January 2020

Time flies by when you are having fun and are busy!  Three teenagers keep me busier than I ever could imagine.  January was full.  We celebrated the holidays at the beginning of the month with our relatives.  We then jumped right back into school on the sixth.

Parks is in a period of transition this month.  He decided to work with a tutor one day a week because he does not enjoy being responsible to me for his work.  Ahh, the stages of growing up. :). The tutor has actually been a terrific motivator, and he is working hard.  She is boosting his self-confidence and it is noticeable in his work.  Parks finished up reading Robin Hood and started on The Outsiders.  He also finished up fractions and began working on decimals and percents in math.  So far, he is not enjoying this year in math.  Too many rules and “new ways” of doing things.  He also jumped into doing Latin word roots.  As far as self-directed work, he is learning how to build longboards.  He is over the moon excited about this project.  Hopefully, I will have a whole post on this soon.

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Sawyer finished her biology course in December (well, almost.  She is doing a little more work on anatomy).  She really wanted to do marine biology this year.  Thus, she was motivated to work through biology in one semester.  She is really enjoying the marine biology class so far.  We were able to bring a few of the labs to co-op which was fun as well.  She read the Diary of Anne Frank this month which we used as a base for her language arts and her history.  She dove into WWII and went down many really interesting rabbit holes.  We have one more week to focus on WWII before we move on. Sawyer is loving her lyra hoop and learning to perfect some skills and to work on new ones.  She also went with Sims outdoor bouldering this month-her fist time bouldering outdoors!

Sims finished up his first semester of language arts focused on the book, Outliers.  This year he is taking five online classes.  The Outliers class pushed him in so many ways.  I saw him grow a lot in this class.  He is now doing a language arts class using Ted Talks, and he is LOVING it.  I look forward to the rest of this class.  He is at the midterm for Algebra II.  He found out that he still needs to work on prepping for tests as he cannot remember everything from the first week to now (again..the stages of growing up).  He is also still working through physics-which has been slowed down a bit as he is doing a fetal pig dissection at co-op.  In his free time, he has been doing a lot!  He is working with a personal trainer to strengthen his shoulder after he dislocated it at the end of last year. He is back to climbing in the gym and a bit outdoors.  He has also been living on the lake!  He is now a part of a new group of boats that are racing in a winter series.  He is loving it and learning a lot about keelboats and dingies.

Can you tell how busy it has been? January has been full!  And this doesn’t include co-op classes!  At co-op, the kids had a health class that focused on stress management and how you can use your vital signs as feedback for how you are feeling in different situations.  They have one more class in health next week.  Some kids in the co-op are dissecting a fetal pig.  Sawyer and Parks opted out of this, but Sawyer is completing the worksheets that go with each lab in order to complete her biology course.  The co-op also celebrated the Lunar New Year with a day of fun learning with three families who celebrate the new year every year.

Oh my, how did I forget!  We also spent time this month puppy sitting for our neighbor’s new puppy!  This may have been the highlight of the month!

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Next week, I plan to do my “A Day in the Life” series with Simple Homeschool.  We will see if I am able to keep up.  LOL.

November in Review

I know that it is a little early for a monthly review.  Next week is Sawyer’s birthday and Thanksgiving, so I do not foresee much happening school-wise!

November began fairly uneventful.  Classes continued.  Co-op continued. Sawyer and Parks had a watercolor intensive class this month.

Since the first week of nonevents, the month has been crazy!  Sims fell while climbing and messed up his shoulder which has resulted in many, many appointments.  He dislocated his shoulder resulting in an impaction fracture to his humeral head and a torn lat muscle.  We had cars in and out of the shop.  Mobile phones died (this actually was not too bad until it was.  It did make it tough for the kids to communicate with me while they were out and about, but that was about it.).  Sawyer had to go in for an infusion.  All kids had eye doctor appointments.  At one point, I thought for sure were being videoed. If it could go awry, it had.  We sat at our table laughing about all of the crazy when the dog and the cat came running through the kitty door chasing a squirrel!

Then the viruses starting hitting the house!  First Sawyer went down.  Then Parks and I were hit right after.  Thus, we spent two weeks with high stress from illness.  We have watched movies, read, and just chilled out because that is all we could do.

We did have a few fun times.  We celebrated Parks’s 13th birthday!  Sims hurt his arm but missed getting sick.  He went on an adventure to move a 40-foot sailboat from Annapolis, MD to Charleston, SC.  He is still gone today.  They aren’t going to make it to Charleston due to the weather, so he will be out on the boat again at a later time.

So November was not our most productive month school-wise.   Lots of life-learning happened!

Weekly Wrap Up

We are still trying hard to get into a rhythm, and we are not quite there yet.  This week Sawyer finished up her first book, The House of Scorpion for English and began taking an online literature class for the next 10 weeks.  Sims’s literature class is on a break for the next few weeks due to the Jewish holidays; however, he still has a big project to do during the break.  Thus, he has been busy researching.  Parks is wrapping up Medieval China this week and next, including the book Along the River-A Chinese Cinderella Story.  Sawyer continued her Biology labs in co-op, and Parks worked on a lot of painting.  Saturday, we headed into the mountains for some apple picking and some cool air!

 

Weekly Wrap Up

Just a quick wrap up from the past two weeks.  At co-op, we did more biology and botany labs.  Art is a big hit at co-op as well.  We visited the barn that we used to ride at.  We all miss the barn.  Unfortunately, our instructor is no longer doing lessons.  (Our puppy, Bella, also go to visit her mom.). Parks started a history class on Outschool.  Sawyer and Sims are still working on their classes. The kids and I also got a quick hike in at Latta Plantation.

Spring Break Wrap Up

The last two weeks flew by!  We didn’t go anywhere.  We didn’t do anything crazy.  We just hung out at home, swam in the lake, enjoyed the lake, and celebrated life!  We started the break off with Sims’s birthday and ended it with a concert!  Over all, we had a  terrific two weeks.  The pictures show it all!

Brave Writer Essay Prep Dynamic Thinking

Are you looking for a writing class for a reluctant writer? Or do you want your child’s writing class to be different/better than the typical writing class? I was!

We have been through a TON of writing programs-IEW, Writeshop, Essentials in Writing…..They are all great and teach the basics of writing a 5 paragraph paper.   The result was….well, a boring five paragraph paper.

My oldest just dreads writing.  DREADS it!! However, he is a pretty creative writer and comes up with good ideas.  Getting those ideas on paper is extremely tough and takes some work (this is the dysgraphic brain kicking in).

For years, I have been reading the Brave Writer blogs and using the book club packets from Brave Writer.  I have the Writer’s Jungle Book and have done several activities through it, but that was about it until this year.  I looked at the online classes and decided to take the plunge.  The classes are pricey in my opinion which was my biggest hesitation.

Thankfully, the class was AMAZING!  We started with an essay prep class even though he can write a five paragraph paper.  I wanted my oldest to be completely independent with getting his thoughts down (I wanted to be out of the picture completely-although, I did keep up with the class on my own).  The class had generally 3 writing assignments per week and reading everyday.  None of the assignments were overwhelming or crazy time consuming.  The best part for my oldest was using a timer to write.  I have suggested this time and time before, but when it was actually part of the assignment, he loved it.

I am looking forward to the next essay prep class on research.  He starts that one next week.

 

(FYI-I do not receive any compensation or anything for writing this.  It is simply a review of a class that we took)

Back to School Time!

I am still in denial that we are actually starting school which is why this post is slightly delayed.  We started school last Monday as a group.  Sims started an online class a few weeks ago.  As much as I would love to show you a beautiful back to school picture of the three of them smiling, I have nothing close.  I have pictures of the three of them steadily working and looking at their books for the year.

Overall, the week went well.  Monday, we spent at home.  Tuesday, Parks and I headed out for his writing class while the older two stayed home and worked.  Wednesday, we went to the park for the first day of our 4H co-op and pretended that it is still summer by hitting the lake for a swim afterwards.  Thursday, we hit the barn.  Friday, we finished up any unfinished work from the week.  We also celebrated Sawyer’s last allergy shot!!  (Five years ago, Sawyer found out that she is allergic to the five bee types that we have here in NC.  Over the past five years, she has gone monthly to get two shots-equivalent to getting 18 bee stings at once.  She is amazing.) The workload was light this week.  My hope was just to get everyone into a rhythm.  I think that it worked pretty well.

In addition to celebrating, Sawyer’s last shot, we also watched Sims compete in his first deep water solo rock climbing event at the US National White Water Center.  The competition was a lot of fun to watch!