Monday, August 22, 2016

Second Year of High School

I love August.  It's just another month closer to autumn!  And it's the time I get everything ready for the new school year.  10th grade is upon us and W's IHIP is mailed.

W started taking drum lessons a few weeks ago.  He's always wanted to, but I couldn't figure out the practicality of it as we live in a small apartment.  But I just found out there are electronic drum sets that hardly make any noise - but sound like a full drum set when headphones are on!  He tried a set out at the music store, so we'll probably pick one up one of these days.  For now, he uses a drum pad to practice on.  His other interests lately revolve around current events, politics, health, fitness, art, playing the ukulele, Muay Thai, computer gaming, and all types of engineering (computer, mechanical, construction, environmental, etc. - I feel like this is the path he's meant to take, but we'll see).

We're going to continue with our Great Restaurant Adventure this year.  We still plan on getting to all 70 cuisines by the end of his senior year.  Also this year I'm going to try and get back into field trips.  Last year he really wasn't into going to same old places, so I plan on finding some cool things places to go this year all around NYC.

We have already started the new school year.  With my working full time, W does some light academic stuff on his own during the week - mainly the English workbooks, math review pages, and history readings. On my days off we spend a few hours on new math lessons, science reading, lab work, and more English and history. 

High school is a breeze so far.  W knows what he has to do to get into his colleges of choice, so he does it.  He makes goals and does what he needs to achieve them.  I truly believe that this kind of determination, independence, and maturity is what comes from 10 years of unschooling.  And yes, our unschooling has always included curriculum.  The kids prefer it, ask for it, help pick it out, and do it on their own terms.  No stress, no hassles.

Here's some of what he's using this year:

Life of Fred High School Language Arts Series (3 books done, 1 left)
Daily Paragraph Editing (still the best thing ever)
501 Reading Comprehension Questions, 5th ed. (we're trying a few new things for English) 
Painless Reading Comprehension, 3rd ed.
Vocabulary & Spelling Success in 20 Minutes a Day 
Math U See Geometry (he asked for something different and likes it so far)
Short Lessons in World History, 4th ed.  (quick and easy)
Apologia Biology, 2nd ed. with all labs (secularly)

Once again, I'm looking forward to a wonderful school year.  Watching W turn into this amazing adult (he's over 5'11" now!) is the most incredible thing.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Freshman Year is Done!

Ok, so the first year homeschooling high school wasn't bad at all.  W sailed through all the major subjects and a ton of minor ones.  He scored in the 94th percentile on this years standardized test.  The funny thing is that his best scores were in the reading and language arts sections.  4 years ago his reading was categorized as "severely impaired".  Now he's like a whole different person.  I swear it was the one-on-one intense (but fun), daily, multi-sensory, reading-focused education we did for a couple of years that did it.  Schools just can't do that.  He is reading, writing essays for admin and volunteer positions, and types faster than I do.  Paragraph editing workbooks are the best for him - so much gets learned in one 10-minute exercise, and the proof was on the test.

We scaled way back on the outings - probably because we did so many for so many years.  He's not a museum person.  He's more of a yard sale, flea market, reptile expo, comic-con, movies, restaurant, theater person.  So those have been the bulk of the outings this year.  He's still going to Muay Thai class 2-3x a week and assists at the kids classes 1-2x a week

The sophomore year plan is pretty basic:  Biology, World History (continued), Geometry, and English (literature, vocabulary, & composition).  Other subjects will be interest-based like:  PE, Art, Music, Technology, Health, and a few electives.  W also wants to get in some SAT and TASC prep.  We'll be starting this month.

Don't forget to get your IHIP and Metrocard form in before the end of August.  Heave a great summer everyone!

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Spring 2016

W celebrated his 15th birthday 2 months ago and with that, a new interest in the medical field.  If that ends up being the direction he wants to go, then I'm glad he figured it out now.  It's a good age to get things going.  I just ordered a high school biology program and microscope for him and he can't wait to get started on it.  The other subjects are still moving along the same.  He's been continuing with his language arts program and paragraph editing books, and math is currently a bit informal.  He's reviewing Algebra 1 for the CAT-E he's taking next month.  After the exam we're going to start doing TT Algebra 2 and science in the evenings together when I get home from work.  I got new US and world history books and we'll start on those, too.

W has chosen his entire curriculum and schedule based on what he needs for his immediate future, college readiness, and career plans.  He is such a great example of how unschooling works. Now that he's seriously considering what his future could be, he knows how to take charge and get things in order.  As always, I facilitate, encourage, and make suggestions/recommendations to help move things along but he has such a strong sense of independence and maturity and goal-setting that I don't really need to do much.  Homeschooling high school is so incredible.  I'm amazed at what I'm seeing with W.

He's also in full volunteering mode lately.  2-3 times a week he works with the beginner and intermediate kids' classes at the Muay Thai gym.  He takes his own classes 3x a week as well.

And we checked off 2 more cuisines on our Great Restaurant Adventure!  Brazil and Britain.  I'll make separate posts about those.

J is graduating from her dance conservatory at the end of the month.  B and I got to see a couple of awesome showcase performances this semester.  She has been working at a major competition dance studio this year teaching and choreographing 5 different classes and age-groups of non-comp kids.  I really want to see the recital - J is also in a teacher's dance number.  Other than that, she's been modeling, getting head-shots, and getting ready for the real performance world.

K has moved on from the upscale hair salon in Queens to a more upscale salon in Manhattan.  This is what she was waiting for.  It's right in the Theater District just north of Times Square.  She went on a really nice vacation with her boyfriend to Punta Cana last month.  It was her first one requiring a passport.  Both girls also just got their driver's licenses together - not very necessary in NYC, but handy nonetheless.

It's so fun watching the kids becoming independent, successful, and happy adults who follow their dreams and love their lives.