Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A New School Year

K started her sophomore year of college on Monday.  Her first day of school always makes me teary and emotional.  She has a clearer idea as to what she wants to do with her life and she's on the right track.  I'm so proud of her.  She has a great work ethic and is determined to succeed.

J starts school next Thursday.  I told her that Junior year of high school is going to be the toughest one yet.  Besides her regular high school classes (4 academic, 4 dance), there's the SATs, her Junior dance project, school performances, a Sunday afternoon theater jazz & tap workshop in Manhattan, and also a full load at her dance studio.  She will be teaching and choreographing on Saturdays as well as having around 8 hours a week of technique classes and choreo.  We're going to Nationals next summer, so we're carefully choosing our Regional competitions this year.  I'm excited for another school and dance year!

W is enjoying what's left of summer.  He's outside playing every day with his friends on the block and going to the playground for some soccer and basketball.  We are doing pretty well with academics, too.  He's still doing math drills, the dyslexia workbook, listening to some Narnia (almost done with LWW!), and we've started some AO Yr 4 books.  We're stepping into academics slowly and should be ready to go full-force next week.  I'm still waiting for his evaluation report.  I guess this is what goes along with it being free.  But after spending a couple of hours researching more things about dyslexia yesterday, I've figured out that W has "visual dyslexia" or "dyseidetic dyslexia".  This is different from "dysphonemic" or "auditory dyslexia".  So technically, this means I don't really need to be doing any type of phonics work with him.  The workbook I have touches on everything, and since he likes it and I'm seeing a great deal of progress in him, we're going to continue with it anyway.

I can smell Fall in the air!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Daily Plan

Since I'm figuring on spending an extra hour on daily academics this year, I've been trying to come up with a daily schedule for 4-5 days/week.  Here's what I'm thinking about:
  • CNN Student News - This is a 10-minute news video made just for tweens and teens.  Although we discuss current events often, This will cover more.
  • Saxon 76 - I like this program so far.  W has been doing drills in the test booklet on the 4 basic math skills all summer.  He can now do 50 problems in less than 10 minutes.  He does this 3x a week.
  • 1-2 Readings with oral & written narrations
  • Add to history timeline - We'll keep this up on the wall and add to it whenever we read about an important event or person.  If we feel like doing a book of centuries this year, we'll just transfer the timeline info into it and add pictures.   
  • A Workbook for Dyslexics: - LOVE this book.  It's making such a difference in W's reading and spelling.  We are on the 6th or 7th lesson and I can't believe how much W has improved overall.
And then he chooses another 2 things from:

Wordly Wise 6
Simply Grammar
Spelling Skills 5, 6
Artistic Pursuits
Nature Study
Science Experiment

Music from current composer will play quietly during seatwork and works by current artist will be up on the wall for all 12 weeks.  Facts about them, the current poet, and the history timeline will also be up on the wall.

A few times a month we go on a field trip.  Before we go, we'll prepare by reading about the place we're going or the subject matter.

I think this is a thorough, manageable plan that's not overwhelming. Everything on the list will take from 10 to 30 minutes each.  I'm sure we'll tweak once we get into it.

Still no word from the neuro lab on W's dyslexia testing.  It's been almost 6 weeks.  It's so hard to wait.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

911 Memorial

We went with the homeschool group to the 911 Memorial yesterday.  It's beautiful.  The fact that it was raining made it all so quiet and contemplative and sad.  There are 2 large, square waterfall pools that sink into the ground bordered on all 4 sides with the names of everyone who died that day.  These pools are in the exact place where the towers stood.  All the trees in the memorial were grown near all 3 attack sites in NYC, VA, & PA.  Family and friends placed bouquets of flowers on their loved ones' names.  A few blocks away is the 911 Memorial Preview Site.  It's kind of a gift shop with a lot of memorabilia and photos.

Going to the site hit me harder than I thought it would.  In the early 90s I worked as a temp for several months in one of the towers.  I ate lunch in the Winter Garden and loved walking around the area.  I think a lot of non-NY'ers thought of the World Trade Center as just a huge monument for tourists.  But it was so much more than that.  Such a tremendously sad loss for our country.  There are new buildings in construction now, including the Freedom Tower and a memorial museum.  I'm glad it's taking a long time to create.  It has to be right.

Trinity Church - 300 years old!  It's around the corner from the memorial

One of the new buildings

The South Pool

W at the South Pool and one of the new buildings

Another view of the South Pool

In the 911 Preview Site 

Friday, August 03, 2012

Fashion Show!

Yay it's August.  One step closer to autumn!

J spent a couple of days at the Dance Teacher Summit at the NY Hilton.  She was part of the Fashion Forward dancewear runway show.  She strutted and danced on the stage and down the catwalk modeling some of the 2013 dancewear line.  The first day was all fittings and rehearsals.  The second day was the show.  Some parts were choreographed and some parts were J doing her own thing on the runway.  Ray Leeper (who awarded J a "Standout in Jazz" scholarship at NUVO a few months back) and Mia Michaels were there, too.  It was a great experience.

J on the runway in Revolutions Dancewear

Academics around here have still been pretty light.  We're trying to keep a steady 3 days a week.  Here's how it's been going:

Saxon Math 76:  W is doing lots of simple arithmetic drills - now he zips through it in minutes with no errors.
Wordly Wise:  We're taking our time with the first chapter, going over the vocabulary words thoroughly.  I had this weird epiphany the other day - W is a pretty good speller, out loud.  He was spelling words like "contribute", "affection", and "appeal" without error and pretty confidently.  Hmm.  I like the writing exercises it has, too.
A Workbook for Dyslexics:  I like what this book does.  A lot of sound repetition - both reading and writing.  
A summer bridge (5th going into 6th) book:  there is such a myriad of activities in these books.  He's done mapwork, geography, a logic problem, reading comprehension questions, and grammar.
Narnia:  We're trying to do 3-6 chapters a week for now.

Nothing yet from the neurophysiology people.