Weekly Wrap Up

Sims came home Sunday from climbing in Kentucky.  He said it was fantastic climbing but it was cold!  It even snowed a bit!  Quite a change from climbing in Austin.  He is learning quite a but about the different types of rock as well as he visits new places.

The kids hosted their international fair this week at their co-op.  Sawyer’s group represented Australia.  Sims’s group represented Ethiopia. Parks’s group represented Peru.  Germany and Korea were also represented.  The program went over amazingly well!  Each visitor received a sheet of paper with an industry that they represented-ie. solar energy, software company, industrial company, etc.  The visitors asked the kids questions about how their country would be able to help the specified industry/if the industry would be a good fit.  I was very impressed with the knowledge that the kids had.

Thursday night, Sawyer’s band played at a local brewery.  They did amazing!  I promise that I am not just saying that.  This was by far, their best performance yet.  Sawyer was a nervous wreck, but she worked through her fears and sang her heart out.

Friday, the kids introduced a few of their friends to their favorite sport (well, two of them love it).

We have a bit more to wrap up before the holiday as far as school goes, but other than that we are looking forward to a short break.

 

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Another Year Older

Parks celebrated his 12th birthday last week!  Only one more year until he is a teen (oh, my!).  What a year!  Over the past year, Parks learned how to snowboard, fell in love with sailing, learned many new tricks on his bike and scooter, learned how to skate board, became the poppy to a new puppy, played the drums for the town, entertained us for hours and hours, and really matured (I really don’t want to say grew up, but oh man has he.  He is no longer a little boy anymore).

Weekly Wrap Up-With a Birthday

We had a big week this week!  A very big week.  We started off a little quiet as Nick and Sims were out of town.  Sims met up with a friend in Austin, Texas to climb for a couple of days.  Sawyer, Parks and I hung out at home.  After a late return home Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, Sims joined us for a co op field trip to the Urban Planning department in Charlotte, NC.  It was phenomenal!  Who knew that a field trip to an urban planning department would be fantastic?  They did an excellent job explaining how Charlotte developed from 1875 until now and provided the kids with an opportunity  to help with the 2040 vision planning for the city.  Wednesday, Sawyer completed her Boater’s Course and passed the test!  We have another certified boat operator! (Watch out Sims, she may actually want to take the boat out!) Wednesday, Thursday and Friday morning, Sims busted a move on his work so that he could head back out to climb some more.  This time in Kentucky.  Hopefully, I will have a few pictures next week.  We ended the week celebrating Parks’s birthday at the local go kart course.  He had a blast with his friends and Sawyer!

Weekly Wrap Up-The Halloween Version

Dressing up, candy, more dressing up, more candy, beautiful fall weather…that sums up the week.  😉

We did get some school work done-actually, a lot more school work than I expected with a holiday in the middle of the week.  I found a new version of Striker Jones for business math.  It is SOO much better!  The kids all researched charities and how the donations are collected, how the money is used, and all types of interesting information on marketing.  In 4H, the kids worked on building a typical dwelling seen in the country that they are each representing, and they learned some Spanish dancing/conversational Spanish.  It was a really fun day.

Sawyer has been on a creative streak lately.  This week she finished up her wings for her costume, up cycled a very large t shirt she got and did some drawing.

Homeschooling High School for the Teen with Dyslexia

Homeschooling is a terrific option for many children with dyslexia and/or dysgraphia.  At first, you may think that it is too much to tackle.  However, you have time on your side when you homeschool!  Children with dyslexia and dysgraphia typically need to have information presented in multiple ways.  Children with dyslexia also do much better when information is presented either in a small group or one on one.  Teachers do not have the time or the resources to do these two things even when they really want to.

Homeschooling high school makes many parents anxious-you are not alone!  I do worry that I am not doing enough or that we are not doing something right, but then I take a deep breath and realize how far my son has come!  This post is a revision of two previous posts.  Now my son is in high school, so a few things have changed.

Spelling:  We started with All About Spelling and went through levels 1-4.  This program taught/reinforced the spelling rules.  The down side for us was that the information did not carry over into other writing activities.  Well, it is wonderful to get a 100% on your spelling test but if you can not spell the word in your journal or in an email, then you didn’t get it.  Thus, I moved to another spelling program called Apples and Pears.  This is an open and go curriculum.  We started with the first book and are moved through the second book.  The program appears to have no rhyme or reason initially but as the teacher, you soon realize that the words appear again and the patterns are progressed.  The best part is that the spelling carried over!

The best spelling program I have found for high school-texting.  Yep, you read that correctly-texting.  Once my son got a phone and began texting his friends, he began to be aware of this spelling errors.  The phone marks when the word is spelled incorrectly.  It also has word prediction.  Seeing words spelled properly over and over that are used in daily communication has had the largest impact yet on spelling.  The carry over is amazing!

Reading fluency and comprehension:  For reading fluency, we used Dancing Bears.  He began with the fast track AB book which went through the sounds fairly quickly.  Due to the extensive tutoring, he did well with this.  If you have a reader who is still struggling with the initial sounds, then I highly recommend you begin with book A (we are doing this with our youngest and it is working well).  Again, I find the carry over phenomenal.  Reading fluency in other book continues to improve.  Reading aloud is still a struggle and most books that my son can read aloud are not necessarily what he wants to read.  This is why we use Learning Ally!  Learning Ally is an online program for people who are blind and/or have a reading disability.  Learning Ally has real people record books as they read them aloud.  Note that I added real people.  The kindle and apple programs can read aloud but the voice is automated and lacks inflection.  Real people make the stories come alive, use the proper pausing, and use the proper inflection.  Learning Ally allows Sims to read books that are at his comprehension level, which is much higher than his fluency level.  Learning Ally also has many textbooks which can be beneficial for high school and college! We also use audibles a lot also.  Reading speed continues to be an issue, but fluency has increased.

Writing:  I did not use a specific curriculum for writing originally.  I had him journal and write nature studies that I did not edit.  These were for him just to simply practice writing.  Then when he did have a writing assignment, we did several things.  Some times he would make notes and then dictate the paragraph or paper to me to write.  Other times, he made his notes, formed an outline, and then wrote on wide ruled paper and skipping a line.  We use form drawings (a Waldorf activity) and metal insets (a Montessori activity) to work on sizing, fluid motion, pressure and letter formation.   I also recommend using gel pens or mechanical pencils.  Gel pens allow for smooth writing.  Mechanical pens teach how much pressure is needed (most kids with dyslexia/dysgraphia tend to push very hard when writing-the crayon breakers-LOL).

Last year, Sims worked through Essentials in Writing level 9.  Overall, it was ok.  I didn’t love it.  He didn’t love it.  The writing was dry and mechanical.  This year, he is using a program called Byline which is more journalistic writing.  So far, it is going very well.  There is a purpose to the writing which (like the spelling) makes it more motivating.  He is also using speech to text some for longer papers.  Speech to text still requires him to plan, outline, and have a rough draft.

Math:  Luckily for Sims, math comes easy.  He gets it and he understands how to apply it.  We used Teaching Textbooks in the past.  For Algebra, Sims used Life of Fred and he loved it.  This year, he is making an online class for geometry.  Now the difficult part isn’t doing the calculations.  It is the writing!  In the years past, he has used two methods to keep the numbers in line.  One trick is to use large graph paper (meaning the squares are large).  This is tough to find, but when I do, I stock up!  The other trick we us is to turn a wide ruled notebook sideways.  This allows you to place the numbers in the same column.  For geometry, the writing continues to be the most difficult part.

Note taking/Vocabulary: We use two methods for note taking and vocabulary.  One method is using notecards.  Some people love notecards.  Others do not.  They are simple.  He can put a picture on one side and a word on the other or a definition.  There are many options for using notecards.   Notecards allow the use of pictures too.   The second method is to draw a T on a sheet of lined paper with the top of the T going across the top of the page and the perpendicular line about three inches from the left hand side of the page.  Then either dates or vocabulary words or a main topic can go in the left column.  On the right, corresponding definitions, information or notes are written.  Adding color is a terrific option.  Highlighters or using different colored pens are options.

We are only one full year into high school, but we are figuring out some methods for Sims to be as independent as possible.  He seems to be doing well with it.  We have taken some of the fluff out of some subjects, but he is doing them all.  He has also learned to advocate for himself this year in his outside classes.  He attempted to take notes in his chemistry class, but could not seem to get everything done (and legible), so he spoke with the instructor (who happens to also be dyslexic) about getting a copy of the notes after class.  This way, Sims writes as much as he can so that he can practice taking notes.  After class, he looks over his notes and the instructor’s notes to make comparisons/corrections.   As I stated in an earlier post, we know that he has dyslexia and dysgraphia but it no longer seems to be a learning disability while he is learning at home.  He is beginning to take classes outside of the home, so hopefully all that he is doing will continue to transfer over to his classes!

Weekly Wrap Up

We are midway through our first business math block.  We finished up our read aloud-The Year Money Grew on Trees.  We LOVED it!  Sawyer and Parks are also still working on the Pet Shop Math.  The last two times that we did business math, we used the Striker Jones book.  I felt that we needed a change, so I decided to use Whatever Happened to Penny Candy.  I heard terrific things about it, but the kids find it very dry.  It has been tough to get through, but we are trudging through at least for one more week.  Sims and Sawyer are also about a third of the way through Byline which is a writing curriculum that includes US history.  It is ALOT of writing each week, but so far they are both enjoying it.  In addition to their writing curriculum, the older two are also getting quite a bit of practice with writing lab reports for chemistry and physical science!  This week while the older were writing up their labs from last week, Parks learned about water displacement in his science class.

On the fun side of things this week, Sawyer made a sling for her coach’s baby kitty.  Everyone cooked up a storm this week (which is funny because cooking was the theme for Spanish class this week too).  Sims and I got a paddle in on Wednesday since there wan’t any wind for a sail.  Thursday, we gleaned eggplant and peppers.  Friday, Sawyer and I were invited by my brother to go see Hamilton!  It was an AMAZING show!

 

Weekly Wrap Up

Lots of school work this week!  And lots more to get through!

I am not sure why, but the output of work seems a lot higher this year.  This is neither good nor bad.  It just is.  More output requires more time inside and at home. That part is not my favorite.

This week we learned about money and its history.  We learned about inflation.  We are also almost through our first read aloud book, The Year Money Grew on Trees.  It is a terrific book to go along with finance, economics and business math.  The kids also made topography maps and color wheels in Spanish this week in 4H.

Sims gave me a lesson Wednesday afternoon on rigging and sailing a 420.  I had a blast.  I can’t wait to go again!  I am not sure if that was my favorite part of the week or getting back to the barn after several weeks of not going!

Friday, the younger two worked at home on their Simply Charlotte Mason Pet Shop math and finishing up their workplans while Sims and I headed down to Charlotte to finish up his educational testing.

As always, the weekend was full!  Boat cleaning, yard work, parties, concerts, sailing, and   some fun time to just hang out.