Saturday, November 30, 2013

November 2013

W is doing so well with the Muay Thai kickboxing classes, that he was told he can test for his "stripe".  It's a different system than he had with karate - there really aren't "belts" and they don't wear a gi.  W wears a uniform t-shirt and shorts (that eventually change colors), but I'm not sure how it all works yet.  Even though it's a martial art, it's more like regular boxing.  He's in the adult class and is not only keeping up with everyone, he's helping some of his classmates with form and technique.

We're more than half way through Tom Sawyer and W is reading a few Shel Silverstein poems out loud every day as well.  He recently became a little self-conscious again about reading out loud (I think because he started CCD classes which are a little too much like school for his taste), but he does so well with the poetry.  That was a good call, lol.  He really likes the poems and looks forward to reading them.  Speaking of reading, I'm happy to report that W has recently started reading a LOT on his own time.  He has finally realized that reading for information is actually pretty cool.  He is researching different things online and talks about them with me and B (and has some pretty good discussions with his friends, as I can slightly hear from the other room).  Right now he is enjoying learning about various theories regarding movies and cartoons (like how all the Pixar movies seem to tie together and how the Pokemon world is really all in Ash's mind), researching which editing software to get, and continuing his quest of building a computer.  He's not letting the dyslexia and processing issues slow him down.  He's really determined to overcome it.

W is also enjoying the new math book (Saxon Algebra 1/2) now that we are past what he already knows.   He was getting tired of all the review in the first thirty-something chapters and was practically begging to learn some new stuff.  I get it, but I think review is always a good thing - especially since he has to take a standardized test in the spring.  We finished the month on chapter 50.  From here on in, we will be taking a little more time with each math lesson.  History and geography are going well.  We've moved out of Sumer and Mesopotamia and into Egypt.  This history book is great because each section we cover is potentially another Met Museum trip to see a lot of artifacts from that time and place.  As a matter of fact, we may go next month.  The new science book is as good as I though it would be.  I'm so glad we switched.  It's more fun and interesting to read and W doesn't have that glazed over look with science anymore.

W's schedule currently looks like this:
Math, literature, poetry, & cursive are 3x/week
History, geography, and science are 2x/week
Technology* is 7x/week
Health, practical arts, current events, art, and music are about 2-3x/week
Scouts and CCD are 1x/week
Muay Thai boxing is 3-4x/week
(*technology refers to all computer skills, building a computer, making & editing YouTube tutorials, maintaining and running gaming servers, creating original texture packs for Minecraft, and doing lots of reading and research)

We have cut way back on the homeschool group classes, choosing instead to do independent field trips ourselves or with a few friends once or twice a month.  J hit the same point at this age.  W has been homeschooling since Kindergarten and has done practically every kind of class and trip there is to do.  He doesn't like ongoing classes nor any that involve writing or oral presentations.  So, we have become very picky when it comes to classes.  He's getting older and more independent.  He knows what he wants his teen years to look like and I have to say, he's on a nice track.

J has been busy as well.  Here are some things she has done this month - She:
  • Had more headshots taken - her school took these
  • Made it into her school talent show (!!)
  • Has been in rehearsals for:  the Senior Dance Showcase  the Rising Stars talent show, solos and group numbers for competition season, and the entertainment company for paid dance gigs.
  • After more thought, narrowed her college list down to 1, lol.  Her heart is set on one school only and she has no interest in going anywhere else.
  • Was already accepted into to SUNY College at Brockport (but doesn't plan on going here)
  • Had her 2nd paid performance gig
  • Went to 2 more Sweet 16s (still not done with these, I guess, lol)
  • Ordered her senior ring
  • Had Senior Pajama Day at school
  • Danced in a competition where an episode of Dance Moms was being filmed.  She got to see all the stars of the show, watched the kids compete and win their awards.  Then she got a Platinum award for her new solo (that she just finished only 2 weeks prior).  Platinum in this comp means she scored between a 294 and a 297 (out of 300!).
And my oldest baby girl, K, had her 20th birthday this month.  We got her 2 tickets to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.  We ended up going together - J was supposed to go, but had dance showcase rehearsal at school.  It was a fabulous show!  Kait and I went together more than 15 years ago and it was so great to go again.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Body Worlds

The Body Worlds exhibit in Times Square was pretty interesting.  W wasn't thrilled with it, saying it was just a bit too graphic and disturbing.  I don't know how I feel about it.  I definitely learned a lot.  It is science as well as art as well as a moral lesson of sorts.  We saw damaged lungs, stages of pregnancy, and cross-sections of all organs.  Bodies are skinned and plasticined and arranged in various and creative positions that display their insides.  It felt somewhat voyeuristic and wrong.  I had been looking forward to this for a long time, but I'm kind of left with a weird feeling now that we went.  Any thoughts?  Here's a pic from the inside (pun intended):

W and one of the Body World exhibits

We finished the afternoon with a walk around Times Square and a visit to the big Toys R Us.  It's a ritual for us to venture inside every time we go to Times Square.  Afterwards, we walked around looking for a place to sit and have lunch, but then we decided that the halal chicken and rice from the food cart near our home was exactly what we both wanted.

Totally normal sight in Times Square