, but I'll wait til August to send that.

W's show choir recital/concert is Saturday night.  He's doing 2 shows.  The first one starts at 5:30pm and the second one at about 7:15pm.  There will also be kids playing instruments and vocal soloists who take private lessons there.  I think an art presentation as well.  He's so excited to sing in a show!

Friday night is J's big dance recital.  She is in 8 group numbers, the musical theater demo, the closing number, and leading her new baby classes in 2 numbers each (one she has to be on stage with them, the other 3 from the orchestra pit).  As usual, it will be hectic and crazy, but it's what J lives for.  I love it, too, but I'm looking forward to the after party!

J's summer will be all dance once again.  She is doing a 9-week theater jazz & tap workshop and 3 days a week at her studio for contemporary, lyrical, pilates, turns & technique... and more theater jazz & tap.  She'll certainly be keeping busy, but she will get to sleep late and even it all out with lots of beach and pool parties.

Here's to a fabulous summer!

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Summer and 6th Grade

W is taking the CAT-E standardized test on Monday.  We have spent the last few weeks brushing up on all the math basics, even using our big blackboard to work out problems on.  He has a good grip on math, he just needs to do lots of practice problems.  As far as Language Arts, I've brought back more of the Charlotte Mason method which seems to help him with writing (written narrations, blogging), reading (decoding & comprehension), and penmanship (copywork, written narrations). Grammar is done in the spelling workbook (2 proofreading pages and 2 new grammar concept pages per week).  I'm not worried about the test at all.  He is confident and I think he'll do very well.  

Looking ahead to 6th grade, we will be spending more time on reading, writing, & math.  If he plans on attending one of the good NYC public high schools in a few years, he needs to have a good foundation in the 3Rs.   We also have a lot of books sitting in the china cabinet from when J was doing AO and I figure, why let them go to waste?  We'll try some of those and see how it goes.

For math, we have TT7, LoF, and various other workbooks, but I'm thinking of trying out Saxon.  The books are inexpensive and we can start with 76.  Saxon is plain and W likes plain.  

W does not read for pleasure - at all -and can only hold out for maybe 12 minutes if I assign him something.  He expends so much energy and concentration on only a few pages of reading.  He definitely understands and retains it all, but is ready for a nap by the time he's done.  I have no problems incorporating most of the books as readalouds and he narrates.  Although, with some books, I thought I'd try alternating pages (or even paragraphs) of reading with him.  I think it will help build his confidence.  

I am going to start taking the words from Spelling Skills and give him a test on them at the end of the week.  We will drop down from 2 chapters per week to 1 so we can focus more on the words.  In addition to the grammar we already do, I will be using Simply Grammar.  I've had that book for years and never get to it.  This year we'll try again, lol.  W will also continue with show choir, CCD, and frequent field trips.

I'm feeling great about 6th grade and can't wait for September to get started.  In the meantime, day camp starts in about 2-3 weeks and continues til the end of August.  I'm not going to get much academic work in all summer, but I'll still be happy with a few minutes a week.