Sunday, April 28, 2013

Some More Science...

The past 2 weeks of  homeschool group science classes have been great.  I think W is learning a lot.  This week his group was all about lights and lenses.  He's also happy to reconnect with friends he hasn't seen in a few years.  It's interesting to see a new dynamic where they have moved out of being little kids and into being teens and almost-teens.  I'm not seeing the exploring, running, and manhunt games W would partake in endlessly.  This interaction is more subdued and they mainly stand around together chatting.  There's some silliness, some more consciousness about how they look, and a lot more communication.  I like it - it's very cool to watch (from a long distance away, of course, lol).

At the science class
The week was also full of academics.  In science we did an experiment that explained about variables and how an egg floats in salt water.  I notice that a lot of the science experiments we do are pretty simple, but now W is at an age where it's more than just fun to do.  He gets it and writes out nice lab reports (on paper! - but if he'd rather use the white board sometimes, then I'll just take a picture, lol). Math was more stuff with decimals, percents, and fractions, grammar was verbs' present & past tense and present & past participles.  

W is doing lots of out-loud reading at his theater class.  His confidence is growing and thankfully, he's not as self-conscious as he used to be.  Having to "cold read" and memorize for this class is fun and doesn't seem like a chore.  I can't wait to see him in the June performance.  

Wow, this school year is almost over already.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Science Classes

It's springtime, and we're getting our science on in full force.  W has 1-2 classes each week at various places from now until June.   The other day's class was all about the microscope.  The kids put in a slide, manipulated the knobs and powers to adjust focus, and drew what they saw.  They also learned what all the parts of the microscope are called, labeling them on their worksheets.  This was a nice 90-minute class of all 6th-graders and up.  Several of W's friends were in the class as well.  He said he enjoyed it and is looking forward to next week.

W and the microscope

Academics are going well.  Saxon math is great - he is still doing the problems on his white board and it goes so fast.  I love the Saxon spiral with all the review.  W retains the math so much better and is so confident zipping through it.  He's doing lots of decimals, fractions, and percents now.  Sequential Spelling:  this is his favorite.  I write it, he reads it (twice), and every day is a test where he writes the words on the whiteboard.  I realize I only need the teacher guide, rather than any of the student books.  I'll remember that for 7th grade.  His test is on 25 words and he rarely gets any wrong.  This is a spiral program, too.  Every day's list of words are variations of the previous words with a few new ones thrown in.  Some are really simple, like "bats" and others are more difficult, like "splitting" - and both are in the same word list.  It works amazingly well for him.  I'm glad, too, because I keep researching his type of dyslexia and Sequential Spelling seems like the best program for him.  The more I research, the more specific a label I can get.  Dyslexia - Visual Dyslexia - Orthographic Dyslexia - Orthographic Dyslexia/Orthographic Processing Difficulties.  A label helps me find what others have done and various things I can try.

W is also doing very well with Wordly Wise 6 vocabulary.  I had no idea.  He remembers word meanings after one read-through and gets everything correct in the workbook.  I hate that I underestimate what he knows.  Today he read an entire 2-page passage out loud.  He read quickly with hardly any stumbles and had full comprehension.  It was wonderful.  Hake Grammar 6 we just zip through a couple of chapters a week.  He finds it easy, so he neither loves it nor hates it.  It's just there.

Right now he's getting his writing in with History, Science, and Poetry.  With the former 2 he jots things down as we read.  He is keeping a history timeline and is using the student book in science again.  With the Evan-Moor poetry workbook he writes out the answers to the comprehension questions.

New things are going on with my job.  I think I prayed too hard that I wouldn't have to work evenings anymore.  The idea was to switch my shift to the morning (8am-12pm) so W will be able to go back to scouts and start basketball or soccer - all of which include weekday evenings.  Instead, I'm getting laid off in 3 months - along with 120 other people.  It seems my entire department is relocating to North Carolina and Albany.  I'm checking around for other part-time morning work, but my company isn't hiring part-timers anymore, even though it would be an internal move.  If I don't get something else within the next 3 months, I'll be fine with my nice severance package.  I've been there for 7 years.  I love my job.  It will be sad come July, but hey, I'll have my evenings free.