Another Year Older

We had a special celebration on Monday, Sims’s 16th birthday!  He celebrated by going out on the jet ski in the cold, cold water-amazingly, that cold water never seems to deter him from playing- and heading to climbing practice.  Each year, I cannot believe how much he has matured and grown up.  I am seriously ready for it to slow down!  He had so many new adventures during his 15th year.  He got to climb in many new states on new types of rock.  He has made some great new friends.  He has been a terrific big brother.  He built his own climbing wall. He loves being on the water, outdoors, or on a rock wall! Happy Birthday Sims!

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Weekly Wrap Up

A totally fun week!

Monday and Tuesday were pretty typical.  Although on Tuesday while Sawyer and I were feeding the kitties that she is caring for, we spoke with a man who was in WWII.  He is documenting his experiences and his friends’ experiences in the war.  He let us borrow his books which are an awesome addition to our US History class!!

Wednesday, Sims and  headed to our local community college to meet with the admissions person to learn about taking classes there next year.  Evidently, you have to apply in early February to take classes in the FALL!  I guess we are a but behind.  He can definitely take classes in the spring next year though.  Wednesday night, another homeschooling mom and her daughter came to art club to teach soft pastels. We had a blast learning how to blend and play with the pastels.

 

Then Friday evening, Parks went and tried out speed skating with a friend.  It was pretty neat (and tiring!).

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)

Weekly Wrap-Up

Whew!  What a week.  We are all feeling the need for a little break, but we aren’t quite there yet.  However, we did fit some fun into the week to help with our need,

We started the week off at the Banff film festival.  If it travels to your area, I highly recommend that you see it.  The films are great even if you aren’t an avid outdoorsman.

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Sims had a week off of geometry last week, so he was back to the math this week along with the rest of the other crew.  Sawyer is still working through the Life of Fred Pre-Algebra books.  She has one more book to go before the end of the year (I believe it is the Pre Algebra with Economics).  Parks is working with fractions and decimals.  He finished the Life of Fred series.  I am debating whether or not to go ahead and let him start the Fractions book.

The older kids had their usual science classes on Tuesday; Sawyer and Parks had writing class as well.  The weather is finally perking up around here so we struggled through the classes by spending every free moment in between classes outside doing our work at the picnic tables.

On Wednesday, we played hooky from our 4H class and went to the white water center.   We wanted to get Nick a pass for his birthday, so we figured that we would enjoy some outdoor time while we were there.  (I do hate that we missed 4H as they learned how to build a website, but my kids said that they have used the program before.). The kids all busted out some work when we got home from the white water center.  Then we headed out for the art club that Sawyer started.  Sims and I are using the time to work together on writing or what ever he needs some help with.  It has been a nice addition to the schedule.

Thursday was work as usual and a fun birthday celebration (which required some extra home ec as Sawyer baked a pound cake that was delicious!!).  Friday morning, Sims and I headed down to Atlanta where we will be for the weekend.  He is participating in a climbing clinic.  Back at home, Parks and Sawyer worked on their big projects for writing that are due next week!

Oh!  I almost forgot!  Some of the fun parts of homeschooling/unschooling.  Remember our tadpoles that we scooped up last week?  I haven’t mentioned them to the kids.  I have just had them on the counter and have been taking care of them myself.  I noticed a magnifying glass out.  Obviously, the kids are enjoying them after all.  I believe unschoolers call it seeding?  Putting out books/games/activities that will spark interest.  Through some casual conversations, I have learned how much they have observed our little guys!

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Weekly Wrap Up

I thought that I might get back to doing the weekly wrap up after February.  HA!  I guess that didn’t happen.  We did finish up our block on Westward Expansion in the US and our book.  Sims also started a class through BraveWriter.  I struggled signing up for the class, because-well in my mind anyway, it is kind pricey.  After two weeks in the class, it was worth every penny!  Awesome, awesome class.

This week, we started on a grammar block.  You will notice the excitement on everyone’s faces while they sit at the table working on grammar.

We also met up for a much needed hike with some friends.  It was more of our old school type of hikes.  We bush wacked through the woods to find an abandoned house that the kids used to like to find when they were younger.  Then we bush wacked our way a little further and found the creek.  Finally, we made it back some how.  I was pretty impressed that the kids still remembered their way through these woods since it has been quite a while since we have hiked there.

Beyond the hike, we had another exciting outing this week.  We got to take a coding class at the local Microsoft Office.  The kids enjoyed seeing a “real” office and where people work.  They also learned about artificial intelligence and hacking.  Then they used their coding knowledge gained from last week to hack a program.  (This month in 4H is coding.)

Sims has also gotten to hit some more rocks outside the past two weeks as many kids are having spring break.  We are also still loving the sunsets!

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February 2019 Wrap Up

I promise-we are still around.  It was February.  February is a rough month for me so I don’t get to all of my extra stuff.  I have to really focus to just get through life.  February remained fairly simple.

We finished up our first two courses in 4H for the year-financial planning and sculpture. I wrote a blog on financial planning.  The sculpture class turned out amazing as well.  We (the administrators of our program) were worried about doing an art class because we did not have an art teacher.  Lucky for us, one of the parents popped in.  He casually mentioned that he has a degree in sculpture!  He did an excellent job.  We ended the block with a field trip to Davidson College.  The college has a nice collection of outdoor sculptures.  I put together a scavenger hunt requiring the kids to find each one and answer a question about it.  I was a little worried initially, but it turned out perfect.  Actually, it turned out even better than I had imagined.  The kids took their time and studied each sculpture.  They came up with some fantastic thoughts on each one.

Our next block in 4H was cooking.  The kids learned about chemistry in cooking (fermentation and using bacteria), leavened vs unleavened bread, and how culture/geography influences cooking.

Back at home, we started back in on US history looking at westward expansion.  Everyone is working away at math, writing, and science individually. Maybe now that February is over, I can get back on track with the weekly wrap ups!

 

Business Math/Finance Block

We recently finished our second business math/finance block for the year.  As strange as it sounds, this was my third time going through this block and I still really enjoy it! I am far from business minded so I originally felt out of my comfort zone when teaching this block many years ago.  However this time around, everything fell into place very nicely.  We read a lot of books to go along with this block including “Whatever Happened to Penny Candy,” “The Year Money Grew on Trees,” “Bamboo People,” “The Not so Great Depression,” and “Striker Jones and the Midnight Archer.”  Sawyer and Parks also worked through the Simply Charlotte Mason Pet Shop book to work on business math.

Overall, we covered a lot of topics!  Needs versus wants.  Entrepreneurship (which we still have a 4H block to do on also).  Resources.  Investments.  Substitutes and Complements.  Recessions.  Revolutions.  Inflations.  The history of money.  We also looked at how these concepts influenced US History to tie into our US History blocks.

Another wonderful addition to our blocks at home was a finance block in our 4H group.  In the co-op, the kids used the USDA high school finance curriculum.  Parks thought that it required way too much thinking, but Sims and Sawyer really learned a lot from it.  The hands on activities at the co-op thoroughly solidified many of the concepts that we had learned at home too.  I love it when things coincide without planning it!

We also have a block on entrepreneurship coming up in the spring with our co-op so I am sure even more concepts will come together!