Friday, September 19, 2014

Kids' Update

Things are moving along nicely.  Now that we've gotten into some kind of rhythm that is working, I'm moving toward W becoming even more independent with his work.  I'd say that at this point we do about half the subjects together and he does about half the subjects independently.  His reading is now as close to perfect as can be with hardly any hint of dyslexia and processing issues.  I'm shocked at how he's improved over the last 2 years since his diagnosis.  So I feel he's finally ready for a lot of academic independence.  He's definitely more independent than he'd be at school.  I still read most of the literature aloud and we do math and geography together, but he does grammar, history, poetry, copywork, Spanish, and science independently - I just ask some questions, check it over, and/or he'll narrate when he's done.

As far as our curriculum this year - we love it.  Ambleside Online, Saxon Math, Holt Science, Painless Grammar, GSW Spanish ... we love it all.  I hope it stays nice like this, lol.  

J has had an incredibly busy summer.  She has been assisting her choreographer at numerous top competition-team studios.  She demonstrates his hip-hop choreo for everyone and the best part is that she gets paid!  It's so great that she gets to get paid for something she loves doing.  She's grateful that she can continue dancing all summer and not be out of practice for when college starts.  There is only one more month before college move-in day.  She got her housing assignment already and cannot wait to be living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in her own single dorm room.  B and J went to a get-together at the school and J already made some friends. We started dorm shopping already and we're about 1/3 of the way done.  Her room is their standard 84 square feet and has a bed, dresser, desk, mini-fridge, big window, big closet, a/c, and vanity sink.  Most rooms have a semi-private bathroom (toilet & shower) that is between 2 rooms (ala Brady Bunch) - that would be nice to have.  We won't know her final placement until move-in day.  

K graduated The Aveda Institue last week.  The whole family went out to dinner at this amazing Greek restaurant in Astoria called Taverna Kycledes.  I can't rave enough about this place - best food I've had anywhere in years.  K enjoyed the school so much and is ready for a salon career.  She already landed an interview next week at a very swanky, posh salon in Manhattan.  Fingers crossed!

And I just realized that this is my...   1000th POST!!!!  

Friday, September 05, 2014

First Week Back with AO

I'm glad we decided to bring Ambleside Online back into our lives.  It just feels so right.  This week was W's first week of 8th grade.  Each day we start with math.  As we're waiting for the delivery of Saxon Algebra 1, we're going over some Saxon Algebra 1/2 to review anything he forgot over the summer.  I'm surprised he remembered so much since he hasn't even looked at math since June.  We're still using the whiteboard, but I got W a graph paper spiral notebook to start using next week or so.  Literature is King Arthur by Howard Pyle.  So far, I love it.  The language is very old and beyond what we've seen so far.  So much awesome vocabulary.  I'm reading this aloud and W's narration showed me he understood everything.  A lot of books from previous AO years had old and/or difficult language, but I would abridge to make sure he understood.  I'm not doing that anymore.  I think he'll be ok.

Copywork (for now) is a short Shel Silverstein poem.  On Friday he studied one he'd used for copywork for about 2 minutes and we did our first real Studied Dictation.  What a wonderful way to do language arts.  It makes so much sense and he won't forget the vocabulary or spelling since it was in context.  History is Augustus Caesar's World by Genevieve Foster.  It's a bit young, but it's a nice story and a great intro to the world of Ancient Rome.  Getting Started with Spanish is still something he does independently.  Each lesson takes him about 15 minutes.  It's such a simple program, but so effective.  This term's composer is Hildegarde von Bingen.  All we did was learn her name, learn when and where she lived, and closed our eyes and listened to one of her songs called Kyrie Eleison.  I really loved it and could listen to it all day.  It's so haunting.  W said it sounded like the music that plays during a slow motion death scene at the end of a movie.  Hey, whatever connections he makes are fine with me.

Already I'm realizing what we don't need.  Spelling, vocabulary, and geography are fully incorporated into the other subjects.  There is no need for us to have separate programs.  I have them on hand if we feel like using something down the road, but I don't think we'll have to.  We're also going with Holt (Science & Technology) Physical Science.  I originally just wanted to do the Apologia experiments this year for science, but W isn't as much of a hands-on kid like his sisters.  He's mainly an auditory learner (K is visual, J is kinesthetic).  Having 3 kids with 3 different learning styles is ridiculous.  I'm constantly changing things and can't use many of the curricula I have on hand because it doesn't work for W.  What works is reading out loud (either one of us), narrations, oral exams, and, (based on today) studied dictation.  He usually takes the lead if working in a group and is great at explaining how to do things - especially when he's in a teacher-type role.  And he's always talking and singing.  I think he'd enjoy learning a musical instrument.  I should get on that.