Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Keeping Busy

W just got back from a trip to Washington DC with one of his best friends and his family.  He had a blast and took a lot of pictures.  His friend founded an animal charity and was in DC to be on a local news broadcast.  W really enjoyed being in the TV studio and getting to watch how everything works.  They got to see the White House and the Washington Monument as well.

Parkour has been going really well.  W is in a weekly class with other teens (and some younger kids).  He has a lot of fun and loves the whole idea of what parkour is.  It's his 2nd or 3rd year going.  Speaking of teens, a bunch of homeschooled teens are starting to get together every week at a different venue.  Last week they hung out for hours at Dave & Buster's and they went to an indoor trampoline place this week  A few weeks ago they did a fundraiser/Halloween party for the animal charity at a local roller skating rink/arcade.  I love that there are so many NY teenagers homeschooling.  W has a really great group of friends.

B, W, and I went to a high school open house last week.  W has no intention of attending high school, but he wanted to satisfy his curiosity about what it was.  We went to the morning open house - while school was in session - to get a good idea of the school day.  He had no shyness asking questions about their math curriculum (lol) and they seemed pretty surprised at his interest.  Then we went on a tour of the building.  Less than half-way through W was ready to leave.  The kids were loud and show-offy in the hallways when they changed classes, the classrooms were small and dark, and he found out the day is really long (7:20am to after 4pm).  He was totally unimpressed and it solidified his decision to continue homeschooling.  I think the only thing he liked was that they have a personal chef who provides a really varied menu and salad bar for the kids.  We finished the morning having a wonderful brunch at IHOP.

J met up with her choreographer and assisted him at a dance studio in New Jersey for 2 days last weekend.  She's so happy to be going to college in NYC so she can continue to assist-teach and still see all her friends (and us!) whenever she wants.  She also landed a part-time job in a retail store near her dorm!  It's her first retail job and they gave her the hours she asked for.  K did not like the Upper East Side salon, and subsequently got a new job at a salon the West Village.  She is so much happier here and I'm proud of her for not settling and for staying on the lookout for something more ideal.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

What a Great October!

J has been at college now for over two weeks.  She LOVES living in Manhattan.  Her dorm room is wonderful - it's a private room with a big mini-fridge, desk, big closet, sink with vanity and overhead light, mirrored medicine cabinet, 4 dresser drawers, comfy bed, big window, a/c, and mini-blinds.  Then she (we) added a microwave, Keurig, tv, fast wifi modem, pictures, posters, Christmas lights, rugs, and a shelving unit.  She has everything she needs and she's been eating right, waking up on time, and remembering everything.  I'm so proud.  Her weekly classes include ballet (3 different classes), tap, jazz, modern (2 different classes), theater dance, theatrical gymnastics (acro), acting (3x/week), vocal, diction, and dance history.  Some start as early as 8am and some days she's finished at 5:30pm and they're either 2 or 2.5 hours long each.  The classes are really challenging - especially since she's in the highest levels in all dance classes. She loves it, though, and feels so lucky to be there.  I've tallied up her dance classes and figured that she's dancing about 21 hours each week.  She was surprised that she liked the acting classes as much as she does.  I'm just happy she's loving it all.

K graduated from beauty school a month ago, has her temporary cosmetology license, will take her state boards really soon, and has just landed an awesome position at an Upper East Side salon/spa.  This is her first full-time job.  She'll starting out assisting (which includes shampooing and selling product), then she'll go right into being a colorist.  It's a great job with salary, tips, and commission and it's in a great part of town.  I'm so excited for her.

W's weekly academics have been nicely streamlined - as it's November and about that time.  I've decided to make every day practically the same with W doing a lot more independently.  Here's our new weekly breakdown:

  • Math - Saxon Algebra 1. One lesson, together using white board
  • Literature - The Story of King Arthur and His Knights (Pyle). This is read aloud and W gives a spoken narration
  • History - The Complete Book of World History. Silent reading with spoken narration. Using maps & globe for reference. (He just isn't into the AO history readings at all. The 2-page chapters in this book are easy for him to read it himself and and it keeps his interest). 
  • Science - Holt Physical Science. Silent reading and questions. W reads the whole 4-page chapter silently and I verbally quiz him on it when he's done. This is working really well this year.
  • Free Reading - He reads about 15-20 minutes a day. He types out a summary after each chapter or so (a 5-sentence paragraph at least). He still does not particularly like to read, but again, I'll take what I can get.
I'm just happy he's gotten to the point where he can read so much independently. 2 years ago he struggled a lot and was exhausted before he could finish a page. He's come so far - I'm still shocked at how that happened. But we're still taking things slowly so he doesn't get overwhelmed and burned out. This takes a little over 2 hours a day. In addition to the formal academics are W's informal stuff, including: technology and computer science, health, safety, physical education, practical arts, research skills, field trips, and our restaurant adventure (which we're going to start doing more regularly now that I'm back at my old company!).